People who reside in homes surrounded by good-sized landscapes and who have been lucky enough to receive a live plant as a Christmas present should waste no time in planting it. Fortunately, this is the perfect time of year to install plants in the landscape assuming they are the hardy type that can survive our cold winters. If the plant received is not of a hardy type (such as a kind of citrus), it should be covered with some kind of waterproof tarp that extends to the ground and a heat source placed under The tarpaulin. Periodically, the coating will need to be removed to provide light to the plant. Although a clear plastic covering can be used, it will need to be removed almost daily when the air temperature rises above freezing or the sun will practically “bake” the plant.
If you don’t know much about the plant you received, the first thing to do is find out everything you can about the plant so you can plant it correctly and in the best possible location. Many nurserymen, LSU AgCenter professionals, and garden center personnel can provide you with the information you need. Plus, people with access to a computer can find tons of information about almost any plant they may have received.
Place plants that need full sun where they will get at least 6 hours of full sun each day. Some plants may only need morning sun, but will be scorched by exposure to hot afternoon sun. Yet other plants need partial shade and should be planted where they will get what they need. Plants that grow tall should never be planted where there are overhead power lines and plants that are bushy and have a dense canopy should not be placed too close to a street, driveway or entrance. a walk. You can also add a house or other structure to this list. Where drainage is an issue, you may need to make a wide mound of soil on which to plant water-sensitive plants. Allow the created mounds to settle before using them as a planting site.
Better plant survival will be enhanced when good planting techniques are used. Prepared holes should be two to five times wider than the root ball, but no deeper than the root ball itself. Remove any cords, wires, wrappings or other devices (including plastic containers) used to hold the root ball intact before placing it in the hole. Although it is best to use small amounts of organic matter in holes prepared for shrubs, do not use such substances in holes made for trees. Mix small amounts of appropriate slow-release fertilizers, but never use agricultural type fertilizers.
To help the plant root in the soil surrounding the hole, make shallow vertical cuts on the sides of the hole. Tamp the soil until its surface is two-thirds the height of the clod. Now add water and let it drain completely. Finally, finish filling the hole with loose soil. Cover bare soil with a medium-thick mulch.
Joe White is a retired LSU AgCenter horticulturist.
This article originally appeared on Shreveport Times: Joe White: Handling Landscape Plants That Were Christmas Gifts