Karen Cambre, Sharpe, Kenneth W.
News article for October 30, 2017:
There are lots of landscaping plants purchased and installed in the spring of the year because spring flowers tempt all of us. If I had to pick the single best month to plant container grown plants, it would be November.
You probably have been told that you can plant container grown plants anytime during the year and that is correct. What makes November your best choice is weather. Sure it is cooler now and more comfortable to work, but it is weather over the next 7 months that gives November the advantage.
Transplant shock is what kills many plants each year. A major cause of transplant shock is the harsh summer heat here. If you plant now, the roots of plants will continue to grow through the winter because the soil temperature is not that cold here. This will allow the roots to grow outside of the original root ball and begin to seek out water and nutrients on its own.
Plants that we plant now will have about 7 months to become established before we get into the real heat of summer. It is during summer that plants have the hardest time getting enough water to survive and grow. The later you plant, the better care you have to give next summer.
Before you start planting, you need a plan. Draw out your yard and figure out what you need and want. It is not necessary to plant everything at the same time. Landscaping is expensive and you may need to plant over several years. Just keep planting as time and money allows, until you implement the entire plan.
Trees should be your number one priority. It takes years to grow trees so do not delay, plant them first. You will be amazed at how fast trees can grow but it will still take time. Also, check out the mature height of the trees you want to plant. I like to plant trees away from the house at a distance of at least the expected mature height.Since we live in a hurricane prone area this planting distance gives you peace of mind and you will not have to worry about trees hitting your house even if they were to come down in a wind event. If the tree you selected is too tall, change to a different tree species that will fit the space.
Consider the position of the sun when planting trees. You need shade to give you protection from the hot afternoon sun. Using deciduous trees, those that lose their leaves in the winter, would give shade in the summer but allow the warmth of the sun during the winter.
After planting trees your next planting should be woody ornamentals or shrub, then plant season annuals. Consider their sun requirements so you get the right plant in the right place.
Planting correctly is extremely important to get a fast growing plant that thrives. You want the planting hole to be twice the diameter of the container or root ball but the same depth. Once you set the plant in the planting hole, make sure that the soil line of the plant is level with the ground or just slightly high. You do not want the plant to be low at all. It would be better to be a half inch high than low to avoid standing water.
Even if you have clay soil, do not add organic matter to your planting hole or to the soil you use to backfill the planting hole. Use the original soil that was removed from your planting hole to place around and over the roots of your new plant and do not add any amendments to the soil. If you add organic matter to the clay soil, water will channel into through those air spaces and your planting hole will become like a small pond. The clay will hold water and your plants will drown from too much water sitting in the bottom of the hole.