Flowering Shrub Collection 1
Bare Root Trees & Shrubs need to be kept moist at all times. Once your plant arrives open the bag it came in and immerse the whole plant in water for several hours before potting or planting. The roots will re-hydrate and enable new bud growth to develop successfully.
Trees & Shrubs can be planted as soon as you can dig in your garden in early spring. You do not have to wait until frosts are over. These shrubs are hardy and can withstand cold temperatures. If you cannot plant within a day or two, these plants should be potted up into bigger containers, kept in a bright location and watered regularly. When planting out, gently remove the plant from the pot.
If it is very cold in your area these plants should be hardened off before planted outside. Either gradually acclimatize the plant in a part sun location outdoors for a few hours a day or if you choose to plant, it is recommended to cover with straw or an old blanket if a hard frost threatens.
If you are unable to plant immediately, open the box to expose the stems but do not remove the wrapping around the roots, as this preserves moisture. Store the shrubs upright in a cool, humid, dimly lit location. Before planting, remove all packaging material, then soak the entire plant, stems and roots, in a pail of water for several hours. At no time, should the roots ever be exposed to sun or wind, or be allowed to dry out. Trim off any broken roots or branches before planting.
Choosing the Site:
Some shrubs and trees will require full sun that is at least six to eight hours a day, preferably afternoon sun. Please see individual listings for light requirements for each shrub, vine or tree. Choose an open site where breezes will blow through. This will aid in drying the foliage, preventing many fungal and viral diseases. Ideal spacing will enable trees and shrubs to grow more successful with less competition for water and nutrients. Take note of the mature size of your tree or shrub which will allow proper room to grow in height as well as width. Snow provides excellent insulation for even the most tender plant, so consider a spot where snow may gather naturally. The site should be well-drained. If water tends to puddle in the area, either choose a different site, or raise the bed by at least 5 cm (2 inches) by adding organic matter.
Most shrubs and trees grow best in a rich, loamy soil with sufficient drainage. Loamy soil is basically a good combination of sand, clay, organic matter, and silt. To help soil keep rich, a yearly application of top dressing consisting of well-rotted manure or kitchen compost is advised. Most plants are adaptable to a neutral soil pH of 6.8-7.2, while some require slightly higher or lower levels which are noted in each individual listing.
Pre-Planting Pruning of Bare-root Shrubs:
Before planting your shrubs, any broken or damaged branches can be removed. If two stems are rubbing together, remove the weaker one. Prune the root tips back to white tissue to encourage branching.
Dig a hole that is about 6 inches deeper and wider than the roots themselves, suited to the shape of the roots. Sometimes roots will be growing only in one direction, so dig an oval-shaped hole to suit. Dig a round hole if roots are spreading in all directions. Mix in some organic matter with the soil from the hole. A handful of bone meal will aid in root development. Lay a stick across the hole so you will know exactly where the surface level will be. Make a small mound of soil on which to sit the roots while ensuring they are spread out. Comb out the roots with your fingers to keep them from crossing. Place the shrub or tree so that the crown is about an inch below soil level. This is approximate, the general rule is that the harsher the climate, the deeper the crown should be planted.
Fill the hole about 2⁄3 full. Pack down soil with your feet, and water. After water has soaked in, fill hole and repeat packing and watering. This will ensure that there are no air pockets around the roots. Create a ‘catch-basin’ around the edge of the hole to catch water. Water again the following day with a water-soluble 10-52-10 fertilizer (the high middle number aids in root development), or water with manure or compost tea. You may want to mulch halfway up the stems for the first couple of weeks to prevent drying out. Water and fertilize this way once a week for the next three weeks.
Any shrub or small tree can be used to make a hedge, but of course some are more suitable for this type of planting. Shrubs that are ideal are plants such as Spireas, Forsythias, Lilacs, Privets, Siberian Peashrub, Weigelas as well as Burning Bush to name some of the more commonly used varieties. Make your selection based on how tall you want the hedge to be, how fast you want it to grow as well as how you want it to look. Generally space plants one half to two thirds the mature plant width apart, depending on how fast you want the hedge to fill in. Following the remaining planting steps as mentioned for planting any tree or shrub once your desired spacing is established.
General Care of Trees & Shrubs:
Most trees and shrubs benefit from receiving at least one inch of water per week during the first season. Once established, they are quite drought tolerant, but of course are more productive and healthier if watered during dry spells.
We recommend that you keep the soil bare or mulched around your trees and shrubs. Turf grasses and weeds are heavy competitors for water, nutrients and even sunlight. These mulched borders (shrub/tree circles) also protect your new plants from grass-trimmer damage and will make it much easier to mow around them. These grass free areas are especially important during the first 2-3 years while the plant is becoming established. Organic mulches (shredded bark, bark nuggets, compost etc.) make weeding easier, retain moisture and look aesthetically pleasing.
Ideally, most of the trees/shrubs ‘food’ should come from the soil. A yearly application of a top dressing of well-rotted manure or garden compost will keep the soil high in nutrients. Use a slow release fertilizer designed for trees and shrubs, or simply use an all-purpose, balanced water soluble fertilizer three times in the spring and early summer. For example- once in May, June and July. If using this type of fertilizer, it is best to wait a few weeks to allow trees and shrubs to establish their roots. You may also choose to fertilize more often with manure tea or fish emulsion. If conditions are dry when you want to fertilize, give a good, deep watering and fertilize the next day. Do not fertilize after about the first of August; the plants need this time without food to prepare for winter.
Every time you make a cut it will affect the growth and over all health of your trees and shrubs. All cuts, regardless of their reason, should be made in the same manner. Cuts should always be made at an angle, just above an outward facing bud. This directs the growth of the plant away from the center which prevents crossed and crowded branches reducing the chances disease. Most trees and shrubs benefit from being pruned at least once a year. First of all, you should remove dead or dying, damaged branches, and the weaker of two stems that are rubbing against one another. This essential pruning can be done throughout the year, as damage occurs. Most spring flowering plants are pruned after they have flowered while late summer or fall flowering trees or shrubs are pruned in spring. This also applies for roses and vines. Please refer to individual pruning recommendations within our growing guide for each tree or shrub.
For more information about Pruning Shrubs click here
Ideally, all fallen leaves should be cleaned up that surround your trees especially shrubs. Destroy any diseased leaves in your waste to prevent over-wintering of fungal and viral diseases. Water heavily a few weeks before the ground freezes up, unless it has been a very wet fall. This can be done anywhere before October to December depending on where you live.
Morning sun and afternoon shade is preferred where summers are very hot. Plant at least 4 feet apart and dig a hole approximately 1-2 inches wider than the diameter of the root ball and back fill with well drained, fertile soil up to the base of the shrub. Plant so that crowns are 1” below soil level in moist, fertile soil, 12-18” apart.
Growing: Keep soil moist and use mulch. Big leaf hydrangeas prefer an acidic soil - especially if you want blue blooms. pH 4.5 to 5.5 is best for blue blooms, pH 6 to 6.5 is ideal for pink /red blooms. In the absence of a soil test, broadcast ½ cup of wettable sulphur per 10 sq. feet and water it in. You can also fertilize with an acid fertilizer such as Miracid. For pink blooms, broadcast a cup of lime per 10 square feet and water in it. You should do this once or twice a season. It may take a season or two for colour to change. Be careful to not make the soil too alkaline (pH 7 or higher) as that is not healthy for hydrangea.
On a mature plant the blooms last 4-6 weeks or longer. They are beautiful when dried. Do NOT cut the brown stems off in the winter. Blooms are mostly produced on year old wood. When a bush is 3-4 years old, remove one third of the oldest or weakest stems right to the ground, immediately after the blooms appear. Note: Many hydrangeas will rebloom, which means they bloom at their expected time and then if only the spent blooms have been deadheaded or cut off, most bloom again later in the same season.
For more information on Growing Hydrangeas click here.