This is a great time to plant up your garden with any hardy plants – since ‘autumn is nature’s natural time for planting’. During the autumn the soil should be moist and still warm after the summer, both conditions promoting strong root growth. This is essential for the plants to get established quickly, ready to come into growth in spring.
Since trees, shrubs, roses, woody climbers and herbaceous plants should adorn your garden for many years, it’s important to get them off to the best possible start.
The roots are the most important part of the plant – get them established quickly and properly and the rest of the plant will follow. Unfortunately, because they’re ‘down there’ in the soil, many people completely forget about them and their importance!
Digging over the border, breaking up the soil and adding lots of bulky organic matter is important, vital in heavy clay soils. If your soil is clay and you just dig a planting hole, it can act like a sump, filling up with water and causing the roots to rot.
Once the soil is prepared, dig out the planting hole and mix more organic matter and bonemeal with the dug out soil.
Before planting, thoroughly soak the plant’s rootball – stand plants in a bucket of water for 15-20 minutes.
Always plant at the same depth that the plant was originally growing and firm the soil around the roots.
Trees need staking with a good tree stake and secured with two tree ties. Climbers need to be tied into their supports; tying branches horizontally or in a fan shape not only looks more pleasing, but it also improves flowering.
After planting, give the plants a good soaking to settle the soil and roots and to ensure fast establishment. Then add a 5-7.5cm (2-3in) thick mulch around the plants to help keep down weeds and maintain soil moisture levels in spring and summer.
Evergreens will benefit from shelter from strong, cold winds if you live in an exposed area. Put up shelters of windbreak netting supported on strong stakes.
If you’re a gardener, you might find these posts useful: