Overfed Acers

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Janice, Jun 18, 2003.

  1. Janice

    Janice Member

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    Please can anyone help.

    I have three (or should I say had) pot container grown acers. Which have been over fed with a feed by the name off MIRICLE GROW by my neighbour who thought he was being helpful while we were on holiday.

    Is there anything I can do to save them. It is most upsetting watching them die.
  2. Douglas Justice

    Douglas Justice Well-Known Member UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society 10 Years

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    Vancouver, Canada
    Your well-intentioned neighbour has used a commercial fertilizer on your plants in your absence. Are you sure that the fertilizer is to blame? Did the plants dry out? Wilting and root die-back happens very quickly in hot weather. Did the neighbour try to perk them up (after they were already dry) with a bit of fertilizer? A little bit of fertilizer probably wouldn't add much damage to already fried roots.

    On the other hand, verticillium wilt (a fungus disease) is a common problem with nursery-grown maples locally. Infected plants often look perfectly fine during cool weather, but as soon as temperatures rise sharply, plants can't get enough moisture to the branch tips (the "plumbing" is clogged with the fungus) and the branches wilt suddenly. If your plants were infected, they would not need an excess of fertilizer to collapse. The symptoms of verticillium wilt include sudden branch by branch wilt and death, and a greenish staining of the inner wood (scape off the bark with a pocket knife to see).

    However, if you are sure that fertilizer is the culprit, do the following:

    Irrigate with clean water until it starts coming out of the drain holes. Wait a few minutes and repeat. Repeat this procedure a few times over the course of an hour. Place the plants in a shady location (to reduce stress) and allow the soil to dry down normally before the next watering. Be careful not to maintain saturated conditions around the roots after this flushing procedure. Roots can die as easily from a lack of oxygen as they can from drying out or being burned by fertilizer salts.

    With luck, only some of the root tips will be burned and the plants will recover.
  3. Elmore

    Elmore Active Member 10 Years

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    North Alabama USA
    Too much nitrogen?

    It may be too late or this problem may be resolved but I feel compelled to reply. If it is too much nitogen you can apply organic matter, low in nitrogen and high in carbon, and tie up any available nitrogen thereby reducing the chance of nitrogen burn. Give your tree a little sugar, literally. Sugar is high in carbon and has no nitrogen. Your soils enhanced microbial developement will tie up the nitrogen in a matter of days. How long it will work? I don't know. This is just info that I have read about. I have never tried it. Sounds like good science to me. Those water soluble fertilizers tend to have a high chlorine content and that is a whole different problem. Leaching it out of the soil sounds like the best alternative in that regard. When I choose a fertilizer for my container plants I choose one thats source of potassium is a sulfate as opposed to potassium chloride a.k.a. muriate of potash.

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