Your "Four Season" Landscape Management Team
Caring for Your New Plants
The care you give your new plants in the first six to ten weeks after planting is crucial to your new plants survival and your success with you new plants. Your new plants need your help the re-adjust and establish themselves in their new environment.
Too much or too little water can set back or even kill your plants. Always soak newly planted plant material thoroughly upon installation. The traditional rule of thumb is that plants need an average of one inch of water per week. Tailor your watering schedule to the weather conditions, soil type, and the needs of your specific plants. Remember that too much water can be just as harmful to the plants as not enough water. Our Wisconsin soils and weather can vary tremendously! Watering schedules should be altered for any unusual conditions.
Heavy Clay Soil or Cool, Rainy Weather – Water Half as Often Sandy, Gravelly Soil or Very Hot Weather – Water Twice as Much
Perennials and other plants with smaller root systems will require more frequent watering than large trees. Foundation plants under overhangs may need regular watering, even after these plants are established. A thorough weekly watering is much better for the plant than light daily watering. Continue watering as needed until the soil freezes in the fall – this is especially important with evergreens.
“How do I know when to water?”
Check the soil alongside the root ball 6-8” below the surface for trees and shrubs and 3-4” below the surface for perennials. If the soil feels dry to the touch, then water the area thoroughly until water begins to puddle around the plant. If the soil feels saturated to the touch, then loosen the soil carefully by cultivating around the plant to allow oxygen into the soil. Plants may also look wilted if the soil is too wet – be sure to check the soil before adding more water.
“What time of the day should I water?”
The best times to water are in the Morning or Late Afternoon. Watering mid-day leads to the water evaporating before the plants can use it and may even burn the leaves. Watering at night can lead to fungal problems and should not be done.
The nutrients in organic amendments or chemical fertilizers can help top growth, root growth, leaf color, flower production, and even pest resistance! Consider conducting a soil test. Then use the proper amendments to add to the fertility of your soil. If additional nutrients are needed as shown by your soil test, apply fertilizer approximately three weeks after planting as needed using a fertilizer labeled for the type of plant being fertilized. Be sure to read the label and apply the fertilizer according the requirements on the label. Never apply fertilizer greater than the recommended rate or allow fertilizer to sit on leaves as this may cause a chemical burn. If applying liquid fertilizer, never use a sprayer that was previously used for weed killer. This sprayer may contain residual of the previously used chemical and severely injure or kill your plants. Skip fertilizing and pruning between August 15th and October 15th to avoid encouraging new, tender growth that may not be winter hardy. The best time to fertilize is in late fall after the plants are dormant or early spring. Use a fertilizer higher in Nitrogen around plants that have had bark mulch or other organic material applied to the root zone of the plant.
Open soil around your new plants should be cultivated lightly (approximately 1” deep) about ever two weeks. This keeps planting beds neat and prevents weeds from using the water or fertilizer meant for your new plants. Plant roots need oxygen and cultivation allows oxygen to reach the roots.
Never put plastic over the roots of any plants. The plastic seals out the oxygen that the plants roots and soil need to remain healthy.
Insect and Disease Care
Monitor your new plants for insect and disease problems. Regular monitoring is recommended, especially during the first year when plants are more susceptible to problems. Call you sales representative for specific recommendations about treatments if a problem should arise.
General Plant Care
Ropes and stakes may be used for support on your new plants. Remove these ropes and stakes after one full growing season. Do not leave ropes on after one year, since your plant is growing and the ropes may constrict the new growth and will eventually begin to damage your new plant.