5 Questions to Ask about Tree & Shrub Planting

Planting! It seems so simple, right? There’s plenty that you can do on your own to maintain the health and beauty of your plants once they’re in the ground on your property. But several things that happen before the planting play a big role in determining whether your plants will thrive in your landscape. Before you hire someone to transplant trees or shrubs on your property, be sure you understand how those plants have been raised, how the ground will be prepared, and what procedure will be followed.

Where do you source your plants?

A plant’s history plays an enormous role in its future, so it’s critical to know where your plants are coming from! NOVA Landscape & Design is in the unique situation of having its own garden center. NOVA is a second-generation business that grew out of our family’s original enterprise, Dumfries Nursery & Garden Center, which has been serving Northern Virginia for more than 20 years. We source all of our plants, trees, and shrubs locally from the nursery’s seven spacious greenhouses. This relationship ensures that every single plant we install has been treated with the utmost care for its entire lifecycle.

How do you ensure the proper planting of trees and shrubs?

The individuals responsible for planning and acquiring materials for your landscaping project likely won’t be the same people who will be putting them in the ground. For that reason, it’s vital to find a company with a healthy culture, where employees are treated well and where everyone is equally committed to quality. While gauging these aspects of a business can be tricky, online reviews are a good place to start your search for insights.

At NOVA, the way we treat our plant material is rooted in more than 20 years of experience with local planting. We know the factors that help plants thrive in different Northern Virginia environments, and we pass that knowledge on to our employees. Our entire team is committed to delivering quality softscaping that’s built to last, and we base our hiring decisions on that commitment.

How can I be sure that each plant is right for my property?

This is another area where experience definitely plays a factor. In addition to meeting your aesthetic needs, each tree planted on your property should be chosen based on the sun exposure, shade, moisture, and soil characteristics of its planting location. When choosing a landscaping team, just make sure that your conversation includes attention to these details in addition to evaluating what would look beautiful in a given space.

Beyond being landscapers, NOVA people are plant people. Part of the design component of our business is matching trees and shrubs to planting sites where they’re most likely to thrive. During our site visit, we’ll evaluate and document the varying conditions on your property. When it’s time to choose specific plants, we’ll balance your preferences with our knowledge of plant species to make well-considered recommendations.

How will you be amending the soil?

The beauty of your landscape starts below the surface. Be sure to work with a landscape contractor who plans to test your soil and adjust it to provide the best possible foundation for your new plants. Organic amendments can include sphagnum peat, wood chips, grass clippings, straw, compost, manure, sawdust and wood ash. Inorganic amendment options include vermiculite, perlite, tire chunks, pea gravel, and sand. Ask your potential contractors about the amendments they might use and why. At NOVA, we use a select few proven-effective products in soil prep, and we apply a locally sourced, 100% organic leaf-based compost mix for most projects.

What type of warranty is provided for the plants?

Warranties hold companies accountable for choosing great materials. We back up all plants and trees purchased through NOVA and installed by our team with a 1-year warranty. This ensures the health and vitality of each tree and shrub so you can enjoy a lush, full landscape. It doesn’t cover damage caused by animals, natural disasters, or poor care after installation. Since we can’t find out the history of plants we didn’t source, our warranty does not apply to plants purchased elsewhere, even if you hire us to install them.


  1. peter starke says

    I really enjoyed how the history of the plants plays a big role for the future. My yard is very bland so I want to start planting trees, bushes and some flowers too. Thanks for the great article!

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