Caring for Mail-Order Plants

Your mail-order plants have arrived! Here’s how to best care for them before you get them in the ground:

  • Try to have the area where they will be planted ready when they arrive. This is particular important to remember if you are creating a whole new bed. You don’t want to keep the plants waiting while you take a whole weekend to carve out the bed and prepare the soil.
  • As soon as the plants arrive, open the box and remove any plastic wrappings from leaves and stems. They need air. If you receive dormant trees or shrubs with roots wrapped in plastic or other material, leave that in place.
  • Read and follow any instructions about unpacking, caring for and planting that may have been included with the order.
  • If the plants are in pots and are in active growth, water them immediately and put them where they will receive the light and temperature that they require. Keep them watered until you can get them in the ground, and continue to moniter their water needs as they become established in the garden.
  • If the plants are dormant and not in pots (shipped "bare-root"), but instead have their roots wrapped, leave the wrap in place and moisten it. Keep these plants out of the sun. Remove the wrap when you’re ready to plant. If it will be more than a week before you can plant bare-root plants, bury their roots in a temporary hole, setting them so the roots are at a 45° angle and covering them well. Keep them watered.
  • Before dormant bare-root woody plants in this state, soak the roots in water for a couple hours. Shift them from the water bucket right into the planting hole.

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