Ilex Serrata

DamianTrimboli

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Hello! I'm adding pictures of one of my affected trees - I don't know what they have - In this case is an ilex serrata. We are in fall here, soil was very compact so I repotted without touching roots into a bigger pot and new lava rock.
What do you think?
Thanks!!

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Brian Van Fleet

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Could be fungal, but the blackened tips suggest it dried out. My Ilex serrata looks like that in the fall, and just fine next spring.
 

DamianTrimboli

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There were a couple of days this season that leaves went down because of underwater (no more than one day, i.e leaves were ok in the morning but pointing down on the noon, watering recovered the leaves in a couple of hours). So yes, dried out a couple of times.. the thing is that new growth (from last week for example) is also having blackened tips the dry outs were like months ago. And also, Im losing whole branches every week.
 

MichaelS

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It has dried out. Why are you using lava for this species? Best mix is clay/sand/humus. It should be repotted EVERY spring with the roots cut well or this is what will happen.
 

DamianTrimboli

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The "repot"was done 5 days ago. I don't know what was the original soil because it seems to be very disintegrated but it could be akadama, i bought it in Italy and it came from Japan. I have it since July, so it went through 2 springs and 2 summer without any fall or winter in the middle, this is the first fall since 1 year and 3 months Do you think that the dry out if because of the compacted soil?
We usually use lava here in argentina because we dont have akadama or kiryu or kanuma or pumice.. only red lava rock from our mountains. What type of clay are you suggesting? we have LECA.. maybe that? and of course we have humus..
What would you do right now? We are entering fall.
 

DamianTrimboli

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I have another thread about my maples.. do you think is a similar issue or something different?

 

MichaelS

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I have another thread about my maples.. do you think is a similar issue or something different?

The Maple looks like it has a different problem. They don't suffer too much from drying out a bit but the Ilex reacts immediately. The maple could have fungal issues but it is important to make sure there is no insect attack on the very young spring buds which can lead to other complications later. In Australia we have a very common problem with palmatums on the young shoots which is caused by a thrips. It is almost microscopic and attacks the leaves before they open. Black stem on A palmatum is often caused by a lack of proper regular repotting and is not necessarily a disease. You will need to do some research to find out exactly what is going on there. We are in autumn here as well. If it does not get too cold there for a couple of months yet, it is quite ok to repot deciduous trees just as the last few leaves are falling off for the year. I have already repotted a few. I recommend that if you can do it, you repot the Ilex now (when the leaves are yellow) by cutting off at least 50% of the roots and teasing out the remainder properly. The clay I was referring to is akadama or some similar red volcanic clay which I'm sure you have if there are mountains or hills in your area. Maybe try some local soil suppliers. If that is not possible, you can get away with sand/humus (peat moss is quite good) mixtures. You can substitute lava for sand if you cannot get silica sand but make sure the pH is not too high. (adding peat moss will fix it). Also make sure you sieve all the dust out of everything you use and use particles of around 1-3 mm with perhaps 3 to 5mm on the bottom of the pot. If you remember that the deciduous Ilex are native to marshes or wet places it will give you an idea of what they require. It will be difficult to grow serrata if you cannot water when it needs it - which is every day and 2 or 3 times when it's hot.
 
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Cofga

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Looking at your roots tey are so thick I don’t see any soil left. When you watered it before repotting did it take water readily it shed it? Whe the root mass gets that thick it can be almost impossible to get much water into it. This makes it more likely to dry out since there is no soil reservoir to hold it.
 

DamianTrimboli

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thank for our your help, @Cofga, yes.. it took some seconds to shed, that's why I knew it was very compacted.

do you recognize these soils? what mix would you do?







 

Brian Van Fleet

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What would you do right now? We are entering fall.
The problem with “slip-potting” a pot-bound tree like yours is that it won’t likely grow roots into the new soil, and the core of the root ball is still going to dry out.

Yes, this tree is very pot-bound, but right now, I would keep it in the original pot and aerate the soil by pushing a chopstick straight down to the bottom of the pot in 20-30 places, and fill those holes with coarse aggregate of some kind, like small lava/scoria. Then, water properly and regularly. You’ll need to water it several times in a 2-3 minute period to ensure the roots are being drenched.

If your winters are cool, the water demand will be reduced until spring when you can do a proper repot. I did a video on watering a few years ago:

 

DamianTrimboli

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Update:
I scrubbed parts of the bark to see what’s dead and what’s alive. I confess that I expected to have the whole trunk alive and just dead branches, but this is what’s dead, half the trunk.
 

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DamianTrimboli

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Another update. There are bleach-like stains under all the leaves. Just under the leaves, not on top.
Any clues if this is the same we were talking about or another issue?
Thanks! 0797A4CC-5B04-4000-BDF2-988B767E5481.jpeg
 

DamianTrimboli

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Update: the tree is sprouting new leaves after the rebase in the bigger pot. But still. New leaves are turning its tips black.
It’s still the roots compacted issue? Or something else?
Remember I water with reverse osmosis water... maybe a deficiency? I don’t know what else to try.
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