is this herbicide damage?

hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)July 28, 2014

I have about a dozen 3-month old Metasequoia seedlings.

Sunday, I saw my neighbor spraying something on the ground about 50 feet away from where these trees are. He said it was Weed-B-Gon.

Nothing liquid touched the plants, and nothing drifted from the wind, in fact, the wind was very light and blew the opposite way.

However, I could smell the Weed-B-Gon fairly strongly for a while afterwards...

Today I noticed 3 of the seedlings have some curling of the new foliage. Could this be damage from the herbicide? If so, will they recover?

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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

hair,
It MIGHT be, but I would not make that diagnosis based on what you state. Could be thrips, aphids, virus, air pollution, insecticide, or any number of things too, or just genetics. Remember these originate from a small population and a smaller importation..But some species and/or genetic lines are just more sensitive to whatever for whatever reason. Tomatoes are notorious for reacting to god knows what. Once saw a whole field of tomatoes with thick, misshapen leaves. The likely culprit? Ammonia from a poultry house from some distance away.

As for prognosis, I wouldn't sweat it at this point. More likely to be nothing, or slowing growth in prep for winter. Rinse with a shower of water daily if it helps you feel better. Likely to be just fine.

Arktrees

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 11:47PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Thanks, Ark. The fact that the growing tips do not appear damaged made me feel a bit better when I looked again.

I did see some red gnat-like things flying around them this weekend. I'm not sure what they are or if that could be the cause.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 7:14AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Here is a close up:

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 7:59AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

A daylight view.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 8:00AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

It might be normal, but there is some discoloration of new growth as well...

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 8:01AM
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j0nd03

Whatever made it act this way, IDK, but those close ups are gorgeous!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 11:21AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Thanks.

Hopefully it won't be followed up with more pics of dying Metasequoias!

If it doesn't continue getting worse I'll feel better about it.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 11:34AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

I hope Ark is right and they'll be OK. I'd hate to see them die NOW after getting this far with them.

My other seedlings look fine, my oaks are doing great, the Aesculus flava are good but one is scorching some, but whatever this is, it's only affecting the dawn redwoods.

Thinking about it, I think I've seen this phenomenon on mature specimens around here too, even in past years, and they all seem no worse off for it.

This post was edited by hairmetal4ever on Tue, Jul 29, 14 at 11:40

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 11:39AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

I can't say they look worse at this point, but they don't look any better, either.

However, whatever happened, happened this weekend. Here is a tree sometime last week:

This post was edited by hairmetal4ever on Tue, Jul 29, 14 at 20:10

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 7:05PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Same tree today.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 8:11PM
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poaky1

Looks good to me, the last 2 pics, that is. I am going to guess, it was new growth, which hadn't greened up yet? That's all I've got to guess hair.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 8:23PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

I thought that at first as well, poaky, but it doesn't look right. Up until last week, the new growth needles were pretty straight.

Now some of the older foliage (an inch or so down, not the really mature foliage) is curling on a couple. Two trees seem to be still getting a bit worse as of this morning. The others seem to have not advanced, and 3 look perfectly fine - the ones farthest from where my neighbor was spraying, so I still wonder if it wasn't herbicide damage.

I'll see how things progress - we've had very cool mornings the last couple days (53 this AM!) so both new growth and probably latent damage will take a bit longer to show up than if low temps were our more typical upper 60s.

If it *is* from the Weed-B-Gon, I hope it only singed foliage and didn't affect them systemically. It was only vapor, not even any actual liquid.

My oak seedlings are even closer to the neighbor's property, and the new growth on them looks just fine.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 8:11AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

What's bothering me about this, is that NONE of my Dawn Redwoods have grown since this happened - even the ones that have very little foliage curling.

They were putting on over an inch/week the last few weeks, and nothing since Sunday.

Either they're slowly dying, or trying to "repair" themselves and will grow again soon.

The non-curled foliage looks a bit "off" as well, almost the way they'd look under drought stress (but they have been kept moist but well-drained).

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 9:15AM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

OR they are sensing the shorter days and are preparing for winter. Look closely, most everything is currently preparing for winter. Our trees are setting buds, thickening bark, adding caliper, all in preparation.

Very few trees will grow straight through. Our freeman maples grow right up to summer solstice, then stop.They add caliper while growing, but then stop for about a month or so (no doubt now growing roots) followed by an increase of caliper again. Our Oklahoma Redbud, grows to solstice, then adds caliper.Tulip Tree grows and adds caliper until solstice, then stops and I assumes grows mostly roots. Point being, is that while the pattern varies, once the days begin to grow shorter, changes are triggered and you can not expect the same unvarying behavior. You seedlings need to be preparing for winter, and top growth is not preparing for winter plus uses resources that need to be stored away (part of what drives a caliper increase) for next spring.

The Weed-B-Gon was a coincidence. Correlation does not prove causation.

Arktrees

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 10:38AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

That all makes sense, Ark - but Metasequoia in particular is a species that tends to grow quite late into the season. I've seen them grow well past Labor Day.

My seedling oaks are still flushing, but I think this is the last flush.

My lone remaining Acer nigrum seedling has gotten woody and has a nice fat terminal bud set as do my buckeyes (they did by June, actually).

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 11:06AM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

Last message on the subject,

These are seedlings and not older more mature established trees. THEY MUST store reserves, and growing prevents that. As for your Scarlet Oaks, they have not been continuously growing either, so they have been storing reserves.

You can fret all you like, and there is nothing you can do about it assuming standard care. IF they are damaged, they will recover or not. Nothing you can do. If not damaged, they will survive or not. One can always find a problem in everything if one looks hard enough. To use old southern slang "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!".

Arktrees

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 11:48AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

True enough!

I just hate seeing hard work and progress halted even if it's only my imagination...haha.

I'll continue caring for them as I have been.

Although I was going to donate all but the three or so I actually can keep to a friend to plant in their (large) yard this fall - I won't feel right doing that now unless I can be certain they're actually OK. I'd assume that seeing the stems harden off and eventual fall color develop would be signs that all is "normal", then next spring if/when they leaf out would be the final answer.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 12:02PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Some are now growing normally again. The worst ones have in fact grown, but ALL new foliage, even the stuff that was not expanded from the terminal growth points, is curled.

I will wait a bit, but wondering if those ones should be culled.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 6:21PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Looking good now.

In this close up, you can see the curled needles a bit behind normal looking new growth.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 7:33PM
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