Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Planting Trees & Shrubs

Choose the right spot. Does the plant need sun? Shade? Wind protection?
1. Dig the right hole! Dig the hole up to 50% wider than the root ball width and only the depth of the root ball. When the plant is in the hole the top of the ball or root system should be slightly above ground level.

2. Base. The base or bottom of the hole should be undisturbed soil to support the root ball and reduce settling.
3. Burlap covered root balls should not be disturbed. Put ball in prepared hole. Remove twine from top of ball, pull burlap away from top. Leave the wire basket in place so root ball will not be injured. Bend down the edges of the basket below soil line.
4. For container-grown plants, remove the pot and slice the roots 1/2 inch deep, several times around from top to bottom of root system.
5. Backfill. Using a mixture of the topsoil from the hole, add 25% of a soil amendment such as organic compost. Shovel the mixture around the roots. Do not heap soil around the trunk of the plants. Tamp lightly to remove air pockets. Make a shallow rim around the root ball to prevent water runoff.
6. Water thoroughly. Use a how and turn water pressure down low and allow the water to slowly run through the soil of the new planting, deep into the root system. Mix root stimulator, such as Starter Plus, in a watering can and apply around root zone.
Regular watering is essential to the survival of the plant. New plantings need to receive a thorough watering several times a week, soaking the entire root system. This should occur for four to six weeks, then weekly thereafter. However, be careful not to overwater the plant. Check the soil before and after watering.
7. Apply mulch at a depth of two to three inches around the base of the plant. Keep mulch away from the trunk.
8. There is no need to fertilize until the follow- ing spring. Use a slow-release fertilizer such as Osmocote, Tree-Tone or Jobes spikes. Evergreens prefer an acid plant food such as Holly-tone or Miracid.

Special planting instructions for Rhododendrons and Yews: Plant them high! Rhododendrons and yews do not tolerate wet soil and should be planted only in well-drained soil. to keep the roots drier, they should be planted with up to 1/4 of the root ball depth above the existing soil level. If wrapped in burlap, carefully cut away as much of the burlap as possible, once placed in the hole.

What is the drip line?
The drip line is where the water drips from the outermost edge of the plant’s canopy.
My tree is not producing leaves. Is it dead?
Trees and shrubs have different dormant periods and different growth periods. Viability is determined by the presence or absence of green tissue under the bark.
How can I tell if I am watering my tree too much or too little? Slow drip watering is best for newly planted materials. Turn hose on with 1/4” stream of water running at the base of the plant. water trees for 1/2 hour and shrubs for 15 minutes. Water 1–3 times per week, as needed (with consideration to natural rainfall). Use a moisture meter to determine how moist the soil is prior to watering.
What is the scratch test?
Take a sharp object and scratch a small area of surface bark off to determine if there is healthy tissue (usually green) beneath the bark.

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