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Planting of Conifers

Updated February 21, 2017

Conifers are evergreen trees that bear their seeds in cones. These plants range in style from trees with needle-like leaves such as pines and firs to trees like juniper with scale-type leaves and yew with leaves in flat, feather-like arrangements. Planting a conifer correctly is essential to the tree's survival. An incorrectly planted conifer will be weakened and more susceptible to insects and diseases if it does not quickly die.

Check the soil in late winter or early spring before planting conifers. A conifer should be planted when the top 10 inches of soil are moist. The top inch of the soil should be thawed and there should be no more than 2 inches of snow on the ground.

Select dormant conifer seedlings for planting. Conifer roots should be kept covered by a moist towel until you place them into the ground. If conifer roots dry out, the seedling will die. Take the conifers out to be planted on a day when the wind does not exceed 20 miles per hour.

Select a location that receives full sun and has well-drained soil. Measure the root length and divide by three. Add this number back to the root measurement. This is the size you should dig your hole to allow for good root development. For example, if the roots of your conifer seedling are 9 inches long, you should dig a hole that is 12 inches deep. This will allow for root development and for loosened soil around the roots so they will develop stronger.

Place the tree within the planting hole and spread out the roots. The roots should never bend in a J shape. A conifer tree should be planted at the same depth that it was grown at in the plant nursery. Fill in the space between the tree roots and the wall of the hole with moist soil. Never allow rocks, sticks or dry litter to fall into the hole. Conifer roots can dry out and die if they touch these areas.

Remove competing weeds or other vegetation near the tree for approximately two years by removing them with a rake and shovel. Competing vegetation can steal water or nutrients form the plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
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About the Author

Tracy Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Arkansas.