Proper planting is essential for healthy, vigorous growth of ornamental plants in the landscape. It assures rapid plant establishment by providing a favorable environment for the developing root system.
Planting involves more than merely digging a hole and sticking a plant in it. Giving careful consideration to the preparation of the planting site, the time of year for best plant establishment and the handling requirements of different nursery stock will help you avoid problems later on. We will focus on planting time for this article.
Currently we are in the optimal time to plant trees and shrubs. These plants are naturally slowing down growth and shedding leaves. This is important because of 2 reasons:
1)with the leaves off the plant, the plant does not have to supply nutrients to leaves. This allows a plant to focus on establishing a strong root system.
2) roots are still growing and building a system to supply nutrients to the plants. The more time we give that root system to establish before it has to supply nutrients to leaves, the healthier and longer life that plant should have.
After establishment in a hole that is properly dug, we should not apply a complete fertilizer to the tree or shrub. An example of a complete fertilizer is 10(N)-10(P)-10(K).
A specific nutrient fertilizer like 0-0-60 would be perfect for this situation. We do not need nitrogen (N) and likely do not need phosphorus (P) at this time of year. If we apply any N, this will trick the plant to produce new growth that can be susceptible to winter damage. Potassium (K) is great for this situation because it helps with root growth.
For more information or questions, contact Effingham County Extension Agent, Sam Ingram at 754-8040 or firstname.lastname@example.org.