The Q&A Archives: Potting Pine Sapling

Question: I have a young pine sapling that I want to pot. Winter is starting and I think it is too late to plant. The needles are starting to turn brown, but I want to do my very best to save it. I don't know the first thing about planting trees. To help you out, this is what the tree looks like: It's only 4" tall, with a 4" long root ball (The ball is very narrow). It has one main stem, without branches. It is currently in a burlap cloth. I don't know how much moisture it needs, etc. Please help me save the tree!

Answer: Use a good quality potting soil. Probably a one-gallon pot will be large enough (such as the black plastic pots that nursery stock come in). Put some soil in the bottom of the pot. Place the sapling in and fill around it. It should be planted at the same depth as it was previously in the soil. Don't sink it too low, or sit it up high. It should be level with the top couple of inches in the pot. Don't fertilize. Water slowly and thoroughly so water penetrates throughout the soil and rootball. Water when the top inch of soil dries out, always making sure the entire rootball gets moist. Pour out any water that might collect in a drainage saucer. Your sapling will probably require lots of bright light. Don't do any pruning or cutting back, as you want the plant to have as much surface area as possible to photosynthesize. Good luck!

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