Planting Info

DIY Steps to a Successful Plant Installation

Bill in front of his AMAZING Joe Pie Weed

  1. Position plant in suitable location for the growing conditions needed for the plant . Allow enough space around plant for mature growth.


  2.  Locate the point at which the trunk flare begins.(This often called the crown). Dig a hole twice the width of the root ball and as deep as the root ball. (no deeper) Measure from the trunk flare to the bottom of the root ball to calculate the depth needed for the hole. The top of the root ball should be even with  existing grade.


  3. Remove the plant from the container or remove rope and top 1/3 to 1/2  of burlap. If a wire basket is used, Remove the basket or bend the wire basket down flat against the lower portion of the root ball. For large root balls it is advisable to do this step in the hole. Carefully place the plant in the hole while taking care not to loosen soil of root ball. Make a few shallow vertical cuts in root ball to break up circular root growth caused by growing in the container. This encourages lateral root development.


  4. To back fill the hole, We suggest mixing 1/3 Living Acres Kompost 1, 1/3 Fafard Top Soil, 1/3 of the existing soil that came out of the hole. Mix. Sprinkle 1 packet of Plant Heath Care mycorizal fungi into hole around root zone. Back fill the hole with mixture making sure that the plant is orientated as desired. Add Espoma Plant Food to top layer of soil according to directions.


  5. Tamp soil around the root ball to remove any air pockets. Leave a ring of soil around  the outer edge away from the trunk creating a berm to hold additional water. Water thoroughly and deeply.



  6. For large trees or in windy locations, stake plant for the first full season. AS&L  recommends Dewitt’s Tree Stake Kit. This kit allows for tree movement for stronger root systems and protect from abrasion of plant bark.                               




     Watering is a must! Most plants that fail in the first season do so because of              incorrect watering practices. A newly installed plant does not have an established root system; Therefore, it is much more susceptible to stress or harm during extreme dry or wet conditions. Water “deeply weekly” as the adage says. Deep weekly watering is necessary to start your plants of on the right foot. The water must penetrate to the depth of the root ball to be adequate. If drought conditions occur it may be necessary to water more often. Fall watering up until ground freeze is needed. Shallow watering produces shallow roots! A water soluble fertilizer such as Saltwater Farms Seaweed/Fish maybe added with watering. (Saltwater Farms Seaweed/Fish fertilizer adds beneficial micro organisms, micro nutrients which help with transplant shock).



    In addition to the initial fertilizing at the time of the planting, Periodic fertilizing is necessary for the proper growth of the plant. AS&L recommends feeding with a highly organic fertilizer such as the Espoma plant food. Apply 2-3 times per season or as manufacturer directions suggest. Heavy feeding plants may need additional nutrition. Foliar feeding with Saltwater Farms seaweed/fish adds immediate nutrition to plants and aids in “stress relief” for the plants i.e.: disease, insect infestation and environmental conditions.



Use of a well composted bark mulch or compost will enhance the water holding capacity of the soil and reduce weed infestation while enhancing visual appeal. Apply mulch at a rate of 1”-3”. Be sure to keep mulch away from the stem or trunk. Piling mulch around trunk can induce damage of bark.


For further information please feel free to consult your friendly AS&L staff member, call us at 207-781-4142

DIY Planting Instructions for Trees & Shrubs




 Following these steps will get your plant off to a great start and will improve your plant’s ability to grow and thrive in its new home: your landscape.

AS&L's Nursery manager Bill's evergreen garden in August.

  1. Position plant in the proper site.

    • Sun or shade.

    • Correct distance from foundation.

    • Allow enough space for mature growth.


  2. Dig a hole twice the width of the root ball and the same depth as the root ball.

    • Bottom of the root ball should sit directly on top of undisturbed soil.

    • Top of root ball should be even with existing grade.


  3. Remove plant from container.

    • Cut a few shallow vertical slashes in root ball to break up circular root growth.


  4. Place plant in hole and sprinkle 1 packet of Plant Health Care “Tree Saver” around the root ball.

    • “Tree Saver” contains mycorrhizal fungi, that improves plant health and vigor.


  5. Backfill around root ball with a mixture of soil removed from the hole, compost or manure and peat moss.

    • We offer several premier products.


  6. Tamp soil lightly around root ball to remove any air pockets.  Leave a raised ring of soil around the edge of the hole to hold water.


  7. Water thoroughly to penetrate to the depth of the root ball.  Repeat 2 or 3 times a week for the first 3 weeks and at least once a week after that until the ground freezes.


  8. Apply a 2” layer of well-composted mulch over the planting area to retain moisture and suppress weeds.  Do not pile mulch against the stem or trunk as this can damage the bark.


  9. Large trees planted in windy sites should be staked for the first year.  Leaving staked longer could result in injury to the tree.

    • We carry Dewitt’s Tree Stake Kit which allows for some tree movement for strong roots and protects against bark abrasion.


  10. Maintenance: In addition to the previously mentioned 1st year water schedule, getting on a good fertilizer program will have a positive and visible impact on the continued health and growth of the plant through the years.  We at Allen, Sterling & Lothrop are firm believers in the benefits of organic fertilizers.  These products not only feed the plant, they also enrich and improve the soil quality to give the plant the optimum environment in which to grow and thrive.

    • Espoma granular fertilizers, rich in natural organics, are excellent choices.

    • Saltwater Farms’ line of liquid seaweed products, applied as either a soil drench or a foliar feed, nourish plants with organic nutrients and help boost the plant’s defense mechanisms in coping with environmental stresses such as drought, disease and insect damage.