Plant Care

Landscape & Plant Care Tips

Be Sure to read these tips before, during and after your planting to get the best possible results with your products from Nebraska Nursery & Color Gardens. Doing so will reward you with a beautiful landscape that will thrive well into the future. Before you dig we’re farmers at heart.  When you think about it, growing a beautiful landscape is just like farming.  In order to produce the best crop of flowers, fruit, and overall appearance we need to grow like the farmers: Begin by tilling the soil and adding soil amendments.  We cannot stress this step enough!  You can’t grow fabulous plants (like you see in magazines) in unprepared soil! Pick out quality plants that will thrive in the location you’ve prepared. Follow the rest of our care tips to ensure a successful transplant.

Site Requirements

Before you dig your hole, are you sure your plant will thrive in this location?

Some plants/trees/shrubs prefer their “feet” (roots) to stay moist and love organic soil.  Others prefer to have their feet dry, and suffer when over-irrigated or planted in fertile soil.

How much sunlight does this plant like?  While you may enjoy burning in the sun, shade plants don’t!  Make sure you plant shade lovers in the shade, and sun lovers in the sun.

Do you have enough room for this plant to grow?  If you don’t leave enough room for a plant to reach it’s mature size, you may be heading down a road that leads to disease and bug infestations!

Digging & Setting Your Plant

Dig your hole twice as wide as the container or root ball.

Dig your hole only as deep as the root ball.  You’ll be breaking away some of the dirt, and the root ball may settle.  You’ll want to keep the top of the root ball about 1″ above the grade of your yard.

If you are planting container nursery stock, remove the pot completely. Take a sharp knife and cut (score) the root ball 1″ deep.  Your cuts should be at an angle, going from the top of the root ball to the bottom. You should end up with 5-6 cuts around the root ball.  Note: the bottom of the root ball should also be scored.  If a thick covering of roots is gathered at the bottom, cut the bottom 1″ of the root ball off. Don’t be afraid to “break” the roots, dig your fingers into the the scores & pull the roots out.

You may need to add soil under the root ball to ensure the plant sets above grade level.  Remove the roping that secures the plant to the wire cage.  Remove the top two rings of wire that circle around the root ball, including the “handles”. Remove the burlap from the top of the root ball and where the top two rings of wire were removed. If you are planting a balled & burlap tree or shrub, be sure to ask the depth you should plant.  It’s important to plant the root flare of the tree at grade and no lower than the existing soil in your yard.

Once the Plant is in the Ground

Make sure the top of the root ball is at least 1″ above the grade.  You may need to backfill the hole with dirt to raise the plant above grade.

Use your dirt/compost mix (see “Before You Dig”) to loosely backfill around the root ball.  Use water to help the mix settle around the roots.

You may have to add mix to the hole, but be sure to leave the top of the root ball exposed.

Never push the dirt down with your foot, shovel, or anything besides the water. Water your plant in thoroughly, making sure to water in the mix around the root ball, as well as the root ball itself.

Care After Planting

Be sure to check the soil frequently to see if your plant needs water, especially during the heat of the season.

The best way to check for moisture is to dig (about 3-4″ deep; 3-6″ away from the plant) into the original root ball and the surrounding dirt.  Feel the soil with your fingers to test if it is wet or dry.  If the soil is wet, do not water.  If the soil is dry, thoroughly soak the root ball and surrounding soil.

Did you know that plants show similar symptoms when they are over-watered and under-watered?  Always check the soil before you water, you may find the plant is staying too wet; pull back the mulch and let the soil air out.

Contact Nebraska Nursery & Color Gardens if you have questions about maintaining your plants!

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