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Planting & Care Guide

Jan 17, 2013

Thank you for purchasing plants from One Green World. Many of our fruiting plants have an interesting history and play important roles in the culinary traditions of many diverse cultures around our Green World. Giving your plants a good home and regular care will reward you with abundant harvests and a beautiful landscape.

Use this guide to ensure success with your new plants! Even if you are an experienced gardener, reviewing these guidelines can help your plants thrive.

WELCOMING YOUR NEW PLANTS

OPEN THE BOX: If you have received your plants by FedEx or USPS delivery, open the package as soon as possible and check all your plants.

All bare-root plants: Open the bag surrounding the roots and check to see that they feel moist. If they seem dry, sprinkle some water in the bag and keep the plants in a cool place, out of the sun. As long as roots are moist and weather is cool, you can delay planting by a week or two. If weather is warm, immediate planting is best.

All container plants: Remove any wrapping material from the pot. Check the potting soil to make sure it is moist. If the pot seems light and the soil seems dry, water the plant well. You can delay planting for a month or more if you make sure your plant does not dry out. If the weather is cool or if your plant is dormant and without foliage, it will not take much water to keep the soil moist. Over-watering is the most common cause of death of containerized plants.

PLANTING

Planting your One Green World plants is easy. Following these basic guidelines will ensure long-term vigorous growth and abundant crops.

SELECT YOUR SITE

Most fruiting plants like full to 1/2 day sun and well-drained soil. There are exceptions, like Arctic Beauty Kiwi, which likes to be out of the direct sun. If you are planting a vine, it will need support. If your soil is very wet, you can make a mound of soil several inches above the soil surface. This will allow water to drain away from the roots. Clay soil is not a problem! Contrary to popular opinion, clay soils can be very good for plants. They hold moisture and nutrients better than other soils and, if not waterlogged, make a good environment for your plant’s roots.

PREPARE YOUR PLANT

If you are planting a bare-root plant, inspect the roots and cut off any broken or overly long ones. If you are planting a container plant, remove the pot and loosen the root system. If it is very dense, you may have to lay the plant on the ground and press hard on the root ball with the palm of your hand to loosen it. Pull some roots out of the root ball and, if they are very long, trim them back.

PREPARE THE PLANTING HOLE

If your planting site is covered by grass, start by removing a thin layer of sod in a circle 2-3 ft. in diameter. Removing the sod is important, as grass will compete with your new plants for water and nutrients. In this newly cleared area, dig a hole wide and deep enough for the roots. After digging the hole, rough up the sides with your shovel so that your plants roots can easily spread.

PLANT YOUR PLANT

For bare-root plants, locate the soil line on the trunk. This is indicated by a change in color, often from a dark green to yellow or black. Be sure that this point is no lower than the soil level surrounding your planting hole. You can ignore any paint on the trunk of your bare-root plant. It is for for identification at the nursery and is not related to planting depth.

For container plants, it is very important that the soil line of the plant in the pot is the no lower than the soil line surrounding the planting hole. For Kiwis and some other plants, planting too deep can kill the plant. It’s a good idea to make a mound of soil in the middle of the hole. Place your plant on top of this mound at the proper planting depth and let the roots drape down the sides of the mound. Make sure the roots are spread out in the hole and fill the hole with the soil you took from the hole. Work the soil around the roots and when the hole is full, tamp down the soil and water your plant in well. Your new plant is now ready to grow. Please note: We advise you to fill the planting hole with the soil that came from it. We do not recommend adding other materials to this soil. To be strong and vigorous, the roots of your plant will need to grow far and wide into the surrounding soil. Adding nutrients in the planting hole will encourage the roots to remain in that location, which will weaken the plant. It can also change the drainage pattern of the soil, creating a water basin that can hurt or even kill the roots. Exceptions to this rule are Blueberries, Tea, and other acid loving plants. For these you may need to add peat moss or other acidic materials. After planting, you can spread compost, organic fertilizer and other materials on the soil surface to feed the plant naturally.

AFTER PLANTING

FLOWERING & FRUITING

Some plants will want to bloom and fruit the first year. While this is fine for containerized plants, for bare-root plants it is best to remove the flowers and fruit the first year. This will allow the plant to direct its energy to rebuilding the root system.

PRUNING: Because bare-root plants have been dug from the nursery, their root systems have been reduced in size. To balance the top with the roots, we recommend pruning back the top of the plant to achieve a balance between it and the remaining root system. Potted plants do not usually need to be pruned.

Fruit Trees: Once you have your new tree in the ground check for any broken or damaged branches and cut them back to below the damaged area. The goal for a young tree is to have 3-4 side branches in the area between 2-4 ft. above the ground. Remove any small or weak branches and prune back all remaining branches, if any, and the top to about 2/3 of their length or height. For trees without branches, pruning the top back to 3-4 ft. above the ground will force new branches to form at the proper height. Branches should have wide-angle crotches, which are stronger than upright branches and encourage early formation of fruiting buds. You can force a branch to form a wide-angle crotch by pushing it away from the trunk with a clothespin or branch spreader or by holding it down with a stake or weight. Because Columnar Apples are less vigorous than other fruit trees, it is usually not necessary to prune them back. We like to prune Figs and Peaches to a vase shape, removing the central leader all the way back to the topmost branch. When pruning branches, be sure to cut about 1/4” above an outward facing bud.

Vines & Shrubs: Most vines and shrubs do not need pruning the first year. Removing any broken or crowded branches is likely all that will necessary. For Kiwis, if your plant has several stems, you can remove all but the strongest. For Grapes, you can prune them back to 4 or 5 buds to encourage vigorous growth the first year.

FERTILIZING: Your newly planted bare-root plants will not need or be able to use fertilizer until their roots are established. The only fertilizers we recommend using immediately after planting are slow acting organic materials and compost spread on the surface of the soil. Once they are planted or repotted, containerized plants will benefit from an application of organic fertilizer.

MULCHING: We highly recommend applying mulch of organic material around your new plant (and older ones as well). A thick layer of straw, compost, rotted manure, sawdust or other material will inhibit weed growth and conserve water. As it decays, mulch will also supply nutrients to your plants. Mulch should be kept at least an inch or two away from the base of your plants to allow the bark to dry out and to deter rodents who might like to eat the bark.

WATERING: If you planted a bare-root plant, it will be several weeks before its roots begin growing and it leafs out. Until then you just need to be sure the soil does not dry out, an unlikely prospect. If you planted a container plant and it is already growing, it may need water after a few days, especially in the area right around the plant. The original potting mix can dry out much more quickly than the surrounding soil, while the roots in the new planting hole are not yet taking up water from the soil.

For all plants, periodic deep watering is far superior to frequent light waterings. Deep watering encourages deep root growth, which makes your plant stronger and much less susceptible to drought stress. In our experience, far more plants are damaged or die from overwatering than under watering.

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