Eastern White Pine (Pinus Strobus)

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lake04

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I want to get feedback on (1) fertilizer and (2) pruning as it relates to 2 eastern white pine seedlings I planted over the weekend.

CONTEXT:
I planted 2 eastern white pines, each about 1.5-2 ft tall, in my yard spaced roughly 20 feet apart receiving almost full sun. I am located in central Illinois (southern portion of zone 5) on a Lake - one tree is +/-8 feet from the shoreline and the other +/-12 feet away from the shoreline. Both are around 5 feet above water level. The area surrounding the lake is dominated by old growth Oaks, however, there is also a very strong population of eastern white pines that were planted in the 1950s - 1960s that are performing exceptionally well so I am comfortable assuming this area grants better than average growing conditions for the species. My yard also has several sycamores and sugar maples that are performing very well.

SOIL/FERTILIZER:
When planting, I made the mistake of mixing up potting soil so I accidently covered the surface of the planting area with wood ash from our fireplace. I am aware of the alkaline effect of wood ash which is not ideal for an acidic-seeking pine. I am unable do anything physically to correct the mistake until 7 days following the application so I have 3 questions:
1. How long does it take wood ash have a noticeable impact on soil ph?
2. What kind of remediation should I look into? My initial thought is to remove as much of the ash as possible, replace with soil and needs and add an evergreen fertilizer.
3. Does anyone have any experience with eastern white pines and wood ash?

PRUNING & GROWTH:
Assuming these are able to grow at a normal rate, I am looking for feedback on how to prune eastern white pines properly for nurturing healthy growth. My goal is to prune the lower branches as high as possible (ideally while they're young so cuts can be grown over) to guide a straight and uniform trunk, but also want ensure I am not over pruning and inhibiting the trees. I've had success pruning maples and other deciduous trees pretty aggressively while they're young where it really improved vertical growth, however, I have no experience practicing this with pines so want feedback if this concept is even applicable.

Looking forward to feedback!
 

Brushwacker

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I don't know the ultimate fertilizer u can use but at the state tree nursery was telling customers 12 12 12 when the question was asked. I assume it was a convenient answer that worked but likely not the best.
I expect i planted several hundred plus white pine myself and they grow the best of pines in most locations in my area. Best advice from my experience is keep the deer away, water them plenty primarily the 1st year and keep grass and weeds cleaned out around the circumference so that the roots don't have competition.
White pine get big and messy at the end of their years ( needles pile up killing grass and limbs are brittle and brake usually from ice and snow )but the 1st 50 years little more or less are reasonably fast growing sturdy windbreak trees.
 

Raintree

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You need a soil test in order to know your starting point on the Ph, or everything is just a guess.
As for pruning don't elevate low limbs to more than 30% of the height. Growing pines out in the open there is a challenge to keep the trees single stem, decide now what you are going to do.
 

lake04

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You need a soil test in order to know your starting point on the Ph, or everything is just a guess.
As for pruning don't elevate low limbs to more than 30% of the height. Growing pines out in the open there is a challenge to keep the trees single stem, decide now what you are going to do.
Are you saying it is difficult to maintain a single, strong leader when growing in the open?
 

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