Over watered Causarina C?

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Over watered Causarina C?

Post by Per PF »

Hi guys,

After my initial post about my young Cc I was going to attempt to hold back a bit on watering. I usually just spray the top soil and had once in a while been giving it a moderate soak.
Anyways, I let it be for a couple of days and then watered it through. The next day it had some yellow brnachlets/leaves. I tested the substrate with one of these:
IMG_1621.jpg
It read DRY.... Soo I gave it a good dousing and tested again = DRY. Conclusion the meter doesn't work properly with high pumice content... (It works with ordinary potted plants.)
The result is this: :cry:
IMG_1608.jpg
IMG_1609.jpg
Is it over watering and if so, do I just let it dry out? Thanks.
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Re: Over watered Causarina C?

Post by Per PF »

On a related note. When do you go from spraying the top soil to actually watering a young tree?
Before I repotted it in February it was only top soil sprayed and I thought it looked like the root development took a hit because of it. There were only very fine roots in the top soil and the rest felt very dry.
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Re: Over watered Causarina C?

Post by shibui »

You are in a unique situation - growing causarina inside. None of us ever do that to my knowledge because we don't have to.

Normally I would say that it is very difficult to over water a pumice based mix. I use a very open, well drained mix (but with pine bark pieces) and water lots. More often trees are under watered for fear of root rot and I suspect that far more die of dehydration than of too much water.
Most of the good advice I have seen is to provide plenty pf water after repotting. Even to the extent of sitting the pot in a tray of water for a few weeks after to help get the roots growing again but we normally repot when it is warmer and starting to get dry.
One of the big problems is that the symptoms of both under and over watering that we see above ground are almost the same because in both cases the tree is dying from dehydration - when a tree is over watered the roots die so it cannot take up water and effectively dies from lack of water.

I still wonder whether these are just the lower branchlets naturally dying. Casuarina normally have bare lower trunks at a very early age. The good thing is that they will bud on bare wood when you prune hard so all is not lost when the tree develops bare trunk.

It is also possible that casuarinas just do not like conditions inside and yours is finally giving up the struggle.

Sorry for not being able to give a definitive answer. Good luck.
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Re: Over watered Causarina C?

Post by Rory »

Lack of sun will produce yellowing, drooping and eventually death on Casurina needles. Shibui is right that often the lower branchlets naturally die off as the tree tries to source more light higher up. If the entire tree is being exposed to high levels of sun all over the tree, then the lower branchlets can remain in relatively good health.
However in your situation it will be very different. I imagine the tree is getting very low levels of sunshine, so the tree will be putting out branchlets all the way up the tree as it grows to try to find light. In nature some of these lower branchlets might find a gap in the canopy and they are the ones that will take off and grow stronger. But if they find the same level of shade, then the tree naturally allows them to atrophy as it focuses it’s energy on growing taller faster, in order to try and access strong sun higher up. But if the environment is heavily shaded or with very low light, eventually the tree can run out of steam in its pursuit of better light and die. I have had this happen to many seedlings that were heavily shaded for years, even with Cunninghamiana. Casuarina glauca is the only Casuarina I’ve grown that can tolerate strong shade as it waits for an opening of sunlight to appear, but even then they will eventually suffer the same fate if they don’t find at least sufficient light.

Having said all that, if you continually overwater a casurina and the medium is staying wet, combined with low light, the signs of this will be the gradual yellowing and the green will start to fade to a very pale and sickly green/yellow, dropping and eventual death.

If the casuarina has been allowed to dry out badly, the needles go crunchy and lose colour in just a few days after. They don’t normally start to turn yellow slowly all over and droop, this is probably lack of sun, and/or overwatering. Remember, inside a house and with that tiny amount of foliage on the casuarina it will be requiring very little water. If a casuarina dies from lack of water, you’ll usually be able to snap the branchlets with a distinct ‘snap’ to confirm this. If they are sickly and droopy, chances are it’s not from drying out.

When you think a tree needs watering, get rid of that silly contraption and stick your finger deep into the mix. If its dry halfway down the pot, then that’s the time to rewater.

Take care and I wish you well.
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Re: Over watered Causarina C?

Post by Per PF »

Thanks a lot guys! I'm learning heaps :reading:

The lack of light adds up with my observations. As she has grown taller and closer to the growth light (a bulb), I've seen accelerated growth at the top which could motivate a shift in resources.

Today I've added a fluorescent growth light running along the whole little tree (I will alternate sides) + I will be careful not to over water. :fc:

The "contraption" is no more... :)
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Re: Over watered Causarina C?

Post by Per PF »

A quick follow up + stupid question (that might lead to the solution of the problem):

My C.c. has continued to drop branchlets and the ones on the way out turn redish (since the fluorescent growth light) before withering from the tips in. It is still only in the lower area of the plant and I hope it will slow down and stop soon... The very lowest branchlets are still there.

The stupid question: should I be giving it fertilization? The potting soil I mixed with the pumice were "heavily fertilized" according to the bag, but maybe that is starting to run out? (repotted in feb.)

Thank you in advance!
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Re: Over watered Causarina C?

Post by Raging Bull »

Hi Per, If it is in a well draining mix I doubt that you have over-watered it. I have several different Casurinas. Some were dug out of sandy, salt laden soil in an estuary environment and some come from a swampy muddy soil almost next to the edge of some mangroves in a tidal creek a couple were bought as tube stock from a nursery. They are in well draining potting mix (my own recipe) that I use for almost all my bonsai, and they are all doing well. Hope this helps.
Maybe yours are responding to shorter daylight hours they have experienced over winter?
Cheers, Frank.
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Re: Over watered Causarina C?

Post by Phil Rabl »

Different species of Casuarina/Allocasuarina have differing water needs. Rory knows a fair bit about them. Have a look at his 'growing notes' which he kindly posted to AusBonsai. Here is a link: https://www.ausbonsai.com.au/forum/view ... 14#p244994
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Re: Over watered Causarina C?

Post by Per PF »

Thanks guys, learning a lot. Rory's growing notes are gold! I think I'm on the right track now :)
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Re: Over watered Causarina C?

Post by Per PF »

Here we go again - cover your eyes Rory :oops:

My dear Ripley dropped branchlets about 2/3 up the trunk and the ones ready to go turned red....
But as daylight hours increased here I saw some green budback along the lower parts ---->so I brought her outside in the sun as much as possible, which went well until the wind knocked the pot over ------>
IMG_1955.jpeg
I decided to take the opurtunity to replace the ordinary garden soil/pumice mix with straight pumice/lava in a deeper and bigger pot.
IMG_1968.jpeg
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I also wired her for wind protection (she's outside all the time now). Hopefully this will result in a more controllable environment with very little risk of over watering and she can get the max amount of sun.
The wire is not for show/bending just anchoring. I tried to be very carefull around the new buds and hope this won't hinder any future budback.
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