Thought it was easy huh? Well truth is there's a lot of not-so-perfect ways to dig a hole for planting a plant. Let's be honest, here at California Wild we maybeeee follow this hole digging protocol 20% of the time. Mostly we use it just for our most precious or delicate plants.
BUT it's worth knowing how to dig a really good hole for when success really matters or for those of us get comfort out of following meticulous instructions.
- Dig your hole twice as wide as the pot but only as deep as the root ball needs to sit to be level with your FINAL (accounting for added fertilizer and mulch) soil grade. For those with drainage issues - almost all of us - dig a few inches deeper and fill the hole with gravel to create your plant's base.
- Extra credit: try to separate your soil horizon profiles as you dig - putting top soil in one pile and subsoil in another. Topsoil - even if you only have a cm of it is super precious to plants surface roots.
- This is fun: If your soil is heavily compacted aerate by puncturing around the hole with a sharp narrow object (like a screwdriver or even a steel spike and hammer!). This will give roots an in when they're ready to branch out of their hole.
- Ensure the bottom of the hole is LEVEL and firmly packed. Pack soil into the base of the hole if it got disturbed or if you dug too deep (this prevents sinking of your plant over the long run).
- Always add your amendments at the soil surface. NEVER in the hole (this is different from vegetables/annuals).
We're aware that all these unexpected details around something thought of as simple are kind of confusing so we're in the process of developing video content on this subject...
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