This is one I have been documenting for over a decade; maybe more than any other tree I own. It’s even the subject of this little book.
Last winter (2017-2018) it was subjected (by me) to some very cold winter temperatures when we dipped down into the single digits for a week in January 2018. It probably would have been ok, but I had just wired it out in preparation for the 2018 USNBE the month before. It weakened and looked pretty rough going into Spring 2018.
I ended up pulling it from the show, and turned my attention to keeping it alive! Starting with repotting it into very coarse soil in March 2019, with more pumice than before, heavy feeding until June, and no candle-cutting in July.
Then it started turning pale in early August. It had been hot and dry, and the watering system was the only moisture it got for over a month. Jonas had been posting about alkaline soils, and I wondered if that was happening here too. My pH meter was inconclusive at best.
But the color was looking rough:
So I applied a heavy dose of organic acidic feed, and fish emulsion every few days over the next few weeks. It also rained finally, which may have helped too, but it seems to have perked up some. Two weeks separate the photo above and below.
I’m hopeful its improving and can be worked this fall.
This is the feed I have been using on acid-loving trees, like azaleas and Stewartia. It’s granulated like Plant Tone, so I have considered making cakes with it. Maybe one day.