Planting Instructions

When Your Order Arrives:

KEEP THE PACKING LIST!! - The packing list is your proof of purchase and is needed for your guarantee. It will contain HANDWRITTEN Information we need that only you will have. Keep this document in a safe location for the year your plants are under warranty.

INSPECT YOUR ORDER - Make sure all the items listed on the shipping label, located on the outside of the package, are enclosed. Then check all the plants; if you discover some broken branches or roots simply prune them off. This will not hurt your plants.

REMEMBER YOUR PLANTS ARE LIKELY DORMANT AND NOT DEAD - The majority of the plants we send are in a dormant state in which they dry up and look dead. Many of the plants are also bare root meaning there will not be dirt surrounding the roots, nor will they be in pots.

Dormancy is the state that a plant/tree/shrub goes into during the winter in cold climates and is the safest way to transport live plants. We keep our bare root items in climate-controlled coolers to keep them in this dormant state until they are packaged for shipping. Some plants may look droopy on arrival. Give them a chance. Plant as directed and water regularly and the plants will almost certainly revive.

Is My Woody Plant or Tree Alive?

If in doubt, do a SCRATCH TEST. Scratch away a small amount of the bark, approximately one inch up from the base of the plant. If the plant tissue underneath is white or green - it is alive; if it is brown or black - it is dead. Follow the guarantee procedure on the front cover to receive a replacement.

PLANT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE - For best results, plant right away, however before you do thaw them out gradually in the packing they arrived in if the plants arrive frozen. Soak the roots of the bare root woody plants in cool water overnight to help them break dormancy. Non-woody bare root plants should NOT be soaked. When immediate planting is not possible, store bulbs and perennials in a cool, dry, dark place such as an unheated garage or basement. Perennials should have their roots lightly moistened. Heel in trees and shrubs (see below). These measures are all temporary and proper planting should be done as soon as possible.

WATER, MULCH AND CULTIVATE - Proper care of your new plants is very important. New plants can be very tender and require additional care until they are established. View the section, "After You Plant" on page 8 for more specific details and make sure your plants receive adequate water.

BE PATIENT AND ENJOY! - Your gardening adventure is just beginning. Allow your plants 6 weeks to become acclimated to their surroundings and begin to thrive before implementing your warranty. Take proper care and sit back and enjoy your new plants!

Preparing the Ground for Planting

The soil where you will be planting should be loose and of good quality. Dig the hole and work in some Peat Moss, manure, humus, or leaf-mold with the existing soil. This will add organic matter. If your soil contains high amounts of sand or clay, you will want to add some good black topsoil in addition to the organic matter. A good rule of thumb is 1/3 original soil, 1/3 organic matter and 1/3 topsoil, if the original soil is not of good quality.

To ensure adequate room make the hole 2 times the width and depth of the root system you are working with. Potted plants should have 6 to 8" of space around them. When holes are dug in sod for trees or shrubs, work up 2 or 3' around the plant and keep this cultivated or mulched for good plant growth. The 7-8" of soil at the bottom of the hole should be loose so the roots have plenty of good soft soil to take hold in. Planting depth should be at the same level as they were grown in the nursery. Look for the old soil line on the plant. You would want the hole to be deep enough to keep the original soil line. If you are not able to see the soil line, or you are dealing with non-woody plants, the top of the root system should be just below the soil surface (this information is general; some plants may require more specific depths). DO NOT FERTILIZE NEWLY SET MATERIAL.

Heeling In Trees and Shrubs

If you cannot plant nursery stock soon after it is received, it is best to "heel" it in someplace where it will have protection from the sun and wind. This temporary planting will help retard development. Remove all packing material and grass that might harbor mice or insects. Spread out the roots as you would in a permanent planting situation and fill in with pulverized earth and set firmly. Be sure to keep the earth moist until you are ready to plant permanently.

Is My Woody Plant or Tree Alive?

If in doubt, do a scratch test. Scratch away a small amount of the bark, approximately one inch up from the base of the plant. If the plant tissue underneath is white or green - it is alive; if it isbrown or black - it is dead. Follow the guarantee procedure on the front cover to receive a replacement.

Spring-Summer and Fall Planting

SPRING-SUMMER PLANTING

SPRING SHIPPING begins in March to the warmest climates and progresses North as the weather warms. Until April we only ship dormant plants, then we begin shipping potted items and tender perennials as the weather warms up.

The plants we ship, other than the potted items, throughout the spring and summer are sent dormant. They can be planted even if your area is still at risk for frost. Potted items should NOT be planted until there is no longer a risk for frost.

IF THE GROUND IS STILL FROZEN when your plants arrive, open the package and place them in a cool (preferably dark) location, such as an unheated garage or basement. Keep the rootstock moist, but not wet by misting them with a spray bottle. This will protect them from the elements, but will keep them cool enough to remain dormant until you get the chance to plant.

IF YOU THINK IT IS TOO HOT when your plants arrive, plant them anyway. Some people think if their order arrives late in the spring or into the summer when the temperatures are already hot that it is too late to plant. This is incorrect. When dealing with bare root, dormant plants they can be planted in the heat of the summer. It is important to simply provide enough water to the newly set material. Do not allow newly set plants and trees to dry out after planting. Likewise, spring-blooming bulbs can be planted as usual, even if it's hot outside.

DO NOT FERTILIZE any bare root items until the second year, which is when the feeding roots will be established. In addition, bare root items are too sensitive to be fertilized the first year. Fertilizing too soon could actually cause harm to the root system and possibly kill the plant. If you want to use something the first year, root stimulation could be used.

FALL PLANTING

FALL SHIPPING begins in August and goes through (at least) the end of October, depending on the weather. The items we ship in the fall are dormant and can be planted until the ground is frozen. Unless you cannot physically dig a hole in the ground, the item can be planted. ALL plant material shipped in the fall can be planted as long as you can dig the hole no matter how cold it is outside.

They will not, however, come out of dormancy within 6 weeks as they would if planted in the spring or summer. Instead, wait until your other plants begin to leaf the next spring. If at that time, the items you planted in the fall do not leaf out, they may not have survived. In this event, send your shipping label for a replacement, (see the guarantee on front cover).

WINTER STORAGE - If you do not wish to plant items which arrive late in the season, you may store them for the winter. Store BULBS in a frost-free refrigerator. Remove them from the plastic bags, put them in a container covered in sawdust, sphagnum moss or finely shredded newspapers, then place in the refrigerator. Do not store near fruit and do not allow to freeze. Plant outdoors as soon as the ground is workable in early spring. For other PERENNIALS, store them in the refrigerator the way they come from us. If mold develops simply remove them from their wrappers, wipe away the mold, place them in newspaper or other toweling and return to the refrigerator. Plant as soon as the ground can be worked.

Planting Bareroot Trees and Shrubs

After preparing the planting site as instructed in the section "Preparing the Ground for Planting", on page 2, remove whatever packing material was used from around the plant. Prune any broken or damaged roots. Spread the root system, of the tree or shrub, naturally and work soil over and around the roots. Set trees one or two inches deeper than they stood in the nursery and set shrubs at about the same depth they stood in the nursery or slightly deeper. Look for the dark soil ring around the trunk. Keep putting in the good dirt mixture, slightly compacting it firmly around the roots, until the hole is nearly full. Fill the hole with water and once the water has soaked into the ground, complete filling the hole with loose dirt leaving a saucer-like depression to retain water. It is best to cover the area with 2" of mulch. DO NOT FERTILIZE until the second year when feeding roots have been established. Fertilizing before can damage tender young roots.

Water two or three times per week throughout the first year, except in the winter when watering should only be done when the ground is thawed. (This is a guideline, depending on the weather in your area; you may need to water more or less often).

Most shrubs should be thinned out at the top to remove old wood. Cut tops back about 1/3 to 1/2.

TREE HYDRANGEA AND TREE ROSE OF SHARON

Strong growing plants such as Hydrangea (Hydrangea P.G.) and Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus Syriacus) may be grown in tree form. Generally, it is best to remove all canes except for the strongest. Then place a stake beside the plant and securely tie the branch to the stake. Keep all side branches cut off and continue to tie the trunk to the stake as it grows. When the trunk has reached the desired height allow several lateral branches to develop. Prune these as necessary to keep the tree from becoming top heavy. The stake may be removed after the trunk is strong enough to support the top. Hydrangea - part shade, grows up to 12' tall. Rose of Sharon - sun to part shade, grows to 15' tall.

TREE PEONIES

In the Orient, Tree Peonies are called "King of the Flowers." Unlike ordinary Peonies they do not die back to the ground each year but form a woody deciduous shrub that will grow 4-5' tall. Tree Peonies should be planted with the graft at the ground surface. The graft is at the top of the fleshy root. Plant in a protected area, in full sun to partial shade, and in good garden soil. Although Tree Peonies prefer a well-drained location, they should be watered well all season. They should be mulched well the first winter after planting.

AZALEAS, HOLLY, RHODODENDRONS

These are all plants that grow best in acidic soil (pH factor 4.2 to 5.2). This can be obtained by adding partially-decayed oak leaves and acid peat or Ferrous Sulfate. Plant in a moist, well-drained, light soil with a high proportion of humus. These plants are shallow-rooted and should never be cultivated. Plant them high and maintain at least a 3" mulch around them.

TREES, SHRUBS, and HEDGES
DESCRIPTION LIGHT HEIGHT SPACING
Almond Sun
Almond, Pink Flowering Sun/Pt Shade
Arbovitae, American Sun
Ash, Green Sun/Pt Shade up to 70'
Ash, Mountain Sun/Pt Shade
Ash, European Mountain Sun/Pt Shade
Aspen, Quaking Sun
Azalea Pt Sun/Pt Shade
Barberry, Redleaf Sun/Pt Shade 3-5' 4-6' individual, 18" for hedge
Beauty Berry Sun/Pt Shade
Beech Sun/Pt Shade
Ben Franklin Tree Sun/Pt Shade
Birch Sun/Pt Shade 40-70' Clumps of 3, 35' apart
Bittersweet, Evergreen Sun/Pt Shade 3-4' 12" for hedge
Blue Mist Shrub Sun/Pt Shade
Boxwood, Korean Sun/Pt Shade
Burning Bush, Dwarf Sun to Shade
Butterfly Bush Sun
Butternut Sun
Cherry, Royal Japanese Sun/Pt Shade
Cherry, Snow Fountain Sun
Cherry, Weeping Sun
Cherry Bush, Hansen's Sun 5' 6' for hedge
Chestnut Sun 15' hedge
40' tree
8' hedge
40' tree
Coralberry, Indian Currant Sun/Pt Shade
Cotoneaster Sun/Pt Shade
Crab, 3 N 1 Flowering Sun
Currant Sun/Pt Shade
Cypress, Bald Sun
Cypress, Gold Mop False Sun/Pt Shade
Cypress, Leyland Sun
Dogwood, Dwarf Pt to Full Shade
Dogwood, Pink Sun/Pt Shade
Dogwood, Red Twig Sun
Elm, Princeton American Sun/Pt Shade
Elm, Siberian Sun/Pt Shade 45' 3-6' for hedge
Fir, Douglas Sun/Pt Shade
Firethorn Sun/Pt Shade 10' 3-4' for hedge
Forsythia Sun
Forsythia Tree Sun
Fossil Tree Sun
Fringetree, White Sun/Pt Shade
Golden Chain Tree Sun/Pt Shade
Hawthorn, Washington Sun
Hazelnut (Filbert) Sun
Hemlock, Canadian Sun/Pt Shade 20-35' hedge
20-70' tree
2-3' hedge
25-30' tree
Hickory, Mammoth Sun/Pt Shade
Holly Sun/Pt Shade 6-8' 2-4' for hedge
Honeysuckle Sun/Pt Shade
Hydrangea Shade/Pt Shade
Juniper, Blue Rug Sun/Pt Shade
Kerria, Double Golden Sun/Pt Shade
Lilac, Japanese Tree Sun
Lilac, Josee Sun/Pt Shade
Lilac, Old Fashioned Sun
Lilac, Persian Sun/Pt Shade
Lily of the Valley Tree Sun/Pt Shade
Magnolia Sun
Maple, Japanese Crimson Queen Sun
Maple, Scarlet Red Sun
Maple, Sugar Sun
Mock Orange Sun/Pt Shade
Mulberry, Russian Sun/Pt Shade 45' 10' for hedge
Oak, Red Sun
Olive, Autumn Sun/Pt Shade
Olive, Russian Sun
Paw Paw Tree Sun/Pt Shade
Pear, Bradford Sun
Pecan Sun
Pine, Austrian Sun/Pt Shade
Pine, Scotch Sun/Pt Shade
Pine, White Sun/Pt Shade
Plum Hedge, Purple Leaf Sun/Pt Shade
Poplar, Lombardy Sun
Poplar, Screen Hybrid Sun
Poplar, Shade Hybrid Sun
Privet Hedge Sun/Pt Shade
Pussy Willow, Weeping Sun/Pt Shade
Quince Sun/Pt Shade
Red Bud Tree Sun/Pt Shade
Redwood, Dawn Sun
Rhododendron Pt Shade
Robin Hood Rose Sun
Rose of Sharon, Hedge Sun/Pt Shade
Silk Tree, Hardy Sun
Smoke Tree Sun
Snowball Bush Sun/Pt Shade
Spirea, Bridal White Sun 6' 2' for hedge;
6' single
Spruce, Blue Sun 50' 10' for hedge
18-20' single
Spruce, Norway Sun/Pt Shade
Sweet Shrub, Spicy Part Shade
Thuja, Green Giant Sun
Tulip Tree Sun
Walking Stick Sun/Pt Shade
Walnut, Black Sun
Walnut, English Sun
Weigela Sun/Pt Shade
Willow, Hybrid Sun
Willow, Pussy Sun/Pt Shade
Willow, Weeping Sun
Winterberry Sun/Pt Shade
Wisteria Tree Pt Shade/Pt Sun