Messages posted to thread:

From:Date:Zone:
Carol05-Jul-02 06:17 PM EST 5a   
Susan05-Jul-02 07:06 PM EST 6a   
Ed05-Jul-02 08:35 PM EST 5b   
Carol06-Jul-02 12:08 PM EST 5a   
Susan06-Jul-02 01:03 PM EST 6a   
Carol07-Jul-02 09:00 AM EST 5a   
Susan07-Jul-02 09:51 AM EST 6a   
Carol07-Jul-02 02:02 PM EST 5a   


Subject: What kind of pine?
From: Carol
Zone: 5a
Date: 05-Jul-02 06:17 PM EST

I have three wee pine-type trees in my yard, planted by the previous owners. We have only been here since Jan. but they don't seem to be growing. I don't know what kind they are, only that they were a gift from a wedding. What can I do to get them growing? I have a low acid soil, and have added peat moss around them. I have fertilized them a couple of times, but nothing seem to work.


Subject: RE: What kind of pine?
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 05-Jul-02 07:06 PM EST

You may not be doing anything wrong. A lot of pines are very slow growing trees. Try to identify the type and see if it's a slow-grower or not. The first step in identifying a pine is to count the number of needles in a bundle - it's very specific to the type of pine (e.g white pines have five needles per bundle and long, soft needles whereas Austrian pines have 2 needles per bundle and the needles are stiff; Scots pine also has two needle bundles with stiff needles but the needles are flattened and twisted...) What type of soil are they in? Drainage can be a factor in their growth and health. We share our property with magnificent mature white pines and they're great trees but they probably took 60 or more years to get to their present size I think.


Subject: RE: What kind of pine?
From: Ed
Zone: 5b
Date: 05-Jul-02 08:35 PM EST

Carol, your description, " pine-type " suggests they may be any evergreen ( conifer ). Regardless, pine or other, all healthy evergreens should have some new growth by now. If none is evident on any of yours, I believe you have a problem that no amount of peat and fertilizer can fix.


Subject: RE: What kind of pine?
From: Carol
Zone: 5a
Date: 06-Jul-02 12:08 PM EST

I went to look for the clusters you spoke of, I'm not sure what you mean. There doesn't appear to be any twisted needles, or clusters. they are quite short, and soft and seem not to be clustered. The trees are about 8" tall, and I am guessing that the slightly lighter tips mean growth is going on. I will just keep watching and waiting for now. What do pines like in the way of soil and fertilizer?


Subject: RE: What kind of pine?
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 06-Jul-02 01:03 PM EST

Perhaps, as I think Ed suspects, you don't really have pine trees. The bundles of needles on a pine are quite obvious. If you look closely, you would see that the needles are grouped together where they attach to the branch. In a white pine, if you detach one of the bundles and count the needles in it, there will always be five needles while Austrian or Scots pine will always have two per bundle... The lighter tips on the branches of evergreens are this year's growth of needles so the little guys sound like they're growing, whatever they are... Pines tend to be found on acid soils (people tend to believe that pines make the soils acid with the fallen needles but it's as likely that it's the other way around - the soil is acid, so the pines grow well there...) They're generally quite adaptable as to soil type although the usual well drained with reasonable moisture is best. Mine are on clay soil and have survived it for a long time obviously but apparently pines on clay soil are more susceptible to root rots as they age. If your baby trees turn out not to be pines, I'd highly recomment adding a white pine if you have room for one. They're lovely trees...


Subject: RE: What kind of pine?
From: Carol
Zone: 5a
Date: 07-Jul-02 09:00 AM EST

If these little trees aren't pine what might they be? I think I understand what you mean by the bundles, and my trees aren't like that. They are just rows of needles on the branch.


Subject: RE: What kind of pine?
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 07-Jul-02 09:51 AM EST

The most probable alternative is likely spruce or fir. Generally, fir will have blunt needles of an inch or so long, arramged on either side of the branchlets in flat rows. Spruce also have short needles (often shorter than fir...) but the needles tend to be sharp pointed and are usually arrayed all around the branchlet, although sometimes only on the upper surface of the branchlet. If you get stabbed if you brush against the tree or grab hold of the branch, it's likely a spruce! Some of them can be quite vicious! If they were wedding party favors, I'd think balsalm fir, with it's lovely Christmas tree scent, would be a good possibility. You might want to look for a book like The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees in the library to help you identify specifically what you have...


Subject: RE: What kind of pine?
From: Carol
Zone: 5a
Date: 07-Jul-02 02:02 PM EST

Thanks for the help, I think you may be right about the fir. I will look for that book like you suggested. I am planning on moving them, and should know more about them first.


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