Larch buds not opening-up

Nishant

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Hello Friends,

I live in London. My question is about my larch bonsai. While the buds on one hlaf of the tree have started opening up, the other half seems to be struggling. Is it normal? I wonder if it needs fertilizer. I gave it fish extract on Sunday. I am feeling a bit worried if the other half of the tree will not come in full vigor.

Any inputs from you would be helpful. Thanks in advance for this.

Just FYI, I bought this European larch tree in November last year when it had shed all its needles. It had a lot of dead wood, which I cleaned-up on previous weekend. It was very top heavy and after removing the dead wood, it looked better. I did some minor pruning, followed by wiring to get light on all the branches
 

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JudyB

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What is the condition of the soil? Is it impacted, or free draining? You may just want to be a little patient if the tree has just started up for the year, sometimes different branches fill out at different speeds, depending on species and health of the tree, also if the energy is not balanced through the tree.
 

Nishant

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Hey Judy, I am not very sure about the soil compaction. I will check and tell you tomorow.

What is the technique to ensure that the branches do not just become dead wood? The tree must be storing its nutients in the branches, so the ones which did not get enough light did not store enough and thus died in winter.
 

Waldo

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Nice tree. I'd like to see it all filled out.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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From your photos, there seem to be green buds all around the tree. On one side the buds are advanced, but on the other side, they are green, just less advanced. I would try rotating the tree so the side that has few buds opening is in the direct sun.

It is not unusual for different parts of a tree to leaf out a week or two behind other parts of a tree. So don't panic, give the tree time.

Fertilizer will not help the situation. With trees in middle and advanced phases of development (I would call this tree in "Middle Phases") you do not want to fertilize at all in spring. You want internodes between buds to remain relatively short. You want tight foliage growth. The way to achieve this is to not fertilize until after growth has begun to "harden off", or growth has matured and extension of the new branches has slowed down. This is usually a week or two after the summer solstice. So then in middle or late summer you begin fertilizing. This will provide plenty of nutrient to harden of mature foliage and to help stimulate buds to form for next year's growth. So for Larches, Japanese white pines, and many other trees, begin fertilizing half way through summer, and continue into autumn. This will set the tree up for abundant, but not overly vigorous growth the following spring. It will help to get good, compact, tight growth.

Larch want full sun. You should rotate your tree every week, so all sides of the tree get roughly equal exposure to full sun. Especially if your growing space is near a building or other structure that generate some shade or blocks view of the sun. Shaded portions of the tree will loose branches. I try to rotate my trees, 180 degrees, every week. That does mean I am starting at the "back side" of the tree every other week, but it helps to get more even growth throughout the tree.
 

Nishant

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Thanks Leo for such detailed reply. Appreciate this.

Yes I have started rotating the tree since last week when I found difference in growth of buds. I hope all the buds will come through soon.

Given you have a good knowledge, can you tell me if there are any protection measures worth taking during winter frosty months. Larches are known to be quite tolerant to frost etc but would the newer branches or the ones which recieved less sunlight more than likely to die in winter. Fir this tree there were lots of dead twigs on the top.
 

Nishant

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Hello Friends,

Thanks fir your reply on my previous question. The tree has buds have opened up and I did a little further pruning to remove crossing branches and removed some of the long wispy branches that formed last year. The tree currently has mostly the horizontal folliage abs will wire a few more in coming weeks.

I have come here with a question. The tree has this branch, shown by smaller arrow originating at the same place as another equally strong branch.

I want to take this one off as it adds not much value to the tree. Just thought of picking any other ideas and suggestions from experienced people.

I further think this branch prevents light from reaching the folliage of lowest branch, as pointed by the bigger arrow.

Please share your ideas and any further improvements you can suggest.
 

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Jorgens86

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Ou yeah. Remove it and better make jin out of it
 

River's Edge

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Please share your ideas and any further improvements you can suggest.
I would suggest you stop working the tree and allow it to grow for the season. Then in early spring next year repot, examine the root structure carefully, remove dead and decaying roots, improve the soil mix and drainage. Allow the tree to recover and get healthy after repot. Then begin working the tree after understanding the overall condition and putting it back in a position for full health prior to working.
Beginning to lose branches is usually a sign of root issues brought on by soil and watering issues. Best to explore, fix and get those under control first. The tree is worth it.
 

Nishant

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Thanks River Edge for the reply. The main problem is that the lowest branch ( pointed by larger arrow ) is week and I need to strengthen it. That’s why I want to cut that branch off. The soil drainage is good. The water does drain out from bottom if I do excess.

The buds on one the other side of the tree that were slow have eventually bloomed. However I feel the foliage is week because they are smaller compared to other side.

I may be wrong in my judgement here. So I would like to see people’s opinion on this. I am sure there are several Larch keepers here on the forum.

Also the folliage on this side is slightly yellowish. Is it becuase I exposed them to sun a bit too much or becuase they are week? I have attached pictures of two side of tree to show the difference.
 

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AJL

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Hi Nishant, Nice tree!
I agree with Rivers Edge that you would probably be best letting the tree recover for a year after repotting.
Its very possible that some damage was caused to one side of the root system when you re- potted , either by dessication, root pruning or other physical damage which can lead to a corresponding check to growth in parts of the canopy.
Its certainly too early to start feeding heavily .
Keep it in a sheltered spot, out of the out of the current cold north easterly winds, and protect from midday sun for now until it recovers, also try misting
the foliage, preferably with rainwater.
Frost is not likely to be a cause of damage in London area as you have a pretty mild climate down there in the south and it rarely gets below -5 degrees C
Do keep us updated with progress!
 
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