The Q&A Archives: tree planting

Question: I have four carolina cherry laurels, about 3 feet tall and I need to plant them, any suggestions for my success?

Answer: Cherry laurels are generally hardy as far north as the Mason-Dixon line, into southeastern Pennsylvania and along the Atlantic seaboard into southern New England (zone 6). They are able to handle winter temperatures as low as 0F. Some types lose their leaves during atypically severe winters, but regain them in the spring. Certain varieties such as Schipka and `Zabeliana' are even hardier.

These flowering shrubs need some sun, but they tolerate shade better than most broadleaf evergreens. In fact, they are less vigorous if they receive too much sun. They are not terribly fussy about soil as long as it is reasonably fertile, well drained and not too acid (pH 6.5 to 7.5). These shrubs tolerate salt spray, some moisture stress and exposure.

Plant 1 1/4 to 3 foot shrubs that are either in containers or have their roots and soil wrapped in burlap. Plant in the spring or fall, if possible. Remove the container or any wrappings from each young shrub. Gently loosen and spread any tangled or matted roots. Dig a hole wide enough to accommodate the spread roots. Set the tree in the hole at the same soil level, or slightly higher, than it was previously, so the top of the rootball will be level with the ground after the shrub settles. Fill the hole with soil, firming it gently around the shrub. Water thoroughly to establish good soil to root contact. Do not fertilize at this time or during the first year, to encourage the cherrylaurel's roots to spread into the soil and establish the plant. Allow sufficient open space around the young shrub to avoid overcrowding as it matures.

Enjoy your landscape!

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