Thread: ADS Free Trees- Care

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  1. #1

    ADS Free Trees- Care

    I got 10 Norway Spruce and 10 Red Cedars (a gift) from ADS and I planted them in my yard. I would like to know if I did it right and what do I do from here? I dug them each out a hole about 6-8 inches in diameter and planted them in an area that is sheltered from the vicious wind around here. They get partial sunlight. They are about 2 feet away from each other and 2 feet away from another big tree that was using the wind break. I put in some rabbit pellets in the hole then planted them and gave them some water. They each have wells so I could give them a lot of water and let it sink in slowly. How often do I need to water them? For how long? I'm in zip code 82072 if you need that. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Oak
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    562

    RE: ADS Free Trees- Care

    Two feet apart is way too close! They are going to grow up to be big trees, so you need to give them more space. Your hole should be two to three times bigger than the root ball--which on baby trees like that isn't very big. You should make sure that you do not have J-Roots--in other words, the roots should be able to fit into the hole without being bent.

    When planting Norway Spruce for my privacy screen, I planted them about six feet apart, knowing that I will be removing every other one eventually. The recommended spacing for a privacy screen or windbreak varies, but about ten feet to twelve feet apart is correct. If you're starting with tiny seedlings, you can go closer, as long as you're prepared to remove some when they get big and need the space.

    You don't need to fertilize the first year--go easy on fertilizer! Be sure to mulch around them so that they don't have to compete with grass or weeds. Leave a couple or three inches around the trunk free so that the mulch doesn't rot the tree. Watering depends on how things go this summer. If you're in a drought, you'll obviously need to water more than if you're getting rain. The general rule of thumb for baby trees like the ones you have is that they need about one inch of rain per week. You don't have to be religious about that, but check your soil. If the soil is wet enough to hold together in your hands, you're probably okay. Trees in partial shade will need less water than those in direct sunlight. It sounds like watering is fairly convenient for you, so go ahead and water regularly--once a week--unless you're getting plenty of rain. Don't overwater them! I'm not sure what you mean by wells--but make sure that you don't drown the trees.

    Good luck!

  3. #3

    RE: ADS Free Trees- Care

    The only thing that I would add to 'sprawl's reply is a note about planting depth. In addition to ensuring that the hole is deep enough to accomodate the roots, be careful not to put the saplings in too deep. In my experience, it is very rare that someone new to planting trees plants too shallow (although I'm sure it does happen). You want to make sure to plant them at very nearly the same depth as they were when they came out of the nursery. This can be tough to determine in some trees! You have to look very carefully for a line at which the color of the bark changes. That usually indicates the original depth. If you absolutely can't find it (I've had this happen more than once), look for where roots begin to appear on the sapling. The sapling should be planted so that this "root flare" is just below the surface of the soil--an inch is too much in some cases. It's worth the effort to find the original planting depth. (Some trees like to be a bit deeper, but you really can't go very wrong replicating what the sapling is used to.)

    To reiterate some of 'sprawl's points: Don't overwater. Don't fertilize. Do mulch. (There are instructions for this on the NADF site.)

    One final point: Don't invest too much emotion in the saplings' survival. Take it for granted that some will not make it. That's just part of the process. Many trees produce hundreds or even thousands of offspring every year. Of these only a few will make it to maturity. Under conditions of conscious cultivation by humans, the odds can be tremedously improved. But it is still inevitable that some won't even leaf out, let alone thrive. (Don't be too quick to give up on the ones that seem to have lost the fight: Give them a year before giving up. You may be pleasantly surprised! I've had, literally, dozens of trees perk up and do well after I'd assumed the worst.) Even if you do everything right, some won't make it.

    Good luck!

  4. #4

    RE: ADS Free Trees- Care

    Hm sounds like I already messed up then. Should I move them? I don't really have another place to put them where they won't be blasted by the wind. It said in the planting directions to put them 2 feet apart then transplant them in 2-3 years?

  5. #5

    RE: ADS Free Trees- Care

    There will probably be three or four valid but contradictory answers to that question--it's a tough call. Personally, I wouldn't move them now (the poor things have been through a lot) but I wouldn't wait years either--not unless they're going into a very hostile environment. I'd wait until they go dormant this year (in Fall) and move them then. That way, you're moving them before they've developed an extensive root system that needs to be re-established but you're also giving them a chance to do a little growing.

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