Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Tale of Two Trees

Did you think I was going to talk about my Christmas trees again? Nope, I am going to talk about some pines, but they aren't relegated to the Christmas tree stand, yet!

Recently I visited my old neighborhood. I took a picture of a few trees that we planted on the corner of our lot several years ago. I was astonished at the changes...

Tree #1 and Tree #2 are both Austrian Pines. Tree #1 has less mass than its neighbor, and it is shorter, but, here are some interesting details about the trees:

Tree #1
Planted fall of 2007
Height at planting: 8-10 inches
Caliper at planting: 1/4"
Cost: $3.00

Tree #2
Planted summer of 2008
Height at planting: 5 feet
Caliper at planting: 2-3" 
Cost: $125.00

These trees are perfect examples of what I learned from the tree expert in the Master Gardener class. He told us that in Colorado, where life is a challenge for many plants, it takes one year for every inch of the caliper (diameter) of the trunk at planting for a tree to get established. Once it gets established the tree can put all of its energies into doing what a tree does; adding height and increasing the trunk size. 

Our tiny tree got established within a year and then capitalized on its root system to put the sunlight and water to work to enable it to grow taller and build a bigger trunk. I think it is between 5 and 6 feet in height now. The larger tree took at least two years to get established before it could demonstrate any substantial growth, and it's growth has been slower than that of the smaller tree. It has put on about two feet in height. Like children, the bigger tree will always be bigger than its counterpart, but the tiny twig we planted has certainly shown remarkable growth in a short period of time, and has been working hard at catching up.

I found this fascinating when I took the class, and it was even more interesting to see it with my own eyes. I did get more for my money with the little twig of a tree, however, the catch is that one has to live on the property long enough to appreciate the transformation!


  1. Seeing with your own eyes is much better than reading about or being told. Hummm, isn't this a basic tenet of effective learning.


  2. :) its so neat that you keep records to be able to prove this and show everyone!!!thats why its important to not start bigger trees with a rootball, but use small seedlings - they establish quicker and develop a healthier rootball then one thats transplanted! Time of your to transplant is also important too - you want to do it when the tree is dormant like in the late fall, early plants are the same way - when you pick one out make sure it has little to no blossoms on it so it can concentrate on making roots first, then super strong blossoms and fruit later - even though you cant see them, the roots is what makes the plant! Merry Christmas & happy new year to you and yours btw!

    1. meant to say Time of year, not "your" - im still recuperating from christmas ;)

  3. Interesting facts!
    Must be amazing to have a property pass down from generation to generation for a hundred years or more...and have old photos to compare the growth and changes of the trees and plants.


  4. Yes, Dad has mentioned that. Toward the end he would say, I'm planting this tree for you. I'll never see the fruit but maybe my grand kids will.

  5. Happy New Year Cyndi! I loved the scoop on the trees and learned something. Hope all is well out there. You must be ready for your trip south. Enjoy.

  6. yes..bigger or more expensive is never better in the world of tree planting...but most people don't know that! :)

  7. Very interesting post - you must have a touch of scientist in you. It sounds like you really benefitted from the Master Gardener class. I'll make sure I plant small trees after learning about calipers!


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