This is the time of year when people are gearing up for some spring time gardening! Rolling in sod, trimming trees, bushes - and even planting flowers and shrubs.
I've been working in the yard for decades and when it comes to putting plants in the ground, there's a right way - and a wrong way. I decided it might be fun to do a little tutorial on how to plant a shrub. It's actually pretty easy!
I have an existing laurel hedge in my yard that just randomly drops off, leaving a big ugly hole between it and my house. I wanted to "lengthen" it, aka fill it with a new laurel hedge, of which I purchased a couple.
- First, space the laurel hedges three to four feet apart
- Make sure the holes are twice as big as the root ball, this will give the new plant a fighting chance to thrive.
- Make sure not to go too deep!
- Do a test, and drop the plant into the hole. Make sure it sits up above the ground level a few inches, this will help the water drain. Too low, and water could eventually drown the plant
- Once the hole is deep enough and wide enough, it's time to check the roots.
- Your root ball will likely be wrapped in a burlap sack. There are two schools of thought here; some experts say remove it and some say keep it. I personally like to get rid of it so I can see the root ball.
- Once the sack is off, loosen up the roots. This will give the plant a running start to adapt to its new home.
- Place the laurel back in the hole and backfill halfway.
- Add water, this will help diminish air pockets.
- Fill the rest of the hole, again - leaving some of the root ball exposed so water drains easily once the shrub is in the ground.
- If you like, add some mulch! This helps retain moisture, slow down weeds and keep an even ground temperature for the new plant
Finally, if your soil appears a little iffy, add some amendments like fertilizer to help the plant get going, and don't forget - these plastic containers are recyclable!