General Plant Care Guide
The information provided below is a general guideline for taking care of shrubs, trees, and vines. The recommendations are based on our Northern California climate and soil conditions and are very general guidelines. For other areas, timing and fertilizing schedules may vary. If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail us.
Spring - Fall
Most sun loving shrubs and trees should be fertilized at least once in the Spring and again in the early Fall(late Summer). Perennials and some shrubs will benefit from an additional application of fertilizer in the early summer. We recommend using Master Start (5-20-10 with micronutrients) or EB Stone All Purpose Organic Fertilizer. If you want to stimulate more growth, we recommend the Master Nursery Multi-Purpose Fertilizer(16-16-16) instead.
Shade loving plants prefer a
fertilizer that contains sulfur and iron as well as other trace minerals.
Plants that would fall into this category are azaleas, camellias, gardenias,
rhododendrons, ferns, and other shade loving plants. For shade loving plants,
we recommend fertilizing at least once in the Spring, once in the Summer, and
once in the Fall with Master Nursery or E.B. Stone Azalea, Camellia,
Gardenia Food. If you prefer a liquid fertilizer(water soluble), then you
will need to fertilize once a month from Spring through the
While many shrubs don't require heavy feeding, we suggest that you add some additional minerals to your plant once or twice during the Winter. We recommend Greenall's F.S.T.(iron, sulfur, manganese, and zinc). By applying these minerals during the winter months, you are helping build up the necessary nutrients that your trees, vines, and shrubs will need in the Spring as they emerge from dormancy.
There are different methods and time frames for pruning. Most shrubs and vines can be pruned at anytime to control growth. Most trees can take light pruning at any time of the year, but most deciduous trees like to be pruned in the winter. Azaleas and rhododendrons should be pruned after they bloom. For specific pruning requirements, you can ask us or refer to the Western Garden Book or other horticultural books that discuss the specific plant you wish to prune.
Newly planted trees, shrubs, and vines should be watered one to two times per week during the growing season(Spring - Fall). They may require more frequent watering during very hot periods or if planted during the hot summer months. If you are using a drip system, remember you will have to run the system for a longer period of time since less water is released at a time and make sure water is covering the entire root area. This usually requires 2 or 3 drippers to be placed around the plant or the use of a bubbler style dripper. Watering in the winter months, when the plants are dormant, is only required when there has been extended periods of no rainfall. There are exceptions to the amount of water and the frequency of water needed based on the plant in question. Plants that are well established (in the ground for over 3 years) will require less watering during the growing season. Many plants may only require a good watering once a week and some may need even less. Drought tolerant plants like Ceanothus require very little water once established. If you are unsure about the amount of water a certain plant needs, please e-mail us or give us a call.
There are many types of unwanted insects that can cause varying degrees of damage to your plants, especially if they go unchecked. We recommend inspecting your plants every month or so to determine if there are any insects that need to be controlled. If you notice leaf damage or discoloration in the leaves or damage to the bark of your plant, and you don't know what might be causing the problem, we recommend that you bring us a sample in a sealed bag so that we can help you diagnose the problem and help you keep your plants happy and healthy.