Sunday, December 28, 2014

When Planting, Dig A Square Hole!

When planting, dig a square hole not round
especially, if your soil is a clay or compacted soil.

Most of us dig round holes when planting perhaps to match the containers shape. 
As you dig any hole your weight on the shovel compresses
the sides of the hole as you pull back to left a shovel full of dirt. Whatever shape hole you dig you will end up with compressed and hardened walls.

Roots will follow the path of least resistance as they grow outward in the planting hole. The path of least resistance will be the fill dirt area of the hole. When the roots encounter the planting hole wall it is a harder surface (undisturbed) and the roots may have a tendency to follow the wall surface rather than penetrate through it. If they do your tree or shrub may become root bound in the planting hole over time.

A square hole still has the harder wall surface as found in a round hole but with a square hole there are cracks and crevices. These cracks and crevices provide places where roots can get stuck and exit the planting hole.

If you have dug a round hole and even in a square one simply take the blade or your shovel and break up the smooth wall of the planting hole to provide 
cracks and crevices for root exit.

Better and easier still is to use hydrogen peroxide
 to roughen up the walls of the planting hole.

Use about 2 quarts of hydrogen peroxide per planting hole. Pour it liberally down the wall surfaces. It will begin to bubble.

As it does so it loosens the planting walls surface. 

Wait for the hydrogen peroxide to stop bubbling
before putting your tree or shrub into the hole.

The shape of the planting hole is less important in sandy soils.

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Photos & Narrative By:
Stephen Sain 
Staff Plant Physiologist

Trees That Please Nursery
Retail and Wholesale Nurseries Unique Choice
Serving Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Los Lunas, and Belen

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