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Your Guide to Successful Planting in Southwestern Florida

Planting Trees & Shrubs

Before You Plant 

It is important to select the proper plant for your site. Take into consideration the amount of space available for the plant, amount of light the plant will receive and type of soil at the site. All these factors should weigh in the plant selection process. 

When To Plant

If the soil is moist and kept sufficiently watered, planting can be done anytime. If possible, plant your tree or shrub as soon as you get it home. Otherwise, it may dry out and become injured. If you can’t plant it immediately, place it in a shady and/or sheltered location. Keep the soil moist until planted. 

The Planting Hole 

Dig a hole at least 2-3 times the width of the root ball or pot depending on soil conditions. Do NOT dig the hole too deep. The hole depth should be slightly less than the depth of the root ball or pot - NEVER deeper (plant it high, it will not die; plant it low, it will not grow.) The top of the root ball or pot should be above the level of with the surface of the ground.

Placing Your Plant In The Hole 

Balled & Burlapped Plants: Keep the wire basket intact and DO NOT remove. Once the enriched soil has been placed three-quarters of the way up the root ball, cut & fold down the top quarter of the basket & burlap, removing any strings around the tree trunk. Fill the remaining hole with enriched soil to its original level.             

Container Plants: Ease the pot off without disturbing the root ball. If the roots are extremely compacted, you may need to make a few shallow cuts on the side and bottom of the root ball to loosen densely compacted roots. You will not hurt the roots. 

Enriching Your Soil & Backfilling 

Add organic matter such as Bumper Crop Organic Soil Builder and Espoma Organic Bio-tone Starter Plus. If plants are acid-loving, add Coast of Maine Organic & Natural Planting Soil for Acid-Loving Plants. Mix 50% native soil with 50% soil amendment. Mix well for proper drainage and water absorption. Backfill the hole with amended soil mix until about half full, straighten and level the plant and tamp the soil down carefully. Water and then fill the rest of the hole with the amended soil. Use excess soil to build a ring 6-10” from the outside of the hole to create a holding well. Water will have the ability to collect in this well and move slowly down in the root zone of the plant as well as minimize runoff. Fill several times until the ground is saturated.

Watering 

The key to a successful watering plan is to water deeply.

At Planting: Water deeply. Use the same amount of water as the container the plant came in. For example, a 10-gallon tree pot requires 10 gallons of water. Likewise, a 2-gallon shrub requires 2 gallons of water. 

For The First Month: Check for water needs every 2 to 3 days. This will vary depending on the size and location of the plant temperature and wind. The soil should dry out before watering deeply again. 

Until Established: This will take 6-8 months. As the plant establishes, watering will be less frequent. Continue monitoring watering needs. Expect to water every 5 to 7 days.

Once Established: Watering needs will lessen. Continue to monitor, especially during the dry periods and extreme heat. 

Staking & Tree Protection 

All newly planted trees should be supported by three stakes and straps due to the wind in our area. This will prevent trees from being dislodged by high winds. Stakes should be driven firmly into the ground outside of the freshly dug holes. Attach tree to stakes with straps approximately in the middle or slightly higher than the middle of the trunk. Straps should be attached to stakes using poly tree chain or non-stretching canvas strapping. Make sure straps are snug, but no too tight. Allow tree room to grow. Remove stakes after one year.

Mulching 

Add a 2-3” layer of shredded mulch or bark chips around the plant. This will prevent water loss and keep mowers and trimmers from getting too close to the plant. Avoid overly deep mulch up against the trunk or stems of the plant as this can promote disease or pest injury. 

Diagnosing Problems 

Our knowledgeable and friendly staff are available to guide you through any problems that may arise. As soon as you suspect a problem with your perennial or annual plant, please bring a sample of the problem along with any photo to Your Farm & Garden for diagnosis and suggested remedies. We are happy to help with any concerns or problems you may have. 

Planting Annuals & Perennials 

Most perennials and annuals like well-drained soil, rich with organic matter. Soil for most perennials and annuals should be amended with Coast of Maine Organic & Natural Planting Soil for Roses & Flowers and native soil 50% each. Incorporate organic matter into backfill. Once the soil has been prepared, place your plants around the planting area while still in their pots. Make sure you have taken into consideration the mature height of the plant as well as sun or shade requirements. Determine an approximate location for the planting, then dig a hole in the amended soil. The hole should be 2-3 times the width of the pot or root ball and as deep as the root ball.

If the roots have grown out or become compacted against the pot or container, “feather” the roots out by using your fingers to gently pull the surface roots away from the root ball. This will encourage new roots to grow away from the root ball and out into the new soil. If the roots are extremely compacted, you may need to make a few shallow cuts through the roots on the sides and bottom of the root ball. (Follow previous watering instructions.)

Place your plant into the hole, then backfill to ground level. Water the plant thoroughly to ensure the soil fills in completely around the roots, eliminating large air pockets.

Monitor your annuals and perennials daily, watering as needed. Water slowly to attain deep-water penetration, which encourages widespread root development.

Add 2-3” layer of mulch around the plant to help retain soil moisture. Avoid overly deep mulch up against the trunk or stems of the plant as this can promote disease or pest injury.

For Successful Planting We Recommend…

Coast of Maine Planting Soil for Roses & Flowers

Coast of Maine Planting Soil for Acid-Loving Plants

Master Nursery Bumper Crop Organic Soil Builder

Questions & Concerns

Should you have any questions or concerns about the health of your plant(s), please give us a call or drop by the store to speak with one of our gardeners. Pictures and samples are always helpful in diagnosing problems. At Your Farm & Garden, we believe it’s our job to help you to be a successful gardner. The most important factors in achieving that goal are making sure that you are choosing the right plant for the location and planting it correctly. This will prevent many problems that commonly occur.


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