Sunday, September 12, 2010

ponderosa treatment

I got a mail about ponderosa care and I think my answers will interest some folks:

> (1) The bark on the lower 2 inches of the tree are covered in this orange growth (see photo) that is causing the bark to loosen and peel away. Have you had this happen to your trees? What do you do?
> (2) The tree pushed out many new buds and has backbudded well this fall. At some terminals, there are multiple buds (see photos). How do you treat these terminals? Do you remove buds now or let them all grow in spring?
> (3) What do you do to your ponderosa in spring? How do you achieve denser foliage without having the branches grow longer? Do you cut shoots in spring?

1) the thing at the bark close to the soil is calcium that comes from your watering. It is not dangerous, just ugly. Take quite strong vinegar and brush it onto the bark where it has these stains. The stains will go. But they will come back if you continue to water the way you do.

2) the multiple buds are a real bud right in the center and round it male flowers for next spring. It is possible to pluck off the ring of flowers right now carefully by not hurting the central bud. It is not absolutely necessary. I just leave them and have flowers next spring. The male flowers are ugly though BTW.

3) When they have candles which they rarely do I pinch them in half. Otherwise you get ponderosas dense by the following measures:

very well draining substrate, watering frequently and aggressively, meaning you have to flush the tree so that the water goes through the substrate and comes out of the bottom holes
Feeding every two weeks with liquid fertilizer that is for NORMAL house plants. You get it in every garden center. Read the instructions and use double the suggested strength. In the beginning of May and at the end of August feed organically. I use chicken sh..t or bat guano. The chicken stuff smells, the bat guano does not smell but it is expensive. You get it on the internet, just google bat guano.
Full sun throughout the whole day, from 7 am to 7 pm. then your ponderosa will grow like hell an throw lots of buds.

good luck