The Q&A Archives: Vanderwolf Candle

Question: I purchased 2 Vanderwolf pines this spring, from a nursery, in 10 gallon containers. They were both about 5 ft tall and in good condition. I have not been able to plant them yet and so have been watering them and adding a small amount of plant fertilizer to the container. They have done great. On one the main candler has grown about 18 inches on the other about 12 inches. However in the last few weeks all the candles, on both trees, have slumped over. We have a lot of wind but the candles, on other planted Vanderwolf pines are not slumping. I try to water consistently using a moisture meter but can not seem to get the candles to straighten up. I about ready to plant the pine and need to know if I can do anything to help the candles recover. thanks

Answer: It may be that because the roots are so restricted they aren't getting the moisture they require. Even though you are diligent in your watering practices, plants in containers use more water than the same plants in the ground, and, sometimes air pockets form within the root ball that elude detection. So even though the soil seems moist, there may be some dry areas within the rootmass. You can try immersing the nursery pots in a larger container of water to thoroughly wet the soil and drive out any air pockets. When bubble stop rising to the top, the soil is saturated and you can remove the pot from the watering container. I'd rehydrate the soil and then plant the pines as soon as possible. If the candles continue to wilt, snap them off. Once the roots are established the pines will resume growing and may even over-take the established pines in your garden. Best wishes with your pines!

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