Digging a short yard spruce?

Kevster

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I'm going to be digging up my neighbors spruce tree since he is going to trash it.
I have never dug a pine before but know its important to keep some of the soil for the benificial fungus the tree needs. But how much soil do I keep? Leave on the rootball and use bonsai soil to fill in around it?
Thanks for any quick responces since I have to dig it by day's end.
 

yenling83

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I would suggest leaving 100% of the soil around the root ball, try and keep as many of the fine fiberous roots as possible. Put it in something sturdy with good drainage and fill in around the root ball with pumice if you have it. It's Fall or spring is probably better timing wise, but if your neighbor will trash it then now is good. Good luck!!!
 
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Kevster

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Thanks yenling! I'm about to head out in the dark to do it now.

I obviously have never delt with a pine before so please excuse my questions.
One more though. I have read a lot about pines but I haven't ever seen anything in detail explaining repotting them other then always trying to keep some of the old soil.
So as time passes and I repot this tree do I start gradually removing the earth from the ball adding new bonsai soil in with some of the old bonsai soil?
Just trying to figure out how you get rid of the organic earth that is attached to the ball.
 

Vance Wood

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Thanks yenling! I'm about to head out in the dark to do it now.

I obviously have never delt with a pine before so please excuse my questions.
One more though. I have read a lot about pines but I haven't ever seen anything in detail explaining repotting them other then always trying to keep some of the old soil.
So as time passes and I repot this tree do I start gradually removing the earth from the ball adding new bonsai soil in with some of the old bonsai soil?
Just trying to figure out how you get rid of the organic earth that is attached to the ball.

Get the tree out of the ground and into a container or box with ample drainege and nothing more. Leave it alone for two more growing seasons. If you start messing around with the soil mass at this point you are going to kill the tree. Spruce are pretty sturdy and it should be OK if you don't Putz around with it too much.
 

Vance Wood

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Smallest pot you can stuff it into!!!

I really hate to disagree with you Brian but in my experience of digging Spruce at the wrong time of the year the cut roots from digging are going to need some insulation for a year; there fore they should go into a larger pot. But that's just my opinion---take that and a buck and a half and you might get a cup of coffee. Jamming those roots into a small pot may put an extra level of stress on them greater than they can bear. I don't say I am right but I think I am.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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No worries, I've not dug a spruce so you have that experience, but from collecting other trees, those in tight pots recovered faster.
 

Kevster

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Thanks for everyone's help! Oversized pot is what I used. Should I cover it with mulch?
And yes it is a spruce. I didn't catch the auto correct changing Picea to pine. I believe it to be a Blue spruce.
 

Vance Wood

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Thanks for everyone's help! Oversized pot is what I used. Should I cover it with mulch?
And yes it is a spruce. I didn't catch the auto correct changing Picea to pine. I believe it to be a Blue spruce.

Mulching would probably be a good idea and try to put it in a place out of the wind and direct sun. Blues are pretty hardy but nothing is bullet proof.
 

tanlu

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I'm also considering to collect spruce this spring so the info from this thread will prove quite useful. One thing I learned about spruces, particularly Colorado Blue Spruces, from a workshop with Colin Lewis was that they really don't like to have their roots messed with at the wrong time of year. Collecting or repotting them the same time as you would Japanese Black and White Pines would be best.

Please post some photos!

T
 

Vance Wood

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I'm also considering to collect spruce this spring so the info from this thread will prove quite useful. One thing I learned about spruces, particularly Colorado Blue Spruces, from a workshop with Colin Lewis was that they really don't like to have their roots messed with at the wrong time of year. Collecting or re-potting them the same time as you would Japanese Black and White Pines would be best.

Please post some photos!

T

All due respects to Mr. Lewis, let me tell you a story about a Blue Spruce dug from a neighbors yard. This particular tree was removed by the neighbor while I was out of town. The date was late June early July. The tree set out exposed to the elements for at least three days in temperatures in the 90's. The neighbor offered me the tree when I returned, if I wanted it. I rescued the tree, potted it up, pruned some of the excess branches out of the top and put it in partial shade for a year. It survived with out the loss of needles or additional branches. So the question is: Why did this tree survive?
 

Bill S

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My shot would be appropriate after care Vance, I think we have seen over the years plenty of people break the "rules" and have success. The reasons will vary a bit, but I think it comes down to proper care as needed by species. Some know how to do that, maybe even a bit of luck too.
Experiance teaches one to figure out what the tree needs' was it Naka that said listen to the tree.
 
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Vance Wood

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My shot would be appropriate after care Vance, I think we have seen over the years plenty of people break the "rules" and have success. The reasons will vary a bit, but I think it comes down to proper care as needed by species. Some know how to do that, maybe even a bit of luck too.
Experiance teaches one to figure out what the tree needs' was it Naka that said listen to the tree.

I don't disagree but you have to admit that trees, especially evergreens tend to be rather verbally challenged.
 

Vance Wood

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:D I do agree with that, could it be the need for cookie cutter instructions?

I am kind of hesitant to put something together like that because a lot of what I do is outside the main-stream of classical wisdom; specifically re-potting and the like on ever greens.
 

Bill S

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:eek: Actually thats was where I was aiming, I think some of the issues come from people treating one tree like another, to do justice there wouldn't be a good cookie cutter guide, unless it is species specific, but you still would have location issues, as well as different combinations of work done. Throw on top of that some will take specific instruction, then toss in something general for a combo that by reading would be ok, but the tree dies, or drops branches. By cookie cutter instruction I was thinking of the last part of your last line re. verbally challanged. Isn't interpreting english interesting?
 

HotAction

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Like Vance said, leave it alone for at least two years. After that you can worry about the roots.

Dave
 

Kevster

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Done.. I put it in a slightly oversized box giving it about 3" to grow all around the ball. It had a couple long runners I cut off but the rest of the ball fit nicely. I filled the gap with a 75/25 mix of Oil Dri (I use it instead of akadama) and sphagnum moss then put in a mulch bed. We have had a very mild fall so far. Only a few nights where it got into freezing temperatures and most of our days have been in the 50's so hopefully everything will work out
It's a nice tree. His son ran it over with the lawn mower when it was young so it has some messy bark but it also caused it to naturally pick another side branch as a leader causing an irregular curved trunk.

Thanks for your help everyone!
 

Brian Van Fleet

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I am kind of hesitant to put something together like that because a lot of what I do is outside the main-stream of classical wisdom; specifically re-potting and the like on ever greens.

Vance: What time of year do you normally repot spruce?
 

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