A WIDE PLANTING hole provides an improved root zone for faster establishment of a new root system and faster top growth will result. Due to the heavy clay soils in the Miami Valley area, it is recommended that the native soils be amended with a combination of peat moss and/or compost and gypsum (see below for amounts) and that plants be set several inches higher than they have been grown in the nursery or container.
DIG YOUR PLANTING HOLE twice as wide as, but only as deep as the root ball (a wide but somewhat shallow hole). Mix the peat/composted manure/gypsum with the soil from the hole and then place several inches of the mix back in the hole. Place the tree in the hole so that several inches are above the surrounding soil level and backfill with the soil mix mounding to the top of the root ball and tamp firmly. Water the planting area thoroughly several times, letting the water soak in between each watering. This will help to eliminate any air pockets that can dry out the roots and cause future settling. Cover the top of the root ball and to the edge of the planting hole with 3-4" of mulch—this will hold in moisture and slow weed growth and help moderate freezing and thawing.
Follow the directions above for trees with this exception: the shrub should only be about 1" above the soil level.
Amending the Soil
The amount of peat/manure/gypsum mix will vary depending on the size of your plant but should never be more than 1/2 and 1/2 with the soil. The following guideline may help:
Small trees (1" or under): up to a half bag of composted manure, 2 shovels of peat and 1 shovel of gypsum.
Medium trees (1-2"): one bag of composted manure, 4-5 shovels of peat and 3 shovels of gypsum.
Large trees (3" and up): two bags of composted manure, half bale of peat and half bag of gypsum.
Shrubs: half a shovel each of peat undocumented manure for each gallon increment size of the new plant.
For instance, small plants in a one gallon pot get one shovel each while those in 2 or 3 gallon size pots will get more.
Gypsum should be dusted into the planting hole and over the soil mix. One 40 pound bag of composted manure will do 5-6 container shrubs or 3-4 larger balled and burlapped shrubs. One 40 pound bag of gypsum will do 20 container plants or 12-15 balled and burlapped shrubs.
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