How to Plant Smart Pots®
Now that you have a fabric bag Smart Pot®-ted Plant in your possession, what do you do with it? You plant it as you would a solid plastic potted plant.
- Water the plant thoroughly, soaking it in a bucket of water if needed. at this time you can add a ‘root dip’ or root-stimulator, following the products directions.
- Trim off any damaged branches .
- Dig a whole twice as big and deep as the root system. Rough up the sides and bottom of the hole, creating cracks, ridges, and rough spots for roots to burrow into to minimize root circling (especially important for heavier clay soils).
- Mix 15-25% compost into the back fill soil. Fill the hole part way. Gently pack the soil and soak with water.
- Remove the fiber bag from the plant by cutting the side and pulling/stripping from the root ball.
- Set the plant in the center of the hole, adjusting the finished root depth to match the soil line of the tree. Remove a bit of soil from around the base of the plant to form a water depression. Tease a little of the soil out of the roots, to accelerate contact with the native soils/ backfill mix.
- Finish filling hole with the back fill soil mix and tamp firmly. Again, soak with water. If settling occurs, readjust the plant depth by grasping at the plant base, and gently rocking it back and forth while carefully pulling up. Once readjusted, add remaining soil as need, and water it again.
- Form a ridge of soil around the plant at the edge of the root ball to create a basin to direct the water to the top of the root ball.
- Spread a 3-6” layer of compost around the plant at least 3’ out from base (not touching the base). The larger the compost mulched area the better the soil moisture retention round the plant between watering. Add compost yearly for best results. Compost provides nutrients, acts as a sponge, protects the soil surface, and provides soil aeration.
- Future watering — don’t over water. Check moisture in the soil and only water when necessary. Even in the Pacific Northwest, you will need to water regularly and deeply for the first several growing seasons, until established.
- For larger trees, staking is recommended when necessary and for as short as time as possible, as staking weakens the root and trunk system. Stake outside the root zone area.
- Enjoy your new plant.
*note: It is not recommended to add fertilizer at this time. It is too easy to burn or damage new roots and there will be food in the compost for when the plant is ready to eat.
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