• Planting New Plants with Success

    Dig a hole approximately 50% wider and slightly deeper than the root ball. Set the plant in the hole with enough soil underneath so that the top of the root ball is even with ground level. Hold the plant erect and fill in around it with improved soil until the hole is 2/3 filled.

    Water from below as illustrated until the hole is filled. After the water settles away, finish backfilling. Leave a shallow depression around the plant to collect water.

    Illustration for Planting New Plants with Success


    Watering: Roots of newly-planted stock must not dry completely, especially during the first growing season. Such stress may kill them. Water each plant thoroughly right after planting to settle the soil around the roots, then check soil near base of plants to a depth of six inches. Water when soil feels dry. The frequency and amount of water depends on soil type. Water about once each week to ten days from April to September in clay or other heavy soils; twice a week in sandy or lighter soils. Do not water so often that the soil does not drain and remains soggy. Too frequent, shallow watering will hamper root development. Allow the garden hose to run at a slow trickle for ½ to 1 hour on each plant, depending on the size and soil type. Give one final deep watering to all evergreens before the ground freezes in the winter. Do not rely on sprinklers until your planting is well established.

    Spraying: Examine your plants at regular intervals to determine whether or not an insect or disease problem is present. Treatment is most effective when begun early. At first sign of insect or disease problems, contact Soil Service Garden Center. With proper instruction, you can control many of these problems yourself!

    Pruning: Plants require only a shortening of more vigorous branches the first year or two after planting to keep a symmetrical appearance. After the second year, begin the following program of maintenance pruning:

    • Deciduous Shrubs: Spring flowering varieties should be pruned after flowering. Summer flowering varieties should be pruned in the early spring.
    • Evergreen Shrubs: June or July
    • Evergreen Trees: These are usually planted in open yards and normally do not need to be pruned. If needed, prune in June and do not remove more than ½ of the new growth.
    • Formal Hedges: Prune several times during the season
    • Shade Trees: After the first year, remove 1 or 2 of the lowest limbs until the lowest limbs are at the desired height. Most trees can be trimmed any time of the year. Oak and Honeylocust should be trimmed only during the winter.

    A few weeks after planting evergreens, some small branches may have turned brown. These may have been injured in handling and should be cut off.



    1. Always pick up plants by the container or burlap ball – not by the plant top
    2. In heavy, poorly drained soil, set the plant in the soil with enough soil underneath so that the top of the earth ball is slightly higher than ground level
    3. Some plants require winter protection. Please contact Soil Service Garden Center for advise on proper winter protection
    4. The following products are beneficial to the health, vigor, and vitality of all plants:
    • Back 2 Nature Composted Cattle Manure – Adds a valuable source of organic matter and nutrients. Mix 1/3 manure with 1/3 Sphagnum Peat and add to the soil at the time of planting.
    • Sphagnum Peatmoss – Helps to loosen soil and increase moisture retention.
    • Fertilome Root Stimulator – Use on newly planted stock when initially watering. Reduces transplant shock, helps plants establish quicker, promotes stronger root development.
    • Gypsum – Helps loosen clay soils. Use 1-2 cups per planting hole
    • Cypress Mulch – Slows soil moisture evaporation, helps to keep weeds from sprouting, keeps soil temperature more even.