showers bring May flowers and a month for the best
planting time ever.
you are putting in new plants, use these best-practice
planting tips from Dan Nortman, Virginia Cooperative
Extension horticultural agent in Yorktown, Va., and
other gardening experts.
assess your space for new plants. A well-organized
landscape with fewer plants looks nicer and is easier to
maintain than an overcrowded, overplanted landscape.
plant, right place. Make sure that what you plant has
the space, sun and soil that it needs to be healthy and
vigorous. Also, make sure that plants with spines or
poisonous plants are not in places where pets and kids
can interact with them.
plants that look healthiest. Struggling plants may be
cheaper, but they usually continue to struggle in your
yard. Look for plants that are free of disease or pests,
and have healthy root systems.
to see if roots are coming out of the bottom of the pot,
or try to poke your finger into the soil; if you canít
because roots are in the way, let someone else struggle
with these plants.
plant labels. They tell you what conditions the plant
type prefers and the horticultural zone that plant likes
to grow in.
adds spice to life. A diversity of plants makes your
landscape more interesting, and helps make your yard
resist diseases and bugs. If a disease destroys one type
of plant, such as boxwood, and thatís all you have
planted, then you lose all plants. Think diversity in
flowering perennial beds, foundation plantings and
creative. When you tire of the typical plantings of
foundation plants, trees, shrubs and perennials, think
how you can use plants in different ways. Some plants
like drought-tolerant sedum can be used in artsy ways,
such as wall art or to make green roof tops on garden
sheds. For edibles, consider straw bale gardening for
tomatoes and cucumbers and pretty trellises or arbors
for vining crops like string beans and ornamental
native. Plants that are native to your climate and
growing conditions will fare better because they can
adapt to whatever comes their way. They will also help
support the ecosystem around you, attracting and
benefiting pollinators and wildlife.
everything right. When you plant anything ó tree,
shrubs, perennials, annuals, edibles ó first soak the
plant and remove the root ball from the pot. If the
roots are growing in a tight circle, use a sharp knife
to make three to four cuts around the root ball and then
use your hands to gently tease the roots outward to they
will grow into the soil and not continue to grow in a
circle, which will ultimately strangle the plant as it
tries to survive. Place your plant in a spacious
planting hole and water well, then mulch. Water when dry
throughout the first year, and then the plant should be
able to survive on its own, unless a prolonged drought
out, not up. Thin mulch, away from the base of the
plant, is great for weed control and tying the landscape
together. Too much mulch suffocates tree and gives voles
a place to hide while they destroy plants.
over fertilize! Fertilizer tends to make perennials grow
faster. Once established, many perennials need only
occasional supplemental fertilizer. Soil testing is the
way to determine the true nutritional needs of plants.