Is it the right time to plant?
Autumn is actually the best time of year to be planting. Many people think of gardening as being a Spring/summer activity but to see results in Spring you need to do the hard work in the Autumn! Its also the best time as you need to do less watering, and the soil is still warm so plants can establish well.
Autumn is also a great time to plant spring bulbs and winter vegetables can be planted then when the soil is rich and damp. Our favourite bulbs to plant this month for some spring colour are of course Tulips, Daffodils, and crocus. You can also plan ahead and plant hardy summer flowering bulbs such as lilies, alliums and crocosmia.
This time of year is best for planting rootballs and bareroot plants. With Rootballs, (a plant that is already growing that has its roots wrapped in hessian sacks) the plants are generally dormant or static and so they can be more easily moved and transplanted. The same goes for Bareroots (as it says on the tin, a growing plant with bare roots) which are mostly completely dormant. We love to use rootballs and bareroot plants as there is a lot less plastic involved. It is important to get them in before winter because once the ground becomes frozen, it is too cold for the roots and you risk the plant dying. You can pretty much plant anytime the ground is not frozen.
How to plant a root ball plant?
We sell hundreds of rootballs every year and we are often asked this question. The truth is there is not an exact guide to follow but I will share with you our step by step instructions for how we do it.
Firstly, you want to make sure your rootball is damp and has not dried out. Scratch the bark on the trunk of your plant lightly to check it is still alive. If you can see a nice green colour beneath the bark, then your plant is ok.
Then dig the hole a little bit bigger than the size of the rootball (a couple of inches will do) and put down your root food. This will ensure your plant has the best start!
Next you want to fill the hole with some topsoil or compost and gently press down to secure the rootball. You need to leave the ‘neck’ of the rootball (where the bag is tied onto the trunk) out of the soil to prevent the plant becoming too wet and start rotting. Once in they need to be mulched – blanket with bark or manure to help keep moisture in and protect from surface frost or ground frost.
You do not need to water the plants when it is raining every day, but if there is no rain for a week or so then give them a good watering. Keep an eye on them and by spring you should see them begin to flourish.