Correct defective roots at planting.

Two Pruning Friends

On the second day of winter
a dear friend gave to me
two pruning friends.

An assembly line is effective to root prune sixty dwarf viburnum. Is it worth all that trouble?  Why take time and effort? Plants grown in nurseries may have an artificially dense root system. Circling roots are visible when pot is removed. Future root expansion could be restricted by these circling roots.

Plants are costly. We want the best chance for success.  So what’s a gardener to do?
Step 1. Call 811 or online to locate underground utilities.
Step 2. Dig the hole.

Hole should be slightly shallower than root ball. Media in pot should be level with or slightly above surrounding soil. Deep planting is linked to poor growth and shrub stress. Stressed shrubs are more susceptible to pests, disease and drought.

Place top of root ball 2-3 inches higher than surrounding soils in compact or wet sites. Media decomposes and settles over time. Dig hole  approximately three times wider than diameter of root ball. Ensure surrounding soil and back fill is loose. What a lovely environment for fine new roots.

Even a child is able to root prune given proper tools and instruction.

Learning to root prune, under the watchful eye and instruction of Sharon Kay, Nature Coast Master Gardener.

Step 3. If circling roots are present, “shave before you plant.”

Remove 1/4 inch thick outer surface of root ball. This may be done while in the pot with hand pruning saw or sharp blade. Pruning shears are handy. Prune after planting using a sharp shovel. Sanitize tools.

Step 4. Water consistently and frequently.

Water directly to the root ball. Add supplemental water in drier months. Provide consistent frequent irrigation, based on site and until established.

Step 5. Mulch (optional).

Apply 2-3 inch layer of mulch around the root ball. Do not place mulch on top of root ball. Click here for this excellent publication with planting details.

Step 6. Enjoy. Repeat.

Stay well and Happy Gardening!

On the second day of winter a dear friend gave to me
two pruning friends,
And a cardinal in a crape tree.

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