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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last year I planted 400 red pine seedlings in late April. A lot of them looked to be dead in the late fall, even though we had a lot of rain over summer 2019. I am in the Baldwin area, with sandy soil. I am trying to screen my property from the road, and wondering if you guys have other suggestions? I also planted 75 Norway Spruce- 25 transplants, and 50 seedlings. Most of my transplants died, and I am unsure of those seedlings. I have read white spruce is more tolerant of crappy soils, but wondering if I should plant a bunch of white pine, since they can basically grow in beach sand? Any guidance would be appreciated.

Regards,

CB
 

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I'd revisit the planting and following care process first by samples.

I've lost plantings years ago by not tamping the soil .
Stuff dried out.

Watering is important after most plantings to further settle soil and fill air voids.
Plus water is needed to get fine roots hairs working. (Assuming they never dried out when handling , and were kept damp to preserve them.) Those roots need planted good too without stressing or folding them.
And "J-hooks" are often fatal.

A few test samples of different species (again) and good watering might be revealing.
 

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Agree with Waif that if you get a "J" in a bare root seedling that tree isn't going anywhere. I gave up planting bare root conifers years ago. It is just so much easier and faster to plant plugs and I have had probably 99% survival rate from the thousands that I have planted. I keep the plugs in water while planting and try to water them at least once if we have drought conditions but even those that I never watered after planting seem to survive well.

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I had a welder buddy of mine make me a plug planting tool which is the same size as the plugs I plant....Ideally about 1/2" longer than the plugs so rain water/runoff will flow into the hole at the top of the tree.

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It makes the perfect sized hole so there is little to no air pockets around the roots.

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set the plug in the hole...

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and tamp it down some with the tool or your foot and move on to the next one.

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Agree with Waif that if you get a "J" in a bare root seedling that tree isn't going anywhere. I gave up planting bare root conifers years ago. It is just so much easier and faster to plant plugs and I have had probably 99% survival rate from the thousands that I have planted. I keep the plugs in water while planting and try to water them at least once if we have drought conditions but even those that I never watered after planting seem to survive well.

View attachment 514109

I had a welder buddy of mine make me a plug planting tool which is the same size as the plugs I plant....Ideally about 1/2" longer than the plugs so rain water/runoff will flow into the hole at the top of the tree.

View attachment 514111

It makes the perfect sized hole so there is little to no air pockets around the roots.

View attachment 514113

set the plug in the hole...

View attachment 514115

and tamp it down some with the tool or your foot and move on to the next one.

View attachment 514117
Thanks! Are you still ordering plugs from out of state? Any in state options that are decently priced? Shipping is always an arm and a leg when required, so I am hoping to find somewhere in Michigan where I could pick them up.
 

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If you have a high deer density you are bound to experience some browsing on your trees. In my area - these are the browse preference I have found - highest browse pressure to lowest:

1. White Pine
2. Red Pine
3. Norway Spruce
4. White Spruce

YMMV as I understand that most deer in the lower peninsula don't browse red pine but that is not the case here in the U.P.

If you are planting these conifers for a screen you want to plant spruce on the outside. I like 3 staggered rows. It is OK to plant pine but you want those to be on the inside of your screen as when they mature they will lose their lower branches and you will lose your screen. Spruce - particularly the Norways maintain branches all the way to the ground for their entire life.
 
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Thanks! Are you still ordering plugs from out of state? Any in state options that are decently priced? Shipping is always an arm and a leg when required, so I am hoping to find somewhere in Michigan where I could pick them up.
Do not order from North Central Reforestation in Minnesota. The new owners are just crooks. They never delivered my 2018 order and have refused to return my deposit. They won't answer my phone calls or emails. I filed a complaint with Attorney General office in both MN and MI. MI AG sent them 2 letters and they never responded to either so I am just SOL on my deposit. ******* crooks.

I also had a bad experience with Evergreen Nursery in Munising so I would not order from them either.

If I plant conifers again I will order from Itasca Greenhousewww.itascagreenhouse.com in Minnesota. They are a little more expensive (although still less than ordering from you local CD if you order in bulk), but they have excellent products and customer service.
 
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Do not order from North Central Reforestation in Minnesota. The new owners are just crooks. They never delivered my 2018 order and have refused to return my deposit. They won't answer my phone calls or emails. I filed a complaint with Attorney General office in both MN and MI. MI AG sent them 2 letters and they never responded to either so I am just SOL on my deposit. ******* crooks.
Hey, Wild Thing they were generous to my last year in June. I asked for a quote for 450 WP plugs. They never got back to me. Come June and here comes a box of 500 WP plugs. I email said send me a return shipper within five days or I will get rid of them. They never got back with me. I gave a couple hundred to a buddy and the rest I put in my nursery. Just dug up 15 yesterday and put them out at the hunting grounds at another area that was never utilized.
 

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Do not order from North Central Reforestation in Minnesota. The new owners are just crooks. They never delivered my 2018 order and have refused to return my deposit. They won't answer my phone calls or emails. I filed a complaint with Attorney General office in both MN and MI. MI AG sent them 2 letters and they never responded to either so I am just SOL on my deposit. ******* crooks.
Hey, Wild Thing they were generous to my last year in June. I asked for a quote for 450 WP plugs. They never got back to me. Come June and here comes a box of 500 WP plugs. I email said send me a return shipper within five days or I will get rid of them. They never got back with me. I gave a couple hundred to a buddy and the rest I put in my nursery. Just dug up 15 yesterday and put them out at the hunting grounds at another area that was never utilized.
My neighbor got 1,000 from NCR last year and they were in such poor condition they hesitated to even plant them but went ahead and planted anyway. Almost all of them died the first summer. If you order from them again...tell them to go ahead and use my deposit on your order.
 

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Here is an example of what I mentioned above about planting the spruce on the outside of your screen. These Red Pine and Norway Spruce were planted at the same time. The spruce will have lower branches all the way to ground level forever. The Norway in the center of the photos is a little spindly yet but it will fill in and look more like those on the right side. In a few years, the bottom branches on the Red Pine will be 6-8 feet above ground level....and eventually they will be 20+ feet above ground level - not much of a screen.

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They were a freebie! :)
 

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A lot of good advice and posts already. Because you are planting for a screen your choices are limited. To provide a screen as the tree ages you have to have a tree that will not lose bottom branches. Therefore for this limits you to spruce in the options you offered in your post. Between the Norway and White, the Norway is faster growing but deer like to forage or top them, at least by me. The White spruce is a little slower but has a longer life expectancy. The big advantages to White spruce, is they are native not as desirable to deer browse and are drought tolerant (to a point).

Another tree that is a little faster grower but may exhibit deer browse but also may lose bottom branches but is drought tolerant from what I have read is Douglas fir. Important to keep in mind if wanting lower branches is keep trees 12 to 14 ft apart to allow sunlight to bottom branches. For what your wanting I would go with what you know will keep lower branches and drought tolerant, white spruce. Less likely to lose them from drought and being topped by deer browse but building a screen in the years to come.
 

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A lot of good advice and posts already. Because you are planting for a screen your choices are limited. To provide a screen as the tree ages you have to have a tree that will not lose bottom Less likely to lose them from drought and being topped by deer browse but building a screen in the years to come.
Good point about the White Spruce which I didn't mention in my post is that I don't think I have ever seen one browsed. Although, while I have had Norway Spruce browsed in some years, this past winter I only found 1 that had been browsed, so while maybe not quite as browse resistant as White Spruce, they are still far better than either White or Red Pine in both browse resistance and screening capability.
 

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Last year I planted 400 red pine seedlings in late April. A lot of them looked to be dead in the late fall, even though we had a lot of rain over summer 2019. I am in the Baldwin area, with sandy soil. I am trying to screen my property from the road, and wondering if you guys have other suggestions? I also planted 75 Norway Spruce- 25 transplants, and 50 seedlings. Most of my transplants died, and I am unsure of those seedlings. I have read white spruce is more tolerant of crappy soils, but wondering if I should plant a bunch of white pine, since they can basically grow in beach sand? Any guidance would be appreciated.

Regards,

CB
I ordered Norway and White Spruce from Itasca last year, and more Norway and White, plus some Fraser Fir because they had a deal on them, this year. Great to work with. They didn't have any Red or White Pine left, and after searching online for a bit, I came across https://www.nurserymen.com/store/. Just received the pine plugs from Nurserymen and they look good. Prices are a little higher than Itasca, but they are in the SW MI area, and Rick there is helpful and responsive. Their website has a bunch of good info on it too.
 

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Good point about the White Spruce which I didn't mention in my post is that I don't think I have ever seen one browsed. Although, while I have had Norway Spruce browsed in some years, this past winter I only found 1 that had been browsed, so while maybe not quite as browse resistant as White Spruce, they are still far better than either White or Red Pine in both browse resistance and screening capability.
I planted 250 plugs a few weeks ago and I probably have 10-12 topped already. Weeds can’t grow fast enough to hide them.
 

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I planted 250 plugs a few weeks ago and I probably have 10-12 topped already. Weeds can’t grow fast enough to hide them.
White Spruce?
 

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I planted 250 plugs a few weeks ago and I probably have 10-12 topped already. Weeds can’t grow fast enough to hide them.
In late November I noticed some of my Norway and White Spruce had been browsed. I had planted 900 so fencing wasn’t an option. I came across the bud capping technique. It’s a little harder to do it with the shorter needles of spruce trees and it’s labor intensive for that many, but very cheap to do and it’s been working so far. Here’s a link to one video, there’s a few others out there:
 

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Agree with Waif that if you get a "J" in a bare root seedling that tree isn't going anywhere. I gave up planting bare root conifers years ago. It is just so much easier and faster to plant plugs and I have had probably 99% survival rate from the thousands that I have planted. I keep the plugs in water while planting and try to water them at least once if we have drought conditions but even those that I never watered after planting seem to survive well.

View attachment 514109

I had a welder buddy of mine make me a plug planting tool which is the same size as the plugs I plant....Ideally about 1/2" longer than the plugs so rain water/runoff will flow into the hole at the top of the tree.

View attachment 514111

It makes the perfect sized hole so there is little to no air pockets around the roots.

View attachment 514113

set the plug in the hole...

View attachment 514115

and tamp it down some with the tool or your foot and move on to the next one.

View attachment 514117
Do you put your plugs right in a bucket with water in the bottom then Wild Thing? Does any of the soil get washed out of them? I have 500 plugs hopefully coming soon and it's my first time dealing with them. Thanks :)
 
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