Sun Nurseries

Planting Instructions

PLEASE CARRY PLANTS BY THEIR CONTAINERS OR ROOT BALL. Carrying plants by their tops or trunks may cause the weight of the soil ball to break the roots from the trunk.

Plants should be watered immediately after their arrival at your home. Until planting, water plants daily. Newly planted material should be watered according to our instructions.


STEP 1: Mark the bed line

Determine the area of the bed and mark the edges. Spray paint, string, and garden hoses all work well.

STEP 2: Spray to kill weeds

Spray the bed area with Roundup or similar product to kill weeds or grass, if needed. Follow the directions on the packaging. Wait at least 1-2 days after spraying Roundup to begin tilling. We recommend spraying 1 week prior to tilling, in case any areas need to be sprayed a second time.

STEP 3: Tilling

  • Till the bed before adding any soil amendments. This can be done with a motorized tiller, or by hand with a shovel. The bed may be edged prior to or after tilling.
  • Add soil amendments (compost or leaf gro) to the bed at a rate of 1 cubic yard per 200 square feet (about 1" thick) of area and spread evenly throughout.
  • Till the area again, just enough to mix the soil and amendments.
  • Rake the bed to smooth the surface. Next to a building's foundation, slope the bed to assure proper drainage.

edging a planting bed

STEP 4: Arrange the plants

  • Before removing plants from their containers, place inside the bed. Leave enough room for growth (or follow spacing on your design plan).
  • If you're working from a design plan, remember that the plant symbols are enlarged to indicate their 10-year size. Using the scale, measure to the center of the symbol and place your plants at that location.
  • Step back and check the layout of your plants from multiple angles.

bed planting diagram

STEP 5: Plant

  • Dig a hole wide enough to allow tamping around the root ball. Make the depth so that 1/8 of the root ball will be ABOVE the surrounding soil level.
  • Remove plant from the container either by turning it over and tapping the bottom or by cutting the pot.
  • If the plant is root bound (roots circle around soil ball and appear tightly matted), use a knife or pruners to make 4 slices from top to bottom of the root ball. Cuts should be 1/2" deep and equal distance apart.
  • Place plant in hole.
  • Backfill the sides with soil from the hole. DO NOT PLANT TOO DEEPLY. Remember, 1/8 of the root ball should be above the surrounding soil level. Tamp the soil firmly around the root ball, eliminating all air pockets.

STEP 6: Finishing

  • If not done prior to tilling, edge the bed. Edging may be done with a power edger, or by hand with a flat-blade shovel. (See diagram above.)
  • Rake the planting bed to level the soil and remove any large stones.
  • Fertilize with Osmocote slow release fertilizer.
  • Apply pre-emergent herbicide (i.e., Preen) to the bed. Follow the directions on the packaging for application rates and methods.
  • Prune any dead or broken branches.

STEP 7: Mulch

Mulch the entire bed with a 2-3" deep layer of mulch and smooth the top. Do not mulch deeper than 3". Mulch should be no more than 1/2" thick against the trunk or stem.

STEP 8: Water

Water the plants (even if it is raining) as described in the watering instructions.

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