Surviving or Thriving?

I ran into a client the other evening while out to dinner with my family, and she told me how amazed she was at the superb growth of her trees that we had planted for her just 3 years ago. She reminded me that her back porch was all too close to the neighbor’s bay window and even her six foot tall privacy fence did not offer enough privacy. We had suggested planting some Austrian Pine Trees, but the access was so limited that we could only get six foot tall trees into her back yard. She was very skeptical at the time because the trees were only as tall as her fence and she assumed that it would take a long time for them to grow up and block the neighbor’s view. We assured her that if she would let us “do it right” then the trees would thrive and grow quickly to accomplish her goal of privacy. She skeptically quipped “what does it mean to DO IT RIGHT?” We explained:

  • Planting trees correctly in the first place is very important. Many of the trees that our arborist encounters were not planted correctly and their growth is stunted as a result.
  • Every tree must be fertilized at least once each year. Trees are not native to most of Casper because the soil is so poor. A proper nutrition plan is a must.
  • A high quality tree fertilizer will contain elemental compounds that can lower the soil’s high pH that is detrimental to growth. The soil in Casper has a high pH: this is the primary reason that trees grow so slowly here in our town.
  • A high quality tree fertilizer should be administered in the area where the feeder roots are growing, which is about 6 inches below the surface. This area, called the rhizosphere, can only be fertilized effectively by injecting high pressure water and nutrients that breaks up the clay soil: this then promotes exponential root growth. This type of fertilization is accomplished with the use of a 6 inch probe attached to a high pressure pump capable of building over 300PSI.
  • Conifer trees like pine and spruce should be sprayed with a protective coating that helps protect them against our dry winter winds. (Remember, trees weren’t growing here before) The wind completely sucks the moisture out of the pores in the needles which ultimately causes the tree to die on that side. This protective coating helps to prevent that.

She agreed to let us “do it right” and over the last 3 years we did just that: now the trees are over 12 feet tall, and she can’t see the neighbors anymore. Casper is a tough place to grow anything, but don’t give up just “do it right.”

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