Hemlocks Yellow Green--Are they on their death bed?

magi1(z5a NY)April 17, 2007

I planted 10 hemlocks that were two year old transplants and they did fine over the summer. As the snow has melted I noticed that they are not a healthy dark green but a sick yellow green color. Is there anything to be done or are they on the decline? Thanks for your suggestions. Gina

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Possibly an N deficiency becoming more visible over the cold winter months, when N becomes less available. Sample and have soil tested to get an idea if this may be the case.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 2:12PM
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What species of Tsuga are they? it might be the winter
cold that turned them yellow or low soil nutrients maybe
give them a feed don't give up yet.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 2:17PM
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Also inspect them carefully for Hemlock Woolly Adelgid.


    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 2:27PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

give them a few more weeks ..... it hasnt been very warm in my zone 5 .... lets see if they bud up .. and green up by themselves ... if they dont.. they are obviously dead ...

it is not really the time to be fert'g with a last frost date a month or so away ....


    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 3:30PM
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I have a few times had some trees I planted turn up the next spring with a yellowish color, especially when on a heavier soil. They turned out fine later and there was no soil deficiency of any kind. Perhaps these newly planted trees are having difficulty, for a while, taking up enough nitrogen, but I would not worry about it.

But a soil test is always a good idea whether or not there are any specific symptoms.

The wooly adelgid infestations I have seen have not shown any yellowing of the foliage. Is that something you have seen or heard about, Resin?


    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 8:16PM
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magi1(z5a NY)

They are eastern hemlocks Tsuga canadensis..I have not seen any wooly adelgids and have not know them to be in the Albany, NY area YET..These trees were grown by the Saratoga tree nursery so they weren't shipped from anywhere having those pests. I will say they are growing on a slight hill with Sandy soil with just eastern morning exposure. There are oak trees that provide afternoon shade for them. I planted them as an eventual screen to the street. How about road salt? I will get the soil tested as I hope it is just a N deficiency. Thanks for the post responses.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 8:19AM
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Hi Spruce,

Mainly precautionary, since HWA is present over much of NY. I've not seen HWA (we don't have it here, fortunately!), but some adelgids can make foliage yellowish.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 12:36PM
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beng(z6 western MD)

When the hemlocks become infested w/HWA, from a distance the "green" gradually becomes paler, w/an eventual sickly grayish hue while needle-fall occurs.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 10:18AM
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harwichhelen(Zone 7 MA)

Once the woolly adelgid has been treated and is gone, what are the chances of the tree recovering? My hemlock no longer has it, and has some new growth here and there, but a lot of the old growth looks tired. Will pruning off the dead ends and generally reducing the size of the tree help? Would a gentle fertilizing with Hollytone help too?

    Bookmark   June 10, 2007 at 12:40PM
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lpinkmountain(5b/6a border PA)

Hemlocks like slightly acid soil, and if they don't get it, they get a deficiency. (I guess "N," I always thought it was iron, maybe both). ANYWAY, what I did for some hemlocks I planted was get some "Miracid" and water them with it. It really was a miracle. The needles changed color and the trees became healthy. It was hard to believe that WATERING the plants foliage with this stuff worked, but it did. Foliar applications help because leaves can absorb some nutrients. PH can really affect uptake of nutrients, so along with testing the nutrients, test the pH. It doesn't help to add nutrients if the plant can't utlize them due to the wrong pH of the soil. Also soil consistency influences nutrient uptake. N is a major nutrient and will show up in the common soil tests, but I think iron has to be specially tested for, and is not that easy to test for as I recall. But if your soil has a pH of 7 or so, then I would suspect it is the pH. 6.5 seems better for hemlocks to me. Also, sometimes hemlocks don't do well at first, but then do better once their roots get deeper in the soil. Anyway, good compost mulch is rarely a bad thing for a tree, if not applied to heavily or up around the trunk.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2007 at 12:36PM
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A standard? soil analysis + minor nutrients should show it all (check with county extension on who can run the test or ask a local farmer). The yellowing could be nitrogen, sulfur, magnesium, manganese, iron,etc. and as pointed out pH would help show what may be missing.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2007 at 9:59PM
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It's been a long time since I did any soil tests, but I seem to recall that N is not normally tested for in any but the very high-end soil tests due to its' being too transient to make an accurate measure that has any real meaning.

I could be wrong here, but I'm certain that there is something to this. BTW, N is considered to always be sub-optimal in natural soils, yet the plants still grow. A nutrient is considered to be in short supply if adding it results in a positive response by the plant/crop, etc. This should not be taken to mean that adding N to the system is necessarily desirable in the long run. Many insect and disease organisms, for example, love to attack the lush new growth that results from excessive N fertilization.


    Bookmark   June 11, 2007 at 10:58PM
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