Welcome to Insight to Ashland

Ashland Perspective: 2 Common Gardening Mistakes and What to Do About Them

Comments Off on Ashland Perspective: 2 Common Gardening Mistakes and What to Do About Them

Ashland Perspective: 2 Common Gardening Mistakes and What to Do About Them

By Brian Self, Oregon Ground Works

Welcome to 2015 – the time of year for setting out to grow, change, and improve.

Here are 2 major gardening areas I most often see problems with – along with how you can make your plant care efforts more successful in these areas.

Proper Planting is how you establish your plants for the long haul – giving them greater health and life expectancy. Taking the extra time and care when planting your plants into the ground or transplanting them is important. It can save you from losing them in this process, aside from adverse weather conditions you have no control over. This is the time to go the extra mile, and is ESPECIALLY important when planting trees and shrubs because they aren’t easy to move and replant once they get established properly.

Here’s a very basic step-by-step list for transplanting that you can use with most trees and shrubs and small plants – although with tiny plants and ground-covers this isn’t as important because they tend not to have the root boundedness problems and are not as affected by planting low or at surface level of the soil.

1. When you take your plant out of the pot make sure to use your hori-hori tool to undo any root boundness and open out the root system.

2. Saturate the root system by either spraying it thoroughly with water until it is well saturated with water or soak the transplant in a bucket before you put it in the ground.

3. When you go to put it in the ground mound up and plant high. Better to air on the side of planting too high above the general surface level of your soil then too low. Planting to low is often the cause of disease and premature plant death.

4. Lastly – water in your new plantings thoroughly and keep the roots moist until they show you they are happy and growing. This is especially important if it isn’t raining steadily or we are in a dry season.

NOTE: Trees that blew over in the recent windstorm were most likely planted improperly without being set to have a good grip and root system established – making them unstable and easy to tip over. When a tree is properly rooted the base of that tree should be solid like a rock. When trying to shake it back and forth where the base meets the soil it should not move at all. It should be UNSHAKABLE and you should be able to feel that it is rooted into the ground firmly.

Fertilizers – When it comes to using fertilizers, they are generally best used when your plants are already established in the ground in my experience. Compost and soil amendment specific to the plants you are planting works better when planting and transplanting plants. I want to save you mistakes I made using fertilizers. I’ve seen them cause more problems in general – especially in the context of planting and transplanting.

The bottom line is that fertilizers when transplanting and planting, can either shock your plants and or kill them. It’s too much energy coming into the root system when the plant needs to focus on it’s new soil home and taking a hold there without the kick from a fertilizer.

Follow the planting suggestions above and don’t use your fertilizers in this context, and you should see better results if you’ve had trouble with your planting and transplanting efforts. And if you do these things and still run into problems reach out to me here with your questions or have me out for a garden consultation – I’d love to help you make your 2015 garden your best garden ever.


I offer organic gardening and landscape maintenance to homeowners who want high quality work and service. If you are interested in learning more about what Oregon Ground Works can do for you, contact Brian Self at: 541-292-7965 – ogw@oregongroundworks.com

Brian regularly contributes his gardening expertise to Insight to Ashland. You can find all of his articles on our blog page or by searching “Brian Self” in the search bar on our website.

Brian Self of Oregon Ground Works
*** If you are interested in writing about your business or industry for Insight to Ashland, please contact Andy at info@insighttoashland.com.