Minnesota Landscape Care

How to Care for New Plants in your yard or landscape

If you don't find answers to your questions here, please contact us for help from our gardening and landscape care experts.

Watering new plants

Watering your plant material is very important. However there are a few factors that will determine how much water is needed and how frequently you should be watering. The two primary factors are: weather conditions and soil conditions.

Check soil conditions before watering. Always check the soil to determine if water is needed. If the soil is dry at 4 to 7 inches deep, you should apply water. Generally, sandy soils will need moisture more often than any other type of soil, but always check before watering.

Water thoroughly so moisture penetrates the soil. Plant roots will seek out moisture below the surface. Deeper roots enable plants to absorb moisture from farther below the surface, even when top soil dries out. With deeper root systems you get stronger, healthier plants.

Avoid frequent, light watering. Roots go where the water is. Frequent, light watering keeps the moisture near the surface and causes shallow root systems that are more vulnerable to weather conditions, especially heat and heavy rain.

Fertilization

Fertilize established plant materials every few years. Apply fertilizer in the fall after the leaves have dropped, or early in the spring.

Never apply fertilizer in the late summer. This promotes new growth which makes the make the plant susceptible to winter damage by not hardening.

To prepare your plant material for winter you can apply phosphorus and potassium.

To prevent the fertilizer from drawing too much moisture away from plants, water both before and after fertilizing.

Pruning

When planting new plant material, always cut any limbs that are damaged or rubbing with others.

Always make the cut at the base of the branch collar, never leave a stub extending off the collar. An open stub - like an open wound - makes plant vulnerable to disease and insects.

Generally, pruning should be done in late winter or early spring when the plant is dormant. But there are exceptions to the rules. For more information ask your landscape designer, or a trained professional.

Practice tree TLC. Proper pruning builds strong, healthy trees that resist disease and are less vulnerable to damage from high winds.