Site Preparation Prior to Planting Proper site preparation reduces competition by weeds and other plants for light, water and nutrients, helping assure better plant survival. Planting native plants into an area or garden bed that has been prepared by roto-tilling or treated with herbicide to kill existing vegetation is suggested.
Suggested Plant Spacing Wildflowers tend to put on the most spectacular show when grouped together. Try planting multiple plants of the same species near one another. Space plants about 1-2 feet apart. If you are going to plant multiple species in one bed, consider placing the taller plants in the back and shorter ones toward the front of the bed.
Planting Plants obtained from the Conservation District have been grown in paper tubes with an open bottom. Because of this, be sure to grasp each tube firmly with one hand, and place the other hand over the bottom of the tube when removing it from the bag or flat tray, so a minimal amount of soil will fall out and the plant will not slide out of the tube before planting.
Plant as soon as possible after plants are received. Dig a hole approximately 6 " deep and slightly larger than the size of the tube (try using a bulb planter).
Find the seam on the side of the paper tube and gently tear the tube open from bottom to top. DO NOT REMOVE THE PAPER TUBE AT THIS TIME! Set the tube with plant wrapped inside into the hole. Loosely fill the hole with soil and then grasp the paper tube at the top and gently slide the tube up and off of the plant. Firm soil around roots to eliminate air pockets. Planting is this fashion greatly reduces transplant shock.
Watering plants may be necessary immediately after planting. As the season progresses, watering should only be used to supplement rainfall shortages. Fall plantings can be watered until frost, if rain is sparse.
Mulching can be used to help reduce weed competition, conserve moisture, and for fall plantings, help plants over-winter and protect newly planted roots.
Maintenance Native plants are hardy and will adapt to various site conditions, but growth can be enhanced using these maintenance suggestions.
Remove unwanted weeds and apply additional mulch as needed.
Watering after the year of establishment is not generally needed or suggested.
Allow tops of plants to die back in the fall, then cut off the dead foliage. If you want the flowers to re-seed, when the plants have died back in the fall and gone to seed, mow the site, setting your mower blade high, then make several additional passes as needed, with the mower blade lower each time. This will clean-up the site and help re-seed the flowers.
Fertilizing native plants is not generally recommended or needed.
Washtenaw County Conservation District Copyright 2016