Thursday, June 6, 2013

DIY Landscaping, Planting

The Road So Far

So in the last couple of posts we talked about designing, and prepping the landscaping.  Now is when things start so shape up as we plant our shrubs and trees.  So to get started move all the plants into their respective locations to get a feel for how things are going to look.  This will help to ensure that everything is in the right place and is a great time to make any last minute changes.

Moving on Up

This is not typical, but in our situation we needed to move one of our trees.  This activity is not for the faint of heart, so if you have any reservations try to get a professional to move the tree for you.  Since we are out of our minds we decided to do it ourselves.  Start by watering the tree a good amount of time before you plan to move it.  Some balance is needed here because you want the soil to be easy enough to dig through, but not so water logged that it's a lot of extra work.  Now our tree was just planted the previous summer so it's root system was not established as much as an older tree would be.  If you are planning on transplanting a more established tree start here.  You need to do some prep work a few years in advance for that to work out well.

Start by digging around your tree several feet away from the trunk, and dig a few feet down until you have a nice trench made.  Then start removing dirt from around the center island a few inches at a time until you have reached the root ball.  You'll know when you have hit the root ball because the few roots that you have encountered so far will become very dense.  In our case things were made a little easier because when the tree was planted the cage was left intact.  The root ball was then very easy to identify.  At this point you should have dug under the tree a fair amount.  By placing a shovel under the root ball, you should be able to move the tree fairly easy.  If this is not the case continue digging under the tree until you are able to tip it over.  Once you are able to do that wrap the root ball with a large piece of burlap.  This will keep the root ball together better, and also make moving the tree easier.

You got the tree out, now you need someplace for it to go.  Dig a hole two to three times as wide as your root ball and a few inches shallower.  Cover the bottom of your hole with compost and press it down until you have a nice level surface.  You have now made a new home for your tree.

Now you need to get your tree out of the big hole that you just dug.  This is no easy task, but one thing that we did to make things simpler was to use the back fill and a 2x12 as a ramp.  At this point you want as much help as you can because that tree is gonna be heavy.  I recommend sliding the root ball along a 2x12 or any other surface that will allow you to slide the tree.  You can also roll the tree, but this can have a tendency to make the root ball crumble.  Slide the tree into it's new home and position it the way that you want.  Having the burlap in place makes this a lot easier.  We made the mistake of removing the burlap at this point and paid the consequences for that mistake.  It was very difficult to position the tree without it but got it eventually.  At this point finishing up transplanting the tree is very similar to planting shrubs to we'll move on to that.

Can You Dig It

Granted, planting shrubs is not the most difficult task, but there are a few things that you should be careful about.  Start by digging a hole that is 2 to 3 times the size of your container and a few inches shallower.  Make sure that you are not making a clay bowl for your plant.  If you start hitting very compacted clay you need to stop there.  It may mean that you have a higher landscaping bed, but you do not want your plants to have a hard time spreading their roots.  Fill the bottom of the hole with a few inches of compost and mix in some fertilizer as well.  We used holly tone for all of our shrubs based on the advice we received from the guys over at Northridge Nursery.  Now that you have supplied a good base for your plant remove it from the container.  The easiest way to do this is to tip the container over and slide the shrub out.  Do not try to pull the plant out of the container.  This can cause a lot of trauma to the plant.  If you are having a hard time with removing the shrub, hold the container with one hand while hitting the sides your other hand.  This will help to loosen the dirt and remove the shrub.  No while holding the shrub use a shovel to make a few notches at the bottom corners of the root ball.  This will help to stimulate new growth.  Place the root ball in the middle of your hole and start to back fill around the plant.  As you go you can mix in some compost to amend the soil, and also make sure to compress the soil around the root ball.  Once your have completely back filled your hole you can move onto the next shrub.  One important thing to not is to not put any soil on your root ball.  It is important for the crown of the roots to breath and covering it up will not allow that to happen.  Your new shrub should look like the illustration below.

It's Mulching Time

Filling in your landscaping bed with mulch is very similar to filling it with topsoil.  You'll want between 2-4" of mulch covering the entire landscaping bed.  Once you have applied all the mulch take the time to go over it with your hands and spread it out and pat it down.  This may take some extra time, but it helps to give your landscaping a nice polished look.  Also, along the edges make sure to press down the mulch really well so it won't wander off into your yard.  Now apply a weed preventer like preen on top of the mulch making sure to read the label for the right amount of application.  This will help keep the weeds to a minimum.  The last thing you need to do is water in the mulch.  Congratulations you have finished your own landscaping.

In the next post I will post some detailed pictures of the finished product as well as advice on continuing to take care of your landscaping.

Posts in this series
Prep Work
Finished Product

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