plant care tips
RECEIVING YOUR PLANTS
Plant them as soon as possible to avoid over-watering or under-watering in the pots. While you are waiting to plant them, water them thoroughly every morning during the summer and every second morning during the winter.
PLANTING YOUR PLANTS
Care for your plants today and they will care for you and the butterflies tomorrow. Always allow plenty of room for your plants to grow to maturity. Prepare a good sized hole, at least 150mm deeper than the pot your tree is in and at least 500mm wide.
It seems like a big hole for a small pot but the plant will love you for it. Never dig your hole down into very heavy, clay soil as it could trap the water and waterlog the roots. Rather, after breaking up the topsoil, build up above it if necessary with sandy loam.
Place some natural fertiliser, or vegetable compost and manure which have been well rotted, in the bottom of the hole. Preferably do not use a chemical fertiliser when planting your trees. If using dried or pelleted fowl manure, spread two cupfuls evenly across the bottom of the hole then add 50mm of soil on top.
Carefully squeeze the pot to loosen the roots slightly. Remove the plant from the pot and place it in the hole. Always plant the tree at the same level as it was in the container. Mix a cup of organic manure evenly through the remaining soil. Press the soil carefully around the plant firmly.
Water thoroughly but do not puddle, as this forces the air out of the soil, thus compacting it excessively. Finally, spread a cup of organic manure evenly across the 500mm area around the plant. Stake the plant if necessary and tie it loosely. Add a 25mm deep layer of coarse plant mulch on the ground to a diameter of at least 500mm.
plant care tips
There are several reasons for mulching.
The soil is kept moist longer thereby saving water.
Weeds and grass which compete for the plants water and food are kept down.
Mulch will stop the surface of the soil from setting hard and forming a layer almost impervious to water.
The roots of the plant are kept cool during the summer.
Some mulches add to the organic content of the soil as they decompose.
Suitable mulching materials include various manures, coarse straw, very old lawn clippings, sugar cane bagasse and gravel or stones. Grass clippings and manure must be well rotted as the heat they give out while breaking down may burn tender roots. Green grass clippings will also form a soggy, thick mass that air and water cannot properly penetrate.
Stone mulches can become very hot so keep away from trunks. Keep all mulches back from the trunk to prevent the possibility of ant infestation or too much moisture rotting the trunk. All mulches should allow easy penetration of air, water and fertiliser.
We recommend the use of organic fertilisers or well rotted manures. Some native plant gardeners do not recommend the use of manures for fertilising but we have been pleased with the results. Whether added to sandy or clay soils, manures will generally improve the physical structure and tilth of the soil. As the plants grow, apply organic fertilisers in early spring and mid-summer on the soil below the leaf canopy at the yearly rate of a full two litre container per year of tree growth. Cover with mulch.
Allow the soil to dry out a little between waterings for aeration, then soak it really thoroughly. Do not keep plants saturated as they need oxygen too. When newly planted, well mulched trees in normal soil require a good watering every one to two weeks until their roots are well established. Plants growing in sandy soils may require more frequent waterings.