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Preparing for Planting

Potted Plants... When you receive your potted plants, you may find some of the leaves appear to be yellowing or; perhaps, even dead. But that doesn’t mean the plants are dead. As long as the root system is healthy, upper foliage will soon regenerate itself.

Your potted plants require little attention before transplanting:

  • Check to make sure the planting medium is still moist, and water if the top is dry.
  • Groom the plant by pinching off any less-than-healthy leaves (for example, leaves that are yellowed or withered).
  • Transplant potted plants to their new home as soon as possible after your shipment arrives.
  • Remove plants from their shipping pots by lightly squeezing or tapping the sides of the container to loosen the planting medium in which the plant has been growing. Then, invert the pot, gently shake the plant loose, and proceed with planting.

Plants which seem to be tightly bound to their pots may be “rootbound.” However, they are easy to remove and prepare for planting:

  • First, squeeze the container to loosen the compacted rootball inside.
  • Invert the pot and shake the plant out of the container.
  • If you find a mass of tightly woven into the planting medium, cut or tear off the bottom half-inch of the rootball.
  • Then, using a knife or trowel, score a vertical mark on all four sides of the rootball. Even though you will be cutting some of the roots by scoring, loose ends will have a tendency to grow outward into the surrounding soil, while unscored roots would continue to grow in the rootball itself after planting and may cause decreased vigor.

Dormant & Bare Root Plants... Many items do best when shipped in a dormant or bare root condition. Often plants shipped this way may appear to be dead. However, dormant or bare root plants are living plant material even though they may be completely void of green buds or leaves. The plants are shipped to you without any soil around the roots. They’ve been conditioned for shipping and will be ready to start their growth after planting. It may take as long as six to eight weeks before they begin sprouting to the point where growth is obvious.

Please be patient. All plants Spring Garden selects for you are ready to begin root development as soon as they are planted. But they need time to develop their roots before they start their upward growth. Most spring-planted perennials require from four to six weeks before sprouts begin to appear. Fall-planted items most likely will show no growth until spring.

Bulbs... You may notice touches of what appears to be mold on bulbs and other dormant items. Don’t be concerned – it’s what horticulturists call “storage mold,” and it won’t affect growth. Simply wipe it off.

Roses, Trees & Shrubs... Most roses, trees and shrubs are shipped in bare root form. If possible, plant roses, trees and shrubs as soon as possible upon receipt of your shipment. If you must wait a few days: open the box, cover the roots with newspaper, moisten the roots and newspaper as necessary to keep them damp, rewrap them in their shipping plastic, and store in a cool, dark place.

If planting must be delayed more than 10 days, heel in the plant. Dig a sloping trench long and wide enough to hold the roots. Lay the plant in the trench, with the roots against the steep side. Cover the roots with soil and soak with water.

Before planting your bare root roses, trees and shrubs, soak the plants’ roots in a tub of water for at least an hour or two (but no more than 12 hours) just before planting. Many gardeners find a plastic garbage can ideal for this pre-soaking. (Tip: Never leave bare root plants or bulbs exposed to sun and wind. They must be kept moist and cool at all times prior to planting.)



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