My goal when I started Happy Gardens Landscape LLC, was not to sell as many jobs as I could, but help educate people. There are numerous companies out there that try to take advantage of clients or maybe they just aren’t trained adequately. “You don’t know what you don’t know”. So, Im going to give you some information. By the end, you will be able to plant your own plants/trees or at least know when a company is not giving you their 100% on your landscape installation.

What you need to know:

Bare with me, I’m going to keep this as short and sweet as possible, but there is a lot to know. Remember, if you need help or assistance in any or every area, please contact us and we will be happy to share our knowledge and wisdom.

  1. Do your research.
  • Figure out what soil you have.
  • Sandy soil, Silt Soil, Clay Soil, Loamy Soil
  • What amount of sun does your area get?
  • 240 degrees on your compass is when the sun is it’s hottest (around August), don’t plant shade loving plants where it will get this type of sun
  • What type of winters do you have?
  • Make sure you plants can tolerate the low temperatures your area has.

2. Choose your plants.

  • Call a landscape company and see if they can supply the plants. If it’s a reputable company, they should only sell specimen quality plants.
  • Trees:
  • Make sure trees do not have any decay/rot on the trunk of the tree.
  • There is only one central leader, meaning there is not two primary leaders growing. (The leader is what the branches grow off of).
  • Try not to plant a tree where a previous tree was in the past 5 years. (The Plant available nutrients are likely sucked out of the soil in that area)
  • Plants:
  • Make sure the plants haven’t been recently repotted. You should be able to grab the plant by the base and it not come out of the container.
  • Look at the foliage. Ensure that it is full, there is no discoloration on the leaves, this could be a disease.

3. Prep your soil.

  • Cotton Burr Compost, Alfalfa Pellets from a feed store, or a compost mixture from a local nursery. Apply this to your soil about a month prior to planting. It is best to hand till it in with a garden hoe.
  • Water the amendment in and water your flowerbeds a few times prior to installing.
  • You do not want to plant in dry soil.

4. Begin Planting

  • Lay out your plants where you want them, this will give you a visualization on what it will look like. It’s easier to make changes now vs. when they’re planted in the ground.
  • Begin digging your holes.
  • Take your plant out and Use the container that to make sure you have the depth right. Let the container poke out of the hole about 1-2″.
  • You are going to want to dig the hole twice as wide as your plant.
  • Make sure you research your plant, some plants, like Agave prefer girdling roots. Most don’t, so you should be okay.
  • Slightly disturb the root ball. Meaning take a knife, shovel, or your hands and rough up the sides and bottom of the plant. This breaks the roots up and allows them to start growing down.
  • Put the plant in the hole, make sure the bottom of the hole is packed tight. Slowly start backfilling. Once you’re 1/3 of the way up, get some water and pour it around what you just packed. Repeat 2/3 and 3/3 of the way up. Air pockets can hold water and air, which is not ideal.
  • Make sure your plant/tree is above the soil grade about 1-2″. This leaves out the possibility of any water standing near the base/trunk.
  • Water one final time, for about 45 seconds, per a 3 gallon plant. (So, if you planted a 15 gallon tree, you should water it in about 3 minutes.) You should not see any settlement, if you do backfill some more. E
  • If your surrounding ground is dry, it will suck the moisture out of your plant.

5. Fertilize + Mulch

  • Take some of the compost or amendments you treated your soil with a month ago and apply it to the top of the soil around your plants.
  • Mulch your plants with hardwood mulch and read our latter blog post on the do’s and don’ts of mulching

6. Care

  • Water your new plants 1x extra then your existing plants, for about a month. Then put them on the same routine as your other plants.
  • Fertilize them with organic fertilizers. Alfalfa pellets from a feed store are the only thing I put on my lawn/flowerbeds.
  • Alfalfa pellets have so many nutrients and they are already broken down, so you don’t have to wait on pill bugs and worms to break it down.
  • You can order worms online. Dig a hole and place them in it and cover them with soil. They break down all the nutrients in your soil so your plant/tree roots can take them up. Your plant roots have a symbiotic relationship with worms, bacteria and fungi. (You undoubtedly need bacteria, fungi, and decomposers in your soil). They are the secret to a “Happy Garden”.