Gardening Tip of the Week
As summer comes to an end and the evenings become a bit cooler, tree planting season comes around again.
It is recommended to plant trees in spring and in fall because plants are close to their dormant period, so the transplant affects them the least. Also, the weather is much more cooperative and graces us with rain and cool evenings, giving our plants the best chance of survival in their new home.
When you are planting trees, shrubs and perennials there are a few factors that are important to consider.
Where will you be planting your tree, shrub or perennial?
Will it be in full sun, partial sun or shade? It is important to pick a species or variety that is well suited to your light conditions so that you can get the most out of your plant.
Will it be in a location with poor, moderate or fast drainage. This is important because different species and varieties are better suited to different soil conditions. You can plant trees that need more water in locations with poor drainage if you are willing to water frequently, but it is quite difficult to remove water from a very wet place for a plant that prefers well-drained soil.
Now you have decided where you want to plant and what you want planted there. So it is time to dig a hole for your tree. When digging your tree hole you want it to be as deep as the rootball of the plant, so that once placed in the hole the top of the soil in the pot is level with the soil of the ground. The hole diameter should be bigger than the pot diameter, and if your soil is a heavy clay it should be up to twice as wide as the diameter of the pot; this loosens the soil around the plant and allows the roots to easily establish in its new home. Also if you are planning on adding some triple mix soil to the hole, you will want the diameter of the hole to be big enough to take on the triple mix and some of the native soil you dug out of the hole, as well as the tree root ball.
You then remove the plant from the pot. Examine the root ball, if the root ball is “root bound” you will find the rootball to be quite firm and difficult to loosen up. This is a sign of a healthy root system, so don’t be worried! Massage the roots and free any major tap roots, and some of the fine roots. You are now ready to plant!
When you are planting your tree you may want to add some beneficial materials that can help improve tree growth. One soil improver is “Mykes Mycchorhizal Fungus” which is a powder form of a benefial fungus that can double the root mass of a tree. You will want to hand mix the Mykes into the soil that you are re-filling the hole with. There is a prescription of how much Mykes to use on the back of the box. You may also want to improve the soil with some triple mix; for this you simply refill 2/3 of the hole with triple mix, and the final 3rd with native soil removed from the hole.
Once the hole is filled with soil you will want to tamp the soil to remove any air pockets. You will want to use your feet and step fairly hard all around the recently filled hole.
Finally you will water thoroughly, also to remove any air pockets that may have remained after tamping the soil.