New Tree, Shrub & Perennial Care

The care you give your plants in the first six weeks after planting is crucial to their survival, especially in the heat of summer. They need your help to readjust and establish themselves in a new environment. The following tips will help ensure our success as a new plant owner


The optimum amount of water is going to vary for each site based on a number of factors: time of year, amount of sunlight, soil condition, type of plants, weather, etc. Therefore, it is important to monitor the plants and the soil around them to get a feel for the best amount for your site. Generally speaking, we recommend watering slowly for deeper penetration once or twice per week (depending your soil drainage) for the  rst three weeks. (During the hotter times of year, water more frequently.) After the  rst three weeks, you can begin to trim back the frequency to once or twice every other week until plants are established. Plants generally need about an inch of water per week. (You can leave a tupperware or coffee can in the bed to get an indication of how much water is being collected.) If we get one inch of rain in a week, decrease the watering amount accordingly. Shrubs and small evergreens generally need 3 to 5 gallons per plant per watering. Trees and larger evergreens need 10 to 20 gallons per plant per watering. Another good indicator of how much to water is the soil moisture three or four inches under the surface. If wet, hold off a couple of days; if dry, give the plants a good drink. Remember that too much water can kill your plants just as easily so check your new plants frequently. The following are some additional tips to keep in mind when watering plants:
The edges of the lawn and the parts along the walks and the house are most likely to dry first, so make sure to water heavily and frequently in these areas. Steeply sloped lawn areas may slip if watered too heavily. Water these spots more frequently, but not as heavily. Your grass will always let you know if it is not getting enough water. If the sod begins to shrink and the seams open, it is drying out. If the grass looks gray and doesn’t spring back when you walk on it, it is wilted and needs water.
  1. Perennials and other plants with smaller root systems will require more frequent watering than large trees.
  2. Foundation plants located under roof overhangs may need regular water, even after they are established.
  3. A thourough weekly watering can promote deeper root growth than a lighter daily watering.
  4. The best times to water are in the morning or late afternoon. Watering mid-day can lead to evaporation before the water soaks in. Also, when the sun is at its peak, the water it can magnify sunlight resulting in the burning of the
  5. While watering, it’s a good time to monitor the plants for insects and fungal problems. Newly planted trees and shrubs can experience shock while adapting to their new environments, leaving them more susceptible than usual.


Fertilizing should be considered only after plants have been in the ground for at least three weeks. Added nutrients will help to promote top growth, root growth, leaf color, flower production and even pest resistance. The best time to fertilize is in late fall or early spring. During the period of time from August 15th to October 15, it is best to avoid fertilization, as new growth generated during that time will be more susceptible to harsh winter conditions. Some additional tips for fertilization are as follows:
  1. Never alternate using fertilizer and weed killer in the same sprayer.
  2. Never apply fertilizer greater than the recommended rate or leave granular fertilizer to sit on leaves as it may burn them.


Mulching helps plants in several ways: retaining moisture, maintaining more even soil temperature and helping prevent weed growth. If you decide to mulch, use a shallow depth of pourous material such as bark (2-3” thick) or stone (1-2” thick). Bark mulch applied thicker than 3” can lead to mold growth. Pull bark mulch slightly off tree trunks and shrub and perennial stems to help prevent fungus and insect infestations at the base. Never use limestone as a mulch material. The lime may kill your plants. Also, never use plastic as a weed control material over plant roots. This seals out needed oxygen, suffocating plants.


Winter care is important for the new plants, too. Evergreens need a good watering before the ground freezes in late Fall. Many plants are lost each winter due to rabbits and mice. Certain plants are very susceptible and need protection every winter. Fencing, baits, and repellents can be very effective.

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