Planting Shrubs and Trees
Planting Shrubs and Trees
Shrubs and trees form the backbone of the garden.
Many create stunning focal points and if planted correctly they will flourish for years.
Shrubs are long-lived and prefer to stay in one position, so take time to consider where they will look their best — then plant them with care to give the maximum chance of survival. They’ll form the permanent planting around which other plants, such asand bulbs, are arranged.
- Growing in a container
- Roots wrapped in hessian — known as balled
- Pre-packaged with bare roots
Pre-planting care and methods of planting differ according to the type of shrub.
Container-grown shrubs are established plants growing in plastic or whalehide pots of. These are the most expensive, but can be planted at any time of year, so long as the ground is workable.
Balled-root shrubs and trees have somearound the roots, kept in place by a wrapping of hessian. Plants which may have difficulty establishing themselves after being lifted from the nursery bed are treated this way to keep the root system intact, as are evergreens, including conifers, when their root systems are too big for containers. This system is also cheaper than the container type.
Bare-rooted shrubs are sold without any soil — a system re-served for shrubs such as roses and hedging plants that transport easily. Damp compost is sometimes packed round the roots to prevent them drying out. They are much cheaper than container-grown types, but may occasionally be difficult to establish — particularly if the roots have dried out.
Planting Do’s and Don’t’s
- Do choose shrubs carefully, noting eventual maximum height and width.
- Do handle plants with care.
- Do check planting times.
- Do mix a good soil/compost to encourage roots to establish.
- Do dig a big enough hole — condemning a plant to live in a tiny hole is a recipe for disaster.
- Do make sure the shrub sits at the correct level in the soil.
- Do water container-grown plants thoroughly before planting, and soak all shrubs well after planting.
- Don’t buy diseased or damaged shrubs.
- Don’t damage plants when handling/planting.
- Don’t rely on existing soil.
- Don’t allow shrubs to dry out at any time during their first season.
Timing and Preparation
Timing is crucial for success in planting shrubs and trees. So is the condition of the soil — it must not be frozen or waterlogged, and must be well dug and fertilized.
Container-grown shrubs and trees can be planted at any time of the year, but if you choose summer keep the soil moist until autumn. Newly planted shrubs will die if their soil dries out. If you cannot plant a container-grown shrub for several weeks after purchase, keep the soil moist (but not waterlogged) until you’re ready to plant. Never remove the container until you have the hole dug and ready to take the plant. Also, protect the plant from high winds, staking the stem if necessary.
Plant evergreen shrubs and trees such as conifers in mid spring and deciduous shrubs during the dormant season from autumn until spring. Balled-root shrubs can be left unplanted for several weeks as long as the soil ball is kept moist. Do not remove the hessian covering until the plant is set in the planting hole.
Bare-root shrubs and trees are planted during the dormant season, and must be in the ground before their leaf buds burst. Plant from late autumn to early spring.
Ideally, bare-root shrubs and trees should be planted as soon as they arrive. If necessary, they can be stored for a couple of days in a frost-free place, with the roots kept moist. Alternatively, heel them in outdoors in a trench and keep them covered and firmed with soil until they can be planted out.
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