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Plant and Flower Tips

Updated: May 20, 2020

We have the best tips and tricks for making your garden or floral arrangement really stand out.


Plant survival is directly related to the care plants receive after they leave the Nursery. One of the most basic concepts is adequate moisture. Without it plants cannot survive. Water requirements for newly installed plants are fairly simple: the roots should never become completely dry or waterlogged. If necessary the soil should be amended to solve drainage or moisture retention problems. Planting according to our guidelines ensures that the ground around new plantings is saturated and roots are off to a good start. The crucial part of supplying “adequate moisture” is to complement natural rainfall on an ongoing basis through the following steps.

1. Soil sampling: Dig down 2–4” just outside the root mass of the plant and water only if the soil feels dry to the touch. Feeling the soil for moisture content is the BEST method for gauging dryness. Only sampling can tell you when the soil is adequately moist, too dry, or too wet.

2. Corralling the water: “Well” all newly installed plants by creating a circular berm of soil (a 3” or 4” high saucer edge) around each plant. This allows both for easy measurement and placement of water at the root zone.

3. Keeping track of water volume: Apply measured amounts of water depending on the size of the root ball. The following chart is a guideline for the amounts of water needed by newly planted trees and shrubs based upon plant size. Plant species have varying water requirements. Before watering according to the chart, check actual soil moisture and the moisture requirements of your plants.

Water measurements are made by using a watering can, bucket, water meter, or by calculating the gallons per minute flowing through the hose at a known setting. When watering with a hose, turn on the water at a low setting, take note of the setting, and count the amount of time it takes the water to fill a one-gallon container. Multiply that amount of time by the number of gallons you need for your plant. That total provides the amount of time you need to run the hose (at noted setting) in order to adequately water your plants. For example, if it takes 5 minutes to fill a gallon jug at a slow trickle and you need to water a “larger” tree (see the watering guidelines chart below).

Next, you need to let the water trickle over the root mass for 50 to 75 minutes each time you water (5 minutes x 10 to 15 gal. needed per application = 50 to 75 minutes.

Watering Guidelines / Plant Size / Amount of Water per Application

Small shrubs (<3 feet) 4-5 gallons

Large shrubs (>3 feet) 7-10 gallons

Small trees (<2” caliper) 7-10 gallons

Larger trees (>2” caliper) 10-20 gallons

4. Evaluate Frequency: Newly installed shrubs and trees should be checked and watered every other day for two weeks, taking into account any rain. This will ensure that the soil is soaked thoroughly. Once the soil is saturated, limit watering to once a week if less than one inch of rain falls during the week. Your plants need to be watered throughout their first full growing cycle in order to establish roots into new soil and put on top growth. A full growing cycle includes a fall and spring season. Late fall watering, until the ground is fully frozen, is essential for the survival of newly planted trees and shrubs.

5. Mulch: Maintaining a 2–4” layer of organic mulch greatly reduces water lost to evaporation. Mulch should be tapered to and not touching the plant base.

6. CAUTION! These are only general recommendations. Each site is different (i. e., soil type, sun and wind exposure, topography) and different plants have different water needs. You must adjust your watering routine to compensate for those factors as well as the weather. BE CAREFUL NOT TO OVER WATER. A plant may also be “killed with kindness” from over watering as easily as it may die from lack of water.