Gardening Guide

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Tree Care for the First Two Years

Congratulations on the purchase of your new tree! Your new plants will need extra care for the first two years while they are establishing healthy root systems. Below is an explanation of our planting procedure and your care instructions. Please call us if you have any questions.

PLANTING PROCEDURE

Each tree we install is planted higher than the natural grade to allow for settling. Our crews will inspect the root ball of your tree to make sure the root flare is exposed and at the proper planting height. All of our trees are planted with a mixture of native soil, compost/expanded shale and Soil Moist. These products will help the soil retain moisture. Fertilizer is applied at the time of planting and the trees are watered in. All trees we plant are top-dressed with a 2” layer of mulch and staked if necessary.

 

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WATERING GUIDELINE

Newly planted trees planted spring, fall, or winter must be watered thoroughly each day for the first two (2) days after planting. This settles the soil and removes large pockets around the tree’s roots. In the summer, water thoroughly each day for the first five (5) days after planting. After these first few waterings, begin your normal watering schedule using the attached sheet as a guide.

Supplemental watering is very important during your tree’s first two years, especially when Mother Nature sends drying winds, high temperatures, and periods of low rainfall. The most common challenge your new tree will face is a lack of sufficient moisture!

Your tree will exhibit warning signs when it is being under (or over) watered. Watch for these signs and let us know right away if you notice these, or any other problems with your tree. With early diagnosis, most problems can be resolved before permanent damage is done to your tree and your tree can fully recover.

Symptoms of under-watering: Leaves are dry and crumble; they could be brown or light green. Leaves will voluntarily fall off the tree.

Symptoms of over-watering: Leaves discolor but do not drop or come off easily; leaves do not crumble and will fold in your hand.

When does a tree need water?
The watering schedule is only a useful guide, as everyone’s individual conditions vary, but the tree always needs water when the root ball is dry. Feel the soil around the root ball to the depth of 3 inches or so. If it’s dry, thoroughly soak the entire root ball. In May and June you should pay special attention to the soil moisture, as your tree will begin to use much more water and the transition from occasional soaking to frequent soaking will be abrupt.

How much water is needed? How should I water the tree?
Trees prefer to be watered slowly and deeply. Use a hand-held hose or soaker hose, and water directly over the root ball. The easiest method is to lay the hose 1-2 feet from the tree trunk, and set the hose to a slow flow of water. Move the hose around the root ball as it becomes thoroughly soaked. The tree is soaked enough when the water has been fully absorbed and starts to puddle around the root ball. This will take a while, so be patient! If there is a slope in the grade of your land, it may be necessary to split the watering into segments to allow water to fully absorb and minimize run-off.

If I use automatic sprinklers, for how long should they be set?
Sprinklers can help take the edge off of a tree’s water need, but they are no substitute for a good slow soaking. Unless your sprinkler system has custom-set bubblers to water each tree, it’s better than no watering but you should still plan to hand soak your trees, especially during hot weather.

MAINTENANCE INSTRUCTIONS

Fertilization:
Mix and apply root stimulator according to manufacturer’s directions and apply every four weeks. For trees with a 1-3 inch diameter, apply 1 gallon of mixture per diameter inch per application. For trees larger than this, use 2 gallons of mixture per diameter inch per application.

Staking:
We recommend that you remove the staking device one year after installation.

Mulch:
Mulch cools the root ball during the summer and warms it during the winter, and helps retain moisture. We mulch your tree when it is planted, and you should maintain a 2 inch layer of mulch over the root zone, but not in direct contact with the trunk itself.

Prevention:
Apply tree wrap to the trunks of young trees in May to prevent sunscald from our summer’s heat. Remove this wrap in late September. This will no longer be necessary once the tree’s growth shades its own trunk; usually only needed the first two years.

We recommend an application of Bonide or ferti-lome Systemic Insect Drench be used for each new tree in April for trees planted while dormant, or right after planting for all others. This will prevent almost any insect pest problem before it starts, by killing any pest insect which feeds on your plant for up to six months per application.

These steps will get your tree off to a great start!
Caution: Do not add any more dirt on top of the planted root ball. Once the tree is planted, it is too late to install any brick, rock, wood, or other retaining material to build up a flowerbed at the base of your tree. If this is desired, let us know ahead of time and we can plant your tree higher than normal above grade to allow for a bed to be installed around your new tree.

WATERING SCHEDULE    (Adjust for Rainfall)

BALL & BURLAPPED TREES
Note: B&B trees require less water than container grown trees.

DECEMBER, JANUARY, FEBRUARY
Thoroughly hand soak root ball every 2 weeks
Note: Be sure to water
all of your plants before a hard freeze

MARCH – APRIL
Hand soak 1 time a week OR
Sprinkle 2 times & soak 1 time a week

MAY – JUNE
Hand soak 2-3 times a week OR
Sprinkle 3 times & soak 1 time a week

JULY – AUGUST
Hand soak 3-4 times a week OR
Sprinkle daily & soak 1 time a week

SEPTEMBER
Hand soak 2-3 times a week OR
Sprinkle 3-4 times & soak 1 time a week

OCTOBER – NOVEMBER
Hand soak 1-2 times a week OR
Sprinkle 3 times & soak 1 time a week

 

CONTAINER GROWN TREES

DECEMBER, JANUARY, FEBRUARY
Thoroughly hand soak root ball 1 time per week
Note: Be sure to water
all of your plants before a hard freeze

MARCH – APRIL
Hand soak 1-2 times a week OR
Sprinkle 3 times & soak 1 time a week

MAY – JUNE
Hand soak 2-3 times a week OR
Sprinkle 3-4 times & soak 1-2 times a week
Note: During drought & excessive heat it may be necessary to water every day.

JULY – AUGUST
Hand soak 3-5 times a week OR
Sprinkle daily & soak 2 times a week
Note: During drought & excessive heat it may be necessary to water every day.

SEPTEMBER
Hand soak 2-3 times a week OR
Sprinkle daily & soak 2 times a week
Note: During drought & excessive heat it may be necessary to water every day.

OCTOBER – NOVEMBER
Hand soak 2-3 times a week OR
Sprinkle 3 times & soak 1 time a week