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Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

When are you open?

We are open 8-6 every day from March 21st until December 21st.

What is your 3-year guarantee?

The 3 year guarantee covers all trees and shrubs. If your tree or shrub dies within 3 years of the day you purchased it, you will receive store credit for what you spent. The credit can be used on anything in the store. If we plant it for you, the labor is also guaranteed. In that case you would just give us a call and we will come replace it for you.

Do you deliver?

Yes, we do! We can deliver any bulk material or plants from our store, as long as you live within our service area. Visit our online order page for details, or give us a call. Bulk materials can be ordered starting at a 1/2 yard.

What if I need less than a 1/2 yard?

If you bring in a 5-gal bucket, we can fill it with any bulk material for $5.

Plant Questions

I just bought a shrub/tree, how do I plant it?

For best results, dig a hole twice the width of the root ball, and equally as deep. Try to clear out any large rocks from the hole so that the roots can grow unimpeded.

How do I prep the soil for planting?

Mix in something to lighten the soil, like peat moss, and add nutrients like compost to help it grow. These two are typically sold together as a 'planting mix', and should be added 50/50 with the existing soil. Afterwards tamp down the soil to collapse air any pockets.

How do I transplant my shrub/tree?

Transplants have the best chance of success when the plant is dormant, in early spring or late fall. Carefully remove the tree and wrap the rootball in an old sheet to keep in moisture until it is re-planted in the new location. Make sure to keep it well watered during this time.

How often should I water my plants?

New plantings should be watered on average 3 times a week, depending on the amount of sun the area gets, the daytime temperatures, and variety of plant. The best way to tell is feeling the top inches of the soil, if it is dry, soak the plant for 30 seconds. Be careful not to over-water your plants. Yellow leaves or fungus are often signs that the plant is beginning to rot from too much water.

Will you install plants I bought from you?

Yes, we can install anything purchased from Sterling Greenery. Install cost is equal to 100% of the plant cost.

When and how should I prune my plants?

In general, it's best to prune immediately after flowering. Dead flowers can be removed any time without affecting the plant. This can also encourage new blooms to form. Evergreens are best pruned in spring after frost danger has passed. Roses should be pruned in late spring after they have leafed out. It is common for there to be some dead branches you'll need to cut back after each winter. Hydrangeas are best pruned in early fall at the end of the blooming season, this will determine its size. After it has completely leafed out for the season, dead sticks without leaves can be removed. Fruit trees do best when pruned in late winter/early spring. Apples should be pruned a bit earlier than peaches and cherries. Butterfly bushes should NOT be pruned much at all outside of removing dead flowers for the first couple years. Perennials and grasses should be pruned back close to the ground in the fall, after the plant has started dying back for the winter. Dead flowers on perennials should be removed as soon as possible to prevent fungal growth.

Do my plants need fertilizer?

If any plant is not flowering, make sure that it is getting adequate sunlight. A high-phosphate fertilizer can often help. Certain plants need fertilizer more than others. Hydrangeas, for example, need a high-phosphate fertilizer applied reguarly to bloom consistently.

Are there bugs on my plants?

Signs of bug activity can include holes in the leaves or curling leaves. Some insects like ants or aphids will suck sap from the plant causing them to dry up. Treat these symptoms with an insecticide.

Is my plant sick?

Some signs of plant disease include spotted leaves, abnormal growths on the leaves or stems, or withered branches. Use a liquid or granular treatment around the base of the tree to treat a variety of complications.

Pond Questions

What does a new pond need?

We reccomend adding beneficial bacteria to a pond immediately to help jump-start the pond ecosystem.

How do I open my pond in the spring?

If there are fish, move them to a temporary holding bucket if possible. Use a cleanout pump to drain as much of the water from the pond as possible. If needed, use an algae remover to take algae off the rocks. Pull out any dead fish, frogs, or leaves. Trim back any plants as needed Hose off or replace any filter pads, brushes, or nets if needed. Make sure the liner around the pond and edges of the waterfill is high enough and hasn't settled over the winter, allowing water to leak out. Fill the pond back up and treat with detoxifier if using town water, then turn on the pump and slowly reintroduce the fish to acclimate them. Add beneficial bacteria or starter bacteria to jump start the ecosystem.

How do I close my pond in the fall?

Once the water starts icing over it is time to remove the pump for winter. Store the pump in a bucket of water somewhere it won't freeze. Try to remove any leaves from the pond before they freeze as well. Remove any filters pads, nets, or brushes, clean them, and store for winter. If any plants need to be cut back, do so now. If you have fish, you will need to oxygenate the pond and keep a hole open for them during the winter. This can be done in several ways:

  • Keep the original pump running. Check the ice frequently for dams blocking water flow into the skimmer or waterfall.
  • Put a solids-handling pump in the center of the pond with a fountain/jet on top to break the surface of the pond.
  • Put a heater and an aerator in.

How do I treat algae in my pond?

Make sure you have enough plant life in your pond to help filter the water. Remove dead fish, plants, and leaves frequently. Use algaecide to treat existing string algae in the water. Make sure to keep the pump running during treatment.

How do I fix a leaking pond?

Consider the weather first, as large temperature variations can cause some degree of evaporation. If the leak is severe, fill up the pond completely and turn off the pump. Let it sit for 24 hours. If the level drops, your leak is in the pond itself. Wherever it stops is the level just below the leak, so look around at that level for any tears, holes, or other signs. If the pond level does not drop, your leak is not in the pond itself. Check your waterfall to see if it is diverting water over low liner edges or splashing water out of the pond. Make sure the skimmer and biofall spillway is properly attached.