Remember, it’s a big soak before planting

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Always give shrubs from the nursery a good soak before removing them from the pot, says gardening columnist CEDRIC BRYANT.

Cedric Bryant.

WITH the best will in the world, nursery plants will often be quite dry. If you don’t intend planting them immediately, pots must be watered every day until planting time. 

Also if buying plants on a hot day, always take an old sheet or similar to cover over the plants while in the car, especially with hatchbacks. The heat in the car even on a short journey home can be extreme. 

When planting, it’s important to build a soil bank round the plant capable of holding at least a nine-litre bucket of water.

If using a support stake always put this in place first. 

At planting time apply a bucket of Maxicrop Liquid organic seaweed solution, which will promote new root growth. 

A newly planted tree with a water-retaining bank.

Give the new plant a bucket of water every week for the first few weeks, which is vital in extreme weather, such as we have had recently. Continue to apply the seaweed solution every few weeks. 

To complete the planting, mulch around the plant, keeping it back from the trunk.

It is important not to build any material around the base of the trunk, especially wet material such as grass clippings or soil that can cause rotting of the bark (known as collar rot) and possibly kill the tree. 

The bark and the immediate layer under the bark, called the cambium layer, carry all the moisture and nutrients to the whole tree. 

With all planting, be aware of services such as water, power, sewer pipes, Telstra etcetera. Damaging them can be costly to repair besides all the inconvenience. 

Definitely a no-no… piling up mulch against the trunk can kill a tree.

And always take into account the ultimate size of trees or shrubs you are planting. As a rule of thumb if a tree grows to eight metres it will grow to a similar spread, which means it will need to be planted no closer than eight metres from the home or any other buildings on site. 

David Young, who worked with City Parks for many years and was on ABC radio giving advice, always used to say “look at the size on the label and then double it”.

One of his other excellent pieces of advice was that when killing snails, “put your foot on them, if you are anyway squeamish put shoes on first!”






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Cedric Bryant
Trained horticulturist and garden designer with over 30 years experience in the industry.

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