Planting trees and shrubs

Published: Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 09:34 AM.

Stand the plant upright in the center of the hole and turn it so that its best side is most prominent.  Make sure that the roots are naturally spread, with no cramping or twisting.  If you’re working with a bare-root plant, make a cone shaped mound of soil in the hole and arrange the roots around it.  For balled and burlapped or container grown plants, handle the soil ball carefully so that it doesn’t break.

An important step now is to make sure the plant is all right growing level.  Planting too shallow can cause the roots to dry out.  On the other hand, planting too deeply can suffocate roots and cause the base of the trunk to rot.  Bare-root plants usually show the right soil level by a color change at the base of the trunk.  With balled and burlapped or container grown plants.  Line up the top of the soil ball with the soil surface.

Now you can fill up the hole with amended soil.  If you have a balled and burlapped plant, untie the burlap but don’t try to remove it.  It will soon decay on its own.  You only need to roll it down away from the soil ball.  Fill up the hole about three-fourths of the way, keeping the plant in an upright position.  Get rid of all air pockets, and water thoroughly.  Let the water settle and fill the remainder of the hole with more soil, water again.  Finally, make a rim of soil a few inches high in a two or three foot circle around the plant.  This saucer shaped basin will hold water and direct it to the roots of the plant.

For more information on garden fertilization contact the Gulf County Extension Service at 639-3200 or visit our website or www. and see Publication ENH 856 & ENH 1129.

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