Concolor Fir and Norway Spruce

anderson_dc(5a Iowa)June 17, 2010

My wife and i moved into our new home last September and this April we planted (2) Concolor Fir and (1) Norway Spruce in our back yard.

Information

-Zone 5a (Central Iowa)

-Native soil is clay, but not real hard packed

-Our trees were purchased from a tree farm about 4 miles from our house

-The concolor firs were 10' and 11' tall and the norway spruce was 12' tall

-The trees were spaded in

-At the top of the concolor firs, there is probably 10" of new growth already and on the mid to lower branches there is probably 3-5" of new growth present.

-At the top of the norway spruce there is probably 10" of new growth already and on the mid to lower branches there is probably 2-4" of new growth present.

-About every 2-3 weeks around the drip line i will slow drip 5 gallons of water mixed with a plant start fertilizer (3-10-3 with rooting hormone and some other goodies) and after that i will slow drip another 5 gallons of water. It takes about 15-20 mins for the 5 gallons to empty.

-Ive also used a Ross root feeder and watered around the drip line about 12" down in the soil on the weeks that im not slow dripping the 10 gallons of water.

-As of late i havent been able to do this since we've had quite a bit of rain the past 3 weeks and the soil is already moist enough.

Questions:

-Is there anything else i need to do with these trees?

-I was told that the plant start fertilizer is all i need to use for the first year and after that i can use the Ross Root Feeder and the fertilizer that comes with it. Sound about right?

-Do the concolor fir and norway spruce prefer a moist, wet, or dry soil?

-I havent mulched yet but how far out from the trunk should i add mulch (Drip line, further then the drip line, etc)?

-On the norway spruce i was seeing some of the needles dropping on the lower, internal, and west facing branches. I checked for spider mites and i didnt find any and i noticed that after we started getting these rains the past few weeks that the branches started looking better. Do i chalk it up to a little transplant shock and underwatered?

-Finally, it appeared as if one of the roots was coming out of the ground between where the tree was spaded in and the native soil. The root was 1/8" to 1/4" in diameter and i cut it with a shears as close to the ground as i could. I saw this on the Red Maple and Red Oak which were also spaded in at the same time. Is that pretty common? The tree just trying to work out into the native soil and took the path of least resistence?

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

I was told that the plant start fertilizer is all i need to use for the first year and after that i can use the Ross Root Feeder and the fertilizer that comes with it. Sound about right?

===>>> only according to the guy ... the snake oil salesman... who is selling you all this foo foo voodoo ...

proper watering is all they will ever need ...

internal browning and needle loss is normal.. and increased by transplant ..

ken

    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 12:25PM
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wisconsitom

Excellent tree choices, anderson dc. NS and CF are two of my faves.

Like Ken said, the "need" part of that fertilizer regimen is the need for the company to generate a profit. As long as you don't go nuts with the stuff, no harm, but the trees' need is to reestablish a root system, much of which is lost in transplanting, regardless of the method used. Some studies have actually suggested quicker root growth in a low nitrogen environment, so easy does it.

Watering is on an as-needed basis. If you're getting good rainfall, additional watering is definitely not needed. I'm starting over one thousand seedling-size conifers on some property I own in N. Wisconsin. These trees have been mostly watered in at planting time, but after that, they are nearly on their own. I try to water a few each time I go, unless rainfall has been adequate, but in reality, these guys have to find water for themselves already, the oldest plants now entering their third growing season. I offer this info just to put things in perspective. There have been dry periods where I wish I could somehow water everything, but it's impossible, so the trees just have to do it on their own.

In your yard, you have much easier access to water, so obviously, if it is needed, you should supply it. But moist soil is moist soil. Adding more water to an already moist soil condition is completely not necessary.

Good luck with your trees, and keep us posted.

+oM

    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 3:24PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

What Ken and +om said.

To answer your other questions:

Soil type would be moist but free draining. If somebody ever finds that type of soil, let me know. Ã

I'd mulch at least a bit past the spaded rootball. More is fine.

The root that popped up may have been from when the spade withdrew from the ground.

tj

    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 5:35PM
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wisconsitom

Yes, mulch! Single most cost-effective practice to aid tree growth.

+oM

    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 10:38PM
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