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Planting Shrubs

Many shrubs and roses can be planted between 2 and 5 feet apart depending on the variety width at maturity.

 

Preparation:

Hard or Clay Soil: Add coarse sand and organic matter to the soil that you will be putting back in the hole. This will lessen the compaction of the dirt around the root system after planting.

Loose or Sandy Soil: Add topsoil and organic matter will help to build the quality of the soil, provide nutrients and density.

 

Planting Bare Root Shrubs:  

Dig holes 8 to 14 inches wide and 12 to14 inches deep just make certain that it is no less than 3 to 4 inches deeper than the root system and 4 to 5 inches wider. Pour about 2 inches of water into the hole and allow the water to be soaked into the ground. While water is being soaked in, remove the plastic wrap and shredded newspaper from the roots. Place wrap and paper aside.

Holding the plant steady just above the root collar (the lighter line above the root system, where the soil came to on its original planting) just above the ground level, pull soil back into the hole with the other hand pressing the soil down lightly. Fill the hole around the root system with your soil mixture and firmly press soil in around the base of the plant.

Water the soil about the same amount as it took to fill in the 2 inches of the hole. (Water amount will vary with conditions) The soil around the base of the plant may sink in so you will need to apply more soil and lightly press down again.

Then apply about 3 inches of mulch. Mulching trees should be done like making a doughnut around the base of the plant. The mulch should being approximately a couple of inches away from the trunk of the plant making a welled area where you will be directing your watering focus. Then mound the mulch out roughly 6 to 12 inches away from the plant.

For the first 4 to 6 weeks, you may need to water plant every 2 to 3 days adjusting for deep rainfall days. In making the decision to water, if in doubt, pull some of the soil back from the root area (going down about 5 inches and away from the plant about 4 to 6 inches). If the soil is dry, water. If the soil is moist to wet, check the following day. Be sure to put the soil back after each check.

Gradually phase into watering less and less allowing the plant to slightly stress for the roots to stretch to find moisture. You may need to water more frequently during the hottest part of summer, especially during drought conditions. Mulching helps to keep the soil cool, moist and reduces weed seed germination.

Clip broken or damaged tips and branches that may have occurred during transit or while waiting for planting.

 

Planting Container Grown Plants:

Dig holes 2 to 4 inches wider and 3 to 5 inches deeper than the container. Pour about 2 inches of water into the hole and allow the water to be soaked into the ground. While water is being soaked in, firmly loosen the soil from the pot and cupping the plant base and top of container with one hand, tip the container completely over and gently pry the plants root system out of the pot.

Holding the base of the plant, comb through the roots and dirt to loosen and spread apart the roots. Often young perennials will have root systems that quickly grow and wrap around the inside of the pot. Just straighten these roots as combing through.

Don’t pull the root system apart, only loosen it up and allow the roots to stretch. Holding the plant steady at the base of the trunk slightly above the ground level, begin pulling the soil back into the hole with the other hand. Fill the hole around the roots and container soil with your soil mixture and lightly press soil in around the base of the plant.

Water the soil about the same amount as it took to fill in the 2 inches of the hole. (Water amount will vary with conditions) The soil around the base of the plant may sink in so you will need to apply more soil and lightly press down again.

Then apply about 3 inches of mulch. Mulching trees should be done like making a doughnut around the base of the plant. The mulch should being approximately a couple of inches away from the trunk of the plant making a welled area where you will be directing your watering focus. Then mound the mulch out roughly 6 to 12 inches away from the plant.

For the first 4 to 6 weeks, you may need to water plant every 2 to 3 days adjusting for deep rainfall days. In making the decision to water, if in doubt, pull some of the soil back from the root area (going down about 5 inches and away from the plant about 4 to 6 inches). If the soil is dry, water. If the soil is moist to wet, check the following day. Be sure to put the soil back after each check.

Gradually phase into watering less and less allowing the plant to slightly stress for the roots to stretch to find moisture. You may need to water more frequently during the hottest part of summer, especially during drought conditions. Mulching helps to keep the soil cool, moist and reduces weed seed germination.

Clip broken or damaged tips and branches that may have occurred during transit or while waiting for planting.

 

Fertilizing:

Adding organic matter into the soil when planting and using organic mulch in spring and fall, there often isn’t the need to apply additional fertilize for the first year planted.

The second year in the ground, wait for the plants to begin leafing out before beginning any fertilize program. Check with your local hardware store for their recommendations on the plants that you are growing. A timed-release formula works good as it releases the nutrients periodically throughout the growing season.

Follow the directions on the fertilize package. Many homeowners easily abuse the easy mix water soluble and liquid fertilizers. Studies have shown that frequent and over use of these types of products will build up a high level of saline in the soil. Plants in the fertilized area will die or have limited growth as well as any future replants. This over use poisons the soil and takes 3 to 5 years of soil rebuilding for the ground to become safe for planting again.

 

Care Tips for Shrubs & Roses

 

Buddleias:

Buddleias can be planted in full/partial sun with 4 to 8 foot spacing. They generally look their best in groupings of 3 to 5 plants. Alkaline soil (pH 6.5 to 7.0) is usually preferred.

Fertilize in spring/summer with a slow release fertilizer. Deadheading them will keep the plants blooming longer during the season. Buddleias can be cut back in winter. As they age, you may find yourself with more of a shrub that can be pruned in winter.

One of the most common problems that buddleias experience is spider mites, which can be handled with regular (monthly) spraying of a miticide.

Check for spider mites by taking a piece of plain white paper and placing it under several of the branches/leaves, tap the higher branches. If you see tiny red/rust colored spots on the paper, the plant is infected.

 

Rose of Sharon Shrubs:

They will begin blooming around mid summer and continue blooming on until frost.

While Rose of Sharon will grow in partial shade, it can limit the bloom production, as they do prefer full to mostly sunny areas. Late winter to  early spring is the best time to prune out any dead branches and shape the plants.

Put down a 2 to 3 inch thick layer of mulch around each plant, creating a well next to the trunk. As soon as the plants begin to produce the seasons’ new growth a timed release fertilizer such as a 10-10-10 can be applied.

 

Rosa Rugosas:

Rosa rugosas are the easy to grow roses. Plant them in full to partial sun. The more sun they receive, the happier they will be. They are cold hardy, will survive on even the poorest of soils, including sandy soil and are disease resistant.

Most rosa rugosa varieties grow in the 4 to 6 foot tall range with a spread of about equal amount. After the first couple of years, a pruning in late winter/early spring will keep them looking neat.

Just cut back the oldest canes and any broken/damaged canes at ground level.

Rosa rugosa’s don’t typically like any chemical products. They prefer organic matter to fertilizing. When watering them, it is safer to err on the lesser side. It is easy to over water them. Let the soil dry out a couple of days between watering.

 

Knock-Out Roses:

The Knock-Out Roses do exhibit resistance to one of the more common diseases to roses, black spot and other nuisance diseases. Like all roses, they do enjoy sun, but will also perform just as nicely in as little as 4 hours of sun per day. Morning sun would be preferable so it could dry of the morning dew from the leaves/flowers helping to prevent any damage.

Organic fertilizers are more often recommended over the synthetic versions.

Plant your Knock-Out Roses in a well drained, well aerated soil with lots of good organic matter. A good soil mixture would be one-fourth peat moss or aged manure and three quarters soil/topsoil. Be sure to water thoroughly after planting to prevent any air pockets near the roots. You may need to apply more soil to the top after it is watered and the soil settles.

Deadheading isn’t necessary but can be done. With the spent blooms off, the plants seem to focus more on producing newer blooms.

These plants provide a lot of enjoyment for the money. They begin blooming in mid to late spring and continue blooming beautifully until a harsh frost nips them.

 

Hydrangeas:

Hydrangeas grow and bloom the best in morning sun with afternoon shade. Don’t expect them to do well in heavy shade.

The PeeGee hydrangea variety is the one hydrangea hardy enough to grow in full sun.

They prefer plenty of moisture and should be monitored for additional watering over the first and second year after planting and especially during droughts.

Hydrangeas enjoy a regular fertilizing schedule. A good slow (timed) release applied 1 to 2 times a year will keep them happy. In zones 6 to 8, fertilize in May and July. For zones 5 and further north, one good fertilizing in June will work due to the shorter growing season. Follow the directions on the fertilizer label. Don’t apply fertilize if the plant is wilted or looks otherwise not happy. Take care of the problem and then apply fertilize