Posted: 13/02/2013 at 15:49
Wow, that's a good idea, hypercharleyfarley! I'll remember that one. I once planted a conifer that had died on one side against a wall, after curttiing off the brown side. This worked well, because it was flatter than a more well-shaped conifer and fitted the space rather well.
Wendy7, if you buy a conifer sold in a garden centre for pot planting, it will be a slow-growing one. It will grow until its roots are pretty pot bound and this will itself limit the size of the tree. You should take it out annually and trim the roots by about an inch all around, then put fresh compost around it in the pot and also top it up with a bit of fresh compost. Keep it well-watered but don't be tempted to put it in a big pot or it will grow faster. Then you just have to accept that pot-grown plants do not live as long as ones in the ground or else get too big for purpose, and they have to be replaced. The brown die-back is usually because they did not get enough water - they are thirsty plants and need a regular soaking, daily in hot weather. Make up for the loss of nutrients in the potting medium (which should not be potting compost) which are washed away by watering by feeding it.Conifers like acidy soil, though they will grow in fairly neutral soil too, so need a fertiliser suitable for acid-lovers. Dono't fertilise too much, though ,or you'll stimulate too much growth.