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Trouble having newly planted plants stay alive

I have tried over and over spent hundreds of dollars planting plants and shrubs and for the life of me can't get anything to take/grow in these huge berms we have. We have tried multiple plants (sun and shade). It gets morning shade and afternoon sun. We have tried everything. They will grow well for about a month or so and then we notice slowly they die off. We are on our fourth round of plants and we are still having the same issue. Not sure if the soil is bad, we are over watering, under watering, need more mulch. We just can't figure it out. My wife and I are SO FRUSTRATED we just want some nice curb appeal and can’t get it no matter how hard we try. It is getting WAY too expensive to keep re-planting, we are about to give up!!!! Please come help before we give up and just plant a whole bunch of different flowers/grass. All that hard work I did with the landscaping blocks I hope is not all for not!!!! ANY SUGGESTIONS!!!

Re: Trouble having newly planted plants stay alive

Cantact your local nursery, who may be able to recommend someone to test your soil. Then, get plant/care recommendations for the chemical makeup of your soil.

Re: Trouble having newly planted plants stay alive

You should find a soil testing service and get your soil tested. At least have it checked for pH as this is the most critical. Some plants have a narrow range that they will grow in. You can adjust the soil pH, but that is always temporary so it is better to select plants that prefer your soil.

Timing is critical as well. In many areas, many plants prefer to be planted in the fall instead of the spring. Your local nursery should be able to advise you on that.

You mentioned berms and landscaping blocks which has me thinking raised beds. In the north, raised beds are a blessing. They warm up faster and have better drainage. In the south, they are a curse, they get too hot in the summer and they dry out too much. If you live in the south, you don't want the beds raised more than about 2" above ground level.

Try using less expensive, younger and smaller plants. The recover and adapt much quicker. In a couple of years, they will often out grow and outshine their older, larger counterparts.

Depth of planting is critical. People tend to want to bury a plant too deep, like deeper is better. It is better to plant them in a shallower hole so that the original ground line of the plant is above the surrounding ground. If you go too deep, you will smother the crown of the plant (shrubs and trees). There is an old saying that Roger Cook uses on the show, "plant 'um high, they wont die; plant 'um low, they won't grow." Keep the mulch at least 2" away from the trunk of the plant.

As for watering, nothing beats a drip hose. You may need to water everyday for about a week after planting, but water thoroughly twice a week after that for the first season. That will get the plants roots to go after the water.

One last thing, be sure to pull the roots out of the rootball when you remove the plant from its pot and also rough up the edges of the hole. Compressed dirt from the backside of the shovel will deter the roots from going into the surrounding soil.

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