Going through the deep freeze

Discussion in 'Maples' started by maplesandpaws, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. JT1

    JT1 Contributor 10 Years

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    maplesandpaws- It looks like you did everything possible to protect your maples. Best of luck to you!

    rufretic- We have a carbon copy forecast for lows and wind-chill here, we are just a day behind you. I think snow cover is key for root zone protection for the in ground maples. For example, this past week we went down to 11F, with lots of snow. One of my remote weather sensors was snow covered and was reading 32.5F. Once the wind picked up, the snow drifted away from my sensor and (once un-buried) the sensor was reading 11F.

    If you have no snow, then mulch is your next best friend. Go heavy over the root zone, then spread it out over the rest of the bed once the cold snap ends.

    I am hopeful that we get through it okay, but I am already trying to prepare myself for the possibility that there could be some losses (mentally preparing). I may start putting some money aside for replacements come Spring (financially preparing too).

    In the event of losses, I find it's best to approach it as an opportunity to improve things and make it better. Find something better to replace the lost tree and it makes it a little easier and sometimes even a little fun.
     
  2. maplesandpaws

    maplesandpaws Active Member

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    Thanks for the encouragement JT, I'm really hoping they pull through! I did water before covering them, and was pleasantly surprised to wake up to about 2" of snow this morning; that will definitely help the in-ground trees and other plants. I was not so pleasantly surprised to wake up to -12 with windchill, ugh! Tonight's low is forecast at -2, plus windchill; keeping the fingers crossed!!

    As depressing and disheartening as it is to lose plants (the financial hit isn't fun either), like you say it is an opportunity to improve things. For example, I lost my little Bihou last spring and while I love the bark on that cultivar, the rest of it was nothing terribly special. I also lost a Fjellheim a couple of years ago; now, that tree I LOVED, but as it's so prone to pseudomonas and die-back, I will not get another (unless I move to a climate more suited to it). So, this year, I am highly considering getting a Coral Pink, which from pictures I've seen and descriptions I've read, looks like it could be a very nice combination of the traits I liked most from the other cultivars. Plus, with space - and money - constraints, I have to start being choosy about what I buy. :)
     
  3. Schattenfreude

    Schattenfreude Active Member

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    So how soon will we know if the cold has killed a tree? What signs, if any, will be apparent? Or will we simply have to wait until March or April to know for sure? I just took a look at many of my containerized trees that I have buried out back and it looks like their buds are still firm and red. Yesterday we had wind chills around -30 F and temps were around -12 F Monday morning, barely reaching 3F for a high temperature. Today we've already rebounded to 36F :-)

    Kevin in KC
     
  4. rufretic

    rufretic Active Member

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    I was wondering this myself. I went out and checked the ones in the garage and almost all of them are showing some black tips that I don't remember being that way before. None of the ones outside in the ground seem to look any different than before and we just got through a day of -50 windchills so I'm wondering if the ones in the garage are having a different issue, like lack of water. I'm hoping they were not too dry when storing them. I trusted they where freshly watered before they were shipped to me but if they were not, they may be too dry. We will be back in the 30s in a few days and then I think I'm going to water them to be sure.
     
  5. JT1

    JT1 Contributor 10 Years

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    The damage will not show itself right away. Once we go through the thaw and things warm up above freezing, signs of damage will show up as the roots try to bring up moisture. Black tissue may show up in the trunk, branches, or along the graft. Sometimes loss of color in branches or the trunk is another sign. Cracks in the trunk or bark splitting away from the trunk is another thing to look for when inspecting for damage. Some branches may be weakened, where they may look normal now, but may fail to leaf out.

    We will have to wait and see how things go from now up until Spring. If everything looks good come Spring, we should still do everything we can to reduce stress over summer. The survivors will be weakened by the winter stress and will need extra attention this growing season to reduce stress and prevent failure from drought stress, transplant shock, or heavy pruning. Treat them with care this year and save any drastic changes for 2015.
     
  6. Houzi

    Houzi Active Member 10 Years

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    Just another thought of mine so please feel free to criticize.There seems to be issues when overwintering in garages etc. with black spots appearing.To me this is indicative of pathogens as dead wood shoud just be...well wood colour.I assume all plants have bacteria/pathogens within but when growing can cope with this.In an ideal world they would go dormant when temps. are low enough to stop most bacteria multiplying.
    Could it be that at some point the temps.in garages are above this therefore allowing the bacteria to 'wake up' and spread unchecked while the plant is still dormant,resulting in the death issues I've been reading about?
    Looking at the temps being quoted recently I admit it sounds unlikely and my heart goes out to you guys,but it's just an idea I've been thinking about.
     
  7. JT1

    JT1 Contributor 10 Years

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    I think your theory has merit. Most damage associated with Pseudomonas syringae occurs when the plant is dormant and in early Spring, when the environment is moist and above freezing.

    I spent a great deal of time researching this idea of temperature influencing activity / population growth and gained a headache instead of answers. Much of the information regarding temperature was for different strands of Pseudomonas that affect the medical community and their research. Different strands are more active in different temperature ranges. Maybe if my area of expertise was in microbiology and genetics, I would have not gained such a headache. I did learn that iron oxide fuels bacteria population growth and it is an ingredient found in some fertilizers, especially in lawn applications (it leaves rusty stains on your concrete if someone does not clean it off) . It makes me wonder how our trees process iron oxide and if its present at higher levels in areas of an outbreak within the tree. I am not in support of using fertilizers and I would certainly not use iron oxide on anything susceptible to a Pseudomonas syringae outbreak (maybe I'm stretching it a little too far, based on little evidence; but nitrogen fertilizers have already been linked to outbreaks).

    A great deal of research and attention on Pseudomonas syringae pv. aesculi (Pae) is being conducted because it is linked to bleeding canker in horse chestnut. Maybe a good solution will come from it, because not much research is being conducted on Pseudomonas syringae in Japanese maples.

    If you would like a headache or your someone who is wicked smart, here is a link to some extensive information:
    http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0010224

    "The Pae-specific pathways identified here are potentially highly important for the understanding of bacterial diseases of woody plants. It is clear that comparative genomics can quickly generate large amounts of genetic information on newly emerging plant diseases that will be valuable in development of strategies to combat future biosecurity threats posed by phytopathogens."
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2014
  8. Houzi

    Houzi Active Member 10 Years

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    .....And in English? lol.
    It's good to know that research continues,even though understandibly not specific to JMs....but also worrying how each year it seems something new is attacking our plants.Though most of this is caused by the freedom of movement of plants around the world,the 'assailants' are also constantly evolving.From the text you supplied it seems the Pae strain is getting around the iron limitations you mention...but I guess this is nature,we all have to survive.
    Perhaps being non native doesn't help as Jms here seem to live on a different time scale,going into and out of dormancy earlier than native trees,exposing them to things they may normally have avoided.
    I have to ask,are JMs particularly susceptible to pathogens? I like many here have had many knocked out and am not used to such death rates in the garden.Or is it because they are probably the only plant we have amassed a collection of,and would probably see similar proportions of fatality if collecting another species?
     
  9. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    There certainly is a lot of pseudomonas syringae research going on, much of it apparently in the genetic classification (rather than interpretation) phase. There are a large number of strains of this group, which may be evolving all the time, so it's a very difficult problem.

    I think the issue of overwintering in garages is just the same as that faced in unheated glasshouses in western Europe. After all, young grafts are kept inside at least for the first year or two, and some large producers keep everything under glass during the winter. In order to do this certain precautions must be followed, including periodic copper and fungicide sprays. Personally I spray copper on outdoor plants as well, because the periods of near freezing temperatures when the sap has started flowing but before full leafout are ideal for pseudomonas attack. Indoor plants get copper every 4 weeks.

    As for the question "when do damaged plants show signs": some will quickly, but on others it is not visible until later. During the winter of 08/09 the temperature dropped very low, to -23C for a couple of nights. We lost many maples, practically all of the pectinatum ssp and also various others including palmatums. Some of these showed no sign of damage, but after leafout it was clear that there was little or no sap flow to the upper branches, followed by the blackening of the understock. For these plants it was the understock that died, not the grafted part! In any case I hope those of you effected will have enough snow or other protection that your losses are zero or at least limited.

    -E
     
  10. copperbeech

    copperbeech Active Member 10 Years

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    You have me so nervous.

    This past season and a half I went from 0 JM to 5 JM and thus far this winter we have experienced temps as low as -24C (+ significant wind chills).
     
  11. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    I hope you can take it as a slightly optimistic sign... because there were many more palmatums that lived than that died. At that time I had maybe 150 maples in the garden and lost 10%-ish, with palmatums proving hardier than some Chinese maples. Also as I said a lot of problem was with understock, so maybe North American understock raised out of doors will be hardier than some of the crummy greenhouse stock we get here. Let's hope so, and that you won't lose any at all.

    Also worth noting is that we rarely get below -10C here, and most winters the minimum is closer to -5C, so my plants are certainly not as hardy as anything you guys are growing.
     
  12. JT1

    JT1 Contributor 10 Years

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    So far our Japanese maples are looking good, with the exception of the understock of our garnet. It has a long vertical crack along the west/northwest side of the tree. This is from the afternoon sun warming that side of the trunk and then cooling rapidly after sunset. If I would have used tree wrap on the trunk it would have prevented this from happening. But fall got away from us and the winter temperatures fell rapidly and we never got around to wrapping that tree.

    Aside from the damage described above, our evergreens are the first to show signs of damage. It seems that once things started to warm above 40F is when they started to loose their bright blue color, that went faded to a silver blue to silver straw like color, to brown this past week. Here are pictures of our once blue: Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca Pendula’ and Cupressus glabra ‘Raywood’s Weeping’.

    It seems when going through the deep freeze evergreens are first to show damage. I am sure any setbacks with the Japanese maples and deciduous shrubs will become apparent in the next month as things start to leaf out. I feel that things may live through it, but some may look so bad that they will have to be replaced. It will certainly open our eyes to what is appropriate for our zone.

    So far the winter damage cost is at $500.00 and growing...
     

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  13. rufretic

    rufretic Active Member

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    That stinks. I have a few weeping Canadian hemlocks that look the same. They should of been hardy enough but I think the short time they had to establish in the fall was just not enough. Also looks like I'm going to loose two new pines, a beautiful little dragons eye red pine and my favorite, globe black pine. I still have some hope for them but it doesn't look good :-(
     
  14. maplesandpaws

    maplesandpaws Active Member

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    I feel for you JT. This winter truly has been a hard one. I need to fully inspect my trees that were under the deck over winter, but a cursory overview appears to show that by and large, they weathered the cold well. Unfortunately, I do have three trees that are noticeably damaged, and it will be a few weeks at least before I can confirm whether or not they are alive and/or will make it - my teeny blue weeping spanish cypress (very hard to find), and my two black dragon Japanese cedars. Of the latter, one definitely looks better than the other, but both have many visibly dead branches, and the cypress, instead of being a lovely blue, soft and supple, it is brittle and very dull in color. All I can do is keep my fingers crossed...
     
  15. JT1

    JT1 Contributor 10 Years

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    Here is the trunk of our beautiful Sango Kaku. It has a crack in it. The heartwood is smooth and undamaged. The trunk is not exposed to afternoon sun. The crack is on the east-northeast side of the tree. I suspect that the cambium layer froze and the expanding property of the ice caused the bark to crack and separate away from the heartwood. In the area of the crack, their is several inches of bark that is separated from the heartwood. The bark is cracked and floating, or not attached to the heartwood in the surrounding area, but I believe it is still attached on the back side of the tree.

    The past winters, being so mild, got me lazy and I did not do all the things we usually do to protect our trees (injury kept me out of the garden too). Now I am paying the price. Winter should never be taken lightly, always stick to your protection methods. I am full of regret....

    Time to fix my Sango kaku, my wife is wrapping it tightly with dewitt tree wrap and I hope that the crack closes, water stays out, and wound wood forms. I hope the vascular system is able to keep up with the demands of the large canopy come spring. I estimate 40% of the main trunk is damaged.
     

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  16. JT1

    JT1 Contributor 10 Years

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    maplesandpaws and rufretic, Thank you. I feel for you both too. In the spirit of staying positive, at least we know where to find the rare things at this point in our collecting career. It used to be such a challenge, but now we know where to go and get some great replacements for our losses. It still hurts though and at this rate the losses are adding up faster than the available resources to fund the future replacements. That's the scary part, when will the losses stop and how can I afford it. I may need to decide what has to be replaced and what will have to wait, looking at the void in the garden (where something great once stood) is the hard part.

    For our area and plants, it was not necessary the extreme cold, it was the duration of the extreme cold along with the very strong wind. I think that is what did the evergreens in. Of course the rollercoaster ride of extreme cold, with a warm up, and then back into the extreme cold; carried out over the course of several months did not help either. For the most part, I am still optimistic for most of my maples.
     
  17. Atapi

    Atapi Well-Known Member

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    Hi John,

    I share the pain with all. I am still assessing the damage caused by this winter cold but like yours and others, i have already seen a few didn't make it through.
    And just when we think Spring is finally arrived, it looks like mother nature will bring in another snow storm next Tues/Wed around the east coast (VA/DC).
     
  18. Houzi

    Houzi Active Member 10 Years

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    My heart still goes out to all of you still trapped in the grip of winter,and for all your losses,it must be terrible.I've had quite the opposite this year,weirdly lots of sun and temps. up to 19degrees.Consequently all my maples have either leafed out or in the process of but I didn't want to post pics of maples as it may seem as though rubbing it in.
    Anyway it had to happen,I have been waiting for it,a sharp frost predicted for tonight,the first so far.I can't protect all of them and my kitchen's full already ha.but I know this isn't as serious as the deep freeze.
    I wish everyone good luck and may spring finally arrive to all :)
     

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  19. Schattenfreude

    Schattenfreude Active Member

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    Houzi,

    Good luck with the frost protection! Please do post some pics on the new thread I created, Spring 2014 pics. I need a good dose of foliage splendor after this long winter!

    Kevin in KC
     
  20. rufretic

    rufretic Active Member

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    I'm starting to have hope again. I checked my maples today and to my suprise they are all budding. Too early to tell for sure but I'm starting to think these maples might be more cold hardy then we give them credit for. We had -20 for days at a time with wind chills as cold as -50! All my maples are planted and we did have a nice snow cover but I would still be shocked if they all live. I just can't wait for spring to finally get here, it's looking like it might be a happy spring after all :-)
     
  21. JT1

    JT1 Contributor 10 Years

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    Its the beginning of "The End" for my Sango Kaku. I found a crack on the back side of the trunk too. With the bark lifted away on both sides of the trunk the vascular system is shot. Now the pathogens are making their way all through out the canopy at an alarming rate. It's game over! Buds are beginning to blacken too. My very first maple 8 years ago is the second to die in my collection. I will take some pictures if anyone wants to see what a 10' sango kaku looks like when its dying (it was 5' when I bought it 8 years ago).

    On a positive note, I came across this picture and it looks exactly like my wife (red hair and with her gardening attire, sundress and yellow hat). Its funny, because she is from the Bahamas and after the first warm day in winter, she is convinced Spring has arrived. So she is always out there in the snow trying to do landscaping, when we still have 2 months of winter left.
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?...95483067.31762.144238715590575&type=1&theater

    She is so fed up with the snow and is always rebelling against the elements!
     
  22. maplesandpaws

    maplesandpaws Active Member

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    I'm so sorry to hear your Sango Kaku is on its way out. :( While I haven't (yet, fingers crossed) lost such a large, older tree, I have lost many, many smaller ones so I understand the pain you feel.

    LOL, that's hilarious - and I'm sure many of us in NA (myself included) have felt this way many, many times after this long, cold, hard winter! Are you forecast to get any more snow? We had our first thunderstorm of the season last night - small pea- and nickel-sized hail included, but thankfully no strong winds. Hopefully the temps will stay decently warm and the leaves can really start pushing. :)
     
  23. Schattenfreude

    Schattenfreude Active Member

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    This week Costco here in the Kansas City area had beautiful Sango Kaku trees in 3-5 gal. containers for $49. They were easily 5-6 feet tall and shaped very nicely. Maybe you can score such a tree in the near future at Costco up in Ohio :-)

    Kevin in KC
     
  24. maplesandpaws

    maplesandpaws Active Member

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    Well, not a casualty yet - and hopefully it won't be - but Squitty had to have a severe haircut today. :( Lots of apparent frost damage to many of the upper and smaller limbs/branches, so I removed what was obviously dead, or on its way to being dead, in the hopes that this will prevent any further die-back of healthy tissue. Sealed each cut with cut-paste. There are several healthy buds popping up all over the place, and even a few tiny new leaves and growth starting to appear; the main trunk looks healthy so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

    I think we're supposed to have a decent chance of rain over the next day or two... I may put it in the garage to be on the safe side.

    Note to self: Not a hardy maple, and one that likely needs even more protection over the winter than most.
     

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