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To the left, you'll find all the topics covered in this Plant Manual. Select a topic to read its information.
Bird and bee buffet. This native shrub hails from the East Coast and Southeast, but is the perfect choice for any garden. Use it in the landscape as a shrub or small tree (it grows 15 feet tall and 10 feet wide). Branches are loaded with white, bee-attracting flower clusters. Later in the season, purple berries feed the birds. Shipped 1-1 1/2 feet.
Plants grown in a greenhouse must be acclimated carefully before planting or placing them outdoors. This is especially true in hot or sunny locations. Many species should never be grown in full sun. Before purchasing a plant, learn about its sun requirements. Knowing the plants requirements can avoid any damage to the plant by incorrectly giving it the wrong conditions.
If your plant has been grown in a greenhouse, here are a few steps we recommend you follow:
These are general guide recommendations. Some plants take longer than others to acclimate.
The best way to succeed is to plan before you plant. Let’s discuss location: Do you know where you want to plant your new shrub or grass? Avoid many future problems by considering all aspects of the planting spot, such as:
Your plant would love a sunny place with well-drained, fertile soil. But it will be quite satisfied with six to eight hours of sunlight. Good drainage is required to keep your plant “happy.” If your soil has high clay content, use our Coco-Fiber Potting Medium or add one-third peat to the soil at planting time. We do not recommend planting in heavy, pure clay soils.
Once you’ve found out about fruit growing goodness firsthand, you’ll want to expand your home orchard. It’s important to plan so that the future growth areas will be ready when you are.
Successfully establishing a new shrub in your yard starts with your planting site and method. Make sure you give your plants the right foundation! All Stark shrubs can be planted as a hedge forming a beautiful living fence. Space privets 8"-12” apart and lilacs 3'-5’ apart.
One final point: Please be sure to remove the nametag from your plant. As the plant grows, this small piece of plastic can choke off the circulation, damaging or killing it. If you’d like to keep the tag on your plant, retie it loosely with soft twine.
Preparing your soil before you plant will greatly improve your plant’s performance and promote healthy, vigorous growth. It is a good idea to have your soil tested to determine if it is lacking in any essential minerals and nutrients. This can be done through your County Extension Office or with one of our digital meters.
The goal of soil preparation is to replenish vital minerals and nutrients, as well as break up and loosen any compacted soil.
Soil preparation can be done at any time that the ground is not too wet or frozen. Your trees may be planted even when temperatures are quite cool. If a hard frost is expected, it is advisable to delay planting for a while until temperatures become more moderate. Generally, as long as your soil is workable, it is fine to plant.
Your lawn can provide you with ideal organic materials such as grass clippings and shredded leaves. Not only will the grass and leaves break down to provide soil nutrients, but they will help loosen the soil as well. You can gather these in the fall with spring planting in mind.
Adding organic materials, such as our Coco-Fiber Potting Medium and compost will improve most every soil type. Organic materials bind sandy soil particles so they retain moisture and nutrients better. They also break apart clay and silt particles, so that water can infiltrate and roots can spread.
For the best shrub care, fertilize with a well-balanced (10-10-10) fertilizer once in early spring before new growth appears.
Every plant has the future potential for disease and insect damage. Factors such as location and weather will play a part in which issues your plants encounters. If available, disease-resistant varieties are the best option for easy care; and for all types of plants, proper maintenance (such as watering, pruning, spraying, weeding, and cleanup) can help keep most insects and diseases at bay.
They are the size of a pinhead and vary in color depending on the species. Cluster on stems and under leaves, sucking plant juices. Leaves then curl, thicken, yellow and die. Produce large amounts of a liquid waste called “honeydew”. Aphid sticky residue becomes growth media for sooty mold.
Appears as black or brown spots on underside of leaves. Often the center falls out leaving a hole with a red halo. Leaves may turn yellow and fall.
Pale yellow or ‘dirty’ green worms. Leaves are rolled and webbed together where insects feed. Eventually becomes ‘skeletonized’.
Pinpoint size, many different colors. Found on undersides of leaves. Severe infestations have some silken webbing. Sap feeding causes bronzing of leaves.
Adults are 1/4” long, flat, oval shaped with a white waxy covering. Yellow to orange eggs are laid within an egg sac. Crawlers are yellow to brown in color. Over winters as an egg or very immature young in or near a white, cottony egg sac, under loose bark or in branch crotches, mostly found on north side. Damage is by contamination of fruit clusters with egg sacs, larvae, adults and honeydew, which promotes growth of black sooty mold.
Adults are tiny, white winged insects found mainly on the underside of leaves. Nymph emerge as white, flat, oval shapes. Larvae are the size of a pinhead. Suck plant juices from leaves causing them to turn yellow, appear to dry or fall off plants.
Bagworms are the larvae of moths. Brown bags up to 2 inches long and composed of bits of dead foliage, twigs and silk are often seen attached to twigs and inside is a dark brown or black caterpillar. Adult female moth is wingless and the male has wings. Severe infestations can defoliate an entire plant often killing evergreens such as arborvitae and cedar but may only slow the growth of a deciduous plant.
Hairy caterpillars that enclose large areas in webbing and feed on enclosed leaves. Remove web with rake and burn. Caterpillars are pulled out with webs.
Very small, round, brown spots appear first on lower, older leaves. Plants gradually lose leaves from bottom upwards. Other symptoms may include black, sunken spots on leaf stalks, light brown to pale yellow lesions on cane, black fly speck-like spots on green berries.
Whitish-gray powdery mold or felt-like patches on leaves and green twigs. Leaves may crinkle and cup upward. Over winters in fallen leaves.
The fungus thrives in cool, moist conditions. Usually begins on plant debris, weak or inactive plant tissue, than invades healthy plant tissue. Causes spotting and decay of flowers and foliage, tissue becomes soft and watery. Affected parts of plant could wilt and collapse. If humidity remains high a grayish-brown coating and spores develops over the surface of the collapsed tissue.
Disease causing defoliation and black spots on leaves and thrives in moist conditions. Twigs may also be infected. Black spots are circular with fringed margins, if severe, spots can combine to cause a large black mass, can weaken and kill plants.
Yellow spots on leaves with downy spots on underside of foliage. Older leaves in center of vine are infected first. Can infect fruits, become soft, grayish, wither, may or may not have downy symptom. Over-winters on fallen leaves, so fall clean up is vital.
Most common on fern growth after harvest. Infection begins in spring and produces orange stage of disease and is occasionally found on new spears. Yellow or pale orange pustules in concentric ring pattern. Spores are airborne to new fern growth where brick red pustules are formed on all parts of the fern. Ferns may turn yellow or brown, defoliate and die back. In fall the spores turn black and will over winter. Rust causes reduced plant vigor and reduced yields.
Tiny, slender, fringed wing insects ranging from 1/25 to 1/8” long. Nymphs are pale yellow and highly active and adults are usually black or yellow-brown, but may have red, black or white markings. Feed on large variety of plants by puncturing them and sucking up the contents.
Damage the leaves by both feeding and web building. Webworms over-winter within cocoons located in protected places, such as crevices in bark or under debris and fences. Adult moths emerge in summer. They have a wingspan of about 1 1/4" and vary from pure satiny white to white thickly spotted with small dark brown dots. Females lay white masses of 400-500 eggs on the undersides of the leaves. The caterpillars hatch in 10 days and all from the same egg mass live together as a colony. They spin webs that enclose the leaves, usually at the end of a branch, to feed upon them. After they have defoliated a branch, they extend their nest to include additional foliage.
When caterpillars are mature, they leave the nest to seek a place to spin gray cocoons. The mature caterpillars are about 1 1/4" long with a broad dark brown stripe along the back, and yellowish sides thickly peppered with small blackish dots. Each segment is crossed by a row of tubercles with long light brown hairs.
Adult is metallic green beetle, which skeletonizes leaves. Larvae are a grub, which feeds on turf roots. This is more of a problem east of the Mississippi River.
Large (up to 1½ inches long) dark bodied insects with wings. Young insects hatch and enter the soil, where they burrow to the roots. Immature locust suck sap from roots and adults may suck sap from young twigs. Female lays eggs in the sapwood of twigs, causing the leaves on damaged twigs to turn brown. Twigs may break and fall to the ground eventually.
Large (vary from ½ -2” long) fleshy, hairless caterpillars. Adult cutworms are dark, night flying moths with bands or stripes on their forewings and lighter color hind wings. Some feed on the stems, others feed on new tender growth. Cutworms feed at night and can destroy a new plant over night.
Newly hatched worms are white with black heads. Mature worms are light tan or dark brown with dark or orange back and side stripes. They feed on the leaves of plants.
Proper pruning is vital to the flower production, as well as the overall health of your flowering shrubs. Flowering shrubs will bud on new growth to produce flowers in the following growing season.
Spraying is important to the survival of your plants. To handle potential diseases and pests, reference the guidelines below to know what you should spray, and when you should use it.
Before you begin, read and follow all instructions on labels.
Most shrubs require an average amount of water. If you receive about an inch of rainfall every 10 days or so, your plants will be fine. If it gets really dry, you can give your new plants a good, thorough soaking with a hose. The best way to do this is to let your garden hose trickle slowly. You can also use a soaker hose to water several plants at once.
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Trees that are shipped without soil to ensure good contact with soil in your yard. When shipped, they are about 3-4' tall with 3/8" or larger trunk diameter. When they mature, they will be one of three sizes*:
Matures to be about 8-10' tall and wide. Provides an abundance of full-size fruit.
Matures to be about 12-15' tall and wide. Gives maximum fruit yield per square foot.
Matures to be about 15-25' tall and 20' wide. A multi-purpose fruit and shade tree.
Top-grade, bare-root trees that give you a head start on growing. When shipped, they are about 4-5' tall with 5/8" or larger trunk diameter.
Trees in bottomless pots that allow some roots to be air pruned, so that a dense mass of productive, feeder roots can grow within the pot to make transplanting easier. Mature sizes vary. When shipped, they are about 1-2' tall.
Top-grade, potted trees chosen to give you a head start on growing. When shipped to you, they are about 3-4' tall.
*Tree sizes may vary by variety. See our Growing Guide for details.
Since 1816, Stark Bro's has promised to please customers with the very best fruit trees and landscaping products, no matter what. It's just that simple. If for any reason you are not completely satisfied with your purchase, let us know within a year of delivery and we will send you a free one-time replacement or refund your full purchase price if you don't want a replacement. To receive your replacement or refund, please call 800.325.4180. This warranty gives you specific rights, and you may also have other rights, which vary from state to state.