April is for planting

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April PLanting

The heat of summer is fading into a distant memory, the soil is cool and moist, the weather’s mild and it’s a pleasure to get out into the garden. This is why April’s one of the best months to put in new plants. They appreciate the gentler conditions and have time to settle in before it gets really cold.

Tips for planting

Before planting you have a precious opportunity to improve the soil. Dig in well-aged manure or compost and some organic Dynamic Lifter or Nature’s Way Bio-Gold pellets, blending these goodies into an area that’s more than twice the width of the pot.

If lack of water is likely to be an issue at any time, adding water-storing crystals could be a help. Pre-swell some Yates Waterwise Crystals in a container of water and, when the crystals have turned to jelly, mix them into the soil in the planting area. These will provide a source of stored moisture for the roots.

Dig a hole that’s about twice the width of the plant pot and approximately the same depth. Heap the removed soil at the side of the planting hole.

Water the plant in the pot and leave it to drain. Water the planting hole, too, and allow the water to drain away until the soil is just moist.

Take the plant out of the pot. This may be more difficult than it sounds, especially if the plant has been in the pot for some time. The roots may be clinging to the sides, making it difficult to remove. Running a knife blade down the side between pot and mix may help, as can turning the pot on its side and gently rolling it back and forth on a hard surface.

Remove the plant from the pot and inspect the root system. If the plant is potbound, the roots will be seen circling around the outside of the root ball. Loosen these with your fingers or use sharp secateurs to cut the encircling roots.

Sit the plant in the hole and adjust to make sure that it won’t be any deeper than before. Fill soil back in around the rootball and water well, ensuring that the water soaks right into the root area. The rootball, especially if it’s compacted, will be naturally water repellent so it’s vital to make sure that the water doesn’t just run away to the sides.

Building a raised ring of soil (like a mini volcano crater) around the new plant will help direct water to the roots, but don’t overdo it and create a bog.

The Dynamic Lifter or Bio-Gold pellets that have been dug into the planting hole will provide all that’s required for now, but feed again with a complete fertiliser like Acticote in spring.

What to plant now? Most evergreen shrubs and trees (except the cold-sensitive), grassy plants and strap-leafed varieties. Don’t forget, too, that April’s the month for planting spring flowers and bulbs.


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