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A. koreana 'Silberlocke' – turning yellow! (5 Replies)

Posted October 15, 2014 at 5:49 pm

Hello! I planted A.k. ‘Hortsmann’s Silberlocke’ 2 years ago in July-ish (raised, sand-based soil)…cones appeared this year at the top. Last week, I noticed some of the branches ARE TURNING YELLOW. This week they are even brighter yellow. What is up with that? Thanks for your help.

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Posted October 16, 2014 at 7:07 am

Hi Denise,
The tree you’re showing us does appear to be struggling. First of all it would be helpful to know where in the country its planted. Firs are notoriously fussy in some parts of the U.S. It looks isolated to a single branch. Could that branch have gotten damaged some time this year or even during planting. I would look deeper into the plant to look. It also appears to be planted at an odd angle. Are those exposed roots at the bottom left? Lets figure it out.

Also, what’s up with that cable? Could it have damaged the bark somewhere?

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Posted October 16, 2014 at 7:08 pm

Hi David, thanks for your reply. 1) I live in SE Michigan — are you coming for our Fall Tour this weekend? It is going to be fantastic. 2) Not isolated to a single branch…it is sporadic yellow on the lower half and just appeared within the last week. We’ve had a lot of rain and 2 frosts in the last few weeks. I do not believe it was damage from time of planting to now. 3) The pic is deceiving, but it is perpendicular to the top of the mound. 4) Root ball – YES. Good eye, I noticed that as well. That IS the top of the root ball (but no roots exposed)…the soil must have eroded away as well as the mulch which I was just preparing to lay down. 5) The last pic shows a close up of the trunk and the graft. My finger is pointing to the edge of the top of the root ball. I am always a little unsure how high to put the soil/how low to plant the tree. I planted it about 1/2 inch above the soil top 2 years ago and then mulched — no mulch actually touching the trunk. I am thinking I need to add more soil and then mulch. 6) that cable (good eye!) is Christmas light cord. It is on there very loosely. I’ve attached 3 more pics for your Eagle Eyes. 🙂 Finally, my house faces north and the tree is protected on the west side with a tall hedge as you can see, and gets morning and afternoon sun. Soil was put in by me and is a clean soil with a sand base. It was about 3 ft high 3 years ago and is now settled at just above 2 ft. or so.

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Posted October 19, 2014 at 7:45 pm

Thanks for the additional information, Denise. I got the most help from the picture of the whole plant which for the most part looks very healthy. I would recommend pruning out the dead branches and doing an overall “tidying up” of any and all dead bits in the tree.

Beyond that, your location provides me with the biggest clue as to what’s going on. Abies koreana is rated only to zone 6 hardiness. If I recall, the midwest experienced truly Arctic conditions last winter which leads me to speculate that we’re seeing cold damage here.

I hope you guys had a fun event. I took part in an ACS event in Oregon over the weekend. I am considering taking part in your regional meeting next year in Green Bay.

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Posted March 25, 2015 at 8:46 am

I know this is kind of an old post, but how deeply is planted was the tree in the pot? It looks like it could be that the grower had it potted pretty deep in the pot so that the root flare is too far below ground. I can’t tell you how many trees I’ve planted where the root flare was 3-5 inches below the container soil level. We’ve had a lot of trees here where they start to die out in patches like that because the trunk is rotting from being planted too deeply.

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Posted March 25, 2015 at 9:31 am

Last year I planted Abies koreana ‘Kohouts Icebreaker at the same height as it was in the pot and it died in sandy loam. When I dug it up it was obvious that it too deep in the pot it came in. Balled and burlapped plants often have soil heaped up around their base and it is necessary after you untie the burlap to dig down with your fingers and find the root flare before deciding on the proper planting depth. I believe that Abies koreana is hardy to USDA Zone 5a as Harrison Flint reported in his Landscape Plants for Eastern North America, 2nd Ed., 1997. I have been gathering data on the effects of the winter and Abies koreana has not been impacted in Zone 5, at The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, Illinois, for example. By the way, Ayse, would you mind emailing me a report of the conifers at CBG that had to be removed as a result of last winter and also let me know if there were any marginally hardy conifers that made it without significant damage? Thank you! ejohnson@holdenarb.org

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