Replacing dwarf alberta spruce

miclino(5)June 7, 2012

After 3 years, I have finally given up on ever rehabilitating two dwarf alberta spruces I have. Planted with western exposure on north side of backyard, badly affected by spider mites. I can treat early in the summer with some success but it is located right at base of my brick patio, is an eyesore and I don't want to continue using chemicals there.

My questions are: How difficult will it be for a single person to dig up these 4-5 foot tall plants (I don't plan to replant). How extensive is the root system ?

Location is part sun (mainly in afternoon). Are one of the hinoki cypress varieties a good alternative for planting later in the fall?

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

dig at the edge of the lower needles ... or prune it up from the bottom for access .. to dig a smaller hole.. i would aim for a little bigger than the pot size of the replacement ...

and just go at it..

sharpen your shovel first... it helps ...

in conifers.. we have a wide spectrum of colors.. so i would begin with ID'ing a color that interests you ...

the Cham obtusa .. what you call hinoki ... are variable in z5 MI ... its winter wind .. you will probably have no problem in suburbia .. but it took me.. on the wind swept tundra.. quite a few to find a few that would survive ... [its because the mass propagators are down south [TN??].. and some of these things.. especially larger ones.. get rather confused as to what a MI winter can really be]

treating conifers as trees ... they require good deep waterings .. with good drainage.. and then NEAR drying.. before the next watering .. they are not perennials.. that want to be sopping wet all the time ... if you have heavy clay .. please advise ...

feel no guilt over getting rid of an overly planted .. COMMON plant with bug problems .. you can do soooo much better ...

the next proper planting time is early fall .. when the nights start cooling off ... since many of these plants are severely pot bound.. we will probably suggest some root pruning ... but that doesnt mean.. you cant find the replacement now.. just dont unpot and plant till mid sept or so ...

for now.. presuming you have a soil that drains... just sink the pot and all for the heat of summer... some instant gratification .. but with proper planting time in mind ...


    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 7:33AM
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Soil is clay but not heavy. Unfortunately despite being in suburbia, I did get winter burn on the spruces but not too bad. Great idea to drop the pots in there temporarily. Thanks Ken

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 3:31PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

for the first time ever.. this spring.. i got burn on spruce from deep heavy freezes this spring ...

and no one counts the DAS ... they burn because you looked at them.. what a piece of carp ...

most conifers do NOT like to stand in water.. so sinking the pots MIGHT be a problem if you fill a hole dug in clay.. and fill it with water .. and it does not drain

conifers.. as trees.. do NOT like to be watered like perennials ... so water them.. and let them NEARLY dry in between.. and keep a black pot out of direct sun.. too much root heat ...

you are welcome


    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 7:27AM
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If you want to give them one more chance, there is an alternative way to control spider mites on Alberta spruce.

Once a week flush the inside of each with the full flow of water from a garden hose for less than a minute. Spider mites thrive in hot and dry conditions. They can't establish a large population under those conditions. That also keeps the plants well hydrated.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 12:20PM
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I tried the hose method the first year, sorry to say it didn't work. It prevented further damage but did not allow tree to recover.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 12:25AM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

If it prevented further damage, it did work. As to recovering, well, dead is dead and you won't get new growth from dead branches. You'd have to wait a looooong time for new growth to cover the dead spots.


    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 12:11PM
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dcsteg(5 Shawnee, KS.)

Agree with Bob and tj. It always works an your plant can recover if caught in time. You were to late.


    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 1:24PM
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Probably true. But even if I had caught it early, I would end up doing this every year. Treated this successfully (or so it appeared) last year and its back this year. I think I just have it in a bad spot. In any case, its going. Or will be once this heat wave dies down.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 12:42AM
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