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Araucaria araucana seedling issues (5 Replies)

Posted December 28, 2018 at 5:26 pm


We have started growing these beautiful Monkey Puzzle Trees from seed as we have 1 mature female and 1 mature male tree on are Cougar WA property. The first seed crop from 2015 produced 1800 trees which were first grown in 5″ deep tube trays and later the majority of the crop was transplanted to 4″x 10″ tree band pots. The 4″ x 10″ tree band pots are resting in plastic trays that allow water to drain through. The pots and trays are setting on a rock gravel floor. The soil used in basic potting soil with 20% perlite added. Over time the trees have grown well but now exhibiting yellowing. We have also found most the roots exiting the tree band pots as the drain holes are large and face toward the ground. The trees are housed in a non-heated greenhouse which the sides are rolled up during the summer. If temperatures get hot we place 50% shade cloth on top to keep the inside temperatures down. We have experimented with different types of fertilizers, none of which helped eliminate the yellowing. We are in desperate need for advice in what corrective actions we should take to restore the brilliant green foliage and keep the roots from exiting the tree band pots.

Please note that we have observed trees growing in 1 gallon pots with drain holes on the side rather than the bottom that seem to not exhibit the same type of yellowing. All trees in the greenhouse receive the same watering and we have lost only 2-3 trees over time. I don’t believe the problem is over watering as we should see all trees exhibit the same condition if this was the case. The problem is primary isolated to the 4″ x 10″ tree band pots.

The following corrective actions we are considering.

    1.Remove the tree from the 4″ x 10″ tree band and place weed blocker cloth on the inside, bottom of the pot which still allows good drainage, but stops the roots from exiting the bottom, then re-pot back into the same tree band pot with new soil.

    2.Do not remove the trees from the tree band pots but trim the roots that extend out the bottom. Rest the tree band pots on weed cloth to keep the roots from exiting the pot.

    3.Change the pot design to 1 Gallon pots from 4″ x 10″ tree band pots that have drainage holes on the side and not the bottom which seem to work better in keeping the roots from exiting the pot.

    4.Plant in the ground in full sun but concerned with damaging the roots when later pulling them out when sold.

    Thank you for any advice you can offer us in correcting the foliage coloring and addressing the roots exiting the pot.

    Ramon Mendoza

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Posted December 28, 2018 at 5:51 pm

Hi Ramon, typically, yellowing foliage suggests chlorosis or some mineral deficiency/imbalance. Rather than guess what may be deficient, I recommend testing the mix that the plants are currently sitting in. Also keep in mind that many plants that originated in the southern hemisphere do not tolerate large amounts of phosphorus.

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Posted December 28, 2018 at 9:19 pm

If the plants are from Australia they won’t tolerate ANY phosphorus. But these are from South America. I think phosphorus ok, although I have never fertilized any of my conifers.

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Posted December 29, 2018 at 2:33 pm

true for plants in the ground, Sara, but Ramon is dealing with containerized production. I’m quite certain that southern hemisphere plants have different mineral requirements than do plants from the north. It would help to consult with an expert in plate tectonics. Was Australia formerly attached to Africa or South America?

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Posted December 30, 2018 at 11:24 am

Oh good point re: containers.

Australia was part of Gondwanaland, which eventually split into Africa, South America, Australia, Antarctica, the Indian subcontinent and the Arabian Peninsula. I’ve been reading Simon Winchester books so have been learning about geology!

We need Tom Cox to chime in. Ramon, you might want to email him directly. He has traveled to all of these places and has Southern contacts. He was just able to ID an Athrotaxus for me.

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Posted January 15, 2019 at 11:29 pm

Thank you all for your feedback, I apologize for my late reply. Yes seedlings in question are potted and having a difficult time figuring out what is causing the yellowing, primary found in the 4″ x 10″ tree band pots.

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