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The Chilean araucaria (Araucaria araucana), often referred to as Andean fir due to its South American origin, is actually a very robust plant. Even lower winter temperatures do not harm the primeval tree, but both excessive moisture and winter drought can lead to brown discoloration of branches and needles. The best way to counteract this is to take the right precautions when planting.

If the Andean fir turns brown, it may be because it is too damp

Andean fir does not tolerate waterlogging

In its homeland, the tree mostly grows on volcanic soil, which dries out quickly, especially in summer. For this reason, the araucaria is more adapted to dry than wet, even if it basically needs constant humidity. Too much moisture - for example due to heavy and persistent rainfall - or even waterlogging quickly lead to the needles and branches turning brown and the tree, if no countermeasures are taken, dies. Quite often, moisture can also lead to an infestation of rot fungi and root rot.

Ensure good drainage

You can only counteract such a scenario by drainage that is already in place when planting. Ensure that the soil consists of loose, well-drained substrate. This can also be mixed with lava soil (or crushed lava rocks) to mimic conditions back home in Chile.

Winter drought leads to brown needles

However, especially in cold but sunny winters, it is not too much moisture that is to blame for the brown coloring of the Andean fir, but, on the contrary, too much dryness. However, frost does not damage the tree because of the low temperatures, but because the roots in the frozen ground can no longer absorb moisture. Additional, intensive solar radiation also leads to higher evaporation, which the plant cannot absorb again. As a result, the Andean fir dries up.

Pay attention to the location when planting

You can counteract winter drying out by planting the araucaria on the north side if possible - there it is bright enough, but at the same time not too sunny in dry winters. You can also heavily mulch the root area of the tree with leaves and thus keep the moisture in the soil.

tips

If in doubt, you can also cultivate the araucaria in a pot instead of planting the tree in the garden. In this way you can meet the required living conditions of the Andean fir as best as possible.

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