What killed my Arctic Supreme?

I’ve been dawdling on posting this–who likes to admit they screwed up?–but here goes. One day the tree just defoliated and turned brown. Two options I can think of: A) it’s in a tiny pot for now (working on transitioning to larger ones) and it didn’t get watered one or two days; or B) it was the fertilizer stick I stuck in the pot that burned the plants. Neither explanation explains why the other seven trees in similar condition are fine–they all got fert sticks too and it’s hard to imagine skipping a pot whole watering when dry soil looks so different from wet.

It won’t be a missed day or two of watering. It could be the fertilizer. But like you say if there were no symptoms on the other trees that sounds unlikely. It does sound like a root issue.

How well does the mix drain?

Since it’s dead why not pull it out and see what the roots look like.

It’s standard potting soil, so not ideal.

It turns out it is actually not completely dead–yet. I scratched the branches and they were brown, but the trunk was green underneath. I guess I should prune off the affected areas and… what else? Wait and see?

The roots probably dried out sometime after it had been dug. It could have happened when they dug it up or while you were planting it. When we planted wind break trees in West Texas we would say a dry root is a dead root. It still had enough energy in the stem to leaf out but as soon as the weather warmed up the leaves dried up the stem and probably died. However, I had an apple tree that I gave up on and about 6 weeks later it budded out at the top. Sometimes procrastination pays off. I had planned to pull it up for a couple of weeks but put it off.

Losing one out of seven trees is not bad. The potting mix is ok unless it dried completely up. I don’t think you did anything wrong, sometimes things just die. I try to plant peaches and plums in the pot I am going to grow them in without potting up. They will fill out the pot quickly and I have not had a problem with them being too wet in the pot.

1 Like