6 Essential Steps For Planting Shrubs

Record Breaking Heat
Record Breaking Heat

Planting shrubs are expensive and take precious time to purchase and plant.  Giving them the best chance for survival is essential for peace of mind in your garden.  The right plant in the right place the first time has become a critical philosophy. Research and planning before you plant ensures success in your garden for shrubs and other plants.

Planting Shrubs: Selecting the Right Shrub

Selecting the “right” shrub for your location is the number one step for planting shrubs. When it comes to shrubs, getting the proper size matters. How much space the plant occupies at full growth is an important consideration. Will your shrub be seen, or will the plants around it cover it? Will your shrub stand out too much and cover too many other plants? Is it large enough at maturity to block out the neighbor’s garbage cans?

Another key step for planting shrubs is how well does the shrub grow in your area. What kind of temperature requirements does the plant need? What are the light requirements, and is your shrub going to be in full sun, a partial sun, or a full shade location? Finally, the moisture requirements, whether it’s going to be a drought-tolerant plant or going to be more of a tropical plant, needing a lot of water.

Dig A Hole

Digging a hole is more important than it sounds. Planning helps here too. Your hole needs to be one and a half times bigger than your root ball. Bigger if you are planting in compacted soil. So first, consider am I going to hit any irrigation lines, electrical, or water lines. What is beneath the ground you are digging? 

This saves lots of repair time and expense. Be sure to dig the hole slightly less deep than the root ball. This keeps the crown of the plant (where the stems join the roots) slightly above the soil line to minimize crown rot. Crown rot is a disease caused by soil-borne fungus and is almost impossible to stop once it gets started. 

Check For Circling Roots

Remove the shrub from the container (carefully tapping the rim a few times helps break the plastic pot from the soil) and check the roots carefully. Cut around the bottom of the root ball. You can take both soil, large and small roots. This helps the roots branch out in all directions when they hit the soil. This way, they have more sources for nutrients and water.

Place Your Shrub

Your plant has a good side. This is your best chance to find the good side and make sure it is facing the best direction in the garden. Once you are happy with the placement of your plant, backfill it with the soil you dug from the hole. Be sure to firm the soil lightly as you backfill to eliminate air pockets. 

Time To Water

Slowly saturate the root ball and the surrounding soil with water. In the first year, you will have to keep the shrub well watered because the first year is essential to root growth. 

The second-year is when you see growth above the soil line. If you have Jain Unity software and ETwater controllers, you can set an establishment schedule for your shrubs and determine how many weeks you want to provide extra water for your shrubs.

Jain Unity: Planting Shrubs. Benefits Of Smart Irrigation System

Jain Unity

Unity is a powerful cloud-based software used with Jain ETwater smart controllers to deliver unparralled efficiency for water management.​

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Add Mulch

One of the most essential and final steps while planting shrubs is to add mulch. Using compost as mulch adds additional nutrients to your soil while providing cooling for your roots and reducing water evaporation. Use 2-3 inches over the root zone. Be sure to keep the compost away from the crown.


Investing extra time in the selection and planting of your shrubs pays off in the long run. Plants shrubs are expensive, and your time is too valuable to chance it. Following these six steps increases the probability of success in for planting shrubs in your garden.

If you liked this article, here is an interesting step-by-step article from BBC World Gardens on planting shrubs. If you enjoyed reading this article please share it with your friends, family and fellow gardeners around the world.


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