Plant Care Resources & Information

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Caring For Your Plants on Arrival

When You Receive Your Shipment: Bareroot plant material needs to be handled efficiently in order to promote the best health and survival rate. Pay close attention to keeping stock cool, roots moist and protected from direct sunlight, until planted, to ensure best results.

Before Planting: Keep roots moist, cool and in the dark. Roots should be soaked before planting a minimum of 4 to 6 hours to ensure proper hydration. If possible, continue to soak roots while transplanting. Plants should be transplanted within 24 to 48 hours of receiving them. Do not soak longer than overnight since plant roots need oxygen too.

Root Pruning: Prune roots 1/2" to 1" with sharp pruning shears. Why prune roots? This encourages growth and branching of the root system.

Dig the Hole: Dig a hole wide enough so the roots aren't crowded or bent and as deep as the root system, usually twice as wide as deep. Place the plant in the hole and spread the roots evenly. Position the plant so the line between the root and stem (called the crown line) is at ground level and the plant is vertical.

Prepare the Soil: A plant is better off in the same soil in which it will be growing. Do not add more than 25% peat moss, perlite or other additives. Mix amendments thoroughly with your native soil. Don't fertilize for 3 months after tree is planted, being careful not to add too much and burn the plants.

Place the Tree In the Hole: Backfill the hole half full, and add water. If the plant settles, while watering in, pull it up gently while the soil settles beneath it.

Watering In: During planting, you can't water too much. This releases air pockets that leave dry areas in and around the root zone. Continue backfilling until the hole is full and the plant's crown line is at the surrounding soil level. Form a low 2' diameter soil ring around the plant to create a watering basin. Water slowly to wet the soil thoroughly.

After planting, do not overwater! Before watering, test the soil with your finger to see if it is dry. Too much water can prevent root growth and drown the plant; too little will dehydrate it.

The first two weeks after planting will be the most crucial to survival, so keep your plant material properly irrigated. As a general rule, large shade and fruit trees should be planted about 20' apart; semi-dwarf fruit trees about 15' apart; windbreaks about 5-10' apart; and hedges about 2-4' apart.

Container plants are cared for basically the same as bareroot plants regarding water requirements and fertilization.

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