A Land of Delight Tree Care Tips & Tricks

A Land of Delight Tree Care Tips & Tricks


1) Prepare the Proper Planting Hole.

  • When preparing any hole for planting, make it three times wider than the current root mass but never deeper than the plant was growing in its previous environment.
  • Look for the flare of the trunk near the soil level. Don’t place the tree in the planting hole so deep that any part of that flare is covered with soil. Always check the tree after taking it out of the pot - if planted too deeply you may need to pull away soil to find the base of the trunk flare and true surface roots. 

2) Plant High. 

  • You can place trees  in their new environment with up to 25% of the root ball higher than the surrounding soil level. An easy way to know if your hole is at the right depth is to take your shovel handle and lay it across the grade. The top of the root ball or tree flare should be at or above the handle level.
  • Taper soil up to cover all the roots and add a generous layer of mulch above that. Newly disturbed soil tends to settle and  trees planted at grade can quickly settle below grade and succumb to root rot or disease.
  • It’s better to plant a tree slightly high and allow the area to drain away rather than for a plant to sit in a bowl and collect excess water.


3) Inspect the Roots and Disturb When Necessary.

  • Once the plant is out of its container, look at the roots. If they are densely bound in a circular pattern or have started growing in the shape of the container (even slightly), break up the pattern.
  • It’s vitally important to stop this pattern now. The biggest mistake you can make at this point is to place a rootbound plant into the ground as is. Unless you break up the pattern, you’ve likely sentenced the plant to a slow death. At a minimum, it will likely never establish or reach a fraction of its potential.
  • Don’t worry about hurting the roots or losing soil as you break the roots apart or even cut some away. Better to give them a fresh start than allow the constrictive pattern to only get worse below ground. While you don’t want to be any rougher than necessary, do what you must to arrest the pattern.
  • You can scratch your fingers across the sides and bottom of the root mass in mild cases. In more severe situations, slice up the roots vertically with a pruning saw, hack off the bottom inch or so, and or pull apart the root mass to clearly create new opportunities for non-circular new root development.

4) Don’t Amend the Soil.

  • Contrary to traditional planting methods, contemporary research indicates that you should not amend the hole with additional organic material (unless you intend to amend the entire area where roots will eventually grow). Roots growing in amended soil rarely venture into harder native soil. The long-term affect is a smaller root system, reduced growth and a less hardy plant.
  • Instead, simply break up the clumps in existing soil, remove the rocks and backfill. Studies show plant roots growing in only the native soil actually did a better job at establishing and expanding beyond the original hole.

5) Eliminate Air Pockets

  • While you could lightly tamp or hand-pack the soil around the plant roots to ensure good soil-to-root contact, another method is to add a stiff spray of water to the hole after backfilling half way. Not only does it provide needed moisture but the water also helps eliminate air pockets that could otherwise result in dead roots or worse (without compacting the soil too much).
  •  Finally, water again gently but thoroughly once all the soil is in place.

6) Add Mulch. 

  • Starting about two inches from the trunk (leave this area exposed), place roughly two inches of organic matter such as shredded leaves, or ground bark or nuggets around the plant, at least out to the drip line. Further is better. Mulch helps retain much-needed moisture and helps keep roots cooler near the surface—a very important requirement for newly installed plants.

7) Water Properly Until Established

  • The most important job you will have after planting is to keep plants and trees well watered until established. This can take weeks to months, to even a year or more in some cases. But don’t worry. You can put this part of the process on auto-pilot.
  • The key to proper watering and establishment is slow and deep irrigation. It’s not practical to do that by hand. The only way to establish trees properly through irrigation is with soaker hoses or drip irrigation.
  • The slow and deep irrigation allows the soil around the roots to saturate, so the roots have time to absorb the moisture, while avoiding excess runoff. Short, manual blasts of water from an overhead hose or sprinkler system simply don’t come close to providing the same effectiveness for water delivery.
  • Water newly planted trees every day for about the first week. For the next two weeks, ease off to about every other day. Then gradually ease back from there.
  • However, there’s a fine line between watering enough and watering too much—especially with large trees that arrive with root balls wrapped in burlap. These trees have lost all their feeder roots when dug from the ground. Providing adequate water is critical to their survival and establishment.
  • Overwatering can kill your trees. Even if you prepare a large planting hole, when drainage is poor, the root ball may be sitting in water and literally drown. There’s no easy way to know how wet the soil is deeper into the planting hole.
  • The best advice is to pay close attention to how the tree responds (and all your plants for that matter). While it’s common for them to lose up to half their leaves to transplant stress (a normal part of the process), more can indicate a potential problem.
  • If you sense the tree is responding poorly, and you are watering consistently, you’re likely over-watering. If the leaves are turning brown, drying up, and falling off, and the soil appears dry, water more.
  • To add to the challenge, soil that appears dry at the top may be very wet a few inches down. And the opposite is true as well. All the more reason it is important to apply your detective skills based on observation and knowing how much or little you’ve been watering.
  • In the first few weeks, soil that is moist but not soggy is your target range. And depending on what you’re using to deliver the water will affect how long you need to irrigate per session.

Put Watering on Auto-pilot

  • One of the best time-savers you can find to lighten the load and put your irrigation duties on auto-pilot is to use soaker hoses and/or drip irrigation combined with portable battery-operated timers.


  • If you plan to fertilize, some don’t suggest doing so until you know your trees or shrubs have taken to their new environment through successful establishment.
  • All energy should be concentrated on root development first. Adopt the walk-before-you-run approach. If you do fertilize, it’s recommended to play it safe by using a slow-release, non-burning organic fertilizer that won’t over-tax your plants.

**While all the above steps are essential, your active engagement in monitoring newly planted trees for signs of distress over time will be the ultimate deciding factor in your tree planting success. Make any necessary adjustments in real-time, and you can likely reverse a potentially downward spiral into a tree that will live a happy and very long life.

Tips for Citrus Trees

When to Plant:

Containerized citrus trees can be planted throughout the year, as you are transferring the tree and there is no shock involved. 

For Planting in Ground: 

Pick a spot with 50% or more sun on well-drained soil or soil mix. Preferably where it will have protection in winter from cold north and west winds. Avoid septic tanks and drain lines. Clear away any weeds and grass. Have water available. Dig hole larger than the container. Remove tree from container. Shave away fiber roots from the sides of root ball (important). Place tree in hole, keep top of root ball same level as the existing ground level, no deeper (important). Fill ½ full with water, then fill with remaining soil to ground level. Pack soil to remove air pockets. 

For Stepping Up to Larger Container:

Before stepping up to a larger container, shave away fiber roots from the sides of root ball (Important). Do not water daily. Soil must aerate. Do not cover root ball any deeper than it was originally. 


Young citrus trees need a constant feed. Use a slow release fertilizer for citrus plants, as it contains the minor elements required for bloom and fruit production. Follow label instructions for the application amount and apply once monthly in March, May, August, and early October.

*Older Mature Trees: Fertilize 3 times per year. Spread evenly from trunk to edge of canopy.

*Pests & Disorders:

* Pink ISD Tag - All nursery trees must be treated with a system drench prior to being sold. The ISD Tag shows the treatment date and teh retreat by date (6 mos after initial date). To continue this treatment effectiveness, the homeowner should retreat before the expiration date on the ISD tag. The primary reason is to prevent the Asian citrus psyllid from spreading citrus greening (HLB).

The treatment also kills any insect that feeds on the leaves (aphids, white flies, leaf minors). The active ingredients in the systemic drench is imadacloprid. There are several brand name treatments the homeowner can use, i.e.. Bayer Advanced Fruit, Citrus & Vegetable Insect Control and Fertilome Systemic Drench. Follow the directions on the package. 

* 1% Neem Oil - Most insect pests that eat on plants can be controlled with Neem Oil Spray. Follow the directions on the package. For leaf miner, new leaf growth should be treated every 7-10 days.

* Fungicide Spray - use for citrus scab which is caused by a fungus. Follow the directions on the package. If possible, remove any infected leaves and stems. Use drip irrigation not spray so as not to spread the fungus. 

Flowering & Fruit Set:

Citrus Trees flower and produce fruit in response to environmental stress. 

*Temperature change from winter to spring is the main occurrence. 

* Drought conditions.

* A bloom booster product can be used the first of spring to encourage flowers. However, if a late frost damages spring blooms, few if any, may be produced. 

*Potted or containerized citrus will also benefit from exposure to the cooler outside temperatures (but not freezing). Bring inside before winter.


In Case of Frost or Freeze Warnings

*Plants can be covered with winter frost blanket, found at your local garden center, or regular blankets.

*Soil can be banked up to bottom limbs prior to winter in December and removed March 1st.

*Plants in containers should be brought indoors.

Plants Affected By a Freeze:

*Some leaf drop can be expected. This should be temporary.

*Never prune trees until new growth starts back in late spring (April).

At that time, all cuts should be made at least ½” below damaged wood.

If a Grafted Plant:

*Any sprouts below the graft are rootstock sprouts and should be removed. Severely cut back plants will produce following the next bloom cycle.

Plants on Their Own Root:

Even if plants are frozen back to soil level, any growth at all will be the same variety and produce after the next bloom cycle. 

Tips For Mango Trees


Mango trees flourish in almost any type of soil except those that are wet and heavy. The soil should be deep to accommodate the extensive root system and have a pH between 5.5 and 7.5. Full sun and excellent air circulation are essential to prevent fungal diseases. In coastal areas, plant the tree near a south-facing wall to maximize light and heat. Mango trees benefit from the reduced light of a northern exposure in desert areas.


Mango trees need a frost-free climate. Flowers and young fruit may be killed by spring temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit for even a brief period of time in spring. Young trees may be seriously damaged by temperatures below 30 F. Rain, fog and heavy dew during the flowering season interfere with flowering and encourage fungal diseases. Mango trees are hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone 10.

Water and Fertilizer:

Mango saplings need regular applications of nitrogen fertilizer to become established, but they burn easily from too much nitrogen. Fish emulsion is a good choice for first year saplings. As the tree matures, use a 6-6-6 fertilizer that also contains magnesium six times a year for the second and third year and four times a year thereafter. Fertilizers designed for citrus fruit will meet the tree's needs. Micronutrient sprays that contain zinc, manganese, boron and molybdenum are essential for mango trees. Use them six times a year for the first four years and four times a year thereafter. If the soil isn't rich in iron, use an iron drench. Begin watering the tree in late winter or early spring when temperatures warm. Water every week or two in the absence of drenching rains until harvest. Trees growing in sandy soil that drains quickly may need more frequent watering.


Mango trees don't require regular pruning except to remove diseased or damaged branches and the occasional wayward growth. Removing some of the flower clusters in years when the tree blooms heavily will help prevent the tree from only bearing fruit in alternate years. When the tree is damaged by frost, wait until all danger of frost has passed before removing the damage. Sap from the tree causes severe dermatitis, so wear protective clothing when pruning.


As with all living plants, each requires care and proper nutrients to acclimate to their new environments. Some trees and shrubs are subject to transplant shock and will just need time to completely recover. Time and your patience are also essential needs for plants to successfully transition to their new surroundings. Neglect, poor watering schedules, or purchasing a plant outside the recommended growing zone will all affect the health of the tree. The customer is responsible for choosing a plant suitable for the climate in which it will be grown and following proper plant care guidelines. 


Since plants are living things, and we cannot control how it is cared for after it leaves the property, we do not accept returns under any condition. All sales are final. Not responsible for freezes, flooding, wind broken, etc. 

Dormant or Dead?

During the late fall through the early spring months, deciduous trees/shrubs (most fruit, flowering, and shade) will drop their leaves and go dormant, making them appear as though it is a “stick in a pot.” These plants are entirely healthy and are completing a vital part in their growth cycle but may exhibit browning leaves, sparse leaves, or no leaves at all. Planting during dormancy puts less stress on the plant and allows the plant to focus on root growth, giving it a head start in the spring. If you receive a plant during this time and would like to ensure the plant is in fact dormant, simply perform a scratch test on the tree. To perform a scratch test use your thumbnail or a knife and gently scrape a small part of the outer gray-brown bark from a twig or branch. Directly inside the outer bark on healthy trees/shrubs you’ll find a nice green layer, called the cambium. If you continue scratching away the thin green layer, you’ll see the whitish inner wood. The presence of the green layer indicates life in the plant.


A Land of Delight Natural Farm & Nursery 

2514 Leaning Pine Lane, Plant City, FL 33565



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