You've heard the old line: "Dig A $5.00 Hole For A $1.50 Plant". This is not true at all. If you do this, the plant will surely die from one of several causes. Out of kindness, many people fill the hole with wonderfully-rich topsoil, humus, fertilizers and the roots will stay in that same-sized hole where all the good food is located, never spreading-out and never anchoring-into Mother Earth. Root ball strangulation occurs or worse, the tree or shrub actually does grow up and one windy day, falls over due to the tiny hole the roots are still growing in. We've seen numerous 30ft Blue Spruces and many other large trees blown over, with only a 2-3ft root ball supporting them all these years. Even a simple change in wind direction with a violent gust can bring down a giant tree that was poorly-installed initially.
Instead, dig a $1.25 hole for a $1.00 plant and it will prosper. Put back the same soil (unless itís clay or subsoil), minus the big rocks, with a shovel of peat moss to hold moisture, water-in well and be sure to get all air pockets out of the root ball area, continue watering for the first 3-5 months, don't fertilize until the following year, and the plant will spread its single tap and many anchoring roots widely and never fall over in a windstorm. (This concept doesn't hold true for junk* trees like the Bradford Pear, species Red & Silver Maples, Lombardy and Hybrid Poplars. They grow so fast that they literally fall apart naturally, so don't buy them.)
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, 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.
Did you realize that, when a plant is healthy and happy, itís doesnít flower or set seed or cones? True. The desired flowering (by us) comes from us stressing-out a plant by planting, fertilizing and caring for it incorrectly. Then weíre happy the plant is flowering and and the plant isnít because it is. A nonsequitur? Not really, just Nature vs People.
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 the making house calls to evaluate and save trees and shrubs, 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 www.gdnctr.com for those digerati among you out there who are connected on-line.