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(Image: Gaard Swanson / Seattle Refined)

Gaardening Tips: Shrubbery Edition

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.


  1. First, space the laurel hedges three to four feet apart
  2. Make sure the holes are twice as big as the root ball, this will give the new plant a fighting chance to thrive.
  3. Make sure not to go too deep!
  4. 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
  5. Once the hole is deep enough and wide enough, it's time to check the roots.
  6. 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.
  7. Once the sack is off, loosen up the roots. This will give the plant a running start to adapt to its new home.
  8. Place the laurel back in the hole and backfill halfway.
  9. Add water, this will help diminish air pockets.
  10. 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.
  11. 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!