How To Care For Young Balsam Fir In Hot Weather

Question From: East Brunswick, New Jersey, United States
Q: QUESTION ABOUT TRANSPLANTED TREE. ABIES BALSAMEA : I found out my 2 foot tree I took from the Adirondack mountains in winter 2012 is a Balsam Fir.Last year this two-foot baby looked like it was doing nothing, and did nothing for a year.B U T >> YOU HAD TOLD ME THAT it is getting over the shock of transplant and setting roots..This year,this thing has taken off!! branches have doubled in size, the top grew 8 inches, side branches budded out in the spring... QUESTION: just water, water water? or is it safe to side dress with a diluted HOLLY TONE ?? whats the best thing to do?? as of mid-June in NJ where ""DILLON " ( the tree ) is growing, we have had a lot of 80's and our hot humid July-August 90-degree days are coming. I want to be sure Abies Balsamea gets the best care and mostly I dont want to kill it. It has a lot of sentimental value.. Help please ??SUGGESTIONS?experience? How to move forward??

A: Hopefully "Dillon" is planted in an area that is protected from wind. He is not tolerant of drought, so water enough to keep the soil around his roots moist but not sodden. I recommend you get a moisture meter and check the contents of the soil weekly to get an idea how often to water. Reotemp  Instruments makes good ones and some are inexpensive. You can fertilize Dillon with Holly Tone at half the recommended rate in late fall. I would also mulch around his base with 3 to 4 inches of pine bark or wood chips keeping them 4 inches away from his trunk. The big issue is the woolly adelgid, a bug that is decimating Abies species. Google it and read up on its spread and control. I recommend you talk to a certified arborist regarding ongoing care.  Go to find one in your area. 
Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy

Q: Dillon is going to be HAPPY-HAPPY. with all this great care! QUESTION 2: :: I have Dillon staked with panty hose, 3 stakes in a triangle so he doesnt whip around in the wind; and I have moved the panty hose "ropes" up a bit so there is no mold or anything inhibiting his bark or growing underneath where this touches him.. He has only one center shoot reaching for the sky and the new growth on that shoot was 6 inches this spring from last year. Side shoots on top seem to be longer than those on the bottom. OK HERE IT IS ::>>> Q: When is it recommended that I start to prune back, should I just let DILLON grow and wait till He is a certain height till I start trying to get him into that CHRISTMAS TREE-TRIANGLE shape? I want to try to get him real compact if I can... SUGGESTIONS for Spring 2015 ??,.

A: John, Dillion should not be stressed up so tight his trunk will be unable to move. The movement in the wind will strengthen the trunk. The reason for protection from wind is prevention of winter burn. To encourage bushiness give him a light shearing in late winter or early spring while the tree is still dormant. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy