Plan B has been on a planting spree - 293 over 3 days across 2 sites. Admittedly, some were very small 2 litre pots, others though were 30 litre seven footers! Big or small though, they all need planting correctly so that they flourish and perform in their new home and a well planted garden needs big and small.
Maybe not the best plan during rehab from a torn back tendon (golf!), but Autumn does present a great time to plant, particularly for established shrubs and trees. The ground is warm from our 'long hot summers' and the expected rainfall will help shrubs bed in over winter. Spring is also great for planting but remember it takes months for the ground to warm up after winter.
So, after 293, what are my top tips?
Always ensure the plants you buy are healthy
Water plants well before planting, tease carefully out of the pot (tap the side of the pot if stuck) and lightly rub the root ball to loosen the roots
Always dig a hole wider and deeper that the root ball and ensure the top of the root ball is level with the plants new position in the ground
Essex Clay - Grrrrrr. If you just do the above, you basically create a sump that the root ball will sit in and over time the roots will rot and the plant die from water logging. In clay soil, loosen the soil in the bottom of the hole, loosen the sides of the hole and add some grit and manure/compost.
Adding manure/compost/fertiliser - important to do, but too much and the roots will only ever stay within the hole dug and stunt growth (they will like this rich soil and not want to venture out into the surrounding soil!). Too little and its a waste of time.
Firm the plant in with your feet and add additional soil to level the planting area
Water thoroughly as soon as planted
Step back and admire your handy work!
More about on-going maintenance in a future blog