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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

ANNUALS

What, When, and How should I fertilize my annuals?
Annuals are extremely heavy feeders because they give so much of themselves in such a short period of time. We recommend fertilizing with a water soluble fertilizer, like Jack’s Blossom Booster, every time you water.
We also recommend using Osomocote, which is a time released fertilizer that you put in with the plant. In doing both of these things, you are assured that your annuals will bloom and bring you color all season long.
 
 
How often should I water my hanging basket?
This turns out to be the trickiest problem with our outdoor plants. You really do need to keep an eye on them. If the weather is very hot, a daily check, maybe even twice daily check will benefit them. Now the easiest way to know if you can water is to lift the pot. If the pot feels light, give the plant a good soaking until the water runs through the bottom. If it has any weight to it….the plant is just fine.
 
 
What is dead heading?
This term is used for the act of picking of the dead or spent blossoms on your plants, doing this will encourage new buds to form and keep your plant looking healthy and blooming longer. Remember, a plants sole purpose is to reproduce itself, and it does this through blooms that mature to seed pods. If you prevent the seed pods from forming the plant thinks it needs to continue to create more flowers.

PERENNIALS

What is the difference between a perennial and an annual?
Perennial plants are plants that are hardy for your climate. In other words, they will survive the winter, and will return again the next spring to hopefully become bigger and better plants. Annuals, are not, for the most part, cold tolerant and will not survive most Midwestern winters. Therefore, you have to plant them…….annually.
 
How do I know what zone I am in?
Better Homes and Gardens Zone Map.  Click here to view.
 
How does full sun actually mean?
Although this is all very relative to your own garden and how the plants do there, here is a general rule of thumb for sunlight requirements.
Full Sun -at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day
Part Shade/Part Sun -at least 4 hours of direct sunlight per day.
Shade -2 to 4 hours of cooler day sun can be tolerated or dappled light.
Dense shade -2 hours or less of direct sunlight.
 
When do I cut back my perennials?
You may cut back and clean up your perennial beds either in the late fall or early spring. The advantages to early spring clean ups outweigh the fall clean ups. Allowing your plants to stay in tact will give your garden a tremendous amount of winter interest, and also with some plants such as the Echinacea, or Rudbeckia, it will give our fine feathered friends a food source.
 
When should I mulch my plants for winter protection?
Mulching is an excellent way to protect your plants in our harsh Wisconsin winters. Mulching should only be done after the ground is frozen. If it is done prior to this time, the mice, who are still looking for a place to make home for the winter, will have a posh new condo with a free buffet all winter long!
 
When should I divide my perennials?
There really isn't’t a set answer for this question, but only to say that each plant is different. Some plants resent division and others thrive on it and will actually flourish by being chopped in half on a regular basis. Follow the directions on the tag that came with the plant or if you still can’t find your answer. Ask our professional staff to help you!
 
When do I prune my Clematis?
There are 3 groups of Clematis.  Some refer to them as Groups 1,2 and 3 and some refer to them as
Groups A, B, and C. 
Group 1 or A Clematis are Early flowering.  Prune these back as soon as possible after bloom, but no later than the end of July.  this allows time for new growth to produce flower buds for next season.  Remove shoots that have bloomed.  Do not cut into woody trunks.
Group 2 or B Clematis are large Hybrids.  Large-flowered hybrids bloom in mid-June on short stems from previous season's growth and often again in late summer on new growth.  Prune Feb. or March by removing dead and weak stems, then cut back remaining stems to the topmost pair of large, plump, green buds.  This cut could be a few inches to a foot or two from the stem tips.  You may be able to force a flush of new growth from the base by cutting the vine back to 18" immediately after the flush of bloom in June.
Group3 or C Clematis are later flowering.  Plants in this group flower on the last two to three feet of the current season's growth.  Some types begin blooming in mid-June and continue into fall.  This is the easiest group to prune since no old wood needs to be maintained.  In Feb. or March cut each stem to a height of about two to three feet.
On your tag for the variety it should list what group they belong to.  You can also refer to our perennial list if you are unsure.

CONTAINER GARDENING

How do I make my pots looks as beautiful as yours?
Many people are amazed during our Container Workshops at how tight we fill our containers. It is important to fill your containers with good, quality, beautiful plants you find here at Edgewater Home and Garden.
 
Are there any basic design rules when putting a container together?
When you are planning your pots, it is always nice to keep a simple design rule together. Tall plant, either in middle of the pot or in the back, a mid size row of plants, and a small or trailing layer.
 
How do I keep my container moist while I am away on vacation?
Aside from the kid down the street or the next door neighbor that we can impose on for a favor, we do have another solution for you… it is a product called Soil Moist. You mix it with your soil and it does retain the moisture for a long period of time.
 

TREES & SHRUBS

What should I consider when looking for the right tree or shrub for my location?
Size
Always consider the plants height and width at maturity. The plant should compliment and not compete with it’s surroundings. I know it may look small at first but over time it will, when planned accordingly fill in nicely. You should not keep it constantly pruned to fit the location. This makes for a woody, disformed tree or shrub.
Growth
Properly caring for a plant will greatly influence its rate of growth. While it is often tempting to select plants that will provide a quick fix, remember that the fastest grower may not be the best plant for that spot in the long run. Many fast growing plants have undesirable characteristics that may have to be considered.
Tolerances
Make sure that your plant and the planting site are a good match. Check out our resource page for lists of plants for various conditions.
Hardiness
Hardiness refers to the ability of a plant to survive the temperature extremes in a particular region. Plants are tested for hardiness and given a rating that indicates the zone in which they can be expected to survive and thrive. Wondering what hardiness zone you are located in? Check out this zone map .
 
Soil pH
Normal pH of 5.5 to 7.5 is best for most plants. Low pH indicates a soil that is acid. Some plants, like blueberries, rhododendrons, and Endless Summer Hydrangeas. Soil test can be altered by many different means. Starting with a soil test is highly recommended. Test can range from the very simple to the extensive depending upon your needs.
 
What should I do when planting my tree or shrub to assure good survivability?
 
It is said that you should have a $200.00 hole for a $100.00 tree. What does that mean? It means the most important thing you can do for your plant is to give it the best start that it can have.
Using a good quality planting mix along with your own soil will help. Monthly applications of a root stimulator fertilizer with benefit the roots to take a good hold. Deep weekly waterings will draw the root system deep within the soil. Finally, an application of Espoma Tree Tone in the spring and once again in the fall will keep your plant looking healthy and strong for years to come.
 
What does Full Sun mean? Light requirements are defined the following way…
Full Sun- 6 or more hours of sunlight in a day
Part Sun-4 to 6 hours of sunlight in a day
Shade-2 to 4 hours of sunlight in a day
Dense Shade-2 hours or less of sunlight in a day.
 
When should I prune my trees and shrubs?
There are simple rules to follow about pruning.
If your plant blooms early spring, you may trim after it is done blooming.
If your plant blooms during the late spring to summer months, you may prune, early or late in the season.
For shrubs such as your spirea, you may do a shearing right after initial bloom will encourage reblooming.
There are certain trees that you need to be careful with when pruning, oaks are included in this list. Please contact us or your local arborist with all your questions and concerns.
 
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