KC Gardens

Planting a big Colorado Blue Spruce

Q&A

I just planted a very thick, 11 foot tall Colorado Blue Spruce, and I get vastly different instructions on how often to water it from different sources. I just planted it one week ago today. I live in the Overland Park area. Many thanks for your help. - RH -

Comments

  1. 9 months, 2 weeks ago

    Providing adequate moisture, but not too much, is very critical to the survival of a newly planted tree. Your goal is to keep the root ball and soil in the canopy area moist, but not soggy.

    I hope you have mulched the root ball area, as this will help keep the soil temperatures cooler and conserve moisture. A good soaking once a week may be sufficient, but you should check the moisture in the root ball every few days to make sure it is not too dry, especially as the temps rise.

    Here is the link to the KSU bulletin on planting and caring for trees; this will give you more detailed info: http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/pubs/mf402.pdf

    A Blue Spruce in our area can never be considered fully established, as it is not native and must suffer wild swings in temperatures, moisture and heavy soils. So, you will need to monitor the moisture for this tree, even in the winter.

    Hope this helps.

    Carole Johnson County Extension Master Gardener

  2. 9 months, 2 weeks ago

    I will also add that I hope the tree had the wire cage removed, and ideally, the burlap, too. I think this is a dicey time of year to plant a tree, but if it is planted correctly and babied throughout the summer, it stands a better chance. Unfortunately, many trees don’t get their roots teased out and aren’t planted in a hole that allows good root development. Your native soil needs to be intermixed a bit with what is in the rootball to help prevent girdling roots.

    Also, water well outside the dripline/rootball of the tree because as the surrounding soils dry out, they contract, and then you can get a gap of air all around the rootball. The result can be a dead tree when the roots hit all that air. You want to keep the surrounding soil nice and moist so it doesn’t shrink and crack.

  3. 9 months, 2 weeks ago

    I will also add that I hope the tree had the wire cage removed, and ideally, the burlap, too. I think this is a dicey time of year to plant a tree, but if it is planted correctly and babied throughout the summer, it stands a better chance. Unfortunately, many trees don’t get their roots teased out and aren’t planted in a hole that allows good root development. Your native soil needs to be intermixed a bit with what is in the rootball to help prevent girdling roots.

    Also, water well outside the dripline/rootball of the tree because as the surrounding soils dry out, they contract, and then you can get a gap of air all around the rootball. The result can be a dead tree when the roots hit all that air. You want to keep the surrounding soil nice and moist so it doesn’t shrink and crack.

  4. 9 months, 2 weeks ago

    Great advice and the biggest mistake I see people make on newly planted trees is that the water is supplied beyond the root ball. Carole is right be sure to soak the root ball as well as the soil out and around the root ball. Remember the only roots this tree has is in the mass that was planted not out in the existing soil. They will come over time so that is why it is important to keep this area moist also. Dennis - Johnson County Extension

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