The Q&A Archives: planting spruce trees

Question: We purchased small spruce tree in a pot at Christmas time. Kept outside all winter. When can we plant in ground. Live in NH. Also when can we plant raspberry canes outside?

Answer: You can plant bareroot raspberries in your garden now. The roots will establish themselves before new growth appears later this spring. And, you can plant your spruce tree outdoors anytime this spring. Dig the hole twice as wide as the root ball (container), and no deeper than the height of the root ball. The soil that you dig out of the hole is what you use to backfill around the root ball. No soil amendments are recommended when planting a tree; therefore, no compost, peat moss, or shredded pine bark should be added to the backfill. After planting the tree, build a 4-inch tall berm around the edge of the hole. Fill the berm with a mulch (i.e. shredded bark, compost). The mulch and berm make it easier to water the tree and reduce weed competition. Right after planting, water the tree in by filling the bermed basin with water. This will settle the existing soil around the root ball. For the first week after planting, lightly water the tree every day (about one pint of water each day). The second week, water every other day with about one quarter of water. During week three, water every third day with two quarters of water. Week four and beyond, water once a week if needed. The goal is to wean the tree slowly off of supplemental irrigation, and get the root system large enough for the tree to thrive on natural rainfall. These are just guidelines. Use your index finger to check the soil moisture under the mulch. If the soil is cool to the touch, do not water. If it is warm and dry, then water. More plants are killed by over-watering than by under-watering. Best wishes with your spruce tree!

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