Planting Questions

Why should I have foundation planting?

Foundation planting often softens the look of a house. Well thought-out foundation planting can correct for any proportion issues the house may have and can help the house to blend seamlessly into the rest of the landscaping. Foundation planting can emphasize architectural highlights (or detract from any flaws).

How close can I plant trees to the foundations of my house?

The answer to this question really depends on the variety and type of tree. We recommend selecting a tree with a less aggressive root system if you are planning to plant close to the foundations of your house. We are happy to give you adve specific to your situation at the Garden Centre.

How do I plant the trees and shrubs I just purchased?

First thing, know where your plants are going and the soil conditions you will be planting with. It is always a good idea to start with the soil. You should add 3-way mix, Compost plus or good quality topsoil with composted manure. Take the plant out of the container and examine the roots, make sure the plant is well rooted and free of pest and disease problems. You will want the plant to be no deeper then it was in the pot, if it is planted to deep it will starve the plant of oxygen and the plant will suffer. Once you have established the proper depth mix in you organic matter and starter fertilizer with the existing soil and gently fill in around roots, avoid packing soil heavily. Water well and continue to water regulary for the next few weeks until the plant is established

Should I stake my trees?

Only if it is loose after planting. Young trees will usually be stable and a ball and burlap tree base is usually stable enough to keep the tree in place. If you are staking make sure you use proper staking material to avoid girdling the tree.

How long should I water for?

You should water your plants everyday for the first week you can then gradually reduce the watering to every other day and then after a few weeks cut the watering back to 3 times per week. If you are planting in spring or fall you may not need to water as much because the temperature is cool and there is more moisture in the ground.

When is the best time to plant?

Spring and Fall are the best times because mother nature is on your side with the watering. Summer is also a good time just remember to water regularly.

 

Privacy Planting

I want to block out my neighbors – what should I plant?

If you are in full sun I would recommend a white spruce or white pine. White pine will also take partial shade. If you get into a denser shade you may want to consider hemlock. If you have deer your options will be limited to spruce. If you are looking for summer coverage only you will have lots of deciduous options.

Can I use shrubs or perennials for privacy?

Absolutely. There are many options native to Muskoka that will thrive and give you wonderful privacy.


Native Plants

We are experts in plants native to Muskoka.

There are several varieties of native shrubs and perennials available at our garden center. We can advise you on the best soil and site conditions to plant in so that your native plants will thrive. Native plant lists tend to be a bit vague because of the hardiness zones. We will be happy to share our expertise. Native plants do require space and our staff can let you know what the mature size of the plant will be.

Surround yourself with Muskoka’s native trees, shrubs and perennials. These natural beauties are very hardy and low maintenance.

We’ll happily explain all the advantages of choosing plants native to Muskoka for your garden.

Native plants are great additions to your garden and our environment. Generally plants that are native to the area thrive.

Our comprehensive list of native plant material will give you privacy, restoration and naturalizing options.


Soil Conditions

My soil is acidic, what can I do to improve the quality?

The Muskoka region does have a lot of evergreen which is a contributing factor in making the soil more acidic. To neutralize the soil you can use horticultural lime or demotic lime, this does have to be applied regularly to maintan a proper ph. The Ph scale goes from 1 to 14 1-7 being acidic and 7-14 being alkaline. You can test your soil with a ph test kit.

All my gardens are sand. How can I improve the soil quality?

Proper mulching will help tremendously however it is not a quick fix. If you have an abundance of sand you will need to continually add topsoil, manure and compost. When planting dig the holes 3 to 4 times the size of the pot and add a generous amount of organic matter and starter fertilizer.


Mulch & Fertilizers

We offer a variety of mulch options.

What mulch provides your gardens is more than esthetic. Mulch is a great source of organic matter. Mulch helps keep the moisture in the ground, prevents weeds from growing and breaks down into organic matter to help amend the soil.

From natural cedar to decorative red pine, we offer a variety of mulch colours and textures. We have available for delivery soil, compost and mulch.

We can recommend the right fertilizer for your soil conditions.

Where soil conditions are poor, fertilizers can amend the problem to create ideal growing conditions. Whether it be a new perennial planting or unhealthy trees – fertilizers can provide answers to many growing challenges.

You should plant with a starter fertilizer – and make sure it is high in Phosphorus which will stimulate root growth. Healthy Roots makes for a healthy plant. If you are on the lake or by a stream you shouldn’t use Phosphorus. It creates the growth of algae and plant life in the water and can be harmful to the aquatic eco-system. You can however add compost and apply mulch.

If your garden requires a boost you can use an all purpose slow release organic fertilizer. We recommend Vigiro Pink. It consist of 8 part Nitrogen (for green growth) 12 parts phosphorus (for root growth ) and 6 parts Potassium (that helps root and green growth). Remember all fertilizer has 3 letters on the box N-P-K, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium. An easy trick to remember what they stand for is: up, down and around.

Our knowledgeable staff will be happy to answer any of your questions about mulch & fertilizers.


Organic Gardening

What should I be adding to my garden to improve soil conditions and overall performance of my plants?

Make sure you plant with 3-way mix or better yet Compost Plus. You should also plant with a starter fertilizer make sure it is high in Phosphorus which will stimulate root growth. Healthy Roots makes for a healthy plant. If you are on the lake or by a stream you shouldn’t use Phosphorus it creates the growth of algae and plat life in the water and can be harmful to the aquatic eco-system. You can however add compost and apply mulch.

Should I be mulching my Garden? What are the benefits?

Mulch is a great source of organic matter. Mulch helps keep the moisture in the ground, prevents weeds from growing and breaks down into organic matter to help amend the soil therefore you will have to replace every year but your plants will thank you for it with blooms and growth.

What Fertilizer should I be using on my garden?

Keep your garden mulched about 3 inches think. If your garden still requires a boost you can use an all purpose slow release organic fertilizer. We recommend Vigiro Pink it consist of 8 part Nitrogen (for green growth) 12 parts phosphorus (for root growth ) and 6 parts Potassium (that helps root and green growth). Remember all fertilizer has 3 letters on the box N-P-K, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and easy trick to remember what they stand for is up down and around.


Pest Control

We have organic solutions for garden and lawn pests.

Predators such as lady bugs or praying mantis maintain the natural balance of a garden and keep pests at bay. When predators are not enough we offer solutions such as Neem oil, Nematodes or Slug pots. All of these options are very safe for humans and friendly on the environment.

We’ll help you get rid of the moles tearing apart your lawn.

If you have moles in your lawn chances are you have grubs living in there as well. Grub larvae lives beneath the soil and provides a food source for the moles. To eliminate those tunnels in your lawn you will have to eradicate the moles food source. We recommend applying Nematodes to your lawn in June and September. Nematodes are a microscopic organism that feed on the grub larva; once the grubs are gone the moles will be too. Nematodes are easy to apply; soak the Nematode loaded sponge in a pail of water to release the micro-scopic organisms. After micro-scopic organisms are released water affected areas in the lawn. The organisms will feed on the grub larvae and eliminate the food source for those pesky moles. Keep in mind soil temperatures should be above 13 Degrees.

We’ll keep the slugs from eating your Hostas.

We carry a Safers product called slug bait, which works well. We also recommend filling a small container full of beer. The slugs are highly attracted to the scent and taste of beer. They will crawl in to the container and you can dispose of them once they’ve been captured. We sell decorative ceramic slug pots that add décor to your garden while addressing your slug problem.

Come in and talk to us about any of your pest control issues and we will recommend safe and effective solutions.


Deer Proofing

We’ll help you plant a deer proof garden.

We work on the premise that the deer were here first and we are in their space. We then choose plants that we know, from experience, that the deer are unlikely to eat.

Let us know if you are planting a new garden and we’ll advise you on choosing plants that the deer don’t like. Plants with strong smells, thorns or a fuzzy texture can often be enough of a deterrent. Barberry, Lavender, Sage and Yarrow are all great choices and there are many more to choose from.

We have an extensive plant list that we can provide. We have found some annuals, many perennials and a good list of shrubs that the deer tend to avoid.

We’ll help you keep the deer out of your garden.

There are all sorts of organic options to try to discourage deer from feasting on your garden. You can try Irish spring soap (they don’t like the smell), scarecrows, sensor lights, and a radio left on can all be ways to keep them at bay. Come on in and ask us – we’ll be happy to share our expertise!

We also carry deer-away products, Plantskydd and Bobbex. You have to re-apply every couple of months but it has lasting results.