It’s time for cool weather tree and shrub planting. Rebirth and Renewal are hallmarks of the new year. Celebrate by planting something green. January is an excellent month for planting – or transplanting trees and shrubs because cool temperatures are kinder to root systems. Consider following these best practices for planning successful plantings.
What is the objective? More or less shade? Screening from neighbors, road or equipment such as tools or golf carts? Perhaps add texture to a tall wall or fence? Will it be a focal point or around which other plantings will grow? Bird habitat?
Sketch existing structures such as the house, shed, garage, pool, walks, drives or fencing. List any HOA or city setbacks from property lines. Note underground plumbing or sewerage lines and any above ground electrical lines. Assess the current drainage situation, or absence thereof. Locate existing plants and their relative sizes. Is there a theme of current plantings or something altogether new?
What is the soil composition of the intended growing location? The best time to amend soil conditions is before planting. When in doubt — soil test. Collect the free, postage-paid kit from most garden centers or local hardware stores. Simple instructions are included ,and no special tools are required. The average laboratory test costs less than two coffee beverages. The LSU AgCenter Soil Test is the only lab incorporating Louisiana-specific soil fertility research in its recommendations.
Read the plant tag, which should include the mature size and shape, water requirements, hardiness zone, fertilizer, and use. If the tag is missing relevant information, nursery staff are happy to assist. Or conduct a bit of online research. Is the tree/shrub deciduous (drops its leaves in winter) or evergreen? Bloom time? Is it drought tolerant or prefers soggy feet?
Now is the time for cool weather tree & shrub planting. Our yards may be noticeably different by Mother Nature’s hand or a hired contractor. Take control by planting a new tree or shrubs. Happy Growing!
For more fall gardening tips, visit lsuagcenter.com.