When you install a plant in your yard, you may not even think about your technique. How do you install plants? Do you install them the way you always have? Did a friend or family member teach you? Did you learn to install a plant in another part of the country? Well, it may be time to brush up on your technique! IFAS has some new planting recommendations and guidelines for installing plants.
It is important to start the nursery. Choose a plant with a healthy, full canopy that is free of injury and pests. Examine the roots of the plant you are going to purchase. Remove the container to determine if the plant is well-rooted. Refrain from purchasing plants that are root-bound (mass of roots circling the root ball), recently repotted (root ball doesn't hold together and crumbles when removed from the container), contain mushy black roots or circling roots at the base of the plant. You want to give your plant the best start by choosing a healthy plant.
When you are ready to install your plant, follow the general tips outlined below. Remember that all plants need water during their establishment period, which will vary depending on the size of the plant at installation. If you do not have access to supplemental water, you may want to install your plants during the rainy season. If you have access to supplemental water, you can install plants year-round in Florida.
* Dig hole as deep as height of root ball, at least 2 times wider
* Keep bottom of hole flat, leave soil at bottom undisturbed
* Inspect root ball. Do not score, cut or pull apart roots if the root ball is intact and healthy. New research indicates that instead of scoring the sides of a pot-bound plant, you should shave off an outer inch or so of the root ball. Do this with a knife or shears. Any remaining circling roots should be pulled away from the root ball prior to planting.
* Install and backfill appropriately, gently tamping backfill soil in
* Keep top of root ball slightly above soil line, trunk flare should show
* For trees, install 3” tree ring of soil or mulch, if desired
* Mulch and irrigate appropriately; stake if desired
* Fertilize appropriately
General tips for installing perennials and annuals in well-drained soil
* Dig hole so plant is at ground level, or slightly higher
* Dig hole slightly wider than potted plant
* Keep bottom of hole flat
* Amend sandy soils, if needed, best to amend entire area
* Inspect root ball
* Inspect root ball
* Install plant, fill hole completely with soil, gently press soil in around root ball
* Mulch, irrigate and fertilize appropriately
Stomping on the plant will compact the soil.