Now's good for planting, feeding, repotting

23:30, Aug 10 2014

This is the best time of the year for planting trees, shrubs, roses, perennials and also hardy vegetables and annual flowers.

This is because the daylight hours are extending, which encourages new growth and the plants will have several months to establish before summer dry spells occur.

It is also an excellent time to transplant any existing plants that you wish to move.

Container plants - ornamental plants such as roses or fruit trees that have not had their roots pruned for a couple of years - should also be attended to now.

Large plants in big containers will require two or three strong people to remove them from their containers so their roots can be pruned and the plants placed back into the same containers.

A little while back a gardener asked me what gardening tool did I consider the most useful?


The answer gave the person a bit of a shock when I said my 2.5 ton forklift - seeing that most of my gardening is done in containers and in raised gardens, because we are living above a warehouse with 90 per cent of the outside area in concrete.

The forklift allows me to move container plants around and using protection for the trunks of the trees and a rope makes it easy to lift them out of the containers for root pruning.

Every gardener should have one, say I smiling.

A gardener phoned me recently asking how to give the fruit trees and natives they are going to plant a really good start.

What I am going to say is what I believe is the ultimate in establishing new plants. You need to decide whether you want to use all or some of the procedures.

For food, obviously a little mild food in the form of blood and bone and sheep manure pellets would be perfect as they will encourage growth and help the soil life to grow also.

If you have good fertile, humus-rich soil, all you need to do when you plant is dig a hole, add a few goodies and plant.

Many gardeners will have either clay or sandy type soils and that is where you are best not to make a normal planting hole.

Instead, make a hole twice the depth and width than you need. Mix the diggings in your wheelbarrow with a good purchased compost about half and half.

Line the bottom of the hole with this mix to about the right level to plant. Now here is the next consideration to make, dependent on the plant and whether the area is prone to drought or flooding.

If the plant hates wet feet then to compensate you need to plant it higher than the surrounding soil, in fact on a mound.

If the area is prone to drought then plant deeper than the surrounding soil so it's in a hollow that will easily catch water when you water or it rains.

Besides the foods mentioned, I would highly recommend that you place some Rok Solid in the planting hole along with some gypsum and a little bit of BioPhos. The BioPhos is natural phosphorus broken down by microbes instead of acid. Thus you are adding more soil life to the new plants' root zone.

If you are wanting to give the plants an extra good start then drench the soil after planting with Mycorrcin and Magic Botanic Liquid (MBL)

The Mycorrcin is a food for mycorrhizal fungi which attach to the roots of plants and extend the effective root system by about 800 per cent.

The microscopic threads of the fungi gather nutrients and moisture for the plant in exchange for carbohydrates. The fungi also aid the production of humus which is what we need for the ultimate in soils.

The MBL supplies minerals to the soil, releases locked-up minerals and cleans up chemical residues from the past.

Doing what I have described would give your plants the best start in the soil that I am aware of but only part of the plant is in the soil. The foliage is going to be affected by wind, sun and climate; so for one final big help in establishing, spray all the foliage, under and over with Vaporgard, which puts a film over the leaves sprayed that lasts for about three months.

The film not only protects the leaves from the likes of wind damage, it also protects the chlorophyl from UV allowing the plant to generate more energy from sunlight.

I have heard cases where plantings in more adverse conditions using some the procedures described have achieved a three to five-year headstart on the new plants when compared to ones that were planted without.

Whether it's seedlings you are planting or specimen trees, the more care you take in the planting will determine how soon you will achieve the results desired.

Problems? Phone me on 0800 466 464 or email

The Southland Times