Wollemi Pine Care Guide

Posted by Ella Dooly on

Wollemi Pines are handsome trees that date back to the dinosaur era. They are versatile and easy to grow and require little in terms of maintenance. They are hardy to a wide variety of different climates and will thrive well in UK gardens and can even be grown indoors in the right climate.

The Wollemi Pine can be both grown in a container as an attractive specimen tree or planted out in large landscapes where it can grow to heights of 20m (65ft) in height! If kept in a pot is can be grown in smaller gardens, out on the patio and indoors.

Keep on reading our Wollemi Pine Care Guide and grow your very own dinosaur tree in right in your back garden.

 

Quick Wollemi Pine Facts:

  • Variety: Wollemia nobilis
  • Hardiness: Hardy, versatile, easy to grow and low maintenance. It can adapt to many different climate zones. indoors
  • Suitable for: Container growing and planting
  • Height: up to 20m (65ft)
  • Soil: Fertile, well draining, slightly acidic
  • Sunlight: Semi-shade, full sun
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Pot growing Wollemi Pine trees 

While Wollemi Pines can grow to be very large imposing trees, they can also be grown in containers when maintained properly and will stay at a compact size. 

Depending on the size of the tree the pot could range from 10L to 100L. To start with, transfer your 3L potted tree into a container between 10L and 30L. This should be able to accommodate the growth of the tree for around 2-3 years.

 

If you are looking for a way to control the height of your Wollemi pine, this can be done in a variety of ways. Follow the steps below and you will be able to keep your tree at the optimal size for your space.

  • Increase or decrease the size of the growing container to either allow or restrict the growth.
  • Increase or decrease the level of fertiliser to promote growth or steady off growth.
  • Prune shoots and fronds to keep the tree at a bushy, smaller size.

 

They are an attractive specimen tree that can be grown on a patio, decking or balcony and can even be moved indoors to a well-lit, well-ventilated area and away from central heating.

 

What is the best placement for a Wollemi Pine tree?

When growing a Wollemi Pine Tree in a pot they prefer to be in a location of partial shade, however, if planted out into the ground the tree will enjoy full sun.

If keeping the tree inside then aim for a well-lit area with good ventilation and avoid any placements in direct sunlight.

If you have space in a landscape to plant the tree out then choose a location of full sun.

The tree is quite versatile and is able to thrive in many different climates and locations.

 

Planting a Wollemi Pine tree


Wollemi Pine Tree

To plant a Wollemi pine make sure to fully saturate rootball in water. This can be done by covering it with water and letting it soak until all air bubbles stop. If you have just received your Wollemi pine and are ready for planting then this is best done in early spring after the last of the frosts. While the tree is pretty hardy any new growth is especially susceptible to frost damage.

Choose a pot that is big enough for the tree to grow into and fill the bottom with some grit and stones. Make sure that the pot is deep with excellent drainage holes for excess water the drain away properly, Fill the base of the pot with compost leaving enough room to place the root ball of the tree in. Fill in the edges with extra compost and firm the tree down. compost. Place the tree in the pot and fill around the edges with the rest of the compost and firm down.

When planting into the ground, choose the most suitable location and dig a hole large enough for the root ball to go in. Once placed in add the soil back around the edges to fill the gaps. 

Once the tree has been planted water deeply once a week until it has become established. Do not allow the soil to become waterlogged.

While the Wollemi pine can adapt to and tolerate many different soil types, it will prefer to be planted in a slightly more acidic medium (a pH of around 5.5 to 6).

It is possible to cultivate the soil in your garden to suit these conditions, however, if you live in an area where the soil is quite alkaline it may be best to grow your pine in a pot where the soil conditions can be directly controlled.

Reduced peat and ericaceous compost is a perfect choice when it comes to planting. It’s also recommended to add a mycorrhizal sachet to the compost. The mycorrhizal sachet contains a fungus that has a symbiotic relationship with the Wollemi pine and can provide the tree with some extra root protection.  While this is not something required for the success of the tree it will give it an extra boost.

 

Watering your Wollemi Pine 

One of the main issues found to affect the health of Wollemi Pine Trees is over or underwatering. Once you get this key factor right, your tree will remain happy and healthy for many, many years.

Wollemi pines do not tolerate damp conditions. If the tree is left in wet or moist compost for too long the health of the tree will start to deteriorate. To avoid waterlogged soil make sure that the pot has good drainage and that it is never left standing in a saucer of water.

Check the moisture content of the compost at least once a week. Do this by feeling the first 5cm of topsoil, if it feels bone dry then give the pot a deep watering to saturate the soil fully. Once the soil is fully saturated let it drain away and repeat these steps when necessary.

If you have the tree indoors then take it outside to a shaded position and water in the same way. Fully saturate the soil and then allow it to drain away fully before taking the tree back indoors. 

The main rule of thumb is to only water the tree when the topsoil is completely dry. Even when the weather conditions become warm, avoid watering daily. Wollemi pine trees will absolutely not tolerate having wet feet or being over watered. 

Depending on the weather and light conditions will affect the frequency of watering. The lower the light and temperature level is the less frequent the waterings will be. The same goes for wet weather. The higher the light and temperature level is then the watering will need to be increased.

 

Feeding your Wollemi Pine tree

For optimum growth use a slow release, low phosphorus fertiliser. Combine with a liquid fertiliser for best results.

Depending on how big you would like your tree to grow will depend on how much feed or fertiliser is needed.

For a smaller, slow growing tree that is housed in a pot opt for using less feed and go for a (what type)

If you are looking to promote more growth for a bigger specimen tree or to promote growth after pruning then add more, more frequently and go for a (what type?)

 

How to Prune a Wollemi Pine Tree


Wollemi Pine NeedlesWollemi pines are naturally multi-stemmed and will generally want to grow more than one trunk. For example, the oldest Wollemi pine in the world has up to 100 trunks if not more!If you plan to keep your Wollemi pine tree in a pot then it is important to maintain its size with regular pruning to restrict the growth and stop the tree from becoming too large.

If you wish for a uniform, attractive shape then regular pruning is required to remove the unwanted stems and trunks.

The tree can take quite a severe pruning and will withstand having up to two thirds its size removed. If you do plan to conduct a harsh prune then this is best left to winter time. Especially when cutting back the larger stems and branches.

The tree will then start to generate new buds underneath where the cut has been made. Promote new growth by using a controlled release fertiliser.

Always make sure to use sharp, sterilised pruning equipment to limit any infections.

 

Why are the branches on my Wollemi pine drooping?

If your Wollemi Pine is feeling stressed its branches may start to droop slightly. If this happens, don’t be alarmed. A couple of changes to its environment and it should be back to good health in no time.

The tree may become stressed for a variety of reasons, the main one being over or under watering. It is important to check the conditions of the soil immediately and adjust your watering accordingly. If too dry then give the tree a deep watering. If too wet then check the drainage from the pot. It can be placed upon bricks to allow for more airflow and better drainage. See the section about watering above for more detailed information.

Another main reason that the tree may be stressed is the light levels. The tree is likely not getting enough light in its current location. Move it to another area where it can receive more light but not into full sun.

 

Pests and Disease of the Wollemi Pine

While the Wollemi pine is pretty tough there are a couple of pests and diseases that it is susceptible to.

 A fungal disease known as Fusicoccum has been known to affect the pines. It usually causes foliage and branch dieback and can prove to be fatal if left untreated. 

The main pests to watch out for on your tree are; red spider mites and aphids. Keep your eyes peeled for these and remove by hand as soon as they are spotted.

The Tortrix moth is known to affect Wollemi pines growing in the UK. The caterpillars will create cocoons in the young foliage ultimately destroying it and using any new growth for food.

Treat pests easily with a natural insecticide or remove them by hand. Pests can be kept at bay naturally but and keeping your tree in good health will limit issues faced.

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