Spring means that garden centers are full of people and car trunks are full of plants. They all have dirt on their knees, dirt under their fingernails, and are enthusiastic about gardening. To make sure this excitement produces positive results, let’s break down the basics in this spring planting tips article.
Installing new plants and making them grow successfully is not difficult, nor as complicated as some believe. Is it as easy as digging a hole and putting the plant in? Yes, it certainly can be. I will not go into bed preparation as I have covered it in other articles that are available at http://www.freeplants.com
Let’s start with the B&B plants. B&B is short for wrapped in burlap. Closely examine the ball on the plant you have purchased. Did the diggers wrap the ball with twine to hold the plant securely? If they do, you should at least cut the string and place it at the bottom of the hole, or remove it entirely. Pay close attention around the stem of the plant where it emerges from the root ball, as diggers often wrap the twine around the stem several times while tying down the root ball. This is extremely important because if the string is nylon, it will not rot and gird and kill the plant within two to three years.
When B&B plants are stored in the nursery for long periods of time, it is necessary to re-burlap them if the bottom begins to rot before the plants are sold. If the plant you buy has been re-burlap, there may be nylon pinholes between the two layers of burlap, so check the stem carefully. As long as the nylon string is removed from the stem of the plant, it is actually harmless around the rest of the ball and you do not need to remove it.
Is the root ball wrapped in genuine burlap or imitation burlap made from a non-biodegradable plastic material?
Genuine burlap will rot quickly underground and does not need to be removed before planting. If you’re not sure or suspect it’s poly-type burlap, you don’t have to remove it completely, but you should loosen it around the stem of the plant and cut a few vertical slices around the circumference of the ball.
Now here is the critical part. What type of soil are you planting in?
If your soil is heavy clay, I suggest you raise the Saffron planting bed at least 8″ with good rich topsoil. If you can’t do this for some reason, set up the plant so that at least 2″ or more from the root ball is above the existing grade and mound the soil over the root ball. Keep in mind that plants set up this way could dry out during the summer, but planting them low to the ground in thick clay can mean the roots will be too wet at other times of the year.
“Experts” suggest that when planting in clay soil, dig the hole wider and deeper than the root ball and fill around and under the plant with loose organic material. That sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it? Some of these experts also recommend that you dig a deeper hole and put a few inches of gravel in the bottom for drainage. Where do you think this water is going to “drain”?