The Q&A Archives: planting arborvitae

Question: I just bought 9

Answer: Arborvitae should be planted in a full sun location with evenly moist soil. Check the mature size of the specific variety you have and plant them far enough apart to allow for them to grow over the years. To plant, dig a hole several times wider than the container and about the same depth. Loosen the soil at the sides and bottom of the hole to encourage them to root outward. Set the plants so they are at the same depth as the grew in the container, no deeper. Unwind or cut any encircling roots. Fill in around them with the soil, tamping the soil firmly but not hard as you go.

Water thoroughly to settle the soil and eliminate air pockets. Mulch over the disturbed area with organic mulch. Place it about three inches thick in a flat later, do not allow it to touch the trunk or stem of the plant.

Now water as needed to keep the soil evenly moist all season until it freezes in the fall. To know if you need to water, dig into the soil with your finger. If it is still moist, do not water yet. When you do water, water slowly and thoroughly so it soaks down to the deeper roots. After watering, wait a few hours and then dig down to see how far the water went; sometimes it can be surprising. The most important thing you can do for your new plants is to water them correctly.

Next spring fertilize with a general purpose slow release or general purpose granular fertilizer per the label directions.

Unfortunately deer love to eat arborvitae so you will need to protect them from the deer. Rabbit may bother the bark, especially during the winter, so you may want to use fencing to keep them out as well and/or use a spray on repellent labeled for rabbits. Be sure to read and follow the label directions.

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