Sprucewood Farm Planting Directions
These trees are EXCEPTIONAL in the rate at which they grow. They have to be treated as such to realize their potential.
Digging the Hole
An auger on a tractor is a fast way to dig a hole (as shown above), but a shovel works just fine depending on the amount of holes needed and the difficulty of digging.
It is necessary to provide loose enough soil so that the roots will grow fast. To do this the soil has to be loosened 3 ft down and 3 ft wide. Now inside of this big hole, especially if the dirt is hard, it is advisable to puncture some holes in it with a wrecking bar or a drill with an auger as illustrated above for the roots to go into and not just circle around inside the hole.
Add about half peat moss, compost, straw, old manure, and any organic matter to half of the dirt taken out of the hole to facilitate the movement of the water and the nutrients to the roots. I'll illustrate that with a statement that someone in Pueblo, CO said about the soil in their mountain area: "It was so rocky and sandy that the water went right by the roots." Enough said.
When the leaves have fully come out WAIT UNTIL AFTER SUNSET TO PLANT IF IT IS REALLY WARM! To make taking the plants out of the containers easier, water the soil inside the container really well. Next, cut the jug on 2 sides with a scissors or short bladed knife. The main idea is not to disturb the roots. Also, it's best if there is NO COMPETING GROWTH in a 3 foot diameter around the tree.
Keep the jugs wet. When the trees are in the ground keep the soil wet the first year. That may mean watering them every day with 2 gallons to 10 gallons (5 gallons twice a day in very hot areas (125 degrees hot) with no mulch) while the roots are so close to ground level. Another way to keep them moist is to use a thick mulch. When the temperature rises over 120 degrees a foot thick mulch can mean the difference between watering every 4 days or watering twice daily.
There are many ways to water: using a hole, sprinkler, soaker, and the method shown here using a bucket with a hole in the bottom that would drain out during the course of the day.
UNDER WATERING shows itself in yellow leaves or the leaves just shrivel up. Better to give them more water than not enough. Know how much water they are getting. Be consistent. Running a hose on them occasionally just isn't going to do it.
OVER FERTILIZING When the leaves start to turn brown it is a sign of being burnt by nitrogen, and they need to be flushed with a lot of water, which may save them.
FALL & WINTER WATERING Keep the soil moist even after the leaves have fallen off. If you live where the ground freezes up for the winter watering is over only until the ground thaws in the Spring and starts to dry out.
Protection and Staking
It is important to stake them if they are 6-9 feet tall when purchased. One inch PVC piping can be used to tie the tree to in several places, and then stake the PVC pipe.
These do need a lot of food to grow fast! Like children do. They do need a continuous supply until fully grown. The following amounts and growth is for the androscoggins and the willoughbys. For the specific amounts needed for our other trees, food and watering amounts are listed below. A good fertilizer for these trees is Scott's Turf Builder (without the weed killer), and has worked well for so many of our customers. Put on half cup once a week, building up to a cup per week. It is widely distributed and is timed release. So many folks have told us if they follow these directions and put on a cup every week on the ground 6 inches away from the tree trunk (make a little mound to protect the roots) every week they get the 8-15 feet of growth per year. (Note: this can happen only in the warm areas. Cooler areas will only produce 6-8 feet of growth per year. Some have burned their trees with this so we thought we should also recommend soybean meal (with 20% nitrogen) with 1 cup used every other week.
Some have alternated with a chemical fertilizer every other week in between the soybean applications. The soybean meal is available at animal feed stores. It is not widely known that this is also plant food, so don't despair at the comments made by the feed store folks. It will not say 20% nitrogen on the label, it will just give the protein at 44-46 percent. If they say they don't have it, then ask if they can order it for you. It is fairly inexpensive at $10-$13 for 50 pounds. We have had good reports from our customers who have used soybean meal. If the first course of action of the two you decide on doesn't produce 6 inches of growth per week when the temperature is at least 80 degrees, try the other fertilizer as well. Also call us to see if something else is wrong. Another fertilizer is 3/4 cup of fish emulsion every 2 weeks. If you have manure handy, and haven't been putting it on the ground where the trees are going to be planted put a sack of it into a barrel and use the tea from that. FOR ANY OF THESE FERTILIZERS USE A SMALLER AMOUNT FIRST AND THEN BUILD UP TO THE OPTIMUM STRENGTH. IN THE AREAS WHERE IT WILL FREEZE IN SEPTEMBER STOP FERTILIZING WITH NITROGEN THE FIRST OF AUGUST TO PREPARE THEM FOR WINTER.
There are 3 basic types of soil: sandy, loam and clay. Sandy soil does not hold water and nutrients very well (the roots can not really bond with sand), although roots can go through it easily. Loam is the best as it has an amount of organic matter that holds on to moisture and nutrients about right (allows the roots hairs to feed more optimally), and is friable for the roots to go through. Clay holds onto moisture and nutrients very well, but can be suffocating to the root hairs if too dense, and not allowing the roots to penetrate the soil as needed for the tree.
Organic matter such as compost (decomposed or somewhat decomposed organic matter), manure (use aged manure as fresh manure will hurt the roots), peat moss is added to clay and sandy soils and mixed in with it.
In some areas the soil pH (indicating acidity or alkalinity) does not allow the plants to grow well or not at all. Soils with a pH much over 7 does not allow the utilization of iron and boron (they are rendered immobile because the bacteria cannot release them). Shrubs and grass can grow on high pH soils, but it's not so easy for most trees. Trees need a slightly acid soil for their enzyme systems. There is a quick fix by the use of Epsom Salts (Magnesium sulfate). Ammonium sulfate can also be used to lower the pH right away. The sulfur combines with oxygen and water to form sulfuric acid which works on the lime (calcium carbonate) to gypsum (pH neutral) and carbon dioxide. But it does contain nitrogen, so be careful not to get it too close to the roots as the nitrogen will burn the roots if too much is given and too close. I would start with a quarter cup. Also get a pH indicator to monitor how it is doing.
Miracid can be used as well. Vinegar can also be used in a solution of 1 tablespoon in a gallon of water to bring the pH down approximately 4.0 points. The vinegar can be used around the roots where ammonium sulfate cannot be used. Another option of acidifying the soil is elemental soil sulfur (agricultural sulfur or soil sulfur). Mix it into the soil where the roots are expected to grow (to the drip line), but this is not an immediate effect on the soil. It may take up to a year for it to work.
For clay soils use twice as much acidifying material. If your water is alkaline you will need to keep putting it on continually. Acidifying the soil also helps living organisms such a bacteria, fungus, earthworms, insects, and simple plants to build healthy living dirt. Adjusting the soil pH does not immediately enable the soil to produce well. Nutrients have to be added to it until the soil is unlocked by the bacteria. "Ironite" is a brand name of a great formulation of minerals and trace minerals. It takes about a month for the granules to work. Liquid "Ironite" works immediately.
To bring the pH up, you need to add calcium. Use a finely ground lime so it works immediately (like antacid works for your stomach). Use 1/2 cup of calcium (lime) to raise sandy soil 1.0 point in a 2 foot by 2 foot area. NOTE: IF YOUR WATER IS NOT THE RIGHT pH YOU HAVE TO USE THE SAME TREATMENT FOR IT. If the water is acidic then lime will continue to be needed every week. Such was the case for some in Quartzsite, AZ where the water is alkaline. Something that would acidify the water would be necessary. Some sulfuric acid preparations for soil are available in some areas, and there is always Miracid.
MEASURE the progress of all the trees from us. We would very much like to have a picture of the Androscoggin and Willoughby that has grown at least 8 feet in one year. Include with it how you took care of it, and we bring you a free tree for your help.
If they are not doing this well during the hot days, this usually indicates they are lacking something. It could be they do not have enough water or fertilizer, the pH is off balance, or the ground is just too hard for the roots to penetrate. Contact us if you need any help or have any questions!
They will need about a of water gallon per day, and fertilized 2 to 3 times per year. They both should be kept damp, but not so much as to be water-logged. Every couple of months use 1/4 cup of soybean meal, or 1/8 cup fish fertilizer, or 1 tablespoon of Scott’s Turf Builder. Don’t put any of the fertilizer on the roots. The spruce do a lot better if organic matter is put in the hole when planted. If the spruce are planted in zone 7 or higher, they should be protected from the 2 o’clock afternoon sun with a screen or barrier. It is also important to protect them from a windy area, with a screen or using “Wilt Pruf”. Some say they would not be without Wilt Pruf on their spruce. MAKING A HEDGE If the trees are kept to 3 foot to 7 foot tall, then they shouldn’t be further than 3.5 feet apart (3 feet apart is better for the shorter end of the height size). When they get to the height wanted, cut the new Spring growth about half-off when it is not fully grown out. That keeps it to the size you want it and also stimulates new growth on the inside of the trees.
AMUR AND RED MAPLE
Needs acidic soils with a pH of 4 to 6.5. Likes well drained, fertile, and moist soil. Plan on using a lot of organic matter in large holes. Mulch is very important for hot areas. Can be planted in partial shade to full sun. For fertilizing, use the same amount as for the spruce, but more frequently (about every 3 weeks). Red and Amur Maples do tolerate more heat. Figure about a gallon per day of water.
The Black Cherry prefers moist, acidic, and well drained soils. Mulch in hot areas. Suitable for full or mostly full sun. Around a gallon of water daily when it is hot, and fertilize every 3 weeks.
When planting, give them a lot of organic matter in the holes (about 2 ft deep by 2 ft wide). Space them 3 to 5 feet apart in partial shade to full sun. Can handle acidity and alkalinity. Use mulch. Fertilize half as much as the Androscoggin. A gallon per day of water is highly suggested.
Tolerates high pH, salty, sterile, and drought-prone soils. Make sure to mulch the soil when planting. Plant in full sun. Fertilize every 3 weeks as mentioned in above spruce. Water with a gallon a day.
Plant them 2 to 3 feet apart. They can handle full or part sunlight. They do not like to be sprinkled with large droplets, such as from an oscillating sprinkler. A pop up one should be fine. Fertilize about the same amount as the spruce and cedar, but do so every 2 weeks as they grow fast. Be careful that the fertilizer does not touch the plant so it the plant doesn’t burn. In the fourth year of growth, they should be taken and divided at the roots.
Needs acidic soils from pH of 5 to 6.5. Like well drained, fertile, moist soil. Make a 2 ft by 2 ft hole using 1/2 of the soil with equal amount of mulch. It can be fertilized every month with about about 1/4 cup of Scott’s Turf Builder without the weed killer, or 1/2 cup of soybean meal.
WESTERN RED CEDAR
The cedar have similar planting needs as the spruce. They will need about 1 gallon of water per day, and fertilized 2-3 times per year. Every couple of months use 1/4 cup of soybean meal, or 1/8 cup fish fertilizer, or 1 tablespoon of Scott’s Turf Builder. Don’t put any of the fertilizer on the roots. They both should be kept damp, but not so much as to become water-logged. The cedar can handle a lot more heat than the spruce, and are suitable for up to zone 8. MAKING A HEDGE If the trees are to be kept 3 foot to 7 foot tall then they shouldn’t be further than 3.5 feet apart (3 ft is better for the shorter end of the height size). When they get to the height wanted, cut the new Spring growth about half off when it is not fully grown out. That keeps it to the size you want it and also stimulates new growth on the inside of the trees.