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Is it Okay to Plant?

By Paul James

I’ve been asked a lot lately whether it’s okay to plant everything from trees and shrubs to annuals, perennials, and groundcovers. And the answer is a resounding yes. Spring and fall are certainly more popular times for planting, but there’s no reason not to plant now, provided you keep a few things in mind.

Plant Late in the Day or on a Cloudy Day

Sticking a new plant in the ground in the middle of a hot summer day is stressful — to the plant for sure and perhaps to the gardener as well. Planting late in the day or on a cloudy day gives plants a chance to settle in gradually and minimizes the risk of transplant shock.

Soak the Root Ball Before Planting

This trick will also reduce transplant shock by hydrating the roots before planting in dry soil.

Tease the Roots

Gently tease tangled roots from the root ball, and lightly prune dark brown roots. Doing so will encourage roots to grow faster into the surrounding soil, and produce new feeder roots.

Water Deeply

Deep soak after planting not just the root ball, but the surrounding soil as well. If you only water the root ball, the dry soil around it will wick moisture away from the roots.


Apply a three-inch layer of chipped or shredded bark mulch to conserve and maintain soil moisture and stabilize soil temperatures.

Stay hydrated!

When working outdoors in summer, make sure you stay well hydrated! Heat exhaustion is a drag (believe me!) and heat stroke can be downright deadly.

So what shouldn’t you plant in the heat of summer? Well, I don’t recommend planting large trees during July and August unless we have a mild summer (wouldn’t that be nice!). Better to wait until late September. But I wouldn’t hesitate to plant pretty much everything else that grows provided you follow my suggestions.

Happy gardening, ya’ll.

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