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How to help white pines getting too much water

Posted by LetsGoHawkeyes 5 (My Page) on
Thu, Feb 2, 12 at 10:41

ADVICE NEEDED: Is there anything that can be done for white pines getting too much water? Would extra fertilizer help? Could I plant other trees nearby that would drink up the moisture, like birch or something? Any other ideas? Or are they doomed to living a sickly life and/or dying young?

BACKSTORY: We purchased a home about a year and a half ago. In the back of our lot there are 7 white pines that are 10-15 feet tall and I believe were planted about 6 years ago. There are 5 in a row at the back of the lot and 2 that are just a few yards closer to our house. The 2 in the front seem to be doing very well, but the 5 just a little ways behind them are doing pretty poorly. The back 5 have very sparse, short needles that are fairly yellowed (some with brown tips). They are also planted closer to a low area on the property where water tends to drain. It's not a full on ditch but it was definitely graded for drainage when the neighborhood was put in. The 5 trees are not planted at the bottom of the low area, but they are close to it. I suspect that the trees are getting too much water.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: How to help white pines getting too much water

That's an interesting idea about planting other trees to drink up the excess water. I have no idea if that would work!

Assuming excess water is the problem and the drainage pattern can't be changed, another option is to just take the back 5 out, and replant new ones in a higher spot (e.g. nearer to, or in front of the existing 2). I guess you could also move the 5, but it sounds like they might be too big to do that.


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RE: How to help white pines getting too much water

That's an interesting idea about planting other trees to drink up the excess water. I have no idea if that would work!

===>> i doubt newly planted trees could mature fast enough to take up the excess water.. before the pines die outright..

i can go no further in diagnosis... w/o some pix ... for some reason i have a hard time coming to any conclusions on OP's diagnosis ... and w/o pix ...

for all we know ... they were improperly planted from one gal pots.. and the roots are strangling them ... nor do we know what type of soil [improperly planted in clay] .. or if they were telephone poled.. etc ...

if we presume they are severely stressed.. IMHO .... feeding them fertilizer is not going to change the stresses .. and might be harmful ....

we need at least some pix

ken


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RE: How to help white pines getting too much water

  • Posted by j0nd03 7 west/central AR (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 2, 12 at 12:14

How about planting other moisture tolerant trees to get established so they can flourish when the pines give up the fight?

More fert is not going to help a poorly sited pine tree.

Bald cypress is listed as zone 5 hardy. It is a deciduous conifer that would most likely do very well in stated environment but I am not familiar with gardening up where you live.

Of course pics of the trees and the resulting dx may lead the experts here down a completely different path.

John


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RE: How to help white pines getting too much water

Thanks for the replies so far. I'll work on the pics tonight or this weekend. This is my first time posting on this site so bear with a newbie.

Couple things. I don't know how they were planted since we moved in well after they were here, but since the two trees slightly upslope from the 5 are doing well, I don't think it was the planting technique.

From some planting I did last summer, I can tell you that the soil isn't in great shape. Very clay-y and of the brownish-yellowish color. Further complicating matters is that when developers put in the neighborhood, it appears they just graded the land without any mind to redistributing the topsoil they had dug up. In some holes I dug through a good 10" of black topsoil, but in holes just a few yards over, there was brown clay right at the surface.

I'm a very new gardener so with the soil in mind, that's why I wondered if fertilizer would help.

I'm hoping to save the trees since they'd be a nice screen if they can make it. That would definitely save some money and maturity time. But if it comes to planting better trees for the site, I guess that's how it will have to be.

Thanks again. I'll work on those pics. More thoughts are always welcome.


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RE: How to help white pines getting too much water

No ferts. You may have to either change the drainage or change the plants. Pix would be helpful. "...very sparse, short needles that are fairly yellowed (some with brown tips)...", sounds bad already.

tj


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RE: How to help white pines getting too much water

I'm hoping to save the trees since they'd be a nice screen if they can make it.

==>> a PROPERLY PLANTED, MULCHED AND WATERED pine ... can get 'established' in one year.. and start growing 3 to 5 feet per year ... and from a one foot plant.. be 5 feet tall inside of about 3 years ...

i do NOT recommend screwing around with these in the hope of turning them into a long term sight block ...

that is my gut reaction.. so now show us the pix and prove me wrong ...

welcome to the posting world.. have no fear.. we really arent here to intimidate or scare you away .. we truly like to help ..

link below for pix posting ...

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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RE: How to help white pines getting too much water

Let's Go, I think you're on to something in questioning the soil. But if I had to guess, and that's really all I can do, I'd suggest checking soil pH before doing anything else. The pH might be too high-too alkaline for good white pine growth. They'll take soils right up to and including a neutral 7.0, but anything much higher, yellow, chlorotic foliage can result.

so check that pH-it's easy to do-and then we'll talk remedies.

+oM


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