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Discussion Starter #1
How do Alberta Spruce survive under a snow pack for a couple of months?

I have some old ones outside near the beach in SoCal and most of them have done well for the last 12 years.
 

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What do you know about the climate we don't?
Why would you worry about winter snowpack near the beach in SoCal?
Does this have to do with early-bird oceanfront property purchases in Las Vegas?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Let me explain. I also have a cabin at 7000' in the mountains. Not this year, but it typically gets a 4 to 6' accumulation of snow that can last from December to April.
 

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They should be fine. The snow is a good insulator and will also help protect them from winter winds.

-Brian
 

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I agree with Brian and Dick,
The wind is more of a worry to them than the snow is. The wind can pull moisture right out of their needles.
 

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Dwarf Alberta Spruce were discovered in the forests of Alberta. This form of Alberta Spruce was formed naturally in nature. The province of Alberta receives a great deal of snowfall. It is this snow that keeps them alive and allows them to flourish. Trees that are exposed to the drying winds of winter suffer a great deal more. Here in southwestern Ontario we wrap our smaller trees and shrubs in burlap to prevent this from happening. I have dwarf Cypress and Spruce that I have kept alive for more than a decade. And yes, they get covered in snow every year. I hope this shed some light on the subject. Regards, Dennis.
 

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Regular dwarf spruce should be fine, however, you may find that if you move them from SoCal, that they woun't make it in their new home. Better to buy a few new ones closer to the 'target area'.
At least that is my experience, even if the type is common both places, not sure why :)

And I agree with the other posters, the worst for a plant is bare frost and chill winds, and also the sudden emergence of the sun in such occasions. they need the snow to slow their growth in spring, or they will die from 'sunburn' (atleast that's what we call it here). this is normal when the 'top' wakes up after the winter too early so that the roots can not supply water to the branches, can easily be simulated in SoCal if you stop watering your plants ;)

Mine are under a good 50-80 cm of snow now (about 2'6")
 

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Keep in mind that even dwarf Alberta spruce do eventually grow beyong the height of snow cover and their roots drow deeper than the frostline (even here in the Ottawa Valley where we have dependable snow and deep 42 inch frosts). But the Alberta spruce like most boreal conifers goes dormant in the winter ...

Snow cover will protect from drying winds but only humidity in the air protects against real dessication in the more extreme conditions. Dimilarly the roots living below the frost line cannot dry out ... This is especially true when these trees are grown beyond their natural range.

Regards ... Doug
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks to all that replied.

I have no plan to move and the ones that I have here in Torrance will likely survive. I was concerned if I planted more of them in the mountains, but the partially shaded and snow covered area sounds like it would be suitable for them. They would be under some oaks, yellow ceder and pine trees. The soil is almost completely DG so that I would probably have to dig a fairly big hole and fill it with something nourshing. The DG drains well but doesn't have much in it to feed a small tree.
 
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