Your new plants should be installed as soon as possible. If there is some delay in planting, then it is important to guard against moisture loss. Store plants in a shady, wind protected area, and keep the root area evenly moist.
Handle plants gently and use the container or root ball to move the plant. Never hold onto the plant itself. Be sure to place your plants in their preferred growing environment for best results.
Balled and Burlap
Many trees, shrubs and evergreens have the root ball wrapped in burlap and secured with string or rope. Large sizes have the ball contained in a wire basket.
These must be planted just the way they are, burlap, rope and wire basket too. Fill around the ball with a good soil mix to three-quarters and water thoroughly.
THEN – untie all string or rope from the trunk or stems. Fold back burlap and ropes and tuck down out of sight. If there is a wire basket, fold back the loops and push down, leaving the wire basket on. Add more good soil mix to fill the hole. Water again using a root-stimulating transplant fertilizer.
Size of planting hole
It is vital to dig your planting hole at least 12 cm larger than the root ball on all sides to allow for soil enrichments before planting. When planting large heavy balls, the soil at the bottom of the hole should be left solid to prevent the tree from settling lower (see illustration). The finished level of the tree should be the same as it was grown, or up to 8 cm higher.
We can not over stress the importance of leaving the pot ON! These pots are made of paper and will rot away in the soil, and are readily penetrable by healthy plant roots. Break off the pot rim down to the soil level. Make three cuts halfway up from the bottom. DO NOT remove the bottom of the pot. Fill in around the pot with a good soil mix. Water thoroughly with a root stimulating transplant fertilizer.
Water thoroughly before removing the container. If a light tapping on sides and bottom does not release the soil, make two cuts the length of the pot on opposite sides and gently pull away the halves. Use your fingers or a knife to gently loosen and spread exposed roots that appear crowded. To free matted or circling roots, make several vertical cuts 13 mm to 2.5 cm deep through the root mass.
Planting in Clay Soils
To ensure vital good drainage when planting in clay soils, simply enlarge the size of the hole and raise the level of the planting area 5-8 cm above the surrounding grade. (See diagram).
Special Care for Special Plants
Roses may be in fibre or plastic pots. Most roses are grafted on to different root stock. For reasons of hardiness, the grafted area (which will be the swollen area where the stems originate) must be planted 5 cm below the soil. For Rhododendrons, Azaleas and other Broadleafed Evergreens , increase the amount of sphagnum peat moss used by half. Peaches, nectarine s and cherries demand excellent fast drainage. DO NOT plant in wet areas. DO NOT overwater.
When the planting is completed…
Watering – Plants grown in plastic pots tend to dry out more quickly, therefore, more frequent watering may be necessary to avoid plant wilt. It takes several weeks for roots to extend beyond the original soil ball, so be sure to check this area as it often dries out faster than surrounding garden soil. Deep watering encourages a deep root system and your plant will become more drought tolerant.
Mulching – Apart from their good appearance and the retarding of weed growth, mulches help to retain moisture. Mulch also keeps roots cool in summer and insulated in winter. Maintenance is easier and your plants will thrive.
Easy Steps to Success
- PLANT THE TREE OR SHRUB NO DEEPER THAN IT GREW AT THE NURSERY.
- It is necessary to plant trees and evergreens in a soil that offers good drainage. Therefore, if you are planting in an area with heavy clay soil, you must make certain modifications before planting. (See Planting in Clay Soils above for small pots, and Size of planting hole on front page for larger root balls).
- It is vital to dig your planting hole at least 12 cm larger than the root ball on all sides to allow for soil enrichments before planting.
- The high phosophorous Transplanter type fertilizer is the only appropriate fertilizer to be used in the first season.
- A good soil mix is 50 per cent soil, 25 per cent peat moss, 25 per cent manure.
- You can help to prevent permanent damage or discoloration caused by desiccation (drying out) of evergreens by watering thoroughly in the fall, before freeze-up.
- Water only when the soil feels dry to the touch, 5-8 cm down into the root area. Continue this form of watering until the plant is well established and growing. Divert downspouts and sprinklers away from planting area.