I am new to this site so be patient if I am not doing this right...
My question is...
I planted a Weeping Blue Atlas Cedor in southern NJ (USA) back in May of this year. Since then about 90% of the needles have fallen off. If I scrape the ends of the branches with my finger nail it looks green (which) I asume is a good sign. Can you give me any input as to what may be wrong? Will the needles come back as the season moves into the fall/winter/spring? Is the tree dying? Do you think it will survive. David Dow
Tell me how the tree looks now. My prognosis
is not good with that much needle loss. I had
the same thing happen to me years ago with
a plant that I did not want to lose, a Cedrus
brevifolia. Some people call it Cedrus libani
'Brevifolia' but I've seen both plants, actually
I've grown both plants and they are not quite
the same. That should send the die hard Conifer
enthusiasts and perhaps the taxonomists as well
reeling into a tizzy!
At any rate, what I would do is start giving
your tree a good shower of water. If you
have mites then you may be able to knock
them off but I suspect you have something
other going on as well. Read this UBC post
and look for borer damage. I just found several
flat head borers hiding under the flaking bark
of my Maple leafed Sycamore so I know the
borers have indeed hatched already.
No leaves on an evergreen conifer = major discontent. Here I have seen Cedrus partially defoliated by aphids, there may also be a needle fungus around. (On a tour of a facility east of Vancouver some years ago it was pointed out by D. Tarrant, UBC that Cedrus were getting adelgids there--but their work is characterized by deformity of the trees, rather than defoliation).
Cedrus libani var. brevifolia and Cedrus brevifolia are botanical names for the same wild population of varying individuals. Cv. 'Brevifolia' would be a mistake for var. brevifolia. If somebody is marketing a clonal selection as 'Brevifolia' then that would be best given a new name.
One of my blue atlas cedars completely defoliated when it was planted early spring about 8-9 years ago. It pushed new needles and is now near 20' tall and growing well. I have seen other Cedrus atlantica do this when field dug/ balled and burlapped, and they usually will push new growth with no trouble. If they defoliated after the spring bud push, then that is bad news and probably spells doom for the tree.
I also have a major problem with my Blule Atlas Cedar. It is about 15 years old and it was on the property I acquired 3 summers ago. Each summer about this time some of the needles on the outer branches turned brown. This year in the last week of May is was completely green and healthy looking; one week later the top layer of needles are completely brown and from a distance it appears that the entire tree is dead because you cannot see the green ones underneath. Even at that the branches are very sparse with green. The branches do not appear to be brittle, the needles are just dying. comments please...........
Last edited by gramma; June 26th, 2006 at 02:34 PM.
Reason: add picture
Many blue Atlas cedars around here are showing this scattered dieback now. A nursery worker that asked me about it said he was told by some parks employees (working in a facility that has several old blue cedars planted in a low area) that it was root rot. Also said he looked it up in a plant problem book and got "environmental stress." Maybe that wet March we had brought it on.
Tip Blight is pretty common on Atlas Blue Cedars and cleans up pretty easy with copper or funginex. A lot of calls I get to look at these same symptoms end up being that there landscaper put mulch too far up the trunk. In the pic above, was that a large branch cut off down near the bottom? As for the pic your tree looks like it doesn't like it's environment, abiotic things like soil, drought, water, or could possibly be some kind of blight, or a major cut. Doesn't really look like spider mites from a visual point of view to me. To really tell the difference from environmental stress and Blights it's a good idea to get a sample lab tested. Thats my opinion, Jim.
thank you for your input. I don't recall that we trimmed any main branches from this tree. There has been in the past, branches cut but the cutting looks rather old. The winter of 2004 was extemely dry here in the Northwest and last winter was extemely wet. I've been showering it from the top since it turned brown and there doesn't appear to be additional browning. the spikes that have the brown needles still seem to be alive. If it is root rot is there something that can be done? I may call in an arborist to look at it. I think I will keep nurturing it and see what happens over the next year.
The exact same thing is happening to my blue atlas cedar as Gramma's. About 60% of the needles have gone brown, worse on thinner branches and as you near the trunk. Was there ever a verdict / resoluction? I am contacting an arborist tomorrow at a woodinville nursery that is supposed to be very good. If I learn anything I will post.
Cedrus libani var. brevifolia and Cedrus brevifolia are botanical
names for the same wild population of varying individuals. Cv.
'Brevifolia' would be a mistake for var. brevifolia. If somebody
is marketing a clonal selection as 'Brevifolia' then that would be
best given a new name.
Here is where we run into some problems and it is not the first
time either. Cedrus brevifolia is recognized and Cedrus libani
'Brevifolia' is also recognized. I can go one step further in that
a selected form was also called Cedrus brevifolia var. brevifolia
and this plant came from a well known source in England and
was also recognized by Mr. Humphrey Welch. All three were
recognized in Europe at one time. Saw all three at a bonsai
show in May. I still have two of them.
Other than secondary borers to come in after a Blue weeper
has been weakened, what from a growers standpoint, causes
the most deaths of this plant worldwide? Yet few people have
studied this phenomenon to recognize it. I cannot recommend
this tree coming from a b&b growing source in Oregon in
which they are field grown in a heavy clay soil. Silt okay
but not clay. What many people will feel is a root rot is
actually a lack of water able to penetrate into the center
of the b&b rootball. Set a rootball in a large bucket of
water for two hours sometime and then break the rootball
open to see if the center of the rootball is even wet. It is
exactly this water versus soil relationship is what kills
many of our Dogwoods within the first three years we
have them. We can supersaturate and still lose them
due to lack of water and we do not know that until we
have broken into the rootballs to see where the water
had been going. The real reason I broke every rootball
from a b&b Oregon growing source plant that came into
the nursery. Did not matter what the plant was either.
Which is why I even broke the rootballs of plants we
bought that were b&b plants in 24" and two 36" boxes
as I knew for them to live I had to help them out some,
even at the expense of the misses being rather upset at
me for doing it but all of those plants are still alive 14
years later and have adapted in the process.
I will say that Tip blight can be dealt with and am pleased
that somene realizes that much of the time we are dealing
with a result of stress to the tree. An accumulated, over
time, mite infestation can also be a problem with these
trees and I believe someone mentioned that for Spruce
one way to cut down on the mite damage is to overhead
water them or give them sprays of water. Hmm, no need
for a chemical spray at all much of the time if we know
when our invaders will and usually do arrive. Dry needles
can be subject to a host of problems and one of the biggest
concerns in several but not all locations is wind blown
dust that bring in little critters that will host on the dry
needles and tender shoots.