Gardening Today: Planting New Shrubs
Planting New Shrubs
1. Begin by digging a hole approximatly two times as wide and half as deep as the root ball of the plant. If the soil is very dry, fill the hole with water and allow it to drain and saturate the surrounding soil.
2. Add a granular high phosphate fertilizer, such as bone-meal or granular Ortho Upstart, to the bottom ot the planting hole and cover with 1 to 2 inches of soil. Do not allow the plant's roots to come into direct contact with the fertilizer.
3. Remove the plant from the pot carefully. Remove it by laying the plant on its side, grasping the base, and pull gently. If the plant resists, cut the pot away from the root ball.
4. Loosen roots at the bottom and sides of the root ball by breaking a few roots with a knife or a shovel. Potted junipers especially benefit from "rough treatment" as it allows new roots to grow from the cuts into new soil.
5. OPTIONAL: If your soil is poor or sandy, enrich the backfill soil with peat moss or compost (1 part to 3 parts soil). This added organic matter will increase the aeration and moisture retention of your soil and help the shrub establish its root system sooner.
6. Set the plant in the hole and adjust the level of soil underneath to make the top or the root bal even with the ground level. Backfill the sides until they are about 2/3 full. Tamp this soil in with the handle end of your shovel or settle the soil with water from the hose. Backfill the remainder of the planting hole and tamp in. With remaining soil, construct a shallow basin around the top of the root area by mounding soil in a ring around the plant.
Once the shrub is planted, water it thoroughly with a mizture of water and a low-analysis fertilizer, such as Ortho Upstart. This combined with the high phosphorous fertilizer which you have added to the planting hole should be all the shrub requires for its first growing season.
During the first growing season, your new shrub will require special care in watering. This is due to the fact that the root ball of your new shrub cannot absorb water as well as the soil surrounding it. Here are some watering tips:
1. Water new shrubs at least twice a week. During hot, dry or windy weather, water more often.
2. Apply enough water to completely saturate the new root ball. This is accomplished best with a slow running hose or a five gallon bucket. Sprinklers will not sufficiently water deep enough.
3. DON'T OVER WATER!