What to do with your new plants from the Spring Plant Sale

Monday, April 16, 2012

What to do with newly purchased plants

After careful reading and perhaps some research, you have selected plants for your home garden.  Most of the plants that Fairchild offers for sale have been grown in light shade to full sun.  When you bring home plants do not stop on the way home and park your car in the sun.  This will cook any plants that are left in the car.  Go home, unload plants, make sure their soil feels moist and water thoroughly those that are dry.  Place the plants in a lightly shaded location and monitor their watering until a suitable planting location is found for each plant.


When determining where to place each plant there are several things to consider:

1. How large will the plant become?  Leave enough space between plants to allow for proper growth and avoid overcrowding.  Learn the ultimate size and shape of each plant prior to planting.  Keep this in mind when deciding the location.


2. How much sun and water is available in various locations on your property?  Be aware of the shady, lightly shaded and full sun areas of your planting locations.  How much sun or shade does your plant require?  Find the location that fulfills the plants requirements.


3. Planting – Once you are sure of what plants are being planted and their location, move the plant into its final planting spot.  Dig the hole about the same depth as the pot size of the plant and wider than the pot’s diameter.  Carefully remove the plant from its container and remove the top layer of soil until you find the first root which is emerging from the base of the trunk.  This is called the root flare.  It is very important that the root flare be at the top of the soil level or within 2” of the surface.  Examine the root ball and cut all roots that are circling at the point before it begins to circle.  This will prevent new roots from circling the trunk again.  Carefully place the rootball into the planting hole and backfill with the soil that was dug out of the planting hole and firm the soil to remove air pockets.  Water thoroughly and let the water drain.  Do this at least three times.   You may add a thin layer of mulch (up to 3”) around the edge of the planting site at this time but leave the area of the top of the rootball exposed so that rain or irrigation can easily reach the roots.


4. Establishment.  Newly planted trees and shrubs will require irrigation until the roots grow into the surrounding soil and new growth occurs.  During the first 14 days after planting, make sure that the root ball does not dry out.  This may require watering every day if rainfall does not occur.  Water thoroughly so the entire rootball is moist.  Gradually decrease the irrigation to every other day for two months.  During final establishment plants should be irrigated 2 to 3 days per week if rainfall does not occur.


Proper planting and successful gardening requires commitment and knowledge.  Know your plant, its sun requirements and what it will ultimately become.  Plant at the correct depth and commit to monitor the water needs until each plant becomes established.


If you have any questions regarding the plants purchased from Fairchild’s nursery at the Spring Plant Sale, please contact Mary Collins, Senior Horticulturist:  mcollins@fairchildgarden.org