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Apr 12, 2019
Top Tips for Landscape Planting Success
Jeff Gibson Ball Seed Landscape Business Manager

From a stronger rapport with your grower to prepping your jobsite beds in advance, the following key tips will put you on the road to landscape success.

Plant “fresh”
There are several relationship goals you should aspire to when working with your grower. The first being securing the best-looking plants for your landscape designs – your clients expect nothing less! This means it’s important to work on a plan with your grower to discuss a realistic timeline on pre-season delivery of material. Keep in mind that root-bound plants may suffer more transplant shock, which translates to losses or higher maintenance on-site. Make a plan together for the freshest plants available when you’re ready to install.

Know your soil
This is all about the pH range in your soil at the jobsite, or how tight nutrients hold to the soil. Here are a few guidelines:

Less than 6.0 pH = Nutrients leached = small leaves, marginal chlorosis
Greater than 7.5 pH = Nutrients bound tight = young leaf chlorosis and stunting

Strive for greater air porosity in your soil, too. You’ll want more air than water! Adding organic matter increases air porosity.

Watering
Did you know that 50% of landscape water is wasted? Not only that, the excess water can be more harmful than you think. Most plants die due to overwatering than from under watering. To reign this in, reduce your water as the plants fill in the beds. A general rule: When leaves touch, they’ve had enough!

Fertilization
There are three elements that promote plant health and growth:

N (nitrogen) – “gas” go grow
P (phosphorous) – stem stretch, roots and flowering
K (potassium) – “tone” or how rigid the plant is

Discuss with your grower on best practices on how to fine-tune your plant nutrition to keep your landscapes healthy and happy.

Final thoughts
Here are a few final tips to help you and your team plant for success...

  • Moisture content of the plant tray soil should match the moisture content of the destination bed soil
  • When planting, match the crown of the plant to the soil level (like you would a tree!)
  • Avoid soil compaction! Cultivate the soil before planting and, when possible, work from the perimeter – stay out of the bed. Also, avoid “knee blight” where kneeling further compacts the soil.

This season, I’ve compiled a quick guide of all these tips – in both English and Spanish versions – to help keep them top-of-mind. There's also a great regional section on "What To Order When" so you're not caught off-guard on many key landscape products.

Be sure to view all of our Landscape Success Tips here.

Got any more tips? I’d love to hear them! Leave a comment below or email me anytime.

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