Plant Problems

Prescription For Success

Prescriptive Fertilization

soiltesterAt Wiesner Bros. we believe that knowledge is a powerful tool.  The more information that you have on your landscape and garden, the better you understand the reason certain tasks are done. Fertilization of trees and shrubs is not the same as fertilization of your lawn or summer flowers, and yes too little or too much could be ineffective or fatal.  We must always look at the big picture and avoid getting tunnel-vision which could solve one problem and create many more. Prescriptive fertilization looks at all the reasons why we fertilize and adjust the prescription to watch the patient.  It is a holistic way to approach this important horticultural practice.

We believe in taking a few simple steps prior to fertilizing which could help you maximize the desired effects on your plants and in your garden:

1. The first step should always be a walk through your property and a visual inspection.  How did the plants look last year? Were there any unusual symptoms on the leaves, flowers, twigs, flowers or fruit? What looked good and what needed help?

2. Are you currently paying your lawn service to apply fertilizer and or pesticide?  If so, what are they using and how often?

3. Have you tested your soil lately? Not only are the chemical properties important for the macro and micro nutrients trees and shrubs need to thrive but how is your soil structure?  Does your soil drain well? It is a heavy clay soil or do you have sandy soil?  All this information is important for successful plant growth.

4. Do you have an irrigation system?  How often do you water?  Are your planting beds on separate zones from your lawn?  Once again too much water may cause more problems for your established trees and shrubs than too little. It is important to check the settings on your irrigation system and take note of dry or soggy spots in your yard.

5. A simple soil test will help you understand that the pH of the soil could vary in different parts of you yard (the vegetable garden, you perennial bed, your foundation planting or your shade trees could all have different requirements).  

Now that we have a big picture view let’s look at why we are fertilizing.

Trees and shrubs on Staten Island may need a little help from time tofertilizerpic time in the form of fertilization.


  • Native trees (large established trees) well adapted to our poor soils, should be fertilized once every 4 or 5 years. To do so more often usually isn't needed and can even be harmful.
  • Fertilization is also used to help make small trees grow faster. Newly planted trees in the landscape can be helped along by annual fertilization for a minimal price. In the nursery, most trees are fertilized frequently. Once planted in a yard and forgotten, most folks wonder why their trees stop growing. The answer is fertilizer.
  • The third use for fertilization is to replace a missing micro or macro nutrients in the soil. This is best accomplished with a soil test to determine the missing component(s). Wiesner Bros. sells simple soil test kits or we could sent it away to the lab for a more comprehensive analysis.  The proper balance of nutrients to get your trees into the best possible shape is the goal.
  • The fourth reason to fertilize is to help root damaged trees put on more roots. This often occurs around construction sites or with the replacement or installation of buried utilities. Fertilization with added root stimulants can often save root damaged trees when done properly.

DSCF0034Visit us at the nursery for help with prescriptive fertilization for your yard.  If you feel better about having one of our horticulturists or arborists make a site visit to evaluate your yard we could arrange this as well.

For more info on what's happening on Wiesner Brothers Nursery follow us on Facebook or join our Garden Forum Email list.

Tips to minimize snow damage to your upright evergreens

Upright evergreens can take a beating over the course of a winter such as the one we're experiencing this year.  There are some things you can do to minimize the long term damage. Proper preparation is best thing to do in situations such as this, but it's too late for that now, so let's concentrate on what can be done now.

First you should gently brush off the snow, by hand or with a broom if extra reach is needed, from what would be the upper braches.  Then gently clear the snow away from lower braches.  Doing this should provide you with some immediate results and in some minor cases may be all that is required.  In most cases additional steps will be required.

In addition to the previous steps you may need to tie up some branches.  If the branches needing to be tied are smaller in size we suggest using garden tape.  This item allows you to tie up and return the piece to a more natural form without the danger of "girdling" the branches.  Girdling, to any degree is not good and should be avoided at all costs.  Girdling is even more of a concern when dealing with larger branches.  If larger branches do require tying we suggest using Arbor Tie and not using a heavy gauge rope or metal wire of any kind.  

In more severe cases, you may find you need to tie the entire piece and possibly use one or more stakes to pull the piece back to its upright position. 

If your upright evergreens look anything like the ones pictured above, at least now you know all may not be lost, take some pictures and stop in today for some specific advice on your situation.





Have you seen this weed in your lawn? If so you have the very common weed of quackgrass. This year numerous lawns have been ruined by this invader and if not treated properly it will grow bigger and spread. Come into our store today and we will arm you with the most effective chemical to do away with the weed and give you back control of your lawn. For any questions please feel free to leave a reply below or a comment on our Facebook post.

Attack of the Slugs

Due to a variety of different environmental factors the slugs this year have been overwhelming for many annual gardeners. We have gotten numerous horror stories of slug attacks and being as they use a stealth approach and attack at night the problem is commonly misdiagnosed. Shown above is an example of a victim which was once a beautiful petunia. Some common clues to pinpointing a slug attack can be a small slime trail and circular bite marks. Come into our store today and we will aid you in properly arming you for your fight against those pesky slugs. If you are not sure what is wrong, bring in a sample of your plant and our experts will be more than happy to help diagnose your problem.

Bag Worms

Have you seen this critter on you plants? If so you have bag worms on your plants which need to be treated and done so fast. For directions on how to properly treat this problem come into our garden center today and our experts will gladly lend a helping hand in your plants road to recovery.


Do your plant leafs look like this? If so, you most likely have the fairly common scale insect. For directions on how to properly treat this problem come into our garden center today and our experts will gladly lend a helping hand in your plants road to recovery.

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Wiesner Bros. Nursery Inc.
2402 Victory Blvd.
Staten Island, New York 10314
Phone: 718-761-5141
Fax: 718-698-6294