How to Plant Trees, Shrubs and Roses
Success with plants is assured, and relatively easy, provided a few basic steps are followed—especially at planting time.
This brochure sets out step-by-step instructions on how to plant for best results. A little extra time and money at planting time pays off.
This brochure assumes that you have already selected plants or varieties suitable for your purpose, climate, soil and position.
If you need guidance with the selection of your plants, please refer to other relevant brochures or ask one of our garden advisers.
When to plant
Most plants are supplied growing in pots with their own soil. This enables them to be planted at any time of the year. Provided these plants have good light and are watered daily they can be held for 2 - 3 weeks before planting.
If there is a ‘best time’ to plant it is Autumn because this allows plants the longest time to establish before their first summer which is usually the hardest period for them.
The key to success with plants is a thriving root system. Hence a little extra time and money at planting time pays off.
Make sure the plant is well watered before planting.
Dig a hole at least twice as wide as the root ball or spread of roots.
Break up subsoil, but in heavy clay soils do not dig down into the clay base. It is better and advisable to build the soil level up by using extra soil or planting mix.
An application of Gypsum can be beneficial in clay soils.
The plant should be placed in the hole so that the soil level, after planting, is the same as the level in the pot (or in the case of ‘bare rooted’ plants the soil level on the stem).
Some plants may appear a little ‘root bound’ - i.e. they have a mass of roots especially around the base (see left). This is not normally a problem, but it is a good idea to gently tease out the roots around the base.
Backfill around the roots with planting mix, mixed with soil from the hole. Incorporate with this a handful or two of ‘Osmocote’ or ‘Acticote’ long-term, slow release fertiliser. Both products are safe, will not burn the roots and will give your plants a perfect start in life.
No other feeding is required in the first year.
Firm the soil around the roots to ensure a good contact and to keep the plant stable.
Trees and tall shrubs require staking to aid establishment and to keep the plant erect.
After Planting Care...
It will be some weeks or even months before your new plants have roots penetrating well out into the soil. Therefore plants will need watering regularly for the first few weeks and through the first summer.
From September through to April new plants should be watered 3 times a week.
This involves covering the soil surface around your plants with a layer of compost or straw 20-40mm deep, preferably laid prior to summer. This reduces water loss from the soil and keeps roots cool in the hot weather. Mulching also prevents weeds.