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How To Properly Plant a New Plant!

Happy April from Desert Rose! In this month's blog we are going to review the process of how to properly plant a new plant. Although it may seem simple; dig a hole, put the plant in and you are done, but in reality this simplification does not lead to good results. By properly planting, you can give your plants the best possible start, not just growing but thriving and producing beautiful blooms and foliage. The following instructions apply to planting a 1 gallon plant but can be used for almost any kind of planting. As a reminder, if you are planting a tree that is B&B (ball and burlap) be sure to remove as much wire and twine from the rootball after placing the rootball in the hole. The burlap can be left as it will slowly decompose in the ground.

Step One: Make sure you plant is hardy enough for Santa Fe weather, otherwise it will only survive the warm months. We are USDA Zone 6 in Santa Fe so make sure the plant is hardy to Zone 6 or lower if you want it to make it though the winter. You want to also make sure the location you select for the plant provides enough sun as required by the plant. You can find the information on the plant tag.

Step Two: Dig the whole twice the size and a couple inches deeper than the plant container. Although this may seem strange and like extra work it will make a big difference, as this breaks up the soil around where the plant will be, which will allow the plants roots grow more easily.

Step Three: Amend the soil. Soils vary greatly throughout the Santa Fe area. The goal is to add both organic matter (we like to use Back to Earth Composted Cotton Burr blend) and a super light fertilizer (we use Yum Yum 2-1-1). The amount of organic matter will vary based on your soil. Super sandy and super clay soils will require more organic matter than loamy soils. After adding the organic matter, add a small handful of Yum Yum and mix until all amendment are completely blended.

Step Four: Scrape the roots of the plant with pruners. When a plant is in a plastic container it becomes rootbound, which means that the roots grow in the shape of the plastic pot and swirl around themselves. It is critical to to lightly break up the outside roots so they will branch off into the soil when planted, otherwise they continue to swirl around themselves in the ground and not branch out as quickly.

Step Five: Add back the couple inches of soil you dug out and replace with amended soil. Place the plant in the hole and make sure the base of the plant (where the rootball and plant meet) is level with the ground. Do not plant the base of the plant below ground level, this will suffocate the plant and stunt the plants growth. Once the hole has been filled by the plant and dirt, lightly push the dirt around the plant to remove any air pockets in the dirt and re-level the dirt.

Step Six: Make a posa (a mound of dirt around plant) so the water doesn’t run off. It doesn’t have to be fancy - just make sure it will keep the water from running off and will allow the plant time to absorb the water.

Step Seven: Water the newly planted plant right after planting and water deeply and regularly during its first year of growth to establish a good root system.

We hope this will help you with your spring planting! As always we are here to help you with your landscape needs. As always, if you want new plants but don't want to do the work, or feel overwhelmed by the amount of plants at the nurseries, give us a call and we can work together to help you get your dream yard!

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