As the weather warms in central Florida, people get excited to work outside. Are you putting in new plants? Did you get a tree for Arbor Day that you are ready to install? Brush up on proper planting techniques--things may have
changed since you were taught how to plant.
Select a good quality plant. Remove it from the container and take a look at the roots. Are they healthy? Do you see any insects? Are the roots spilling out of the container? Choose a plant with white, pest-free roots (and shoots) that are not tightly packed into the container.
Make sure the root ball is moist before planting. Loosen roots, or, shave the periphery of the entire root ball prior to planting. This is not necessary if you are planting bedding plants, but with shrubs and trees it will help them establish properly. You do not want any circling roots to hinder plant growth.
Dig your planting hole twice as wide as the root ball and the depth should allow the root ball to be even with the soil surface or slightly higher. Avoid planting too deep. If you dig the hole too deep, remove the plant, add soil to the hole and then re-position the plant. Fill the area around the root ball with the soil that you removed. It is not necessary to add organic amendments such as compost or topsoil.
The top-most roots should be level, or just above the surface of the soil. Notice how there is no soil on top of the root ball.
Finally, you are ready to mulch. Mulch around the plant 2-3 inches deep. Do not place any mulch on top of the root ball. By leaving the root ball exposed, irrigation and rain water are more readily absorbed into the plant.
If you have any questions on proper planting, contact us at the Plant Clinic (863) 519-1057 or download this helpful fact sheet.