July 28, 2022
Searles Gardening Team
Screening plants are often used to hide unsightly objects, ugly views, give privacy or even just hide the neighbours.
One of the first things to decide is how high you want the plants to grow and then which plants. The rule of thumb for creating a screen or hedge, is to know how wide the plants grow and then divide this by two and that is the distance for digging your holes. For example, if your plant is said to grow two metres wide, then dig holes one metre apart. This distance will give a thick screen for greater density and privacy.
Properly preparing the holes will maximise the speed and density of the plant’s growth. Dig the hole at least two to three times the size of the pot the plant comes in. This will allow the roots to penetrate the new soil more easily and give the plant the ability to find nutrients while it anchors the plant into position. Planting in very tight holes often causes the plant to develop slower, sometimes if at all and the roots stay in a restricted area. When it is windy and wet, you find these plants are the first to topple. With the hole dug, test the soil for heavy clay content by half filling the hole with water, it should slowly seep away. If it holds water, you may need to add gypsum to break up heavy clay.
To prepare the soil, mix together 50% of Searles Premium Compost Soil to your existing garden soil. If your soil is very poor, blend two-thirds Searles Premium Compost Soil with a third of existing soil. Fill the bottom of the hole with the prepared blend, add the plant and fill to ground level. The plant trunk does not want to be planted any deeper than it was in the pot. In some cases, where the area is prone to holding water, planting the plant ’Proud’ or with a slight mount is beneficial, so it won’t have wet feet while establishing.
Lastly, water the plant well with a mixture of water and SeaMax Organic Fertiliser Liquid, this will eliminate air pockets and settle the plant in. You will need to keep up a regular watering regime until the plant is established. Water more in summer. Deep watering is the best, as the water will reach the lower roots and the plant then will send its roots deeper looking for water rather than having roots closer to the surface. Roots close to the surface dry out quicker in the heat and do not anchor the plant as well. Use Robust, a controlled release fertiliser to scatter around the plant and mulch to lock in moisture.
To give a quicker growth response, liquid feed fortnightly with alternating applications of 5 IN 1 liquid fertiliser and SeaMax Organic Fertiliser Liquid. Variety is the spice of life for both you and the plants. In spring, summer and autumn pull back the mulch and fertilise with 5 IN 1 Pellets or Robust or Searles Plant Food. Rotate between fertilisers again for a variety for the plant and keep up the regular watering.