Black Hills Spruce
Colorado Blue Spruce
Black Hills Spruce
Colorado Blue Spruce
IMPORTANT: Prior to digging to plant on your property, contact the proper company or municipality for the location of underground utilities such as water, electric, and sewer lines!
Also, locate private lines such as irrigation systems, wiring for landscape lighting, water lines that serve water fountains or ponds, or any other underground lines or obstacles!
Before you start to dig, just pick up your phone and dial 811 for utility public assistance.
Correct planting procedures will help each tree grow to become healthy and vigorous, able to live to the limits of its natural life.
Where to plant: Consider how big your trees will grow. Avoid planting under or near overhead utility lines, and check for underground utilities.
All trees live a long time and grow very tall and wide. Never plant too close to a building, sidewalk, driveway, or property line.
Trees can be planted 5' to 10' to 15' or 20' apart depending on how much privacy or seclusion you want to achieve and how soon.
Trees carefully placed about your property can significantly improve your privacy and property value.
Planting evergreen trees: Evergreen trees are planted in the same manner as deciduous trees, and do not need pruning at planting.
Dig the hole the exact depth of the ball so the top of the ball is level with the ground. One inch above the ground is ok, but one inch below the ground is not ok or a good idea.
If the ball is lower than the ground, do not add soil around the natural base of trunk to make it level. Rather, remove an inch or so top layer of soil a foot or so surrounding the tree.
Make sure the bottom of the hole is packed more than soft so the ball does not sink after watering the ball. Dig the hole about 3" (minimum) to 6" (maximum) wider than the ball on all sides and back fill the hole with loose fertile soil around the ball.
The goal is leave NO air pockets around the ball.
Press or tamp the soil on the outside of the ball inside the hole to about 3" or 4" below ground level while positioning the tree perfectly straight. If the tree is not straight, start on the side leaning towards you.
Then, water the tree thoroughly to about 2 or 3 gallons of water in the semi-packed ring surrounding the tree, not on the ball itself.
After the water settles, make sure the tree is straight from all angles, straighten the tree as needed while wet. Apply some dry soil and foot pressure around the trunk area to promote a snug fit.
Then, fill the ring with good soil, build a slight mound of good dirt around the outside of the ring not touching the trunk, add a gallon of water inside the ring, and cover the dirt mound area with about 3" of mulch not to cover the trunk of the tree. Now that you are done, add another gallon of water inside the mulch ring or lightly spray the mulch and tree with a hose. Do not over water at this point.
Trees under 8' will usually not need staked, but mulch is always a good idea. Sometimes tree staking and/or fencing is desired or needed typically due to heavy winds or deer related problems.
For the first few years, give them plenty of water during dry and hot periods (DO NOT OVER WATER OR DROWN THE TREE as too much water will or can result in root rot and kill the tree) and you can promote growth by cultivating the soil each year.
A desired shape or density can be kept or improved by pinching off new growth in the spring, cutting just ahead of a point where there is a dominant bud.
NEVER fertilize a newly planted tree for one full year!
When to plant:
Oak and Birch (deciduous) trees can ONLY be moved or transplanted in the spring before the buds break.
Generally most other deciduous trees can be moved before the buds break in the spring or after the leaves start changing colors in the fall.
Evergreens such as spruce and pine (conifer) trees can ONLY be moved or transplanted in the early spring before the buds break or after late August or early September, after the new growth has hardened off.
For best results, move or transplant trees in the early to mid spring before the summer heat and drought arrives. Water moderating during dry periods, but DO NOT over water.
When transplanting in the fall, trees normally experience heaving (raising out of the ground) from the ground freezing and thawing.
Therefore, staking fall transplanted trees is recommended to help prevent the trees from moving (bending) during high winds.
When you plant in the fall: After fall plantings, completely soak the ground around the tree once each week until the ground is frozen solid.
Also, water during winter warm spells if the ground is dry and not frozen. DO NOT OVER WATER.
Before freezing time, cover the soil around the base of the tree with an extra 4-inch layer of insulating mulch.
Remove this extra mulch in the spring after the ground thaws. NEVER fertilize a newly planted tree for one full year!
The value of mulch: A young tree's best friend is mulch. Mulch insulates soil, retains moisture, keeps out weeds, prevents soil compaction, reduces lawn mower damage, and adds an aesthetic touch to a yard or street.
Remove any grass within a 3' area and pour organic mulch such as wood chips or bark pieces 2" to 4" deep within the circle.
Keep the mulch from touching the trunk of the tree.
Tree aftercare and training: When your tree is delivered and planted, it is usually wrapped in burlap, wire basket and secured with sisal rope for the primary purpose to protect the ball from cracking when moving the tree from our field to your location.
The burlap will rot away within a year or two and it will help keep the ball moist and intact.
The wire will eventually rust away and it will help keep the ball from cracking due to dry conditions and heavy winds.
Despite what some arborists might believe, the wire basket frame is little or no threat to root growth or tree growth rate and will eventually break at pressure points and rust away.
One year after your tree is planted, the next early spring or early fall, you could cut the sisal rope from around the trunk (base) of the tree and peel back or cut off the top layer of burlap and wire and remove or dispose of the materials, but is not necessary.
Removing, cutting back, the surface burlap and wire is a precautionary and good aftercare practice. At this time, you could trim or train your tree to your preference and expectation by pruning a few branches to bring the tree into good balance.
In general, you can prune any new branch on a spruce tree, but pine trees are a bit more complicated.
If your tree is staked and wired, remove the stakes and wires as well.
What you need to know:
Spruce trees and pine trees are mainly used for privacy screening. These conifer trees (evergreen trees) should be planted 10-15’ apart and approximately 8-10’ from the property line when used as a screening tree. Norway spruce trees grow approximately 15-18” a year, and white pine trees 18-24” a year once their roots are reestablished.
For the best possible results, evergreen trees should be planted level to one inch higher than the ground, packed in the hole well, and a saucer or ring of dirt or mulch should be placed around the ball to hold the water.
The wire basket should be left on the tree ball forever. Trying to remove or removing the wire basket will most likely destroy the root ball of the dug tree.
Watering of newly planted evergreen trees should be done about every 10 days if mulched, otherwise more often is recommended. The tree should be given about 5 gallons per watering. Trees 12’+, give about 10 gallons per week if needed.
Too much water can or will cause root rot which can or will kill the tree. Do not allow the root ball area to dry completely. Check the root ball area weekly. If it appears dry, water moderately.
If it appears semi-dry, water less. If it appears moist, do not water and check again the following week. Although the surface ground may appear dry, below ground level is usually cool and moist.
Evergreen trees can survive with very little water.
Do not remove the rope, burlap or wire surrounding the ball.
Do not mulch the trunk itself (keep mulch away from the tree trunk).
Do not fertilize or prune the tree for one full year.
Do not over water the tree.
Do water your newly planted trees generously every few days for up to a month or longer during the hot and dry season.
Do mulch around the base (3" to 4" away from the tree trunk) of your newly planted trees to help keep the ball and roots damp and cool.
Do stake your newly planted trees whenever your trees are larger than 8' tall and heavy winds are expected or normal in your area.
Do expect some tree stress such as yellowed or dropped needles until after the next spring when the new growth takes place.
Evergreen trees are very durable and adaptable trees. Newly planted evergreen trees require only water to quickly root and adapt to the new environment.
The newly planted evergreen tree will grow very slowly the first year and more regular on the second year after transplant.