Pitch Pine transplant help. Anybody ever tried sugar water?

Hi All, I have a pitch pine that was transplanted in February of this year and it has been slowly dying back much to my chagrin. However I found these promising buds last weekend that have formed near the base. But they are growing so slowly that I fear the tree has exhausted its sugars and starches and won’t survive to be able to benefit from this new growth. I have it on a heat bed and have been misting the upper foliage.

I had a thought today that I wanted to ask the forum about. Would there be any detriment or benefit to adding a small amount of sugar to the water? I know that fertilizer is not a good thing after repot but wondered if a light dose of sugar would help? I found some studies that show that sugar water has been found to encourage root healing and growth in transplants of birch, oak and cherry trees but nothing mentioning pine trees. Has anyone ever tried this to help a sick tree recover?

There is some supplemental stuff you can use formulated for root growth such as superthrive. However the best thing you can probably do for it is probably being mindful of watering as the roots recover. Try your best not to over or under water. I’ve never seen any research on using sugar water but now interested in seeing if it would work. Best of luck!

There is a whole mess of problems if you added sugar water to your tree.
Research adding sugar water to plants and trees :+1:t2:

Is the soil inoculated with mycorrhizae? This might help mobilization of water into the water column and decrease the risk of over watering.

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I have not done any research on adding sugar water to the soil, but my guess is that it would provide nutrients to things we really don’t want growing in our pots and the sugar molecules would be too big for the roots to absorb. However, that is just my thoughts without any thing to back it up.

Thank you all for chiming in and offering advice. I did do research online before posting and found some published research on the application of sugar water for tree transplant shock which is why I have been considering it.
Here is a paper from the journal of arbor culture. http://joa.isa-arbor.com/request.asp?JournalID=1&ArticleID=165&Type=2

While I am still not sure if this would help or even be wise. I think I will try it as a last ditch effort. I am already afraid that I have killed the tree. All the upper canopy needle mass has dried out and receded. However there are still these tiny green buds near the base that are showing signs of life. They do seem to be growing but so slowly. I am afraid they don’t have enough sugars and starches to push out and become productive. I know pitch pines are strong and can bounce back from some severe stress. I really wish there was still some active needle mass to support their growth. The tree hasn’t given up yet so I will keep supporting it on the heat bed and grow lights and see If there is any chance of a turn around. I will update in a few weeks.

@AsburyMark . How did this play out? Still alive?

Hi Kurt, sorry for the late response. I haven’t been signing in to the forum. Unfortunately that pitch pine was too far gone to be saved. I didn’t think the sugar water idea was very good but was willing to try anything. I have another collected pitch pine now that is thriving.

I noticed today that you have a few aspen (from another post). What is your experience with them back budding? I just potted up two collected trees and there isn’t much info out there on how to work with them.