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Gardening Tips: Summer planting

Can planting continue throughout the summer months? The answer to that frequently asked question is "Yes, as long as you are around to water your new plants.

Can planting continue throughout the summer months?

The answer to that frequently asked question is "Yes, as long as you are around to water your new plants."

Rain may be frequent enough to do the job, but you must be prepared to water if needed.

Have you moved to a new home and are looking to put a personal stamp on the property? Adding a shade tree could be a priority.

Creating a buffer planting to curb noise, increase privacy or cut down on winter wind may be the reason for your landscape project.

You may finally have holiday time to get to your to-do list.

Do some pre-planning before you head out to a garden centre:

1. Check with all your utility providers and find out where any buried services are located. Phone, cable, gas, sewer, and water lines can all be pinpointed. Contact the companies you deal with and explain that you want to do some planting. Once all underground lines are located, mark them on your lot plan for future reference. If you don't have a survey of your property, draw an accurate diagram and file it in a safe place.

2. Do a sketch of the area you plan to work on. Mark all underground and overhead utilities. Determine which direction is north and mark it on your diagram. Add permanent structures such as your home, garage, decks, walkways, etc... along with their measurements. Be sure to indicate windows and doors along with their sizes and, for windows, the height they are above grade. Add existing trees and shrubs if that is relevant.

3. A photo of the area is also helpful to staff assisting you at a garden centre. A digital camera or a tablet is often the simplest way to give someone a good visual of the area.

4. Be sure you have clear goals for your landscape project and an idea of a manageable budget. You can break the project down into separate phases if that works best for you.

5. Have an idea of the amount of time you have for maintenance. You don't want your new landscaping to look poor down the road because you didn't factor in time to keep the gardens in good shape.

6. Dig a few test holes in the yard if you don't already know what kind of soil is predominate on your property. Are you on a heavy, clay-based soil? Do you live in an area that is sandy or well-drained? Are you blessed by have good loamy soil? This information may help determine the plants you are able to use.

Home from the garden centre and ready to start?

Preparing the planting area can take place in any weather you are comfortable working in, but summer planting should be done at a time best suited to the plants.

A sunny, windy day is the most stressful. As you disturb the roots to put them into the ground, plants can wilt quickly.

A calm, overcast day is optimum. If the sun keeps on shining, leaving you no choice, then plant in early morning or evening.

You should prepare the site before removing plants from their pots.

Have all the supplies you need on hand so the task is done quickly.

Mix at least 1/3 of your existing soil with some loam and compost.

Have your transplanting fertilizer ready and water all plants well before you begin.

Be sure the depth of the hole you dig results in the plants growing at the same level as they were in their containers.

The majority of the plants we see coming back dead to the garden centre have been planted too deep!

Backfill the hole half way, then water thoroughly.

Finish planting and form a dike with soil just outside the rootball area.

Water again thoroughly, ensuring that the water soaks down right into the root area.

Check the soil down several inches every few days to ensure it stays moist but not soaking wet, you don't want to drown your plants and rot the roots!

Water thoroughly at least once a week if it doesn't rain.