Growing Experiment - Repairing a bad pruning job by distraction #organic #gardening #organicgardening #landscaping #diy

We are constantly pruning and tending to the plants on our property. Sometimes the plant suffers from a disease or from severe winter kill and ends up having to be pruned in a less than ideal shape. That's what happened to this spruce tree:

Fungal damage to blue spruce trees

This Colorado spruce tree had a bad fungal infection that killed almost the entire bottom and back, so now the back end is basically missing. It looks worse when you see the tree as a whole - something I can't capture on camera because it's much taller than me.

So I decided to work with the art of illusion - or distraction. In early spring 2015, I transplanted 3 Quinault strawberry plants just behind this spruce tree.

blue spruce companion planting
Can you see the specks of green? I promise they are in there!

As summer went on, they grew then died. I then planted some salvia bushes. They also died. It turns out, living under a spruce tree is a hard life. And I have really horrible soil....

So in a last ditch effort, I transplanted some young astilbe. It was between astilbe and daylily - since both had successfully transplanted to the forest edge in other experiments. I had extra astilbe, so they won. I planted three of them in the exact same spots as the strawberries.

They had a hard fall/winter. But in spring they grew and filled in the space. Did the tree end up looking normal? No, but did you notice that since your eyes were focused on the plants down below, somehow  the "missing green" space the tree was supposed to have was "filled in"?

Well, let's hope so because there is no growing back limbs that have been removed...

I will add updated photos as the astilbe grows and flowers. They are flowering later than the "full sun" plants they came from, but are surviving.

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