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Watering Pine trees in winter?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by westcoh, Jan 23, 2007.

  1. westcoh

    westcoh LawnSite Senior Member
    from Alberta
    Posts: 313

    I did a job last fall that included planting several 10' Scots Pine trees. A few weeks after I was finished winter came a lot sooner than expected, bringing some harsh temperatures. Last week I went to check on these trees and noticed the tips of all the needles are turning yellow. Is this because they didnt recieve enough moisture in late fall?

    This week we're also supposed to be getting unseasonably warm weather thats well above the freezing mark, and I was wondering if it would be good to water the trees now, and then make sure I add extra snow around the base of the trees to try and make sure it doesnt freeze?

    Thanks for any advice.
  2. carcrz

    carcrz LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,085

    I don't forsee it hurting anything.
  3. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,742

    This happens a lot with evergreens planted late in the year. The root ball and soil have not yet bonded together, so water movement from the surrounding soil is not so easy. Evergreens are often mildly active in the winter and use water. Even when they are not active, they have moisture loss through leaf surface.

    What makes it worse for pines is that their root system is very spread out near the surface of the soil. That means that when they are dug they lose a great deal more than something with a fiberous root system that is all bunched up beneath it. So the recently dug pine has a diminished capacity to supply enough water to itself under the best of conditions.

    One thing that you absolutely must do when planting evergreens in the fall is to partialy backfill them in their holes and then flood the hole to wah out any air pockets. Then finish backfilling after the water subsides and water thoroughly again. It is much more about getting rid of air voids and getting the surrounding soil to melt together with the soil of the root ball in order that water will pass between them rather than giving the plant a drink.

    Leaving exposed burlap is another big negative because it acts like a wick drawing water from around the root ball as it evaporates from where it is exposed to he air. I would hesitate to fully remove burlap on a pine because the root ball is not held together well for reasons explained above. I would cut away as far down as I could reach without moving the tree in the hole, just to promote as much direct soil contact between the root ball and the surrounding soil.
  4. Rtom45

    Rtom45 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 456

    I believe applying Wiltpruf or similar product before the trees are dug (or before you plant them if you buy them) will help lessen this problem.

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