Plant Care

Planting 101: Simple Instructions to Get you Started

Our nursery stock is sold in many types of containers. Some are balled in burlap, wire baskets, plastic or fiber pots, grow bags & bare root. When planting, the type of container is just as important as the type of soil in which you plant. The type of soil and planting technique are key factors in the transplanting of nursery stock. For most existing soils (loam and sandy), manure and peat moss are good additives. In clay soils, compost, manure, and gypsum must be added to help break up the density. Know your soil before you plant!

Planting in Most Soils

Dig a hole three times as wide as the root ball, and as deep as the root ball. Make sure that the graft union sits above ground level. When planting in clay, dig the hole slightly shallower, and line it with gravel. This provides better water drainage, thus preventing the roots from rotting. Place the plant in the centre of the hole. In clay soils, fill the hole slightly before placing the plant inside. Fill in the hole with a combination of existing and imported soils: one part existing to two parts imported. Mix bonemeal into the bottom of the hole for added nutrients.  Mycorrhizae can be added to the root zone and has proven to improve overall growth and long term performance of the plants.  Soil should be packed firmly. Now the plant can be watered in. Deep soak the root ball.  A 10-52-10 transplant fertilizer can be used to help the plant overcome transplant shock.   If mycorrhizae has been used, please do not apply a  transplant fertilizer.(refer to Aftercare sheet stapled to your receipt for more information on fertilizing). The new planting should be at the same level of soil as the original container. The graft at the base of the trunk should be visible at ground level, otherwise the plant will choke. Failure to follow this instruction voids plant warranty. A shallow hole is required for planting in clay. Create a raised bed to cover the top of the rootball. Triple mix is a combination of loam, peat moss, and manure, making it an excellent additive to almost any existing soil.

Wire Basket

When planting, leave the wire basket intact. Place the plant in the hole, then untie the wires at the top of the root ball. Loosen the burlap as well, leaving it to decompose in the hole. The wire basket will decompose over time, providing iron to the tree roots after six to twelve months. After backfilling is complete, form a ridge of soil around the edge of the hole to puddle and hold water around the plant.

Plastic Pots

Water the plant thoroughly before removing the pot. If the root system occupies all of the soil in the pot or appears ‘root bound’, using a knife, score the roots and loosen them before planting. This will not harm the root system!

Fibre Pots

When planting, remove the lip and bottom of the pot. When the pot is in the hole, slit the side of the pot to allow the roots to expand with age. The pot will eventually deteriorate in the soil. When watering, be sure to soak the root ball and not just around it.

Root Pouch / Grow Bag

When planting, remove the grow bag by cutting down the side with a knife. Remove the side as well as the bottom fabric. Place the entire root ball in the hole follow backfill procedures. When watering, be sure to soak the root ball and not just around it.

For all types of Containerized Trees

Prepare a planting hole as described in #2 above. The depth of the hole should be the same as the soil in the container, and the width of the hole should be at least twice the width of the container. Once the planting hole is prepared, lay the containerized tree or shrub on its side and gently slide the plant out of the container. It may be necessary to push on the sides of the container to loosen the root ball. If the plant has become root-bound and roots have circled the container, score the roots in 3-4 places with a knife or pruning shears. Place the intact root ball in the hole. Trees should be planted so that the graft or trunk flare is 1″ above the final soil surface. This is usually the same level at which the tree was growing in the container. Backfill the soil into the hole a few inches at a time, firming the soil after each addition. While backfilling, be sure the tree remains vertical. After backfilling is complete, form a ridge of soil around the edge of the hole to puddle and hold water around the plant.

Balled in Burlap

Quick Breakdown: Dig the hole, then place the plant inside it with the burlap intact. Untie the burlap from the main trunk, and slit the sides to quicken the decomposing process. Prepare a planting hole as described above. The depth of the hole should be the same as the soil in the root ball, and the width of the hole should be at least twice the width of the root ball. Place the root ball into the hole so that the soil surface will be at the same level where the plant was previously growing, as indicated by the slightly darker area of the trunk. This is usually the same level as the soil in the root ball. Trees should be planted so that the graft or trunk flare is 1″ above the final soil surface. Cut the twine from the root ball and peel back the burlap and any metal basket or other material meant to hold the root ball together. It is not necessary to remove these materials from under the root ball. They can be pushed down along the sides of the root ball into the planting hole and burried. Be sure all parts of the burlap are burried well below the soil surface so that it doesn’t wick moisture to the surface. Also be sure to remove all twine from around the trunk of the tree or shrub to allow the plant room for growth. Backfill the soil into the hole a few inches at a time, firming the soil after each addition. While backfilling, be sure the tree remains vertical. After backfilling is complete, form a ridge of soil around the edge of the hole to puddle and hold water around the plant.

Bare Root

Keep roots of bare root trees and shrubs moist and protected at all times prior to planting. Prepare planting hole for each plant before removing it from it’s protected, moist site. Prepare a hole that is large enough to spread the roots without crowding. Rough the sides of the hole to be sure they are not glazed from digging, which would form a barrier for water and roots. Inspect the roots of the plant. Prune away any broken or damaged roots. Place the roots in the hole at a level so that the soil surface will be at the same level where the plant was previously growing, as indicated by the slightly darker area of the trunk. Trees should be planted so that the graft or trunk flare is 1″ above the final soil surface. It often helps to form a mound or “cone” of soil on the bottom of the hole and spread the roots over the mound. Backfill the soil into the hole a few inches at a time, firming the soil after each addition. While backfilling, be sure the plant remains vertical and be careful not to damage roots. Use water to settle the soil around the roots while backfilling. After backfilling is complete, form a ridge of soil around the edge of the hole to puddle and hold water around the plant.

Mulching

Create a bowl of mulch approximately 2”-3” high at the outer edge of the root ball.  The thickness of mulch at the bottom of the bowl shoud be less than 1” on top of the rootball…See diagram for details.

Staking & Watering

Place 2 or 3 stakes around each tree approximately 10″+ from the trunk. Using a soft tree tie webbing made especially for tying trees, tie a piece around the trunk to each stake. Be sure not to injure the bark. Stakes can be removed after the first growing season.  It is not usually necessary to stake shrubs. Thoroughly water the plant. Keep well watered until established. Mulching with wood chips or shredded bark helps retain moisture. Keep mulch 1-2 inches away from the plant’s trunk to prevent damage from moisture. Do not overwater. Allow the soil surface to dry to a depth of 1-2″ between waterings.

Winterizing

In areas with cold winters, protect young, smooth-barked trees from sunscald by wrapping the trunks. Anti dessicant such as Wilt Pruf can be applied to reduce wind burn and winter dry out.  Protect young trees from rodent and rabbit damage with spiral tree guards or similar.

Black Walnut Toxicity

Understanding the site to be landscaped or developed into a garden is the first step in assuring successful plantings. Identifying your trees and shrubs will help avoid problems with allelopathic toxicity among your future landscape and garden plantings. General tips for planting around black walnuts include:

  • Locating gardens well away from black walnuts.
  • Creating and plant in raised buds to reduce root contact. This will require lining the bed to reduce root contact using weed fabric and filling the raised bed with new topsoil.
  • Improving soil drainage with organic matter additions.
  • Preventing leaves, hulls, and stems from decomposing near planting areas.
  • Avoiding mulch containing walnut bark, wood, hulls, and leaves
Walnuts and hickories produce the chemical juglone (5 hydroxy-1,4- napthoquinone), which is exuded from all parts of the plant. The greatest concentration of juglone and hydroxyjuglone (a nontoxic, colorless precursor that is converted into the toxic form juglone by sensitive plants and through oxidation) is found in the vegetative buds, leaves, stems, nut hulls, and roots of the plants.

Walnuts and hickories produce the chemical juglone (5 hydroxy-1,4- napthoquinone), which is exuded from all parts of the plant. The greatest concentration of juglone and hydroxyjuglone (a nontoxic, colorless precursor that is converted into the toxic form juglone by sensitive plants and through oxidation) is found in the vegetative buds, leaves, stems, nut hulls, and roots of the plants. Black walnut (Juglans nigra) and butternut (Juglans cinerea) are the landscape plants most recognized by gardeners as being problems for their other plants. However, English or Persian walnut (J. regia) and hickories (Carya) also produce juglone but to a lesser degree.

The production of juglone is a protective response by the plant to assure its survival. Many plants (e.g., sugar maple, tree of heaven, hackberries, sycamore, cottonwood, black cherry, red oak, black locust, sassafras, fine fescue, and American elm) produce allelochemicals to enhance their survival and reproduction by inhibiting nearby competition. The most common symptoms of juglone sensitivity in landscape and garden plants is the yellowing and wilting of leaves, especially during the hot dry periods during the growing season, ultimately resulting in wilting and death of the plant.

Juglone-induced wilting and wilting due to water stress are often confused. Wilting due to lack of water occurs slowly and can be reversed with watering. Juglone-induced wilting often occurs rapidly even when ample soil moisture is present. Juglone-induced wilting may be partial or may encompass the whole plant. Early wilting symptoms may also be reduced with supplemental water. Later in the season wilting does not respond to additional water, leaves start to brown, and the plant dies. Experimental studies have shown that juglone inhibits plant respiration, depriving sensitive plants of needed energy and cell division as well as water and nutrient uptake.

Sensitive plants located beneath the canopy of a walnut tree are most susceptible to contact with juglone through direct root contact or accumulation of the toxin from leaves and nut hulls in poorly aerated, wet soils with limited microbial activity and organic matter. Juglone is poorly soluble in water and does not move very far in the soil. Well-drained and aerated soils with a healthy population of microbes can accelerate the metabolic decomposition of juglone. Where sensitive plants may survive outside of the canopy of a black walnut, highly sensitive plants may not tolerate small concentrations where decaying roots from a removed tree may still be releasing juglone. Juglone toxicity may persist for years after a tree is removed. So, impatience in replanting an area with juglone-sensitive plants is not advised.

The following lists of plants tolerant to juglone were compiled from published sources. They are based on observation under various settings, but few plants have been experimentally tested for sensitivity to juglone. Many factors affect sensitivity, including level of contact, health of the plant, soil environment, and the overall site conditions. The lists provided here are strictly guides and cannot be considered complete or definitive.

The following plants grow well within the root zone of a Black Walnut tree:

Trees

  • Most maples except silver maple (Acer spp)
  • Eastern Red Cedar(Juniperus virginiana)
  • Ohio Buckeye (Aesculus glabra)
  • Goldenrain Tree (Koelreuteria paniculata)
  • Serviceberry, Shadblow (Amelanchier)
  • Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua)
  • Pawpaw (Asimina triloba)
  • Yellow Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera)
  • River Birch (Betula nigra)
  • Black Gum (Nyssa sylvatica)
  • Hickory (Carya spp)
  • Virginia Pine (Pinus virginiana)
  • Catalpa (Catalpa bignoniodes)
  • Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis)
  • Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
  • Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)
  • Fringetree (Chionanthus spp.)
  • Callery Pear (Pyrus calleryana)
  • Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)
  • Oak species (Quercus spp)
  • Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)
  • Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina)
  • Hawthorne (Crataegus spp)
  • Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)
  • Persimmon (Diosypros virginiana)
  • Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)
  • American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)
  • White Ash (Fraxinus americana)
  • Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos)
  • American Elm (Ulmus americana)
  • Carolina Silverbell (Halesia caroliniana)
  • Blackhaw Viburnum (Viburnum prunifolium)

Coniferous Trees

  • Juniper (Juniperus spp)
  • Cedar, Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis)
  • Canada Hemlock (Tsuga Canadensis)


				

Perennials

  • Ajuga reptans, bugleweed
  • Alcea rosea, hollyhock
  • Asarum europaeum, european wild ginger
  • Astilbe Campanula spp., -bellflowers
  • Chrysanthemum, hardy chrysanthemum
  • Doronicum, leopards bane
  • Dryopteris cristata, crested wood fern
  • Galium odoratum, sweet woodruff
  • Geranium robertianum, herb robert
  • Geranium sanquineum, cranesbill
  • Helianthus tuberosus, Jerusalem artichoke
  • Hemerocallis fulva, common daylily
  • Heuchera x brizoides Pluie de Feu, coral bells
  • Hieracium aurantiacum, orange hawkweed
  • Hosta fortunei, Glauca
  • Hosta lancifolia
  • Hosta marginata
  • Hosta undulata Variegated
  • Hydrophyllum virginianum, virginia waterleaf
  • Iris sibirica, siberian iris
  • Monarda didyma, bee balm
  • Monard fistulosa, wild bergamot
  • Oenothera fruticosa, sundrops
  • Onoclea sensibilis, sensitive fern
  • Osmunda cinnamomea, cinnamon fern
  • Phlox paniculata, summer phlox
  • Polemonium reptans, jacobs ladder
  • Polygonatum commutatum, great solomon’s seal
  • Primula x polyantha, polyanthus primrose
  • Pulmonaria, lungwort
  • Rosa banksiae, Lady Banks’ rose
  • Sanquinaria canadensis, bloodroot
  • Sanquinaria canadensis multiplex, double-flowered bloodroot
  • Sedum acre, gold moss
  • Sedum spectabile, showy stonecrop
  • Stachys byzantina, lamb’s ear
  • Tradescantia virginiana, spiderwort
  • Trillium cernuum, nodding trillium
  • Trillium grandiflorum, white wake-robin
  • Uvularia grandiflora, big merrybells
  • Viola canadensis, canada violet
  • Viola sororia, woolly blue violet
  • Yarrow (Achillea spp)
  • Hosta (Hosta spp)
  • Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans)
  • Spanish Bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanicus)
  • Hollyhock (Alcea rosea)
  • St. John’s Wort (Hypericum spp)
  • Anemone (Anemone spp)
  • Morning Glory (Ipomoea spp)
  • Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum)
  • Iris (Iris spp)
  • European Wild Ginger (Asarum europaeum)
  • Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum)
  • Aster (Aster spp)
  • Liriope or Lilyturf (Lirope spp)
  • Astilbe (Astilbe spp)
  • Lobelia (Lobelia spp)
  • Fibrous and Tuberous Begonia (Begonia)
  • Virginia Bluebell (Mertensia pulmonariodes)
  • Pot Marigold (Calendula officinalis)
  • Bee Balm (Monarda spp)
  • Bellflower (Campanula latifolia)
  • Grape Hyacinth (Muscari botryoides)
  • Glory of the Snow (Chionodoxa lucilae)
  • Daffodil (Narcissus spp)
  • Chrsyanthemum (Chrysanthemum spp)
  • Primrose and Sundrops (Oenothera spp)
  • Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica)
  • Cinnamon Fern (Osmunda cinnamomea)
  • Crocus (Crocus spp)
  • Phlox (Phlox paniculata)
  • Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria)
  • Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum)
  • Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spp)
  • Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium reptans)
  • Leopard’s Bane (Doronicum spp)
  • Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum commutatum)
  • Crested Wood Fern (Dryopteris cristata)
  • Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)
  • Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
  • Primrose (Primula spp)
  • Epimedium (Epimedium spp)
  • Lungwort (Pulmonaria spp)
  • Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis)
  • Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)
  • Dog’s Tooth Violet (Erythronium spp)
  • Siberian or Blue Squill (Scilla siberica)
  • Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)
  • Stonecrop (Sedum acre, Sedum spectabile)
  • Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum)
  • Lamb’s Ear (Stachys byzantia)
  • Gentian (Gentian spp)
  • Meadowrue (Thalictrum spp)
  • Cranesbill Geranium (Geranium sanguineum)
  • Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana)
  • Sunflower and Jerusalem Artichoke (Helianthus spp)
  • Trillium (Trillium spp)
  • Christmas Rose (Helleborus spp)
  • Globeflower (Trollius spp)
  • Common Daylily (Hemerocallis spp)
  • Tulips (Tulipa spp)
  • Coral Bells (Heuchera spp)
  • Pansy and Violet (Viola spp)
  • Orange Hawkweed (Hieracium auranticum)
  • Zinnia (Zinnia spp)

Vines

  • Clematis (Clematis spp)
  • Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
  • Wild Grape (Vitis)
  • Wisteria (Wisteria spp)

Deciduous Shrubs

  • Barberry (Berberis spp)
  • Hazelnut (Corylus americana)
  • Daphne (Daphne spp)
  • Forsythia (Forsythia spp)
  • Witchhazel (Hamamellis spp)
  • Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)
  • Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens)
  • St. Johnswort (Hypericum prolificum)
  • American Holly (Ilex opaca)
  • Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)
  • Mockorange (Philadelphus spp)
  • Exbury Hybrid Azalea “Gibraltar” & “Balzac”
  • Pinxterbloom Azalea (Rhododendron periclymenoides)
  • Sumac (Rhus copallina)
  • Smooth Sumac (Rhus glabra)
  • Current (Ribes spp)
  • Black Raspberry (Rubus occidentalis)
  • Elderberry (Sambucus Canadensis)
  • Maple-leaved Viburnum (Viburnum acerifolia)
  • Korean Spice Viburnum 

Coniferous Shrubs

  • Juniper (Juniperus spp)

Fruit Trees

  • Cherry, Nectarine, Plum, Peach (Prunus spp)
  • Quince (Cydonia oblongata)

Vegetables

  • Onion
  • Beets
  • Squash and Melons
  • Carrot
  • Parsnips
  • Beans
  • Corn