engelmann spruce temperature tolerances and preferences

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engelmann spruce temperature tolerances and preferences

Post  kevin stoeveken on Sat Nov 19, 2016 8:33 pm

i am considering overwintering my newly acquired engelmann spruce outside (under my benches) and was wondering what some thoughts are on that from anyone who might have direct experience... i am in zone 5 of north america... my research says i should be fine, but comfort comes from confirmation Wink

it is a collected piece and so i am feeling extra cautious...

here are a few pics for your troubles
my initial style plan is to keep both the literati and have it lead down to the cascade (the subtleties of that possibility may not be evident in the pics, but that was not the point of the post anyways... i figured someone would be asking what the hell my plan is with such a piece of material)














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Re: engelmann spruce temperature tolerances and preferences

Post  Marty Weiser on Sun Nov 20, 2016 1:43 am

I would probably protect it a bit since the hardiness I find is zone 2 to 5 and that is in the ground. Tilting the pot with some dirt or mulch around it to connect it to the ground under the bench might be enough, particularly if the benches are covered.

I was putting up the poly tunnel today and my son commented that was already much warmer back in the tunnel sections we had just set up than out at the front end - this on a drizzly, overcast day. So even covering a bench will keep it much warmer and prevent drying. I use white poly rather than clear and also throw shade cloth over the tunnel.

Marty

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Re: engelmann spruce temperature tolerances and preferences

Post  BobbyLane on Sun Nov 20, 2016 1:12 pm

I didnt think Spruce would need over wintering, they are well suited to harsh conditions in nature i believe. anyway hope you dont mind me adding some input on this lovely tree, i love Spruce, if this was mine i'd be tempted to try a mother n daughter style image, i would jin that lowest branch, i was scanning some images online, i saw this and thought of your tree

Wink
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Re: engelmann spruce temperature tolerances and preferences

Post  kevin stoeveken on Sun Nov 20, 2016 2:20 pm

thank you marty and bobby...

from what i learned, it is very hardy, but again, i suppose i am approaching this with an overabundance of caution...
i would hate to be the cause of it demise after it was doing so well on its own, before randy came along and "liberated" it.

bobby re: the design, i do not mind you chiming in, but the mother daughter scenario might be ok, but more commonplace...

i dont think it is very often that a piece of material may lend itself to what i have in mind...
and if my design does not pan out, i can always change it, as my initial design will leave many other options still available.

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Re: engelmann spruce temperature tolerances and preferences

Post  Richard S on Sun Nov 20, 2016 9:04 pm

I know nothing about the frost hardiness of Engleman Spruce (or any other Spruce for that matter - sorry) but I do know that if this tree were mine I would certainly try to work both trunks into a harmonious design.

I'm sure it would work well as either a literati or a cascade but as you say kev, either would be common place, a combination of both would be very unusual and potentially much more interesting!

It looks like a tree growing off a precarious cliff side which might also suggest some original display possibilities (perhaps something other than a conventional cascade pot?). Anyway, I look forward to seeing it progress.

If it survives the winter.

I'm sure it will Cool

Regards

Richard
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Re: engelmann spruce temperature tolerances and preferences

Post  kevin stoeveken on Mon Nov 21, 2016 1:01 pm

yes indeed richard... the container will have to be part of the design, suggesting that of a cliff dweller.

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Re: engelmann spruce temperature tolerances and preferences

Post  BobbyLane on Mon Nov 21, 2016 2:38 pm

I have no doubt your intended cliff top design will work, looking forward to seeing how it develops, you have a few options and bits to play with, should be fun, i'd love to have this myself Very Happy
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Re: engelmann spruce temperature tolerances and preferences

Post  Leo Schordje on Sat Dec 03, 2016 6:44 pm

Hi Kevin,
I have a grafted Engleman spruce 'Bushes Lace', I winter it simply by setting the pot on the ground, under my bench. I throw an opaque blue tarp over the bench for the winter, but only cover 3 sides. I leave the north side open, to let in light and snow to keep it watered. In the shade and out of the wind is all it needs.

Winter sun on black plastic pots can cause freeze-thaw cycling that can play hell with the tree. So that is the reason shade is important. In the mountains they are generally buried in snow, at least the seedlings ares, with does protect them. The 3 sided tarp blocks the majority of wind, which lessens the dehydrating effect of cold wind.

Warning, do you know when it was collected? Has it had at least 2 growing seasons since collection? If it still has not had time to regenerate a fully functioning root system you might use your garage for another Winter or two, this is an old tree, and may not have fully recovered from being collected. If it did not make much growth this summer, it still hasn't developed the roots it needs. Maybe the garage will be a better choice until it starts growing vigorously.



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Re: engelmann spruce temperature tolerances and preferences

Post  Auballagh on Sun Dec 04, 2016 3:33 am

Hello Kevin,
I am envious of your growing conditions.  This fall I lost two, wild-collected Engleman spruce trees.  Yes, they were both Walter Pall purchased/Randy Knight Collected....  
Both of my Engleman Spruce trees weren't 'styled'.  Had never been re-potted.  And, were estimated to be from 20 years for my small tree, to 80 years old for the larger (Much more expensive) one.
Unfortunately, they couldn't survive the heat.  The humidity, and FUNGUS of the Mid-Atlantic coastal plain growing environment where I live (South-Eastern Virginia), ultimately killed these trees.
Be careful!  These are alpine trees.  And, they need cool, dry conditions to thrive.
The biggest threat I can see to your tree (BTW,  I like it - it's a really good one), is placing it in an area where it will thaw and freeze periodically, depending on your local weather conditions.  Thawing and freezing of a potted trees roots can be seriously - BAD NEWS.
I would recommend siting your tree during the winter months where it will remain uniformly cold.  Placing it out of the wind, and kept below freezing during the winter months if possible, would be preferred.
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Re: engelmann spruce temperature tolerances and preferences

Post  kevin stoeveken on Sun Dec 04, 2016 3:00 pm

one thing we do not consider, but should, is that when these trees are growing in a small pocket of soil and duff, they are constantly being frozen and thawed...

in the garage there is no room for it to receive any light at all...

even though it will be dormant, they still "use" light and i think i should place importance on that as well

this one will be going under the benches with my other high mountain conifers, blocked from the north and west winds, open to the south and partial east, AND the pots buried in mulch...

not to mention a generous scattering of moth balls along with mouse poison blocks...
i remove and dispose of those in spring, but still: sorry environment.

this worked well last year and i expect it will continue to work.

p.s. to leo - i suspect that new buds this year are indicative to its health and the presence of functioning roots...
(it has not been repotted again since collection but appeared to have a small, but solid mass of roots)

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Re: engelmann spruce temperature tolerances and preferences

Post  Dave Leppo on Sun Dec 04, 2016 8:53 pm

"constantly being frozen and thawed"
In a rock pocket, I would imagine the rocks provide a huge thermal mass, tempering temperature swings @ the roots.

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Re: engelmann spruce temperature tolerances and preferences

Post  BobbyLane on Sun Dec 04, 2016 10:24 pm

Dave Leppo wrote:"constantly being frozen and thawed"
In a rock pocket, I would imagine the rocks provide a huge thermal mass, tempering temperature swings @ the roots.

I read that all the dead, fallen needles also act like a mulch for the roots on these trees.
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Re: engelmann spruce temperature tolerances and preferences

Post  kevin stoeveken on Mon Dec 05, 2016 12:56 pm

dave - maybe if they are also covered in snow... but exposed to the sun, perhaps some protection, but i would imagine that depends on the depth of the growing pocket... i dont reckon it would provide much for an exposed, shallow pocket.

bobby... yes they do... the "duff" that doesnt blow, erode or wash away, also becomes part of their substrate.

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