PLANTING DETAILS FOR TREES AND
POST INSTALLATION CARE INSTRUCTIONS –
THE MOST CRITICAL TIME
else, PLEASE read the watering instructions)
Before receiving your plants it is imperative, to contact DIGGERS HOTLINE
to make sure there aren't any utility lines buried
where you would like to plant. Allow three working days for them to
mark your property. The service is free and the toll free number is
WHEN TO PLANT
The installation of woody ornamentals, trees and shrubs, can be accomplished
at just about anytime. The only limiting factors would be frozen soil,
flooded areas and improper transplanting. Improper transplanting is
the digging and subsequent repositioning of a woody ornamental at the
wrong time of the year. Woody ornamentals should only be dug before
leafing-out in Spring or following Autumn leaf drop. Unless the root
ball is very large, such as with a tree spade, woody ornamentals should
not be transplanted during active
growth or the heat of the summer. Installing a pre-dug, balled &
burlapped or containerized plant can be done at almost all other times.
Spring is a great time but Autumn is as good if not even better. Planting
during the Spring or Summer requires a little more attention to watering
than does Autumn planting – usually. Note the watering guidelines
below. When planting during the Spring or Summer, one must ensure adequate
moisture during the entire season. When planting in the Autumn, (as
well as if you planted during the previous season), you need to ensure
adequate Spring moisture, if Spring is at all droughty. Otherwise, root
and leaf development occurs in the cool ness and commonly moisture-ridden
Spring. Never the less, all times are good for planting if one pays
attention to the plants’ requirements.
Tools required: shovels (2 -- just is case one is broken); plastic tarp
for the top soil; wheelbarrow for moving plants or soil; sharp knife
or scissors for cutting twine; burlap or the container (we recycle containers);
GROMAX® planting fertilizer tablets; plants; hooked up hose; ROSS®
Root Feeder (strongly recommend and if not utilized, may invalidate
the plants’ warrantee); shredded OAK bark mulch; pliers for pulling
out nails; stakes and pencil for noting planting positions; tape measure;
crowbar if plants are large; gloves; supervision for encouragement and
assistance -- and your favorite drink!
Locate the plants future position by measuring according to the plan,
if applicable, and dig the hole. Careful removal of the sod allows its
use elsewhere. Pile the soil on a tarp or in a wheelbarrow to make cleanup
easier. Position the topsoil on the tarp and the lower or bottom soil
in the wheelbarrow to facilitate disposal. The hole should be 1 to 2
feet larger in diameter then the diameter of the root ball or pot the
plant arrives in. Also, dig the hole with a flare, the sides tapering
towards a central flat area. This central flat area must be at the same
depth or thickness of the root ball and somewhat wider then the base
of the root ball on your planting stock. Measure the root ball to assure
you have the correct measurements. It is easier to dig the hole correctly
then to remove the plant and dig again. A shovel handle laid flat across
the hole and a tape measure held perpendicular to the handle down into
the center of the hole, allows for easy measurement of the hole's depth.
When planting on a slope, average the depth of the hole right to left
and not front to back. Pile the soil down slope, creating a water holding
Depth is very important since plants are intolerant of being planted too shallow or too deep. Too shallow means the roots dry out too fast, improperly freeze, sucker freely and/or produce unsightly surface roots. Planting too deep, commonly causes drowning and death. When in doubt, planting it too shallow rather than too deep, would be preferred. If the soil is a heavy clay or drains poorly, such as in a new or recent (within five years) construction, shallow planting is preferred -- too deep would bring death!
When planting roses, it is imperative that the graft union is two inches below grade. (The grade is the top level of the parent soil.) When the graft unions are planted above grade, roses usually die. Some roses are hardier than others but regardless of the type this procedure greatly contributes to survival success. The graft is easily found along the main trunk of the rose. It is the union between the stem and the main branches of the plant.
Species roses such as Rosa caroliniana, R. virginiana, R. arkasana and some new roses now on the market are being raised from cuttings and are not grafted. These include the wonderful 'Oso Easy' & 'Oso Happy' Roses. These roses would be planted as you would any other woody ornamental shrub.
For added winter protection, cover the roses, about 1 foot deep, with shredded bark mulch, forming a broad-based cone over the center of the plant. In the spring, remove the bark, in Mid-April, and use the bark as a summer mulch.
Bare root trees and shrubs are sometimes available. All of the instructions
apply for planting and caring for them with the following exceptions.
Since they are bare root, they must be kept moist if not wet, at all
times. Drying out anytime during bud or shoot development generally
results in failure. If they cannot be planted immediately upon arrival,
storing them in a pot of wet peat moss, compost or soil will hold them
for a few days. NEVER allow the root to dry out. When planting, never
take them out of the soil and leave them exposed to the air or sunlight
for more than a few seconds. Have the whole pre--dug, wetted and plant
them immediately. Plant so the splay of roots (except for roses as noted
above) is just below the surface. Follow all other instructions here
but keep them very evenly moist to nearly wet. Don’t allow them
to dry out and then drown them, that is even more detrimental.
If the plants were left somewhere other then right next to the planting
hole, carefully pick up the plant by its root ball or container. Never
pick up a large plant by its trunk or branches, as damage to the root
mass is sure to result. If the root ball is too heavy to be picked up,
position a wheelbarrow next to the ball. The base of the ball should
be towards the handles, and the top of the plant positioned away from
the front. Lay the wheelbarrow on its side and position the open top
as close as possible next to -- under the ball. To avoid damaging a
tree, secure a blanket around the trunk.
Three people are usually required to perform the following. One person
holds onto the handles, the second grips the upside of the wheelbarrow
and the third pushes on the root ball. As the third person rolls the
root ball into the wheelbarrow, the second person pulls on the wheelbarrow's
lip and then the root ball as the wheelbarrow is positioned upright.
The first person acts as a guide and balance. Once the root ball is
in the wheelbarrow, gently position the tree forward so branches aren't
touching the ground and the tree is balanced. The first person then
moves the wheelbarrow to the site while the second and third persons
help stabilize the load. When arriving at the planting site, reverse
the loading endeavor to unload the tree by resting the side of the wheelbarrow
against the pile of soil, from the hole, to facilitate the unloading
process. Careful not to crack or split, drop or damage the root ball.
Once the depth is assured, position the balled and burlapped plant by
rolling it carefully near the hole and positioning the lip, side and
bottom (lay the root ball alongside the hole) of the root ball two inches
outside the hole. Then slip or twirl the root ball's base into the hole
first followed gently and smoothly by the entire root ball. If the plant
can be picked up by two people, just position it in the hole. Large
root balls are not easy to plant!
Smaller plants occasionally come in pots or containers. (We recycle
all pots and containers). CAREFULLY
remove all containers regardless of composition before planting by cutting
away if necessary. Check to see if there is a balled and burlapped root
ball in the container. If so, follow the instructions for balled and
burlapped planting. If the woody ornamental is potted, allow the soil
to dry slightly before attempting repotting. This coalesces the soil
into a firmer ball and helps prevent root damage when removing it from
the pot. Lay them on their sides and gently pull or wiggle the pot off
from the bottom of the plant. If done next to the hole, the root ball
sans the pot can then gently slide right into the hole with minimal
if any damage.
Do not remove the wire basket or rotting burlap from the root ball as
damage to the roots often occurs. Check to make sure the level of the
top of the root ball is EQUAL to the surrounding soil level. I commonly
use the heel toe method by placing my heel on the original soil and
my shoe tip on the root ball. This rapidly indicates proper positioning.
If depth is improper, carefully remove the plant and adjust the depth.
Removing the plant may be difficult and help should be available. If
it is a very large tree, call us for advice.
Proper orientation of the plant is not only artistic but also practical.
Move the plant by rotating it with a crow bar by hooking the bar on
the wire basket or the twine. Rotate the plant for optimum aesthetic
and growth characteristics. Try to orient a strong dominant branch towards
the prevailing northwest winds. If the plant is multi-stemmed, orient
the smallest stem towards your home of the best view.
After positioning, cut and remove the twine from around the base of
the trunk and remove the burlap from the top of the root ball only.
Throw the nails in the hole or in the trash but never on the lawn. Don't
try to remove the twine, wire basket or burlap from under the root ball.
If rot proof plastic mesh was used, cut it away as best as possible
leaving that which cannot be removed from under the root ball.
Position the ROSS® root feeder, attached to a hose, by sticking
its point into the ground until the point is at the bottom the hole,
then turn on the root feeder's valve on LOW volume. This slurries the
soil, as you install it, allowing for complete soil fill. Remember to
turn off the valve before removing the feeder from the hole.
Back fill the open space with crumbled soil from the site and press
firmly with the heel of your shoe as you fill. Fill to 1" below
the soil's original level. Continue watering until the entire hole and
depression is filled with water. Then turn off the water.
BASE AREA PREPARATION
At this time, remove any additional sod from around the tree's planting
area thereby forming a circle. The size of the circle may be determined
by the following rule of thumb. For each inch of the tree's trunk diameter
(caliper), remove a TWO FOOT radius of sod. For example: if the tree
has a 2" diameter trunk, the area to have the sod removed should
be a minimum of 2' in radius or 4' diameter. In shrubs, or multi-stemmed
plantings, for every foot of height, the area of sod removal should
be increased by 1' in diameter. For example: if a shrub is 6' high,
the area of sod removal should be 6' in diameter. At the outer edge
of the grassless area, form a small but noticeable lip of soil forming
a 3" depression. This shallow area allows for water pooling and
thereby even watering.
In the gap between the original soil and the root ball, position the
proper quantity the GROMAX® planting tablets supplied by us. GROMAX®,
is a 21 gram tablet formulated at 20% Nitrogen, 10% Phosphorus and 5%
Potassium, plus 6 microelements at: 1.8% Ca; 3% S; .05% CU; .17% Mn;
.08% Zn and 1.12% Fe in a 2 year fertilizer tablet. If you did not receive
them, please stop by to pick them up. The tablets should be evenly spaced
around the outer perimeter of the root ball and positioned halfway down
into the soil. Quantity (Qty) listed is the minimum recommended, the
maximum is twice the minimum listed.
Container - plant size ---Qty Required
#1 6-9" ----------1
#2 9-12"-------- 2
#3 12-15"------ 3
#4 12-15" ------3
#5 15-18" ------3
#6 18-20" ------3
#7 18-24" ------5
#10 24-30" ----5
#15 30-36" ----6
½-.75" Caliper-- 4
.75-1" Caliper ---4
1-1¼" Caliper ---6
1-1½" Caliper ---6
1¼-1½" Caliper---- 6
1½-1.75" Caliper-- 8
1½-2" Caliper ------8
1.75-2" Caliper ----8
2-2¼" Caliper ------10
2-2½" Caliper ------10
2¼-2½" Caliper ----10
2½-3" Caliper -------10
3-3½" Caliper -------10
3½-4" Caliper -------10
4-4½" Caliper -------12
4½-5" Caliper --------12
5-5½" Caliper --------16
5½-6" Caliper --------12
6-6½" Caliper --------18
5-6' Multistem ---------10
6-7' Multistem ---------10
7-8' Multistem ---------10
8-9' Multistem ---------10
9-10' Multistem -------10
10-12' Multistem -----12
12-14' Multistem -----14
14-16' Multistem -----14
16-18' Multistem -----14
Fe-26, aka FeMax tablets are 15 grams each composed of 26% Iron, 18% Sulfur, 6% Manganese and 2% Zinc. The 4 elements are derived from Iron Sucrate, Iron Sulfate, Elemental Sulfur, Manganese Sucrate and Zinc Sucrate. These tablets comprise a patented quick release iron complex that is bound together with a dispersal agent. Due to its unique chemistry, it keeps the iron from being locked up in the soil. By tableting these compounds they have created a high iron content product that when placed in the soil begins to dissolve slowly for up to twelve months. This special ability to not lock up in the soil and what is dissolved becomes readily available to the plant. For newly installed plants, use approximately 6 tablets for each inch of caliper. The caliper of a tree is measured 6" above grade. On existing shrubs and bushes, use 1 to 2 per foot diameter of crown. If your Rhododendron is 6 feet across, use 6 – 12 tablets. Follow the installation instructions above for Gromax tablets.
For a list of plants that enjoy acid soils and for the use of Fe-26 FeMax tablets, see http://www.landscapedesigns.bz/archives/V18-soilacidity.htm
WATERING & MULCHING
After a short period of time, the water should have soaked into the
ground and the soil should have settled. At this time position 3-4"
of shredded bark mulch on the top of the depression with only 1"
around the base or 6-12” out from the base of plant, do not to
fill in the depression. Mounding the mulch up around the base of the
plant may cause root suffocation, fungal growth on the base or enhance
vermin damage. The mulch reduces water evaporation, maintains cool soil
temperatures, reduces weed and grass competition and prevents damage
to the trunk by lawn mowers and weed‑whackers. This can be shredded
oak or conifer (cedar, pine, hemlock, cypress) bark. Wood chips, walnut
and mixed soft woods can be used but avoid incorporating them into the
soil structure. Remember wood is the bone of the tree and bark is its
skin! Replenish the mulch as necessary -- about every two years.
If the upper portion of the plant was tied in twine, cut it and remove
it at this time. Removal of the twine earlier often results in the branches
getting in the way and damaged. When planting evergreens, it is of utmost
importance that the planting depth is PERFECT. NO
portion of the trunk tissue should be below grade! Evergreens are very fussy about planting depth. For further watering information
see POST PLANTING CARE.
Many people ask about preparing the soil with peat moss, sand and compost.
Current research indicates this should not be done. If the hole is back
filled with richly prepared topsoil, the roots aren't forced to grow
into the original soil but continue to develop within the confines of
the hole, growing round and around and over each other. Even if and
when the condition corrects itself in a few years, roots that were growing
over each other continue to do so and gradually strangle each other
and cause decline. In the future these roots would need to be severed
by a tree surgeon. Other reasons include differences in: drainage, freezing,
heating up, moistening, drying and chemical reactions. These differences
often produce undesirable stress, poor growth patterns, week tissue
development, poor flowering and potential death.
Never prune a freshly planted tree or shrub. Recent studies prove that
pruning a tree or shrub when planting actually increases shock and stunting.
Do prune out damaged or broken stems and twigs and treat all wounds
greater then 1" in diameter with COPPER Naphthenate or CUPRINOL®
NUMBER 10 GREEN wood preservative. Never use tars, paints or tree coats.
Recent studies at The University of Wisconsin show this is usually worse
then doing nothing at all.
CARE -- WATERING
The success during this period of adjustment is proper observation and
watering. For the first 3 weeks after installation, watering is necessary. Water must be allowed to soak into the original soil
AND the plant's root ball, until BOTH are thoroughly soaked. A tree
or shrub derives little or no benefit from frequent light rains or watering.
We highly recommend the use of a ROSS® ROOT FEEDER to facilitate
root irrigation. When probed directly into the plant's original root–soil
ball, it ensures the soil ball is thoroughly soaked. Since the plant's
roots are confined to this ball, it is imperative that it is kept moist
at all times. Otherwise, the plant may fail even if the surrounding
soil is moist. REMEMBER, the plant is drawing its entire watering
requirement from the tiny root ball you received it in. Once
the probe is in place, turn on the water at a LOW volume and leave on
until water overflows the hole in which contains the root ball. This
usually requires about 5 minutes. Turn off the root feeder, remove it
and go to the next woody ornamental. Insert the probe into the root
ball and repeat. Remember LOW volume flow. High-pressure flow creates
caverns in the root ball by washing away the soil from the roots. This
caverning can be fatal to the plant as big holes in the soil dry out
even faster. A ROSS® ROOT FEEDER is available at most home supply
and garden centers. Lack of using a ROSS® ROOT FEEDER may invalidate
When using a ROSS® root feeder water is often pushed up to the surface
along with significant quantities of soil. The washed out soil may create
root ball cavities thereby reducing the plants' capacity to root into
the parent soil. To avoid any potentially damaging effects due to these
cavities, first, water the plant very well. After the water has drained
away, compact the soil between the parent soil and the plant's root
ball by using your heel. When doing this, you may find water being forced
out of the holes where the root feeder was. While this isn't bad, it
does indicate that the cavity is being filled with soil. Repeat this
procedure as often as possible to ensure that cavities, surrounding
the root ball, do not develop into `caverns'. Often, this `caverning’
is the first thing to check when a plant is not doing well.
Please allow the soil to dry VERY SLIGHTLY between waterings. A constantly
soggy wet soil soon loses its life‑giving oxygen and drowns the
plant. If the soil ball or hole remains excessively wet, please contact
us immediately. Watering, at a slow
but steady volume, every 2‑5 days for 5‑60 minutes
per plant is generally adequate. The great variability in time is due
to different soil conditions, temperature, size of ball, planting hole,
water pressure and type of planting. If the tree was installed with
a tree spade, water heavily the first day. Make sure the entire root
mass is soaked. Then water with a trickle every other day or so, allowing
the soil to dry SLIGHTLY between waterings. If you walk around the perimeter
of the root mass and it is squishy, back off on the watering until it
firms-up and dries slightly. If any wilt is evident or if the foliage
feels warm to the touch, WATER! Foliage that is evaporating moisture
feels cool to the touch. Yellow lower leaves indicate the plant has
recently severely wilted. A spaded tree may take up to five years to
fully recover from the move. If the temperatures get into the mid 80’s
or above, or if any drought is evident during this time, as with all
newly installed plants, watering is imperative. So, WATER, WATER, WATER.
REMEMBER, the plant is drawing its entire watering requirement
from the tiny root ball you received it in.
After the first 3 weeks, watering every 1‑2 weeks for the first
growing season (March through October) ensures success. All new plants
need to be thoroughly watered in November following the first hard frost
of less then 20°F. This ensures them of enough moisture
to survive the Winter. If Winter or Spring is snowless/dry, watering
during this time aids in success. Lack of Spring rains often kills plants
that do not have adequately established root systems by sunburn and/or
winter burn. Even though it may appear foolish, early March and April
watering with a ROSS® root feeder during a droughty Spring, enhances
growth, insures continued success and reduces installation shock. It
is so disheartening to watch countless evergreen turn suddenly brown
and dead in the spring because of lack of water. Lack of water, following
the spring thaw is the primary reason you may loose newly planted evergreens.
Deciduous plants are somewhat more tolerant. Dead growing tips on larger
trees is a sure sign of inadequate watering. The plants didn’t
receive enough to get it to the tip.
Save yourself the grief and water
A newly installed plant requires THREE to TEN years to fully develop
the root mass it will need to survive normal weather conditions.
It is IMPERATIVE that the WATER used on
ALL plants is NOT ARTIFICIALLY SOFTENED. Artificially softened water
DAMAGES and/or KILLS plants. WATERING WITH ARTIFICIALLY SOFTENED WATER
VOIDS ALL GUARANTEES. There are a number of ways to determine softened
water including taste, testing and noting the water lines in your home.
A soil test is also available to determine if ANY soft water has been
utilized in the irrigation of the plants.
Upon installation by Landscape Designs, Inc., your trees and shrubs
were fertilized with an appropriate number of GROMAX®.
During the first few seasons and particularly during the Winter and
early Spring months, we strongly recommend that trees with sensitive
bark tissues be wrapped to protect them from varmint and/or frost crack.
Unshaded South facing trunks split open in a long vertical fissures
along the main trunk axis.
Very bright clear skies that allow direct sun on trunk tissue. This
causes differential warming and expansion of the trunk tissue by the
sunlight. This differential warming causes the cracking.
Recently planted or transplanted, thin and/or smooth bark, gray or dark
colored barks, 1" and larger trunk diameters and/or trees without
mature or corky bark tissue. Frost cracking is frequent on Maple, Ash
NON‑SENSITIVE TREES Bushes & shrubs,
evergreens, old trees with well established bark, trunks shaded by other
trees, shrubs and structures. Oak, Hackberry and Birch are nearly free
of frost cracking.
MATERIALS USED FOR WRAPPING: Wrapping materials
should be durable, flexible to bend with the tree, non‑abrasive,
non‑strangulating, shade producing, breathable, draining and porous.
Many different kinds of tree wraps are available from home & garden
MATERIALS UNACCEPTABLE FOR WRAPPING: Plastic
sheeting, such as garbage bags and VISQUEENÔ,
and wooden boards are unacceptable wrapping materials.
Wrap the trunk starting from the bottom and spiraling upward with about
a 1-inch overlap. Stop directly under the lowest branch with a couple
of additional wraps. Tear off excess. Secure the end with masking tape,
going twice around the wrapped trunk. Do not use wire, string, twine,
duct tape or any other material that would not stretch and/or rot. When
the tree initiates spring growth, strangulation could and often occurs
with improper bindings.
Painting the South-facing trunk with cheap white latex paint reduces
the amount of heat absorbed by the trunk and therefore prevents splitting.
The English continue to use white wash on the trunks of their fruit
trees. This is very much in evidence in many countryside gardens. As
the tree grows older the white paint flakes off and the tree is saved.
Burlap, polyester and clothing fabrics applied as per tree wrap or just
wrapped around the trunk and taped on the top, middle and bottom often
REMEMBER all the brown dead or dying broad leaf and coniferous evergreens
during the spring of 1988, 1989 & 1990? On Easter Saturday, Sunday
and Monday, in 1989, the temperatures rose into the upper seventies
with crystal clear skies, very low humidity and totally frozen soils.
The result was foliar burning, desiccation and dehydration resulting
in DEATH. Evergreens are the hardest hit, especially newer plantings
as they have little root development to aid in water collection. Many
older evergreens were also very damaged including yews, white pines
and hemlocks by browning on the South facing sides. When these conditions
arise, a bed sheet (any color but those with tulips look the best),
shade cloth, bushel baskets or large plastic pots placed over evergreens
shades the foliage and prevent the crises. Sprayed on antidesicants
are available to prevent foliage dehydration. Antidesicants work wonderfully,
only if they are applied 2‑3 times during the winter season. Once
very late in the Autumn ‑ Mid December, once during the `January
Thaw' and then just before such occasions as Easter Saturday 1989. I
suggest SAFERSÔ ForEverGreen®
All Season Plant Protectant (formerly ENVY). Applying the day after
the `heat' is not is very effective for the damage has already been
Many woody ornamentals, herbaceous perennials, bulbous perennials, annuals
and vegetable plants are prime food sources for wild life. Rabbits,
rodents, squirrels, deer, and birds consume many different plants as
their primary food sources. During the early years in a plant's life,
we need to protect our young plants from unwanted browsing. This is
especially critical during the first winter. Hardware cloth (effective
against rodents), chicken wire (not effective against rodents), ADS
tubing around the trunks of trees and similar materials generally are
quite effective at control. I have seen rodents chew right through ADS
live inside the tube girdling the trunks, so it should not have any
space between the trunk and the ADS. I find chicken wire and hardware
cloth fencing to be the most effective. Secure the fencing to the ground
with stakes. Make sure the fence is high enough. With a 24" snow
cover, the rabbits are able to chew anything sticking over the top of
Written by Stephen
S. Lesch Copyright 1997 Landscape
Designs, Inc., Rev. Oct. 2000.