Planting Guide

Planting Tree

Planting Trees & Shrubs

Congratulations! By purchasing your plants at Wilson's, you have bought the healthiest and best plants available, grown with tender loving care.

Any time the ground is not frozen is a great time to plant most trees and shrubs. We will let you know of any exceptions. Keep in mind that if planting during extremely hot and dry weather, more frequent watering may be necessary.

Most plants like well-drained soil. To test for soil drainage, dig a hole for your new plant and fill it with water. If the water doesn't drain in 24 hours, ask us about a solution.

Plant sun loving plants in the sun, and shade loving plants in the shade. If in doubt of the proper location to plant, call the experts at Wilson's.

If possible, plant your trees and shrubs as soon as you get them home. Otherwise, they may dry out and get injured. If you cannot plan them immediately, place the plants in a shady and / or sheltered location and keep the root ball moist until you can plant.

The Planting Hole

To plant your tree or shrub, dig the hole 2 times as wide as the diameter of the rootball, but shallow. Do not dig too deep - once the plan is placed in the hole, the top of the root ball should be 1 to 3 inches above grade level.

Placing Your Plant In The Hole

Remove all tags, wire or ropes from the stems or trunk and do the following:

Balled & Burlapped Plants:

Place the plant directly in the hole. Wire baskets do not need to be completely removed from large plants - simply leave the basket on the root ball and use wire-cutters to remove as much of the basket as possible once in the hole. Remove the nylon strings, plastic liners, or synthetic burlap materials. The top half of biodegradable burlap can be removed once the plant is in the hole. Do not attempt to remove the burlap from under the plant; this could damage the root ball. Pour diluted Bonide Root & Grow solution over the root ball, following the recommendations on the bottle.

Plastic Pots:

Water plants thoroughly while still in the container. Ease the pot off without disturbing the root ball. Cut any circling roots, loosen the remaining roots and place the root ball in the hole. If the roots are extremely dense, you may need to make a few shallow cuts through the roots on the side and bottom of the root ball. Pour diluted Bonide Root & Grow solution over the root ball following the instructions on the label.

Fiber Pots:

For best results, completely remove the container before planting. However, if the plant does not have a very established root system remove the pot bottoms, slit the sides, and tear off the rim of the pot to prevent drying out. Any fiber sticking out of the hole acts as a wick and should be removed. Pour diluted Bonide Root & Grow solution over the root ball following the instructions on the label.

Enriching Your Soil And Backfilling

To loosen the soil and allow for great root development add Master Nursery Bumper Crop and Master Nursery Bumper Crop Starter Fertilizer and follow the label instructions. Pine Bark Soil Conditioner can be substituted for Bumper Crop if necessary.

Mix uniformly with the soil dug from the hole, then backfill your planting hole with this enriched mix. When your hole is about half-filled, straighten and level the plant and tamp the soil down carefully. Then fill the hole with the enriched soil to its original level.

Use excess soil to build a ring a few inches away from the plant. Water will have the ability to collect in this saucer and move slowly down the  root zone of the plant as well as minimize run-off. With acid-loving plants like azaleas, rhododendrons, and hollies, add soil sulfur with the other ingredients for lush, healthy plants.


Water slowly so as to attain deep water penetration that will settle the soil and prevent air pockets. You wan the rootball to be completely saturated when finished watering. Water thoroughly at least once or twice a week if the rainfall is less than one inch per week. Use a rain gauge to properly monitor rainfall. If the weather is extremely hot, or if we are experiencing a dry period, you may need to water more often. Do not water every day. Give your new plant a good soaking every couple of days, letting the soil dry out in between waterings. The goal is to soak down below the root system to encourage deep rooting. Every day watering at the surface can cut off the oxygen supply and suffocate roots. Water your plants in the morning hours to prevent diseases and evaporation of moisture. Continue watering regularly throughout the growing season. You should check the plant's watering needs for at least the first two growing seasons. 


Most trees do not need to be staked. If your tree or shrub is top heavy or in a windy area, you may stake the plant to anchor the root ball so roots can develop rapidly into the new soil. We have tree stake kits available for purchase. Follow the instructions on kit.

Take great care not to skin the tree trunk. Allow for some movement in the plant for strong growth. Remove the stakes and lines within 1 year so as not to damage the trunk.


Add a 2 to 3 inch layer of shredded mulch or bark chips around the plant. This will prevent water loss, maintain even soil temperatures, prevent weeds, and mowers and trimmers will be kept from getting too close to the plant. Avoid mounding mulch up against the trunk or stems of the plant as this can promote disease or pest injury.

Planting Perennials & Annual Flowers

Determine the appropriate location for planting, and then dig a hole twice the width, but only as deep as the pot. Mix Master Nursery Bumper Crop and Master Nursery Bumper Crop Starter Fertilizer with your native soil following the label instructions.

These products will loosen and enrich the soil and promote root development. Water your plants thoroughly, and then remove them from their pots by inverting them and supporting the root ball.

If the roots are wrapped around the inside of the pot or if the roots are compacted against the pot, "feather" the roots out by using your fingers to gently pull the surface roots away from the root ball. This will encourage new roots to grow out into the new soil. If the roots are extremely compacted, you may need to make a few shallow cuts through the roots on the side and bottom of the root ball.


Place your plant into the hole, and then pour diluted  Bonide Root & Grow transplant solution over the root ball following the label instructions. Using your enriched soil, fill the hole back in, gently pressing the soil around the root ball. Water the plant thoroughly to ensure the soil falls in completely around the roots, eliminating air pockets.


For the first couple of weeks check flowers daily for watering needs.  If soil is not moist, water slowly so as to attain deep-water penetration, which encourages wide spread root development. Water plants in the morning hours to reduce diseases and evaporation of moisture.


For absolutely gorgeous flowers, feed flowering plants every two weeks with Garden Elements Bud & Bloom fertilizer. This supercharged feed is specially designed for maximum flowering.


Add a 2 to 3 inch layer of shredded mulch or bark chips around the plant. This will help retain water and keep weeds to a minimum. Avoid mulching more than 3 inches deep or mulching too close to the stems or trunks of the plants to prevent souring of the mulch.

A Beautiful Landscape Or Flower Bed Is As Simple As 1-2-3

  1. Master Nursery Bumper Crop - An all purpose organic soil enricher that gives long term improvement to your soil. Perfectly blended for maximum plant success. Bumper Crop takes the place of peat moss, mushroom compost, and cow manure.
  2. Master Nursery Bumper Crop Starter Fertilizer -Blended with beneficial soil microbes including mychorrhizal fungi for plant success. Our Bumper Crop Natural & Organic Starter Food  is a blend of natural ingredients formulated to help newly transplanted plants develop strong roots and sturdy growth. Bumper Crop Natural & Organic Starter Food is rich in natural sources of phosphate to help your plants develop a strong foundation for future growth. Our gentle and non-burning formula is safe to use with even the most tender transplants.
  3. Bonide Root & Grow - Contains plant hormones and nutrients that reduce transplant shock and stimulates healthy new roots.

Use these 3 products in combination for maximum success.