I'm talking the shade screens we put up to protect gold conifers for the blazing sun during establishment.
I'm tempted to take them down now but perhaps I should wait until the end of the month.
I keep them up during the winter to prevent winter sun scald until they are fully established. If the plants are sticking out of the snow, the sun can be even more intense because of the reflection off the white snow.
Last year I moved some containerized conifers that had been shaded into part sun around now, and within a week they were showing some sun scorch. I'd wait until the end of the month.
We are still locked into this present weather phenomenon. Seasonal change will come In October. Take all of the screens down then. If you have anything that burns in the winter sun it's not worth having.
when you get really freakin tired of looking at them ruining your landscape .. and simply dont care if they have a little tissue damage???
if i were sitting up on your deck.. perusing your masterful plantings.. at 25 to 75 feet away .. the shades would seriously disturb my piece of mind ...
i bet it has something to do with the learning curve.. way back when.. i was just like you.. now i really dont have a vested interest in each of my babes ... i enjoy learning how they react to reality [like sticking to my free range theory thru the whole drought and heat wave this yea, as compared to your problems with such].. of course a big part of that is wrapped up in the fact that after 10 years.. mine are fully established.. and yours of course are new born ...
there is probably an analogy here between your young child and my 10 year old boy ... i have come to grips with him taking care of himself and i dont have to spend every waking hour worrying about him.. in the garden ....
anyway .. they come down.. when you decide you are tired of looking at them.. or you have decided they dont need winter wind protection ... dont forget about that ...
Honestly I think all of you have brought up some good points for me to work with.
What does that translate into...I'm sick of looking at the shades and I'm shocked I even put them up. Although I'm glad I did it with this brutal, nasty summer that has casued me to be cheery on cloudy and rainy days. Its a strange thing. Time was a precious thing this summer to say the least.
Next time I see a 10 day forecast loaded with highs in the 60s and 70s, they come down. Might be next week. Our avg. high for right now is 70 degrees with lows in the upper 40s. Some ground could potentially freeze in 50 days! Although not likly, but it happened 3 years ago late October with multiple days in the 20s.
Looks like at least one more hot shot next week (Weds/Thurs) comes into Wisconsin, then more cool air by next weekend... Got to think the 90F temps are nearing there end up here... Sun is also getting lower and of course the days are getting much shorter... Maybe leave them one more week and pull them?
Hey...Sparta, WI (about 20 minutes from me) was 37F this morning...only a matter of time before that freeze comes to central WI.
but in fall.. day time heat.. is less of a problem ... because night temps usually fall ...
so an errant 80 or 90 degree day or two .... isnt as bad.. when nights fall into the low 50's ... they have a period to recover.. one might say ... [as compared to night temps above 70 lets say] ...
and when nights start going into the 30's .... and the trees start changing color... then one might suggest the conifer trees.. are basically going dormant above ground ... just like their leafed brethren ...
in other words.. the stresses are being reduced.. as each day goes by.. IMHO ... or thats my theory anyway.. lol ..
and as always ... i speak only from my 5 experience .... though the variables should remain the same in any zone.. so as to make the discussion worthy to any who read it all ... if others want to discuss the actual science.. and disagree.. all i can do is fall back to experience.. and defer ...
pS: and as to continued root growth in fall.. dont confuse air temps.. with SOIL temps.. its going to have to get pretty cold.. to chill well mulched soil .. far enough down .... to stop root growth ... and that is why fall transplant is possible .. IN SOME AREAS ....
Taking Ken's analogy to the next level...
If your young children were to be outside in the sun all day, would you want them to have sunscreen? When the answer changes from yes to no, that may be the right time to take 'em down.
I think you have been victimized by to many issues. Some your fault and others you had no control over.
I always try to caution newbies that have that instant desire to create a conifer garden overnight to invest and create slowly. I always advise to start slowly because a large expanse of garden to develop at one time can lead to disastrous results.
I say to all to those that are contemplating a fast track venture to be in and going in 1-2 years. Good luck.
My advice: Start with one area. Give it all your time and thought when engaged so you get it right. Design it, plant it and take a step back. Look at what you created. Are you satisfied? Are the plants right for that area? What kind of game plan do I have in place for potential problems that will surely confront you? Would you change or do anything different on the next go around. This is a sound formula that will indeed cut your losses, reduce stress and gain you valuable knowledge.
Conifers are a different breed then deciduous plants. They are more temperamental in every way. I say this because most are far removed from their native soil and zone they lived and thrived in. The species is more forgivable then some of these weird cultivars that are now available. What root stock they are grafted on will make or break you.
I always give new plantings a grace period of three years. It take three years to acclimate and for the roots to develop and stabilize to insure their survival. The heat and drought did all yours in whaas that did not survive. They could not keep up despite your efforts to save them. In this case you had no control and you became a victim. This always leads to discouragement and your interests wain. I have been there many times. Each time I gathered new resources to improve on cutting my losses and improving my design and plantings. I took the conifer garden development one step at a time. Each step better then the last step because of my ability to eliminate bad choices. When I look back on my first endeavor in 1998 nothing I planted with the exception of Picea a.'Pendula and Picea p.'Glauca Pendula' survived. They were all removed because I was in a learning curve and made bad choices.
I know what it takes to develop a conifer garden. It requires patience. Diligent over site of the big picture to make sure you have made the right decisions and a whole lot of luck.
Because you did a whole lot in a big way your losses are substantial for the first year. You didn't count or even think what Mother Nature had in store for you. When you deal with a lot of first year plantings 10% won't make it under normal conditions. Consider yourself lucky they all didn't die considering the drought and 100F.+ days.
I didn't touch on the mail order business. I will some day in another thread. I will say order with caution.
Spring is always the time to regroup and get energized again. Winter is a time for all things to rest. ...
Thats all she (they) wrote! Good points everyone.