Having been in the landscape business for over three decades we have learned a thing or two about planting. We have to do plantings when it is convenient for us and our clients and not necessarily when the plants prefer it. We have many tricks that we apply for success, which has allowed us to stay in business for so long.
It is a myth that you can only plant in the spring and/or the fall. Bare root plants are the exception and should only be planted when they are dormant in the spring or fall. Container grown plants and balled and burlapped (B+B) plants are ready to go into the ground at the point of purchase.
Here are a few tips for success on planting in the summer:
- Plant when it is cooler (i.e. late evening or early morning)
- If it has been dry, wet the hole before planting to pre-moisten the soil which will help it to soak up more water later.
- If you are going to fertilize with organics they can be applied into the hole prior to planting, but add a layer of soil over the top of it. (Do not allow the fertilizer to come into direct contact with the roots).
- Water, Water, Water! Keep the roots moist by putting your hose on ¼ to ½ trickle for 10 to 20 minutes for a large tree (less for smaller plants) to get water all the way down deep into the bottom of the roots. Do this 3 or 4 times a week depending on the weather.
- Mulch the roots at least 3 inches thick with whichever mulch you prefer to use, but taper it toward the trunk to allow some air to the trunk and roots.
- Don’t use water soluble fertilizers right away (Miracle-gro, Schultz, Peters, etc). They can sometimes force the plant to create new growth when it is not ready for it; wait at least 3 weeks before doing so. Organic fertilizers as well as slow release are OK to use right away and so are fertilizer spikes as long as you stick them outside of the root zone.