Kuchenbaum: Detect and combat diseases and pests

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With its eye-catching autumn color, the cake tree is a vigorous exot that is extremely resistant to pests and diseases. But only if you pay attention to some care instructions.

Kuchenbaum: Detect and combat diseases and pests

The cake tree forms the family of the Cercidiphyllaceae and belongs to the order of the Steinbrechartigen. The term "cake tree" has become naturalized because the withered foliage of the tree develops an intense gingerbread flavor. Crazy, right? Cake trees are also appreciated for their light wood. However, there is not just one pie tree. On the contrary - there are even many different types with different growth forms.

Originally the cake trees are from Japan. Of the original plants are wild only two species. The pie trees available in our latitudes are new breeds. A special feature of the plant is the different foliage colors. If the leaves appear in spring, they have a bright red color. In the summer months, the color changes to a blue-green, while the stem appears reddish. The autumn leaves are then particularly colorful in numerous shades of yellow and red.

The pie tree, however, only thrives so colorful, if you maintain it properly and recognize diseases and pests in time and combat. Already the right location can prevent diseases.

Prevent diseases through the right location

If the plants grow poorly or if they tend to leaf fall, this is usually not due to serious diseases, but is due to care mistakes. The plant makes some demands. This starts at the location. The cake tree requires a lot of light, but tolerates only a little heat. Therefore, choose a bright, yet cool location for the pie tree. The cake tree loves it rather cool than hot and needs a high humidity.

The roots also need plenty of space for the tree to develop well. So you have to consider this when choosing a location. If the roots can not spread, the plant will remain in its growth. In order for it to develop optimally, you should refrain from planting near the cake tree, because the plant does not want immediate neighbors.

Cake trees can also be cultivated as container plants. For this purpose, especially young plants are used. Potted plants should also not be in the blazing sun and must be poured and sprayed more often. If the leaves discolour, wither and fall off, you have not met the increased need for water or nutrients.

High demands on the ground

The choice of soil is crucial to the development and health of the plant. Since the plants prefer a sandy loam soil, it may be necessary to mix loam or sand under the existing substrate. The soil should be neutral to slightly acidic. The ideal conditions are for a soil with a pH between five and seven (measuring the pH in the soil - this is how it is done). If the soil is too firm, the cake tree will not develop optimally. It is therefore necessary to loosen the soil. Since the cake tree does not tolerate persistent waterlogging, the water should drain well.

Recognize lack of water

The cake tree indicates by hanging the leaves on a occurring lack of water. Mostly there is no disease here. Even if the plant sheds its leaves, it usually reacts only sensitively to dehydration. If you water enough, the leaves usually grow again quite quickly.

It is best to water the cake tree with a garden hose, as the leaves should also have a shower. This will help you to meet the plant's need for high humidity. Always pour in the morning or evening hours.

Avoid care mistakes in winter

If the cake tree is in a protected location in the field, no action is necessary and the hardy plant will survive the cold season usually harmless. The situation is somewhat different with the cake tree in the bucket. The bucket provides the plant with less protection than the soil, making it vulnerable to frost damage. Weakened plants, in turn, are generally more susceptible to disease. Observe the following notes when winterizing the container plants:

  • choose bright and protected location
  • Place the bucket on a polystyrene plate
  • Wrap bucket with garden fleece
  • Protect soil with foliage or brushwood

Danger: If the cake tree is in the bucket, there is a risk that it will dry out. Check the soil regularly. Watering may be required, especially in dry winters.

Verticillium wilt - the deadly danger

Even if the plant is still so robust and resistant and is spared by pests - a disease can still cause the exotides great damage. Verticillium wilt is a fungus that causes the death of branches and shoots. Immediate action is required because an antidote is not yet known. In a large-scale infestation, usually only the removal of the entire plant remains.

How can the disease be recognized?

At first glance, the plant seems to lack water. The suspicion appears justified, because the fungus prefers the plant in heat and prolonged drought. However, there is a difference to thirsty cake tree leaves. If the disease has broken out, first not all leaves, but only the older leaves wither. If you react at this stage, you may still be able to save the plant. In the advanced stage, the fungus will continue to work through the water channels of the plant and also wither the younger leaves. Untreated, the disease inevitably leads to the death of the entire plant. These signs indicate a fungal attack:

  • withered leaves on the shoots, defy sufficient irrigation
  • the leaf green appears paler
  • the leaves become limp
  • the bark shows cracks
  • thicker branches show crescent-shaped imprint in the incision

What should I do?

Since the treatment with the usual sprays will show no success, only the extensive pruning of the tree remains. However, you should not put the cut plant parts on the compost. The fungus can otherwise spread unhindered through the compost and attack other plants in the garden. After use, you should also disinfect all the required garden tools.

The highly infectious fungus infects about 300 native plant species and there is a high probability that the Verticillium willow will spread rapidly in the garden if you do not act accordingly. If that is the case, only a soil replacement would help. You would have to take all the plants out of the ground and dispose of them. That's why these precautionary measures are extremely important:

  • Only put healthy-looking plants in the ground
  • Do not bring the plant too deep into the ground
  • Protect roots during the planting process
  • avoid wet floors and waterlogging
  • provide nutrient-rich soil
  • irrigate regularly
  • regularly
  • Treat injuries, close incisions
  • Avoid over-fertilization with nitrogen

So the cake tree is generally healthy:

  • water well
  • Let the soil dry only slightly
  • mix compost under the substrate in spring
  • Plant frequently spray and provide high humidity
  • Loosen soil
  • Avoid waterlogging

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