People who live in houses surrounded by good-sized landscapes and who have been fortunate enough to receive a live plant as a Christmas present should not waste time putting it in the ground. Fortunately, this is the perfect time of year to set up plants in the landscape assuming they are the hardy type that can survive our cold winters. If the received plant is not a rustic type (like a kind of citrus fruit), it should be covered with a kind of waterproof tarpaulin that extends to the ground and a heat source placed under the tarpaulin. . Periodically, the covering will need to be removed to provide light to the plant. Although a clear plastic liner can be used, it will need to be removed almost daily when the air temperature exceeds freezing point or the sun will virtually “bake” the plant.
If you don’t know much about the plant you received, the first thing to do is find everything you can about the plant so that you can plant it correctly and in the best possible location. Many nurserymen, LSU AgCenter professionals, and garden center staff can provide the information you need. In addition, people who have access to a computer can find tons of information about almost any plant they have received.
Place plants that need full sun in a location where they will have at least 6 hours of full sun each day. Some plants may only need the morning sun, but they will be scorched by exposure to the 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 driveway. a walk. You can also add a house or other structure to this list. When drainage is an issue, you may need to create a large 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 improved when good planting techniques are used. The prepared holes should be two to five times the width of the root ball, but not deeper than the root ball itself. Remove any cords, wires, wrappers, 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 material in the holes prepared for shrubs, do not use such substances in holes made for trees. Mix small amounts of suitable slow release fertilizer, but never use agricultural type fertilizer.
To help the plant take root in the soil surrounding the hole, make shallow vertical cuts in the sides of the hole. Tamp the soil until its surface is two-thirds the height of the root ball. Now add water and let it drain completely. Finally, finish filling the hole with loose soil. Cover the bare soil with a medium thick mulch.
Joe White is a retired LSU AgCenter horticulturist.