Is this slug killing my bald cypress?

Hi folks,

I’ve got a bald cypress. It’s going wonderfully. Today, I noticed a number of its leaves blackening on several branches. On the topmost blackening branch, I found this:

I’ve since removed Friend Slug, but:

(1) Is the problem slug-related?

(2) How can I keep future slugs away?


Hi @hierophantic!
I don’t know if your problem directly relates to slugs (personally I think there’s a high likelihood, but I cannot tell). They usually eat fresh growth from broad-leaf trees or vegetables. In your case they seem not to damage the leaves by eating them, maybe the slime they release is compromising the functional activity of your leaves.
Anyway, to keep slugs away I use a flowerpot dish filled with beer (crappy beer, don’t spend much money for it). I place the dish in the middle of my bonsai area. Slugs will be attracted by beer and they will drown (or be drunk to death) once they get to it.
Hope it’ll help :wink:


There are reports of copper being used to repel slugs and diatomaceous earth to repel slugs.

Also wonder if a better class of beer would attract the slugs that have higher standards…
Is the BC in early grow and development? Has any wire been used to shape or give motion to the developing branches?
I have a yardadori cypress that I am growing hard to develop roots, so I have an interest in what works and what does not.
I would enjoy seeing a picture of the whole tree so I understand where the tree is in development.


@tocci_89: thanks much! I’ll give the beer a shot.

@Bonsai_bob: it’s actually a nursery stock find. I’ve had it for ~2 months. It was ~5 feet when I bought it, I chopped it back to ~3 feet. It had almost no branches or foliage after the trunk chop; almost all of its growth is new. I haven’t wired any of it (the remaining branches are too short and soft).

One of the advantages of living in southern Louisiana: you can find a solid BC trunk for $30 at just about any nursery!

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So is mine, dug it up first week of May and it is budding all over the branches and trunk. After seeing the results of using copper to repel slugs, I may put a scrap piece of wire around the base to discourage slugs climbing up for a free lunch! Just need to be careful not to scar the base, Do not want to wreck a beautiful buttress.

Killing? No. Screwing it up? Yep.

Diatomaceous earth and beer are the way to go. DE needs to be reapplied often as it washes off in the rain. Getting much rain over in BR? Seems to be raining every day here in NOLA.

Byron Myrick will be coming to the Greater New Orleans Bonsai Society meeting on Friday night. He’ll be doing a demo. I expect to see some BR club members there.

In August, GNOBS will have their auction. There’s a large contingent from the BR club that comes for that.

Hope to see you at one of these events.


@BillsBayou: roger on the DE and beer. We’re absolutely SOAKED up here in BR – a nice change of pace from two weeks of dry and hot and nothing in between. :slight_smile:

Happy coincidence to see a post from you! I’ve actually been dancing back and forth about writing to you for a few weeks. I’ve really enjoyed watching your work with BCs on YouTube (the slab planting especially blew me away) and I wondered if you’d be willing to show off your garden for an hour some weekend. I’m relatively new to bonsai (2 years) and I’d frankly love to see some top notch trees in person!

I’m excited about the GNOBS auction in August and plan to be there! Unfortunately I’m booked this Friday or I’d be there.

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Personal tragedy in my life has my collection hanging on and getting woolly .

That slab planting needs to be restarted. Automatic vacation watering collapsed last summer and wiped it out. Live and die and learn. I have ideas and have been getting advice on how to make it better the next time.

Look forward to meeting you in August.

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Understood. I’ll keep good thoughts for you and yours; let me know if you ever need a casserole delivery. (I’m from up north; we casserole like fish swim.)

I’m sorry to hear about your slab planting; it was such a beautiful piece. But I’m sure the next one will be even better.

See you in August!


my expirience with copper is mixed. I used a coil of copper electical wire around a pot of cuttings, no attack in the same season, but this year the slugs give a s…t on the wire and harvested all fresh green. I think the oxidation of the copper surface dicrease the efficacy.
Beer works, butkeep in mind all snails in your garden will get crazy for a drink and even the ones in neibours garden, too.
We collect them in the evening an kill them with boild water, wich is faster than toxification with alcohol.
best Balatus

The garden is well and truly beered.

@tocci_89: you wanted a photo of the BC. Here you go! It’s about 3 feet tall, and almost all the growth on it is new in the last month. Between the high temps, the rain, and normal back budding from a trunk chop, it’s gone full Sheepress.

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Very nice! I like the trunk line at the bottom.
I hope you’ll get rid of the slugs :wink:

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So the browning of my BC leaves has continued post-slugs. Any ideas? Possible causes:

(1) It’s still in nursery pot soil, so it might need an emergency repot (worrying; I chopped it a month ago, and even though it’s pushing tons of growth, I don’t want to stress it);

(2) It’s been getting a LOT of water, between rain and me trying to keep the roots from frying in the 95F afternoon temps. (Also, I thought BCs couldn’t be overwatered? I’ve got one living in an aquarium right now.)

(3) It’s been, quite seriously, a week since it had meaningful sunlight because of our ridiculous weather.

Other thoughts?

Bump for help! I don’t think it’s rust mites, so I’m not sure what else it could be besides wind or water damage.


When in doubt go to
LSU should know some stuff about bald cypress.
I am a newbee at deciduous conifers.

I seem to be late to the party… I’ve been developing BC for nearly 20 years now. Your foliage problem looks like lack of water to me…perhaps it was just a single day that the tree got dry…regardless, it doesn’t appear to be anything at all to worry about…your tree is obviously continuing to grow strongly.


Thanks for coming to the party at all!

You’re absolutely right: it was either water or chop-shock, and the tree’s rebounded beautifully. It might be the healthiest, happiest tree in my garden!