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Plant Selection, Planting Techniques Key to Successful Growing Season for Homeowners

April 29, 2011

Brookfield, Wis. – With spring planting just around the corner, some advance research and planning can help homeowners create lush, healthy foliage for the summer and beyond.


Perennials, shrubs, trees and evergreens can be safely planted once tree buds have fully opened and leaves appear, said Todd Ruedt, owner of Grounds Maintenance Services, Brookfield. These indicators, along with perennials reappearing and grass starting to grow, demonstrate that ground temperature has warmed enough so that frost is no longer a serious threat.


“The most important consideration for homeowners is choosing the right plant for a specific location,” Ruedt said. “Know the conditions your plant is going to be living in, not just for the spring, but for an entire growing season.”


Most nursery plants have tags with information on their ideal growing conditions. Following them can prevent common mistakes such as putting sun-loving plants in shady areas, or planting species that require drier soils in low, moist spots, Ruedt noted.


Common sense factors in. Mature shade trees shouldn’t be planted close to home foundations, Ruedt said, nor any tree species with invasive roots. If a driveway is plowed during winter, homeowners should avoid putting plantings alongside it in the path of pushed snow.


Planting technique is crucial to plants’ long-term survival and health. A common mistake is planting too deep, Ruedt said. The root ball of a tree or shrub should protrude 1 to 2 inches above the ground level. A perennial root ball should be a half-inch above grade. The height differential allows excess water to drain away from the plant.


“Adding a ring of mulch around a new plant – shallow at its base and deeper around the perimeter – helps moisture disperse properly and prevent unwanted weeds,” Ruedt said.


Any fertilizer or fresh soil added for a new plant should be spread around the entire planting bed, not just the plant’s immediate vicinity. The goal is for a plant to draw nutrients from a wide area, which helps its roots expand and strengthen, Ruedt added.


“Early May is a great time to get new plants in the ground,” he said. “By choosing the right plants and planting them properly, homeowners can both beautify and strengthen their landscaping.”


Founded in 1999, Grounds Maintenance Services offers a full range of landscaping and yard maintenance services, plus winter snow management, holiday lighting setup and in-home Christmas tree delivery. Its professional staff prides itself on helping homeowners grow their dreams, one yard at a time.


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