Itoigawa Juniper - bad, really bad

DamianTrimboli

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My itoigawa juniper is suffering, dying - probably already dead - but I have to try. Do you know what could be happening with it? and what do you recommend to do?
I think is an intoxication by excess of Phyton-27.

2 months ago:
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Now:
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Wires_Guy_wires

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How much more than the recommended dose did you use?
Phyton-27 to my knowledge contains copper sulphate. Which can be harmful in high dosages, it turns the foliage a super dark color if it's used in excess or sometimes even when used in moderate amounts.
It's the copper that seems to be killing your plant. The best thing to do depends on how you have treated your plant. Was it a spray only? Then hose it down a few times with slightly acidic water (pH 5).
Did you use it in the soil? Then flush your soil with the same type of water AND then let it dry. In both cases, demineralized water would be perfect, since it has a high uptake capacity and you might be able to flush more out.

Do not repot a weak tree.

I think what you're seeing here is 'just' a copper overdose. Plants can outgrow those, but it's going to take some time.

I see that you're from Buenos Aires, I don't know the temperature ranges over there and neither do I know your seasons, but itoigawa naturally turns goldish brown when winter arrives. They stay like that for the entire winter.
If the temperatures drop below 15 degrees C, that usually tends to happen. If that's the case, then there might be not much going on at all.
 

bwaynef

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What makes you think it was an excess of Phyton27?
 

DamianTrimboli

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I think it was an overdose of phyton-27 (or maybe because I mixed phyton with vegetal oil, I don't know why I did that..) because I didn't measure it when I applied it this time.. I applied it because this itoigawa juniper was browning some parts but it was pretty much alive, I thought it was suffering from a mix of spider mites/fungal issue.. so I treated it for both, mixing copper and oil.. I also applied this mix to some pines that were near to this juniper, and 4 days later the needles more exposed to this spraying started to lose color and yellowing.. and needles in the back are perfect.. fortunately these pines are recovering, no more yellowing and buds in the affected branches are still growing. But this also means that this mix I used wasn't good for my trees, and instead of fixing the itoigawa now is worse.
 

Japonicus

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because I mixed phyton with vegetal oil, I don't know why I did that..) .. and needles in the back are perfect..
Oil = Sunburn, not measuring is...well you fill in the blank.
Phyton27 is loaded with safety precautions. It's very strong copper sulphate pentahydrate 21.36%
Get it OUT of the Sun, and never use oil in the Sun.
Think magnifying glass ;)
 

AJL

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Have you tried flushing it with copious water , let it drain completely then repeat 2- 3 more times over a week or 2 then see if it starts to recover? Copper sulphate is soluble and should be posible to wash away , but it may be too little too late and the damage may be irreversible, in which case you will have learned a lesson- always follow the instructions when using pesticides !!
 

Japonicus

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Yes, I flushed everything multiple times.. I did it every day.. How will I notice that is recovering?
When does your Winter begin?
After the Summer heat breaks a second push of growth exhibits.
If it does not push new growth before cold nights, it is less capable
of withstanding whatever dormant period of no growth, as it will be drawing
energy without creating new energy. I think zone 9b will have a longer second push
of growth than what I would have. You'll know by new growth. If you have a sacrifice branch
it might be warranted to remove it if it lacks fair vigour.
If you expect a sacrifice branch to recover leave it.
 

Japonicus

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Winter is finishing here, spring coming.. a couple of maples already opening the buds and some pines elongating candles
Well that's the best news all day :)
I use Phyton27. It is an ace in the deck, don't discard using it in the future because of this mishap.
Shelf life is dependent upon the lack of crystals. When it begins to crystalize, order more.
At least that's what they told me at Phyton Corp. Good stuff!
 

Bonsai Nut

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Oil + sun can scorch a juniper if you aren't careful. If I use neem oil on junipers I always move them under shade cloth for a few weeks. If your juniper gets scorched like this the only thing you can really do is try to protect the foliage from desiccation. If you have a cold frame or a small greenhouse that stays humid - this is the time to use it. You want to provide light, but lots of humidity as well. Do NOT repot or mess with the roots - you will simply exacerbate the problem.

This might be a good time to check your water as well. Junipers like acidic water. If your water is alkaline (like ours is in California) some acid fertilizer, or other treatment of your water, can work wonders.
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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If pure vegetable oil was used, it could be plugging the stomata and could be slowly suffocating the plant.
This needs a rapid response, otherwise it's game over.


@Bonsai Nut I have not had these issues with junipers and neem oil. They do turn greener because the neem+emulsifier dissolve the cuticle wax. I can keep them in full sun without damage.
Can I know the amounts and ratios you use? Maybe we can compare them.
 

Japonicus

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Yes, I flushed everything multiple times.. I did it every day.. How will I notice that is recovering?
Phyton being systemic, flushing can only help what has not been absorbed, not much help really
unless you flushed it before it dried which would defeat the purpose of using it to begin with...
 

Japonicus

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If pure vegetable oil was used, it could be plugging the stomata and could be slowly suffocating the plant.
This needs a rapid response, otherwise it's game over.


@Bonsai Nut I have not had these issues with junipers and neem oil. They do turn greener because the neem+emulsifier dissolve the cuticle wax. I can keep them in full sun without damage.
Can I know the amounts and ratios you use? Maybe we can compare them.
Yeh I've heard of adding a drop or 2 of dish detergent before, but never vegetable oil.
Volk oil will scorch in Sun, I've yet to purchase neem oil. I'm glad your alls experience with it
was better than the discontinued Volk oil, both horticultural oils. I wonder what makes one
more Sun tolerant than the other?
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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Yeh I've heard of adding a drop or 2 of dish detergent before, but never vegetable oil.
Volk oil will scorch in Sun, I've yet to purchase neem oil. I'm glad your alls experience with it
was better than the discontinued Volk oil, both horticultural oils. I wonder what makes one
more Sun tolerant than the other?

Conifers have strong cuticle wax, this makes their (actually pretty weak) foliage sun-proof. It's a basic chemistry rule that most organic* material can dissolve in other organic material. Some horticultural oils mix with cuticle wax, others dissolve and replace the cuticle wax. It depends a whole lot on the composition of the oil. If the oil replaces the cuticle wax, the foliage is somewhat less protected. If the oil doesn't have the same refraction (bending of light) or is more transparent than the cuticle wax, then the cells beneath it are less protected and prone to sun damage. They dry out faster, the sun has a stronger effect and the oil might even affect respiration (breathing).
Neem oil - especially hot pressed - is pretty waxy by itself; if you leave it on a shelf for 3 months, it's going to harden to a waxy substance with a layer of oil on the bottom. We need to heat it a little and sometimes use an emulsifier to get it fluid again. This doesn't happen with olive oil for instance. This is because of some harder to grasp chemistry; carbon chain length, double bonds and carboxyl groups.
Some trees are fine with having their cuticle wax replaced or dissolved, they just rebuild it on the go or their cells are more protected by nature. Conifers can re-secrete cuticle wax, but it's a slow process and this can take some time. When that layer of wax is disturbed too much, sun damage can occur because the plant doesn't have enough time to protect itself again. For this reason, both the emulsifier (stuff that binds organic material AND water, which usually repel each other; they need a helping hand, the emulsifier like dishwashing detergent) as well as the oil or wax need to be used in moderation. A little too much of either, or both, screws up the protective properties of the remaining cuticle wax.

In general I think it's easy to remember it like this: the more fluid/liquid a material is at room temperature, the easier it can dissolve cuticle wax. If it contains aromatic molecules (lavender, lemon, lime, paint thinner, gasoline), then it might be even more dissolving and more disruptive. The closer a material is to cuticle wax, the less damage it does, but the harder it is to get into a watery solution. I think anyone who has ever stored neem oil, remembers the gunk on the inside of their spray bottles. Heat that gunk with some warm/hot water, and it can re-dissolve again. That's actually the good stuff.

I hope this makes some sense. Carbon chemistry isn't my favorite part of being a biochemist, actually, it's the worst part if you ask me. But I hope that this explanation makes some sense without diving too deep into scientific terms.

*Organic in the sense of organic chemistry: carbon chemistry. Oil dissolves in oil, wax dissolves in oil, oil dissolves in wax, in a general sense everything that's 'organic' can dissolve in 'organic solvents'. Test this at home with a balloon and some citrus fruits; the wax from citrus fruits contains large amounts of limonene, limonene (organic solvent) dissolves rubber (a carbon polymer). You can pop a balloon with the stuff that sprays out of a lemon peel. Try the same with your average hair wax, and you'll just get a more shiny balloon.
 

Japonicus

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Conifers have strong cuticle wax...
The closer a material is to cuticle wax, the less damage it does, but the harder it is to get into a watery solution. I think anyone who has ever stored neem oil, remembers the gunk on the inside of their spray bottles. Heat that gunk with some warm/hot water, and it can re-dissolve again. That's actually the good stuff.

I hope this makes some sense.
Nutshell ^ makes a lot of sense, thanks for taking the time to open that nutshell.
So, since I don't have neem oil in my arsenal, and you said that hot pressed
is the best way to go (or so I took it) is there a brand that you prefer to use?
One that could be ordered online simply and sized down to say 16 oz.?
 

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