Now that the heat of summer is fading into a distant memory, it’s a pleasure to get out into the garden. And April’s one of the best months to put in new plants. They appreciate the gentler conditions and have time to settle in before it gets really cold.
Before planting you have a precious opportunity to improve the soil. Dig in well-aged manure or compost and some organic Dynamic Lifter pellets, blending these goodies into an area that’s more than twice the width of the pot.
If lack of water is likely to be an issue at any time, adding water-storing crystals could be a help. Pre-swell some Yates Waterwise Crystals in a container of water and, when the crystals have turned to jelly, mix them into the soil in the planting area. These will provide a source of stored moisture for the roots.
Dig a hole that’s about twice the width of the plant pot and approximately the same depth. Heap the removed soil at the side of the planting hole.
Water the plant in the pot and leave it to drain. Water the planting hole, too, and allow the water to drain away until the soil is just moist.
Take the plant out of the pot. This may be more difficult than it sounds, especially if the plant has been in the pot for some time. The roots may be clinging to the sides, making it difficult to remove. Running a knife blade down the side between pot and mix may help, as can turning the pot on its side and gently rolling it back and forth on a hard surface.
Remove the plant from the pot and inspect the root system. If the plant is potbound, the roots will be seen circling around the outside of the root ball. Loosen these with your fingers or use sharp secateurs to cut the encircling roots.
Sit the plant in the hole and adjust to make sure that it won’t be any deeper than before. Fill soil back in around the rootball and water well, ensuring that the water soaks right into the root area. The rootball, especially if it’s compacted, will be naturally water repellent so it’s helpful to apply some Waterwise Soil Saturator on top.
Yates Dynamic Lifter will provide some gentle nutrients as the new roots start to grow. Once new foliage starts to emerge, start feeding with a liquid fertiliser like Yates Thrive All Purpose Liquid Plant Food.
What to plant now? Most evergreen shrubs and trees (except the cold-sensitive), grassy plants and strap-leafed varieties. Don’t forget, too, that April’s the month for planting spring flowers and bulbs.