There are few experiences as satisfying as planting trees, shrubs and flowers, caring for them and then watching as bloom and grow year after year. It is not difficult to give plants a proper start, by following these simple directions you will be rewarded for years to come.
Choosing the Proper Plants
Theoretically, you should have a landscape plan on paper or at least one in mind before you pick out your plants.
- Is the area in full sun or shade?
- Will a full grown plant interfere with overhead utility lines?
- Will the plant block a favorite view?
- Evergreens make a good windbreak when planted on the north or west sides of a property.
- Deciduous trees planted on the south side of a property will provide shade in the summer and then loose it’s leaves to let in the welcome winter sun.
We will be more then happy to answer any questions you have concerning plant size, placement and other considerations you may have.
Improperly spaced plants can result in stunted growth, misshaped plants, poor air circulation and continuous pruning. This translates into extra work for the home owner.
- Dwarf fruit and small ornamental trees should be spaced a minimum of 10 feet from buildings and other small trees.
- Shrubbery placed around the foundation should be 3-4 feet from the house and beyond the drip line of the roof to benefit from rain.
- Large trees with spreading branches need a diameter of 35 to 65 feet for full development. Although they will mesh with other trees as they do in a forest, houses and other buildings offer solid obstructions so plan accordingly.
- For narrow areas use columnar varieties of trees and shrubs.
- Rose bushes should be planted from 2 – 6 feet apart depending on the variety.
- Annuals and perennials should be planted 6 inches to 3 feet apart depending upon on big they will grow.
- Ivy and vinca will quickly form a solid carpet when planted close together. If time and money are scarce, plant one small area at a time and then expand to new areas as the plants multiply.
Soil Preparation and Location
Poor drainage can be a major cause of weak growth in new plants. Avoid planting in places were water collects and stands after rainfall. Make sure the location meets the sunlight needs of the new plants.
- Prepare soil for flowers and vegetables by deep spading or rototilling.
- Shrubs and trees need well-dug holes in the sod; but for good growth, the soil must be spaded for 2-3 feet around the plant and this area should then be mulched.
In some areas with heavy clay soil and poor drainage it may be necessary to set the top of the root ball higher then the soil level.
- Check drainage by filling an empty hole with water. If it takes longer then an hour to drain, there is a drainage problem.
- Break up the hardpan clay in the bottom of the hole and see if drainage improves.
- If another location with better drainage is not available, dig the hole wider then normal and set the plant with about 1/4 of the root ball above ground.
In areas with sandy soils it will be necessary to add organic matter to the hole to aid in holding moisture.
- Add a mixture of 1 part compost to 2 parts original soil.
- Use ONLY decomposed material in the hole.
- Set the plant slightly above its root ball to compensate for settling.