After this past winter we are so ready to be outside and gardening! As you pick out your flowers, shrubs and trees, take a little time to plant them right. Give your plants a great start and they’ll reward you with months, if not years of gardening pleasure.
Make sure you are planting the right plant in the right place! Full sun plants need at least six to eight hours of sun, part sun plants thrive in four to six hours and full shade plants grow in four hours or less of sun. Consider your soil moisture and drainage where you plan to plant. Some plants thrive in consistently moist soils, some prefer dry and some like to be well drained. The Growing Place Sales Associates are good resources if you have any questions on the culture a plant prefers.
After finding the right plant for the right space, planting depth is most important. For trees, make sure that they are not planted too deep. Look for the root flare, the point on the trunk of the plant where the bark begins to swell slightly or flare into the root mass. Plant no deeper than the root flare.
For trees and shrubs in containers or balled and burlapped, remove any excess soil in the pot or root ball to find the root flare on trees and the surface roots on shrubs. If there are roots growing above the flare, it is good to remove them so they don’t girdle the plant later in life. Measure from this point to the ground to determine hole depth. Dig the hole two to three times wider than the soil ball. For containerized plants, spread or cut the roots that have begun to circle in the pot. Position the plant in the hole and backfill with the same soil that was in the hole, using the clay first at the bottom, breaking up large clumps. For trees, pack four to five inches of soil around the root ball to stabilize the tree. Remove any ropes, exposed burlap, the top half of the wire basket, and any dirt on top of the root flare. Firmly pack more soil in hole until even with ground level. Form a basin with two to three inches of soil, four to six inches outside the root ball to retain water. Water with a slow trickle from a hose. Water trees for 20 to 30 minutes and shrubs for 15 to 20 minutes. Mulch with two to three inches of mulch, making sure to keep mulch away from the trunk or stems.
For perennial plants, allow the container soil to dry slightly, so it’s easier to slip the plant out. Remove the plant completely from the container. You can loosen the soil around the roots slightly and if the plant has many circling roots, gently pry the roots apart and spread them out in your planting hole. Make sure that you keep the soil level the same as it was in the container. Water plants thoroughly after planting. Check often for water needs and water only when the soil is dry to the touch one inch below the surface.
Posted on 4/16/2014 at 7:15:00 PM