Digging the hole
Digging an appropriate planting hole is one of the critical steps in successfully planting trees, shrubs, or other plants. A wide planting hole allows roots to penetrate deeply into native soil while spreading outward and prevents settling and air pockets, which might hinder root development. Furthermore, wide planting holes make locating and removing rocks or building materials buried beneath backfill obstructing root development easier.
Along with creating an adequate hole, it is also highly advised that the soil in your planting area be loose and uncompacted. Compacted soils caused by heavy equipment or excessive foot traffic do not contain sufficient pores to allow water and roots to penetrate quickly into their environment, thus encouraging healthy root systems for the long-term survival of your new plants.
A planting hole should never exceed the depth of its respective soil ball. Too deep of an opening exposes first-order roots to rainwater that smothers them and rots or kills them, increasing the risk of fungal infections, root rot, or other diseases caused by moisture collecting on their roots and collecting there. A large hole also helps prevent soil ball settlement and minimize risks such as root rot.
Backfilling the hole
Backfilling a hole is an essential step in any planting process, as it ensures the root ball remains secure without shifting or compaction while at the same time eliminating air pockets that obstruct water from moving freely through the soil, which is essential for healthy roots. Stomping on earth may help with this goal, though this method compacts soil further, potentially smothering roots beneath. Instead, use stiff water spray to settle soil to remove air pockets while providing good soil-to-root contact. Once backfilled completely, water should be added back once complete for good soil-to-root connection and full watering should take place once more after the backfilling is complete.
Native soil should always be used when filling planting holes for trees and shrubs. Amending native soil with compost or bagged soil will hamper root system development; studies show that roots from amended soil rarely travel into the more complex native soil, leading to smaller root systems and poor plant establishment.
Backfill the planting hole gradually and allow each layer to settle before adding another. Backfilling should typically occur in increments of 4-8 inches; however, some suggest filling it in lifts of 12 inches as an effective method. It is crucial that backfilling be done efficiently to ensure compacted material that will protect roots against damage from large rocks or debris.
Backfilling around the foundation of a house requires soil that does not contain organic material since organic decay releases harmful toxins into the environment and reduces drainage, leading to wet basements or foundations.
Watering the plant
Watering correctly can dramatically impact the health and growth of your garden or houseplants. Too much or too little can cause root rot; too little may prevent them from receiving essential nutrients. An excellent way to determine whether your plants need water is by sticking your finger into the soil up to your first knuckle. If dry spots exist in that spot, watering should occur immediately.
Water is essential to all plant life; it provides structural support, cools down leaves, and transfers minerals throughout. As days lengthen and more sunlight becomes available for photosynthesis, plants require more water for growth; in contrast, winter days become shorter with less ambient lighting available through windows, so they need less.
Watering your plant correctly means getting all its roots wet; surface irrigation won’t cut it as soil quickly dries out and is not an accurate indicator of what lies underneath. Only by watering seeds will a plant receive enough hydration.
Positioning the hose or water can at the base of a plant is also essential; avoid spraying its leaves as this could cause mildew and even burn them. When watering, hold down on a heavy trickle for 30-60 seconds for best results; this allows water to reach deeper into the soil where needed.