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I need help trying to save 2 trees.

Posted by genecolin Zone 9, LA (My Page) on
Mon, May 3, 10 at 15:08

Someone dropped off two young trees to me today to try and save. They look to be about 2 years old and about 3 foot tall. They were roughly dug up while cleaning out an overgrown area. One has part of its main roots about 1 foot long and very little other small roots. The other one has some dirt, its main roots about a foot long and a small ball of small roots. The leaves are all droop and wilted. I put them immediately into a bucket of water with a little of MG soluble until I can get home this evening. My thought are to remove all leaves and pot them up in damp soil and place them in a cool completed shaded place under the mulberry tree. Is that all I can do and what should I expect from them.
Thanks, "gene"

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: I need help trying to save 2 trees.

I have rescued many trees in this state. You can put them in well draining potting soil, and a plastic bag on top to help the top stay alive. My suckers do this all the time when I dont dig well enough and barelty get enough root.

No big deal! Let me know if I can help.

RE: I need help trying to save 2 trees.

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Mon, May 3, 10 at 21:06

I wouldn't remove any foliage unless you're sure there is no hope of it recovering, and then be very careful to snip through leaf petioles (stems) and not pull the leaves off, which would damage latent buds in leaf axils.

Figs have a drought response safety mechanism that comes into play if the canopy is not getting enough water. An abscission layer will form where the leaf stem meets the branch and leaves will fall on their own. If the drought stress is not as severe as you suspect, or if the period of wilting is short, leaves may remain viable. This can be very important because leaves produce the photosynthate necessary for the tree to grow new roots. If you lose this flush of foliage, you will be depending completely on the plants energy reserves to push another flush of leaves. If the tree is too weak to provide the energy for the new leaves, it could die.

For the same reason that fertilizer in a cutting media is a bad idea, soaking your tree ion a fertilizer solution is rather counter-productive. The lower the fertility in the soil/media, the easier it is for the plant to absorb water and keep the top hydrated. If you can, I suggest you remove the tree from the MG solution and rinse the roots.

I would suggest too, that you pot into a fast soil and tent to reduce transpirational water loss (through leaves). Your idea of siting out of sun is also smart.


RE: I need help trying to save 2 trees.

For those that didn't read what I did to them on the other forum, here it is.

So what did I do. I took the better looking one with the most roots and potted it up in a mixture of perlite, floor dry and potting mix that was mostly small pine bark. I soaked it thoroughly and put in complete shade under the mulberry tree. The other which had only parts of the main root, because a part of it got torn off, with little small roots and potted it in the same mixture. Only this one which looked much drier than the other with all the new growth wilted, I pruned all the new growth off hoping it will sprout some new buds. Thanks for the help, now I wait and see. "gene".

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