Every Dollar Matters

Feet of Clay

by Russell Matthews

Speciman Planting - Trees & Shrubs

PRUNE off all broken and damaged leaves and branches and shape to suit your taste.

DIG the planting holes only as deep as the root ball and two to three times as wide. Break up clods larger than a baseball with a small hand tiller or spading fork. Remove the soil from the hole and set is aside to be used later as back fill.

Caution: do not try to dig when the soil is adobe hard or wet and sticks to your digging utensils. When your soil is moist, but not sticky is the time to amend it.

PLANT when the soil is moist, but never when it's soggy or adobe dry. Avoid planting between the hours of 10am to 5pm during the hot months of summer.

REMOVE plants from containers. Observe root balls. If roots are matted and congested; loosen them with your fingers or slice through them on all sides and across the bottom with a sharp knife.

If plant is balled and burlap, remove plastic, metal wire, rope, twine and roll the top third of the burlap down and away to expose the root ball. Burlap must be buried or it will wick water from the soil.

Set 1 to 30 gallon plants so that the top of the root ball is about 2 to 6" above the natural soil level. Add backfill soil as needed to achieve this effect.

backfilling soil

BACK FILL: Return 1/3 of soil to planting hole and water thoroughly.

Add another 1/3 of soil to planting hole and water thoroughly.

LAST 1/3 of soil should be mixed with the following materials based on the root ball size.

If Root Ball Size is Compost or Cotton Bols Compost Lava Sand & Green Sand
1-2 gals 1-2 quarts 1/2 cup of each per gallon size planted
3-5 gals 3-5 quarts 1/2 cup of each per gallon size planted
7-10 gals 7-10 quarts 1/2 cup of each per gallon size planted
20-30 gals 20-30 quarts 1/2 cup of each per gallon size planted

BLEND the remaining soil with amendments as indicated above and backfill the planting site tapering the newly ammended soild from the natural ground level to top edge of root ball.

Root stimulate new plantings using Grandpa Stover's "Soil Conditioning" recipe.

MULCH using 3 to 6 inches of organic material such as shredded fir or hardwood to cover the bare soil. Do not place mulch within 2 to 3 inches of trunk. Check soil moisture weekly. Make sure your new plantings receive 2 to 3 inches of water once or twice a weekly the first growing year. Thereafter, water as needed and when you do water deeply (2-3").

TIP Grandpa Stover says, "prior to planting, lightly dust your planting holes with Alfalfa Meal to promote healthy, vigerous growth. I don't know how it works, just know that it does.