Bamboo in a sheltered Glade
Shrubs and Trees
- ‘A good big one is better than a smaller one’ is an old yet valid quote and also applies to the size of a planting hole. Give room for the roots to spread. Brake up the bottom and sides of the hole, mix in some slow release fertiliser and puddle in (lots of water in and around the plant. Firm down the soil and offer support with a stake.
- A good big one quote should not be taken to extreme for new shrubs and trees. The larger the plant the more susceptible it will be to drought and wind damage. Over time most smaller plants will catch up and have suffered fewer ‘checks’. On large forced shrubs the root systems may not be strong enough to cope with a large head of leaf, fruit or flower.
- I prefer autumn as a time to plant when the soil will provide a warm home for new roots and rain will help with watering.
- Water new plants regularly and thoroughly. A slight depression around the plant will create a saucer effect. In dry situations they may need help for 12 months or more. Do not risk new plants dying from drought.
Protecting the Newly Planted
- Young trees need the support of a stake or cane. Wind rock can damage the tender roots and growth will be damaged by prevailing wind. Stake on the windward side and tie with soft string at least one third up the stem.
- Errect a wind break if the garden is exposed.
- Protect from animal damage with a plastic stem protector and slug pellets.
- Plant in groups rather in singles to get some mutual protection.
- Mulch to protect the soil temperature and moisture content.
- Keep weeds under control.
Planting out pot grown plants
- Before planting out give all new plants in pots a good soaking. Beware it can be hard to get water to soak into the center You do not want to find the plant dying with a dry root ball in a few seasons time.
- Pot bound plants are those with the root twisting around inside the pot and most of the nutrient and compost consumed. Roots may be forcing their way out of the bottom of the pot or making plastic pots distort. They will struggle to get out of this vicious spiral/circle when planted out. The best solution is to tease out the roots on the edge of the root ball. If it is too tightly wound then break out any remaining composts and spread all the roots as best you can.
- Garden centers are businesses and some get up to dubious tricks. Small and immature plants that have recently been repotted into larger pots to make them seem more valuable (for that read pricey). Before buying support the plant and invert the pot to see if the root ball crumbles.
- I put some mycorrhisal root growth aid in the hole to encourage roots to grow away from the root ball.
- Bare rooted trees and shrubs are often the best way to plant fruit trees, hedges and roses.