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Plant Material & Planting Bed Maintenance


We water all plants at the time of installation; however, your care is required to establish strong root systems on all plantings. Roots of newly planted stock must not dry out for extended periods of time, especially during the first growing season. Such stress can kill them or severely slow their rate of growth.

Watering during the first month after planting is critical. Container grown material is especially susceptible to drying out until the roots establish into the soil. Check plants daily the first week. As roots establish into the new soil, watering requirements are reduced.

The frequency and amount of water depends on rainfall, temperature and soil type. In clay or heavy soils, water every 7-10 days during the growing season. In sandy or lighter soils watering is necessary twice a week. Check watering depth with a shovel or trowel.

Deep water large shrubs and trees by placing a slow running garden hose near the base of the plant. Deep watering can also be accomplished with a root feeder attachment set at low pressure.

Bed plantings may be watered with a sprinkler or soaker hose. 1.5 – 2 hours of watering typically moistens the soil to a recommended depth of 6”. Check watering depth with a shovel or trowel is recommended. During hot weather, misting new plantings 2-3 times a day will promote root establishment.

Keep in mind that water requirements are subject to environmental conditions. Hot or dry weather means extra water; cool and moist weather requires less water.


Fertilizers are required to supplement the soils natural reservoir of nutrients and to make up for any possible deficiencies. Proper fertilization will increase the vigor of your plants, increase their growth rate and give you the satisfaction of having healthy thriving plants.

Your plants were fertilized at the time of planting using a slow release fertilizer or if buying from our retail center, our plants already have fertilizer in their pots. They will not require any additional fertilizer the first year. Depending upon soil fertility, a yearly fertilization in spring is recommended. Avoid fertilizing late in the growing season, new growth may form that is susceptible to winter damage.

When using a granular fertilizer around plants that have been mulched, pull the mulch back to insure the fertilizer reaches the soil and make sure to keep it away from the tree trunks and the base of shrubs. Slow release fertilizers are recommended. Fertilizer stakes, fertilizer packets, granular fertilizers, liquid foliar and root feeder applications also work well. Apply all fertilizers at manufacturer’s recommended rates.


Pruning objectives are:

  •  To maintain plants at a desired size and form
  •  To create density of growth
  •  To remove dead, dying, disease infected or crossed branches
  •  To prolong the useful life of the plants

Your plantings will require only light pruning during the first year or two. As the plantings begin to mature you will want to follow these pruning guidelines:

Deciduous Shrubs

In general, the best time to prune shrubs is near the end of the dormant season, just before growth starts in the spring. However, spring blooming shrubs should be pruned just after their blooming period. Most shrubs are not adversely affected by additional pruning during the growing season. Larger shrubs benefit from renewal pruning which involves removing older, heavier branches at the base of the plant. This is best done during dormancy.

Deciduous Trees

Remove suckers which may grow from around the trunk and remove branches that develop narrow angle crotches. Branches that begin to cross and rub should also be removed. Lower branches can be removed to a desired height as the tree matures. Most trees can be pruned at any time of the year. However, specific species such as Birch, Oak and Honeylocust should be pruned during dormancy.

Evergreen Shrubs and Trees

Pine, Spruce, Fir and Larch are best pruned just after the new growth has fully expanded. Arborvitae, Junipers and Yews should be pruned in early spring. Additional mid summer pruning may be done to maintain a desired size and form. Late fall pruning is not recommended for evergreens since winter injury may occur.


Dead vegetation from the previous years growth should be removed in the spring before the new growth begins. Some perennial varieties may be more attractive if lightly sheared during the growing season. Spent flowers and stalks should be removed unless they are of ornamental interest.


Mulching is done to conserve soil moisture, keep the soil cool, improve appearance and reduce weeds. Stone mulch requires a fabric underlayment and should be kept clean of leaves, dirt and debris. Shredded bark and wood chip mulches should be maintained at 1-3” thick. These organic mulch products may be reapplied since they do decompose. Any mulch applied too thick can affect the health of plants. Mulch should be kept away from the trunks and base of plants.

Pests & Disease Control

Early detection makes for easier control measures. Check your plantings often for insects and disease. The following are practices which can help you avoid problems.

  • Remove leaves and debris from planting beds. This material often harbors disease organisms and should not be composted.
  • Early spring applications of organic oil spray products eliminate insect eggs and disease. There are additional biologically safe organic products which can be used as preventatives during the growing season.
  • Healthy plants are resistant to insect and disease problems. Proper plant cultural practices contribute to pest control.

If a chemical control is necessary, feel free to consult with Meissner Landscape for assistance in selecting the best control method.

Winter Protection

The plant material we use is selected to thrive in our hardiness zone. However, there are protective measures which will insure that these plants survive the winter with the least amount of damage.

  • Perennial gardens can be damaged by periods of thawing and freezing. Covering with evergreen boughs or loose material such as marsh grass helps prevent damage.
  • Winter winds can burn the foliage of newly planted evergreens. Wrapping plants with burlap or applying natural plant oil sprays will help eliminate this problem until these plants are established.
  • Heavy snows can accumulate on the branches of trees, shrubs and evergreens. Breakage and malformation can result. Lightly brushing off the snow will help with this problem.

Deer/Rodent Protection

Damage to your plants from deer, rabbits, rodents, etc. can be frustrating and unpredictable. The following are measures you can take to minimize these problems:

  • Check your plantings frequently for signs of damage.
  • Wrap young tree and shrub trunks with plastic tree guards to combat deer rubbing and rodent damage. Fall and winter are the main seasons this damage occurs.
  • If browsing is occurring, spray plants with repellants or install netting.
  • Remove rodent nesting materials in the fall. If rodent activity is suspected, place covered bait stations in your gardens.
  • Persistent rabbit damage can be controlled with repellants and netting. Live traps are also an effective option.

General Cultural Practices

  • Damage to plants from lawn mowers and string trimmers can be avoided by maintaining a 3-4’ mulch ring around them.
  • Remove weeds before they can establish and produce seed. The best time for weeding is when the soil is wet and soft from rain or watering.
  • Early morning and evening are the best times to water your plantings. Daytime watering is less effective due to heat and evaporation.
  • Invasive plant species and Emerald Ash Borer are increasingly significant threats to our landscape. Meissner Landscape has trained and certified personnel who can help you deal with these issues.