Help diagnosing Table mountain pine yamadori

Hey guys I could use some help figuring out how to save my Table Mountain Pine that was collected almost two years ago. Everything was growing great up untill late summer and I noticed 2nd and 3rd year needles yellowing and eventually all falling out. Now it seems all the needles are changing colors and some are easily pulled out. I have been watering once every 3 or 4 days for a month now because even tilted up it was staying moist an inch or two below the surface. Its in all pumice except for the original soil from collection. It doesnt seem to look like dithistroma or any diseases I know of. Anyone seen this before?

Hi Jalam, You say it’s staying wet a couple of inches below the surface but is the actual root ball wet where the original soil is? Try sicking in a long stick (such as a chopstick) right into the rootball. Leave it for about half an hour before taking out. You’ll be able to see if the stick is wet right to the tip or not.
If the original soil is clay it cold be it’s dried out and you’re not getting it wet. Just a thought.

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Looks like you have som black sooty mold. In my garden this crops up on weak trees. So why is the tree weak? The yellow banding looks like it could be caused by root issues.
This is a collected tree and as you mentioned is in two very different soil substrates. This condition typically results in field soil that is too wet or too dry. Looks like too wet to me. If this tree has been in the same container for a couple of years it may be time to work the roots and get it in a container that is appropriate for the tree in it’s current state.
For the sooty mould I typically blast it away with the jet setting in a garden sprayet.


The tree is declining. It is most likely as you mention an imbalance in the root system post-collection that’s causing the health issue. However, working the roots on a weak tree isn’t going to improve the situation. We try to only do repotting work on vigorous trees. Ryan has covered this many times. You have to improve the balance of water/oxygen and hope the tree starts to get stronger. Only once vigor has returned should root work be considered.

I don’t know about that. It’s about the right time for repots and the alternative is that he struggles to maintain H2O/O2 balance in a tree with issues for another year.
@Jaalam can we see a picture of the overall tree as well as the container? This would help to get a sense of overall health.

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It is pretty humid here so Ive kept this tilted at an angle since the beginning. For the past month Ive been watering every 4 days. What else can i do to help balance water and oxygen? Should I be watering less than that? I know the pumice is drying out. And there are new roots in the pumice coming out the bottom of the box. But the old soil is still moist . Would you let the roots in the old soil dry out at the expense of the roots in the pumice? A week without water seems like a long time.

This isnt the best location to get good photos but here are a few right now. And then a couple from just a few months ago.

Also in case it helps here is the rootball at collection and whats in there withe pumice.

Pines can take fairly dry conditions and it seems like the tree is staying a little too wet.
This tree looks to have a challenging root mass so the idea of a gentle repot may be easier said than done. Give BWO a try over the winter to see if you can dial in your watering. The tree is not growing, it’s winter, and the tree is in poor health; it won’t need much water. You could try sheltering the tree to have better control over the volume of water the tree receives.


I’ve finished 3 years of pine classes at Mirai. We never repot an unhealthy tree. Especially collected material. There are steps you can take to try to improve the situation, but repotting usually makes things worse. Protect it over winter and continue the course for maintaining balance. If you’re getting roots in the pumice that’s a good sign. Look for how vigorous the growth is this coming year and revisit.

Feel free to also post it in the forum Q+A. I’d imagine you’ll get a similar response.

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Thanks for the advice guys. Ill probably move it to the heatbed in the greenhouse this winter and keep it on the dry side.


Just a question…
Your in Panama City, Fl. P. Pungens… are native to the Allegheny mountian range. Down to about Tennesee. Where did you collect it? Florida?
I wouldn’t expect a cool weather pine to do well for more than 3 years in Florida… Just saying.

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It definately should do great here you are right. I collected it in eastern Tennessee. A friend has some land in the moutains.