Tips for those who want to plant their own gardens or trees

Planting a garden, shrub or a tree doesn't require a degree in astrophysics, but each year many plants are needlessly lost due to inexperienced gardeners. If you follow some basic tips however, you can ensure that whatever you plant will take root and thrive for the duration of its life.

So what can you do to ensure that your plants have the best opportunity to thrive in their new environment?

First of all, you need to decide where to buy plants that will thrive in your environment. Buying plants at a local store or nursery tend to live longer because they've had time to adjust to the climate of your area.

Start planting early; having said that it is important that the soil be warm as well, so you're going to have to wait for that spring thaw. If you're planting a potted plant or one wrapped in burlap you'll need to take extra care to ensure the roots aren't clumped up. If you put it in the ground in that state the roots may not untangle themselves and integrate with the soil.

First, make sure that you remove any burlap from the roots and inspect them closely. Untangle or cut any that may be coming through the drain holes so it will be easier to remove in the case of a potted plant. Spread the roots out and make sure you leave some room for them to grow in the soil. When developing your garden design remember that potted plants need to have at least the same amount of space as they had in the pot that they just came from; too much space can be just as bad. Also, consider using a stake to stabilize any young trees that you plant.

Weather and Soil Conditions for Planting

In order to avoid causing undue stress to your plants, it's ideal to plant in the afternoon while it is overcast, preferably after a light rain. Otherwise you should lightly water the area at least an hour before you start to dig.

Remove any weeds and turn the soil before you mix in any soil amendments. If you're working with clay soil you may wish to elevate the plant several inches above ground level using fertile soil. Since clay is notorious for retaining water, elevating the plant will protect it from being flooded during a heavy downpour.

Avoid raking the soil excessively; this leads to thin soil that becomes muddy when wet and forms a hard crust when dry. Don't over water the plant or it may become disease and insect ridden. Avoid raking altogether and opt for container gardening instead.

Companion Planting

Another thing to consider when starting up a garden is companion planting. This is the act of choosing different crops and planting them close together for a mutual benefit. Some ways that plants can assist one another is with pollination, nutrient uptake or even controlling insects and pests. This is a green gardening solution that more and more people are turning to rather than relying on chemical pesticides that may negatively affect the health of themselves or their pets.

Marigolds for instance assist crops that suffer from aphids in two ways; first the smell of marigolds repels aphids and it also attracts hoverflies which prey on the aphids.