Planting Recommendations

Planting Recommendations For Caliper Trees, Potted Trees, Shrubs and Perennials

Site Selection

Where you decide will be good home for your plant, is one of the most important factors that determines the success of your tree and shrub planting. Do not plant in a drainage swale between houses, next to sump pumps, roof drains, or any other location where water would stand after a rainfall.

There are two different ways your plant material will be packaged and each require a different planting method. Please refer to the appropriate method below:

Plastic Pots – Usually Potted Trees, Shrubs, Evergreens and Perennials

Identified by rigid plastic in a variety of colours (usually black or green).

  1. Dig a hole a minimum of 15cm (6″) deeper and wider than the pot.
  2. Add topsoil to the bottom of the hole to bring depth to height of the soil level in the pot.
  3. Tap the sides of the pot to loosen the soil.
  4. Carefully remove the tree or shrub from the pot and place plant gently in the hole.
  5. If you are planting a juniper or other potted evergreen, gently loosen roots that have encircled the ball to prevent the plant from girdling. Girdling happens when roots wrap in a circle around the root ball. They strengthen and tighten until they literally choke the tree.
  6. Fill hole with water and allow to soak into root ball. Repeat.
  7. Fill the hole with good topsoil ensuring the top of the root ball is level with grade.
  8. If planting a tree, create a tree well by raking a ridge of soil 5-10cm (2-4″) high just outside the root area.

Burlap and Wire Basket – Usually Caliper Trees and Evergreens

Identified by a burlap wrapped root ball in a wire basket.

  1. Dig a hole a minimum of 30cm (12″) wider and as deep as the root ball. Leave a small mound in the center of the hole for the tree to stand on.
  2. Remove plastic shrink wrap but leave on the wire and burlap.
  3. Place tree in hole and straighten tree by using a shovel handle to pry the basket, do not pull on the trunk.
  4. Partially backfill with topsoil to stabilize the tree and tamp the soil lightly.
  5. Cut and remove only the top 15cm (6″) of the wire basket and burlap and all strapping around the trunk of the tree.
  6. Fill hole with water and allow to soak into root ball.
  7. Backfill with good topsoil ensuring that the top of the root ball is level with final grade.
  8. Create a tree well by raking a ridge of soil 5- 10cm (2-4″) high just outside the root area.



If you take the time this fall to do some preparation for winter, you may avoid some of the problems that can occur due to weather changes.

WATERING   Make sure that newly planted trees, shrubs and perennials are watered in well after planting as it is important to eliminate any air pockets from around the root system.  Fall watering is also important for existing plants to help them through the winter. One way to accomplish this is to lay the hose at the base of the plant and allow the water to run at a slow trickle so that it penetrates deeply and to a minimum of 12 inches.  If this is done just before freeze up, it creates a block of ice that protects the root zone of the plant.

MULCHING   Tender plants and perennials may be mulched to a depth of about 6” with straw or hay.   This will insulate the root system against temperature fluctuations and keep the soil from drying out due to dry cold air and lack of snow.  Mulching is especially beneficial for tender roses.  Prune roses back to about 12”.  Mound up and around the plants with peat moss or mulch.  A Styrofoam rose collar will help to keep the peat moss in place and provide extra insulation.  Snow also acts as insulation; so shovel your sidewalk and driveway snow onto your beds.  Make sure you have not used a de-icer on the areas where you take the snow.

PERENNIALS   You can leave the foliage standing to trap snow for protection and add winter interest to your yard or you can cut back your perennials.  If you have any diseases or pests, it is best to cut back your perennials and clean up all leaves and debris.  Wait until after a hard frost and for the plant to die back completely before cutting back.

EVERGREENS   Watering and mulching the root systems of junipers and cedars will help them to survive our harsh dry winters.  For added protection, you can treat them with an anti-desiccant spray such as Wilt Pruf. (Available at the nursery) Shielding them from the cold north wind and glare from the surrounding snow by putting a burlap barrier up can also help.  Keep the burlap 6-8” away from the evergreen and do not allow the fabric to touch the branches. Water well just before the ground freezes.

INSECTS & DISEASES   It is important to clean up the leaf litter in your yard so that insects and disease does not over winter amongst them.  If you have experienced heavy insect populations this year, spraying dormant oil on deciduous plant material can help rid your garden of insects which over winter.  Follow the directions on the container.


Now is the time to wrap the trunk of your trees with a plastic tree wrap to protect them from damage that can be done from animals eating the bark during the winter months. Be sure to remove the protective wrap in the spring.  (Available at the nursery)


Yellowing of needles in the fall is a normal occurrence for evergreen trees.  Conifers do not keep their growth of needles on their inside branches  and shed them naturally in the fall.  The discoloration, which affects the older needles close to the trunk occurs in late August and can continue until freeze up.   The amount of shedding can be greater if the tree has been placed under stress caused by droughts, flooding or newly dug trees.   These needles are not replaced and this is why evergreens are bare of needles near the trunk and there is usually a carpet of needles under the tree.