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Caring for Conifer Trees

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Caring for Conifer Trees

by Cris Carl for Networx

Conifers, made up primarily of spruce, fir, pine and hemlock, are an attractive and long-lasting addition to any landscape. Conifers naturally provide the bonus of evergreen color, which can serve as a backdrop or simple visual relief in a stark landscape. Conifers can be used in a number of creative ways as hedges and in rock gardens. So how do you get started planting and working with conifers?

Robert Childs, of the University of Massachusetts Extension Service, shares his knowledge on how best to care for conifers.

Before You Buy

Childs said the first thing you want to do is find a reputable nursery. Second, you want to have your soil tested. “Everybody forgets about the soil,” said Childs. “Most conifers prefer a soil that is slightly acidic,” he said. Childs said that conifers, when they do drop their needles, help to provide needed soil acidity without overwhelming the tree.

Also, be sure you know what planting zone you are in. For example, Massachusetts is a Zone 5. Conifers that would thrive on Long Island, NY (Zone 7), would not be able to tolerate the level of cold in Massachusetts. Here is a link to the UDSA Zone Map.

“Every tree has its own set of needs,” said Childs. “Plant the right tree in the right place.”

Childs also said that a basic rule of thumb about conifers is that most do not like wet soils. Research the type of conifer you want to plant. Childs gave the example of the salt sensitivity of White Pines. “You wouldn’t want to plant them next to a major road or the salt run-off in the winter will kill them. Whereas the Pitch Pine you’ll find on the Cape (Cape Cod) is very salt tolerant,” he said.

10 World Famous Trees

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7:42AM PST on Nov 7, 2013

Thanks for Sharing :) Plant More Trees!

1:36PM PDT on Apr 23, 2013


1:38PM PDT on Oct 26, 2012

will keep in mind.

2:02AM PDT on Oct 9, 2012


5:25PM PDT on Sep 15, 2012


1:08AM PDT on Sep 14, 2012

Thanks for the share!

11:32AM PDT on Sep 10, 2012


12:29PM PDT on Aug 7, 2011

i transfered a little baby conifer from one country to another and i put it in a pot now is it better in a pot or directly in the garden?thank you

2:31PM PST on Jan 24, 2011

Ah the Bunya mountains!

8:22AM PST on Jan 8, 2011

Useful tips. Thanks!

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