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Plant Care

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Plant Center
Plant Center
Plant Center

Unlocking the Secrets of Plant Care

Effective plant care goes beyond aesthetics, forming the cornerstone of successful landscaping. By tailoring our approach to the unique needs of each plant, we not only cultivate stunning outdoor spaces but also promote environmental sustainability, ensuring our landscapes thrive in harmony with the local ecosystem.

1. Transporting Your Plants.

-Always move plants by the pot or the root ball. Do not drag them by the trunk, especially balled & burlapped trees.

-If your B&B tree is heavy, gently slide it down a board. Do not drop it from the truck.

2. Planting Containerized Trees and Other Plants

Dig your hole roughly twice as wide as the pot, but no deeper. Lay the plant down and gently pull the plant out of the pot. Next, vigorously loosen up the root ball with a trowel.

Any large or long girdling roots should be pruned off, so the tree does not choke itself in the future. Loosening the root ball is essential to the longevity of a containerized tree.

Likewise, loosen the roots of shrubs, perennials, grasses, annuals, etc., if necessary, on trees, you want to see the trunk flare out from the soil level, Remove any soil or small feeder roots that might prevent you from seeing the root flare. If your soil is good, no soil amendment is needed to backfill. If your soil is made up of heavy clay, you can mix in 1/3-part compost. We recommend Daddy Pete’s brand. Avoid peat moss and potting mixes. Do not mix sand into compacted soils. It can make the problem worse.

3. Planting Balled & Burlapped (B&B) Trees

Dig your hole roughly twice as wide as the root ball but no deeper. Roll, shimmy, or use a dolly or wheelbarrow to get your B&B tree to the chosen location, do not drag by the trunk. Roll it gently into the hole. Once in the hole, remove all the rope and twine around the trunk. Open the burlap and make sure the root flare is at the same level or slightly raised above the surrounding soil. You may have to chisel away some soil around the trunk to expose the root flare.

After the root ball is at the appropriate level and the tree is situated, we recommend using a knife or scissors and removing the burlap around the sides. Most burlap is biodegradable, but it takes longer to break down underground. Some burlap may also be treated by the manufacturer to rot more slowly. Removing this will help the root system get established faster. If the tree has a wire cage, we recommend cutting the top half off with a pair of wire cutters. If your soil is good, no soil amendment is needed to backfill. If your soil is primarily heavy clay, the previous suggestions for amending containerized trees apply here as well.

4. Final Steps

If your tree came with a training bamboo stake, remove it and the plastic attached to it. The tree doesn’t need it anymore. Remove all other plastic and tags. Staking is usually unnecessary unless the tree is blowing over, in that case, you can stake the tree loosely for a year. Check for plastic tags around the base of shrubs, you may use a thin layer of mulch around the tree, but never allow it to be spread against the trunk. This can cause the trunk to rot, which may cause the tree to be more prone to insect and disease problems that start in this arca.

5. Continual Care

Hand water your tree the first year. Rain does not always penetrate the soil enough for newly planted trees. Infrequent but long watering is better than frequent, short watering, For the first month, let the hose trickle on the tree for an hour 2-3 times a week. If you plant in the fall, watering may only be needed once a week. Smaller plants will usually require less water so use your discretion. A plant with a vigorous root system will drink more than a plant with a moderate root system Fertilizer is not required the first year. Next season you may fertilize in spring, early summer, or late fall, avoid fertilizing in late summer so the plant does not push new stems or foliage that won’t harden off in time for winter. We recommend Espoma products, but follow the directions on any fertilizer you use, If you have deer in your area, use a tree guard to protect the trunk from rut damage September through winter. It can be removed in the spring. Do this until the tree is over 5″ in diameter

6. Pruning

There are some basic pruning techniques that apply to most woody trees and shrubs. Always identify what plant you are pruning and make sure to research its specific needs before beginning.

First, know when to prune. For flowering trees and shrubs that bloom on growth made the previous year, only prune in the weeks following bloom time to not cut off flower buds early in the year. It is best to prune these types of plants within a week or two after flowering, so they have time to make flower buds for next season. Trees and shrubs that bloom on current season’s growth can be pruned in late winter or early spring. It is always best to avoid pruning in late summer or fall so the plant is not encouraged to make soft new growth that may not harden off before winter.

Secondly, remove dead or diseased wood and then identify branches that are crossing or rubbing. Prune those out, always keeping in mind the general shape and growth habit of the plant. Prune out any branches that are growing against the natural growth habit of the plant. Try to achieve a natural look. Make cuts just above a leaf or flower bud. A cut made too close or too far away from a bud may heal improperly and do more harm than good. If you are trimming shrubs with shears for a hedged look, first make sure your plants can tolerate that type of pruning Nesting birds may be present from March to August, so try to time your work so as not to disturb them.

It you have questions about your plant and how to prune it consult a Plumline salesperson or email:

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