For the planting of shrubs the best period is from the end of autumn to February-March. In this phase of vegetative rest, the chances of seeing new specimens of shrub, from evergreen ones like hedges, to deciduous trees, to flowering trees like hawthorn, forsythia, rose and lilac. But beware of the ground, which must not be frozen or wet. On pain of failure of the operation.
Planting of shrubs: soil preparation
After checking that the soil is not hardened by frost or soaked with rain, a hole much larger than the root ball should be dug. In this way the soft worked soil will facilitate the development of secondary rootlets which will give the plant a firm anchor and adequate nutrition.
At this point it is necessary to evaluate the quality of the soil in the excavation. And if necessary proceed with corrective action. If the tree to be planted is an acidophilic species (camellia, azalea, rhododendron ...) and the soil is not acid enough, enrich it with peat. If, on the other hand, it is a plant that prefers light soils (for example, roses), mix a little sand and gravel.
Measuring the acidity of a soil is easy: pH 0-7 acidic soil, pH 7-14 alkaline soil. There are various types of meters that can be conveniently purchased online, for example this:
digital pH meter
The correction must concern both the earth with which to fill the hole and that of the bottom and walls, in practice all that will be penetrated by the roots. A layer of expanded clay should be placed on the bottom of the hole, which promotes drainage by avoiding water stagnation between the roots, taking care to cover it with a little soil mixed with organic fertilizer.
Planting of shrubs: preparation of the plant
Shrubs purchased in containers are to be preferred, i.e. taken from the vivazio with a part of the soil in which the roots have developed: they are less affected by post-planting stress and take root more easily. Before planting, the roots must be checked and those that come out of the bread of earth must be eliminated.
Planting of shrubs
The shrub should be placed in the hole so that the collar, that is the point of attachment of the stem to the root system, remains just above the surface of the soil. At this point it is covered with the removed earth, enriched with soil improver and fertilizer, also with the help of the handle of the shovel and pressed all around so as not to leave empty areas between the roots.
A light mulch of the worked soil with a layer of conifer bark is an excellent way to avoid the development of weeds (which can remove oxygen) and to protect the roots from frost and the first heat. The first watering must be very generous. Throughout the year following the first plant, water and fertilizer must be regularly distributed in order to ensure a luxuriant development.
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