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Caring for your Fat Albert Blue Spruce

by | Mar 17, 2010 | Resources, Market News, Ask Pahl's Market

I purchased a beautiful, but very expenive 8’ Fat Elbert evergreen on Sat. I read planting directions on Sat. night, but somehow overlooked that it pointed out, not to remove the wire cage. I measured twice for my hole diam, and depth. Got it spot on, recruited 6 neighbors to help roll the beast out of my truck into the hole with only the bulap, and twine securing it. Everything stayed in tact, but the tree ball root got distorted, and compressed about 4” into the hole. ** I am aware of the fact that evergreens can’t be planted to deep. ( I will just pull back the soil ), but am concerned with the future health of the tree, as I have way to much time, and money into this project already. What are the chances of it surviving? What steps can I take to help it grow healthy? My soil type is somewhat clay underneath the tree. I had about a 50” diam. Hole dug for the tree, with at least 6-10” around the diam. of the tree when it was dropped into the hole, in which I have compacted loamy type soil around with a little clay. Please advise, Frustrated and Bummed out in Apple Valley!! Thanks, Jeff
Dear Jeff,
You’ve done your research and you already know that planting the root ball an inch or two too deeply may mean the difference between thriving and just surviving. Since your root ball has fallen below your soil line your right to remove excess soil to the ball level. Since your cage has been removed and your root ball has been damaged I would suggests making sure you have compressed your backfill in and around your root ball to prevent further distortion and air pockets.  Backfill soil is combinations of peat moss, composted manure, topsoil, and most importantly the original native soil. It is to late to pull the tree out and backfill below the tree in fear of further damage. The amendment won’t be a permanent solution to soil deficiencies, but it will help retain water and air in the soil around the root ball for the first few vital years. Your spruce needs well-drained acidic soil with average moisture. Follow a regular watering schedule during the first growing season to establish an extensive root system. Avoid fertilizing your tree the first year. If all these vital steps are taken and with a little extra care your tree has a better chance of thriving even with your set back.

Dee

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