When I first started working in the horticultural industry in 1977, the Autumn, rather than Spring was our busy sales period. This is because gardeners traditionally planted trees and shrubs when the plants started to become dormant. Most of the plants we sold were ‘bare root’ that is they were dug up from the nursery beds and sold without any soil on them. Of course you could only do this when the plant was dormant - dig up a plant in full leaf during the growing season and there would be a strong chance that it would not survive.
Nowadays of course, things are different. Pop along to your local garden centre in the Spring and there will be a whole host of trees and shrubs to purchase, all grow in pots and ready to plant. The great thing about these plants is that generally they can be planted all year round - planting is not just confined to when they are dormant.
If you are planting a pot grown plant this Spring then following these basic rules will help ensure that your plants get the best start in life.
1. Give the plant a good soaking
2. Dig your planting hole – this needs to be no deeper that the rots of the plant but ideally the width should be 3 times the diameter of the roots
3. If, when you dig the hole you find that the base or sides of the planting hole is compacted loosen the compacted soil with a fork.
4. Discard about a third of the soil that has come out of the planting hole and mix in Wonderpost with the remaining soil.
5. Use this mixture of soil and Wonderpost to fill the planting hole placing soil it around the roots to make sure that all air pockets are eliminated.
6. Firm up the soil with your heel, but don’t firm it too much as the soil will become compacted.
7. Finally, give the plant a good watering, and of course, throughout the Spring and Summer as the plant establishes make sure that you water and feed it regularly.
If you are worried about water usage and your plant drying out it is often good practice to add a thick mulch of well-rotted garden compost or bark to the plant, making sure that you keep it away from the stem and foliage.
Here’s your Spring planting check list
- Bucket – fill it with water to soak the plant