How to Plant & Care for Evergreen Shrubs
When Should You Plant Evergreen Shrubs?
Step-By-Step Instructions for Planting Your Shrubs
- If possible, schedule your planting for an afternoon or evening when it’s less sunny.
- Dig your planting holes just before your shrubs arrive. A hole should be as deep as the root ball—but no deeper—and about three times as wide as the root ball.
- Once you have your shrubs, begin planting as soon as possible, so they don’t dry out.
- Take the shrub out of its pot or burlap and inspect the roots. Are they clumped tightly together? If so, gently pull the roots apart so they’ll be able to spread out and grow deeply.
- Put the shrub in its hole and center it.
- Now it’s time to make sure that you don’t plant the shrub too deep. If you plant it deeper than it was growing in its container, it’s not likely to thrive, and it might even die. So, lay a shovel or rake handle across the hole to measure if the top of the root ball is slightly higher or at least level with the top of the hole. If it’s not, take the shrub out of its hole and add enough soil so that the root ball will be at the right height.
- Once you’ve ensured the root ball is high enough, center the shrub in its hole again.
- Have an assistant hold it straight up or stake it. Fill the hole with soil about halfway. A note about soil: your shrub will have a head start in life if you plant it in high-quality soil enriched with compost and other nutrients. We offer a few kinds of compost and soil that would add a bounty of nutrients to the soil in your planting holes.
- Water thoroughly.
- Once the water has soaked down, fill the rest of the hole with soil.
- Tamp the soil down with the back of a shovel or a few taps of your hands or feet.
- Create a small berm (a flat, round mound of soil) around the root ball. Make it about 2-3 inches tall. This will help water soak into the root ball instead of drain away.
Make sure your mulch layer is flat. If you create a volcano-like mound of mulch around your shrubs, it could cause them to rot and die.
Caring for Evergreen Shrubs
How Often You Should Water
Beware of Overwatering
That being said, fertilizer for recently established shrubs is proven to speed up their growth. The best fertilizer for such evergreen shrubs is the slow-release type. This type of fertilizer gradually releases nutrients. Select a slow-release fertilizer formulated for shrubs, and follow the instructions carefully. Better yet, have your soil tested. The NC Department of Agriculture Soil Lab will recommend the best type of fertilizer that fits your plants’ needs. We have the supplies needed to send samples to the lab and we will help you through the process at no cost. You can also pick up the required supplies at the Pitt County Ag Center.