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satellitehead

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Reply with quote  #1 
I have almost 60 potted trees, going into their 2nd and 3rd years.  I have one tree - and only one tree - showing the following symptoms.  It is potted and treated like all of my other trees, so I'm curious to know what it is.

If it matters, this is a Hollier I purchased last year, it was a 2nd year tree when purchased.  It's never acted right for me, it has slowly been dying back.  This winter, I started noticing that the main trunk - a little thicker than an adult thumb - was getting dark and dry, and the bark is falling off.  NOTE:  There is no evidence of ants anywhere nearby the trees, nor inside the pots.  Our house is well-sprayed... the plants are up off the ground.

This tree has two shoots that survived from last year.  One of the shoots has a hole straight through to pith, and it looks hollow inside, almost like something bored into it and ate the insides out.  It also has scale, along with clear droplets of liquid.  I wiped the scale with water and it wiped away the entire top of the cambium layer, showing yellow underneat the greenish exterior.

Here are some pics - do you know what this is?  I'm worried I'll end up having to destroy this tree, which sucks, it's one of four I've bought from this source, I had to send one back due to horrendous RKN infection, and now ... this is happening on another.

I'll leave notes above each picture....


Here is the main trunk, and the bark falling off (the reddish part is bark that fell off)




This is the hole in one of the shoots, the actual hole is slightly thicker than a yellow #2 pencil lead.  There is no pith inside this joint that I can see.




Here you can see the scale mostly below nodes, where I gently wiped the scale and exposed yellow outer cambium layer, and you can see the little silver droplets of sticky substance.




Another picture of the same branch... along with the terminal bud.  The base of the bud is covered with scale, you can see more silver droplets.




This is the "other" branch.  It has no holes in it.  It has about 1/20th of the amount of scale, and the terminal bud doesn't seem to be shot like the other one.  I didn't rub at the skin to see if it peels back and gets sticky as the other branch did.  Anyone have any clues?



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Jason
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Reply with quote  #2 
Jason,

On the first pic I see signs of dehydration and a bad case of Scale infestation.

The other pics show a serious case of Scale infestation.

I am by no means an expert but I'm guessing the clear liquid is the sap that is oozing away from the bark, branches and the entire tree caused by the scales.

My opinion is to burn it before you discard it.

I will let others with more knowledge weigh on this and looking foreword to what gets said about this issue.

Very interesting.


satellitehead

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Reply with quote  #3 

It does look badly dehydrated at the trunk... but the plant stays watered well.  It is using the same soil mix as all other plants, and it is in the same pots also!  None of the others show these symptoms.  They are always together, but ... the others seem not affected?  Is it possible scale affects sicker plants more than healthy plants? 

This is one interesting thing:  Look at the first picture above - the bottom left shoot is the cutting with the hole and terrible scale infestation.  The upper right shoot is the one without the scale

What does this mean?  Well, even though the trunk is dying, branches a couple of inches above the dead/dying/bark-flaking trunk are alive and (healthy?)

I am leaning towards destroying this tree, honestly.  I can get another tree, but if this sickness jumped to other trees, I would be kicking myself.

I am curious to cut open the cutting with the hole to see if there are any larva or beetles inside.


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Jason
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Reply with quote  #4 
It looks like they are eating away what they can reach and this would be the outer shell ( bark ).

While the plant is still alive from inside, it is slowly dying from outside.
The clear liquid you see is signs it's bleeding.

Keep it as far away from the other plants as you can.

I THINK!?


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Reply with quote  #5 
Jason some ideas you  i ran across. Long names if you have time to look up maybe you see pictures of something similar.
I found this somewhere looking for fig tree diseases.

In India, a stem-borer, Batocera rufomaculata, feeds on the branches and may kill the tree. Lepidopterous pests in Venezuela include the fig borer, Azochis gripusalis, the larvae of which feed on the new growth, tunnel down through the trees to the roots and kill the tree. Another, called cachudo de la higuera, has prominently horned larvae up to 3 1/8 in (8 cm) long that can destroy a fig tree in a few days. There are also coleopterous insects of the genera Epitrix and Colaspis that perforate and severely damage the leaves and shoots. Scale insects include Asterolecanium sp. which attacks the bark of trees weakened by excessive humidity or prolonged drought, and the lesser enemy, Saissetia haemispherica.

saxonfig

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Reply with quote  #6 
Jason. Sorry I don't have a diagnosis for you but I'm thinking about what you could do to innocculate a cutting if you do decide to give it the axe.

I really don't know what scale is so I may be just grasping at straws here. Is there a sure cure for scale that could be applied to a cutting? Would dunking the cutting entirely in wax kill the scale?

I know you'd hate to trash it if there is some hope for it but like you said, you don't want, whatever it is, to spread.  

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satellitehead

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Reply with quote  #7 
I think most people recommend taking a damp cloth to scale and killing nearby ants, since they farm the scale.  In doing that and even just lightly touching the scales, it rubbed actual cambium away.

http://www.ehow.com/list_7390459_borers-fig-trees.html

I just found that too while hunting pictures of the pests Martin mentioned.

I'm going to cut the sickly branch down to a node below the bore hole and slice open the branch to look for any larva.  I guess if I can find a larva in there, it could at least indicate a) what kind of borer might have made it, b) what conditions in the tree made it susceptible and c) indicate whether i should 'kill it with fire', which I'm totally willing to do.

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Jason
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Reply with quote  #8 

Hi Jason,

I'm not any kind of expert with anything, but if I had a tree like that I would burn it and I think you should burn yours. If you can replace it and you have 59 other trees that aren't affected, before the infested tree can infest them, then burn it.  That would kill anything on, or in the tree.  From what you said, it's never been right from the start, why take the chance with your other trees?

Maybe the tree was simply weak to begin with and that's why it's fallen prey to whatever is eating at it.

noss


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Ben_in_SoFla

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Reply with quote  #9 
Jason, as the plant is dormant, why not take a no prisoner approach.
 - remove the plant  from pot and give it a water spray wash to get all scale off.
Examine all parts of the plant for critter openings, trim as needed,  toss the soil and after you've cleaned the bark of all scale and any other possible critters, get a new pot, clean soil and repot it.

No chemicals needed and it should breathe a sigh of relief. If you have some superthrive(1 drop per gallon of water) or vitamin b supplements, diluted you can soak the plant's roots for an hour or so, before you repot.
Best of luck, let us know how you resolve it.

Ben


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Reply with quote  #10 
what are the visual signs on a grown tree that it is dehydrated?
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satellitehead

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben_in_SoFla
Jason, as the plant is dormant, why not take a no prisoner approach.


I think a "no prisoner" approach would be what @noss suggested ;)

I'll post back what I find this evening when I lop off the branch with the hole in it.  If there's larva in it and scale, I may just take a cutting of the other branch, bleach the hell out of it, and root that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 71GTO
what are the visual signs on a grown tree that it is dehydrated?


Maybe Rafed can explain.  I just assumed it was because the trunk is literally so dry that the bark is cracking and falling off of it.  If that doesn't suggest what's dry, I dunno what does.

And by the way, I recently mentioned how you can know if the tips or branches of your trees are damaged?  I mentioned how first-year branches will shrivel, shrink and turn a deathly sienna/red color.... see the first picture above, botton right-hand branch.  That's a fine example.  Compare it to the branch on the other side.  Both were the same thickness last winter when they started.  In fact, the collar of the shrivelled branch is the size of the original branch.

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Bass

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Reply with quote  #12 
You got Scales. Severe infestation can cause tree to dry up, since the sap is being sucked up by the scales. There are different ways to get rid of it, try to spray with dormant horticulture oil. 
In the summer the ants love to feed on the scales. 
If you want to read on it, take a look at this ucdavis article http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7408.html

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Dieseler

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Reply with quote  #13 
Hi Jason,

Just throwing this out there for you if you see fit and plant is really sick to point of loss you may try this also along with what you mention about rooting a good branch.

If all is basically lost with plant

When taken out of pot see if the main trunk way below the soil and just above the roots is not yet affected. If there is enough good wood down under and decent roots you can cut it to that point repot in new soil and see what happens along with trying to root a good branch like you mention.

Just throwing it out there for you.
Here is example of mine of dreaded color of dead wood you mention.
Dead 3 feet to soil level.


 

Attached Images
jpeg Dead_1_Thumbnail.jpg (98.53 KB, 45 views)

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Reply with quote  #14 
Jason,  Good advice is coming in. Personally, it would be dug up and burned
before another day passes.  I wish you luck!  Fred
OttawanZ5

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Reply with quote  #15 

I agree with Martin if the issue is only with the top above the soil and the roots seem OK. That can be checked with depoting and washing away the soil and checking the vitality of the roots. This way you retain the roots maturity for early fruiting when new shoots come this spring.


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Reply with quote  #16 
I have gotten rid of scale with rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs. It is very time consuming on a tree that is covered but it can be done. The thing is, you have go over it week after week for months. Scale drips honey dew which is clear at first but then ususally mildew starts to grow on the honey dew turning it dark. I would be sure to check any plants that have been around that plant since you got it. Also, sometimes you can destroy borer larvae with an opened up paper clip. Sometimes you can feel around the tree and feel the tunnel and either squash him or stab him with the paper clip if you find him. My guess is that the large diameter hole that you picture is the exit hole where he left. I would also drench the soil with soap and water (next time you water) to kill any borer larvae that might be pupating in the soil. The scale can also be slightly below the soil line so I would move some soil away from the trunk. Rubbing alcohol is toxic to the plant which is why I don't recommend just spraying the whole tree. I think that you can save it if you want to put in the time.

Susan

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Reply with quote  #17 
Hi Jason I do think it is scale also I battle with it here but it can be treated If you wish to try. 1 part rubbing alcohol 10 parts water a drop or 2 of dish soap no degreaser and a couple drops of veg or olive oil to help it spray on Treat with a sprayer and repeat in 5-7 days for 2-4 apps you can google and find recipe also you can try NEEM Oil or Parafine Oil. I need to treat mine as I write this also.
Murphy Oil soap with the alcohol should also work
Let us know what happens
Sal
  

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pitangadiego

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Reply with quote  #18 
Bass is correct: scales are sucking insects, essentially sucking the life out of a plant. Because the have hard shells, most pesticides are not effective. The most effective treatment is to mechanically remove as many as possible, and then coat with a horticultural oil, which will suffocate them. They are farmed by ants which eat and enjoy their by-products. The ants actually move them about to increase their numbers but giving them increased space to suck on.

When a tree is actively growing (Spring and summer), they produce enough sap to balance out the loss to the scale. But wen it is dormant, their is no photosynthesis, and not real input into the plant, so anything sucking on the plant is actually depleting the energy reserves of the dormant plant.


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Reply with quote  #19 

Thanks Jason and Deiseler thoset picture do help. I hope you find a good resolution for your tree.


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satellitehead

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Reply with quote  #20 
I should have taken pictures as I went, but by the time I got into it, I hacked things to bits =)

Here's the gist....

I hacked the branch with the apparent bore hole off just under the node.  The nodes above and below were nice and healthy, fluffy white pith inside, so I cut it right at the joint and could see where the dark brown began.  I didn't find anything inside - the area just inside the hole was cleaned out, no pith, but the entire pith from end to end of this single long node was brown and rotten, it looked almost like snuff.  The rest was fine ... all the way to the terminal bud was fine, nice, white, fluffy inside. 

If something bored into this thing, then .... it must have bored in, ate some pith, then walked right back out of the hole.

I removed the few dozen scales from the other branch that had no hole.  It looks good, healthy, no sticky sap or residue. 

Just in case whatever bored the hole laid eggs in the pith, I'm going to go ahead and double-bag the tree and the soil and trash it.  I'm saving the one good branch, only the first year growth, I'm going to clean with dilute alcohol, dry, then 10% bleach, then stick it in a pot outside and keep my fingers crossed that it roots.


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