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Prep for plant install

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by grassmasterswilson, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Posts: 4,548

    I'm a mowing/application guy and decided to undertake the project of redoing my landscape. Any tips? Other than digging the hole , scoring the root ball, and keeping watered is there anything else? Plants are comin from a nursery. Shoul I fertilize or add compost when planting? I so what type of Fert?

    Any tricks or tips would be great! After pulling out most of te current plants I have a new appreciation for you guys!
    Posted via Mobile Device
  2. Landrus2

    Landrus2 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,812

    First trick is getting the right toys :waving::waving:

  3. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Posts: 4,548


    That would be really nice, but i'm afraid I will be going old school. Luckily I have a lot of 1 and 3 gallon plants to do.
  4. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Posts: 4,548

    finding conflicting planting depths. For potted plants do you plant below, even, or just above the soil line? Some info says keep root ball just above soil line so it doesn't drown. Some so to plant below soil line to create a resivoir for water.

    I'm planting in sandy loam and the soil is in good condition. Is it necessary to fertilizer at planting? What about mixing some of the existing soil with compost for back filling?
  5. integrityman

    integrityman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,713

    Oh boy. I could write an essay.

    Plant selection, zone hardiness, disease resistance, deer resistance, drought tolerance, plant size at maturity, do you want evergreens? what exposure (sun/ shade/ partial shade) are you going to be planting in? moisture requirements for the plants, soil acidity, alkalinity, neutrality, is the soil clay or loamy?.....these and many,many other factors SHOULD be considered and factored for long term success of the project. Other factors include mulch type, color, application of chemical or mechanical weed barriers.

    I see so many lawn mowing guys that undertake landscaping that have no business doing so.......becuase they know not what they do.....90% of the end result in 2-3 years looks like pure overgrown chit....

    Hire a trusted friend or biz that has a good grasp on evidence based horticultural and design practice if you want it done RIGHT.

    No offense intended grassmaster- just sayin.
  6. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Posts: 4,548

    I hired a certified designer to select and design a landscape plan. I will be ordering the plants from a nursery and will be doing the labor of the install myself. That's why most of my questions were targeted towards the install and not selection and size.
  7. integrityman

    integrityman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,713


    that said, i'd mix in compost/ rotted leaves top soil etc. Till it in.

    I like to use a good organic fertilizer- sparingly. I really like this:


    Dig hole typically 2x the width/ depth is good practice. Plant level w/ the soil.
    Never- ever plant a grafted item below the graft level.

    Before you mulch, use a good pre-emergent such as Snaphot.

    When planting trees, plant level or only slightly elevated. DON'T build mulch volcanoes around the trees & shrubs.....:hammerhead::hammerhead:

    Study after study shows that good old h20 appropriately supplied is THE BEST possible thing to do. ....that fertilizer can do more harm than good.
  8. andyslawncare

    andyslawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 812

    This is one of my favorite toys :)

    I'm still renting, and only have access to the sk350, but it does the job well. When I buy I'm struck between the sk650 or Boxer... I've used both and they both have ups and downs... It appears your set up for most everything.
  9. andyslawncare

    andyslawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 812

    there is enough open info on this site and others--check out youtube. Know what you do before you do something.

    I use pro landscape image editor and a library or reference books worth at least $1000 to do designs. Sometimes I do scale drawings, but usually its computer aided for sake of time and making quick sales.

    Before you plant, check your soil--take a sample from several areas to your extention office for a sample. Samples cost $9 here and take about 2 weeks for resluts. If you have deficiencies or over in nutrient levels or need ph adjustment, just post and someone will help you. Make sure your chosen plants will survive in the ph you have, or fix the soil before planting.

    We don't ammend planting holes with anything. No fertilizer, no compost, nothing... we plant in native soil, as the roots will eventually live in native soil. You can research some of UGA's studies on this. I do amend perennial beds and annual beds though, using compost in the form of erth food from my local supplier. Check your plants before you buy the, and don't buy if they are really root bound. Check to make sure there are not any insects or insect damages. We make 3-4 slices in the roots of most plants to ensure outward root growth. Plant so that you can see the top of the root ball when you are finished, you don't want to see the side of the ball, just the top. Also, don't bury the top of the root ball. Research has also shown that it is not necessary to leave a mound of soil around the root zone, as people think it will help in water retention. Just level all of the soil when you are done and don't cover the crown or the top of the root ball. Dig your hole wide enough, and rough up the sides of the hole to prevent stunted growth.
  10. FLD350

    FLD350 LawnSite Member
    from CT
    Posts: 25

    Basically what integrity and Andy said. Its really important to make sure that your planting holes are at least 2x as wide as the depth of the plant in the original container. You can not necessarily make a hole too wide, but you can definitely dig one too deep. Its also important to make sure that if you are planting B&B trees or shrubs that are too large to take the burlap completely off that you make sure to pull back the burlap from the base of the plant. You do not want the burlap to stick out above the soil line because it will cause a wick effect that will constantly dry out the root system of the plant, eventually killing it. Hope that helps a little, good luck!

    Andy, what version of Pro Landscape do you use? I used it in my landscape design classes, its a great tool!

    Also I was curious about that ditch-witch. You said that you rent it, can you rent it with several of the different attachments? I don't have any heavy equipment and have not had to rent any yet, but that seems like a really useful tool for the right jobs.

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