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Guidelines for Planting Annuals and Small Perennials

First, determine the proper area for your plant to grow. Some plants require sun, some shade, some need to be planted in a protected area, and some do not. Most plants come with informative tags, but please ask one of our helpful garden staff for more information. Determine your soil needs before planting. If your soil is clay, you will have compact soil which will not allow proper drainage and will result in root rot. When planting, have a good mix of topsoil and peat moss which helps to aerate the soil.

Remove the plant from its container, dig a hole 50% wider and the same depth of ball root. Once planted, backfill the hole with original soil.

All plants require water for growth. When first planted, the plants should be thoroughly watered. Small plants, annuals, and perennials, usually need water every day. Fertilize every other week with a water-soluble fertilizer or a one-time use suspended release fertilizer, such as Osmocote (see package for directions). Keep a close eye on the plants to determine when they need water. Signs of water stress include wilting, changes in leaf color, and leaf drops. Plants are not forgiving. All it takes is one time of forgetting to water and your plant will die.

It is important to mulch your flower beds. Mulch is any material put on the soil to cover and protect it. You should carefully apply mulch to your flower bed approximately 2″ thick. Be sure to hand apply mulch around the base of each new planting.

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Guidelines for Planting Trees and Shrubs

First, determine your soil needs and the tree or shrub’s required environment before you purchase and plant nursery stock.

A planting hole is really a transition zone in which the roots of a tree adjust from the planting soil of the nursery to the soil in your yard. The size of the hole depends upon the condition of your soil and the size of the tree or shrub’s root ball or container. If your soil is clay, you will have compact soil which will not allow proper drainage resulting in root rot. The soil around new homes, driveways, or old farmland may also be compacted. We recommend amending your soil with compost or Ultra Planting Mix (both available in our garden center) at a 1/3 new soil and 2/3 existing soil ratio.

With balled and burlap trees, fold back the burlap from around the trunk of the tree at least two inches below the soil level. Leaving the burlap exposed creates a wick-like effect that will dry the soil out faster than normal.

Carefully slice the burlap on the sides and the bottom of the root ball to allow for easy penetration. The burlap will generally rot away within two years. Backfill in the hole (which is at least twice as wide as the ball) with the amended soil.

Make sure the ball of the tree is slightly above ground to allow for proper drainage and root growth. Do not stamp the soil with your feet, this will result in compacted soil which does not allow proper drainage or aeration. Patting down the soil with the back of the shovel is adequate. Stake the tree if necessary.

Do not place fertilizer in the planting hole or mix it with the backfill soil. This can burn the roots, injuring the plant. The trees should be fertilized with a water-soluble fertilizer once every two weeks for the first year. Then granular can be used. You should treat once in the spring and once in the fall every year thereafter. Keep the granular fertilizer at least six inches from the trunk to avoid injuring the tree or shrub.

All plants require water for growth. They get water from the soil and lose most of it through their leaves by transpiration. When first planted, the tree should be thoroughly watered. A newly planted tree or shrub, depending on weather conditions, will probably need to be watered every two days. During dry periods or in areas exposed to the sun most of the day, keep a close eye on the plant to determine when they need water. Signs of water stress include wilting, a change in leaf color (from shiny to dull), and premature leaf drop. Remember, plants are not forgiving. If you forget to water your plant could die.

A mulch is any material that is put on the soil to cover and protect it. Straw, leaves, wood chips, and gravel all make effective mulches. Mulch does many things. It can reduce moisture loss, improve soil structure, reduce soil erosion, reduce soil compaction, keep weeds down, and moderate soil temperatures. Apply mulch about two inches thick and then touch up every year thereafter as needed.

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