Container Grown Woody Shrubs And Trees

Kenneth Sharpe  |  11/18/2016 8:45:15 PM

News Article for November 7, 2016:

What a change, too much rain in August to not enough in October and November. At this writing it is very dry.

It essentially has not rained since the planting of ryegrass for livestock and most wildlife food plots. Those seed are sitting in dust but you need not worry about them. If they have not already germinated they will when it rains.

Lawns are another concern. Water your lawn to help it overcome the other problems of sod webworm damage, damage related to the flood and even some brown patch disease that is starting to show up. As long as temperatures stay warm grasses will continue to grow.


You can plant container grown woody shrubs and trees almost any time of the year but November is the single best month to plant them. By November we are typically starting to get some rain as cool fronts come through (so we are not typical yet). Also temperatures moderate to allow for less transplant shock. The soil is warm enough here all winter long for roots to grow. If you plant now you will have 6 to 7 months of root development before we get to summer.

It is the summer heat that takes its toll on landscape plants. New plants typically die because they do not have enough root system to get enough water once temperatures get hot.

Landscaping can be expensive so you want to make a plan. Decide what you want and where you want it planted and write it down. Do not feel like you need to plant every plant at once. You can stretch your planting out over several years if needed. Just keep your plan and install plants as you have time and resources.

Your first consideration should be trees. Trees take the longest to grow so plant them first. Place trees to help with energy conservation. Deciduous trees, those that shed their leaves in the winter, make an excellent choice for shading your home. They will allow the sun in during the winter when you can use the added warmth and will leaf out to give you shade and protection from the sun in the summer.

One important characteristic to consider in selecting tree species is mature height. In the hurricane prone environment that we live in, it is important to limit your risk. I like to place trees at a distance from the home that is at least equal to the mature height of the tree. This will allow for a tree to come down in a wind event and not hit your home. So if I were going to plant a tree with a mature height of 80 feet I would want it at least 80 feet from my house. If you do not have that much distance, select another tree that will meet your requirement.

Once you have trees in place, add woody shrubs. Pay attention to the shade requirements of shrubs. Some plants will perform well in full sun, while others need partial sun or shade. Watch the sun pattern and you can see how any existing trees, building structures and even your neighbors trees will affect the amount of sunlight plants will receive.

To plant container grown plants, make the planting hole the same depth as the container and twice as wide. Put the original soil back in the hole that you take out and do not add soil amendments. We have a lot of clay in our native soils here and many people are tempted to add organic matter to make the soil better. If you add organic matter to your backfill soil, water will easily penetrate through the soil and when the water hits the clay at the bottom of the planting hole it will become an underground pond. Your planting hole will fill up with water and drown your new, expensive landscaping.

For more information on these or related topics contact Kenny at 225-686-3020.

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