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Q:

How do I prepare shrub and tree holes for planting?

A:

For bare-root plants, soak the roots in warm water for several hours to re-moisturize the cells. Dig the hole and determine the proper planting depth by noting the color difference at the juncture of the main stems and the roots. Spread out the roots and back-fill the hole with the removed soil mixed with amendments such as compost. Water thoroughly and create an earth saucer around the plant to hold and direct water to the roots. Give appropriate attention to watering immediately after planting and often, sometimes daily, to establish the new root system. Provide an organic mulch on the soil to help conserve moisture.

For container-grown stock, remove the plant from the container even though the label may state otherwise. So-called plantable or biodegradable containers prevent roots from penetrating out from the container wall. If the plant is root bound, cut through the root mass on several sides and pull out roots to give more room. Dig the hole to a depth equal to the height of the container and twice as wide. Place the root ball in the hole and back-fill with removed soil amended with compost. Carefully tamp down the soil in six-inch layers, water thoroughly and create an earth saucer around the plant to hold and direct water to the roots. Give appropriate attention to watering immediately after planting and often, sometimes daily, to establish the new root system. Provide an organic mulch at the soil level to help conserve moisture.

For balled and burlap plants, dig the hole as deep as the ball and twice as wide. Set the plant in the prepared hole and remove the synthetic "burlap" wrapping material from the root ball. Back-fill with removed soil amended with compost. Carefully tamp down the soil in six-inch layers, water thoroughly and create an earth saucer around the plant to hold and direct water to the roots. Give appropriate attention to watering immediately after planting and often, sometimes daily, to establish the new root system. Provide an organic mulch on the soil to help conserve moisture.

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