Reading the Tree Leaves

cornfed

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I took some photos of some of my leaves.

I don't have the horticultural knowledge to diagnose my problems, so I am posting here in the hopes that BNutters can let me know what information these leaves are trying to tell me.

Not all of these trees are going to progress with me beyond my first year, but any horticultural knowledge the leaves can impart will be useful, even if I end up planting these in a field somewhere.

Dwarf Chinkapin Oak
20210913_191241.jpg

Swamp White Oak
20210913_191245.jpg

Am. Hornbeam
20210913_191251.jpg

Eastern Red Bud
20210913_191300.jpg

Hackberry
20210913_191306.jpg

Elm. Siberian?
20210913_191327.jpg

Red mulberry
20210913_191343.jpg

Unidentified. Red Oak?
20210913_191353.jpg

Hackberry root cutting
20210913_191406.jpg
 

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Wires_Guy_wires

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Cool! I like this game.

First picture: chlorosis of the growing tips, usually a sign of iron deficiency. Probably a soil pH issue: too alkaline and iron gets locked, too acidic and iron washes out.
Second pic: burnt outer edges, either temps too high or too much salt buildup in the soil.
Third picture: same.
Fourth: brown spots with yellow edges, probably a calcium/magnesium deficiency. Probably pH related too: acidic washes out, alkaline locks it up. Shortages in the soil are rare because tap water is usually rich in these minerals.
Fifth: hard to tell. Could have been too wet for a while.
Sixth: insect damage. Probably beetle.
Seventh: chlorosis, possibly sunburn due to being switched from shade to sun. Could be iron related. Eighth: mechanical damage.
Ninth: mechanical too.
 

cornfed

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Thank you WiresGuy!

First: This tree also hasn't grown much except for some leaves all year. The coloration is relatively new though.
Second: Probably both right. Thank you. I heavily fertilized and it has been hot.
Third: Same.
Fourth: Since you bring up tap water, I found this test from the utility district 2 years ago. I have alkaline water apparently. That would make it tougher for the trees to take up Iron, Manganese, Copper, Zinc and even Nitrogen. That is not something I have compensated for in any way this year. I've just been using Shultz 20-20-20 Liquid Fertilizer. It probably doesn't even have Micronutrients.
1631676899565.png1631678121500.png
Fifth: This tree hasn't grown much this year either. Presently the leaves just look pale.
Sixth: I caught some of them shiny buggers this summer.
Seventh: This one had been going gang busters all year. I gave it a trim in the summer to let the light inside and it hasn't really been doing great since.
Eighth & Ninth: Probably too much fertilizer on top of that.

Thank you WiresGuy! Bonsai Nutters, keep him employed and post your leaves here at your pleasure!
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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Cheers bro! Did you transplant these trees this year? They can require some recovery time. I have some that stand still for a while and just exist for a year. Then the year after, they take off.
If you have the ability to store rainwater, I suggest you try a barrel or two to mix with your tap water. It should even out the alkalinity to some extent. But trees can also do this on their own when given the time.
Slow growth can be beneficial, because it keeps things small and short. So all in all, less than optimal health isn't always bad. Yes, it takes more time, but it also increases tree quality by doing the refinement for you in a certain sense.
 

hemmy

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Fourth: Since you bring up tap water, I found this test from the utility district 2 years ago. I have alkaline water apparently. That would make it tougher for the trees to take up Iron, Manganese, Copper, Zinc and even Nitrogen. That is not something I have compensated for in any way this year. I've just been using Shultz 20-20-20 Liquid Fertilizer. It probably doesn't even have Micronutrients.
Water quality is a fun can o’ worms! Search alkalinity, pH, etc. on this site filtering by member @Leo in N E Illinois

He has a many good explanations. The best water quality guide I’be found is:


it is referenced by most papers on nursery irrigation quality. As noted your pH, alkalinity, and hardness (1 grain=17.1ppm) are a little high but nothing like out West. It should be manageable acidic fertilizers or other amendments. Hopefully you live on the east side of the state and get more annual rainfall. Some people find organic substrates challenging in shallow pots, but for developing pre-bonsai stock they have a lot of advantages including lower pH, higher CEC, and the ability to buffer the alkaline water (depending on the alkalinity).
 

cornfed

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Cheers bro! Did you transplant these trees this year?

I did! And I pruned and raked the roots when I did it. If I had to do it over again I would've just slipped potted them up in organic soil since my goal is to thicken them up.

And a funny thing, on some of the trees that haven't grown much, I have noticed roots coming out of the air pruning holes in the pot. So the roots are growing hopefully, even if it doesn't show up top.
 

sorce

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I love "reading" that which should be read which is not a book.

However......

You can waste a lot of time trying to adjust, what seems to be for 8 different problems.....

Or simply know that this is from before, and remember that good husbandry will solve each when you begin to care for them.

Every winter is a reset button.

Sorce
 

Bosco Seitzer

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heres my .02

Red mulberry
looks like fall coloring

Am. Hornbeam
Looks pretty normal for the Am hornbeams Ive encountered in the fall blame this and Oak leaf burn on the heat wave

Unidentified. Red Oak? +
Dwarf Chinkapin Oak

These look fine, most Oaks around here have a little brown - just how they are

Elm. Siberian?
This was eaten by bugs probs Japanese beetles

Eastern Red Bud
This one looks sick, maybe a fungus or another bug like spider mites, look for more evidence
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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@cornfed

I suspect all the leaves imaged are suffering mild to severe nutrient imbalances. Yes, bug bite too for some of them. The Dwarf Chinquapin Oak has the most severe, classic display of nutrient imbalance, reflecting lack of iron. But Redbud & mulberry also looks like low iron.

If your water has a moderate to high total alkalinity, a measure of dissolved calcium carbonate, it is possible that this is making the iron unavailable to the plants. The ones with the most obvious symptoms, the Chinquapin Oak and the Redbud, both prefer acidic soils and are less able to pick up nutrients under alkaline soil conditions. The ones that are pretty green are species known to tolerate calcium carbonates (lime) in their soils. I suspect your problem is related to the total dissolved solids of your irrigation water and the resulting effect on pH. The pH is not the causal factor, it is likely the total dissolved solids of your water. pH is a property governed by total dissolved solids but won't tell you what the dissolved solids are. If you are on a municipal water system get the annual water quality report, it will have the total dissolved solids and other analysis. With the water report you can design a potting media and fertilizer regime that will compensate for your municipal water.

You can make yourself crazy trying to remove calcium from your water. Or you can go crazing adjusting pH. Or you can make nutrients more available by applying fertilizer more frequently (note: not at higher concentration, just more frequently)

You need a fertilizer that supplies both macro nutrients and micro nutrients. Make sure you look at the list of ingredients in any fertilizer you buy. It should be about 20 or so nutrients long, with all the nutrients from the list on your graphic. Apply this fertilizer in dilute quantities, but more frequently. With my orchids I have been known to fertilize every time I water, but at a dilute concentration. You should be fertilizing at least once a week. If you are already using organic fertilizers, the biggest issues with organics it is difficult to supply enough nitrogen and potassium as they tend to flush away rapidly with the first rain.

You could use a more acidic blend of potting media components. For example douglas fir bark chips intended for growing orchids create a nice acidic environment as they decompose. Canadian peat is a good component for acidity, but always sift and discard the peat fines. Only the chunks that don't pass through window screen should be used. Some commercial peat is chopped so fine that only 10 to 20 % stays on the window screen. Peat and bark mixes will break down, they need to be repotted every 2 years. Kanuma has an acidic reaction, you could blend kanuma instead of akadama into your mix.

1631678121500-png.397805


In the Marketplace section of the Forum, under "Other Selling - bonsai related" I sell a complete fertilizer for acid loving plants, it is my Blueberry Special. There are others who sell acid plant foods. Mira-acid is one. The Blueberry Special I sell is the MSU developed formula for blueberry growers in Michigan. It was designed for irrigation water that is 200 to 600 ppm as Calcium Carbonate. It contains iron, manganese, copper, sulfur and other micro-nutrients in addition to the normal N-P-K, it will help acidify your potting media if used more than once a month. Key is to use it frequently, but in dilute concentration.
 

cornfed

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Thank you Leo. That is sound advice.

After reading what you and others have written on this thread I believe I have found the path to rectify my fertilization mistakes. I will still fertilize weekly, but with a fertilizer that has micronutrients. Maybe even dilute it and do it twice a week.

This year I used Shultz 20-20-20 weekly in the spring and early summer. Every-other week in late summer. I don't think that has any micronutrients. I did use a fertilizer with micronutrients on three occasions. And Fish Emulsion once (resulting in a beagle attack on a JM). There might've been a light dusting of Osmocote early on there as well. It all sounds kind of scattershot when I type it out, although a couple of the species seemed to really like my non-strategy.

They were all potted in 3:3:2:2, sifted pine bark, Turface, DE and #2 Grit. I don't know it's pH for sure, but it is very fast draining.

I do have the water quality report. It says I have around 100ppm Calcium Carbonate and 400ppm dissolved solids. Do you think Blueberry Special would work well for my conditions?

1631676899565-png.397803
 

Katie0317

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@cornfed

I suspect all the leaves imaged are suffering mild to severe nutrient imbalances. Yes, bug bite too for some of them. The Dwarf Chinquapin Oak has the most severe, classic display of nutrient imbalance, reflecting lack of iron. But Redbud & mulberry also looks like low iron.

If your water has a moderate to high total alkalinity, a measure of dissolved calcium carbonate, it is possible that this is making the iron unavailable to the plants. The ones with the most obvious symptoms, the Chinquapin Oak and the Redbud, both prefer acidic soils and are less able to pick up nutrients under alkaline soil conditions. The ones that are pretty green are species known to tolerate calcium carbonates (lime) in their soils. I suspect your problem is related to the total dissolved solids of your irrigation water and the resulting effect on pH. The pH is not the causal factor, it is likely the total dissolved solids of your water. pH is a property governed by total dissolved solids but won't tell you what the dissolved solids are. If you are on a municipal water system get the annual water quality report, it will have the total dissolved solids and other analysis. With the water report you can design a potting media and fertilizer regime that will compensate for your municipal water.

You can make yourself crazy trying to remove calcium from your water. Or you can go crazing adjusting pH. Or you can make nutrients more available by applying fertilizer more frequently (note: not at higher concentration, just more frequently)

You need a fertilizer that supplies both macro nutrients and micro nutrients. Make sure you look at the list of ingredients in any fertilizer you buy. It should be about 20 or so nutrients long, with all the nutrients from the list on your graphic. Apply this fertilizer in dilute quantities, but more frequently. With my orchids I have been known to fertilize every time I water, but at a dilute concentration. You should be fertilizing at least once a week. If you are already using organic fertilizers, the biggest issues with organics it is difficult to supply enough nitrogen and potassium as they tend to flush away rapidly with the first rain.

You could use a more acidic blend of potting media components. For example douglas fir bark chips intended for growing orchids create a nice acidic environment as they decompose. Canadian peat is a good component for acidity, but always sift and discard the peat fines. Only the chunks that don't pass through window screen should be used. Some commercial peat is chopped so fine that only 10 to 20 % stays on the window screen. Peat and bark mixes will break down, they need to be repotted every 2 years. Kanuma has an acidic reaction, you could blend kanuma instead of akadama into your mix.

1631678121500-png.397805


In the Marketplace section of the Forum, under "Other Selling - bonsai related" I sell a complete fertilizer for acid loving plants, it is my Blueberry Special. There are others who sell acid plant foods. Mira-acid is one. The Blueberry Special I sell is the MSU developed formula for blueberry growers in Michigan. It was designed for irrigation water that is 200 to 600 ppm as Calcium Carbonate. It contains iron, manganese, copper, sulfur and other micro-nutrients in addition to the normal N-P-K, it will help acidify your potting media if used more than once a month. Key is to use it frequently, but in dilute concentration.
Leo, our tap water is heavily chlorinated. We have a massive rain barrel and it's currently full but the rainy season is about over. When I have to go back to tap water with the heavy chlorine is there anything I can do to counteract that?
 

penumbra

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You can use a de-chlorinator if you are that concerned. You can by it anywhere aquarium or pond supplies are found. Sodium thiosulphate was the common thing to use years ago but I am not sure if it is still the go to.
Contrary to popular belief chlorine is seldom used anymore and municipalities now use chloramine because it stays in solution and does not evaporate. It used to be you simple left the water out overnight and chlorine evaporated, not so with chloramine.
It is more costly but you can also use activated carbon to remove chlorine or chloramine.
 

Katie0317

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Sadly the state of Florida's water supply is in bad shape. I don't know anyone who drinks tap water but I have to wonder about plants with the high amount of pollutants. Chlorine is used for a reason.

You brought up an interesting point. You can check the city in your state on this website and it will tell you if your city uses chlorine or chloramine. The city we live in uses chlorine.


Pasting:
Florida tap water ranks 2nd worst in the country, with residents frequently exposed to unsafe drinking water. While the amount of pollutants in Florida’s water supply varies, they are often found in high concentrations.

However, arsenic, copper, lead and trihalomethanes are a major concern and have been recorded at unsafe levels in several cities.
 

penumbra

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Looks like a leaf skeletonizer, a creepy tiny insect that lives within the leaves itself.
But I suppose it could be seriously toxic water. You couldn't pay me to drink water that might do that to plants.
 

cornfed

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Looks like a leaf skeletonizer, a creepy tiny insect that lives within the leaves itself.
But I suppose it could be seriously toxic water. You couldn't pay me to drink water that might do that to plants.
Well I drink the water every day, so it can't be too bad. Haha.
 

penumbra

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Brown spot is very common in my climate. I have never seen it look like this.
If you have an extension agent in your region, have them look at it. All they need is a fresh leaf. You really need to nail this down. Not to do so would be ..... well ..... not all that smart. If it is an insect or a fungus, think about the future of other plants. If it is you water doing this, you Really need to know.
 

cornfed

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Brown spot is very common in my climate. I have never seen it look like this.
If you have an extension agent in your region, have them look at it. All they need is a fresh leaf. You really need to nail this down. Not to do so would be ..... well ..... not all that smart. If it is an insect or a fungus, think about the future of other plants. If it is you water doing this, you Really need to know.
Great idea. I zipped the photos off to extension. I'll bring the whole plant if they need it.

I really don't think it is the water... Although it could be my watering.
 

penumbra

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Looking at the early picture, which I had forgotten, that looks like brown spot. If your finale picture is brown spot, it is stellar. Never seen it look so aggressive.
 

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