Bonsai Study Group Forum

Species Specific => Japanese Black Pine Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: Frank Serraiocco on March 02, 2011, 08:07 PM

Title: Possible disease? Not Sure, please help.
Post by: Frank Serraiocco on March 02, 2011, 08:07 PM
Hi everyone.  So today, I decided to go take a look at one of my Japanese Black Pines.  This specific tree is about 27 years old and grew very well last year.  I just bought it in the spring of 2010. 

Anyway, I live in Michigan and for all outdoor trees such as these pines and junipers, I leave them out but I put them on the ground next to their pedestals and cover their pots with leaves and all the snow to cover them throughout the winter.  This specific pine never had very dark needles, they were always on the lighter green side, but they were very vigorous shoots from last spring.  There are large buds on every branch and many smaller ones as well. 

What I am worried about is when I checked this tree today, I noticed that on some of the branches, some of the needles were half yellow, but from the base up to the middle.  Usually tip blight would be from the tip to the middle.  I pulled gently on some of these half yellow needles and only a couple of them came out, but most of them stayed snug even with a firm pull.  It is not on every branch or every needle, only a few.  Is this anything to worry about?

Thanks for any help you can provide,

Frank Serraiocco
Title: Re: Possible disease? Not Sure, please help.
Post by: MatsuBonsai on March 02, 2011, 08:12 PM
Frank,

Any chance of getting a picture? 

Also, if you put your location and USDA zone in your profile you won't have to continue to remind people where you are while asking for advice, etc.
Title: Re: Possible disease? Not Sure, please help.
Post by: Frank Serraiocco on March 02, 2011, 08:14 PM
I should be able to get a picture of it, let me see what I can do.
Title: Re: Possible disease? Not Sure, please help.
Post by: Frank Serraiocco on March 02, 2011, 08:31 PM
First one...tip is on the left, base on the right
Title: Re: Possible disease? Not Sure, please help.
Post by: Frank Serraiocco on March 02, 2011, 08:34 PM
Another
Title: Re: Possible disease? Not Sure, please help.
Post by: Frank Serraiocco on March 02, 2011, 08:36 PM
Last one
Title: Re: Possible disease? Not Sure, please help.
Post by: MatsuBonsai on March 02, 2011, 08:50 PM
Frank,

Any signs of webs, pests, fungus, mold, spores, etc.?  What USDA zone are you in?  What's the weather been like?  What's your soil like?  How do water normally?  How do you water in winter?  Where did the tree come from originally?  How much experience with pines do you have?  With bonsai in general?
Title: Re: Possible disease? Not Sure, please help.
Post by: Frank Serraiocco on March 02, 2011, 09:08 PM
Any signs of webs, pests, fungus, mold, spores, etc.?  What USDA zone are you in?  What's the weather been like?  What's your soil like?  How do water normally?  How do you water in winter?  Where did the tree come from originally?  How much experience with pines do you have?  With bonsai in general?

I am in USDA zone 6a. 

There are no signs of any pests or fungus or any such thing. 

Most of the winter it has been between 8 degrees and 36 degrees.  There was one warm spell about two weeks ago where the temperature got to about 52 degrees.  Other than that there has been a lot of snow, most of my trees have been covered in snow anywhere from 2 inches to about 1 foot. 

The soil for this tree is a loose mixture of garden soil (very small amount), akadama, pieces of clay, & decomposed pine bark.  It has not been put into a bonsai pot yet and therefore the soil mixture is exactly how I bought it from a bonsai store in my area.  The store I bought it from only has one man there that deals with bonsai and he has done it for about 45 years.  He bought this tree from a man in California that grows pines in the mountains.  I am not sure which area of California though.

In the summer I water my trees only after checking the soil with my finger and ensuring that it is close to dry, but not entirely dried out.  I never water when the soil is still damp or wet.  In the winter I really never water it since the snow is providing whatever moisture is needed. 

I have done bonsai for about 3 years and I really only have pines and junipers, so my experience with pines would also be about 3 years.
Title: Re: Possible disease? Not Sure, please help.
Post by: MatsuBonsai on March 03, 2011, 10:08 AM
If there's no sign of pest or disease I would suspect freeze damage?  Others might have better insight.

Is the tree protected from wind?  Your soil may be suspect as well.
Title: Re: Possible disease? Not Sure, please help.
Post by: Frank Serraiocco on March 03, 2011, 11:18 AM
Well, the tree is set on the ground and there is a very large tree stump sitting next to it on the side that the wind would usually blow from.  It is not covering the whole tree but it might help some.  As soon as it warms up a little I was going to repot this tree into a more suitable smaller pot rather than the massive more than one foot deep pot that its in now.  I will look for any signs of root rot.  But until then is there anything that I should do regardless of what it is?  As of right now, the top of the pot still is covered by a few inches of leaves, should I remove these?

Title: Re: Possible disease? Not Sure, please help.
Post by: meushi on March 03, 2011, 01:06 PM
No idea what it is yet, but I do have the exact same thing on my JBP. The needles were fine less than a week ago, then the temperatures bounced around a bit and now they look like yours.
Title: Re: Possible disease? Not Sure, please help.
Post by: Frank Serraiocco on March 03, 2011, 02:42 PM
Hmm strange.  I think the tree is fine but I don't like seeing problems like this on expensive and very promising trees.  Another JBP that I have sitting a few feet from it is more sheltered from the wind and is about 35 years old is completely fine.  All of the needles are dark green.  This tree also has much better draining soil as well though. 

If anyone has any other ideas please let us know.

Thanks again.

Frank
Title: Re: Possible disease? Not Sure, please help.
Post by: Treebeard55 on March 03, 2011, 09:01 PM
Have you eliminated the possibility that this is annual needle drop? Pines shed their 3-year-old needles annually.
Title: Re: Possible disease? Not Sure, please help.
Post by: Frank Serraiocco on March 04, 2011, 12:43 AM
Yea I don't think it's that because these needles are at most one year old.  I pulled anything older than two years old on it in the fall.  Luckily it seems to be only on a few small shoots.  My main concern is whether I need to do anything to it or not to make sure it does not happen to other branches. 
Title: Re: Possible disease? Not Sure, please help.
Post by: scottroxburgh on March 04, 2011, 04:25 AM
I am not sure if you have this disease in the states but have you looked into dothistroma?

It is treated with a copper based fungicide 'Kocide blue' in Oz.
Title: Re: Possible disease? Not Sure, please help.
Post by: namnhi on March 04, 2011, 09:21 AM
I think it is needle cast.  They spread fast on a couple of my pines.  Daconil is your friend.
Title: Re: Possible disease? Not Sure, please help.
Post by: Frank Serraiocco on March 04, 2011, 10:10 AM
Good idea, I think I may go get some now actually.
Title: Re: Possible disease? Not Sure, please help.
Post by: MatsuBonsai on March 04, 2011, 10:42 AM
From the pictures it doesn't appear to be dothistroma or needle cast, as the browning is from the inside out, not from the tip in.  Also, the description and timing are not consistent with either.

Can we get some better pictures, perhaps of the whole tree?

You might want to check with your local extension office.
Title: Re: Possible disease? Not Sure, please help.
Post by: Frank Serraiocco on March 04, 2011, 11:24 AM
I was able to get a few photos.  In the first photo, the black arrow points to where the half-yellow needles are.  Also, keep in mind that if you see some other brownish tips it is because I cut the needles in half in the fall because they were way too long since I had not started to do the decandling process on this tree yet.
Title: Re: Possible disease? Not Sure, please help.
Post by: Frank Serraiocco on March 04, 2011, 11:27 AM
One more
Title: Re: Possible disease? Not Sure, please help.
Post by: Frank Serraiocco on March 04, 2011, 11:43 AM
Although, maybe I should mention....About two weeks ago, when it was about 50 degrees outside, I chopped off a nice size branch and patched it up with that cut paste.  You should be able to notice it from the photos.  Anyway, I kept the 6 inch branch that I cut off and brought it inside and noticed some very small black dots on it.  Then I noticed that some of them started to move.  I rinsed those off and then went outside to see if there were any on the rest of the tree and I couldn't find anything.  That's about it though.  Just figured I would let you know.
Title: Re: Possible disease? Not Sure, please help.
Post by: meushi on March 22, 2011, 04:17 PM
I finally found what was happening with mine, it simply was the soil drying faster than expected for the season. The tree did sacrifice a few branches by letting them dry and has bounced back to growth mode now that I increased the watering.