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A simple pagoda highlights this relaxing landscape environmentHow To make your garden grow

Use these Landscaping and Gardening Tips to maintain your Plants

The most critical period for transplanted or newly planted material is the first 10 days to two weeks to promote acclimation of root systems.


Care must be taken not to overwater materials. The type of soil will often determine the proper amount of water. For example, sandy soil requires more water (because the water "leaks away" faster); clay soil requires less water (because it holds the water longer. We recommend that initial watering of plants be as follows.

  • In the absence of rainfall manually water materials every other day for about one-minute for shrubs up to 3’ height or spread and trees to 3” caliper. Perennials and groundcovers require considerably less water, about half as much for perennials and a broad spray for groundcovers. Water should be dispersed over materials to promote a drip line.
  • Prior to watering always check the existing moisture levels around your plant materials. If moist to wet you may be able to forego watering for the next 24 hours.

Common sense is always the rule. Weather conditions will determine both frequency and duration of watering. Even after the critical period has elapsed it is still necessary to check material, especially during the first growing season.


Ericaceous (acid loving) materials require fertilizer such as Holly Tone. For non-ericaceous material we recommend using a 10-6-4 or similar granular fertilizer.

Shrubs, perennials and groundcovers should be fertilized in the late winter and/or early spring months. Shrubs and individual perennials should be fertilized at recommended rates along the drip line at the soil level. Groundcovers and massed perennials should be broadcast when dry at 3#/100 sq. ft. of area. After broadcast the fertilizer should be watered in to avoid burning.

It is recommended that trees be fertilized during the winter months. Always follow product recommendations. A general rule for application is 1 lb. of fertilizer per caliper inch as measured 6” above grade.


Shrubs generally require two to three prunings per year. More may be necessary depending on individual taste and plant material characteristics.

Early Spring – February/March: Any winter damaged material and/or dead wood should be removed. Perennials will require cut back to 4” to 6” above grade.

Later Spring – May/June: Ornamental materials i.e. Azaleas, Rhododendron should be pruned after bloom to prevent damage to budset for next year.

Other materials should be shaped and/or pruned to your liking. This pruning will likely occur after the second flush of growth which is usually mid to late June.

Other light pruning may be desired to keep uniform the growth of materials. Always prune to enhance the natural characteristics of plant materials. We do not recommend pruning in the fall as any new growth may be burned during winter months.

Trees should be pruned and/or thinned during winter months after the sap has dropped.

Dead wooding should occur as necessary on both trees and shrubs to avoid strain on root system.


Prior to remulching plant beds we recommend cultivation as possible around plant materials to break up any moisture barriers and stimulate roots. To ease your burden, cultivation, fertilization and mulching can al occur in the early spring.

Do not let mulch levels exceed 2½” as this may harm materials by limiting breathing, promoting false root growth, and limiting moisture to roots and/or trapping moisture. You can remulch as often as desired as long as depths are maintained as described above.


Plant materials should be inspected regularly to identify threatening pests. Activity varies among species. Therefore, treatment times and products based on maximum effect will also vary. We recommend that you follow IPM (Integrated Pest Management) technique which is oriented around treatments a required, not blanket coverage. This is less harmful to the environment and more effective as pest control.

Do not spray without knowledge as you plant material and environment could suffer.

If help becomes necessary we are available to provide maintenance services or consultations. Information is also available through you County Extension Service or a local library.

We can be reached at 410-266-8586