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It’s plant sale time at many area garden centers. Oh, those glorious buys you can get! Just remember, they’re only a deal if they grow. Make sure you’re getting healthy stock. If possible, loosen the plant and hold it by the stem very close to the soil line, pull it out of the pot and look at the roots. Check that they’re not yellow or mushy. The last thing you want is root rot!
Check over the leaves and stems, look for any insect damage. If a few leaves are yellowed, well, I wouldn’t get too picky, after all you are getting a deal but you don’t want to see a LOT of the leaves that way. Make the garden center your last stop of the day, you don’t want to leave them in the hot trunk of your car for long or they’ll be toast. Get your goodies home and plant asap.
With warm, dry conditions these plants take longer to establish. However, this season, we’ve seen good rainfall but we also had 100 degree temperatures. NOTE: sometimes a plant will wilt to conserve moisture. Check the soil moisture before watering too much!!
If you’ve purchased perennials, shrubs or trees, be sure to dig holes at least twice as wide to make it very easy for those roots to stretch out and grow. Add organic matter like leaf mold or compost and water well. Check back every day for the first week then every few days for the first month. Water deeply so the roots go down further. Many local nurseries will give you specific instructions on watering. If not, ask them!
If you shallow water, then the roots won’t bother to penetrate deeper into the soil and become better established. Sort of like teaching someone to fish rather than just giving it to them, you give them a better chance at a longer life if they have to dive down into the soil further to get that moisture.
AFTER the ground freezes, add another 3 inches or so of mulch. This will help to stabilize the ground temperature. Heaving can be a problem. When that happens, sometimes the plant can be pushed up out of the ground enough to expose the roots, NOT something you want!
Oh boy! Plant shopping is just as good as shoe shopping! Wherever there’s a sale, you’ll see me!
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