Planting Trees and Shrubs
Guide to successful planting techniques
Before You Plant
- • Choose plants appropriate to your particular conditions, e.g., sun, shade, height, spread, etc.
- • Always plant in rich, well drained, aerated soil. To test for drainage, dig a hole and fill it with water. If the water doesn’t drain in 24 hours, plant elsewhere.
Rootball or Container Grown?
Your tree or shrub will come in one of two forms: balled and burlapped (B&B) or containerized
- • Container or B&B plants can be planted anytime the ground is not frozen or too wet.
- • If possible, plant your tree or shrub as soon as you get home. Otherwise, it may dry out and become stressed.
- • If you can’t plant it immediately, place it in a shady and/or sheltered location. Keep the root ball or container moist until planted.
The Planting Hole/Soil Preparation
Site Location and Excavation
- • Choose a site that meets the environmental needs of the plants.
- • An important transplanting requirement is to provide rich, well aerated soil for the developing root system.
- • Start by digging a hole twice as wide and one and a half times as deep as the root ball or container.
- • The hole should have vertical sides and a flat bottom.
- • Prepare a soil mix, in equal parts existing soil and American Plant Organic Planting Mix.
- • If soil is very heavy, add granular material such as Organic Pine Soil Conditioner.
- • Extend the Warranty by using organic plant food, Espoma OrganicBio-tone Starter Plus and American Plant Organic Planting Mix.
Placing Your Plant in the Hole
Trees and Shrubs with Root Balls (B&B)
- • Partially backfill hole with soil mix so that when the plant is placed in the hole about 1/3 of the root ball is visible above ground level.
- • Lightly compact soil mixture to prevent excessive settlement. Plants that settle below ground level will decline and eventually die.
- • At this time, cut away twine or rope and remove any plastic.
- • Green and brown burlap should NOT be removed.
- • Loosen any burlap from the trunk or base of shrub and roll down to expose the top portion of the root ball.
Containerized Trees and Shrubs
- • The outer layer of roots should be loosened, either by hand or with a tool. This encourages the plant to root out quickly.
- • Lightly compact the soil mix prior to placing a plant in the planting hole to prevent excessive settlement. Plants that settle below ground level will decline and eventually die.
- • About 1/3 of the root system should be visible above ground level after the plant is placed in the hole.
Backfill and Mulch
- • Apply Espoma Organic Bio-tone Starter Plus at the recommended rate.
- • Backfill with remainder of soil mix so that soil is brought up to the top of the root ball, but never on top of the root ball. Apply no more than a 2” layer of mulch (e.g., shredded hardwood, pine bark, etc.). Mulch should be applied up to, but not against, the stem of the plant. Mulch against the stem can promote disease or insect activity.
- • Depending on rainfall, drying winds and temperature, you will want to water every 3 to 5 days so that the plant gets 1” of water over the course of a week. For example, an oscillating sprinkler may take 60-90 minutes to deliver 1” of water to the root zone. This amount of water delivered in 2 or 3 applications may be more beneficial than all at once.
- • When watering large trees and shrubs use a slow trickle from your garden hose. Soak up to 30 minutes every 5 days or so.
- • Thorough watering all season is important; however, make sure plants are regularly watered in late August thru October. This is when plants store water for winter survival.
- • During the hot, dry summer months, checking the soil moisture every 2-3 days may be necessary to determine when plants need to be watered. Smaller container plants dry out faster than balled and burlapped plants with a larger root ball. Soaker hoses are a good way to maintain soil moisture, but may not deliver adequate water to the root zone
- • Fertilizing after planting with an organic fertilizer such as Espoma Plant-tone or Espoma Holly-tone is a good follow-up for ensuring your new plant has the nutrients it needs to sustain and settle into its new environment. Apply during the period of March-July or October –December.
- • If using a water soluble fertilizer, apply only during the growing season-mid April to late July.
- • Ask our knowledgeable staff to recommend a fertilizer for a specific plant.
- • Prevention is the best course.
- • Timely application of pesticides is important.
- • Do not spray when the air temperature is above 80°F.
- • Spray early in the morning when temperatures are cooler.
- • Do not spray if rain is predicted within 24 hours.
- • Read the entire product label. Indiscriminate use of pesticides should be avoided.
- • In the event that the plant begins to flag, discolor or show other signs of possible disease, cut off a piece of the diseased area (stems and leaves) and bring it to one of our retail locations. Our expert staff will be happy to assist you in identifying the problem and make a recommendation for nursing your plant back to health.
American Plant uses every precaution in the handling and installation of our nursery stock as to ensure success. In the event that any plant purchased from American Plant, or any plant purchased and installed by American Plant, fails to survive the first 12 months (purchased) or 24 months (purchased and installed) from date of purchase, it will be replaced, one time only, subject to availability. Replacement of plant material is limited to its value at the time of purchase and does not include the labor to reinstall the plant.
Replacement plants provided under these terms carry no further warranty. For this warranty to be in effect, care and maintenance procedures must be followed (planting, watering, fertilization, insect and disease control) as previously described. Also, the account must be paid in full. Plant failure must be reported within the warranty period and proof of purchase or your receipt, must be presented with any claim. We retain the right to inspect any plant in question.
This warranty does not apply to annuals, perennials, tropical plants or plants planted in above ground containers or planters. This Limited Warranty may be extended to 24 months from the date of purchase, provided the purchaser has done the following: had American Plant install the plant, or is an American Plant Garden Reward Member, and purchased and used American Plant Organic Planting Mix and Espoma Organic Bio-tone Starter Plus.