3 Easy Steps for Planting Success

3 Easy Steps for Planting Success

Our "Perfect Planting Method" Helps Ensure the Garden of Your Dreams!

First Things First!


It's easy to grow our trees, shrubs, and perennials; just take a moment to read these simple instructions for preparing your soil and caring for your new plants. Just a little extra time and attention at planting time and during the first season will get your plant off to its best possible start in your garden – helping it grow healthy roots, and looking its best for years to come!

Our hardy plants are of the finest quality; packed to reach you in perfect condition, they are shipped either in pots or bareroot, ready to plant. But before you introduce your latest prize to its new home, give it a little time to adjust to its surroundings.

Potted Plants
Bareroot Plants are Packed with Power!
Discard any packing material clinging to the leaves or soil, then water it thoroughly until water runs out of the holes at the bottom of the pot. Place the pot in a shady, protected area for at least 3 days. This allows the plant to acclimate to your garden without the stress of being transplanted right away. If you cannot plant it within a few days of receiving it, make sure the plant stays well watered. Inspect the plant to make sure it is moist but not soggy. If it seems dry, add just enough water to moisten. Leave the plant in its packing material until you are ready to plant it in the ground. Put it in a cool, protected area, and always keep the roots from drying out. Plant bareroots as soon as possible.

1. Location, Location, Location!

Find the perfect spot for your plant
Choose a planting site that matches your plant's light requirements, soil preference, and water needs. Group plants with similar growing preferences to reduce maintenance. Watch your plant carefully the first season to see how well it is adjusting to its new home, and do not hesitate to move it if it appears unhappy. It is much easier to find the perfect environment for a plant than to try to compensate for less-than-perfect surroundings throughout the life of your plant. Besides, many a brilliant garden design has been created through these unexpected moves!

2. Dig a Hole

Make it easier for roots to spread and settle in
First, call your local utility company to have them locate buried cables and lines before you dig.

Potted Plants: Dig a hole at least two times wider than your plant's root ball, but no deeper than the height of the root ball. Place your plant in the hole, then backfill the hole and firm soil gently. In poorly drained soil, place plants about 2 inches higher than the surrounding soil to help excess water to drain away from the plant's base or crown.

Bareroot Plants: Dig a hole large enough to accommodate your plant's spread-out roots, then create a small mound in the middle of the hole. Position your plant's roots on top of the mound, spreading the roots out and backfilling with soil as you go. The plant's topmost roots should sit one to two inches below the soil.

What about amending my soil? Recent research has shown that amending the planting hole isn't as necessary as it was once thought to be, and may even be detrimental to the establishment of your plant. Amending only the planting hole can keep roots from venturing out into the native soil, so decide whether to add organic matter to your soil on a case-by-case basis and with regard to your soil structure. If you choose to add organic amendments to your site before planting, incorporate them uniformly throughout the entire planting area. In existing beds, you probably cannot amend the entire area, but top-dress it once a year with an inch or two of compost, shredded leaves, or aged manure. Over time, the soil will improve as earthworms and other organisms work this material down into your soil to create a rich, well-aerated site.

3. Water In and Mulch

These good rules-of-thumb keep your plant hydrated and happy

After filling in the soil around your plant, build a thin, circular wall of soil an inch or two high and just a bit wider than the hole you have dug for your new plant. Then, fill the inside of the circle with water all the way to the top, refilling a couple of times as it drains into the soil to saturate the rootball. Aer the water has soaked in, apply an inch or two of mulch - straw, pine needles, shredded leaves, bark, or compost - and make sure it doesn't touch your plant. A good layer of mulch prevents water loss, reduces weeds, helps prevent erosion of soil, and protects the health of your plant by stabilizing soil temperature as the seasons change.

The rule of thumb for watering most garden plants is an inch of water a week, especially during their first year in a new location. Keep in mind that some plants don't even need this much, so consider the water needs of your plant and your climate average rainfall when determining how much to irrigate them. Remember also that plants in containers will need much more water than those in garden soil, especially during the hottest summer weather. The best time to water your garden is early in the morning, before the sun is high. If you live in a humid climate, watering at this time lets the sun evaporate the standing water from the foliage of your plants, preventing mildew. And in all climates, you will lose less water to evaporation by the sun's rays if you apply it early in the day.

Only one thing's left — How to tell if you need to fertilize!

Knowing what kind of soil you have and what nutrients it may lack before planting is critical. Begin with a soil test from your local Cooperative Extension Service (usually listed in the "Government" section of your phone book under "Agriculture" or "Education"; or visit the USDA website online ( http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension ) to find an office near you). This inexpensive test will tell you a lot about the native soil in your garden and oer fertilization suggestions specific to your soil and what you want to plant. If your soil test indicates you need to fertilize your plants, wait until a week or two after planting to give your plant time to settle into its new home. If you plant in fall, wait until spring to begin fertilizing to avoid encouraging tender new growth before winter. Always follow fertilizer package instructions with regard to how much and how often to fertilize.