Giant Sequoia turning Orange-Yellow

anthony1832June 21, 2012

Hi everyone,

I need help with my Giant Sequoia. I bought it as a sapling and it is now about a foot tall. This is the first full summer I have had it. I live in southern Michigan and our summers are hot (80-95) and very humid. My giant sequoia is planted in a pot and it gets about 12-13 hours of sunlight a day. I water it when the soil feels dry, which is almost every day.

The bottom needles of the tree are beginning to turn orange and yellow, it looks like it is slowly creeping up the tree. The new growth at the top of the tree looks fine.

Does anyone know what could be wrong with it? I'm thinking maybe its too humid in Michigan?

Thanks in advance!

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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Anthony, pots are difficult to grow trees in.

What kind of soil are you using?
What color is the pot?
Is it in the sun 12 hours a day?

In general you want to use a light non-compacting potting soil and want to keep the roots from cooking in the sun during the summer then freezing during the winter. I have had problems with that and have decided most things I have in pots need more shade than an established tree of the same kind.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 12:22AM
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monkeytreeboy15(Zone 7b/8a)

My guess is your plant is pot-bound. As a very large tree, Sequoiadendron giganteum has a very advantageous root system that will develop rapidly and outgrow its pot even if the tree is still small.
If the plant continues to brown, you should move it to a larger pot on the next cool, cloudy day. If you do this, you should keep it moist but make sure the pot is draining well.

If the plant seems to remain healthy, you would probably be best to wait until fall when transplantation is more ideal. If you could show pictures or give a more vivid description, that would be helpful.
Good luck, friend.


    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 2:05AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

hey.. welcome ...

who is selling these things in MI??? this is the second post about one.... [BTW.. i am down in adrian]

get a bigger pot ... and a bag of cactus mix ... and simply slide it out of the smaller.. and pot it into the bigger .. for an emergency re-potting ...

and then put it in full BRIGHT shade ... and no sun between say.. noon to 6 ... this time of year.. its just to hot for potted trees in sun ...

presuming its in a black pot.. and in 12.5 hours of sun.. odds are.. you are cooking the roots ... trees prefer cool roots ... and small black pots get VERY HOT ... and burn off available water very fast .. especially with fast growing trees ...

this plant will not survive in MI.. in anything than the exceptional mild winter we just had .. i hope/trust you know this reality ...

most likely ... it will need complete bare rooting.. and root surgery.. as MOST LIKELY.. its severely rootbound ... but we DO NOT DO THIS in the heat of a MI summer.. otherwise known as july/august ... mid to late sept would be prime ...

the leaf scorch ... is basically irrelevant .. if you solve the water and root heat issues.. they will not recover .. and it will look a bit ratty .. but if we fix the issues.. it will outgrow the uglies ...

with the recent blistering heat wave.. many of my deciduous conifers.. are showing scorch ... and mine are 10 years old.. and in mother earth ... so i dont even have the pot issues ... but i do not have this plant.. because it wont live in MI ...

out of curiosity ... do you understand the odds of long term survival .... and what you are your plans to battle such??


    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 8:08AM
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Gees, south of Lansing, has a large sequoiadendron in their arboretum and has been selling them as small plants. There are certainly micro climates especially along the lakes where sequoiadendron will perform well in the ground.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 10:01AM
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Mine has been in-ground now for about 10 years, and it's about 10-12 feet tall. After harsher winters, it's not unusual to brown out the older foliage in the spring, but so far new always grows. This past winter, being so mild, mine had no damage at all.

My stupid last year was to allow a volunteer bottle gourd to climb up it, and the poor tree now has a lean, the weight of the gourds pulled it to one side. I need to stake it up.

Yes, there certainly may come a winter that is just too much for it. I wouldn't be surprised if it were the winter of 2012-2013, since we know how the weather here likes to trick us. But, if it dies some day, it was a fun experiment for the years it lasted.

Don't let it dry out. You don't want it wet, either, but never let it dry to the point of wilting, or it will lose older foliage, which doesn't fall off for at least a year, just hangs there looking dead.

BTW, the blue forms are said to be a half to a full zone hardier than the traditional green. Mine is the blue.

Bordine's was selling these last year, I don't know if they are offering them this year.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 12:24PM
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