When you think about autumn in Ontario, you almost definitely think about the stunning sights of fall leaves. Here in Wellington and Dufferin County, we are particularly lucky to have easy access to stunning escarpment vistas including Hockley Valley. As such, it’s understandable that you may be looking for new ways to add some breathtaking colour to your own yard.
If you’re wanting to incorporate these amazing fall colours into your garden, a visit to LittleTree Garden Market (located off of Hwy 6 in Fergus), is in order. With a wide selection of trees and shrubs in a variety of sizes, they will have what you need to bring those iconic seasonal colours into your yard.
Regardless of what you choose, knowing how to plant and care for your shrub or tree allows you to enjoy it to its full potential. Let’s dig into it! (see what I did there?).
The first step to planting, starts with the hole, and while this step might seem straight forward, there are a few things worth remembering: How deep you plant your tree or shrub is very important. Always ensure that you don’t dig too shallow or deep a hole. You want the soil height of your plant to be level with the top of the ground when it is placed in the hole. It is also important to pay attention to the soil itself. If you notice that it is heavy with clay, which is not conducive to growth, this is a good time to add compost or triple mix to help enrich the soil.
LittleTree recommends you use Root Rescue at this stage. This is a product that uses micro-organisms to bond with the tree or shrub, which then helps support strong root development, resulting in strong growth. This product can be used at any time throughout the growing season, and while applying at the time of planting is best, it can also be added to existing trees and shrubs.
Once your tree has been planted, it’s important that you mulch it. LittleTree recommends a wood mulch. Once the mulch has been applied, press it down, but be careful – you don’t want to compact it completely – just make sure that it is firmly pressed down around the tree. Mulch is essential as it helps keep the moisture in and ensures your tree or shrub has the ideal ecosystem in which to prosper.
You may have noticed that I haven’t brought up staking yet. This is because, typically, LittleTree doesn’t recommend staking your trees. Unstaked trees grow stronger roots that will better support your tree as it grows. The only occasion when staking is necessary is if you have high winds that may cause the tree to grow sideways. Though, generally, the tree can support some sway, so let it be free.
Now that you’ve got it into the ground, all that’s really left is watering. New trees and shrubs need consistent deep watering. This means that you should be watering it for 10-15 minutes every 2-3 days. Anything less and your water will evaporate before it even reaches the roots. One of the reasons that fall is a great time to buy trees and shrubs (aside from great deals), is that you’re less likely to be away for weeks at a time, risking damaging the plant by underwatering it, and, as the weather begins to cool, you can water less.
The only exception to this is evergreens. To avoid browning of the branches over the winter, you can water your evergreen well right up until the ground freezes. This water surplus acts as a sort of anti-freeze and will slow or stop the browning over the winter months.
Many people ask LittleTree when is it ‘too late’ to plant – and their answer is that as long as you can dig a hole, you can plant! It’s important to note that the later you plant, the more important it is that you take the extra steps to care for the plant and protect it from the oncoming cold.
If your tree or shrub requires wrapping for winter, LittleTree emphasizes that you should never wrap the plant directly. Rather, you should stake around the tree or shrub, and wrap the stakes instead. It’s also important to ensure that you don’t wrap too early when it’s still quite warm.
There are a lot of other things that I could tell you about trees and shrubs, but unfortunately, I’m out of words. The best advice I can give you at this point is to head to LittleTree and ask them your questions – their knowledgeable staff will be more than happy to assist you.
WRITTEN BY: JILLIAN KENT | RESOURCES: LITTLE TREE GARDEN MARKET