Acer campestre No.2

You can see the actual picture of the Field maple. It looks like it was defoliated and new leaves are just emerging. Well, it is not the case. I will come to this later. Let me just quickly recap its history during last few months. 

The tree was repotted in March and from the rather large plastic bowl, it went into much smaller one. In case there was any ceramic pot at hand at that time it could go into one, but there was nothing suitable. During the repotting, I did quite a lot of root work on it.  A lot of clay like soil from original collection site was removed. It was substituted with a much lighter mix of pumice, lava rock, zeolite and rough peat with the addition of Osmocote fertiliser as always. 

And tree loved it and grew like crazy for two months. Then, as usual, bloody ants brought aphids and other beasts and start to parasitise on its juices. On few leaves, mildew started to appear to make it more fun. Since I'm not using insecticides I decided to apply some biological weapon. Luckily, I had freshly delivered neem oil product (not dedicated for horticultural use) and I decided to apply it. Made 1% solution and sprayed the tree and others as well. For first few days everything seemed to be OK. But maple started to show signs of some kind of fungal problem on the bottom of the leaves. Few of them went yellow. No big deal, I thought. They just fall off and new will emerge.  

I went for a weekend trip with family at that time.  After I came back, I did the usual check of the trees in the garden. Everything seemed to be OK, except this maple. 

More leaves were infected, white spots on the underneath of the leaves were abundant all over the tree. I touched any leave, it just fell off. Next day it was even worse. Following day all leaves were gone, even the smallest ones. It was beginning of June. 

Hmm, this is a problem. I did not know what happened, but I was suspecting strong fungal infection or mistreatment with neem oil. Honestly, I was pissed at myself. Checked the tree regularly, but it looked bad. 

After a couple of days, during a visit to the garden and checking the tree status, I heard something.

I could not recognise the sound despite I tried hard. I bent closer to the tree and listened even more thoughtfully. 

I could not believe my ears. 

I was almost sure I distinguished the sound.

And it was Santa Fe church bells ringing out...I heard them almost clearly...big bells ringing...I could not believe it. Looked around and thought maybe someone is watching Winnetou: The Last Shot movie. But no, the sound was not coming from any of the opened neighbouring windows... 

Suddenly, at that moment I realized what it meant...  

....the tree was dying... 

...I was down. Almost like Old Shatterhand was back then, when Winnetou was dying.

I knew I could not do anything for the tree anymore. I just keep watering it like I do all dead trees for a week or two, just in case miracle will happen. 

And then, one morning I saw them. New buds, typical red maple buds. It was an amazing feeling. Looked like the tree is waking up from passing and will make it. I checked it on next day, just to be sure, but it was clear, the buds were much bigger. After another two days, new tiny leaves developed. Hallelujah. It was alive. 

I was so happy at that moment.

I just could not understand those bells.
I must have had some kind of daydream or illusion ... or I thought, maybe the sound of Santa Fe bells is not messaging for those passing away...and what if, I thought ... 

...I run back to the house and quickly looked for the Winnetou book... looked up that paragraph ... but no, Winnetou was still dead. 
What a fool I was. 

But, maybe, Old Shatterhand is still living there somewhere in the West, maybe drinking whiskey in a casino in Nevada in memory of his lost brother. Who knows.


  1. Nice story man, but do you knnow what was the issue? Wasnt it the application of neem oil?

    1. Thanks Martin. I have no clue. If that was fungus, it would appear again and kill or infect more maples. I would put my bet on wrong usage of oil or wrong product. New leaves are very fresh now but look healthy so far.

  2. Well i would agree with that wrong usage. Imagine that not correct concentration of oil fills air spiracles on the leafs and it might look like i fungus, dont you think?