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Product Care

Product Receiving/Care Instructions

Unpack your products as quickly as possible upon arrival. Should any product be delivered in damaged condition, please notify De Groot, Inc. for resolution.

Alarm Clocks:

All De Groot, Inc. products have imaginary alarm clocks that tell them to begin root development as soon as they are planted. Underground root development is necessary before they begin their upward growth. But, just like you and me, some wake up faster than others and growth may be sporadic at first. Most spring-planted products may need four to eight weeks before above ground growth is visible. Fall-planted items most likely will show no above ground growth until spring.

Once out of proper storage conditions, plants don’t like to be kept waiting, so they will need your immediate attention. Transplanting within 24 hours after receiving to their new home is always the best idea. However, if you must delay planting for any reason, we recommend the following:

Field Grown Product: Most Northern field grown products do best when shipped in a dormant or bare root condition. Often plants shipped this way may appear to be dead. However, dormant or bare root plants are living plant material even though their growth processes have been temporarily shut down. They may appear void of green buds, leaves, or in some cases even roots. The plants are shipped to you without any soil around the roots. This process helps keep shipping costs down. They’ve been conditioned for shipping and will be ready to start their growth after planting. It may take as long as four to eight weeks before they begin sprouting to the point where growth is obvious.

Perennial Plants: Keep perennial plants in their original shipping bags at 34 to 50 degrees F for up to three weeks. We hold most perennial plants in our atmospherically controlled cold storage at 34 degrees F. Most any refrigerator will work fine. Immediate planting will give the best results and is always recommended. It is common for the roots of bareroot perennial plants to appear dead when they arrive. They are just dormant and will sprout into life after planting. As with fruits and shrubs, it is important not to let the roots dry out before planting.

Bulbs and Vegetables: If the shipping bag you receive has perforations, open and separate the bag to allow air to circulate around the bulbs and vegetables. Store them in a cool (45-60 degrees F), well-ventilated location until you plant them. Protect them from extreme heat or freezing. If the shipping bag appears not to have perforations, it is best to leave the product in the bag as received and store similar to perennial plants. Some bulbs and vegetables develop surface mold during storage. This yellow and white mold may appear anytime during shipping or storage and is no cause for alarm. It will quickly wipe off or fade away once the product is planted. With all products best results will be achieved by planting within 24 hours after receipt.

Fruits & Shrubs: Most fruits and shrubs are shipped in bare root form. If possible, plant fruits and shrubs as soon as possible upon receipt of your shipment. If you must wait a few days, open the box, cover the roots with moist peat moss or newspaper as necessary to keep them damp, rewrap them in their plastic shipping bag and store in a cool, dark place.

If you can’t plant for more than 10 days, for best transplanting success we recommend you heel in the plant. This is a nursery process to temporarily hold plants until they can be formally planted. Dig a trench only big enough for all the roots. Lay the plant in the trench and cover the roots with soil and soak with water. Don’t worry about plant depth and straightness – remember, this is only a temporary home for your plant.

Before planting your bareroot fruits and shrubs, soak the plants roots in a tub of water for at least an hour or two (but no more than 12 hours). Most of these plants have developed calluses on their coarse bareroots and need this soaking to let the plant know it is time to start growing again. For optimal transplant success don’t allow your bare root plants or bulbs to dry out from sun and wind before they are planted. They must be kept moist and cool at all times prior to planting.

General Planting Instructions

Soil preparation is important because your plants will occupy the same site for many years to come. It is worthwhile to spend a little effort to provide them a good home. Dig the soil to the depth of a spading fork (twice as deep is better). Remove any sod so the grass will not return to the planting site. Apply plenty of organic matter (manure, compost or sphagnum peat moss) and mix thoroughly with the soil. Mulching in summer will help keep the soil moist and cool and prevent weeds while winter mulch will help prevent heaving of plants during periods of alternate freezing and thawing.

Bulbs: Fall bulbs will reward you with the first long awaited color in the spring. Combine a variety of bulbs to create continuous bloom from the Crocus in April to the Allium in June.

Flower bulbs thrive in well-drained soil. They may be planted by digging a shallow hole using a hand trowel or shovel. To create a more naturalized effect, remove soil from planting area and scatter the bulbs and then cover with soil. The general rule for the planting depth is to plant bulbs twice as deep as their height. Smaller bulbs should be planted fairly close together (3-4″ apart) while the larger bulbs should have approximately 5″ between them. After planting, water the area well.

You can plant bulbs among shrubs or perennials to guarantee an even wider range of color in the area.

The main requirement for bulb flowers is to leave the foliage die back naturally. This process will take about 6 weeks and the fading foliage may be camouflaged with annuals and/or perennials. Bulbs need this period to regenerate and gather their strength for next year’s flowering period.

Fruits and Shrubs: Choosing a proper planting site is the first step for successful planting of fruits and shrubs. Most require full sun to partial shade and plenty of room for mature growth. Some common planting errors are choosing a site that is too close to a house foundation, so the mature plants rub on the house siding, or spacing the plants too close together, so the mature plants grow into each other. If you desire a hedge, then planting so the plants grow together is best.

In all cases dig a hole large enough to encompass the roots without bending or circling. Set the plant in place so the crown (part of the plant where the highest root meets the stem) is about 1 inch below the soil surface. Add generous amounts of peat, but no fertilizer when planting. Cover with soil to the original soil surface and water thoroughly. Your newly set plants will require regular watering for the first couple of weeks after planting. Continue to monitor the plants and water as necessary throughout the growing season.

Perennials: Perennials will give you summer-long beauty with color splashing your gardens at different times of the season. Perennial plants will come back year after year and most require very little care at all. Use them to compliment the colorful annuals in your flowering beds and garden.

They are best used in borders, in beds along with shrubs or planted along a fence. Perennial island beds or perennials as accents in foundation plantings have become popular in recent years. Perennial gardens may also be created to provide cut flowers for your home.

The #1 reason perennial plants fail to perform as expected is due to improper planting depth. Although symptoms may not be apparent the first season or two after transplanting and may not cause the immediate demise of some plants, planting too deep can be the reason for failure. Most perennial plants should be planted so the topmost roots are barely covered at the surface and even with the surrounding soil. A very light (1/2-1″) organic mulch such as cypress bark, cedar bark or finely screened pine bark may be used for moisture retention and appearance, but is not essential for normal plant growth. Some exceptions which usually are not planted deep enough are most bulbs, corms and tubers (not rhizomes) which will produce more root mass if planted deep.

Your newly set plants will require regular watering for the first couple of weeks after planting. Also, if the weather is extremely hot or sunny at the time of planting, shading them for a few days will reduce wilting and get them off to a good start.

Perennials grow at varying rates, depending on their nature and upon the conditions under which they are growing. To keep them healthy, they should be divided when they show signs of becoming crowded. This is best done in the spring or fall; dig up the clump, cut the crown of each plant into several sections with a sharp knife, with each piece retaining its own root system. Replant the divisions as soon as possible.

“Deadheading” or removing spent flower heads and stalks will frequently prolong the blooming period and encourage a fresh burst of colorful blooms.

Stake taller perennials to prevent damage by wind and continue to tie them up as they grow taller.