One of the most important and often overlooked procedures for installing plants whether it’s a vegetable garden, foundation planting or a formal flowering garden is to properly till the soil. Tilling is the best way to break up compacted soil while adding nutrients such as fertilizers & compost and in cases of high clay soil- sand. Having a good soil profile is the key ingredient to having a successful garden. A good soil profile will drain well, not dry out too fast, retain nutrients well and allow oxygen to the plants roots.
When planting container plants it is always important to inspect the root system as you remove the container. Plants that have been in containers for a while often have circling or girdling roots. If left in this condition, over time the plant will start to decline and eventually die. Always cut any circling roots with either a shovel or pruners, don’t be afraid to break up the root system. You are actually helping by allowing the roots to spread out into your well prepared soil.
When looking at a new tree that was just planted, I often notice that the tree was either planted to high or too low. One rule of thumb when planting new trees into a new landscape is to have 1/8 of the root ball slightly above existing grade. Ever notice that beautiful tree in a forest and wonder how it got so big and grow so old. Chances are it grew naturally from a seed dropped from another tree. Trees that grow naturally in a forest all have a taper or a flare at the base, this flare is called the’ root collar’ and is where the tree breathes. When planting a tree, be sure it is not planted too low as to bury the taper. Also, do not plant so high that the root ball dries out quickly and gets blown over from the wind. It is important to stake evergreen trees to prevent them from blowing over.
David Plues, Production Manager