If you can not plant at once, put the shrub in the shade and maintain it moist. Wet the ball (if you got them burlapped) or water the container. When the shrub is bare rooted, do not let the roots run dry. Instead, fill a bucket with water and put some soil. Douse the roots in this mixture so all are completely coated. If you can not plant immediately, leave the shrub inside the bucket until you can.
Because you’ll only plant the shrub once, it’s worth doing a fine job the very first time. The hole that you will dig must be greater than the width of the roots while they are spread out in their innate position. The surplus room inside the hole can be utilized for an added measure of loose soil and humus to surround the roots of the shrub. When digging, move out the topsoil, the first five to seven inches of soil, and put it on a tarp alongside the hole. Then dig out the rest of the soil which is the paler soil lying beneath the topsoil, and place it on the compost pile. Add up some organic matter and fertilizer to the topsoil on the tarp. Mix well and start filling up the hole.
If your shrub is bare rooted, crop the roots and some of the top growth. Get rid of any weak or broken branches. When planting a bare-rooted shrub, put it in the hole and fan out the roots using your hands so they reach outward to the sides of the hole. Next, place a small quantity of soil in the hole and cover the roots. Use your hands to dab the soil carefully. When the roots are covered up and the hole is almost filled, firm up the soil using your foot. Don’t plant the shrub deeper or shallower than it was planted when you purchased it.
Water the shrub making sure to saturate the soil over the shrub. When water has drained out, fill the hole with the left over topsoil mixture. Create a rim using the soil to hold the water in around the shrub and water well again.
When the shrub is balled and burlapped, observe the same process and leave the burlap in place. Cut whatever ropes that are binding the ball together and pull the burlap down by the neck of the plant. Don’t leave any burlap uncovered above the soil because it will act as a wick and carry water away from the plant’s roots. Be sure the material covering up the ball is burlap and not a plastic material that won’t break down inside the soil.
Container-grown plants require just as much, or even more attention while being planted. Occasionally they are raised in a soilless mix and need plenty organic matter that you can work into the soil to establish their transition to be a painless one. Slide out the shrub from the container or, if needed, cut the container off. When the roots are tightly bound, create cuts in them using a knife to induce new growth. Try moving a few of the roots out of the ball and spread them out in the hole while you plant the shrub. This will boost the plant to send out fresh roots. If you crop the roots, make sure to prune the top growth of the plant also.
Shrubs that you have just planted require extra care. They’re very susceptible to water deprivation and need to be irrigated often. Once the plants are accomplished they can hold out dry periods.
Using Plants for Privacy. (2006, October). Organic Gardening, 53, 22.
The Practical gardener . (1993). Pleasantville, N.Y.: Reader’s Digest Association.
© 2011 Athena Goodlight