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After Installation – Plant Care Instructions

May 24, 2012 | Gardens, Lawns

Once you have done everything necessary for your plants to promote vigorous healthy growth habits, it’s time to take care of them. These instructions assume the plants have been planted in a prepared planting area containing fertilizer and soil amenities. WATERING
Newly planted trees and shrubs should be kept moist throughout the first year. A thorough soaking of each plant should be done three times a week for the first three weeks, twice a week for the next three weeks, and once a week for the balance of the year. Be mindful of current weather conditions and vary watering accordingly. Watering on warm (plus 35 degree) winter days is highly recommended. Wilting is often a sign of lack of water. If wilting still occurs 24 hours after a thorough soaking of the plant, please consult a professional horticulturist. Watering is best done with an open-ended hose at a slow trickle, or with the use of a soaker hose. Watering the leaves will not benefit the plant and can even be harmful. Watering in the early morning and/or late afternoon (4:00 p.m.) is generally best. Do not water mid-day nor in the late evening.

FERTILIZATION Do not fertilize shrubs or trees for at least one full year following installation. After one year you may fertilize annually in the spring with a slow-release fertilizer. Take care for the environment; use natural fertilizers whenever possible. PRUNING The removal of excess growth and any diseased or dead wood is essential to the health of all plants, young or old. The use of sharp pruners will prevent damage to plants. Making clean cuts greatly reduces the chance of disease and insect infestation. Pruning can be done generally anytime depending on the type of plant:

  • Deciduous trees should be pruned in late fall.
  • Non-flowering shrubs can be pruned anytime (deciduous and evergreen).
  • Flowering trees and shrubs should be pruned after blooming.
  • Major pruning back of any plant should be done in late fall/early spring.

INSECTS AND DISEASES Inspect new plantings periodically for signs of pest and/or disease damage (splotchy leaves, split bark, egg clusters, etc.). Consult with a professional horticulturist at first sign of duress.

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About the Author

Matt Johnson grew up in a family of landscapers and gardeners as the grandson of Raymond Johnson (Founder, 1933, Johnson's Florist and Garden Center) and son of James and Carol Johnson (Founders, 1960, Johnson's Landscaping Service, Inc.). Since 2007, he has led Johnson's Landscaping Service with his brother, Charlie.  Matt and his wife Jaime live in Petworth in Northwest DC with their 3 sons and 2 big dogs.

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