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Sick Tree Treatment - Solution to Red Tip Photinia Problems

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Newsletter 2015

(The Solution to Red Tip Photinia Problems)


I’m bothered that many gardeners are misled into thinking that certain diseases are impossible to control. Rose rosette is certainly in this category, but one that popped up again just recently is the disease that hits Fraser's photinia or red tip photinia. Solving this disease is how we came up with the Sick Tree Treatment. Here’s the most recently updated version of this procedure.


Step 1: Stop Using ALL High Nitrogen Fertilizers and Toxic Chemical Pesticides
The fertilizers are more important to eliminate than the pesticides. Synthetic fertilizers are harsh salts. They are unbalanced, contain no carbon and have a poor compliment of trace minerals. They are often contaminated and always destructive to the chemistry, the physics and the life in the soil. They feed plants poorly and contaminate the environment. They volatize into the air, wash away and leach through the soil into the water system. Toxic chemical pesticides kill beneficial nematodes, various helpful microbes and good insects. Besides all that, they control pest insects poorly.

Step 2: Remove Excess Soil and Mulch from the Trunk Flare
A very high percentage of trees are too deep in their containers, have been planted too low or have had fill soil, eroded soil and/or mulch added on top of the trunk flares. Soil or even heavy mulch covering the trunk flares block oxygen, keep bark moist and lead to circling and girdling roots. Ideally, excess soil and circling and girdling roots should be removed before planting. But - removing soil from the trunk flares of planted trees can be done professionally with tools such as the Air Spade or Air Knife. Homeowners can do the work with hand tools, stiff brushes, gentle water and shop-vacs or power washers if it is done carefully. Vines and ground covers should also be kept off tree trunks and pruned back away from the flares, at least on an annual basis.

Step 3: Aerate the Root Zone Heavily
Don’t rip, till or plow the soil. That destroys the feeder roots. Punch holes (with turning forks, core aerators or agriculture devices) heavily throughout the root zone. Liquid injectors or Air Spade type tools can also be used. Start between the drip line and the trunk and go far out beyond the drip line. For normal size residential property, the entire site should be done. Holes 6-8" deep are ideal, but any depth is beneficial. Liquid aeration can be done by applying 3% hydrogen peroxide at about 1 gallon per 1000 sq. ft.

Step 4: Apply Organic Amendments
Apply zeolite 40-80 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft., greensand at 40-80 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft., lava sand at 80-120 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft., whole ground cornmeal at 20-30 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft. and dry molasses at 10-20 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft. Cornmeal is a natural disease fighter and molasses is a carbohydrate source to feed the microbes in the soil. The rock materials provide structural improvement and minerals. Finish with a 1" layer of compost followed by a 3" layer of shredded native tree trimmings in bare areas; however, do not pile mulch up on the root flare or the trunk. Smaller amounts of these materials can be used where budget restrictions exist. They also can be done at separate times. Also, any rock dust material different than the base rock on the site will help.

Step 5: Spray Trees and Soil
Spray the ground, trunks, limbs, twigs and foliage of trees with the entire Garrett Juice mixture. Garrett Juice Pro is best for trees because it contains mycorrhigal fungi.Do this monthly or more often if possible. For large-scale farms and ranches, a one-time spraying is beneficial if the budget doesn’t allow ongoing sprays. Adding garlic oil, cornmeal juice or Bio Wash to the spray is also beneficial for disease control while the tree is in trouble. Cornmeal Juice is a natural fungal control that is made by soaking whole ground cornmeal in water at 1 cup per 5 gallons of water. Screen out the solids and spray without further dilution. Cornmeal Juice can be mixed with Garrett Juice or any other natural foliar feeding spray. It can also be used as a soil drench for the control of soil borne diseases. Dry granulated garlic can also be used on the soil in the root zone at about 1-2 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft. for additional disease control. Adding hydrogen peroxide to be 1% of the spray will help control serious disease pathogens and encourage clean new plant growth.

To discuss this newsletter or any other topic, tune in Sunday 8am -11am central time to the Dirt Doctor Radio Show. The call-in phone number is 1-866-444-3478. Listen on the internet or click here to find a station in your area.

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Naturally yours,
Howard Garrett

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