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Properly choosing and planting your trees and plants

Taking advantage of the natural beauty of trees and vegetation you’ve planted yourself is possible! Here are a few tips to successfully integrate trees, shrubs and plants into your garden landscape.

Before purchasing

Consider each of the following elements before buying trees and plants that will take root on your lawn:
  • Type of soil: texture, structure, drainage, PH levels, etc.
  • Weather conditions of the planting site: wind, severity of winter, etc.
  • Functional utility of the plant: windbreaking, noise protection, shade, highlighting the layout, etc.
  • Dimension and shape of the plant at maturity
  • Sunlight and water necessary for the plant’s survival
  • Plant resistance to insects, diseases and various issues such as salt and de-icing
  • Nearby elements: Electrical wires, house, road, neighbor’s lawn, already established plants, etc.
Keep these criteria in mind to ensure the success of your planting project. You can then take advantage of the beauty that your plants have to offer for years to come.

Pro Tip

Don’t forget that your trees and plants will grow! Consult the tag on the plants that you purchase, or better, a specialist from a tree nursery, to know the space required to allow the long life and health of your trees and plants.

When to plant

Plants in containers or in a root-ball

  • At all times throughout the season except if the root-ball breaks. In that case, follow the planting method of plants with bare roots.
  • In the spring, plant when the soil is thawed and dry enough to be worked.
  • Avoid planting a woody plant in the fall. Note that planting small plants or shrubs late in the fall is a risk, because come next spring, we can sometimes observe the raising of the root-balls from the ground because of the icing of the soil.

Plants with bare roots

  • In the spring before the budburst
  • OR
  • In the fall during the dormant period. Note that the recovery of bare-rooted plants is a little riskier than that of root-balled or contained plants.
The variety of bare-rooted plants is now quite limited in store. They are less expensive most of the time, because there’s no need to pay for the container, the soil or the time to pot it. Shrubs sold to form hedges are sometimes offered with bare roots.

Where to plant

It is important to place your plant in an area that is convenient for it, to allow it to grow properly.
  • Plant small tree and shrubs at least 1 meter away from building foundations, and large-scale specimens at least 10 to 15 meters from your residence.
  • For hedges and mass planting, respect a certain distance according to the medium spread of mature subjects.
  • Avoid planting large-scale trees next to electrical wires, seeping fields or other obstacles that would hurt their development.

Buying the right amount of soil

Calculating the right amount of soil needed for your planting project, either to level your lawn before the day of, or plant your new hedges. This tool also calculates the necessary amount of compost, manure, mulch and limestone needed for your project.
Calculating the amount of soil

How to maintain

The general rule is that these 3 tasks should be completed throughout the season :
  • Avoid letting grass grow or weeds at the foot of the planted vegetation.
  • Eliminate water sprouts, those branches and twigs that grow from the trunk but don’t produce anything. They tend to hijack the sap from stems and productive branches.
  • Monitor stakes and their attachments so they don’t harm the trunk or branches.


Remember: too much water harms your plants just as much as not enough. Watering that’s too superficial encourages your trees and plants to develop their roots at the surface and makes them more fragile.
  • Water generously at least once a week during the first season of growth so that the water penetrates to a depth of at least 30 cm.
  • Avoid an excess of water outside of heat waves.
  • Water gradually to avoid any run-off.
  • Water in the morning to allow the foliage to dry quickly. Note that wet foliage and cool temperatures encourage the growth of disease.

Pro Tip

Adding mulch is an excellent way to prevent the loss of humidity, reduce the number of weeds and even decrease the risk of spreading brown rot. You need approximately 7.5 cm of mulch (3 inches) to avoid the growth of most weeds!


As your plants grow, they feed on the nutrients in the soil. Fertilizing your plants with a rich fertilizer furnishes them with nutrients they need throughout their growth and according to the time of the year.
  • Before using soil amendment or a fertilizer, always read the label of the product and carefully follow the recommendations of the manufacturer.
  • Pay attention to the method of use, precautions to take before, during and after use of the product and how to safely store it.
  • Note that the type of fertilizer needed for trees, leafy shrubs, conifers and no-flower climbing plants has a formula similar to 5-2-2. Plants that flower can receive a fertilizer that contains less nitrogen, like the 3-3-5.
  • Fertilize in spring before the beginning of vegetation. The recommended dose of application is generally based on the size of the plant and the type of formulation. The dosage is indicated by manufacturers.
  • It is preferable to select organic, granular fertilizer over soluble ones.
  • It is better to do the application to the soil under the perimeter of the branches for a better absorption by the roots.
  • Fertilize the heavy-duty plants by digging a hole between 13 and 30 cm deep to incorporate the granular fertilizer.
  • Space out the 30 cm holes in the case of small shrubs, conifers or trees, and 60 cm for heavy-duty plants.
  • Water and fill the holes in the ground.

Fertilization of woody plants

Woody plants include small trees, plants and shrubs whose stems are composed of wood.
  • In many cases, it’s not necessary to add fertilizer to woody plants throughout the season
  • We never have to fertilize this category of plant after mid-July, in order to favour cold hardening – transformation of wood branches and/or ripening of fruits – plants before winter.
  • If the growth of the plants is very strong and they have a great size, it’s not necessary to fertilize them each year.

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