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.

Wiesner Bros. goes international part II

Wiesner Bros. Continues Work Internationally.





This January Hans Wiesner, ASLA our staff landscape architect had the opportunity to travel to Cartagena Colombia.  He is part of a team from Christ Church NYC a Methodist Church in Manhattan that is working with the Methodist Church in Columbia on a variety of community outreach projects.  Hans was brought in to help with the planning, design and construct of an athletic field and Green Space for the local community.  This was his second trip to Cartagena and he is collaborating with a local team of professionals to see the plan come to life.

Although a tropical climate, the planning, design and construction phasescolombia2015pic1 are similar to any region of the world.  The landscaping and plant selection are dictated by what works locally and accomplishes what the design intends.  The plant material is similar to plants that would grow in parts of Florida and Puerto Rico.  It is a rewarding challenge for all involved. 

The people in Flora De Campo region of Cartagena have been relocated from various parts of Colombia due to the recent mudslides and rebel fighting. The demographic is a mixture of single mothers, senior citizens, many children and families.  The people are so grateful for our help and are eagerly waiting the opportunity to use the park.  The physical, social and psychological benefits of trees and plants will go a long way in bringing healing and comfort to this community.colombia2015pic4



Wiesner Bros. goes international


This week the pastoral staff of Christ Church New York City (United Methodist Church) called upon Hans Wiesner to offer his professional expertise in developing a “green zone” adjacent to a church located on the outskirts of Cartagena, Colombia. The plan calls for an undeveloped space to be repurposed into a park and athletic field.

Many of the area’s residents have been relocated there due to Colombian Civil war and numerous mud slides.

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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.





Hollies, Rhododendrons, and Laurels are just a few examples of broadleaf evergreens common to our area.  These plants help keep our landscapes looking beautiful year round. The dry winds of winter blow across these plants robbing them of their moisture and by winter's end they may have significant damage.  A little care can prevent a great deal of this damage. 

 Wiesner Brothers Nursery recommends making the application of an anti-transpirant spray, such as "Wilt Stop" a part of your regular winter landscape maintenance.  We feel this is especially important if any of your broadleaf evergreens are exposed to wind, planted in a container, have been freshly planted or transplanted or have sustained winter damage in the past.

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"Wilt Stop" is a natural nontoxic spray which covers your plants with a protective coating which holds moisture in the foliage. It is available in a ready to use spray bottle and for larger areas a mix and use concentrate. Stop in today to learn more and pick yours up.  




Getting your roses ready for winter

Leave the last blooms in the fall on the plant to form hips.  This will slow growth and help them go dormant.  Continue to spray with fungicide until the leaves drop.  Rake off and remove all leaves from the rose bed to prevent diseases from harboring over winter.  Do not compost these leaves, they may contain fungi.  Apply a dormant spray or oil to help get rid of diseases that might return in the spring.

Even during winter, your roses need water to keep them healthy and prevent them from drying out.  If there is no rain or snow for more than a few weeks, you should plan to water.

Roses do not need to be trimmed unless they are liable to be damaged by winter winds.  Cover the crown of the plant with a soil mound about six inches high, then cover the entire plant and soil mound with hay, straw or a commercial plant cover.

Roses in containers can stand temperatures down to 28 F without protection or covering.  If the temperature drops below this, move the containers into an unheated shelter.  Be sure they are not near a window where warm sunlight might start plants growing.  Water lightly enough so the soil doesn't dry out.  Don't fertilize during the winter.  When warm weather comes again put the containers outside and care for them as before.

Christmas Tree Care

To care for your Wiesner Bros. Fraser Fir Christmas Tree:


  • Make a fresh cut straight across the base of the tree. Cut off approximately 1/4" to 1/2" before placing tree in the stand.


  • Use a stand that will hold a half gallon of water or more


  • Maximize the life and beauty of your tree by adding Tree Life (Christmas tree preserve)


  • Check the water level twice daily, keep the stand full


  • Make sure you place your tree away from heat sources, heating vents, radiators, fireplaces, and sunny windows


  • Check the lights for broken bulbs and cords for frayed wiring


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Araucaria araucana (Monkey Puzzle Tree)

This is a picture of the rare monkey puzzle tree. It is native to Chile and Argentina and is now endangered. This rare tree can live up to a thousand years old!! It is also a very slow growing tree taking between thirty and forty years just to produce cones. Come in quick while supplies last.monkey puzzle

Contorted Filbert

A famous Contorted Filbert or commonly seen as Harry Lauder’s walking stick. This tree was discovered in the in the mid-1800s and has been a big hit ever since. This very slow growing tree has branches that grow, twisting and swirling. This tree makes a great centerpiece and there is nothing out there like itcontorted filbert

Dragon-Eye Pine


This is one cool looking evergreen. This slow growing specimen can reach over 30 feet tall! This tree has odd colored needles covering it. They are green with yellow bands on them. This yellow intensifies as the summer goes on. It is rumor that this tree was sometimes kept at the entrance of Samurai's homes. This was due to the pine's toughness and endurance.

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