the Wollemi Pine
 


Taking care of a Wollemi Pine
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The Wollemi Pine, the ultimate survivor, is proving to be hardy and versatile in cultivation. It is not only attractive and striking in appearance, it is easy to grow and low maintenance.

It will adapt to a diverse range of climatic zones, thriving in full sun to semi-shaded outdoor positions.

It is a stunning feature tree for large gardens and parklands. It can be maintained in a pot almost indefinitely, so is well suited to patios, verandahs and courtyards. It can also be used as indoor decoration in well lit areas as it is able to tolerate air-conditioning.

Taking care of the Wollemi Pine as:


The Wollemi Pine as an indoor/outdoor pot plant

As the Wollemi Pine can be maintained in a pot almost indefinitely, it is well suited to patios, verandahs and courtyards. It can also be used as indoor decoration in well lit areas as it is able to tolerate air-conditioning.

Watering
The appropriate watering of both indoor and outdoor pot plants is essential for good health and survival. The best way to know when your pot plant requires watering is to regularly check the moisture content of the potting mix by feeling the top 5cm of the potting mix with your finger. This may be once every one or two weeks. If dry, completely saturate the potting mix.

If it is an indoor plant, place it in a shady position outside before saturating the potting mix and return the plant indoors after it has drained. It is important not to over water or have the plant sitting in a saucer of water. As a general rule of thumb, the lower the light level, the less water loss.

Remember to only water when dry. Even in hot, dry conditions, do not water daily, and only water when the potting mix is dry.

Positioning
For an outdoor living area such as a balcony or courtyard, choose a sheltered location out of the full sun. Before placing the Wollemi Pine in the full sun, it is recommended to gradualy condition the plant to its new environment. If placed in the full sun, they will initially develop a slight yellowing of the foliage, as do other rainforest and Araucariaceae species. However, they do regain their regular deep green appearance within six months.

As an indoor plant your Wollemi Pine should be placed in a well lit position preferably near a window or doorway. As with all indoor plants, especially trees, the Wollemi Pine occasionally needs to be placed outdoors in a sheltered, shaded area. It is recommended this be done for one week out of every month.

Shaping
The Wollemi Pine can be shaped using sterile secateurs at any time of the year to maintain its compact form. Pruning can be done on the upright stems and branches. New buds will generally develop from just below the cut.

Fertilising
A slow release low phosphorus fertilizer suitable for native trees in combination with a foliar fertiliser will promote optimum growth. Follow labelling instructions. Keeping the Wollemi Pine in a pot and fertilizing slightly, will slow its growth rate.

Re-potting
The Wollemi Pine's root growth is strong, but not so vigorous that plants will require frequent re-potting, hence its suitability as a pot plant.

To re-pot:
* Place the Wollemi in a slightly larger pot than the one supplied.
* Fill the bottom of a clean pot with good quality potting mix to ensure that the root ball is at the same level as previously.
* Place the root ball in the pot and fill with potting mix.
* Tap the pot to ensure the potting mix fills all the spaces and covers the top of the root ball.
* Immediately water the plant until saturated.

Follow the instructions on the potting mix label to determine whether you need to top dress with slow release granular fertilizer.

A specially formulated potting mix for the rare and ancient Wollemi Pine has been produced by Galuku, the world leader in premium coir. This unique formula results in a free-draining mix that promotes healthy roots and healthy growth with less watering required. For detailed instructions regarding re-potting the Wollemi Pine visit: www.cocoearth.com link
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The Wollemi Pine as a garden or landscape tree


The Wollemi Pine will make a spectacular specimen tree, planted as an avenue, grove or hedge and can be planted in the understorey of a rainforest.

Hardiness
The Wollemi Pine in Australia has grown in a range of temperatures from -5 °C to 45 °C (23 °F to 113 °F) and it could even be hardier than this. Trials in the USA and Japan have indicated that it will survive temperatures as cold as -12°C (10.4 °F).

The Wollemi Pines are not easily damaged in high winds as they have strong flexible stems, branches and leaves.

Growth
As a young plant, up to 18 months of age, a Wollemi Pine can grow half a metre a year perhaps reaching a height of 20m in its lifetime. A mature plant will grow around a metre a year. If the plant is not fertilized or kept in medium to low light conditions, it will grow more slowly.

Soil Type
Even though the Wollemi Pine tolerates a wide range of soil types, it favours a well drained, slightly acid (pH 5.5 to 6) fertile site. The suitability of your site can be improved by cultivating the soil, that is loosening it to twice the depth and diameter of the pot and removing any competing plants or weeds.

To learn how to improve the suitability of your site visit www.cocoearth.com link

Spacing
The spacing at which to plant your Wollemi Pines depends on the effect you wish to create. If you want a single specimen tree or an avenue, it is recommended that you leave a radius of approximately 2.5 metres around the tree. If you want a hedge or grove effect, you can plant the trees much closer, even one to two metres apart.

Planting
The optimum time of year to plant your Wollemi Pine depends on the seasonal conditions of your area. However, if you live in a cold climate, it is best to plant the Wollemi Pine in the warmer months.

Ensure that you initially saturate the potted plant before you plant. This is best done by submersing the root ball in water until all air bubbles cease to rise. Immediately after planting, water the soil around the plant deeply. You should water the tree deeply every 5-7 days until the plant has established new foliage and then water during drought periods.

It is best to remove the Wollemi Pine from the biodegradable pot before planting. Crush the biodegradable pot and place it in your compost bin or garden.

Pruning
The Wollemi Pine can be heavily pruned i.e. up to two thirds of the plant size removed. You can prune both the apical growth (upright stems) and the branches. New buds (from one to multiple) will generally originate from just below the cut. To stimulate active growth after pruning, apply slow release granular fertilizer at recommended rates.

It is best to prune in the winter months for large diameter stems and branches (greater than 5cm). Use sterile, sharp pruning equipment to match the size of the stem or branch being pruned.
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