After your soil is properly prepared and the plants have been selected, it is time to get them into the ground. Perhaps the single most important tip for properly installing landscape ornamentals is to plant them at the same depth at which they were growing at their previous location. Nature has designed plants in such a way to help them grow and function properly, survive and multiply. There is a reason that the stem of a plant enters the soil and becomes roots at a specific point. To the extent that we can duplicate this relationship between soil and the plant when we transplant things, the greater our rate of success.

We will discuss the special case of planting trees in clay soils later but that is about the only exception to this depth rule in the landscape. There are also a few exceptions in the vegetable garden such as burying the stems of tomato plants. This will encourage the development of roots along the stem to build a stronger plant. However, I don't know of any parallel situations in the ornamental landscape.

Before we start planting, it will be helpful to understand the major challenges we face in having our plants survive the process. We also need to recognize the various forms in which plants are offered for sale in the nursery trade. The type of nursery stock you purchase will help determine the best techniques to use while transplanting things ranging from trees to vines.

Finally, we will discuss some of the specifics for installing various type of plants in the home landscape.

Note: We have provided some general information and observations on this topic aimed at the home gardener. Before you take any serious action in your landscape, check with your state's land grant university's Cooperative Extension Service for the most current, appropriate, localized recommendations.

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