White Pines in pots

Asked April 29, 2016, 5:04 PM EDT

I have purchased a couple white pines ( 2 & 3 ft) to plant at our cabin in Nisswa but I am not able to plant them for a couple weeks. They are currently in the nursery pots. How long can they stay in the pots? Where should they be placed outside prior to planting; partial sun, full shade? When should I prune the bottom branches? Thank you! Cathy Robinson

Anoka County Minnesota

1 Response

Hi Cathy, and thanks for contacting AaE.

I'm sending a link from the DNR that talks about White Pines, and how to transplant them. The link talks about pruning, and how to dig a proper hole to receive the new trees.

I am assuming that these trees have been field grown (they are at least two years old), and therefore do not need to be protected from the sun.

Field-potted nursery stock are field-grown plants dug with a ball of field soil intact which is then placed as is, in a container. These plants should be sold and planted during the spring, as field soil will not provide good plant growth in a container. It is important that the root ball be disturbed as little as possible during the digging and planting process, provided you supply them with adequate water at all times. Make sure the soil is wet, but not dripping when you take them out of the pots. If the soil is too dry roots will break.

Watering them after planting for at least two years is crucial! If you or a neighbor can't water them regularly, make sure they are heavily (and properly) mulched, cross your fingers and hope for lots of rain. Here is a link that will help you determine how much, and how often to water these young trees:

White Pines are beautiful, iconic trees here in the Midwest. They can live for hundreds of years and provide beauty, shade, habitat and sensual delight. Good luck planting and nurturing these babies...They will reward you for years to come.