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Creating the perfect landscape begins with using the proper soil and proper planting instructions. We give out free How To Plant booklets with every purchase of plants; these booklets give detailed instructions on how to plant everything from bulbs to trees. When you visit the garden center ask for your free booklet, and speak to any of our staff to learn the best planting procedures for the conditions at your home.

A few basic tips:

  • Good soil=healthy, happy plants. Clay is not an ideal growing media, but clay is prevalent in this area. We recommend digging out clay and replacing with a mixture of topsoil and compost (we sell bulk and bagged topsoil and compost in bags). We also sell Miracle Gro and Scotts soils, which already have fertilizer mixed in the soil to give plants a jump start. Compost is an excellent organic fertilizer and is our landscapers’ top choice. Start with good soil, and the root systems of the plants will grow big and healthy.
  • Planting can occur at any time the ground is thawed, Spring thru Fall. In some cases during mild Winters, planting can also occur (usually this happens in early Winter/December or March). When planting in the hot Summer, be more aware of the heat and plants’ watering needs; planting in the Summer is perfectly fine as long as plants are watered properly.
  • Too much water can be even more detrimental to a plant or tree than not enough water. Our How To Plant booklet has a watering guide on the back. Essentially, a plant or tree should be watered well at the time of planting and monitored for the next several weeks while the root system is establishing. If consistent rain is falling, watering is often not necessary. If there are periods of drought or especially hot weather, we recommend watering up to once per week.
  • This is a guide; proper water amounts must be determined for each location and each type of plant. For example, annual flowers in a garden bed may need water a few times a week in the hottest part of the Summer, while trees and shrubs may only need to be watered every 7-10 days. In moderate temperatures, sometimes water is only needed every 10-14 days. Never water in-ground plants or trees daily or every other day-too much water will drown the roots, preventing air from reaching the plant through the roots. For more specific instructions, ask one of our staff members.

Container or hanging plants may need water every day, depending on heat and sunlight conditions.

  • One key point to remember during excessive heat or drought: Often any rainfall or water given to plants will be soaked up by the ground around the plants. In this case, we recommend watering the ground around the perimeter of plants first, and then watering the plants to allow the water to get to the root systems of the plants.
  • Fertilizing gives plants extra nutrients to maintain the healthiest condition. We sell an assortment of organic and regular fertilizers specific to each type of plant. Every fertilizer label is easy to read and details what specific plants or trees the fertilizer is specially made to treat. Ask any of our staff members if you have questions. Our favorite fertilizer is organic compost, which can be used mixed with topsoil as growing media.
  • Customers often ask about the best time to prune or cut back trees, shrubs, and perennials. A general rule of thumb: cut back evergreen or non-flowering plants in the early Spring before new growth begins. Cut back flowering shrubs and perennials only after the bloom period is over. Ornamental grasses should ideally be cut back in March once the weather becomes milder.

Direct any other gardening questions to any of our staff members, OR you can call or email the University of Maryland Home and Garden Information Center. Go to the link on our homepage to get to the UMD info site.