WHITE FLOWER FARM - MULCHING TENDER PLANTS Young plants fresh from the nursery need a bit of cosseting to get them off to a fine start in your garden. The first step is to prepare a bed of loose, friable soil for the new arrivals......
BigNews.Biz - May 18,2012 - WHITE FLOWER FARM - MULCHING TENDER PLANTS
Young plants fresh from the nursery need a bit of cosseting to get them off to a fine start in your garden. The first step is to prepare a bed of loose, friable soil for the new arrivals. Weed the garden area, then rototill or dig down a shovel's depth to turn over the soil and break up clods. Spread about 3-4in of organic matter (compost, aged manure, leafmold, or peat moss) over the bed, turn it into the soil, and rake the surface smooth. If your planting spot is filled with a thick mat of roots or is in a lawn, a simple solution is to build a raised bed made of cedar boards and fill it with good soil. The grass underneath will die and turn to compost. Watch our video, Gardening with Raised Beds.
For plants that are packed bareroot, plant the crown -- the point where the leaves or stems of the plant meet the roots -- at the depth indicated on the plant label. Our video, Bareroot: Plants Without Pots, explains the process. Be sure to soak bareroot shrubs, trees, and vines for a few hours before planting.
Pot-grown plants with leafy new growth need a gradual introduction to direct sun and wind before planting. Set them outdoors in a sheltered, lightly shaded spot and gradually increase their exposure to sun and wind. After a few days they'll be ready to go in the ground. When planting, set the top of the root ball level with surrounding soil. If the root ball is matted with roots, gently break up the sides of the ball before planting.
Water new plants thoroughly to settle the soil and watch them closely for the first week after planting. If a plant is wilting even though the soil feels moist, shade it from afternoon sun till it perks up. After that first week, give new plants a good soaking weekly during the summer when there is less than 1in of rainfall per week. More water is not better -- when in doubt, don't water.
A 2-3in layer of organic mulch will cut down on weeding and watering -- just keep it away from the plant crowns. We recommend against fertilizing perennials, shrubs, and vines at planting time and during their first growing season in your garden. They need time to settle in before being pushed to grow.
Our Gardening Help section is filled with easy-to-follow information and videos. Be sure to check them out -- your plants will love our suggestions for their care.