Spring & Summer Planting Advice
Container-grown plants can be planted out almost all year round, but you must water them in dry weather. Good soil preparation will help your plants grow quickly.
Digging - Preparation
For a few shrubs or trees, you can dig single holes; it will be easier to dig a trench if you are planting a hedge or row of plants.
You can mix well rotted manure or compost into the soil before planting. Dig your hole a bit too deep, mix the organic matter well into the bottom and firm the area down so it does not settle later.
The hole should only be as deep as the root ball of the plant, so that its stem is not deeper in the soil than it was in the pot.
Wide holes or trenches will help your plants grow better. Between two and three times the width of the pot is perfect.
The early root growth is mostly sideways, so its worthwhile to loosen up the top layer of soil around the planting area. Digging the soil reduces compaction and increases the available air.
Clean the soil that you dig out from your hole: remove rubbish, roots, perennial weeds, large stones and break up clods of earth.
The smoother and softer the soil is, the faster your plants will establish.
You can thoroughly mix in well rotted organic matter and bonemeal to the soil before you replace it.
Water the plants in their pots before planting, so that the root ball is wet.
Remove the plants by turning the pot upside down and tapping the plant out, holding it by the root ball.
If there is lots of root, gently pull the outer roots out of the ball and spread them out in the hole.
Breaking a few roots does not hurt the plants. It is better to cut through the ends of roots that have circled back on themselves and then fan them out a bit.
Return your improved soil in around the plant until the hole is 1/3rd full.
Lightly firm the soil around the root ball.
Make sure the plant is upright and that the top of the potting compost is level with the surrounding soil before filling in the rest of the soil.
In heavy clay soil the sides of the hole can smear and become smooth, which might hinder the growing roots. Use a garden fork to roughen up the sides of the hole.
When all the plants are in the ground, water the area again.
Finally, apply a 5cm (2 inch) thick layer of mulch to cover the planting area. Good mulch can be almost any well rotted plant matter.
Mulch is not compulsory, but it will protect the soils moisture when you go away for a weekend, suppress weeds and, over time, help to condition the soil.
Remove weeds as they appear & remember to water in dry weather.
Regular watering is essential for plants that are moved in late spring or summer.
Their roots will be stressed by the growth of new leaves, summer heat and soil that dries out quite quickly.
Do not overwater your plants by watering them every day.
Your aim is to maintain the soil moisture, not to make a swamp!
Check under the mulch (or 2cms into the soil) to see if the soil is really dry before you water it.
Soak the soil well each time you water it.