A friend asked me to take over this white pine’s recovery back in March. It was given a death sentence at a master’s workshop last year, because it has a large wound on the trunk that bled profusely. My friend managed to stop the bleeding with cut paste, and stabilize the tree, but didn’t have enough sun in the yard to kick start the recovery.
When I received the tree, it had been slip-potted into this white crate, loosely wired in, and packed with mulch. For a white pine that needs to be pumped up, we need a different course of action. It needs to be immobilized in a freely-draining coarse soil that can dry quickly after watering.
So what to do with a weak tree at repotting time? Start over, assertively, and quickly. When I got it to my garden in early March, I removed it from the mucky soil, worked it loose, bare-rooted one side, and removed a rotted root.
Watered well, topped with some fertilizer cakes, and set in good full sun. Buds were swelling, and I think if I can get those buds to open quickly and start feeding the roots, it has a good chance to make it.
An important note on white pine; they need to stay on the dry side. It is easy to over water them, which will lead to problems. The white pines in my garden are in coarse aggregate; lava, river rock, and akadama, 1:1:1, and are watered once every 3-4 days on average during the summer. Contrast this with the black pines that are sited the same, and watered daily. I do mist the foliage and soil surface each day. Many of the pros jest that the proper watering of a white pine is to spray water in its general direction and move on!