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Potting a Nordic Spruce (picea abies) outdoors - advice?

Hi

I am looking into buying a 5-6ft pot-grown Nordic Spruce and potting in the garden. I am not interested in bringing it indoors for Christmas, as it will always be kept outdoors.

I was just wondering what useful advice anyone could give (e.g. what size pot to use and how far away from boundaries it should be sited)?

I've never planted a tree before so am completely new to this.

I'm thinking of potting in a container to begin with, so I can easily relocate it elsewhere in the garden if needed, before transferring to a permanent location in the soil.

Thanks

5-6ft tree on right:

Picture of garden:

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Posts

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 41,327
    The size of pot depends on the rootball, but to keep it happy for a couple of years or more, use something around 12 to 15 inches diameter, and use a soil based medium for it. Compost is no use long term for any shrub or tree.
    Other than that, it won't need much other than ensuring it has enough water in dry weather - even reasonably consistent rain will struggle to penetrate the canopy and will leave the pot contents dry. Much easier when in the ground. You can site it pretty much anywhere while in the pot - they aren't bothered by aspect  :)

    As to siting it in the ground eventually - they do get a bit big...  ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 7,087
    Check that it's "pot grown" rather than "potted" - it should say on the label.  A potted tree will have a few roots but usually not enough to sustain it.

    Mature height is 40-60 feet (around 12-18 metres) and spread is half that... they do indeed get a bit big!
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 41,327
    Try double that height @Liriodendron ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Check that it's "pot grown" rather than "potted" - it should say on the label.  A potted tree will have a few roots but usually not enough to sustain it.

    Mature height is 40-60 feet (around 12-18 metres) and spread is half that... they do indeed get a bit big!
    Thanks, I didn't realise there was a difference.

    I don't suppose you can tell by the size of the pot in the photo above, if it's likely to have substantial roots? Or would the pot have to be much deeper/wider to have a good root system? 
  • I've bought a few potted Christmas trees, normally 18" high at most, and the root system has always been tiny, hacked to get into the pot, then any old soil (mostly stones in my case) chucked in. The trees have always survived because I kept them in a sheltered aspect and it's easy with a small tree but a bigger one will need more attention. It's going to be impossible to know if it has a chance without taking it out of its pot, it's true to say a pot grown tree could have a root ball that size but it would still need plenty of tlc when put in the ground.   
  • I've bought a few potted Christmas trees, normally 18" high at most, and the root system has always been tiny, hacked to get into the pot, then any old soil (mostly stones in my case) chucked in. The trees have always survived because I kept them in a sheltered aspect and it's easy with a small tree but a bigger one will need more attention. It's going to be impossible to know if it has a chance without taking it out of its pot, it's true to say a pot grown tree could have a root ball that size but it would still need plenty of tlc when put in the ground.   
    Out of interest, what sort of price did you pay please? The 5-6ft ones I'm looking at are £25 from a local market seller, but B&Q charge £49 for the same height. I'm wondering if the additional price for being pot-grown is the reason why, or just because it's a national retailer...?
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 4,877
    The ones being sold as Christmas trees at this time of year are most likely potted. If you want pot-grown, it would be better to go to a nursery or garden centre (garden plants section not Christmas trees section).
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 7,087
    I was going by a height suggested on Tinternet, @Fairygirl... but now I see other sites claim it reaches 70-100 feet...   :o
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • I've bought a few potted Christmas trees, normally 18" high at most, and the root system has always been tiny, hacked to get into the pot, then any old soil (mostly stones in my case) chucked in. The trees have always survived because I kept them in a sheltered aspect and it's easy with a small tree but a bigger one will need more attention. It's going to be impossible to know if it has a chance without taking it out of its pot, it's true to say a pot grown tree could have a root ball that size but it would still need plenty of tlc when put in the ground.   
    Out of interest, what sort of price did you pay please? The 5-6ft ones I'm looking at are £25 from a local market seller, but B&Q charge £49 for the same height. I'm wondering if the additional price for being pot-grown is the reason why, or just because it's a national retailer...?
    Mine were several years ago when prices seemed to be far cheaper than they are today. They were different species but the foot-18" blue spruce ones were £10 (now £22 from what I've seem) and slightly bigger nordman fir ones I paid about £20. 
    £25 sounds like a good price but it also means they are more likely to just be potted. I saw some today that were without roots and they were £55. If you are happy with the price and want to take the chance then there is some possibility that you can keep it going if you give it some tlc and have it in a more shady spot until new roots develop. I've bought plenty of bare root trees that I didn't give much chance because the roots were tiny and all but one have gone on to be decent trees.
  • AngelicantAngelicant CheshirePosts: 82
    You do have a nice long garden to plant it in but bear in mind that in a few years it's potentially likely to cause a problem for your neighbours depending on your orientation and it's not the type of tree that you can limit the height as they lose their lovely shape.
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