It’s the perfect time of the year for planting grass (both seed and sod), as well as most any perennial, shrub, or tree. Planting in early spring gives plants time to set out new roots and acclimate to the location before leafing out fully. It’s not rocket science, but there are some guidelines to keep in mind.
When choosing a new plant for your landscaping or flower gardens, take time to research the light conditions the plant requires. Most plant tags have detailed growing requirements and one of the most important is sun or shade conditions. Remember that your existing trees and large shrubs will not have unfurled all of their leaves yet, so that sunny spot might be shadier in a few months.
Dig a hole about half again as wide as the root ball, but just as deep as the container. It’s important to not plant deeper than the original top of the plant.
After removing the plant from its container, it’s ok to loosen the root ball a little. If there are crowded or circling roots, slice about an inch into and up the sides of the root ball in two or three places.
If your soil is heavy clay, which is not unusual in Central Indiana, it’s fine to amend the soil with compost or other organic matter, about half and half before backfilling. Note: If the ground is dry when you dig the hole, flood the hole with water and let it soak in before setting in the plant and backfilling.
Water thoroughly when backfilled halfway and again when full to settle the loose soil and eliminate any air pockets.
Apply a two-inch layer of organic mulch around the base and root zone, but keep an inch or two away from the trunk or stems.
Keep well-watered, not only for the first few weeks, but during any dry spells the entire first year after planting.