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10 Steps to a Successful Spring Planting - Getting It Right the First Time

Who doesn't love springtime? And, seeing all the colorful plants and trees blooming with bright color flowers tells us that its time to plant! It may seem easy. You just buy a plant, dig a hole, plop it in, water it and voila it grows! But, there are a few things you should know to get it right and to help your new plant or tree get off to a good start and a long healthy life.

Choosing Your Plant or Tree

When you go to buy a new plant or tree it's important to look for a healthy one.

  • The leaves should look healthy and green not yellow or brown and crispy.

  • When buying a tree, look for a trunk that tapers and becomes thicker at the bottom.

  • Trees with good trunks are able to stand on their own without stakes.

  • Check to see if there are any roots coming out of the bottom of the pot. If so, the plant or tree is "rootbound" and has been in the pot too long. Stay away from this plant.

  • On the other hand, the plant or tree should not come loose when you wiggle it in the pot. If it does, this means that it has recently been transplanted into the pot from a smaller pot and you won't be getting your money's worth for the size of plant you are buying.

  • The plant should be stable in the pot.

Plant the Right Plant in the Right Place

Nursery plants and trees often all look the same size when in a pot. But once they're mature, there can be a huge difference in size depending on what the plant is. Nursery plants have a tag on them that gives you information about the plant.

  • Mature size

  • How much sun it can handle (full, partial or shade)

  • How much water it will need

  • When it will bloom

  • It lists the botanical name and often includes a common name

Planting a large shrub next to a sidewalk will need to be constantly trimmed to keep from hanging over the sidewalk. Thorny plants like cacti can be a hazard when near a pool or parking area. And, a small plant can get lost in a big area. Trees often uplift sidewalks and walls because their roots extend out double the size of the tree canopy.

Planting Time!

Once you've chosen the best plant or tree and brought it home, it's time to plant it. Most native plants and trees will not need to have new soil added. Other types of plants may need the addition of a special soil to get started when planting it.

  • Dig your hole only as deep as the soil in your plant pot. Any deeper is too deep.

  • Dig your hole at least twice the size of your pot. 3 to 4 times wider is even better.

  • Remove the plant from the pot and loosen the roots with your fingers or a knife to help them grow out once planted.

  • Put the soil you took out back to fill in the hole around the plant.

  • Water your plant or tree.

New plants may go into shock when planted. But, they should bounce right back. They will need more frequent watering right after planting than when once established. Water two to three times a week for the first few weeks unless the soil is staying wet in between waterings.

Give yourself a pat on the back. You did a great job! The only thing left to do is enjoy your new plant or tree.

If you want to add new plants to your landscape this Spring but don't want to do it yourself, give us a call at (520) 370-5697 if you're in Tucson. We'd love to help you

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