After Planting New Trees & Shrubs, Now What?

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Now that you’ve got annual, perennials and shrubs planted, you might have questions about when to fertilize and prune. Here are some tips for general care of trees, shrubs and flowers after planting.

• Pruning Trees: Improving the structure is of primary importance. Work for uniform spacing of the main stems and branches; thin out weak branches; eliminate weak crotches; vertical branches; raise the head of a tree gradually by removing the lower branches, starting at least two years after planting.

• Pruning Shrubs: Keep shrubs shapely and restricted by trimming young growth and removing dead interior growth. Basic rules are to prune after flowering (usually spring or summer). Drastic pruning of shrubs should only be done on old wood by removing to the ground.

• Fertilizing: After the first year, fertilize trees and shrubs regularly. A wide range of fertilizers is available for all types of plant materials. Check a nearby garden center for a fertilizer that meets your needs.

• Mulching: When using wood mulch, it is recommended to top dress the beds every 2-3 years with approximately 2” of new mulch to make up for decomposition and prevent weeds or other unwanted growth in the beds.

• Rose Care: Do not fertilize roses in the fall. This can result in new growth that may not harden in time for winter causing dieback. Prune roses in the spring: cut out approximately 1/3 of the stems, taking the older stems first. Then trim remaining stems for height, trimming back to the bud.

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