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Dwarf Alberta Spruce Topiary - help!

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by mower_babe, Jun 25, 2005.

  1. mower_babe

    mower_babe LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 790

    Hello. Let me first say that landscaping is not my specialty.

    However, had a customer contact us recently wanting 2 spiral dwarf alberta spruces, etc. I went to 5 nurseries in this area and found none. No one was willing to order nor trim the ones in stock for me. The ones in stock untrimmed were $59+. One nursery had junipers, but they didn't look nice @ $150.00. They also told me that they wouldn't winter over bc the customer requires that they are containerized by his front door. I searched for spruce, arborvitae, boxwood, juniper, whatever. No, the customer doesn't want artificial.

    So, I went to WalMart, where I purchased Dwarf Alberta Spruces for $17.00 apiece. I took them home, (WATERED THEM - they were dry as a bone) ran a string in a spiral and cut in between. The first one turned out sparse, but the second turned out well. For my first time, ever trimming sprials or making spirals, I was pleased. So, I will be purchasing another one and redoing it. I made the spirals in opposite directions. Picked up 2 large fiberglass pots ($40 apiece),removed the handles, painted them w kilz and white gloss exterior paint, and will drill holes for drainage before potting them.

    My plan is to use potting soil (miracle gro type), osmocote tablet in bottom, spray wilt proof antidessicant and water twice a week or so. I read that they are more acid loving. I also read about them being more prone to mites. I heard to let the soil dry out completely and then water them.

    We are zone 5 and our temps are high 90s right now. They will not get any rain and they will be shaded ( I know, bad plan) Customer is aware of the adverse conditions for these.

    Any addtl suggestions? Any help you can offer, is appreciated. And yes, I know that the cards are stacked against me in this scenario, but the customer is aware and this is what he wants.

    hElP PlEaSe!

    Thanks guys!
  2. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    You can buy an acid potting soil sold at most nurserys,I would make sure the drainage is good but pack in the potting soil as you fill in the pot and wet it as you fill it in also,wet it well.This is before,and after and around the roots as well
    it prevents the water from running right past the rootball and out.Pack firmly by hand and wet the soil as you go.
    You will need to water at the VERY least 3 times a week at first intell they establish,pots dry out much faster than the ground and once the potting medium gets dry,it is very difficult to rewet it when watering the tree.
    I use a mix of potting soil,clean coarse sand,and wetted peat moss a handfull or so.All plants need some sun or they cannot produce food,be sure they get some bright light or sun for part of the day anyway.....For mites just havr cust spray the needles every week with a fine lite spray from the hose and that will keep it clean. Goodluck!

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