Hello from Norway!
I am desperate to save this tree, so any help will be highly appreciated.
I will start with the problem and give the background story last as it may not be necessary for you guys giving me advice.
I collected an awesome scots pine this spring, but I didn’t get nearly as much roots as I hoped for and I suspect the tree is struggling. I base this on slightly yellowing on the needle tips and buds not breaking, although all pines I can see in the wild have formed needles at this point in time, I also think the foliage color is not as vibrant green anymore.
This is my measures so far:
-It was planted in pumice as I did not have any wood chips at the time unfortunately, but now I have added 2-3 inches on top of the pumice (From Randy Knights aftercare stream the added heat from wood chips breaking down and the beneficial microbial activity will help on root growth).
-I set up a party tent with three walls so the tree only gets morning sun.
-It has been a 4-5 day cold period with shade and rain here now, so I have used a fan oven to give the roots some heat and increase airflow from underneath (planted in a half pallet firmly set on the grown). The oven keeps the air below the pallet at roughly 90 deg. Fahrenheit(30-32C).
-I have set up an automatic system that mists the foliage and trunk 2 minutes every hour from sunrise to sun set.
-I have shielded the soil so it does not get any water from the misting.
-I let the soil dry pretty good before watering (approximately every three days even with the oven on). It has been raining heavy so the air is quite humid.
-Every 10 days I have sprayed the foliage, trunk and branches with liquid fertilizer at full strength, I have shielded the soil to avoid fertilizer there.
Still the buds do not swell or show sign of growth and we are now expecting a warmer period with sun.
I am desperate to what I can do to give it the best chance of survival. I have been thinking of some additional measures, and some might seem a bit extreme, and I don’t want to make matters worse so please advise.
- Artificial plant lights. Keeping it from afternoon and evening sun reduces the heat and the stress in the roots. But to get the tree as strong as possible I am thinking of adding artificial plant light so it will continue photosynthesis at a higher rate but not require high water transpiration due to heat.
- Or is it better to remove the light altogether and keeping it in a moist environment (black bag technique)?
- Remove some foliage to reduce the stress on the roots. If so I would just pluck out needles instead of cutting branches as the that will require a lot of energy from the tree to heal, or is this a bad idea in any case?
- Taking the tree out of the wood box and replant it on a thin layer of wood chips on landscape fabric. I am afraid it will disturb the minimum of roots present so I am reluctant to do so, but if that is what it takes…
And some more extreme thoughts
5. Can I trick the tree do go in to dormancy again without the buds having broken out? I am thinking I can gradually reduce the light it receives to simulate summer going to autumn and then to winter. If necessary, I will build an insulated shelter around it install a cooler to get the temperature down below 41 deg. (5 Celsius). I could then simulate spring again in August/September or so with artificial heat and lights before slowly taking it to dormancy in November/December.
6. Another idea is to drill a hole in the trunk connect it to a hose and have a column of water slightly higher than the tree, gravity feeding water directly in to this hole to get water transport up to the foliage. Haven’t seen this anywhere or know if it might work, but desperate times gives desperate measures.
The background story:
I started preparing this tree from a bog 1,5 year ago by removing field soil close to the trunk and pack pumice in. Also added some root hormone to the existing roots. I also did a half circle of digging around the tree. Early this year I cut the other half of the circle. In May we had a heat spell and the tree had no shade to hide from the intense sun. I also had another tree that had the same treatment, although a bit weaker, die at that time, so I thought the best thing to was to dig it up so I could get it in the shade and keep the foliage moist. Due to the urgency, I did not prepare any wood chips but planted in a half pallet with pumice and landscape fabric as bottom mesh.
Previous thread where I have asked for help on this tree: