Before planting make sure you choose a suitable plant for you and your home. Find out its characteristics, including how quickly and how large it will grow, how much maintenance it will require, and it’s tolerance to diseases, drought, and insects. Understand it’s growth habits, and the shape that your plant will have when it is mature. The key is the right plant in the right place. Ask a Green Acres employee to assist you.
- Prepare the hole. With a shovel, dig a hole that is 2-3 times the width of the root ball, not just enough so it will fit. This allows the plant to root more easily and begin to grow outwards into the soil. Water the base of the hole and let the water seep through into the surrounding soil.
- Prepare the plant for installation. The process is slightly different for a small plant and a large plant:
If it is a small plant, then you can turn it upside down gently to get it out of the pot. You could also cut the plastic container to remove it. Do not leave the root system out of the container long, because you take the chance of damaging the root system. If the plant is larger and has a rope and burlap wrapped around the root system, cut off the rope if it is made with non-biodegradable material. If the rope is biodegradable then leave it alone!
DO NOT REMOVE BURLAP around the root ball. The burlap keeps the root system intact and also is biodegradable material.
- Line the hole with compost. Most likely, your soil is nutrient deficient and is clay-like, the addition of manure or compost will give the plant a great start. Prepare a planting mixture of 2/3 soil and 1/3 composted cow manure; then use this mix for back filling.
- Place the tree into the hole so that the top of the root ball will be slightly higher than the soil about 2 to 3 inches. This prevents water from collecting next to the base of the trunk which causes the plant to rot. Place the plant into the hole gently. Be sure the hole isn’t too deep or too shallow. And do not leave any roots exposed.
- Fill the hole. After placing plant in the hole, back fill hole with the above mentioned planting mixture. Compact sides to remove void spaces with hand or shovel handle. *Resist the temptation to use a commercial fertilizer; it tends to over boost the plant and make it less likely to do well over the long term.*
- Apply mulch. Cover the planting hole with 1-3 inches of mulch. This is enough to keep water in and most weeds out.
- Stake the plant for the first year, if necessary. Make sure that whatever stakes you use are tied loosely to the trunk and do not dig into the bark or tighten around the tree. Remove the stakes once the roots have a chance to become established, after about the first year. Staking protects the tree against blowing over in the wind or leaning.
- Water the newly planted plant. Set up an impulse sprinkler for 2 hours, 3 times a week for at least the first 3 to 5 months. If planting in late fall, watering in winter dormancy is not necessary but make sure to water in spring when plants awaken. Feed your plant twice per year, once in late fall and once in early spring using Hollytone or Treetone, an organic fertilizer.* Remember to have a healthy plant, it all starts with the root system. Watering is the most important step. DO NOT hand water new plants, or use drip lines. To form deep roots, you must water deeply, and simulate a heavy rainfall using an impulse sprinkler *
- Lastly, enjoy your new plant!
For further instructions please call 215-822-3334. We are more than happy to assist you!