All pine and spruce species require the same amount of care the first year after planting. 4' and 5' trees need five gallons of water per tree week. If trees are planted in the Fall, the trees should be watered until the ground freezes and then started again in late Winter or early Spring. This is usually in mid to late February. Watering should continue for a minimum of one year after planting. If one week is skipped watering, it is possible to lose a tree in the first year. This is critical during the Summer months, regardless of the amount of rain. 6' to 10' evergreens need a minimum of 10 gallons of water per tree, per week for the first year. During the summer months these size trees can use 20 gallons per week, per tree.
We recommend that all evergreens are fertilized in February and September. If trees are planted in the Spring, no fertilization is done until September. If the trees are planted in the Fall, no fertilization is done until the following February. 4' - 5' evergreens need 1 and 1/2 cups of 12-12-12 granular fertilizer applied around the drip-edge. For larger evergreens, 2 cups of fertilizer per inch diameter trunk of tree. This also applies to all shade and ornamental trees. The first 3 - 5 years of this fertilization program will yield best results in growth and color.
Generally speaking, it is not necessary to stake 4' - 5' evergreens. Extremely windy conditions would possibly be an exception. It is not uncommon for these size evergreens to be tamped and straightened the first few months after planting and settling. Larger evergreens or shade and ornamental tree staking is at the customer's discretion. We recommend that these trees should be staked to ensure livability for at least a period of 1 - 2 years. We do not stake any trees.
Mulching should be used for the first two years. This helps retain moisture and protects newly planted trees during the winter. Mulch should be applied to a thickness of 3 - 6 inches. Mulch should not crowd the trunk as rodents will make nests next to the trunk. A replenishment of mulch every 6 months will be necessary.
The first spring after planting a white pine, it is common to get 6 - 12 inches of vertical growth. The second year 12" - 18" of vertical growth is common. Three years after planting will grow an average of 20" - 30". It takes 3 years for trees to get the roots down far enough so that one will receive optimum growth and color. White pines can look somewhat peaked coming out of winter, yet aesthetic quality will improve each year. After 3 years the general appearance will be pleasing throughout the year.
Transplanted trees can experience winter burn the first few years after planting. The needles will turn brown and usually occurs on the windward side. The tree is conserving moisture and shutting down excess needles. Once the root system is more developed and deeper, winter burn usually does not occur. Watering the trees until the ground freezes can alleviate some winter burn stress. However, time is the essential element in eliminating winter burn. There are some market products that can also alleviate some aspects of winter burn. Winter burn usually does not kill a tree, however the tree will look poorly until the new growth starts. We do not replace trees due to winter burn.
In the Fall, white pines will have up to 20 percent of the tree's needles turn yellow. This is a natural process that occurs annually - it is usually the inside needles of the tree. These needles will turn brown and eventually fall from the tree.