Mountain Laurel, Rhododendrons and Azaleas: They thrive on acid, well drained soils. Moist soil is okay, but heavy, water-logged soils are death. Plant the same depth as grown at the nursery. On heavy (clay) soils set the plant on the ground, surround it with well-drained soil (raised bed), and work in large amounts of coarse organic material such as aged pine bark.
Dappled sunlight is ideal and full sun will work as long as the plants are not close to a south or southwest wall where reflected heat and dryness may do them in. Mulch with wood or bark chips, pine needles, leaves or other organic material. Fertilize lightly, no more than ¼ of the suggested rates of Hollytone, Miracide, or other fertilizer for acid loving plants. The first growing season, water heavily every 5-7 days if good rains are not occuring; more often for container grown plants. New plantings require about two inches of water per week; the typical sprinkler produces about 1 inch of water per hour. Daily watering is detrimental.
Grafted Plants: Weeping larch, many Japanese maples, kousa dogwood, yellow magnolias, and some other special selections are grafted on seedlings. Shoots below the graft union, from the understock and not typical of the grafted selection, need to be removed by pruning.
Burlap: Burlap can be left on and it will decay. However, for plants like mountain laurel with a firm root ball we usually remove the burlap before planting so that there is immediate soil to soil contact, and less chance for air pockets. Plants with coarse roots and a loose soil ball, such as larch and daphne, should be planted in the burlap. Burlap that is left on can be untied and tucked into the hole before backfilling with soil.
Dead heading: This refers to removal of spent flowers. It is worth doing on mountain laurel and large-leaf rhododendrons to prevent energy going into seed capsules and to promote new growth and annual bloom. It is only on the new growth that flower buds are set for the next year. Deadhead as soon after flowering as possible.
Container Grown Plants: Disturb the roots! Cut, tease or tear some of the outer roots on container grown plants to promote regeneration of new roots from the container medium into native soil. Beware of rapid drying of newly planted container grown plants. Until the roots move into the surrounding soil they may require watering every two days. The soil may be moist but the medium from the container dry.