||A woman is seen photographing the Autumnal colours of the leaves on trees at the National Arboretum at Westonbirt in Gloucestershire, England.
(Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
March is the month that we think autumn, and with that we can think about
planting again. Autumn is an excellent time to plant as it is cooler and it
gives the plant 4-5 months to develop good root growth, before the scorching
heat of summer hits.
Root development and a plant's ability to survive in the heat are
directly related. The more developed the root system of a plant the greater
its ability to absorb much needed nutrients and in particular water.
So whilst spring and early summer usually sees plants with a flush of new
growth, and a blaze of colourful flowers, autumn and winter is the time plants
develop their root system to enable them to make it through the summer
So with the conditions in favour of the plants and the gardener, you can
launch yourself into a frenzy of planting new shrubs. However, there are a
number of things to keep in mind to ensure good results. Keep in mind your
long-term goals for your garden, and also what the plant will look like when
fully grown. Just recently a friend of mine had to have a tree removed as it
had cracked his boundary wall.
To get the best results with your new plants dig a hole about twice the size
of your root ball, Then use compost or a mixture of peat moss and compost to
give some body to your soil.
You will find that this will give the small tender roots of your new plant a
chance to get established and the combination of peat and compost will hold
water much better.
When planting new shrubs it is a good idea to moisten the pot first, as this
helps to hold the soil onto the roots and to lessen the shock of transferring
the plant from the pot to the garden bed.
When you knock the plant out of its pot it is a good practice to tease out the
bottom roots away from the main root ball to encourage the young roots into
the soil more quickly.
I have found that selecting a large plant is not always the best way to go,
because there is a tendency for the plant to become root-bound in the pot.
Also the larger, more mature the plant, the greater the shock factor from pot
to soil. So I have found it best to select smaller shrubs, which have the
added benefit of being cheaper.
When placing the plant into the hole the 'root ball should be about 25mm
below soil level, otherwise the roots will dry out and could cause the plant
to curl up and die. Firm the soil around the plant and give it a thorough
soaking, and then mulch around the plant to help the soil hold its moisture,
and to keep the plant roots cool.