Landscape Design & Installation Services
Jeff shares some planting tips below as we are well into the summer gardening season!
There is a huge misunderstanding in the planting world that you can’t plant in the summer. It seems like after Memorial Day, the planting deadline has arrived and the frantic run for planting flowers, trees and shrubs comes to almost dead stop. I am not sure why this old wives’ tale has managed to survive over my lifetime and probably well before me.
It was explained to me by my dad, Bob Romence, that 100 years ago or so, there were nurseries but no container stock. Things were dug up from the ground and transplanted from the nursery to the new home. It is true that if things are dug up in the hot, dry months of June thru September, nursery stock would go into shock and likely not make it. But when garden centers started to put shrubs and other plants in containers, they could survive a summer planting.
This is true of not only potted shrubs, perennials and trees, but larger B&B (Balled in Burlap) items could also be installed in the hot months without too much stress. The key is not to disturb the plants root system too much when planting. Many people will make the mistake of taking the root ball apart before planting. That would be a big mistake and would cause shock to the item the same as if it were dug up from the ground. As you may have noticed, if you plant a balled in burlap item, quite often the roots are starting to come out of the root ball and the burlap may be starting to rot and fall apart. That is exactly what it is intended to do after being in the ground for a time. The twine that is wrapped around the trunk of the tree and the top portion of the burlap can and should be removed from the top of the root ball after it is in the hole. A sharp knife or razor makes this easy to do. Make sure that the root ball is slightly above the surface of the ground. Many times trees and shrubs will not survive because the root balls are planted too deep. You never want to come up on the trunk of the tree with soil when planting. There is a little rhyme that I have heard over the years from my dad. “Plant it high, it won’t die… Plant it low, it won’t grow.” So true!
Another thing to remember is to leave the wire cage on the ball. The cage holds the root ball together like the burlap. But on larger trees and shrubs, sometimes a wire cage is added for more support in transporting. You should leave the wire cage on the tree when planting. The metal will eventually rust away. It is not worth the risk of taking the cage off as the root ball may fall apart in doing so. The roots will pass through the cage and things will be fine. Many trees that have died for no apparent reason after planting have either been planted too deep or the wire cage was taken off and the root ball falls apart. It does not take long to see the stress, shock and likely death of the tree because of this.
Well drained soil should be available for any plantings. There are not many trees and shrubs that can take moisture around the roots all the time, especially when they are first planted. We will go into watering plants in another segment. Root Stimulator fertilizers can be added to summer plantings to promote root system development. Fertilizer higher in phosphate promotes root growth as well as helping with blooming plants and flower development.
So remember… Plant shrubs, trees and perennials any time of year as long as you can dig the ground and you can stand the cold or heat of the season.
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