6 Things You Should Know Before Planting a Shrub

This week I planted 3 nice lilacs for the new Pocket Garden in Lebanon, NH at the start of the Rail Trail to West Lebanon, right near the underpass that is currently closed. Here are some things I did to ensure a good planting:

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1.     I dug a wide hole. The soil at the site was fairly poor and full or rocks and roots. These plants came in 12-inch diameter pots, so I dug 36-inch diameter holes. Three-to-one is always a good ratio.

A wide hole is necessary. The stick is in place to helps establish the proper depth.

2.     I did not replace the crummy soil with good soil. The roots are going to extend well past the hole I dug, so they have to get used to the poor soil. That said, I did mix in a little topsoil and compost to the soil I dug out. Perhaps a quarter to a third of the total soil that went back into the ground was a mix of topsoil and compost. If you have decent soil, you don’t need to add anything.

3.   I tickled the roots after removing the plant from the pot. This loosens them up so they will extend out into the soil.

It is important to loosen the roots before planting.

4.     I ADDED NO FERTILIZER! Never give trees or shrubs fertilizer. It would promote fast, weak top-growth, and I don’t want that. I did add some limestone because lilacs need alkaline soil. Most trees and shrubs do not. In each large hole I added 1 to 2 cups of limestone.

5.     I watered these shrubs well, and made a little berm or mound around the outside of the planting hole to hold water. They were on a slight incline, so the tendency would be for water to run away and downhill. The mounded soil helps to hold it over the roots.

Each lilac has a mound of soil around it to hold in water, and mulch to hold moisture. 

6.     Lastly, I mulched around the roots. This keeps moisture from evaporating on hot days, keeps down weeds, and decreases the chances of a weed whacker- wielding groundskeeper from damaging the stems. 

 A garden arbor as an entrance to your garden can be lovely. Read about one I built by clicking here. 

This arbor supports wisteria and clematis vines in my garden.

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