Fall Planting Guide

What to consider when planting a Tree, Shrub, Rose, or Perennial –

  1. Planning
  2. Preparation (of area)
  3. Purchasing
  4. Planting

Materials to have on hand for planting a Tree, Shrub, Rose or Perennial –

  • Hand Trowel/ Spade/Shovel or Garden Fork
  • Nature’s Yield Organic Compost
  • Ferti-Lome Root Stimulator
  • Mulch
  • Garden Hose/Watering Can
  • Tape Measure

Plan: Measure the bed area, the amount of sunlight the area gets and how well the soil drains in the beds.  Remove any vegetation in the bed.  Lift sod and/or remove any weeds.  If possible, take a photo or draw a diagram of the area.  The come to Creek Side Gardens to discuss options with one of our gardening experts.  The Creek Side Green Team will help with suggestions and ensure that you are making the best choices for your area.

Light:  Review Plant tags for symbol indicating the plant’s light needs: full sun means at least six hours of bright, uninterrupted light, partial sun/partial shade means 3-6 hours of sun or filtered sun throughout the day, and shade is little to no sun at all.

Soil: Most perennials, Shrubs and Roses are adaptable to a wide variety of soils.  Clay, rocky and sandy soils are more likely to have drainage problems.  For best results, take some time to prepare the planting site.  Loosen soil to a depth of at least 8″ and consider adding Nature’s Yield Organic Compost into the planting bed to help improve drainage and water retention around the plant roots to help encourage new root growth.  Healthy soil promotes healthy roots promotes healthy plants.

Watering: Apply water as necessary to keep soil moist but not soaking wet. Even drought-tolerant plants need to be watered regularly until their roots get established. Keeping your trees watered is important during their first year. Keep the soil and mulch moist but not soggy. In dry weather, you should water generously every 7–10 days. The water should soak into the soil and mulch.  Avoid watering so much that you see standing water. Winter watering is essential in Colorado.  During the winter months, especially in January and February, when the day time temperatures are 40 degrees Fahrenheit for multiple days and there is no snow cover.  All Perennials, Roses, Shrubs, and Trees will benefit from additional water.

Planting Trees

Dig a hole 2 times wider than the container. The hole should have sloping sides like a saucer to allow for proper root growth.

Carefully remove the tree from the container keeping the soil around the roots intact. It helps to tap the outside of the container to loosen the edge. Carefully slide the tree from the container. Don’t yank the tree out of the container as this can separate the roots from the tree.

Sometimes containerized trees become root-bound or the roots look like they’re about to circle the root ball. If your tree is like this, cut an Xacross the bottom of the root ball and four vertical slices along the sides of the root ball with a sharp knife.





Set the tree in the middle of the hole. Avoid planting the tree too deep. If the root collar sits below the top of the hole, compact some soil under the tree so that the root flare at the base of the trunk is slightly above ground level. Using some soil, secure the tree in a straight position, then fill and firmly pack the hole with the original soil, making sure there aren’t any air pockets. Keep backfilling until the soil is just below the root collar.

Create a water-holding basin around the hole and give the tree a good watering. After the water has soaked in, spread protective mulch 2–4 inches deep in a 3-foot diameter area around the base of the tree, but not touching the trunk.

The soil and mulch around your trees should be kept moist but not soggy. During dry weather, generously water the tree every 7 to 10 days during the first year. Water slowly at the dripline.

Remove any tags and labels from the tree as these will affect the tree as it grows. You may need to prune any broken or dead branches.

Planting Perennials, Shrubs and Roses

For Perennials, Shrubs and Roses, dig a hole twice the diameter of the container the plant comes in.  The wider the hole the better, since plant roots grow out more easily into loosened, enriched soil.  As you dig, pile the soil around the perimeter of the hole in at least two different areas.  This makes the hole easier to backfill with soil after planting.  Place the plant in the hole to check the depth.  The top of the root ball should be even with or slightly above the soil surface.  If it is too high, remove the plant and remove a little soil from beneath the plant.  If it is too low, push in some soil from around the hole.  Check again and repeat as necessary to achieve proper depth.

Add an equal volume of Natures Yield Organic Compost to the loose soil piled beside the hole.  Blend the mixture together with your hands or shovel.  Adding organic compost or peat moss to the soil that will be used to surround the newly planted root ball is perhaps one of the most important things you can do to improve your success rate.

Carefully remove the “plant” from its pot by holding one hand over the soil and tapping the bottom of the pot. Squeezing the pot can help loosen the root ball from the pot. Don’t pull on the “plant” or you may damage any stems, branches or canes.  Place plant in hole and step back. Does its best side face the direction from which the “plant” will usually be viewed? Rotate the plant in the hole until you are happy with how it looks.

Once you’ve decided on the most attractive side of your “plant,” use your hands to “rough up” the root ball a bit. The idea is to free them from the tight shape that the container has molded them into. Unwind any large, woody roots, and gently loosen the small roots away from the soil. This helps the” plant” become established more easily and quickly, so don’t forget this critical step.

This is the point to apply Ferti-Lome Root Stimulator in the planting hole – NOT on the roots, stems or foliage.  Fertilome Root Stimulator is a 3-in-1 product.  It will provide a light charge of fertilizer, a root growth inducing hormone and a water surfactant which will help water penetrate the soil.  Place the root ball into the planting hole, doublechecking to be sure that the top of the root ball is even with the soil surface. Except roses with a graft union, plant 2” below the surface for winter protection.

Then backfill the hole with amended soil, gently firming it around the rootball as you go.

Water well, with a soft trickle of water that lasts long enough to saturate the root ball deep into the soil. However, different soil types may need slightly more or less water. Monitor the soil moisture to help you judge when the plant should receive more water.

Apply a 2-3″ layer of organic mulch like shredded bark or bark nuggets after planting.  Keep the mulch a few inches away from the plant stems, branches or canes to prevent disease or harboring insects.  Mulch helps keep the root zone temperate, suppresses weeds, reduces water evaporation and minimizes stress on your new plant encouraging rapid root development.

Keep your new “plant” well-watered – it should not be allowed to dry out completely during its first season. In the coming months, the plant will mostly devote its energy to growing roots, so you may not see a lot of growth on top. Typically, Perennials, shrubs and roses begin to grow vigorously in their second season; growth and flowering increase every season as conditions remain favorable.