Planting Guide

Before Planting:

  • When choosing plants, consider the following:
    • Sun and wind exposure
    • Soil conditions (including how well the soil drains)
    • Mature size of plants and the rate at which they reach mature size
  • Wilson's staff can help you pick out the proper plant for your location and how to determine your soil drainage.
  • If you are not planting immediately, place plants in a sheltered location and keep moist (one hot day without water is enough to kill).
  • Any time the ground is not frozen or saturated is an ideal time to plant. Keep in mind that planting during hot or dry conditions, more frequent watering will be necessary.

Planting Trees & Shrubs

The Planting Hole:

  • Dig the hole two (2) times as wide as the diameter of the root ball, but shallow. Do not dig too deep.
  • Once the plant is placed in the hole, the top of the root ball should be 1 to 3 inches above the grade level of the surrounding soil.

Placing Your Plant In The Hole:

  • Remove all tags, wires or ropes from the stems or trunk and do the following:
    • Plastic Pots: Water plants thoroughly while still in the container. Ease the pot off without disturbing the root ball. Loosen roots with fingers. Cut any circling roots and shallowly cut extremely dense roots. Place the root ball in the hole.
    • Balled and Burlapped Plants: Leave wire basket on to help guide tree into the hole. Then, use wire cutters to remove as much of the basket as possible. Remove any strings, plastic or synthetic materials. Remove the top half of biodegradable burlap. Cut slits in the bottom half.

Enriching Your Soil, Backfiling and Mulching:

  • Once the plant is in the hole, pour diluted Root & Grow solution over the root ball, following the recommendations on the bottle.
  • Mix Bumper Crop® Soil Conditioner and Bumper Crop® Starter Food with the excavated soil. (Following label instructions). In some instances, Pine Bark Soil Conditioner can be substituted for Bumper Crop® Soil Conditioner.
  • Backfill the planting hole with this mix. When the hole is half-filled, straighten and leve the plant, and tamp the soil down carefully. Fill the hole with the enriched soil to the original level.
  • Water thoroughly and deeply to settle soil around the root ball and remove air pockets. Water to the point of saturation after planting.
  • Mulch with 2-3 inches of shredded mulch or bark chips to conserve moisture, reduce weeds and keep trimmers and mowers away from the trunk. Stone or rubber products are NOT beneficial.
  • Avoid overly deep mulch and keep mulch away from the trunk/base of the plant.


  • 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 for up to one year, as it roots in and anchors itself. Follow the instructions on the kit, taking great care not to skin the tree trunk.

Watering (post-planting):

  • Watering is the most common issue with new trees and shrubs. New plants typically need a lot of water for the first year or two as they establish. * Water requirements will vary depending on plant type, weather conditions, time of year and soil structure. 
  • Imagine thoroughly soaking the entire root ball when watering, as well as the soil around and below it. The goal is to soak below the root system to encourage deep rooting. Water slowly to reduce runoff. This is best achieved with a soaker hose, or garden hose left on trickle. Hand watering is not sufficient.
  • As a guideline, a slow trickle for 1o minutes for every gallon size container. For example, a plant that comes from a 1 gallon size container should be slowly watered for 10 minutes, 3 gallon - 30 minutes, etc.
  • Do not water every day, which can suffocate roots. Give your new plant a good soaking every couple of days, letting the soil dry out in between waterings. Watering frequencies may vary from week to week depending on weather conditions.
  • Do not rely on rain. Use a rain gauge to properly monitor rainfall. A slow steady rain with an inch or more within a week period is required to be sufficient.
  • Morning watering will help 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.
  • If we have a rainy spring, it is even more critical that you monitor watering later in the season.
  • Do not let plants go into winter dry. One good last soaking before the ground freezes is beneficial, particularly on evergreens.

Planting Perennials & Annuals

  • Determine the appropriate location for planting. Dig a hole twice the width, planting only as deep as the root ball. Mix Bumper Crop® Soil Conditoner and Bumper Crop® Starter Food with native soil, following the label instructions.
  • Water plants thoroughly while still in the container, and then remove, supporting the root ball.
  • Use your fingers to gently loosen the roots. This will encourage new roots to grow out into the soil. If the roots are extremely compacted, make a few shallow cuts on the side and bottom of the root ball.
  • Place the plant in the hole, and then pour diluted Bonide® Root & Grow solution over the root ball, following the label instructions. Using the 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 plants daily for watering needs, until you obtain a watering schedule. If soil is not moist, ater slowly to attain deep-water penetration, which encourages widespread root development. Water plants in the morning hours to reduce diseases and evaporation of moisture. Avoid watering leaves.
  • Add a 2 to 3-inch layer of shredded mulch or bark chips around the plant. This will help to retain water and keep weeds to a minimum. Avoid mulching more than 3 inches deep or too close to the stems of the plants.
  • For absolutely gorgeous flowers, feed flowering plants every two weeks with Bud & Bloom fertilizer. This supercharged feed is specially designed for maximum flowering.

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

  1. Bumper Crop® Soil Builder: 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. Bumper Crop® Starter Food: High phosphate garden fertilizer that feeds new plant growth and encourages good rooting.
  3. Bonide® Root & Grow Root Stimulator & Plant Starter: Contains plant hormones and nutrients that reduce transplant shock and stimulates healthy new roots.

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