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Root establishment is important for plants to succeed in the landscape. For a container-grown plant to maintain its growth, it must receive similar irrigation in the landscape (i.e., daily irrigation). This is generally not realistic, but should be kept in mind, as irrigation frequency will determine how vigorously the plant grows. Irrigation should be monitored closely during the first growing season and adjusted according to rainfall and again as plants become established. Keep in mind that more frequent irrigation (around every 4 days) will result in more vigorous plant growth and that applying large volumes of water will not make up for infrequent irrigation. Less frequent irrigation can be adequate depending on rainfall, but will impact how rapidly the plant grows. As roots grow out into the native soil, irrigation demand lessens, and frequency should be reduced. It


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can take months for a plant to become established in the landscape, and larger plants take longer to establish. Directed irrigation applications, via drip irrigation or hand watering, should be used to ensure water is applied to the root area. Overhead irrigation often falls on areas with no plants roots or is intercepted by the plant canopy, not making it to the root area where it is needed. The trunk flare on trees should be located to ensure trees are not planted too deeply. Buried trunk flares are unfortunately common and are a major reason for tree decline or death. The planting hole should be 2–3 times wider than the root ball and 1–2 inches less than the height of the root ball. The hole should be backfilled with existing soil. Do not overcompact the soil when backfilling, as this removes all air pockets. Water can be used to help settle the backfill,


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PRO GROW NEWS Spring 2019  

Massachusetts Nursery and Landscape Association

PRO GROW NEWS Spring 2019  

Massachusetts Nursery and Landscape Association

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