Planting & Watering Trees & Shrubs
When planting, try to remove the plant with soil intact. For larger plants or trees, lay the pot sideways and pull the plant out. The soil will slip out easier if the soil is on the dry side. Allow it to dry out for 24 – 36 hours if you are experiencing difficulty. For 1 – 2 gallon pots, tipping upside down and holding the soil with the palm of your hand (fingers spread around the stem of the plant) works as well.
Dig a hole 3x the width of the pot but only as deep as the pot. Make the hole “saucer-shaped”. Digging deeper can cause the plant to settle too far down and it can drown or cause the stem to rot. Place the plant inside the hole and refill the hole with a mix of 30% peat moss/topsoil and 70% original soil. Make sure you only cover the top of the plant’s root ball with ½” soil. Too much soil will cause the stem to rot. The pot soil should be level with the native soil. Old manure can be used as a replacement for peat moss at a slightly reduced rate. This ensures good side root growth into the soft soil. Make a dike around your plant approximately 3” high to hold in the water rather than having it run off when you water. The dike should be around the outside edge of the hole and at least 18” in diameter for a 1 – 3 gallon plant and 3’ for anything larger.
After planting, fill up your dike with water and allow it to soak in and water once more. DO NOT water every day! When watering, give the plant an equivalent of 1” – 2” of rain each week. Water at 3 – 5 day intervals depending on the weather conditions. Fill the dike slowly at each watering and water at a ratio of 1 gallon of water → 1 gallon pot size. Overwatering and under-watering are the two most common ways to stress your plant. If it rains 1” – 2” per week, DO NOT water. If your plant is in a very hot, sunny location, it will need to be watered more often. The best rule for watering is water well at planting time. Thereafter, check with your finger at a 2” – 3” depth. If the soil is sticky enough to roll between your hands it is moist enough. If it is hard, dry, and crusty at a 2” depth, it is either due or overdue for a watering. Remember that wilting can occur with both over and under-watering. Note that sprinkler systems on lawns should be set for only every 3 – 5 days. All plants develop a deeper root system if they need to search for water – so it is better to water heavier and less often.