Planting, Watering, and Care

How to plant your new plants

  • Dig a hole wider, but no deeper, than the root ball. If the soil is hard clay or full of tree roots, loosen it to give new roots a chance to grow easily.
  • Gently pull the plant from the container. If the plant is densely rooted this may require a tug or two, but usually it slides right out. If the roots are matted on the sides or circling the bottom, slice them in several places with a knife or pruning shears. This seems drastic but will encourage the plant to grow new roots into the surrounding soil.
  • Place the plant in the hole so that it sits slightly higher ( about ½” inch or up to 1” for large plants ) than the surrounding soil. Do not plant too deeply. Woody trees and shrubs will die if soil is piled against the stems. Add some organic matter to the back fill-it’s great if you have your own compost or you can use a bag of our own TN Mix.
  • Add some fertilizer to the back fill, too. Follow the directions on the bag.
  • Pat the back-filled soil firmly around the plant and soak it thoroughly to eliminate any pockets of air. Shrubs or trees that are planted by themselves and not in a bed should have a ring of soil around them to help hold water.
  • Spread mulch around the plants using leaves, pinestraw or purchased bags of pine bark. In our Tallahassee climate, all our plants must have mulch around them to keep the soil cool and moist, cut down on sprouting weed seeds, and add organic matter to the soil as it decays. Add more mulch as needed at least once a year.

Watering Your New Plants

  • The number one cause of plant failure in a new landscape is insufficient water. A routine irrigation schedule or casual sprinkling with a hose won’t do the job.
  • Until a plant grows new roots into the surrounding soil (about six weeks in warm weather), it can dry out easily. Even drought-tolerant plants must be watered until they are well established.
  • Thoroughly soak the root ball every day for two weeks, every other day for the next two weeks, then twice a week for two weeks. Continue supplemental water during hot or dry weather.
  • How much water? For a new plant, imagine that you are filling up the container that the plant grew in. For example, for a 3-gallon plant, hold the hose at the base of the plant long enough to fill a 3-gallon pot. This takes longer than you think. We recommend the gentle flow of water from a free-flowing hose rather than a blast of water from a nozzle. Or better yet, use a wand and water breaker for a thorough, gentle soaking.