Saving a weak tree

Hello all, for collected trees that are very weak and nursing them back to health should you mist the leaves and put a plastic bag over it to keep the moisture? If so, wouldn’t the leaves not get much air?


following, great question.

I agree, great question. I don’t know the answer to it. But I have a large collected hawthorn which I am struggling with. Collected in February it’s been in my green house since. Using a variation of the Tony Tickle sweating method I have had a black bin bag tied over the upper 80% of the trunk and every couple of days I have untied the opening and misted heavily to keep the humidity up inside the bag.

Whilst the bag is on it has pushed new shoots like crazy but as soon as I take the bag off few more than a few hours the leaves start to brown at the edges. I put the bag back on and everything is fine again. I have just ordered some large clear bags with a view to keeping it on until the new shoots harden off and then gradually trying to remove the bag permanently.

My bag is going over the top of the tree and I am losely tying it near the base of the tree. Air is being replenished each time I untie it to mist. This has been ongoing for 2-3 weeks. I have found misting every couple of days is enough to keep the humidity up.

It’s keeping the new growth coming and alive but I am just not sure what the end point is going to be yet.


Hi @Moguai,
Think of Goldilocks. Keep the tree not to wet, not too dry. Not to hot, not too cold. Keep it in the sun, but not too much. Do you have any pictures or descriptions of the species and it’s symptoms?

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I would personally ask,Ryan in his q&a session to see what he would recommend

You do not say what it has led the tree getting to this point in its health

If it is recently repotted then it suggests a lack of root or some other issue

Humidity will help for sure. I used a mini green house / cloche (like a small polytunnel) with a large bowl of water + regular misting to get the tree going. I recirculated the air once per day to prevent fungal issues and put it In shade or semi shade depending on temps. Foliage sprayed once / twice per day

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That’s good to hear. I’m glad it’s working for you. Hope it comes back to health


It’s a juniper and I got it from a collector. There were basically no roots as I think he just dug it out from a mountain from between the rocks. He said the chance of survival is pretty slim. I put a plastic bag over the trunk bc it looked like there were really fine roots coming out of it. I packed it in with sphagnum moss in the zip lock bag and also in the container.

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Possible the leaves are burning. Not sure what Tony Tickle recommends, but Harry Harrington removes the bag once buds form, before leaves emerge.

Great question, would love to know the answer myself as we’ve all been here. Ryan answers these for pro members once each week in the pro forum. Highly worth it IMO. You may want to check it out. I want to post your question but I don’t feel that would be fair to Ryan’s subscription system. Hope to see you there!

Update: I’m basically having the same issue with a scots pine. I did a crappy job collecting and it’s drying out. I posted my question in the Pro Forum. You may find Ryan’s answer helpful there if you aren’t able to post your quesiton there in time.

Definitely mist the foliage regularly, junipers can take in moisture through their foliage, this will help a little while the plant tries to grow new roots. Also you can try foliar feeding, misting the foliage with a half-strength chemical fertilizer to give more resources to the tree in its weakened state.


Yah. I posted a question in the pro forum. Hope yours is turning out better.

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