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Transplanting pine tree

Discussion in 'Homeowner Helper Forum' started by Foxyfox, Sep 17, 2018.

  1. Foxyfox

    Foxyfox ArboristSite Lurker

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    I transplanted a pine tree(coming from 2 hours north of here), about 4 feet tall, it looks like a Christmas tree.. about a week has passed and some needles are turning yellow.

    How much should I water it? Its very hot here, has been 30C some days, in Toronto.. Also, I pressed down the soil quite a bit, is that ok? The wind was moving it and it wasn't straight any more, so I pressed it down to straighten it.. I hope that was ok.

    Also, I used triple mix, but where it came from was hard clay. The hole I put it in is filled with triple mix now, but all around where I didn't dig is grass with clay underneath.. I made the hole quite a bit deeper than the root, it has about a foot of soil underneath to drain into, but now that I pressed the soil, not sure how well it drains.. this triple mix becomes sticky and doesn't drain too much when pressed.

    The tips of the branches look good, but more towards the trunk it's starting to turn color a little.. one bottom branch is sagging.. Hopefully it can recover, is there anything I can do ?
     
  2. BC WetCoast

    BC WetCoast Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Transplanting at this time of year is going to stress the tree. When you dug out the tree, the root hairs (which are extensions of the root cells) would have dried up where they weren't protected by soil after only a few minutes exposed to those hot conditions. So I would expect some die back and yellowing.

    At this point all you can do is keep the soil damp down to the bottom of the roots.

    As far as pressing the soil, you don't want to compact it, but you don't want large air pockets either. Instead of pressing down the soil to straighten the tree, using stakes or guylines would be better.

    In the future, you will be better to transplant trees in the winter early spring while the trees are dormant. Having said that, from a commercial perspective, I have planted trees all year. You pay the money, I'll plant the tree. I just may not guarantee it if I have to plant in the middle of summer. You just have to take more care with the root ball, keeping it from drying out in the summer.

    At this point all you can do is prevent further drought stress by keeping the deeper soils damp. In the spring you may consider some bone meal to foster faster root growth.
     
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  3. Foxyfox

    Foxyfox ArboristSite Lurker

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    The yellowing seems to have stopped expanding, we got the tree for free so we couldn't really pick a time. When we dug it up we put the ball in a garbage bag and sprayed some water to keep it moist, when we planted it, it will still moist.
    Is it ok to keep watering every day? The root doesn't rot? It's not like flooded, I let it dry a little, but since I'm watering so often it never dries completely. I just don't want to overwater, but also the one time I didn't water it started yellowing more than any other day.
     
  4. Foxyfox

    Foxyfox ArboristSite Lurker

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    Some of the lower branches are sagging quite a bit and looking not so great.. Should I be cutting them off?
    It looks almost like about 60% of the top of the tree is still alive with nice color, but some of the bottom branches are turning mushy and sagging.. most still have nicely colored pins at the tips, but toward the trunk the pins are a murky green. Not many pins have fallen...
    Will it help the tree if I cut some bottom branches?
     
  5. TNTreeHugger

    TNTreeHugger Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Would be helpful to actually see what it looks like. Can you post some photos?
     
  6. Big_Eddy

    Big_Eddy ArboristSite Operative

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    Foxyfox
    Hard to be an expert on the info provided so far, but some comments.

    Assuming this is a white pine, a 4' tree should have about a 3' diameter root ball to capture enough root mass to survive the move. How big was the root ball when you transported it? You say you had it in a garbage bag. I assume you kept it moist. How long was the tree out of the ground? If you knocked a lot of the dirt off the roots from transport - even more important that it was kept moist. If there was not enough root mass retained - then chances are it may not make it.

    Every transplanted tree goes through some stress. Browning needles and die back are normal. The best thing you can do is keep it moist until it goes dormant for winter. Moist - not soggy. White Pine survive well in most soils. Triple mix is "more than it needs" so it should be fine - as long as you don't drown it.

    At this time, I would not trim the tree unless a limb is clearly dead. The tree will react to the stress as it needs to, and that may include some of the limbs dying off - but let the tree decide for itself which ones. If a limb is obviously dead - trim it. Until it's dead, leave it alone.

    Typically the first couple of years after transplant, a conifer puts all its effort into re-establishing root mass. Don't expect it to "grow" much in the first couple of years. If it makes it through those first couple of years and gets comfortably rooted- it should take off.
     
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