Trees & Shrubs Installed in the Fall?

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Do you have the perfect spot in mind for a new tree or grouping of shrubs? Maybe you lost a plant, or some of your older shrubs need to be replaced because they’ve become overgrown. Whatever your situation, if you’re planning to install trees or shrubs, fall is a great time to do it. The cooler weather and more plentiful moisture give landscape plants a chance to put out roots and get used to their new home before the stress of next summer’s heat and dryness is upon them. They will have an extra growing season to become established, and you’ll have the pleasure of seeing your new landscape plants bloom or leaf out next spring.

 

When selecting plants as additions or replacements for your landscape, keep these points in mind:

  • Account for the plants' eventual, mature size, and give them enough room to grow. It's a common mistake to space plants based on their size when planted. This can lead to the need for severe pruning or elimination of plants when they begin to approach full size.
  • Plant in odd-numbered (1, 3, 5, 7) rather than even-numbered groups for the most pleasing effect.
  • Large trees and any shrubs that are top heavy should be staked so that they lean 1 or 2 degrees into the prevailing winds. 


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   What Makes a Happy Home for a New Tree?

  • Plant where there is good drainage. Most trees hate having "wet feet".
  • Dig a large, deep hole and backfill with loose, high-organic soil. Feeder roots will start growing right away and need good soil to grow into. 
  • Place the plant's root ball at the same depth as it was growing in the nursery.
  • Remove plastic twine or plastic burlap from the root ball. If left on, these will strangle the plant.
  • Water consistently - only once or twice per week, but deeply. A trickling hose left at the drip line of the tree for several hours works well. 

 

 Why Feed Full-Grown Trees and Shrubs?
 
As the trees and shrubs in landscapes become full grown, most of us assume our job is done. Actually, these trees and shrubs still need our help.

Most suburban soils lack the organic nutrients that trees and shrubs would find in their natural habitat–the forest. In the forest decomposing layers of leaves and other organic matter constantly put nutrients back into the soil. But in our lawns and landscapes, we regularly rake the leaves and remove organic material before it can decompose.

Fertilization can help shrubs and trees when nutrients are lacking in the environment.  Fertilization replaces the primary nutrients of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. This improves the plants’ natural abilities to resist insects and disease, creates deeper color, denser growth and better blooming of your flowering trees and shrubs. It helps overcome the problems of poor soil.

Creating a stronger root system is another area where shrubs and trees need help. Believe it or not, most of a tree’s roots extend only about three feet below the surface. Fertilization reaches these roots and helps them to branch out and increase in size to survive drought and other hardships.  Increasing a root system will generate stronger and healthier shrubs and trees.

Just because your shrubs and trees are full grown doesn’t mean we should assume our job is complete.  Feeding shrubs and trees the nutrients the soil is lacking is essential to maintaining a healthy and prosperous landscape.

 

 

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