Gardening Tips
Maintenance the First Year Maintenance of Your Landscapes
Pests and Diseases Pruning
Maintenance the First Year
Watering:  Deep, weekly watering is a must. Fall watering up until the ground freezes is also critical. This water must penetrate to the depth of the root ball to be adequate. A saucer formed around the planting hole reduces run-off. Most plants that fail in the first season do so because of inadequate watering practices. A newly installed plant does not have an established root system, therefore, it is much more susceptible to extremes of dry or wet conditions.
Fertilizing:  Except for rapidly growing plants, adequate back fill will provide most nutrients a plant requires for the first season. A 100% organic fertilizer or amendment incorporated at the time of planting is beneficial; supplemental applications of Root Stimulator are an excellent boost for the root system.
Pruning:  Most newly planted plants spend a great proportion of their energy establishing their root system. Therefore, top growth often is minimized so that pruning or shaping is not necessary. Be careful not to prune new flower buds that may develop later in the season.
 Liberal use of well-composted bark mulch will enhance the water holding capability of soil, and reduce weed competition. Removal of weeds as they appear enables your plant to use all the nutrient in the soil. Mulch should be applied 1-3" deep, but keep the mulch a few inches away from the trunk or stems.
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Maintenance of Your Landscapes
Water:  After the first year of establishment, most plants have developed a network of roots capable of competing for soil moisture. However, during the growing season supplemental waterings are recommended fi there is lack of normal rainfall. Of course, soil texture must be considered as well. Sandy soils will dry out much more rapidly than heavier soils, therefore, plants in sandy soils require more frequent watering.
Fertilizer:  Your plant has probably been placed in a man-made artificial environment. Therefore, it will eventually have to be fertilized. The only true way to determine what you need to add to your soil for fertilizer is to have a soil test. This is a procedure performed by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service. Our staff can help you with information on this service. Most people rarely have soil tests. By knowing your plant's needs, and your soil texture, and educated analysis can be made as to fertilizer needs, particularly if you soil pH is known. Soil pH tests are easy to perform, and kits are relatively inexpensive. Generally speaking, liquid fertilizers are excellent for quick spring or early summer results. The drawbacks with these fertilizers are that they do not last in the soil; also, they are so effective when applied, that they should not be used after July 15th or tender growth may be produced too late in the season and winter injury could result. A good complement to liquid fertilizers are granular fertilizers. Available in several formulations and brand names, the correctly fertilizer to amend any soil fertility problem can be selected for use. A separate hand out on fertilizers is available.
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Pests and Diseases
A plant is a natural food supply for numerous pests and diseases. It is recommended not to spray unless absolutely necessary. Other methods of control, to be used along with chemicals (referred to as pest management), would include:
  1. Monitoring for initial infestation and removal by hand when possible (plucking or squashing)
  2. Use of pheromone traps to attract and kill pests
  3. Use of disease resistant plants
  4. Good cultural practices - remove diseased or weak plants; rake up dropped foliage and stems; fertilize and water properly
  5. Use of natural predators - praying matis, lady beetles, etc.
  6. Use of physical barriers such as nets or fencing
  7. Use of biological controls, such as BT
A healthy plant is less likely to be affected by insects or disease. Keeping a plant in a healthy condition reduces the need to use costly chemical controls. If you are in doubt about a plant problem, please ask our staff for information.
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As a plant grows, it often will require pruning for shape, size, or removal of dead or diseased material. Basically, any stem can be removed if it is necessary. Plants have the ability to rejuvenate after pruning, if the pruning is done properly. Keep in mind that more spacing between branches allows adequate air flow throughout the entire plant, lessening chances for diseases. Pruning paint are not considered beneficial to plants.
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