Successful Planting Guide

It’s a great time to add to your existing landscape or to embark on a new gardening project. It’s important to follow proper planting guidelines to ensure the success and survival of your new plant. The clay soil of Raleigh and it’s surrounding area is different than other parts of the country and therefore requires a different type of planting. It’s important to learn how to plant a tree or shrub correctly for the success of the plant. The below how-to guide is a step by step reference to the best method of planting.

Start with a Plan

Even if you are spontaneous, it’s always best to start with some type of plan for your new landscape.  We offer some tips in this article.

Gather Your Tools

• Plant(s)
• Shovel
• Wheelbarrow or tarp
• Mattox or pick ax (optional)
• Knife or sharp clippers
Soil amendment(s)
• Water hose or watering can
• Mulch


The Planting Hole

Diagram• Should be twice the width of the plant’s root ball. (Take it out of the pot to determine.)

• Should be shallower than the depth of the root ball. (Measure the root ball, not the pot!) Approximately 3” of the root ball should be


The Planting Mix

• Should be 1 part soil from the hole, 2 parts Daddy Pete’s Planting Mix.

• Or, 1 part soil from the hole, 1 part compost, 1 part soil enhancer (bark fines)

• Mix components thoroughly in a wheelbarrow or on a tarp.

• You may choose to add a high-phosphorus fertilizer or root stimulator with beneficial bacteria to this mix, but this is optional.

For additional information on amending clay soil, see our article here.

How to Plant

IMG_78341. Take the plant out of the plastic pot.

2. Slice the root ball on the sides and the bottom if the roots cannot be easily loosened with your hands.

3. Set the plant in the hole, taking care to position it for best appearance.

4. Make sure the flare of the plant (where the trunk or stem widens into the roots) is at or above the level of the surrounding soil. Use your shovel handle, laid across the hole, to help you determine the height.

5. Fill in the hole with the planting mix, patting down with your hands if necessary.

6. Water in your new plant until bubbles no longer come out of the planting hole.

7. Put about 2” of mulch over the planting hole, leaving about 3” of soil around the base of the plant un-mulched.  This helps prevent disease and pest problems.

Plant Care

Correct watering is important! Most plants die from under or over watering.

• Plan to check your plant 2-3 times weekly for the first several weeks or daily during extreme heat.

• Monitor your new plant at least weekly (more often in the hot summer) for the next 6 months. If weather conditions are unusually extreme, continue to check your plant.

• Do not use a sprinkler to water as it can cause insect and disease problems. If using irrigation use drip or a soaker hose.


Need More Help?

Our expert staff can provide you with landscape consultations, design and installations!  Let us help you create your garden oasis or outdoor living space today!  Stop in, call us at (919) 878-8877 or email us through our contact form.