How to plant a baby pine tree
Pine Tree Growing Guide — Tips (that Work)
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When you imagine a pine tree, what comes to mind?
Other than the generic evergreen needles and distinct smell that is often imitated by car air fresheners, some people think of a tree with a viscous and amber-colored sap. Other people think about the cones that fall from their limbs. Still other people remember the Christmas season because of its symbol of the yuletide season.
If you thought about any of that, you would be entirely correct – pine trees evoke so many thoughts and feelings within us. They also have other uses, such as being used to make bats or used as softwood lumbar. Or even as food in the form of pine nuts that are added to salads for their rich buttery flavor.
Today, we’re going to help you learn how to plant and care for pine trees. First, we’ll cover some general information, but make sure to keep reading for our care guide and growing tips.
What You’ll Learn
Pine trees are resinous conifers. Surprisingly, some members of this genus are shrubs. These evergreen trees have needles whose hue can range from a deep green to a light bluish-green tint and remain in color year-round.
Among the over 120 accounted species, all of them have scale-like bark. The scaly bark’s consistency across the different species ranges from thick and substantial to thin and flaky. Most pine trees tend towards a thicker and more substantial scale make-up.
The branches grow out from the base in a tight spiral. Although evidence shows the spiral growth habit, the branches appear to be growing out from the same point in a ring. Depending on the species, it can grow anywhere from 10 feet to 260 feet tall.
Two Major Groups
There are two major groups that different pine trees fall under. They are distinguished based on the characteristics of their cones, seeds, and leaves.Strobus
Species of pine in the Strobus subgenus grow with five needles per fascicle and typically have softer wood than the second subgenus. Because there is one fibrovascular bundle within the needles in this subgenus, Strobus is also called haploxylon.
The cones belonging to the pines of the Strobus subgenus are long and slender. The pine cones appear very broad when open and the scales on the cones have a rounded apex.
Pines found in North America within this subgenus include, but are not limited to:
- Eastern White
- Northern White
Pines that fall within this subgenus have 2 to 3 needles per fascicle and have harder wood than trees in Strobus. This subgenus is also called diploxylon because of its two fibrovascular bundles.
The cones developing on pine trees in this subgenus have thicker scales that are more rigid and tend to open soon after they mature.
Pine trees found in North America within this subgenus include, but are not limited to:
Pine trees are low maintenance plants and can functionally work within your landscape to act as privacy screens or windbreaks for a patio or garden.
Most pine trees are drought tolerant and require a small amount of water to thrive. This means that, in most climates, you’ll receive enough water through the environment.
The only time that you must water mature trees is during dry winters and extreme drought. If you run into these conditions, you must saturate the soil thoroughly once a month to mimic rain and snow in winter.
During drought conditions, give about 1 to 3 inches of water once a week. Watering deeply and infrequently promotes the growth of deeper roots.
A simple way to prevent the roots from experiencing stress is to spread a layer of mulch around the base. The mulch will help the soil to retain moisture. It will also inhibit weed’s ability to sprout and compete with your tree.
For saplings that are young and unestablished as well as mature and established ones, slow-release fertilizer is your best bet. For these saplings, a slow-release chemical will support healthy and strong growth. For mature pines, a slow-release fertilizer will ensure that the trees remain healthy and flourishing.
A quick-release fertilizer will likely harm young, developing roots. While mature trees could handle the stress that a quick-release chemical can cause to its roots, it’s still not an advisable course of action.
Starting in the second year of growth, 2 to 4 pounds of a well balanced slow-release fertilizer (think an NPK ratio of 10-10-10 or 10-5-10) per 100 square feet of application area.
If you have larger pine trees growing out in an open area, you can apply 2 pounds of a well-balanced slow-release chemical for every inch of the tree’s diameter.
Pines benefit the most from well-drained sandy soil where nutrients are readily available. They prefer dry soil that is slightly acidic.
Some pines grow well in wet areas like the Loblolly Pine and the Lodgepole pine, but they are rare.
Pine trees require full sunlight to reach their optimal growth potential. This leads them to colonize areas that have been disturbed and left open so that they can absorb the maximum sun’s rays. There are some species that do well in partial sunlight, but these are few. Express classify most pine species as shade intolerant.
Pine trees are not made to be shaped and pruned often or with reckless abandon. For the best results, never prune more than ⅓ of a year’s fresh growth off. There will be occasions where some thinning and cleaning of the crown will be necessary to provide the pine with more air circulation or remove damage caused by a storm or high winds.
These trees can develop inordinately long growth points in their midsections, and sometimes you must do some pruning to prevent or amend structural defects. Fast-growing species will only generate growth towards the ends of their branches, and aggressively pruning them will cause irreparable damage.
Dormant seedlings can be stored for up to 10 weeks in cold storage (32℉ to 40℉).
If cold storage isn’t an option, store the seedlings in a cool, shaded area (35℉ to 40℉) for up to a month.
There is also an outdoor storage technique called “heeling-in.” In this method, you remove the seedlings from the package and place the seedlings’ roots into a dug furrow and cover it up with dirt and mulch. Water the seedlings weekly for up to 10 weeks of outdoor storage.
This method of preparing your site comprises the physical removal of any vegetation that could compete with your new pine trees. For smaller sites, this is removing sod and weeds from a spot with a diameter of 3 feet around each area a new tree is planted.
For larger sites, use a plow to cultivate planting strips that are 3 feet wide where the rows of trees are placed in the ground. Leaving vegetation between the rows will help to prevent erosion.
The chemical method comprises using herbicides to control and kill back any competing vegetation. This is done by spot treating herbicides around each seedling’s planting site or rows.
This will take a combination of herbicides that focus on killing grassy, narrow-leafed, and broadleaf weeds. Allow yourself enough time to eliminate the competing vegetation before you plant your trees.
Planting the Seedlings
For well-drained plant sites, plant the root collars 2 to 3 inches below the soil’s surface. The one exception to this depth is the longleaf pine, as its root collar should be planted at the soil surface level or just below it.
For poorly drained sites, plant the root collars one inch below the surface level of the soil.
For seedlings in a container, plant the seedlings deep enough to cover the entirety of the container in the dirt. This should prevent wicking from drying the plug.
Fill the planting hole properly and ensure that you have good root to soil contact. You can test this by lightly pulling on the tops of the seedlings to see how well they are held within the hole.
Try to prevent areas of loose dirt or organic matter which accumulate close to rotting stumps. You also must ensure that the bottom of the hole is closed.
Perform regular maintenance on the planting site by checking the condition of the seedlings, soil consistency, and depth.
Proactive weed control during the first 3 or 4 growing seasons increases the viability of the seedlings, their survival, and growth. Do this in a diameter of 3 to 4 feet around each planting site.
For smaller-scale endeavors, you can control weeds with mechanical equipment. You can also employ mulch, weed barrier fabric, and herbicidal applications.
For large-scale operations, weed control is best undertaken with a plow or a tiller pulled behind your tractor. However, after two years of growth, you must switch to herbicidal treatments because the roots have grown to where the cultivating equipment can severely damage them.
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Planting Southern Pine Seedlings - Alabama Cooperative Extension System
4 min read
Learn about proper southern pine tree seedling planting techniques for forested settings.
One of the main objectives of a forest tree nursery is to ensure the production of high-quality tree seedlings that can reach their genetic potential once they are outplanted. This information sheet is intended to draw attention to the issues that can adversely affect both the growth and survival of seedlings once they have left the care of the forest tree nursery. Understanding the factors that can affect the quality and survival of tree seedlings will result in a greater chance of a successful forest plantation, whether it is for timber production, wildlife habitat, recreation, water quality protection, etc.
Good seedling quality can easily be negated by factors not limited to:
- Improper planting, which includes poor planting techniques, ignoring existing site conditions.
- Planting when environmental conditions indicate otherwise.
- Planting of poor quality tree seedlings. Seedlings with a larger root collar diameter have larger root systems, which is directly related to increased survival and early spring establishment. Planting seedlings that are deemed culls (root collar diameter < 3.2 mm) should not be allowed.
- Improper handling of seedlings in the field.
- Improper transportation and storage of seedlings before planting.
Proper planting ensures that seedlings, once placed into the ground, will optimize their growth and survival. These are often affected by environmental factors and planting techniques.
- Pine seedlings should be lifted from the nursery when they are dormant.
- Bareroot seedlings should be planted from November to mid-February.
- Seedlings should be planted early enough to allow for root growth to start before bud break occurs.
- Planting early allows seedlings to obtain good chilling hours (cumulative number of hours of exposure to a specified range [32 to 46 degrees F] of cold temperatures) for freeze tolerance.
- Plant seedlings early in the planting season for good seedling nutrition.
- Critical at the time of and shortly after planting (table 1).
- Seedlings can rapidly die due to moisture loss as a result of high temperature, low relative humidity, or wind speed.
- Seedling survival is seriously affected when temperatures are considered critical (< 32 or > 85 degrees F).
Table 1. Weather Guidelines for Planting Southern Pine Tree Seedlings
- Avoid dry soil at the time of planting, as this is related to seedling mortality (table 2), especially for seedlings planted later in the season.
- Never plant seedling if soils are frozen.
- For a high or perched water table, delay planting until the soil dries and water table recedes.
Table 2. Soil Moisture Guidelines for Planting Southern Pine Tree Seedlings
Seedlings can be planted either mechanically or by hand (for example, using a dibble bar [figure 1]).
- Handle seedlings with care after picking them up from the nursery and avoid conditions that may cause seedling stress (desiccation, freezing, or overheating).
- Plant seedlings as soon as they arrive at the planting site.
- Create a good planting hole.
- For loblolly, slash, and shortleaf pine, plant at least 8 inches deep on sandy dry sites (> 1.5 inches above the root collar), less so on wet sites.
- For longleaf pine, proper planting depth is where the bud is slightly above or at the ground level, never buried.
- Properly align the seedling in the hole; seedlings should not be twisted or pulled up in the hole.
- Pack the soil around the seedling to ensure contact of the soil and roots.
- Check planting quality by gently pulling the top of seedlings, ensuring the seedling does not move.
- Don’t allow hand planters to carry seedlings out of the bag from planting hole to planting hole. If roots are allowed to dry, the seedling will not survive.
- Based on the herbicide applied, don’t plant too soon after chemical site preparation.
- Don’t allow root pruning or stripping of seedlings before placing in the planting hole.
Planting Procedure with Dribble
- Insert the dibble bar straight down into the soil to the full depth of the blade and pull back on the handle to open the planting hole. Do not rock the dibble bar back and forth, as this causes soil in the planting hole to be compacted, inhibiting root growth.
- Remove the dibble bar and push the seedling roots deep into the planting hole. Pull the seedling back up to the correct planting depth.
- Insert the dibble bar several inches in front of the seedling and push the blade halfway into the soil.Twist and push the handle forward to close the top of the slit to hold the seedling in place.
- Push the dibble bar down to the full depth of the blade.
- Pull back on the handle to close the bottom of the planting hole. Then push forward to close the top, eliminating air pockets around the root.
- Remove the dibble bar and close and firm up the opening with your heel. Be careful to avoid damaging the seedling.
Figure 1. Planting southern pine tree seedling with a dibble bar.
Best Time to Plant Seedlings
- November to mid-February.
- After completion of site preparation.
- When there is adequate soil moisture.
- After completion of site preparation.
- When there is adequate soil moisture.
- When the container root plug holds together, is not falling apart.
Number of Seedlings
Based on the landowner’s objective, seedling spacing will determine the number of seedlings per acre you must order. Most forest plantings have from 600 to 700 trees per acre.
Table 3. Common Tree Spacing and Resulting Trees Per Acre in Southern Pine Tree Plantation Settings
|10 × 10||450|
Download a PDF of Planting Southern Pine Seedlings, FOR-2092.
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How to plant a pine seedling
Probably, any owner of a summer house, a country house and a piece of land has thought about planting trees. Someone wants to smooth out the view of a dull bare field and neighboring houses (it’s good if they are houses, and not eternal construction sites or collapsed barns), someone wants to check the box “build a house, raise a son, plant a tree”, someone is looking for balance in environment design. There are many reasons, you can choose any for yourself, and we will tell you how to complete the practical part of the case.
The choice of trees is also great. The advantage of pines is that they are evergreen and grow quite quickly. In addition, pines, like other conifers, release phytoncides that purify the air from bacteria and fungi, have a beneficial effect on the human body and spread a wonderful aroma.
In this article, we will give general recommendations for replanting pine trees and demonstrate the practical part using our own example.
Morning in a pine forest
When to plant
There are two seasons for planting seedlings of any trees and shrubs - spring and autumn. There is a technology for transplanting large trees in winter, during the dormant period, but this requires special equipment that allows you to extract a tree along with a large amount of land without damaging its roots.
Do not transplant during active growth. At this time, the trees require the maximum amount of water, and drying out and damage to the roots causes the greatest damage to the tree. In pine, this period lasts from the beginning of the growth of young shoots to their lignification.
The most favorable time for transplanting pine trees is mid-spring. During the summer, the tree takes root in a new place and meets the winter in full readiness. The beginning of autumn is also a good time. Trees are preparing for winter, slowing down their vital processes, which allows them to endure such a gross intervention in their lives. If you did not have time to plant trees either in spring or early autumn, you can plant later, but in this case, cover the tree with spruce branches, spunbond or other covering material to insulate it and protect it from the active spring sun. It will be possible to remove this protection in the spring, after all the snow has melted.
Where to get a seedling
Planting material can be obtained in several ways: buy in a forest nursery, dig in the "wild" or grow from seeds.
Growing from seeds is an interesting but time-consuming activity. You will have to wait at least two or three years.
If there is a forest nursery near you, purchasing a seedling there may be the best option - you will get a tree of the right age, with an intact root system. In addition, there you can get advice and, possibly, the necessary assistance.
The simplest, at first glance, option is to dig up a young pine tree in the forest. It's simple because you don't have to buy anything. The difficulty is that you need to dig and transport the seedling carefully so as not to damage the roots.
If you decide to dig yourself, it is best to choose a tree that will die if not replanted. There can be a lot of self-seeding around mature pines, especially after seed-bearing years. Almost all such seedlings die due to competition between themselves and other plants, lack of sunlight, grass fires, or will be trampled by people and animals. Sometimes seeds scattered by birds germinate on steep crumbling slopes, from which they fall, having reached a critical growth and mass. For our site, we found just such pines - on a steep hillside. But it is very inconvenient to dig out such "candidates" - it is difficult to work with a shovel where it is even difficult to just stand. Pine trees grown on slopes have one more feature: the trunk does not grow perpendicular to the ground, which is not very convenient when transplanting to a flat area.
We are looking for pines for replanting
Trees growing on roadsides, under power lines, on the walls of existing quarries, in places of unfolding construction sites, etc. are also doomed to destruction. To transplant such a tree is to save it.
Choosing a place for planting
Pines love sunny areas, but it is advisable to shade young trees at first - in natural conditions, trees do not grow in a bare place, accompanying plants give them shade.
Pine trees grow best on light soils - sandy and sandy loam. If the soil is heavy (loamy and clayey), additional drainage should be provided. To do this, a 20-cm layer of sand or expanded clay is added to the planting pit (you can add finely broken brick or gravel).
In nature, pine grows in a variety of soil and hydrological conditions, actively adapting to them. The root system can have a deeply penetrating and well-developed taproot if the groundwater is deep, or it can be superficial. However, the bulk of the roots, in any case, is located in the upper soil layer, at a depth of 50-60 cm.
We decided to plant a pine tree in the far unused corner of the plot. There, our site turns into a rather high hill - groundwater is close to us, and the hill gives some margin for root growth in depth; perhaps this is an extra reinsurance, but we would not want the pine tree to die from root rot in a couple of years. Wild apple trees growing around will play the role of nanny trees - protect the seedling from the scorching sun. When the pine tree is strong and mature, it will outgrow the surrounding trees and bushes and will receive a lot of sunlight.
Choosing a place to plant
Preparing a planting hole
If you are going to transplant a pine dug out in the forest or in other "wild conditions", then first of all you should prepare a planting hole so that you can immediately plant the brought seedling. The planting hole should approximately correspond to the size and shape of the clod of earth with which the tree will be transplanted. The larger this lump is, the less damage the root system will receive. Calculate your strength - what size clod you can dig and deliver to the landing site. For seedlings up to 70 cm high, it is recommended that the size of the pit (and coma) be at least 60 × 60 cm, more than 70 cm high - at least 80 × 80 cm. The shape is a pyramid or a cone (it is unlikely that you will be able to dig a clod of a different shape).
Digging a planting hole
As already mentioned, additional drainage is necessary on heavy soils. Taking into account drainage, we made the planting pit a little deeper and poured about 30 cm of sand mixed with the earth removed from the pit to the bottom.
Backfilling the drainage layer
We diluted clean sand (taken from a pine forest) with fertile soil, which will serve as fertilizer for our pine. For the same reason, we did not add mineral or organic fertilizers separately to the pit; our land is good black soil, and the place for planting pine was virgin, so there will be enough mineral substances for pine anyway.
If you want to fertilize, use mature compost or buy a special fertilizer for coniferous plants.
Selection and preparation of seedlings
When choosing a young tree to transplant, check for brittleness. If the needles turn yellow, and the tips of the branches break easily, the tree may be damaged and begin to die. A dead tree retains its "trademark" appearance for quite a long time; remember the Christmas trees, the needles from which do not crumble, even though the tree has absolutely no roots.
When you go out to dig a seedling, bring water and a piece of cloth large enough to wrap up the dug-out clod of earth with roots. The main pine root, when exposed, dies in the air in 15-20 minutes. This is another reason why you should dig pines with a fairly large root ball.
After selecting a seedling, cut the sod along the perimeter with a shovel, penetrating the shovel as deep as possible into the soil. After that, use the shovel as a lever to tear off and lift the clod of earth with roots.
Digging up the pine tree
Put a wet cloth under the shovel, straighten it and put a lump on it. Wrap the fabric tightly around the lump and, holding it, pull out the pine.
Firstly, this way you can take out a clod of earth without damaging it. Secondly, tightly wrapped and tied fabric will not let anyone fall apart during transportation. And finally, this will avoid drying out the root. If you use a thin cotton sheet, then the seedling can be lowered into the planting hole right in it - the fabric will quickly rot and will not interfere with the growth of roots.
The dug up tree is ready for transportation
Having delivered the tree to the planting site, pour half a bucket of water into the planting hole and simply lower the seedling there. If the size of the earth clod differs from the landing pit, add or remove the required amount of earth.
Watering the planting hole
Please note: do not bury the root collar (i.e. the place where the tree trunk begins to branch and goes into the roots), it must be at ground level. Otherwise, it rots and the tree dies. If you transplant a tree with a dense, undestroyed clod of earth, the problem with determining the depth at which the root neck should be located automatically disappears.
After planting, mulch the ground around the trunk. Mulch, as you probably know, helps retain moisture, prevents weeds from sprouting, and rots slowly to act as a mild fertilizer. We collected fallen pine needles for mulching.
Mulching the ground around
Finally, water the seedling, even if the ground is damp. Watering not only provides a supply of water, but also improves the contact of the roots with the soil, which means it creates more favorable conditions for nutrition and damage recovery. It is advisable to water with a watering can with a nozzle so as not to erode the soil.
If you want to plant several pines, place the next one about four meters from the first. If you plant trees too close, they will interfere with each other when they grow up.
Care after planting
No special care is required for a pine tree planted in its own area. Insulate the tree before winter if it was planted in late autumn, close it from the bright spring sun, mulch the near-trunk circle, remove large grass around, water during especially dry periods (mulch will help fight drought), remove dried and diseased branches.
Properly planted pine trees will please you for a long time with their evergreen attire.
Pines. Planting and care
All types of pines grow well in open sunny places. With a lack of lighting, the crown loses its shape and becomes loose, and the needles become dull in color. Black pine ( Pinus nigra ) is considered to be the most shade-tolerant, for which 4–5 hours of direct sunlight is sufficient for full development, or it can be planted in an area with diffused lighting. Pines are undemanding to soil conditions and grow well on loamy, chernozem, sandy and clay soils. The main thing is that there is no prolonged stagnation of water in the selected area.
Closed-rooted pine seedlings can be planted outdoors from April to mid-October. When planting in hot summer or late autumn, mulching with organic material (pine bark, coconut fiber, pine litter, etc.) is used and a frame shelter is installed to shade and retain moisture.
Preparation for planting
For better rooting, before planting, the seedling is soaked for half an hour in a solution of a root formation stimulator (Kornevin, Heteroauxin, Rooting, etc.).
A typical planting hole is one and a half times the size of a pine container. On heavy or acidic soils, a planting pit 60x60 cm in size is prepared in advance. It is optimal if the pit has the shape of a truncated cone with gentle walls, and the drainage layer at the bottom is 10–15 cm (expanded clay, crushed stone, chipped brick). The soil mixture for backfilling is made up of soddy soil and sand or clay (on sandy soils) in a ratio of 5: 1 with the addition of a glass of wood ash and 200 g of dolomite flour. Weymouth Pine (R. strobus ) and black pine grow best on alkaline soils, so the use of deoxidizing materials is encouraged.
If there are remains of grafting tape or wax at the grafting site, then they must be removed, and small cracks on the stem should be carefully cleaned from exfoliated bark and covered with a thin layer of garden pitch.
Immediately before planting, the seedling is removed from the container. It is advisable to carefully spread the roots along the periphery of the root ball. Damaged or rotten roots are trimmed to healthy tissue.
For a plant with a vertical crown or for standard forms of pines, a strong wooden or metal peg is driven into the planting hole for further tying. The rope in this case is selected synthetic, soft and elastic. Pine is planted in a planting hole so that the root collar is 3-5 cm above ground level.
The root collar is above the topmost root branch. When filling the landing pit, it is better to shed the earth from the watering can in several steps so that there are no voids left, but it is impossible to compact or trample down the soil with effort. After watering, the trunk circle is mulched and, if necessary, a temporary shelter is installed.
Watering and fertilizing
In the year of planting, the pine has enough food laid in the planting hole. In subsequent years, a specialized fertilizer with trace elements for conifers (30 g per sq. M) is used, plus mulching, which enriches the land with humus. Dwarf varieties of pines do not need top dressing. Feeding diseased plants is not recommended.
Young plants in dry weather should be watered from a watering can (minimum 20 l) once every two weeks. Mature pines are drought-resistant with the exception of Rumelian pine ( P. peuce ) that needs additional watering. To successfully root and improve growth, root stimulants or biological preparations with mycorrhiza are used.
In the first year after planting in the open ground, the seedlings are sheltered by installing a frame of arches or sticks and using synthetic material. Mature plants are very winter-hardy, but some varieties of black pine, small-flowered ( P. parviflora ) and common pine ( P. sylvestris ) need shelter or protection from the early spring sun. Plants with a spreading, loose or, conversely, vertical crown are best tied to stakes so that they do not deform from wet snow.
Sanitary pruning, if necessary, in early spring. You can start forming pruning in the second year after planting. In May, young growths-candles are shortened by 1/3 or removed for better branching and maintaining a compact shape.
Protection against pests and diseases
Biofungicides are used to prevent fungal diseases in the warm season, and Bordeaux mixture or colloidal sulfur is used in early spring or autumn. To protect against insects, at the end of April, mid-May and at the end of July, the crown is sprayed with systemic preparations that are absorbed into the pine needles. They are effective for up to two weeks.
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Spruce. Planting and care
“What could be easier than planting a Christmas tree in the garden!” - says an experienced summer resident. But no! If questions arise regarding the choice of seedlings, determining the location and effective care, then there are still “white spots”. The purpose of this cheat sheet is to help novice gardeners, and experienced gardeners - to confirm the value of personal experience.
February 24, 2021/Yulia Plaksina, Consultant, Podvorie Center 8477
Thuja. Planting and care
Thuja occidentalis grows well in sheltered areas in full sun or partial shade. Variegated varieties are best placed in places with good lighting, and it is advisable to plant tall varieties in areas with shading in the middle of the day. When determining the landing site, it is necessary to take into account the size of the thuja in the adult state, which are indicated in the description of the variety in the catalog.