I am looking for information on transplanting fir trees as it relates to zone 5 (North-Central Mass.) I recently transplanted 25 fir trees, all six to seven ft. tall. The project started early September and ended mid-October. The temperature was in the 60's when I started but now is in the 50's and drops down to the 20's at night. What can I do to protect these trees, to keep them from freezing and to keep them alive through the winter? Should they be mulched and with what? Should they be fertilized? I built a well around each tree to hold a small reservoir of water and I watered them twice a week. The trees all look very well. They are not wilting, have not yellowed or lost needles. The soil I removed from the holes was not very good, consisting of loam, silt, clay and some shale. I removed all of the debris and treated the soil with tree and shrub pottingmix, peatmoss and organic compost from cow manure. I planted them in holes measuring 36"x36"x12". The balls measured approx. 30'x30"x8'. Any advice you can give me will be very much appreciated. Thank you for your consideration in this regard.
Certain tree species are considered a “fall (autumn) planting risk”meaning that trees of this species have a higher risk of failure and poor growth when planted in the fall. Fir is one of the species listed as a fall planting risk and it is recommended that planting only be done in the spring. There is much speculation as to why some species don’t transplant successfully in the fall months but, the fact is that we do not fully understand the reasons for this.
Ensuring the plants have adequate soil moisture before the soil freezes is important. Mulches applied to the soil will also help conserve moisture and promote root development and establishment. Fertilization now will not influence establishment but should be considered in spring. Finally, any protection that can be given from wind would be helpful in preventing desiccation.
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