Tiny conifer saved from construction site

jdebleser(8)October 6, 2012

Check out the seedling I found next to a bush on a construction site.

The excavators were moving closer and closer, so I dug it up, but I don't have anywhere where I can properly transplant it. I'd like to try raising it in a pot, but I'm not sure what I should do to give it the greatest chance of survival.

Should I leave it in that chunk of soil, padded with some potting mix, until spring/it gets bigger so that I can repot it? Carefully bare-root it now and put it in new potting soil or gritty mix? Put it back in the ground wherever I find a spot, as it won't survive otherwise?

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It should survive if you pot it up in a pot as deep as the one you have in. You have about the right size to rescue from the wild. It looks like you have several seedlings in the clump of soil and I would save the clump as is. Next spring you can sort out what you have. Keep it out in the weather, it would not do well as a house plant. I would use a free draining potting soil such as the 5-1-1. Al

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 12:30PM
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Ok, I'll sneak in to the site monday and grab some more of the same dirt. I've also recently managed to find ingredients for the 1-1-1, so I can repot into that in the spring.

It wouldn't do well as a houseplant because conifers tend to need their dormancy, right?

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 2:55PM
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It will survive, just 'add soil'.

It looks like a cedar to me.
I rescue seedlings all the time, have too many growing and all of them in pots. Yews, cedars, juniper and many decidious trees/shrubs (ninebark, budleia, bluebeard...). You can keep them in pots for years, they will stay smaller if in small pot.
I am in colder zone than you (6a).

Cedar seedlings (larger one is just about 2yrs. old):

Bluebeard and juniper seedlings (juniper is about 2.5yrs old)


    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 3:18PM
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You are right, they will not do good inside.

If you like to grow conifer indoors, try Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla synonym A. excelsa), they need warm climate.
(I don't have one, found photo googling)

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 6:48PM
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Interesting suggestion, Rina - thanks. I'll see if I can find some seeds.
I don't object to growing outside but I just don't have the space, so I will have to leave this little tree at a at friend's place.

It does look like those cedars, but darker green and a tighter whorl.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 4:58AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Where are you located, Jw?
That'lll help narrow down the identity.

"Cedar" is a common name, these days, and this doesn't look like a true Cedrus.
The young foliage reminds me of Juniper, thuja.


    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 3:39PM
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I'm located in Leuven, Belgium.

Nearest trees, according to the plans on the link below, were three Douglas Spars and a Fijne Spar, or according to Wikipedia Pseudotsuga menziesii and Picea abies. For the rest, there's all kinds of stuff planted on the property: I've noted redwoods, sequoia and cypress.

I'll take a better photo of the little tree during the week, as the one above was shot with a camera phone.


Here is a link that might be useful: University webcam of the construction

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 4:19PM
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I should have been more specific, I was thinking of Arbovitae.
I thought that most look very similar when very small seedlings?


Very good chance it's one the the trees growing in that area.


    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 8:59PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Thanks, Jw.

We can safely say that it is not Pseudotsuga menziesii, Picea abies, or Sequoia.

Juniper, Thuja, Cypress....probably one of those, I would assume. As it ages, it will
be easier to identify by the maturing foliage. There is a nice Conifer Forum at GardenWeb,
with a particularly sharp group of European conifer growers/collectors.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 11:12AM
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jimbobfeeny(5a IN)

Juniperus virginiana - Eastern redcedar. Despite the name, it is a juniper, not a cedar. Mature trees have a gnarled, twisted character about them, with flat, scale-like needles. Young ones are prickly as heck! (Just try mowing under them)

Beautiful tree, though, and extremely adaptable.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 5:00PM
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Here's a slightly better photo. Wish I had a macro lens, however. You might notice I found a few more when I went to get some more dirt.

Thanks for helping identify it, everyone! I'll try my best to keep them alive and find a good home for them.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 3:36AM
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