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View Full Version : Norway spruce not doing very well


Savannah
04-15-2010, 08:25 PM
I have asked some questions about these a while ago and was basically told year 3 they take off. I planted 200 of them three years ago, they were 18-24 inches. Most made it through the last 2 winters but as I looked at them this spring for the first time they look worse then they did in the winter??? They were nice and dark green through the winter, now they look as though they have lost some of their pines and are definately not as bushy and full. I was told these would grow possibly a foot a yr, I havent seen an inch in three years...

brushpile
04-15-2010, 10:01 PM
Where are they planted... wet soil/dry soil? Are they yellow?

Bob S
04-16-2010, 01:49 AM
Can you post some pictures? Are there buds at the tips of the branches indicating new growth?

sandbur
04-16-2010, 08:25 AM
Conmsider winter burn if they did not have snow cover or shade over them during late winter.

My Norway spruce did stand still for a period of longer than 3 years, but have finally started to take off. I also seem to do better by planting a smaller tree, they just do not stall out as much on my light to medium soil. IN the long run, I think the smaller tree pulls ahead quicker, It probably has to do with root mass to tree top ratio and may be different on heavy soil.

smsmith
04-16-2010, 08:32 AM
Always take advertised growth rates with a big grain of salt. Norways are the fastest growing spruce, but generally they don't start putting on significant growth until they are 5-7 years old. Then if they are in good soil, get the right amount of precip., etc. you MAY see close to the advertised growth.

When I plant spruce (any spruce) I tell myself that in 10 years I may have a good screen from them.

Savannah
04-16-2010, 01:12 PM
thanks folks, I will take some pics when I am out next weekend. The ground is an old hayfield, I sprayed it before i planted them but I cant keep the grass from growing around them as there is a filed next to them and the wind carries the grass seeds over to the area every year. its so hard to keep on top of it. Plus I am afraid to spray because i dont want any roundup hittimg the trees and hurting them.

hardwood11
04-16-2010, 02:34 PM
I agree with smsmith, spruces are notorious for starting out slow and kinda frustrating the landowner. Then they will shoot up 2-3 feet in one year. My Norway and Black Hills Spruce have really taken off in year 8, now I am getting some serious cover and habitat. (Quite often they look poorly in the spring, probably not a major concern).

greenlantern: Sometimes old fashion mulch works great if you have the time and money to spread around each spruce tree!

huntmgr409
04-16-2010, 02:46 PM
I've planted thousands of norway spruce. Almost all of them have been 3-0 seedlings planted with a dibble bar. None have been mulched or protected in any way from deer browsing. I have 10 year old trees that are 2-3 feet tall and others that are 10 feet and growing like crazy. In the first year 1-5 inches of growth is common. Year 2 may be 3-7 inches. Year 3 5 - 10 inches. After that a foot or more is not uncommon. In years of better than average moisture during the April to June time period growth of 24 inches can occur. In 6-7 years I would expect a 4-5 foot tree. From that point they really take off.

I wonder, how were your trees planted. Is it possible the roots haven't grown out of the original planting hole?

smsmith
04-16-2010, 02:58 PM
I'd expect a 3-0 tree to be a 4-5' tree after 6-7 years also. That would make the trees 9-10 years old.

If you're planting 1-0 seedlings or 1-1 transplants, you are one to two years behind a 3-0 tree in age. Sometimes the younger trees will actually catch and surpass the older trees, so age isn't everything. However, more often than not seedlings (trees that haven't been moved 1-0, 2-0, 3-0, etc.) have exhibited better growth for me than transplants - at least on evergreens.

brushpile
04-16-2010, 04:39 PM
Killing the grass around each tree will help tremendously. Fescue is toxic to other plants. Like Walnut, fescue is allelopathic, and bad news if you are trying to grow a tree.

http://ppp.missouri.edu/newsletters/meg/archives/v16n2/a1.pdf

If you are afriad the spray, pin a ground cover around each tree to eliminate grass.

Bob S
04-16-2010, 05:10 PM
Quite often they look poorly in the spring, probably not a major concernI had the same thing the first couple years while the trees are starting to get established.

Another question I would ask is, were the trees planted with the roots straight in the hole? With older seedlings or transplants with large roots, it is easy to have the roots bend if you aren't careful to have a hole large enough for the roots.

Savannah
04-16-2010, 07:57 PM
the trees were 2-2 transplants. What does "pin" cover around the tree mean? put down some kind of mulch or something? That would be a lot of mulch...

brushpile
04-16-2010, 08:14 PM
How many trees are you talking about? Using heavy wire, tack cardboard, black plastic, landscape fabric, etc.. around the trees. Read the link I posted, and it will explain why, and it should solve all your problems.;)

smsmith
04-16-2010, 09:20 PM
the trees were 2-2 transplants. What does "pin" cover around the tree mean? put down some kind of mulch or something? That would be a lot of mulch...

Mulch would be great, but using landscape cloth, cardboard, black plastic, etc. would also be helpful. I didn't look at brush's link - maybe he already covered all that and more...............;)

Just looked at it brush, found this quote interesting "Stunted walnut trees in a planting at
the University of Missouri Southwest Center at Mount Vernon increased their growth
rates dramatically when a 6-foot strip if fescue was eliminated down the tree rows" Maybe I'll start planting fescue to fight walnut trees :)

brushpile
04-16-2010, 09:50 PM
Mulch would be great, but using landscape cloth, cardboard, black plastic, etc. would also be helpful. I didn't look at brush's link - maybe he already covered all that and more...............;)

Just looked at it brush, found this quote interesting "Stunted walnut trees in a planting at
the University of Missouri Southwest Center at Mount Vernon increased their growth
rates dramatically when a 6-foot strip if fescue was eliminated down the tree rows" Maybe I'll start planting fescue to fight walnut trees :)

Fescue is close to being as bad as a walnut. I looked at a buddy's trees that were planted in fescue 10 years ago, and they were still only 4' tall. Fescue is a slower death than Walnut. Big trees can survive fescue, but seedlings have a hard time getting established.

People just don't want to believe that one plant can poison another. It took me losing hundreds of seedlings to figure it out.... I'm a tough nut to crack, until I start bleeding green $$$$$.:p

Bottom line, Fescue and tree seedlings don't mix, depending on tree species,

smsmith
04-16-2010, 09:53 PM
Just being a smart aleck - only grass I plant is lawn grass and giant miscanthus

Savannah
04-17-2010, 10:44 AM
I planted 200 of them. So what do you think would be the most cost effective solution?

smsmith
04-17-2010, 11:11 AM
I planted 200 of them. So what do you think would be the most cost effective solution?

Most cost effective would be to eliminate competition via spraying, but that can get a little touchy.

Personally, I'd try to find a bunch of thick cardboard that people are throwing away. Cut it into decent sized squares with a slit down one side. Get a whole bunch of landscape staples or make your own. Use a couple staples on each cardboard square.

Savannah
04-17-2010, 11:37 AM
what about burning? This might sound stupid so Im just throwing it out there. I saw this little thing in Northern tool that was a wand you connect to a single propane bottle and it directed a concentrated flame out. Maybe after a damp day burning the surrounding area of the trees? Wouldnt have to worry about overspray then? I dont know anything about it, is that even feasible?

ureyes
04-17-2010, 07:43 PM
Use a back pack sprayer and stick a funnel up-side down on the wand. Hold it directly to the ground when spraying near the tree base.

It works like a charm when you get at it early and don't let the stuff get to tall.

Only 200 trees to do would be a blessing. I have over a 1000 to tend.

Thats how I do it.

brushpile
04-17-2010, 10:19 PM
Get a helper. Have the helper hold cardboard around the tree, and spray without fear. Sounds easy unless your wife is your helper.;)

Savannah
04-18-2010, 12:53 AM
HA! I will get a box, I like that idea!

sandbur
04-18-2010, 07:37 AM
I took the tallest plastic bucket that I could find and cut the bottom out of it. Put the bucket over the tree, spray. and move to the next tree.