Unpack your items and remove any ties and wrapping material. Rinse the roots thoroughly. In some cases, you will need to soak them in water for up to 8 hours before planting. This ensures that the plant is well hydrated when planted. If there are any damaged roots, trim them off before planting.
If the weather is not permitting and you are unable to plant upon receiving your items, you can temporarily hill your plants into a bucket with loose soil or the top of the ground with mulch. Make sure that it is a well-drained area. Keep them cool, dry and free of direct sunlight.
Bare-Root Bushes, Fruit Trees, Nut Trees, Shade Trees & Shrubs:
The soil should be loose and free from any debris (rocks, weeds, old root systems, etc.). Dig holes no less than 2 times the width and depth of the root system. In areas with heavy clay or hardpan soil will require a wider hole, this allows the roots more room to grow. Fill the hole with some water, not full though. Place the plant in the ground, work in the existing soil, peat moss or any other planting material. Once you have done that pack the dirt down around the plant, not too tight, until the hole if filled. Water again once you are done packing. Maintain watering as needed for your area. Spring/Summer around 3 times weekly. Fall/Winter 1-2 times or as needed weekly. If rain is persistent, no additional watering is necessary. Trees over 2.5 – 3 feet tall should be staked for up to 1 year for the roots to take good rooting in the soil.
Evergreens and Hedges:
First you should get your line set if you’re planting in rows. You can do this with a chalk line or string. You can use the trench method or single hole method. The trench should be at least 12 inches wide and 12 inches deep. Begin working along your chalk/string line by setting each plant level, adding a mound of soil around each plant to steady them while you work. Replace about three-quarters of the soil in the holes or trench, pressing it down around the roots of your plants as you work. When you are satisfied with the spacing and the height, finish adding the remaining soil. Gently pat down thoroughly, but not too much. Water thoroughly and maintain watering as needed.
It’s best to soak your plant for at least 6 hours before planting. Most perennials prefer full sun and well-drained soil. Dig a hole no deeper than the height of the root ball and a few inches wider than the root mass. At the center of the hole form a mound of soil to help support the plant at the right depth while you fill the hole in. Form a cone at the bottom or the hole so that the crown or eyes (buds on the roots) sit at the soil surface. Backfill the soil halfway, fill the hole with water. After the water has soaked in finish filling in the hole. Make sure the soil if firmly packed and water again. Add 1-2 inches of mulch around the plant. Keep the soil moist to help the plant become established.
Soak your roots before beginning. Eliminate weeds and grass from the area before planting. Arrange plants in zigzag rows so they are equal distance from their neighbors. Dig holes the same 2-3 times wider than the plant’s root mass. Gently untangle the roots, then place in the hole with tops visible. Spread the roots and backfill with the soil that was removed from the hole. Press the plant gently into place. Water plants thoroughly after planting to settle the soil. Spread 2 to 3 inches of organic mulch, such as shredded bark. Keep the soil evenly moist until the plants resume vigorous growth– usually in one to two growing seasons. Cultivating the weeds is very important, as they may snuff out your newly planted ground-cover.
Most blueberries like acidic, moist, and well-drained soil. The soil PH needs to be between 4.5 and 5.5. The blueberry is a shallow-rooted plant, it requires a soil that holds moisture, but also drains well and doesn’t stay wet. Mix organic matter into the soil before you set your blueberry bushes. Dig holes about 20 inches deep and 18 inches wide (about twice as wide and twice as deep as the root system of the plant). Space bushes about 5 feet apart in a row, with at least 8 feet between the rows. Prepare a planting mixture of 2 parts loam and one-part oak leaf mold, peat moss, aged sawdust, or compost, and place a layer of this mixture in the bottom of the hole. Set the bush with its roots spread out at a depth of 1 inch more than it grew in the nursery and pack the hole tightly with soil. Apply fertilizer no sooner than one month after planting, not at the time of planting. Water as needed.
Blackberries & Raspberries:
Choose a well-drained area for berries for they will not tolerate standing water. Dig holes at least 2 times the width and depth of the root systems. Holes should be 3-5 feet apart and rows 4-6 feet apart. Soil needs to be rich for best growth. Blackberries and Raspberries need free flowing air, this helps with humidity and helps prevent fungus disease growth. Keep the ground well drained but moist around the plants. You can cultivate once the plants are planted and well established. Keep weeds under control as they will compete for water, space and nutrients for the ground and take away from your plants. Black and purple varieties should not be planted with yellow and red varieties. Proper spacing, 50-100 feet apart, is required for the plants to thrive.
Additional Plant Care:
Only water plants what the soil can absorb at one given time. Make sure to give plenty of water during hot, dry spells. Evergreens need water year-round, unless the ground is frozen. Keep all perennials water well, especially the first year. Well established perennials can tolerate dryer weather. Make sure the ground does not stay soggy nor too dry. Natural rainfall is best for plants and trees and should be enough unless there are prolonged dry spells.
Fertilizing your plants in the first year is not always necessary. After the first year of being planted you may fertilize regularly. With perennials wait till the second growing season before fertilizing, they will be well rooted. If you fertilize too soon you may damage young tender root systems.
Weed control is very important in helping your plants thrive. Simply pull, hoe or cultivate the areas that need to be weeded.
When pruning, before planting, remove dead, damaged or diseased branches. To improve the structure of your trees, prune to shape the trees in a uniformed shape.
Mulching around your plants and trees is very beneficial. Mulching helps to insulate the soil from hot and cold temperatures and helps retain water which keeps roots moist. It also helps with weed control. Mulching also helps the appearance of plants, trees and landscaping.
The most important thing is to have fun.
Whether it be with your family, friends, colleagues or even by yourself, Gardening is a wonderful activity. You're creating beautiful life that will last for generations to come. This is your imagination, this is your masterpiece, this is your garden.