How To Kill Trees, Part 2
Improper Planting Techniques
& No Aftercare Do It Every Time.

Theyíre everywhere, including in many small nurseries and garden centers: people planting trees (or shrubs) contrary to common sense and accepted horticultural methods. The plant soon goes into stress, gives obvious warning signs, goes dormant and dies.

Whatís wrong with this picture?

Planting is a simple procedure, but not always easy: check the root system for circling or girdling roots if in a container, cut all rope and burlap off if B&B nursery stock, remove the wire basket, measure and plant a tree at the correct depth (or up to 1Ē higher since the soil below will settle), mix into the bottom of the hole about 4-6oz of 0-45-0 high phosphorous fertilizer for the roots, mix in a shovel of peat moss for moisture retention, use the same soil that you took out minus the big rocks, backfill to only the root flare, and if a grafted tree never above the graft, form a saucer-like circular depression about 1 foot from the base with the extra soil to hold water, get all the air pockets out of the planting hole with a thorough watering-in, mulch lightly and stake into the wind with special Cobra Rope ģ. Do not bury the trunk with soil or mulch, it will kill the tree. And donít plant pachysandra at the base of any tree; it will help to kill it.

The tree must be planted at the level it was grown at, with the root flare (where the roots appear from the stem) being at ground level and no deeper. If planted any deeper, it will die. Many people, again out of kindness, pile soil and mulch up around the stem for a neatly-manicured look, effectively suffocating the tree or shrub and putting it into stress, then death. Always check the depth that a tree or shrub is planted at; better to be planted a little high (since the loose ground under the rootball settles) than too low and suffocate it.

Killing a tree with kindness still makes for a dead tree.

When any plant goes into stress, it gives you notice that something's very wrong. There are signs to watch for prior to this occurrence: shoots suckering from the bottom, heavy flowering and then the setting of abnormal amounts of seed or cones, leaves curling and dropping, limb or stem die-back, and finally, complete dormancy prior to death.

When a plant is healthy (and happy), itís doesnít flower or set seed or cones. Yes, this is true. The desired (by us) flowering comes from us stressing-out a plant by incorrectly planting, fertilizing and caring for it. Then weíre happy the plant is flowering and and the plant isnít because it is. A nonsequitur? Not really, just People vs Nature.

Some trees and shrubs don't mind moist roots; others brown-off and die quickly. Ask the Nursery Sales Person for exact cultural information about the cultivar you're purchasing and follow the advice exactly. Always get a printed copy for future reference; unless you've got a photographic memory or a library of horticultural reference books, don't trust things to memory.

At the first sign of any of the above stress conditions, call us. Regardless of who planted the tree or shrub; it might still be salvageable. There's no charge for a visit to save a plant. Unlike other Garden Centers and Nurseries who won't bother responding, we do.

In addition to carrying only Premium Dark Bark Mulch, we feature over 900 varieties of perennials, 200 varieties of annuals and herbs, over 100 varieties of ornamental grasses and bamboos, and more than 1600 cultivars of nursery stock, ranging from the common to the very rare, unusual and hard-to-find. Our Collector's Rare Plant Nursery has been supplying gardening enthusiasts for over seven years, and is a must for connoisseurs and serious collectors.

Our Nursery Division can supply any request from the common to very rare and unusual material. And if you need a tree or shrub moved, we feature a special team capable of easily moving anything from 1-inch to 10-inch diameter trees. Call us for a free consultation and estimate.

Our Warranty: is unmatched by anyone, anywhere, and is one (1) year from date of purchase if you install the plant material; it is five (5) years if we install the material. Call, write or email us for a complete copy of The Warranty. It's also online right here.

Drop by our Website on The InterNet for a tour of the Garden Center & Nursery. It's located at for those digerati among you out there who are connected on-line.