Don’s Expert Answers: Climbing plant on dead pine trees.

Question From:
Greg Rogers in Kirkham , Camden New South Wales

Nature of problem:
Climbing plant on dead pine trees.

Type of Plant (if known):
Pine trees

Symptoms of Plant Illness (please try NOT to diagnose your problems yourself):

Soil Type (e.g. sandy, clay or loam) OR Potting Mix Type:

How often do you water the plant:

How many hours of sunlight does the plant get each day:
Full sun

How long since you planted it:

Have you fertilised? If so, with what and when:

Is the plant indoors or outdoors:

Is the plant in a pot or in the ground:

What other treatments have you given the plant:

Upload photo if available:

Other Comments:
We have a row of about 23 pine trees along a boundary. They are nearly all dead. I’m told from cypress canker. I had the idea of planting some kind of climbing plant under them to eventually create some privacy as an alternative to removing them altogether and growing a hedge of some sort.
I would be interested in your thoughts on this.
Regards, Greg Rogers

Hi Greg, Almost certainly, the conifers died from neglect: ie not enough water during recent extended dry periods. A row of trees fights for enough water since the trees are so very close to each other. The canker just finishes off already weakened trees. I like your lateral thinking re using the conifers to support climbers, but this will not work since the dead plants rapidly break up. The best idea is to remove them and replant your hedge immediately. Pay someone with a chainsaw to get rid of them. The real lesson here is that you need to observe your plants during nasty weather patterns. That row of trees could still be doing fine. Install a watering system for the new hedge and use it every week. Sorry to be so honest, but I can see your new hedge dying too. Don