Enter your zip code above to find your hardiness zone, plants available for your area, and your estimated ship date.
To the left, you'll find all the topics covered in this Plant Manual. Select a topic to read its information.
Lovely ornamental with cherry-pink blossoms in spring, deep purple leaves summer and fall. Bears small, inedible fruit; reaches 15-20 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 trees? 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.
If your soil is heavy you might consider removing nearly or all of the planting hole clay and replace it with amended soil to help get your new tree off to a good start.
If you’d like your tree to become a landscaping asset, choose the planting place with this in mind. Imagine it as a full-grown tree and check everything out: Wires overhead? Sidewalk underneath? Does it obstruct something you want to see? Can you keep an eye on it from the house? Will other trees be in the way, allowing for their additional growth in the meantime?
Even a year or two after planting, your tree will be very difficult to transplant. So take the time to plant it in just the right place.
First-time growers often ask about recommended planting distances from patios, sewer lines, water pipes and so on. Ordinarily, patios will not be a problem because the soil beneath them will be dry and compacted. Therefore, the roots will not grow into this area as much. You might not expect sewer and water lines to be affected since they are buried so deeply. But, since sewer and water lines tend to be wet, roots will grow to them and around them if the tree is planted too close. By planting your trees far enough away from these items, you can avoid this problem.
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 young tree in your yard starts with your planting site and method. Once a tree is established, it needs little assistance; but you’ll want to make sure you give your trees the best foundation possible.
Trees require fertile soil for good growth, so before you plant, check your soil nutrients and pH. Contact your local County Extension Office for information about soil testing in your area, or purchase one of our digital meters for quick and accurate results. Ideally, your soil pH should be 5.0-6.5. Steer clear of soils that are extremely heavy or poorly drained.
Stark trees that are grown and shipped in bottomless pots are part of our continuing quest for producing better and stronger trees for the home grower. By following these simple instructions, you will be assured of getting your young tree off to the best possible start.
The most important training you’ll be doing in the first few years is keeping the main trunk straight and strong. Most of the permanent branches will be formed in later years.
One final point: Please be sure to remove the nametag from your tree. As the tree grows, this small piece of plastic can choke off its circulation, damaging or killing the tree. If you’d like to keep the tag on your tree, 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.
Fertilizing flowering trees is a great way to enhance the beauty of your landscape. Proper fertilization should be done annually to encourage blooming and increase healthy growth. Shade trees can be fertilized in late fall, after the growing season, or early spring, before growth begins.
When choosing a fertilizer for your flowering or shade trees, you can use either a liquid or powdered form; they provide equal benefits to the trees.
For flowering trees:
The amount of fertilizer you should use depends on the age and size of your flowering or shade tree.
Every tree has the future potential for disease and insect damage. Factors such as location and weather will play a part in which issues your tree encounters. Disease-resistant trees are the best option for easy care; and for all trees, proper maintenance (such as watering, fertilizing, pruning, spraying, weeding, and fall 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. Clusters 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’s sticky residue becomes a growth media for sooty mold. Dormant Oil will kill eggs, use next dormant season, also during 1/2” green kills newly hatched except Rosy Apple Aphid.
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.
Pale yellow or ‘dirty’ green worms. Leaves are rolled and webbed together where insects feed. Eventually becomes ‘skeletonized’.
Spray is seldom necessary. When detected the caterpillar stage might be complete and spray will be of no benefit. Unless the tree is very small, it will not die.
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.
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.
Pinpoint size, many different colors. Found on undersides of leaves. Severe infestations have some silken webbing. Sap feeding causes bronzing of leaves
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.
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.
Adult is a metallic green beetle. It skeletonizes leaves. Larvae are a grub, which feeds on turf roots. Check turf product labels for timing of control of grubs. This is more of this problem is east of the Mississippi river.
Adult beetles feed on the leaves leaving small holes.
Larvae usually feed on the underside of leaves and eventually the leaves will dry up and die. Adult beetles are olive green with black stripes along the margin and center of back. Larvae are black when hatched and after feeding become a dull yellow or green.
Adult moths are a powdery white with a wingspan of 1-1½ inches. Larvae are about 2 inches long and coloring can be from dull or slate black to light green. They feed on the underside of leaves, causing a shot hole effect.
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 moths are yellowish red, with a single white dot on each of the forewings. They lay eggs on the underside of leaves. Larvae are about 2 inches long and have a long, curved horn and feed on the foliage, skeltonizing leaves.
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.
Pruning is a very important part of proper tree care, but many people find the task overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be! Keep these things in mind:
For most trees, late winter or early spring is the ideal time to prune. Prune at an early stage to train a tree to a desired shape or form.
Trees and shrubs that flower before the end of June should be pruned immediately after flowering. Flower buds develop during the previous season’s growth, thus, the flowers for the current year’s bloom developed last year and overwintered in the bud. If pruned before spring flowering, the flower buds will be removed, thus eliminating flowering.
Other trees and shrubs, those which flower after the end of June, should be pruned in winter or early spring before new growth starts. These plants develop flower buds during the spring of the flowering season.
Certain plants may be lightly pruned both before and after flowering. This often increases flower and fruit production, and several may produce a second bloom during the year.
There are three relatively simple techniques basic to all pruning situations:
Pinching is usually done by hand, and this is a good way to control plant size.
Thinning completely removes some branches back to a main branch, trunk, or soil line. Do not cut into the branch collar when making a thinning cut back to a trunk or main branch; that is, do not cut so near the trunk that you cut through the area at the base of the limb adjacent to the main trunk, known as the branch collar. Such a cut allows for infection to spread into the part of the plant you wish to keep. Cut only the branch to be removed, about 1/2"-2" from the main trunk (depending on age).
Heading back involves shortening branches back to a good bud or lateral branch. A proper heading back cut should not leave a stub. Make your cut about 1/4" above an active bud or lateral branch.
Prune carefully in formative years to produce the shape you wish on weepers.
Prune branches to upward facing buds to encourage multiple sprouts and for the new branches to go up before they weep.
You will need a strong central leader; evaluate the tree before making the first pruning. The strong central leader holds the weight of the weeping branches and gives the tree height; pruning in late summer or fall prevents the sap from bleeding too much.
Do not prune to the point of the tree looking like a mushroom. Use sharp pruners and wound dressings if needed. Prune out dead, damaged or diseased wood as soon as possible.
Continue to prune as tree grows; remove water sprouts and suckers. Do not prune tips of the long weeping branches that touch the ground...add mulch under tree to allow the trailing branches to rest in the mulch and so you are not mowing the grass under the tree.
Never force weepers down...thin from the bottom of the weeping limbs to allow the limbs to drape and allow for air circulation inside the canopy.
Remember winter ice buildup which can split the tree, so earlier fall/winter pruning is all the better. The more limbs for ice to cling to, adds weight to the tree for damage.
Before pruning at any stage, look at the tree and prune the right limbs to support the tree canopy. Keep buds that contain next year’s flowers. Don’t leave too much stub on pruned limbs, which allows for diseases to enter the tree. Best to remove straight limbs that do not appear that they will weep.
A proper and consistent spray schedule is important to the survival of your trees. From diseases to pests, many potential issues can be prevented with spraying before they even begin! To reap its benefits, spraying should be done consistently and thoroughly following the guidelines below.
Before you begin, read and follow all instructions on labels.
Unless you’re in an area where irrigation is usually needed for normal plant growth, you probably won’t need to water after the first two growing years. Until then, follow these guidelines to get your new trees off to a great start.
Our experts will help you find the answer!
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.