When you are planting spruce trees, it’s important to ensure that you start the process in the right spot. You also want to be careful about avoiding soggy soil. Well-drained soils are the best conditions for growth when planting spruce trees, as the tree specialists at Mr. Tree would tell you. Beyond that, when going through the planting process, there are several things you must look for and a very particular set of steps you should take and rules you should follow if you want it done correctly.
Preferred Lighting Conditions
Spruce will grow fastest if there’s a lot of sunlight. Ideally, a full workday’s worth of sunlight—six hours or so—is what you should provide for the best possible results.
Spruce trees are very adaptable when it comes to soil pH levels. Spruce can handle highly acidic pH levels, but ideally, you want the pH to be anywhere between 6.0 and 8.0.
You want to make sure the soil where you are planting your spruce will drain properly, so the best step you can take is to run drainage tests before planting. Find the area you want to plant in and dig a hole that is one foot by one foot. Fill the hole with water and watch it drain, and after it does, fill it up again and time how long it takes to drain a second time.
If the soil has proper drainage, it should drain at a rate of at least one inch per hour. If the soil drains faster than that, it may mean the soil is loose and somewhat dry, while if it drains slower than that, it may indicate the area is poor for soil drainage. Should that be the case, your best option would be to either plant the spruce elsewhere or use a bed or raised mound in order to help improve drainage conditions.
Steps for Planting
Once you have identified a good spot for planting spruce trees, you should begin the process by digging a hole roughly three times as deep and wide as the root ball of the plant. This should be a hole that’s much wider than what you need. Use a wheelbarrow to collect the native soil you remove as a result of digging the hole and planting the spruce tree.
If the porosity of the soil in your chosen planting area is not at the level you’d like, you may want to make changes to the native soil. If you would like to improve the porosity and drainage levels of an area, you should mix a good soil conditioner with a 50/50 ratio with the soil you removed from the hole.
Remove the spruce from the container it was originally growing in by squeezing the sides of the pot so that the root ball loosens. Carefully, lift and remove the tree from its container after firmly grasping the base of the tree. Do not pull too hard, or you may wind up damaging the plant. Use a utility knife or snips to cut the container away if the root ball gets stuck in the container. Once you have removed the plant from its container, make sure the feeder roots around the root ball are loosened.
Make sure the top edge of the root ball is slightly above ground level in the planting hole so it can settle properly. Add a bit of backfill soil mixture to the bottom of the hole if you need to in order to maintain the necessary planting height.
Set your spruce tree in its planting hole, and then use one hand to backfill your soil mixture around the root ball and the other hand to hold the plant straight while you start the process of removing the air pockets. After you finish filling the hole halfway, you should go ahead and soak the soil before continuing the process of backfilling to the top edge of the root ball. During this procedure, do not put any soil on top of the root ball so that you can avoid outright suffocating your plant.
If you plant your spruce tree a far distance from your water source but in soil that is very well-drained, you should use the rest of the soil to build a water-catch basin that’s around four inches in height around the outside of the planting hole. This will be an enormous help in absorbing water from rainfall and irrigation while simultaneously greatly lowering the watering frequency. Once the plant has established itself or a growing season occurs, you can go ahead and remove the water catch basin.
Be sure to water the planting area to the point where the depth is equal to or greater than the height of the root ball. If you need any help with this task, you can easily achieve it by using a solution with a root stimulator to properly water the spruce tree. This will allow the spruce tree to have stronger overall root development and undergo early root formation. By using root stimulator, you can also promote greener and more vigorous plants while simultaneously significantly reducing plant shock.
It’s a good idea to apply a two-inch layer of chipped or shredded wood mulch or pine straw around the planting area since it will do a great deal to suppress weed growth and conserve moisture. Crucial nutrients will be added to the soil as the mulch goes through the process of decomposing. Do not use freshly shredded or chipped wood for mulch until after it has cured in a pile for a period of at least six months, though, ideally, you would wait one full year. In order to make sure your bark does not rot, do not put mulch directly against the base of the tree.