replanting 15 gallon photinias that were planted wrong 3 months ago - Knowledgebase Question

Moraga, CA
Question by versakos
August 30, 2017
I had a landscaper dig holes and plant twenty photinia x fraseri shrubs. They were in containers of approximately 12 gallon size. They are planted in a straight row along a very long fence line.

The other day, I had to move one of the plants to make room for some electrical outlet. I was quite surprised to find out that the plant had been placed in the hole and the space around the plant was loosely filled with a very light soil mix product. In fact, it is accurate to say that there is much space around the root ball and the walls of the hole, because the airy soil mix is not compacted and it is impossible to compact it in a way that would be appropriate.

Although it is a lot of work, my solution is to dig up and remove each plant from its hole (not as hard as I thought due to the loose nature of the soil mix product.) I then replant the photinia by slowly filling up the space between the root ball and the walls of the hole with native soil from the yard, making sure there are no air holes etc.

My landscaper says that is not necessary, but I am convinced it is completely necessary. If I put a length of 1/2" pvc pipe in the space between a photinia plant's root ball and the wall of the hole, I can push the pipe right to the bottom of the root ball as if there isn't even any dirt to impede the progress of the pipe.

I would greatly appreciate your advice.


Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
A comment from Philipwonel
August 31, 2017
I say : Its time to get a new gardener, that knows what he is doing.

Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Answer from stone
September 1, 2017


How much research did you do before choosing photinia?

In my area, they are all dying.

But.... Replacing the native soil is state of the art.

Mixing the native soil with amendments is no longer advocated, unless you are amending the entire bed.

I don't know what to tell you about the landscaper. Seems like he doesn't know what he's doing.

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