General Care Guides

Plant Material (Trees, Shrubs, & Perennials)

Please Note: As you read the following guidelines, there will be a temptation to follow them to the letter. You must learn to ”see” what you are looking at in the landscape, combine that field information with this guide, and then do what is best for each plant. The frequency of rain and soil texture will influence these guidelines. If you have questions, call a B.B. Barns Landscape Representative.


A. Newly installed plants have a greater water demand than established plantings. Their root systems will have been injured, and have not developed to the extent of those of established plants. They also may have been grown in a media far different from the one in which the plant will now grow.

B. During the period of March through October new plantings will normally require more frequent watering.

1. Watering recommendations after planting include:

• First and second week- every other day for approximately 15-30 seconds per gallon of plant size.
• Third and fourth week- every third day (3-4 times per week).
• After the first month- 2-3 times per week.
• After plantings have been through one complete year of growth most will not need special watering except during drought conditions.
• Always check the root balls to verify actual needs. Nothing will substitute for judgment based upon your assessment of how dry or wet the root ball is.

2. General Watering guidelines for late fall (November) and winter plantings:

• First and second week- 2-3 times per week
• After two weeks- once per week
• As spring approaches use the watering recommendations mentioned above.

C. Watering is best done by hand using a garden hose. As a guide, allow one gallon of water per one foot of plant height. Most garden hoses will deliver 1 gallon of water in 10-15 seconds.


(all fertilizers will have three numbers on the bag these represent the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium respectively.)

A. Early spring (March/April): Apply an organic based or a slow-release fertilizer to the soil surface area for shrubs at a rate of 1 lbs. of nitrogen per 1000 square feet area. The application rate is typically prescribed on the bag.

B. November: A second application of the same spring fertilizer at the same rate would be appropriate for new landscapes until they reach the size you want to retain.


A. Except in an emergency (breakage etc) do not prune anything for the first season. This is because hormones manufactured in the leaf buds stimulate the roots to grow. If the buds are removed root growth is affected.

B. Trees and shrubs that flower early in spring on last years growth (e.g. azaleas, rhododendrons) should be pruned immediately after flowering.

C. Trees and shrubs that flower from early summer to fall on current year’s growth (e.g. crape myrtle, some hydrangeas) should be pruned during dormancy (Feb-March).

D. Pruning o fconifers (do not attempt to significantly prune Pine or Hollywood Juniper) should be done before new wood has hardened.

E. Tree pruning should be done during January and February or in mid-summer, depending on the individual plant variety (e.g. prune Maple, Birch, Sweet gum, and evergreens in the summertime).


A. Most new planting beds are susceptible to weed infestation.

B. It is important to keep the mulch thick enough (3 inches) so that light does not strike the soil surface and stimulate weed seed germination, and to encourage moisture retention. Either pine straw or bark makes excellent mulch for plants. Do not over mulch or cover the plant’s root flare with mulch.

C. If you choose to use an herbicide to control week, apply an appropriate pre-emergent weed control herbicide (e.g. Preen, Triflan, Balan, Surflan, Ronstar, etc. in late March and July. Remember, application of a pre-emergent will kill any seeds you may have planted yourself. Spray a post emergence weed control, e.g., Roundup to control weeds during the growing season.


A. Insects and disease are not usually major problems with perennials. Keeping foliage dry particularly going into the night reduces the probability of disease.

B. The most common insects are aphids, white flies, spider mites, and slugs/snails. Insecticidal soap, snail baits and Mavrik are good insecticides for use on perennials.