Return to the Irrigation Forum | Post a Follow-Up

Proper Quantity of water for pine tree seedlings via drip irrigat

Posted by jeffreym Central Michigan (My Page) on
Mon, Nov 26, 07 at 14:02

I have some open land in Central Michigan that I want to reclaim with pine trees. They get full sun for most of the day. The soil is classified by Michigan State University soil test as "loamy sand" with low,high,low NPK. I currently grow pumpkins under black plastic mulch with tee tape drip irrigation with holes spaced every 8 inches. I would like to know the "ultimate range" of water I could deliver to several hundred pine tree seedlings that I will be getting from the County Conservation District this spring. They will be Red Pine and White Pine (maybe some Jack Pine also). I can grow them under the plastic, or without the plastic. I can drip for as long or short as I want (timers), and as often (daily, weekly, monthly?) as I want. So my question is, what would be the perfect amount of water to give to these 2-4 year seedlings (12 to 28 inches tall). Some are just a couple of years old and some are transplants from seed beds. Again, sandy loam, full sun. The area around is an old pine plantation with 50 foot red and white pines, so I know they grow naturally....I just want to speed things along (deer cover). Also, I do have a fertalizer injector, so any information on that would be helpful also.
Thanks a bunch....Jeff-

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Proper Quantity of water for pine tree seedlings via drip irr

jeffreym, two observations.
We laid out a tree farm under continuous drip irrigation (1 gallon/hr., reclaimed water, per tree). The trees were in "grow bags" and within a month all the pine trees (Pinus elliottii) showed signs of stress. The irrigation to that part of the farm was shut off and the pines recovered. They were left alone and thrived.
In these parts, many housing sub divisions have been constructed in areas where pine trees were dominant. Within three years (my "guesstimate) very many had succumbed to the combined effects of lawn irrigation and fertilization.
Hope this helps.

RE: Proper Quantity of water for pine tree seedlings via drip irr

So, basically...don't give them supplemental water.

RE: Proper Quantity of water for pine tree seedlings via drip irr

Give them water, but sparingly. A 24" tree is about what I grow in a 2 gallon pot. They get about a quart of water spread over 90 minutes when they get watered. I don't water until the top two inches are bone dry.

You will probably be fine if you mulch them for about 4' around with black plastic to keep the weeds from competing with them.

Planting in the field like this, when you water them give them about 1-2 gallons each.

When you plant them, dig a fairly deep hole. (Power post hole diggers are great...) Fill in to the bottom of the pine roots, place the tree, and finish filling. You want some loose porous soil under the tree. Now water it well.
Much of the water will end up under the tree. Which is where you want the roots to go.

Be carefull of light watering. This will encourage the roots to stay at the surface. They become dependent on you, and when you forget, they die.

I'm a bit surprised that you have white pine natively on sandy soil. Most white pines I've seen have been on moist lowland soils that didn't have much sand. White pine may need shelter to get started. Your conservation office will know. In any case I'd expect white pine to need more water than either red or jack.

Other pines to consider are lodgepole and scots. Both are more symetrical that jack. The lodgepole tends to be taller and thinner.

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Irrigation Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here