Trees, shrubs and bushes require a lot of care. Especially in the first year after planting, proper care is essential. The first pruning is also the most important pruning to optimize not only the relationship between crown and roots, no it also determines the growth.
Especially important: In the first three years and especially in dry periods, it is important that the tree finds sufficient amounts of water. Because it rarely manages on its own, it should always be well watered in the first three years. And remember, nutrients are needed by every tree to grow well.
In this guide, we have compiled the most important points for you so that your trees, bushes and shrubs thrive in the best possible way.
Table of Contents
Planting is an important event in the life of every gardener. Before planting, first of all, you need to prepare the planting site and improve the soil, depending on its condition.
Of course, the choice of planting material is also particularly important:
If you have a choice between pot culture and root culture, pot culture is recommended. Pot culture can be planted all year round as long as the soil is open. Potted culture plants are more vigorous and do not require too much intensive care after planting as bare-root plants do.
How to plant correctly?
- before planting, the root ball should be placed in a water bath for about 10 minutes until no more air bubbles rise. The root ball is then saturated and ready for planting.
- when digging the planting hole, make sure that it is about twice the size of the plant pot or root ball. The bottom of the planting hole should be well loosened.
CAUTION: Waterlogging must not be allowed to form! If necessary, a drainage layer is created. For this purpose, the soil is loosened and a layer is formed under it with gravel or chippings to drain the water. Too dense soil leads to waterlogging and growth depression (plant death and root rot). 3.
- carefully remove the plant from the pot. Then place it in the planting hole. An excessively rooted root ball should be lightly cut with transverse cuts, this promotes the formation of new roots to the outside!
The woody plant should then be planted about three to five centimeters deeper than the height of the supplied pot.
- After planting, the plant is lightly pressed with garden soil. A watering wall is formed around the plant area, which will facilitate watering in the coming weeks.
- water abundantly after planting. The soil around the plant can be full.
- after planting, watering according to the weather is very important. Evergreen plants especially need adequate moisture in the winter.
For a plant to grow well it must be able to take root in the soil. Depending on the soil available, soil improvement measures must be implemented.
Heavy clay soils should be made more permeable with sand or gravel.
Sandy soils are well suited, but have a decisive disadvantage: water and nutrients cannot be stored for long. ,
Soil improvement measures include the addition of high-quality soil, peat, humus or compost. Soil improvement is always carried out some time before planting.
By improving the soil, the plant gets the opportunity to anchor its roots well into the soil to receive nutrients and water. A stronger and healthy growth is the result.
IMPORTANT: Avoid waterlogging! Otherwise root rot will occur.
Care must be taken when watering. Waterlogging must always be avoided.
The older a woody plant and the more suitable the location, the better and deeper the root system of the plant. This allows these plants to get your water on their own. Only in dry summers, drought and high heat they need additional watering.
Water is especially important for plants because it transports not only moisture but also nutrients for healthy and vigorous growth.
Lack of water in drought conditions leads to deficiency symptoms and weakening of the plant, which makes it particularly susceptible to diseases and pests.
Young plants, especially after planting need much more and regular water, because your root system is not yet sufficiently developed. Especially in drought conditions, young plants need many times more water than older plants.
It takes at least three years to form an adequate root system, given a suitable location. During this time, the young plant must be well supplied with water. After three years, the plant will be able to take care of itself. However, since plants are individual, it is recommended to keep a good watch on the plant even after the three years and give water when needed.
Watering is always a responsible activity that must be accurate and measured. If watered too little, the plant will die. If too much water is given, the plant will die.
If the water accumulates, oxygen cannot reach the roots and root rot slowly develops, which usually means the death of the plant.
The frequency and amount of water must therefore always be adapted to the individual needs of the plant as well as the weather and the location.
Especially for trees and plants with deep root systems, a superficial test of the soil is not enough.
If the upper soil is dry, it does not mean that the roots are also in the dry.
If the upper soil is moist, it does not mean that the roots are also moist.
A summer sprinkle is especially treacherous. The top soil looks moist, but the deeper layers of soil are dry. Add to that the fact that the top moisture doesn’t even reach deeper layers of soil, as it evaporates along the way.
Equally treacherous can be short heat waves in the summer. The top soil appears dry as dust, but the lower layers of soil are moist.
To effectively test for moisture, moisture is tested starting at a depth of 15cm. To do this, dig a small hole next to the tree and test the moisture with your hands.
The water content can be determined by a rule of thumb:
Trees with a trunk diameter of less than 60cm need about 200 to 300 liters of water each time.
Trees with a trunk diameter of more than 60cm need about 300 to 500 liters of water each time.
Water must always be given from the moment when the shoots begin to swell and “unfold”. Conifers should be sprayed mainly in the evening to reduce evaporation in the needles of the crowns.
Constant control of moisture is important throughout the growing season!
Here are useful tips for watering plants in the summer and our top tips for proper watering.
The first cut
The first pruning is the most important. Immediately after planting a tree, shrub or bush, the crown must be pruned back so that the relationship between roots and crown is optimal. This is important in that optimal pruning reduces evaporation of water, which the tree desperately needs.
When retraining or moving the tree, roots are always lost along with it. If the crown is not pruned back, there is a risk that the crown will be much too large for the existing root system and that this root system will not be able to absorb enough water. In parallel, water evaporates through the large crown. The evaporated water and the water that the roots draw cannot compensate each other, so that twig starvation or disease is imminent. Particularly affected are fast-growing tree varieties.
Depending on the amount of root loss, the crown should be pruned back up to 25%.
Pruning is primarily about shortening the crown, not thinning it!
Branches and twigs that have been accidentally broken or damaged during transport must be carefully removed during the first pruning.
Fast-growing varieties benefit especially from the first pruning, as it allows them to grow up better and faster. In the first growth phase, the trees regain the crown width that was present before pruning. In the second growth phase, the trees become even wider than without pruning.
After the first pruning, do not prune the trees for about three years.
Don’t worry, if branches break it’s not bad, the plant will recover and it will favor the growth as written above.
Pruning of woody plants is usually done to correct the visual growth, also called habit, to rejuvenate or to optimize, maintain or increase the flowering performance.
When pruning, there are some simple rules to follow.
Before pruning, check the tool. Proper function and sharpness are a prerequisite. 2.
- the injury of the bark or the tearing of the cut surface must be avoided at all costs.
- a cut is always made only above an eye (knob). The cut is made at the branching point.
- pruning is always a situational and site-dependent maintenance measure.
There are different pruning techniques and types, which we will present to you below.
Before any pruning, always check your plants. Especially in deciduous and coniferous trees, many different bird species nest and breed over the summer. In the fall, other animals nest in hedges for protection. Therefore, always check for occupied nests, nesting sites or other dwellings before any pruning whether in plants, hedges, woody plants. If necessary, postpone pruning until a later date.
Thinning pruning is particularly important for woody plants. Particularly in the crown area, woody plants should be thinned out regularly. For this purpose, the dense and cross-growing shoots are removed first.
Note: From the beginning, each branch should always grow outwards and not into the crown.
If the tree or hedge has become too large, then the side shoots are shortened. The shortening should be done evenly. It is important to always cut at the outer eyes (dormant buds). This will maintain the natural growth habit.
One of the most important cuts for all types of garden shrubs. Rejuvenation pruning prevents balding from below and keeps the woody plant in a compact from. The woody plant remains young and flowering.
To do this, old shoots are cut as deeply as possible from the base of the crown. It is important that other shoots lying around are not damaged. This favors the growth of new young shoots with higher flowering vigor.
Care should be taken to maintain the natural growth habit.
It is recommended to always apply the rejuvenation pruning to the oldest shoots, so that no shoot is older than four to five years.
CAUTION Janitorial pruning: Janitorial pruning involves cutting only superficial shoots with ordinary hedge clippers, without regard to shape. Bald plants with sparse young shoots are the result.
Some plants require particularly severe pruning. These include summer bloomers in particular. Extensive pruning in spring to 20-50cm will stimulate flowering. After heavy pruning, additional nutrients are needed e.g. horn shavings,
Pruning for hedges. To get straight edges some practice is needed. A hedge should be pruned twice a year: Late March/early April and late June/early July.
It is best to use an electric hedge trimmer.
Who doesn’t want a visual highlight in the garden? Topiary is suitable for this purpose. Topiary usually involves only the borders of the plant: neatly cut shapes with straight edges such as cone, column, sphere, or completely crazy shapes.
Topiary should always be done after the main growing season. To maintain the shape, pruning should be done twice a year. The first cut at the end of April/beginning of May, the second cut in August.
ATTENTION: Do not prune in full-sun weather, or browning of the cuts will occur.
In previous we have dealt a lot with pruning. However, there are plants that do not need pruning. Especially woody plants with slow growth rarely need pruning. In young years, a so called “Erziehnungsschnitt” (first pruning) is enough. Disturbing elements such as overhanging branches can be removed. Pruning such as rejuvenation, on the other hand, is not necessary and should be avoided.
Excessive pruning not only changes the growth habit but also ensures that the woody plant cannot regenerate.
Even after planting, the woody plant must continue to be cared for. As in nature, the plant is fertilized by falling composted leaves and fruit residues. If organic debris is removed from under the tree, the tree will need additional nutrients.
Woody plants, especially deciduous trees, need a basic fertilizer in the spring.
Conifers need Epsom salts.
Flowering shrubs best need liquid fertilizer at flowering time.
Organic fertilization with compost, cow manure, slurry is ideal.
To promote optimal growth, as in nature, a mulch layer of organic residues such as leaves, flowers, fruits is recommended. This is similar to the situation in the forest and provides a good mileu. Weeds can develop with difficulty, the soil receives basic moisture, and in winter natural composting takes place.
Artificial fertilizer should be avoided. It is often unnecessary and usually leads to an imbalance of soil flora and fauna.
I have 30 years of experience and i started this website to see if i could try and share my knowledge to help you.
With a degree a Horticulture BSc (Hons)
I have worked as a horticulture specialist lead gardener, garden landscaper, and of course i am a hobby gardener at home in my own garden.
Please if you have any questions leave them on the article and i will get back to you personally.