We planted 4 trees over a year ago, following all guidelines for planting. Over the winter the south side of the trees (predominant wind side) began to turn brown. This spring all trees show good new growth to upper branches but still a lot of brown. Soil is clay loam, soil test shows good except for: low organic matter, Nitrate, Phosphorus, Potassium and Iron. Trees were fertilized when planted and mulch applied in the fall. Any suggestions?
Crook County Wyoming
Looks like the got a bad case of wind burn or winter freeze/thaw damage. Unfortunately what is dead will not come back, but the tree may fill in and camouflage the damage after a few years of new growth.
Is there a way for you to up up a wind break for them this coming winter? Three metal T posts and some burlap feed sacks or some snow fence would do the trick. There are other methods that would work as well.
The very best thing to help after the wind protection is winter watering.If you can run a hose to them on days when it gets above 45 degrees and the wind is not blowing you can help keep them hydrated, so they do not lose needles and branches to desiccation.
Fell free to contact our office in Casper if you have need of further information or you can always reach us through :ask an expert". .
Thank you. Any thoughts on fertilization?
I do not recommend fertilization after the plant is in such a state of high stress. These trees are just coming out of the ICU, so to speak. They need to build up their reserves and just level off from the stress they had. Then maybe next spring if they get new green growth you can go easy on fertilization, but I would wait a year before pushing a lot of new growth too fast.