What a welcome relief it's been to finally have temperatures dropping and a respite from summer's heat and humidity. In just a few short days, Autumn will be officially here. And I, for one, couldn't be happier. Now we can look forward to cooler days and crisp air, football season, and the color of changing foliage. Fall is also the prime time of year for planting new trees and shrubs in your home landscape. Planting now will allow your new plants to become firmly established before the heat of next summer kicks in. Here are a few handy planting tips to keep in mind for when you're ready to get started.
Handle balled & burlapped (B&B) plants by the ball and container plants by the pots as much as possible. If your new plants must be held for several days before planting, put them in an area where they will be protected from excessive sun or drying winds. Water thoroughly every 2-3 days until planting. Check daily, as more or less frequent watering may be necessary depending upon weather conditions and the size of the plant.
Consider the mature size of the plant and be familiar with sun and moisture requirements as well. Pick an area that will accommodate these requirements. Do not plant in excessively wet or dry soil.
Your hole should be dug at least 1 1/2 times the width, but NO deeper than the size of the root ball. Mix existing soil in equal parts with soil conditioner and composted cow manure. An adequate amount of Bio-tone, Plant-tone, or Holly-tone and Dynamite fertilizer should be added to insure nutrient content.
Remove the plant from its pot by placing your hand on top of the root ball and turning over. Tap and pull the pot until the root ball slips out. Loosen any roots if necessary on pot-bound plants. On B&B plants, do not remove any wire, string, or burlap.
Place a portion of your amended soil mixture in the bottom of the hole so that 1/4 of the height of the root ball is above ground level, depending on the moisture content. Backfill around root ball, using soil mixture. Lightly tamp soil to hold plant in position and help insure good root-to-soil contact.
Mound remainder of amended soil mixture up to the edge of the root ball to produce a “ring” for water retention and root insulation. See photo above. Place mulch at a maximum depth of 1 to 2 inches on top of root ball and 3 inches elsewhere. Soil conditioner or hardwood mulch is best for trees.
You can find these full instructions, along with other helpful tips on watering and lawn care, in our handy Planting Guide, available for free in the Greenhouse. We also have a video tutorial by Garden Supply owner, Keith Ramsey, full of helpful tree planting tips on our website. And as always, our helpful staff is on hand 7 days a week to assist you with all your gardening plans.