Plant Care Basics


Watering your plant material is very important. However there are a few factors that will determine how much water is needed and how frequently you should be watering. The two primary factors are: weather conditions and soil conditions.

Check soil conditions before watering. Always check the soil to determine if water is needed. If the soil is dry at 4 to 7 inches deep, you should apply water. Generally, sandy soils will need moisture more often then any other type of soil, but always check before watering.

Water thoroughly so moisture penetrates the soil. Plant roots will seek out moisture below the surface. Deeper roots enable plants to absorb moisture from farther below the surface, even when top soil dries out. With deeper root systems you get stronger, healthier plants. 

Avoid frequent, light watering. Roots go where the water is. Frequent, light watering keeps the moisture near the surface and causes shallow root systems that are more vulnerable to weather conditions, especially heat and heavy rain.

Install and use a Rain Barrel to lower your usage of potable water


Fertilization should not be needed for established  perennial, shrub, and tree plantings except for needy plants such as Hybrid Tea Roses and alike.

Never apply fertilizer in the late summer. This promotes new growth which makes the make the plant susceptible to winter damage by not hardening.

Use only low or no phosphorus fertilizer, unless shown by a soil test that it is needed. Minnesota soil is generally very high in phosphorus. Adding phosphorus to our soils is not only a waste, but often contributes to water pollution

To prevent the fertilizer from drawing too much moisture away from plants, water both before and after fertilizing.


When planting new plant material, always cut any limbs that are damaged or rubbing with others. Poor pruning techniques make plants vulnerable to disease, insects, and storm damage. Proper pruning builds strong, healthy trees that resist disease and are less vulnerable to damage from high winds and insects.

Generally, pruning should be done in late winter or early spring when the plant is dormant. But there are exceptions to the rules. Click here for a good guide to pruning.

Or for a pruning quote please contact Ecoscapes.

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