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1531 Telegraph Rd West Chester (Marshallton), Pennsylvania 19380     610-436-4511      Open 7 Days a Week!

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On this Page you will learn the correct way to plant.
This method can be used for small perennials up to large landscape size trees.

Minimum Tools & Supplies Required:


Optional Tools & Supplies:

Hose/watering can

Grape hoe
Pick or Pry bar
Extra burlaps
Water retention crystals
Tree staking kit
Root stimulator
Wilt Pruf

Installing your own tree or shrub need not be a challenge provided you follow the proper procedure. Always remember that the roots cannot be planted too deep, if they are they may "suffocate" and rot. When transporting your plants treat them carefully ... never drop or throw them, always carry them by their container or root ball never by their trunk or branches.

Set you plants out where you want to plant them and check to make sure you are satisfied with their location.

Mark the position of the plant with a shovel or spade being sure to mark the hole one and one half to two times wider than the root ball.

If working in a lawn area remove the sod and place it in your wheelbarrow or on a burlap. This sod will be discarded. A grape hoe or spade makes fast work of this.

Dig the hoe to a depth that is about one inch less than the depth of the root ball soil being sure to measure the actual root ball not the burlap knots or the pot. Place this soil on a fresh burlap or and empty wheel barrow to be reused.

Carefully check the width of the hole, it must be wide enough to adjust the placement of the plant and room to backfill. A spade does an excellent job of widening the hole. Again check the depth of the hole being sure it is not too deep. It should look like the hole was not dug deep enough.

If the root ball is in a natural burlap with sisal twine nothing needs to be removed. These products are organic and will decompose on their own in a short time, in the mean time they will support the roots. Plastic burlap and string must be removed with great care as removing the burlap may allow the root ball to fall apart. We do not use plastic burlaps at Distinctive Gardens. Plastic string may be cut AFTER the plant is in the hole. The twine around the trunk of the tree can be cut AFTER the tree is backfilled. With small potted plants in plastic pots it is usually easier to grasp the pot, turn it upside down and while supporting the root ball lift the pot off. It is common for plants in pots to have their roots growing around in a circle inside the pot. We want to change this and encourage the roots to grow out into the surrounding soil. To do this we "tease" the roots by loosening up or scoring the outer edges of the root ball. After teasing the roots place the plant in the hole and check the depth, again the root ball top should be sticking above grade level by around one inch.

Now that the plants and trees are in their holes check to make sure they are straight and facing the most attractive way.

Take the soil from digging the hole and thoroughly mix into it peat moss in the ratio of one part peat moss to three parts soil. The peat moss will help keep the soil from becoming too compact, improve water retention and improve aeration. If watering is going to be a problem mix water retention crystals into this soil to help reduce watering requirement.

Take this soil and use it to backfill your new plants. On large plants it is best to backfill a little soil and then tamp, backfill some more then tamp in layers until you reach ground level. When you are done the backfill area should be level with the existing grade and the root ball should still be sticking up out of the ground by about an inch. Do not put soil on top of the root ball.

Take the remaining soil and form a "saucer" around the hole to create a small reservoir to hold water when you water the plant.

Take your mulch and apply a two to three inch layer to the entire area being sure to apply mulch to cover the root ball.

You probably do not have any extra soil left, but if you do as you have placed it in on burlaps or in your wheelbarrow clean up will be easy.

Once you are done planting be sure to water your plants. We recommend watering by hand and thoroughly soaking the new plantings, this is a great time to add a root stimulator to help get the roots established faster and stronger.

Your planting is now complete but will have to be watered on a regular basis until it is fully established. It is impossible to say if this is everyday, twice a week etc. because the plants, the soil and the weather can all vary. The best way to tell if your plants need water is to feel the root ball of the plant for moisture. Be sure to also keep an eye on your plants for wilting. To reduce watering requirements and transplanting shock your plants may be sprayed with Wilt Pruf.

Now sit back and enjoy your new plantings!

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Feel free to call us for any questions! 610-436-4511

1531 Telegraph Rd
West Chester, PA 19380
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