Mackey's Planting Guide

Mackey's Planting Guide

You've found the perfect plants to adorn your landscape, now let's keep them beautiful and thriving for years to come!

A. Planting Trees & Shrubs

B. Planting Perennial & Annual Plants

A. Planting Trees & Shrubs

You can plant your tree or shrub as long as your soil isn't frozen. Ideally, you want to plant it as soon as you get the plant home. If you're going to keep it containerized for any period of time, keep it in a shady spot, sheltered from injury, and make sure the soil stays moist.

Make sure you have some extra soil on hand! You'll need it in a few steps. We recommend:

You'll also want to purchase mulch and fertilizer. We recommend these fertilizer options:

Espoma Tree-tone

     

OR

Digging Your Hole:

For trees, dig a hole at least 12 inches wider than the width of the root ball and 2 to 3 inches shallower than the root ball depth. The top of the root ball should be slightly above the surface of the ground.

For shrubs, dig a hole 2 to 3 times as wide as the root ball and the same depth as the root ball. The top of the root ball should be level with the surface of the ground or just slightly raised.

Before planting, fill your empty hole to the surface with water. Repeat this step 2 to 3 times.

Planting:

Gently remove the container without disturbing the root ball. Cut any circling roots and place the root ball into your hole. If your root ball is really compacted, make a few shallow cuts through the roots on the sides and bottom.

We recommend using a transplanting solution such as Garden Rich Root & Grow Root Stimulator & Plant Starter over the root ball to help your newly planted tree or shrub grow new roots.

Start refilling around the root ball with your soil. When the hole is about half refilled, straighten and level the plant, tamping the soil down carefully. Water, and then fill the rest of the hole with your soil.

Use extra soil to build a ring 6 to 10 inches from the outside of the hole. This will enable water to collect and trickle slowly down to the roots while minimizing runoff.

We recommend:

Watering:

Water your newly planted tree or shrub slowly. This allows for deep penetration, encouraging root development. Plants should receive about 1 inch of water per week during the growing season.

NOTE: Your original soil will dry out faster than any new soil you've added. Monitor your plant's water needs carefully for the first two growing seasons so it can flourish. Clay or heavy soil will need less watering, while sandy soil will need more.

General Watering Guidelines:

  • 1 gallon pot - trickle water for approximately 15-20 minutes
  • 2 gallon pot - trickle water for approximately 30-40 minutes
  • 3 gallon pot - trickle water for approximately 40-50 minutes
  • 4 -7 gallon pot - trickle water for approximately 60 minutes

If you're relying on rain to water your tree or shrub, pay attention to how much you're getting to make sure it's enough to keep your soil sufficiently moist.

Staking:

The weight of the root ball is normally not sturdy enough to hold your newly planted tree in place, so you want to stake your plant so it can stay firmly planted. 

Trees with trunks up to 3 inches in diameter can be supported with two 2" x 2" x 6' stakes firmly driven into the ground at a 45 degree angle. Stake close to the trunk and attach to the tree with a staking wire. Remove stakes and wires after one growing season.

We recommend:

 

 

Mulching:

To prevent water loss and keep lawn mowers and trimmers from getting too close to your plant, add a 2 to 3 inch layer of shredded mulch or bark chips around your tree or shrub. 

NOTE: Don't make your mulch layer so deep that it rests closely against the trunk or stems of the plant. This can promote disease or pest injury.

Fertilizing:

We recommend 1 of these 2 options:

Espoma Tree-tone

     

OR

Protecting Your Tree or Shrub:

We recommend Bonide Shotgun Deer & Rabbit Repellent to protect your plant from wildlife. Long-lasting and weather resistant, Shot Gun Repels-All keeps animals such as deer and rabbits away from your plants. Simply follow the directions on the label.

B. Planting Perennial & Annual Plants

Most perennials and annuals like a well-drained soil rich with organic matter. We recommend amending your soil with 2 to 3 inches of Coast of Maine Penobscot Organic Blend Compost & Peat.

 

You'll also want to purchase mulch and fertilizer. We recommend 1 of these 2 fertilizers:

Espoma Tree-tone

     

OR

Preparing to Plant:

Prepare your soil, then place your plants around your planting area while still in their pots. Make sure you have considered how tall the plant will grow, how much it will spread, and whether your plant likes sun or shade.

Digging Your Hole:

Dig your hole wide enough and deep enough to accommodate your plant. Water  thoroughly and then remove your plant from the pot, inverting it and supporting your plant's root ball. 

Planting:

Place your plant into the hole, then fill to ground level with soil. Water the plant again to ensure the soil fills in completely around the roots, eliminating any large air pockets.

Fertilizing:

After watering, we recommend applying Espoma Bio-tone Starter Plus fertilizer to help your plant grow new roots.

Watering:

Monitor your plants daily, watering slowly as needed to allow for deep penetration, encouraging root development. 

Feed Your Plants:

We recommend feeding perennials biweekly with Espoma Organic Plant-tone. Feed annuals weekly or biweekly with Espoma Flower-tone. Feed vegetables weekly with Espoma Garden-tone.

  

Mulching:

To prevent water loss and keep lawn mowers and trimmers from getting too close to your plant, add a 2 to 3 inch layer of mulch around your tree or shrub. 

NOTE: Don't make your mulch layer so deep that it rests closely against the stems of the plant. This can promote disease or pest injury.

Next episode The Wildlife Among Us: Connecticut Audubon Society's Patrick Comins

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