Coniferous trees need different care than deciduous varieties, so follow these guidelines for planting and caring for a new coniferous tree in your yard.
Evergreen trees and shrubs are a great option for any yard because they need less maintenance than many leafed trees, provide color all year long, give a lot of privacy, and are quite hardy. However, coniferous trees need different care than deciduous varieties, so follow these guidelines for planting and caring for a new coniferous tree in your yard.
Plant at the Right Time of Year
Conifers do best if they are planted during a cooler season, so try to plant new trees during the spring after the risk of frost has passed or during the fall before it gets too cold. Extreme heat during the summer can make it harder for a transplanted spruce, pine, or fir tree to recover enough to establish roots.
Needles on the trees can lose more water in hot sun, so it’s best to plant on a cloudy day or in the early morning or evening to help keep water loss at a minimum on planting day. The more care you give to the tree on planting day, the more you reduce the risk of transplant shock.
Give Your Tree the Benefit of Sunshine
Many deciduous trees enjoy some shade during the day. Poplars, beech, hornbeam, and maple trees all do well in shadier places. Evergreen trees, on the other hand, need full sun to thrive. Because they have needles instead of broad leaves, they need good sun exposure to make sufficient chlorophyll for food.
Even broader-leafed evergreens like cedar trees will have trouble in areas that are too shady.
Check Your Drainage
One of the advantages of choosing a spruce or pine tree for your yard is that they are not too picky when it comes to soil type. However, they will not do well in areas that do not drain well. If you have hard, clay-like soil, you may need to mix in some peat to help your soil achieve a more loamy texture.
Don’t plant a conifer in a low spot of your yard where rainwater might collect during a wet season or during the spring when snow is melting.
Give Plenty of Water
Normally, evergreen trees are quite drought tolerant. Their needle-like leaves conserve water, and they have aggressive, deep root systems that allow them to tap into moisture far below the soil surface. However, newly planted trees are a different matter altogether.
Do not make the mistake of under-watering a new conifer. Transplanting is very hard on its root system, and the roots need time to regenerate before they are fully able to provide the tree with enough water and nutrients from the soil. You encourage new root growth with plenty of water, and the plentiful moisture makes it easier for functioning roots to provide for the tree in the meantime.
After the tree is established, you probably won’t have to worry about manual watering again unless the season is very dry.
Prioritize Proper Pruning
One of the biggest differences that conifers have from deciduous trees is that they require different pruning techniques. A deciduous tree produces a lot of new growth where an old growth branch has been cut off. They also produce suckers and shoots to fill out areas that have been trimmed away. Coniferous trees do not this; they only grow new buds where the bark is still green.
These trees have a very specific natural shape and will rarely break form. You have to be careful when removing growth from a coniferous tree because if you remove too much old growth at once, the tree might never recover its health or its beautiful growth pattern.
All pruning should occur when the tree is dormant, which is another difference from broadleaf tree varieties. However, you should remove all dead or diseased branches at once. Removing dead growth helps to reduce the risk of insect infection, and it helps the tree direct energy to growing strong instead of fighting disease.
Call a tree service if you notice a lot of dead growth; your tree might need a treatment plan to help keep it alive. For more information, contact us at Ross Tree Company.