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Placing Plants Properly

A garden project success depends on properly place your plants. Here are some basic tips to ensure your shrubs and flowers stay happy and healthy. You have planned and prep your new area outdoors and are ready to do the final step, positioning and putting them in the ground. There are many different ways to design your beds, but correct spacing of each specimen is critical for healthy plants.

Know The Height And Width Of Your Trees, Shrubs, And Flowers

The first step in any project is to know how high and wide each plant will be when it is fully matured. When doing any garden investment, think down the road a few years. You may get this project done and say to yourself, "wow, all this money and time and these plants look so small. I should have bought more." This is a very common thought with a lot of people.

Shrubs and trees take time to grow, but with a little patience you will see the difference in the near future. Unless you buy a full size plant, each specimen grows at different intervals. Before you purchase any materials learn about of each tree, shrub or flower specimen. This will make the project so much easier for you in the long haul. The average shrub comes in a one, three, five, or seven gallon containers. Flowers are put in trays of six, twelve or twenty four plugs. They also come in pint, one or two gallon containers.


Plants Too Close, Properly Placed

Plants Too Close
Staggered Shrubs

If you take a look at this photo you can see the shrubs were placed too close together. They are overcrowded and the result is stunted growth and unhealthy plants.


First Herbee Tip: Staggered Pattern

The first tip is called a staggered pattern. This style of spacing can be done with any type of landscaped bed. Always place the shrubs first in their containers approximately where you plan on planting each one. Let's take an example of planting across the front of a house. Landscape beds along the front of a house is very popular today.

There is no set rule of where to position your first shrub. Sometimes I will put the first one in the center and work my way on either side. You can also start at one end and work your way down to the other end. Remember not to place the shrubs too close to your foundation.

Let's say you are planting all three gallon containers. Put your first one closer to the house, second shrub one to two feet away and position further away from the foundation.

Continue this pattern all the way across the front. When you are positioning the shrubs, consider how to place them if they are at different heights. Taller shrubs look nice on either side of a window or door.

When you have the containers all positioned, place your flowers the same way in their containers. If you have them in trays, separate each one or put them in groups and position the flowers. Always step back and look at how you placed them. Now is the time you can play around and and take the necessary steps to make sure you like the way they look. Change their locations if you are not satisfied.

There have been some jobs I have taken over an hour and a half moving plants around. I may move it six inches here or there. Take your time doing this part of the project. The staggered look is more of a free flowing pattern. I do this style in many of my designs.


Second Herbee Tip: Straight Row

The second tip is putting the shrubs and flowers across in a straight row. Some people use one specific shrub all the way down to form a hedge appearance. You can also use a variety of different height and width shrubs. Follow the exact steps as above for positioning each flower.

A straight pattern can be used also in trees for privacy.

Two key points to remember whether you are putting your plants in a staggered pattern or a straight row. Give each specimen enough room to grow properly both vertically and horizontally. This garden project is part of an investment in your property. Let each shrub and flower show its beauty to you and your neighbors.

The next step once you have decided where the shrubs and flowers will go, is to put them in the ground. The general rule for any project when planting trees is to make each hole is two to three times the size of the container. This method will work, especially with ball and burlap.

As far as shrubs, dig the hole deep enough and set your container down in the hole. The top of your shrub should be even with the ground surface. Don't put the shrub too deep in the ground. The result can be a bowl around the plant when watering or rain, and you can rot the root system out. The width of the hole can be around six to eight inches wider then the container. The purpose of making the hole wider is to allow the roots to grow and expand.


Put Flowers And Shrubs In Ground

Once the shrubs are in the ground, position your flowers the way you had done previously. Take a spade or shovel and dig your hole. Flowers do not have a large root system, so you don't have to plant them very deep. If the flower roots are small, put two or three plants together in one hole. Follow the same steps in planting flowers as you would in doing shrubs. Once you have the bed done, step back again and make sure you like their placement. This is the final time to make any changes to this project if you are not one hundred percent satisfied. It will take a couple of weeks for the roots to get established.

Once the hole is dug, tip the shrub on its side and gently tap the container with your hands or a shovel. The shrub should come out easily. When purchasing shrubs at a nursery or local store, always check the bottom to see if the roots are showing or hanging out. This is a sign the shrub should be planted soon, or it has been in the container too long. Before placing the shrub in the ground, take your fingers and lightly loosen the roots. Make sure you do not damage any of them.

Apply an organic mushroom compost or a slow six month release nitrogen fertilizer into the hole before the shrub goes in. You need to apply these two materials only once a year. Add a little more of the compost or fertilizer into the loose soil and fill the rest of the hole with the remaining dirt. Never mound the dirt up against the shrub. Plant all your shrubs this way. Finish the bed by applying mulch, pine straw, or decorative rocks though out the garden. Here are some wonderful additional resources.

Check Out Three Of Herbee's Book Picks For You



Take these tips and you can easily position and plant any deciduous or evergreen shrub. Accent the shrubs with annual or perennial flowers will create a wonderful new garden project anywhere in your yard. Give your gardens and landscape the best possible chance for a healthy life. You, your family, and friends will have the opportunity to enjoy and relax outside for years to come.

Herbeee Sends More Landscape Insights Your Way.

List Of Perennial Flowers --- Evergreen Plants

Decidiious Plants --- More Tips On Planning A Garden



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