When should I plant my new Abies koreanea 'Aurea'?

lucretia1July 12, 2011

Local nursery was having a sale, and while I don't like to plant in the summer, I couldn't resist the little Aurea. It's b&b, then stuck in a pot for sale-looks like it's been in the pot for a while--it was probably put there after digging in spring. I plan to wash the roots before planting and clean up anything that might cause problems, then plant it in native soil.

The first question is: is it better to go ahead and get it in the ground, or wait until fall? We're having mild summer so far (keeping my fingers crossed that it will continue), and the next week is supposed to be overcast/some rain with temps around 70 F--great planting weather. The other option would be to keep it in an area with a little shade and try to keep the clay ball from drying out over the next couple months.

The next question: I've seen different growth rates published for this tree--from 2-12"/year. Mine looks like it's grown about 4" year in the past, so I'm guessing once in the ground and settled in it will probably be around 6" a year. Does this sound reasonable?

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dcsteg(5 Shawnee, KS.)

To put it short and sweet...wait till fall. That would apply to me but the PNW 7/8 is a different duck in the pond climate wise that I am not well versed on.

Maybe Will can give you the information you need.

6-12 inches a year depending upon your micro-climate.

Good luck,

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 11:55AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

if you were going to just stick it in the ground.. you could probably get away with doing it now ...

but if you plan root surgery.. and total bare rooting.. it HAS to be done at the PROPER PLANTING TIME ...

black pots can have NO SUN on them for the rest of the summer ... either put it in very bright shade.. or just sink the pot in mother earth.. and let her temper the pot and the media ... in the south.. i would probably recommend this.. but i GUESS that in the PNW ... you arent going to have to worry about pot heat as much ... the perfect spot would be full sun on the plant.. with the pot in full shade ...

if it goes in the ground.. pot and all.. insure that there is proper soil drainage ...


    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 12:26PM
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I'm planting today. Still. Now if the plant is seriously stressed and in rough shape already, it may not tolerate it regardless. B&B plants are more delicate sometimes and can also be brutally lacking roots. Given our next 4-5 days weather pattern: 60-70, no full sun days, rainier then usual, I'd get it in today/tomorrow and then water every other day for the next couple of weeks. After that, I'd water it twice a week and keep an eye on the soil dampness.

This continues to show the vast differences between climates. There are no eighty degree days showing up in our forcast for the next ten days+.

Ken, I have dozens of conifers in black pots and full sun locations and no issues here. I water them short and quick every other day and this seems to work well enough here with our mild weather.

Lucretia, for growth in the PNW, I'd expect 4-8" on the leader(if it's formed, or when it does) and 2-4" on the sides.

I have three 'Aurea' specimens established now and they are all doing about the same rate in various sun settings.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 12:34PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

Ken, I have dozens of conifers in black pots and full sun locations and no issues here. I water them short and quick every other day and this seems to work well enough here with our mild weather.

===>>> sure will.. and you have a bit of experience... and you are out there every day fondling them .. and insuring proper watering .. and you shrug when you lose a dozen of so every season... as do i ...

but if lucretia's [and i am presuming.. compared to us.. she is a newbie of sorts] ... head will explode if she loses it .. then she ought to go the 'safe' route.. dont you think ...

though i do defer on the PNW .... cuz its NOT the midwest.. lol ..


    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 2:11PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Will's statement of the wheather sounds like the perfect time to plant to me.

Why would now be any differnt then fall given those conditions?...just curious.

Of course I have NO experience with the PNW and limited experience with conifers.

Ken, are you really losing a dozen plants a season? Surely you're just making a point about exploding heads. It almost happened to me with that darn P. strobus 'Blue Shag'.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 2:59PM
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Ken, you're probably right, as a newer conifer gardener and one nursing a specimen back to full health, she ought to use considerable caution and the safest approach.

As for the weather, we really are in an unusual patch, even for us. No sun today at all, zero. Socked in clouds, sprinkles of rain during the day and highs in the low 60s. It's really akin to your Fall or early Spring weather I deem and a pretty darn good time to plant.

The other factor here is that our 'Summer' is heading our way and this entails weeks on end with very little rain(less then a half inch a MONTH) with many full-sun, blazing days, albeit highs ONLY in the 80s and low 90s. I just think if you have a choice between planting now in cool, moist weather and leaving it in a pot for 4 months through Summer, I'd choose the former, not the latter.

Whatever the case, we all wish you luck Lucretia!

I lose a dozen plants in a year maybe. 6-8 conifers, 2-3 maples and a few perennials to our slug legions.

Mostly it's just due to random health issues and not weather.


    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 3:08PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

DUDE! How many plants go in in a given year? I'm pissed that I lost 2 plants out of 80 this year.

Are conifers just more sensative to transplanting than most other shrubs and trees?

I only lost two plants (excluding perrenials) prior to this year...I had to have planted over 300 trees and shrubs over 4 years.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 5:30PM
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Will, if you were asking me, the numbers are pretty outrageous. I've *lost* about 75-100 trees total, mostly cedars to a record cold snap a couple years ago. I've planted about 3500 trees and perennials, four years to the day tomorrow(first Abor day Foundation order).

That's still a pretty respectable loss ratio, especially considering many plants were young/suspectable and we've had horrific(by our local standards) weather.


    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 7:42PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

3500...thats the answer right there, lol. I'm going to use you as a benchmark when the other half complains about how much I plant!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 9:16PM
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dcsteg(5 Shawnee, KS.)

"I'm pissed that I lost 2 plants out of 80 this year".

You can probably add a few more to that next spring.

It's just the nature of the beast.

Whass there is not limit to the number of plants you plant. Who's complaining anyway?


    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 9:59PM
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Well, I might give it a try tomorrow, back permitting. Getting some rain right now to dampen things down a little (happy dance!) We'll see how things go with washing the roots. Maybe just a partial wash to get a general idea of the condition and remove some of the clay to reduce the weight a little bit for schlepping it around to the planting site. The plant looks like it's in pretty good shape and relatively happy. I don't like clay balls and their propensity to dry out--can't believe the trees like them much, either.

As Will says, we don't get much rain here in the summer. Fall is the start of the rainy season, so things get a good chance to get established over the winter, which is relatively mild. And you don't have to water them. This was a bit of an impulse buy, but we've been looking for a Korean fir.

Will, it's got a leader already--it'll be about 3-4' tall once it's in the ground.

And no exploding heads here...over trees, anyway. We check our shrubberies daily and will be able to keep an eye on it. Needles soft enough for daily fondling, and close enough to a hose bib that it'll be possible to water it without a yoke and buckets. It was a good sale--if it dies it won't be any worse than missing a good happy hour at the local dive.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 11:33PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

Will, it is so good to hear the good news about our weather. I've been in Colorado for two weeks and Wyoming for one. (Yellowstone National Park) Northern Idaho now. I'll be home tomorrow.
It's been cool for me up in the Rocky Mountains. I've crossed the continental divide 28 times in the last three weeks!
My house sitters are having an easy time of it watering my pots. These are facing northeast and are about a quarter of the total. Most of my conifers in pots are out of sight to the left.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 10:18AM
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