Before You Plant
Measure Your Sunlight
Before you get started planting there are a few things you should observe from your outdoor space. First, monitor how much sun your this area gets. Does it get any direct sun? At what time of day does your space get sun, and for how long? The easiest way to classify your space is to consider 6 to 8 hours of direct sun as “full sun”, 4 to 6 hours as “part sun”, 2 to 4 hours as “part shade”, and less than 2 hours of direct sun as “full shade”. Still not confident in your assessment? Rapitest puts out a great sunlight calculation product called the Luster Leaf. You can order it on Amazon!
Measure Your Space
The more information you have about your space, the better direction a landscape professional can give you. Measure your space and know what you want to achieve. Do you want to block out a pesky neighbor? Or maybe you just want more color in the summer?
Check Your Soil
Is it always super dry or super moist in this area? This is truly important information to a garden center sales associate. It helps them provide you with superior service, and avoid buying the wrong plant. Bring a sample of your soil with you. Most garden centers offer soil testing, and those that do not can still get some solid intel from bringing in a ziploc of dirt.
If you’re still having trouble, it may be time to call The Southern Landscape Group. In some cases, you may need to accept the extra costs of adding another zone to your sprinkler system or installing a french drain.
How To Plant
1 Dig a hole twice the width of your plant’s root ball. If the soil is compacted, try to make the hole three times as large as the root ball. Loosening the soil now will help your new planting set roots much more easily.
2 The hole should be no deeper than the height of the rootball. Digging deeper than necessary can cause the plant to settle lower than recommended. If the trunk settles under the soil line, your plant may run the risk of getting root rot.
3 If your root ball is wrapped in burlap, cut away any rope or wire present. You can remove the burlap, or simply push it down into the hole. Don’t fret; burlap will decompose over time and roots have no problem growing through the loosely woven fabric.
4 Mix the backfill soil with a bag of compost. It's always a good idea to add some organic material into the backfill mix; this is just extra insurance to ensure your planting’s success.
5 Create a ring of soil around the root ball to guide the water into the root ball.
6 Make sure the top of the root ball is level with the soil line.
7 Keep the soil away from the base of the trunk.
8 When planting larger shrubs and trees, it’s important to stake your plantings. Use three stakes to create a stable, triangular pattern around the plant. This will ensure that the plant will not lean in an unsightly fashion before it becomes established.