watering/winterizing newly planted moonglow juniper

mary4b(4b WI)October 19, 2009

I'm in Wisconsin, 4b/5a.

Got a deal on a 4' moonglow juniper and put it in the ground today. It was in about a 3-4 gallon pot and I was a bit concerned when I saw that the roots looked brown when I took the tree out of the pot...the ones that were up against the pots sides were brown. I couldn't actually see any other roots as I didn't break open the soil at all, just put it in the hole (too much hand pain going on today) with water and then watered it in well. I haven't planted enough conifers to know if they normally have some brown roots, but it seems like I remember that some do have brown roots in my gardens.

Here are a few facts: I planted this on the south side of my gray shed, so it's going to get full sun, southern exposure all the time, which of course I do know can be very hard on it during the winter. I've planted round green woodwardii arborvitae this late before but got WAY more browning than I wanted by spring time and none of those shrubs look that great even now, 4 years later. They were lovely and lush when I bought them.

My questions are:

How long should I keep watering this baby...until the ground freezes?

The Moonglow doesn't have any browning right now...should I spray it with that protective spray (has the word "cloud" in the title, I think) for the winter, or should I wrap it in burlap? This tree is in the view from my living room, so I would rather look on burlap through the winter than a half dead tree come spring.

Any suggestions on what to do and the best timetable for it would be appreciated!

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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Without having broken up the rootball, make sure when you water that the rootball gets soaked completely and then leave it be until the soil is dry a couple inches down. If you have clay soil, you may not have to water again this year, if sandy, then maybe. I've never thought much of anti-desicants (protective sprays) and in a sunny, south side of a building location those needles will need to breathe anyway. As for burlap, I don't think it is needed in this case either.


    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 6:35PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

you water.. when you index finger.. shoved in .... to the second knuckle.. indicates it is hot or dry .... hot is obviously for summer ...

as noted by TJ... you might not have to water again ...

i would prefer that you go dig it back up.. and break up that rootball a bit... the problem is the divergence of potting media and your soil .... one could be sodden.. while the other might be bone dry .... leading you to incorrect conclusions about water ...

by breaking up the ball ... and mixing the media and the soil together.. you will buffer the intersection ...

or leave it.. its a juniper.. should have all that many problems...

good luck


    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 6:42PM
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mary4b(4b WI)

Thank you Ken and TJ...so it sounds like the brown roots didn't concern you?
I will see if I can dig it back up. It actually didn't look root bound or all that tightly packed. At the moment, I just couldn't do it, but my hands have swung around to the better, so maybe I can do it now.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 7:43PM
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Mary, maybe I'm missing something, but why dig it back up? And while Ken and I are in virtual agreement re: trees' watering needs, if I poked through the mulch and found the surface of the original rootball-ie. the soil the plant came with, to be dry, I'd water it.

Oops, just read Kens' statement about mixing the potting soil & backfill soil together....that's why you are thinking about re-doing. Here too, Ken is correct.....the differing textures of the potting mix/backfill soil can lead to watering anomalies. But still, you should be able to get water to this newly planted thing by placing a hose directly over dead-center of the original rootball and using a slow trickle. Once it roots out into the surrounding stuff, next year, it will be good to go.

I don't think anti-dessicant sprays are useful nor do I feel it worthwhile to have plants in MY landscape that need to be wrapped up for winter. But that's just me. I have no particular experience with that cultivar.


    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 8:06PM
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mary4b(4b WI)

just thought I would report back....

my moonglow juniper came through the season beautifully

i did not dig it back up, cover it with burlap or use an anti-desicant

i did water

we had a relatively mild winter and no snow cover after early march

thank you for your help, i will use Ken's finger method to carry it through this summer, and hopefully i will have a nice new tree to enjoy

    Bookmark   April 25, 2010 at 1:37PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5


you know.. for all our collective doomsday scenarios... and recommended procedures ...

when it all boils down.. IF YOU JUST WATER THEM PROPERLY ... 98% will do just fine ...

and then the rest of the 'suggestions' ... well... next time.. think about following them on some level ...


    Bookmark   April 26, 2010 at 9:02AM
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