There is no substitute for a proper soil test. Plant a Hydrangea Macrophylia - a blue flower will indicate a -PH (acid) and a pink flower indicates a +PH (alkaline) ... the truer the color the stronger the PH.
- To acidify soil: add ferrous sulfate (3 tablespoons 3 times a year) to desired PH. (Rhodos, Kalmia, Azalea, most Picea & Pinus)
- To neutralize soil: add lime and gypsum, continue as needed. (Roses, most trees and flowering shrubs)
- For heavy clay soils: Mix 1/3 peat, 1/3 composted manure, 1/3 top soil; sprinkle top with gypsum and work into soil.
- For sandy soils: Same as above, omit gypsum.
- Only add fertilizer one month after planting. Natural Preferred. (Maintain plantings with applications of well rotted horse manure 3 times per year)
- Add a handful of bonemeal & bloodmeal to each plant 3 times a year. This is most important when transplanting!
- Most plants need well drained, fertile soil.
- Pits should be 4" deeper than finished grade and 50% wider than the root ball having vertical sides and a slightly crowned bottom.
- Pits should be set/back-filled/firmed with one's foot, then watered.
Plastic Container Planting
- To containerize bareroot roses & flowering shrubs: soak in muddy water for 20 minutes and plant in container using a mix of 1/5 peat, 2/5 rotted bark, 1/5 rotted horse manure, 1/5 top soil, & incorporated bonemeal, gypsum, lime, iron sulphate as required by the individual plant.
- When planting containerized plants, plastic pots must be removed and returned to Hortico to be recycled.
B&B / Fibrepot Planting
- Do not remove paper pots or burlap until the plant is in pit preventing any further disturbance of roots.
- Paper pots may be slit and top lip removed only when in planting pit.
- B&B (Balled & Burlapped): wire must be removed when plant is in pit.
Bare Root Rose / Shrub Planting
- Soak roots in muddy water for about 20 minutes prior to planting to get a better start; spread roots / keep union level or below grade / back-fill and firm soil with foot;
- Since roots tend to dehydrate quickly, it is important to mound soil up while planting to the top of the canes for 2-3 weeks, until the buds start to grow, then uncover them to 1" above the bud union. (See the diagram below) FALL PLANTINGS SHOULD STAY MOUNDED UNTIL SPRING!
- Do not add fertilizer to soil until the roots have established themselves, about 2 months after planting.
- Roses should be planted in full sun. Please note that the yellow substance on the rose canes is sulphur, a natural product to prevent rot.
- If you are unable to plant immediately store moist and dark. (not submersed in water : moist soil around the roots is ideal and cool (just above freezing)) -- i.e. a fruit cellar or garage.
- Mulch with 3-4" of organic material: composted leaves or wood chips, manure compost, or any readily available composted material.
- Keep the compost away from the stem of the plant and sprinkle with bloodmeal to discourage rodents.
- Mulch more manure or natural slow release fertilizer one month after planting and once again in fall.
- Water with soaker host / sprinkler especially when establishing plants.
- Provide appropriate winter protection with 3 stakes surrounded by burlap and filled with leaves. Do this especially when establishingnew plants. We have recently discovered the use of antidesicant spray has been incredibly effective to prevent desication in winter & in mid summer. Apply especially in fall. Preferred over burlap & found to be more efficient.
- A word of caution about planting your roses. Many roses do not like mushroom compost. Some will do well but it may kill others. Please, check the ingredients used in the compost you are using. Warning: Roses planted in mushroom compost may be severly injured or killed due to salt residue in mushroom compost.