The Q&A Archives: planting in ground

Question: I have two dwarf evergreens in pots on my porch. The tops are turning yellow. I didnt water them most of the winter. I would like to plant them in the ground now. What do I do with the tops that are dead? Do I prune them or leave them alone and water more? thanks

Answer: You didn't mention whether your evergreens are trees or shrubs or whether they are broadleaf or needled so I'm not sure how to advise you. All plants, whether in containers or in the ground do need water even in winter. That's why it's important to water plants near the foundation of your home that are protected from rainfall by roof overhangs. Same is true for plants in pots. If they are out in the open where rain can reach them they will be in better shape than if they received no water at all. A concern about plants in containers is that during the winter months the roots can freeze because the are elevated above ground level. It's possible your plants are showing the effects of frozen roots coupled with lack of sufficient moisture. I don't know whether they will recover but you can treat them as though you expect them to thrive in your garden. Plant them in well draining soil and water them in well. Don't prune them back until you see healthy new growth appearing on the plant. Once you do, you'll know your plants have become established in their new homes and are ready to grow. Then you can prune out the dead parts. Hope your plants survive!

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