A: Pruning can be done anytime throughout the year. Dormant season pruning in fall and early spring is ideal, you can see the shape better and disease pathogens/insects are also dormant. This means less chance of infecting your tree or shrub during this time.
Trees have few exceptions which include maple, birch and walnut. These should be pruned in July when they are in full leaf. This will prevent unwanted sap flow from oozing out of the wounds. By law, in Alberta, Elm trees cannot be pruned from April 1st until September 30th. This is in place to prevent Dutch Elm Disease. (DED)
Certain Shrubs such as lilac, form their flower buds the previous year. In this case, pruning should be done right after your shrub has finished flowering in the spring. Pruning at any other time will give you few to no flowers the following season.
No more than 1/3 of a trees canopy should be pruned per season. Always be sure to disinfect your pruning equipment after each cut to prevent spreading disease. Improper pruning can result in poor structure and become dangerous over time. NEVER top your trees!! If you are ever unsure about proper pruning techniques, call the store or consult a certified arborist!
A: Watering of all plants is critical for the first two or three growing seasons, sometimes more, to get your plants well established. We recommend to let the soil dry out a little between watering, to give the roots a chance to breathe.
Newly planted trees should get a deep soaking once every 7-10 days and shrubs every 4-7 days. Place your hose at the base of the tree and apply roughly one gallon of water per foot of height of the plant. A moisture meter is a handy tool you can use to check the soils moisture level.
All plants have their own requirements; moisture levels depend on temperature of the air and soil, the type of soil, humidity, precipitation or your water hose/pressure. Expect slow water evaporation in shade and clay soil and in cool and cloudy weather. Rapid evaporation will occur in hot and sunny weather, dry winds, sandy soil or when heat is reflected from dark surfaces. Mature plants need to be watered at the edge of their canopy (the drip line). This is where the younger, more active roots are located.
In fall time, all plants require some time to prepare for their internal dormancy. Deciduous plants lose their leaves and evergreens withdraw most of their sap into the roots. We recommend to stop watering by mid-September. By mid to late October soak the roots again, so there will be plenty of moisture in the spring.
A: If you cannot plant your purchase right away, keep it moist and in a shady protected area.
Dig the hole just as deep as the root ball and at least 2 times as wide. Loosen the soil at the bottom and sides of the hole. Remove the pot, all sticks and plastic bands. If the roots are tightly bound, gently loosen the outer roots to encourage them to spread into the surrounding soil. Try not to disturb the roots on the inside of the root ball. If the trunk flare on your tree (area of the trunk where the roots begin) has been over grown by fibrous roots, you'll need to remove some of them to expose the trunk flare. Apply Myke® tree and shrub growth supplement to the bottom of hole and root ball. Place the plant in the center of the hole; making sure it will not be planted any deeper than it has been growing in the container.
Mix peat, manure or compost in with the soil you removed when you dug your hole. Use 2 parts of soil to 1 part amendment. Fill around the hole with the amended soil mixture, gently firming the soil around the plant.
Stake, trees require a stake for the first year or 2 of growth. Use a strong pole, tie loosely with flexible, soft material allowing the tree to sway both ways. Some trees may require up to 3 stakes.
Water thoroughly to remove all air pockets and settle the soil. Deeply soak the ground around the plant after planting.
Fertilize, if you didn't use the Mykes product, you can use a transplant fertilizer. Rapid grow 10-52-10 or Canada Nurseryland transplant fertilizer 5-15-5 are good choices; again, only if you didn't apply Mykes tree and shrub growth supplement.
A: All plants have different nutrient requirements throughout their growth cycle. It is ideal to do soil test before you start adding any kind of fertilizer to your soil. For example, if you have too much nitrogen; you will end up with lots of green lush top growth but no blossoms.
Spring, just as plants are beginning to grow; is the ideal time to add a well-balanced all-purpose fertilizer. It is important to mix and add your fertilizer as directed. Always follow the label; more is not necessarily better!
You can fertilize trees and shrubs up until the end of July. After this time, they need to start to ready themselves for winter. A good fall fertilizer for all plants is called Rage Plus 0-0-6. This will help build regular plant health and boost winter hardiness.
Adding soil amendments such as composts, manures and Nurseryland fish soil are a great way to naturally enhance your soil and add nutrients. Amendments can be added either early spring as you ready your garden or in fall as you're cleaning up and preparing for winter.
A: Living in southern Alberta makes for some tough growing conditions. The warm sun, varying temperatures and drying winds during the winter can cause your needles to turn a reddish brown colour. Most evergreens will bounce back after taking on mild damage but will take some time to do so. A deep fall watering and proper fertilizing program will help reduce the risk of damage to your evergreens.
Browning of evergreens isn't always caused by winter damage. Browning can be a sign of disease or pest infestation. It is always good to continue to monitor your trees using an Integrated Pest Management Program (IPM). If browning continues to worsen through the growing season, you are always welcome to stop by the store or give us a call for advice.
A: Whether you have indoor or outdoor plants, pests can be a common and troublesome occurrence. Unfortunately, not every pest is easy to treat. The best way to control pests in your garden or home is to implement an Integrated Pest Management Program (IPM). This involves constantly monitoring the garden for pests. You will set a threshold limit for the severity of you infestation at which you will begin to treat them. IPM includes using cultural, mechanical and chemical methods. Sprays should be your last resort and should always be applied according to label specifications.
Safers Insecticidal Soap is an organic (OMRI Listed) option, which treats common pests such as aphids, mealy bugs, whitefly, spider mites and more. It can be used on houseplants, fruits, veggies, flowers, trees and shurbs. Always read the label before applying.
We are happy to help you identify your plant pests and assist you with treatment options. You can also visit us in the store or contact one of our experts via Ask An Expert