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Plants and Bulbs

Plant FAQs
Planting Trees and Shrubs
How to Get Your Plants to Live Long and Prosper
Vegetable Gardens
Container Gardening
Hanging Baskets

Plant FAQs

How do I transplant flowers?

First, dig a hole a little larger than the plant's rootball. Put your hand over the rootball and turn the container over. Now, you can gently pull off the container with your other hand. Set the rootball in the hole, cover with loose soil, press down firmly and water thoroughly.

How long will it take to replant flowers?

If the soil is well prepared, you can plant a flat of about 36 flowers in about 30 minutes.

What is a perennial?

These flowers will survive winter and return the next summer. If you plant perennials, you will not have to replant them next year unless you want to move them to a new location.

What is an annual?

These plants last one season and die out.


Planting Trees and Shrubs

  Good grass is important, but it is only one element in a beautiful lawn. Grass can be enhanced by attractive trees, shrubs, flowers, etc. Although trees and shrubs are hearty plants, they must be planted correctly to survive.

  The first step in planting trees and shrubs is to give them plenty of room (see image). Make the hole in which the tree or shrub is to be planted wide enough for the longest root to be laid into it without crowding. A rule of thumb is to make the hole in which the tree or shrub is to be set 50 percent larger than the diameter of the roots of the plant.

  You can save yourself considerable cleanup time by piling the soil dug from the hole onto canvas or plastic sheets. This also prevents the piled dirt from killing or damaging the grass around the hole.

  It's a good idea to mix some peat moss into the soil when replacing it around the newly set plant or tree.

  If the shrub or tree is in a container, dig the hole at least 2" deeper than the root in the container. Loosen the soil below the root and add a small amount of plant food.

  Remove the shrub or tree from the container and lower it into the hole. Refill the hole with thoroughly loosened soil. Then, form a mound with additional soil around the edge of the newly dug hole. This provides a basin to hold water until the plant is thoroughly rooted in the new location.

  If the tree or shrub is a bare-root plant, unwrap the roots of the tree after the hole is dug and place it in position. Hold the plant upright with a spading fork while you tamp the loose dirt around the roots (see image). Always set the shrub or tree about 2" lower in the ground than it was originally set before replanting.

  Use plenty of water when resetting balled or bare-root plants. Fill the basin around the tree and let the water soak in thoroughly. After one complete soaking, resoak it again.

  If the tree or shrub is a bare-root plant, unwrap the roots of the tree after the hole is dug and place it in position. Hold the plant upright with a spading fork while you tamp the loose dirt around the roots (see image). Always set the shrub or tree about 2" lower in the ground than it was originally set before replanting.

  Use plenty of water when resetting balled or bare-root plants. Fill the basin around the tree and let the water soak in thoroughly. After one complete soaking, resoak it again.

  Water is essential to a new shrub or tree in the first few days after replanting. Keep the hole wet during this period. Be sure to build up a basin arrangement to keep water on the plant for several days. Water your newly planted shrub or tree every week to 10 days during a dry spell.

  After replanting the tree or shrub, trim it to the shape and size desired. Pruned limbs will heal faster if you make slanting cuts just above the bud. Spray pruned areas with special pruning spray immediately after trimming to deter insects and disease organisms.

  Protect the new plant against injury and disease by covering the lower part of the tree trunk with a tree wrap. Start the wrap just above the roots and a little below soil level. Continue wrapping to just below the lowest limb (see image). Hold the wrap in position with cord.

  Keep the soil loosened around the new plant and give it a good start by feeding it lightly with plant food. Soak the food into the soil by watering (see image below). Feed any new plant with plant food both in the spring and fall until it reaches maturity.

  You can create interesting clumps of trees by tying different varieties.


How to Get Your Plants to Live Long and Prosper

By Chuck Sackett, owner Apple Blossom Nursery

 Whether you have just one plant to plant or an entire landscape to install, properly planting your garden will result in a faster and healthier growth rate.

The general gardening rule is that good gardening is 99% soil preparation.  For a single plant, dig the hole 1 1/2 times the root ball size.  Mix one third to one half soil amendment with the native dirt taken from the hole.  Planting mix, potting soil, steer manure or redwood compost are all good general soil conditioners.  There are also some specific planting mixes on the market such as azalea mix or orchid mix.

In summertime it is a good idea to fill the hole with water before planting. This will help to keep the soil from drying out too quickly, in addition to revealing any drainage problems.  If water is too slow to drain, you will want to dig deeper and add some drain rock before planting.  This will prevent the root ball from sitting in constant water which will injure or kill the plant.

When planting the plant, loosen or cut the outside roots with a pruner, weeder or knife.  This will prevent the roots from simply growing around the root ball, stunting growth or even resulting in the demise of the plant.  Loosened roots will have a much easier time stretching out into the surrounding soil, thus speeding up the plant's growth.

After planting, backfill the newly mixed soil so that the soil level of the plant will be one-half to one inch above the grade soil level.  When the plant is later watered, the soil will compact so that the plant's soil level will be even with the grade.

When the plant is installed, thoroughly water it.  It's a good idea to water in some Vitamin B-1 rooting hormone which helps to reduce planting stress or "shock".  Also this helps establish new "feeler" roots which can be harmed during the planting process.

A timed-release fertilizer can be added now or a general fertilizer can be watered in within the first two weeks.  Then just keep the plant moist on these hot summer days and you should have a plant that will live long and prosper!

On a larger job it might be easier and more cost effective to rototill in the amendments throughout the entire planting area.  Also if the ground is extremely hard and dry, you might want to water the entire area to be worked twenty-four hours ahead of time.  This will allow the water to penetrate deep into the ground making it easier to work with.  Watering the same day that you will be working the garden might result in muddy, messy conditions.

Finally, if gophers are a concern, use gopher wire for each plant or invest in some gopher traps.  There is a list of gopher-resistant plants, but the problem is gophers can't read.....

                                                                        Happy Gardening!



Vegetable Gardens

Nothing is quite as satisfying as a table filled with delicious vegetables you have grown yourself.

As soon as you know which vegetables you are going to plant, you are ready to prepare your garden.  Be sure to choose a sunny location away from the root competition of trees and shrubs.  Then work the soil, adding organic matter (organic compost, peat moss, steer manure, rock powder).  We have tester kits available to help you determine deficiencies in your soil.  You may want to consider creating a bed with gopher wire underneath it.

In planting vegetables, you usually have two options: planting seeds or setting out young plants like the ones we sell..  Seed planting is far more economical if you compute price per plant, but for a small garden the purchase of young plants will not represent any great outlay and really is about the same as buying seeds, since you couldn't use them all.

Realize that the earliest crop usually will come on plants set out as early as possible in the growing season.  Seeds started indoors just before the ground has warmed up enough in spring to start a garden will be ready to plant at the very beginning of the growing season. 

Follow the spacing suggestions on the seed packet. 

Drip irrigation and Weedblock will make your life easier.  You can set a timer to water at optimum times of the day, and direct the water just where it should go.  If you also put  down some Weedblock landscaping fabric, you will have very little weeding to do!



When should I plant flower bulbs?

Planting times vary, but as a general rule, earlier in the fall is better than later. Bulbs need to establish strong root systems, before the frosts of winter set in and the bulbs enter a new cycle in preparation for spring blooming. Remember to plant bulbs in an area that drains well and water newly planted bulbs to help those roots get going.

How close should bulbs be planted together?

Groups of bulbs make a much nicer show. To create greater color impact in the garden, plant clusters of same-color flowers together in blocks or "bouquets." Generally, larger bulbs should be planted 3" to 6" apart, smaller bulbs 1" to 2" apart.

Gopher Proof Bulbs

These bulbs contain a substance gophers don't like and so won't eat.  They may shoulder them aside, but they won't eat them.  Other bulbs can be planted in gopher baskets - see the gopher page.

Allium, Anemone, Daffodil, Freesia, Hyacinth, Ranunculus, Scilla, Dwarf Iris,
 Iris Reticulata, Fritilaria, Galanthus, Leycojum, Ornithonalum, Puschkinia, Lycoris, Muscari, Narcissus, Chinodosa, Arunthus


Container Gardening

A container makes a nice little growing area.  Aside form the fact that it is gopher-free, containers focus much needed nutrients and water to the root zone of the plants within.  Pots, hanging baskets, sawn barrels and redwood boxes all make excellent container gardens.  Be sure to provide adequate drainage and resist the temptation to overcrowd.  Unsure of what to plant?  Try a few herbs and edible flowers or a collection of annuals.  Clusters of containers on a patio or deck make a dramatic focal point.

Adding an acrylic co-polymer (tiny little sponges) to your container garden or potting soil will allow you to forget a watering now and again without drying out your plants.  There amazing crystals absorb 100 times their weight in water and allow for a gradual release if the plant calls for more moisture.

Glazed ceramic and polymer pots are great for water retention too.  Terra cotta dries out much more quickly than the poly version.


Hanging Baskets

Victoria B.C. is famous for its public display of flowers, especially the beautiful hanging baskets mounted on the lamp posts surrounding the harbor area. The baskets are loaded with both perennials and annuals, are well maintained and always look great.

The secret is in the basket itself. They are moss lined and filled with premium potting soil. The moss not only allows the soil to retain a certain amount of moisture, but at the same time allows flowers and plants to grow over a larger area than a regular pot. Most encourage growth on the outside of the basket by planting small annuals directly into the side of the basket.

Hanging baskets should be watered every day.  Watering the basket is made easy by installing a small cone mister about 12" above the basket and aiming it down. If you include this basket in your drip irrigation system it will need a gallon of water per day.   We've found that Eleanor's Fertilizer gives excellent results. 

If you've never made a hanging basket you really should try it. Start with a pre-formed wire basket. Purchase sphagnum moss (large package) and soak the moss in a 5 gallon bucket. Begin lining the basket with the moss and partially fill the basket with premium potting soil. Continue this process until the basket is full of soil and moss. Sprinkle lightly with water until the basket is saturated and then top off with soil. Select several types of flowering plants to fill basket. Put a few plants into the side of the basket, fertilize and hang from an rafter of your house with a wire hanger.