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Article 5

Planting Perennials

Soil Preparation

Recommended reading: Soil Testing

Good soil preparation is extremely important for perennials, since they may be in place for many years. Deeply spade the beds to a depth of eight to 10 inches. Amend clay soils by mixing in at least 2 inches of pine bark humus, compost, leaf mould or small pea gravel to improve drainage and aeration. Improve water retention in sandy soils by mixing in 2 to 3 inches of pine bark humus, composted leaf mould or peat moss. Good soil drainage is critical to the success of most perennials. You can use raised beds can be used to ensure adequate drainage.

Planting
Most perennials can be planted in the fall or early spring. Fall planting gives the plant more time to become established before the start of active growth in the spring. Fall-planted perennials are usually well established before hot weather. Fall planting should be finished at least 6 weeks before hard-freezing weather occurs.

Early spring is also considered a good time to plant perennials. Planting early, just after killing frosts have passed, is better than later spring planting.

If plants are somewhat pot-bound at planting time, loosen the roots around the bottom and sides of the root ball and spread them out in the bottom of the planting hole. To encourage side root growth, make the hole twice as wide as deep. Refill the hole, firming the soil in around the plant to avoid air pockets. Be sure the crown of the plant (the point where roots and top join) is even with the soil surface.

Watering
Water plants thoroughly following planting to settle the soil around the roots. Pay especially close attention to watering the first few weeks while plants develop their root systems. Adequate moisture is essential for the growth of perennials. Most perennials require at least 1 to 1-1/2 inches of water per week from rain or irrigation. More may be needed during very hot weather.

To promote deep root growth, water thoroughly and deeply. Allow the soil surface to dry before watering again. Soaker hoses and drip irrigation are ideal watering methods since they save water and avoid wetting leaves and flowers.

Recommended reading: Mulch

Mulch with a 1- to 2-inch layer of compost, pine bark or pine straw to help keep down weeds and conserve moisture. Avoid overly heavy mulching to help prevent crown rot.


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plants
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articles
› A Checklist of Things To Do in the November Garden
› Poinsettia Care in the Home
› Fall Clean-up
› Fall Planting of Trees, Shrubs and Perennials
› Planting Perennials
› A Checklist of Things To Do in the December Garden
› January To Do List
› Fall Planting
› Growing Aloe Plants
› Pruning your Clematis
› Hedges
› Growing Jade Plants
› Planting and Growing Bulbs
› Pleione Formosana
› Caring for Sarracenia - North American Pitcher Plants
› Caring for the Venus Fly Trap - Dionaea muscipula
› Growing Winter Heather
and many more
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