- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Spring, ah yes, spring, and a gardener's fancy turns to, “What else?” Planting!
I know you’re not all bozos out there, but just a few reminders. Everyone needs to be preached to now and then, and I’m just the guy to do it. When I was a teaching, a student once came up to me and said, “You are a preacher teacher,” so who is so foolish to argue with the wisdom of youth? And if you've got it, why fight it?
There are many things to consider, of course, when setting out new plants, but I want to start with putting plants in at the same depth they were growing in their container.
We recently had a young woman come into the master gardener’s office with a sample plant from the landscaping of a new golf course. The plant was almost totally dead, and it was very obvious it had been set into the soil about six-inches too deep. She said there were 100 or more around the course this bad or totally dead. Her company had not planted them but had been planted by the folks who built the course. Now some plants can hang in there for several years when planted too deep before they die, but these at the golf course were still in the first year because there was another factor stressing them.
Site selection is probably the next most critical thing. Back to the golf course; we noticed how wet the soil was on the shrub she had and asked her if all the plants had been planted in such a wet area? This was not a plant for wet conditions, so we didn’t know exactly what killed the plants faster-drowning the roots so they couldn’t get air or being planted too deep, but it was most likely the combination that caused such a rapid demise.
There are plants that can tolerate both quagmire and drought, but those are definitely the exception, and they’re probably something you’re not interested in. We have a list of plants for various sites, and if your garden center can’t help you, which would be unusual, contact us.
Another factor on picking the right site for a particular plant is sun tolerance or needs. In our sandy soil, this is exceptionally critical since water passes through it so quickly plants are not able to get water to fight off the stress caused by our strong sun and high temperatures. The plant I notice most is the dogwood with its scorched leaves as the summer heat comes. Dogwoods are trees that grow naturally on the forest edge where they get good light, but in many cases, no direct sunlight. This will not kill a dogwood, but they certainly can look bad.
The last thing for today, class, is make sure you loosen up the roots...as it was stated in an old newsletter, “gently frazzle the roots.” They don’t always stress this on planting instructions, which these days may be on the plant's tag. And of course, new plantings should have water three times a week until the summer heat is past.
That wasn’t too much preaching, was it? I didn’t ask for miracles—that you give up cards or other forms of sinful living—just do right by your plants!
Send your gardening questions or comments to: Brunswick County Master Gardener Column, P.O. Box 109, Bolivia, NC 28422, or call 253-2610. Answers may be printed in this column.
North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, religion, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, or veteran’s status. In addition, the two universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation; North Carolina State University, North Carolina A&T State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.