Trees, Plants and Shrubs Care and Maintenance

The success of your landscape depends on the care and maintenance your plants receive. The main elements for your plants success are:

Watering

Watering is the most important element for a plant after it is planted. There are really no plants that do not need additional water other than what they receive from nature. 90% of most the problems with plants are water related. Either not enough or too much can cause undue stress on a plant. Sandy soil requires more water than clay soil. When watering, saturate the rootball by giving your plant a thorough watering. What is critical is that you saturate the rootball each watering but vary how often you saturate the rootball. Every plant and soil have different requirements, which is why you cannot say water once a week or twice a week and be assured your plant will receive the correct amount of water. What your plant needs is enough water to grow on without standing in water. In sandy soil you are unlikely to over water your plants. However, with clay soil you can get a water and oxygen imbalance, where a plant can drown and suffocate. The only way to know if you are adequately watering your plants is to actually make a soil test by digging down in the soil 6-8″ and taking a handful of soil and making a fist. Release your hand; the soil should hold together and feel very moist. If your soil falls apart it is too dry. If it is sour smelling or soggy it is too wet. Adjusting your water will be the answer. When you make this soil sample, try to get some soil off the rootball without disturbing it, which could cause further problems. You can also use a moisture meter. With interface problems you can have a situation where the rootball is of a very light mix that dries out quickly, but the backfill is a heavy soil that holds water and could be wet while the rootball is bone dry. The interface problems can also be reversed: you plant a heavy soil rootball in a very sandy soil-the backfill seems dry, but your plant can actually be drowning because it is not drying out enough between watering.

It is very important to pay attention to what your plants are doing. For example, if your plant is wilting, check moisture in the soil; most likely not enough water. If the leaves are yellowing check the moisture in the rootball; could be your plant is standing in water and suffocating.

Initially after planting a plant, you will want to thoroughly soak your plant more often than you will later on. For example, give them heavy soakings daily for a few days to saturate the rootball and surrounding soil. Then after your plant has been in a couple of weeks, water one to two times a week, depending on the type of soil you have and whether your plants are in the lawn or in a bare area. After your plants have been in several weeks take a soil test to make sure you are watering correctly or to make any needed changes. Increase your watering for the Spring in February. Increase to 1-2 times a week through the Summer then decrease towards Fall. Start slowing down on watering in August and September. Give all of your plants a thorough watering at the end of September and October. After that at least once a month through the Winter, increasing watering in February.

Fertilizing trees, plants and shrubs

Fertilization is also a very important element in the success of your landscape. Initially when you plant, we recommend using the Agriform Planter Tablets. They release fertilizer over a period of 18-24 months. This way the plants receive the nutrients they need at a consistent rate. After your plants have been in the ground for one growing season, we recommend using a fertilizer called Harding’s Nursery Special. This is a quick release fertilizer, it releases over a 30-45 day period. This should be first applied in the Spring about the first of May. Then every 30-45 days ending with your last fertilization at the end of August.

Insect and fungus control

Insect and fungus control is an important aspect of maintaining your landscape. We recommend using a broad spectrum insecticide starting the middle of May and every 6-8 weeks after that for insect control. Do your last spraying for the season in mid-October. Fungus is most commonly called black spot fungus. This can be somewhat prevented and treated with a fungicide called Halt. Fireblight is a disease that can hit flowering crabs, mountain ash and other plants in the Rosacea family. To prevent fireblight, spray your flowering crabs, mountain ash, and other plants in the Rosacea family with a fireblight spray which is Streptomycin in the Spring when they are in bloom.

General maintenance

General maintenance of your landscape plants is important. Pruning and winter wrapping on deciduous trees for instance. Pruning helps the vigor of your plants by removing any dead, damaged or diseased parts. Pruning can help on the appearance of the entire landscape as well. One more item that is very important in maintaining the health of your deciduous trees is the use of a tree wrap. This should be wrapped around the trunks of your deciduous trees that are young enough not to have their mature corky bark yet. This should be applied the end of September and removed in the Spring, sometime in May.

Problems to Look for in Your Plants

Wilting and drooping leaves

Usually the plant is dry and lacking moisture.

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