Denver Landscape Makeover
Site Preparation For Plants
Eric likes this part of the process and show because this is where they get to put the plants in. They talk first about site preparation.
This is an important step, we need to make sure these beautiful plants have nice soil. Joel feels we're lucky here because when the homeowners bought the house they trucked in loads of top soil, meaning they now have 4 to 6 inches of top soil throughout their entire back yard. Thus Joel doesn't need to do what he normally must do which is bring in compost, at least 4 inches, and then rototill that in. Here that has already been done. At this point all that is needed is to dig holes 40% bigger than the rootball and put the plants into the ground, then back fill them. Eric comments on the soil. It is obviously good soil, he can tell it has lots of humic material and a lot of compost material, as well as enough sand to provide good drainage. These are the things one needs to think about when considering good soil. It should have enough organic material to hold water but but not so much or it will get soggy. The soil must also have enough drainage type material, like sand or small pebbles, so water can move through. When planting don't plant too low, be very careful with that. Joel and his team have been very cautious in this regard, they've left plants a little raised. If planted too deep water will, of course, follow the path of least resistance and roll down into the hole. When that happens you will have major problems. Joel kept the shrubs about 2 inches up from ground level and the big trees they kept about 4 to 6 inches off the ground. With the larger trees they built a well around the root ball with top soil and that helps water get to the plant. With container plants that have a very firm root ball Joel has broken up that root ball which allows nice root penetration, it allows the roots to go out into the soil. And, that's important. Often times in containers the roots will grow around in a circle, they follow the trajectory of the pot. The problem with that is when we install the plant the roots continue that trajectory, they continue circling, thus don't integrate well into the new soil. In contrast, with some of the bigger trees Joel has used some balled and burlap material. These are field dug trees. The grower will come in with a mechanical spade and lift the tree out of the ground, then put it in burlap with a wire basket that surrounds the ball. Eric loves this type product because they are grown in real soil, they're not grown in artificial potting media, bark media, and there is no opportunity for cycling roots because they are basically excavating something that had roots growing out in all directions. So when the tree gets planted they pull the basket off, put the tree in the ground and the roots are able to integrate from soil directly into soil which means you don't get nearly as much transplant shock. It's a wonderful product. Especially for big trees Eric recommends balled and burlap.
Another thing they're doing here that Eric likes is they're using a Mycorrhizal Complex. They add it to each planting hole. Joel comments that the place they buy trees supplies them with the Mycorrhizae and they give a 2 year warranty if they use the product. So, after they take the basket off and the burlap off the trees they put a little Mycorrhizae on the root base before they put it in the hole. They use it on the small shrubs as well. Eric comments that Mycorrhizae has been around since the dawn of time. It is a very eco friendly product, a natural product. It is basically a fungal mycorrhizae and it attaches itself to the root tips and basically expands their surface area, adding a symbiotic relationship with the plant. The plant provides some sugar and some carbohydrates for its growth and in exchange for that the Mycorrhizae helps it absorb water in the surrounding soil. It can actually remarkably increase the ability of the plant to uptake water so it's a wonderful product. Eric is glad to see Joeland his team using it.