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Caring of Plants

Your new landscaping is an investment that will increase the enjoyment and value of your property. You will appreciate its seasonal beauty and the 10-15% increase in your property’s value added by mature landscaping. All investments require some attention in order to grow. These simple guidelines will assist you in maintaining your landscaping with minimum of time and effort.


The first year or more specifically the first summer after planting, is the most important for your plants’ health and survival. This is the time when your plants will require the most attention because of the combined stress of weather and transplant shock. The single most important factor during the first summer is water. Without proper watering your plants cannot grow and thrive.

It is difficult to generalize about the amount or frequency of watering that a plant will need. The following chart summarizes our basic recommendations and lists some additional factors to consider.




Turf, Groundcover, Flowers

2-5 Days

  • #1 (BEST) Lawn Sprinkler – Must apply 1″ of water to be effective.
  • #2 Hose – Moisten soil to depth of 4″ – 6″

Small Shrubs

3-6 Days

  • #1 (BEST) Slow Running Hose – Let it run 5-10 minutes per shrub.
  • #2 Root Feeder – Don’t overwater. 3-5 minutes per bush is enough.

Large Shrubs

5-8 Days

  • #1 (BEST) Slow Running Hose – Let it run 5-10 minutes per shrub.
  • #2 Root Feeder – Don’t overwater. 3-5 minutes per bush is enough.


7-10 Days

  • #1 (BEST) Slow Running Hose – 30 minutes is enough. Make sure it doesn’t just run off.
  • #2 TREEGATOR – fill once every 7-10 days
  • #3 Root Feeder – Effective & saves time but don’t overwater. 10 minutes total at 3 or 4 places in the ball is sufficient.
  • SIZE: Larger plants with larger root balls require less frequent watering because they take longer to dry out
  • EXPOSURE: Hot, windy areas require more frequent watering than shady or sheltered areas.
  • WEATHER: Related to exposure. Be aware that rainfall from brief thunderstorms runs off and is of little value to trees and Shrubs.
  • SOIL/DRAINAGE: Clay soils (common in new subdivisions) drain slowly requiring much less water than loamy or sandy soil. Do not overwater.
  • MULCH/PLASTIC WEEDBARRIERS: Soil coverings reduce evaporation and moisture loss and also cool the soil requiring less frequent watering.

Common sense plays the most important role in watering. All of the above factors should be considered and applied to your situation.

Continue your watering into September tapering off as the plants go dormant and the temperatures become cooler. One final watering in late November will be beneficial for all evergreens especially the broadleaf types such as Rhododendron or Boxwood. After the first year most of your plants should be able to get along on normal rainfall except during very hot or dry periods. Larger trees will require more than one growing season to recover from transplanting. They should be watered fol-lowing the first year schedule for at least another year.


The first spring after planting is a good time to apply a fertilizer. A light application of a balanced granular fertilizer or one of the Espoma organic-based fertilizers in March or April will help get your plants off to a healthy start. Since 1929 Espoma has been the leading manufacturer of natural and organic based plant foods. These products improve soil structure, are long lasting and safe to use for the environment, children and pets. The Tone family of plant foods is produced from a complex blend of safe natural organic ingredients featuring products such as Hollytone for your evergreens and acid-loving plants, Plant-tone for trees and shrubs, Rose-tone for roses, and Flower-tone for perennials. There are also Espoma products to amend specific soil conditions or deficiencies. Distribute the granules evenly throughout the bed. Do not apply when the foliage is wet–it will stick to the leaves and burn them. Water well after fertilizing to make sure the fertilizer gets washed down to the soil level.

If you want to fertilize older, established trees with roots in the lawn, apply this fertiliizer at half the rate so as not to over stimulate your grass. Water it in immediately. If you feed your lawn on a regular basic do not add extra fertilizers for these trees.

When applying fertilizer, it’s important not to overdo it. Excessive amounts will burn tender roots, so use it at the recommended rates. Fall fertilizing will also produce good results. Wait until your plants go dormant in October then apply at half of the spring rate.


New plantings generally do not require pruning in their first year. There may be a broken branch or two from handling and planting to remove. You should also remove any dead twigs or dieback that occurs after planting. Prune back to just above live healthy buds or leaves. Do not leave stubs. This type of pruning can be done at any time.


This is rarely a problem in the first year. Most signs of distress are related to transplant shock or improper watering and not pests. Try to be aware of anything unnatural looking (holes in the leaves, growths on branches, discolored foliage, needles dropping, etc.). If you do find a problem, call or bring a sample to the nursery and we will advise you as to the best control. For more info, visit: /learn


We recommend that you wrap the trunks of all newly planted trees in the fall. Young trees are subject to frost cracks and sunscald caused by rapid temperature fluctuations in winter. An asphalt-based crepe paper tree wrap should be used. Start at the base of the tree and spiral up the trunk with each turn slightly overlapping the last. Wrap all the way up to the lowest branches and secure it with twine or tape. Smooth or thin barked trees less than 5″ trunk diameter should be wrapped in November and unwrapped in April for 3 years after planting. Another concern in winter is feeding damage from hungry animals. Mice will gnaw at the base of young trees and deer will browse on some evergreens, but rabbits are the biggest problem. When snow covers their usual food supply they will feed on the bark and branch tips of many of your trees and shrubs. If they chew all the way around the trunk of a tree it will die. The tree wraps will deter them as will the spiral plastic guards. For shrubs or low branched trees that are impractical to wrap we recommend the use of repellant sprays containing Thiram. These sprays should be applied in late fall. The shrubby types of flowering plums and cherries and winged euonymous are particularly attractive to rabbits as are crabapples and fruit trees. Evergreens in general rarely suffer any rabbit damage.