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Three considerations when caring for your conifer

Conifers are plants with bark-covered trunks and woody stems. They are mostly evergreen and while they often grow into large trees, there are some dwarf varieties with slower growth. Here are three considerations to ensure your conifer reaches a healthy and self-reliant stage:

Planting

Dig a hole no deeper than the root ball, but twice as wide. If the soil is poor quality, add some soil improver, but if it’s of decent quality, some bone meal will be enough. Loosen the root ball prior to planting, especially if it arrived to you in a pot or container. Backfill with soil so that the root crown is just visible. You can lay mulch around the root ball, slightly away from the trunk – this will keep roots cool in summer and warm in winter, retain moisture and supress weeds.

Watering

Straight after planting, water the conifer thoroughly. While it is establishing, you will need to keep your conifer well hydrated and make sure the soil never dries out. Remember that lower branches can act like an umbrella, so rainwater doesn’t necessarily do the job. After a year or so, once their roots are established, most conifers will get enough water on their own.

Staking

Until the conifer can stand upright on its own, you could stake it for support. This is particularly relevant if it is in a windy area. However, the trunk will gain strength from being able to flex a little, so only stake for as long as truly necessary.

Once established and a little older, conifers don’t need much attention, other than some feeding if it starts to look a little unhealthy. They tend to be sturdy plants that thrive once grown.

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