Lake Oconee Breeze

In the Garden

March 2, 2011

Proper soil preparation required for spring planting

LAKE OCONEE — We are now in one of the best times of the year to for planting. The weather is still a little cool, which gives plant material time to become established before hot weather arrives. When planting, always make sure the soil is prepared properly. This can be done by adding quality top soil, but the two best amendments to add are planting mix or soil conditioner. Cow manure will also help improve the quality of the soil. Adding soil amendments can be done by using a roto-tiller, which is a good way to enhance the entire planting area. You can also add amendments to just the soil that is removed from each individual hole. Adding soil amendments is very important to get the plant off to a good start. To lessen plant shock and increase root growth, water the root ball with a root stimulator when planting.

Spring is also one of the best times to choose that perfect plant. The selection and availability of plants are at their best. There are so many varieties of shrubs, trees, ferns and perennials to choose from. Unusual plants from the west coast are arriving as well.

If you need to do transplanting to make room for new plants, it needs to be done before the new growth starts, which will be very soon. Some new growth is already appearing. Trying to transplant material with new growth will shock the plant and maybe kill it. When transplanting, dig the hole about twice as wide as the root ball and plant at the same level as the plant was at in the ground. Make sure you add soil enrichment to the hole as well to give the plant an added advantage for survival, also use root stimulator to lessen plant shock.

Happy Gardening.

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