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General Planting Instructions for Shrubs and Trees

Most problems with new shrubs occur during the first year after planting. Below are some general guidelines to help your shrubs and trees get off to a good start.  It has been our experience that shrubs and trees show their best growth in the second year after planting, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate growth and flowering.  The roots need time to grow.

  1. Prior to purchasing plants, it is always a good idea to have a soil test to determine the health of your soil.  Soil test provide information about nutrients needed by your soil and how to adjust the PH.  Visit or contact your local extension office for more information on getting a soil test.

  2. Dig a hole twice the size of the original container, but at the same depth. 

  3. Thoroughly mix compost, soil conditioners, and root stimulators into the soil removed from the hole.

  4. It is typical to plant your shrubs and trees at the same level as they are in the container, but if you’re planting in heavy soil, elevate the plant about 2” above the soil line.

  5. Pack soil mixture around root ball to avoid air pockets.

  6. Water thoroughly after planting.  In the summer months, you may have to water everyday for the first week after planting.  It’s best to check the soil to ensure you're not over watering.  Plants that are showing distress from being watered too little or too much look very similar.  Plants planted in the fall and winter require much less water.

  7. It is best to fertilize shrubs and trees in the late winter or early spring.  Fertilizing in the fall could lead to new plant growth that could be damaged from an early freeze.

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