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This is the time of year we all start thinking about having the best landscape ever. In my mind, the best landscape ever is beautiful all year long with little care from the gardener. It is time to prepare the beds for new plants as well as last year’s perennials so let’s get a good start toward creating an easy care landscape.
You want to give your new and old plants ideal conditions so they will be comfortable and therefore, will remain self-sufficient all season. By preparing the beds with plenty of soil amendments, you are allowing for quick root growth that allows the new plants to get established in their new home. Coarse pine bark mulch helps to loosen and aerate clay soil, and organic amendments help to retain moisture in both clay and sandy soil. This first step is very important and should not be skipped.
Proper plant selection for the area is also very important. Place sun-loving plants in the sunny areas and shade loving plants in the shady areas. Read the instructions on the label of the plant. If the plant does not have a label, ask the nursery person and research the needs of the plant. Consider the mature size of the plant along with its water requirements. With current drought conditions, this is a vital factor in plant choices.
Carefully remove the plant from the pot by squeezing (or rolling) the container, invert the pot and shake out the plant (Do not pull out by the stem or trunk). If you find a mass of roots tightly woven into the planting medium, cut or tear off the bottom one-half inch of the root ball. Using a knife or sharp trowel, score a vertical mark on all four sides of the root ball. The loose ends of the roots will continue to grow out into the soil instead of growing around and around the root ball and stunting the growth of the plant.