Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Watch Someone Else Do It

Best Videos about Planting Trees, Shrubs and Perennials – and Let the Arguing Begin?


“There’s controversy in gardening?” is a question I’m often asked, as if gardening were crafting, I suppose. Rant readers, who can answer that question while citing the hottest topics in gardening today, may be surprised to learn about a new one – soil amendments, good or bad.

Yes, despite long-held beliefs about the value of adding compost and fertilizers when planting trees, shrubs and perennials, at least two Extension universities are saying it’s a waste of time and money and that the amendments may even impair the growth of the plant. See Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott’s “The Myth of Soil Amendments” for Washington State and more amendment myth-busting from Oregon State – the 4th and 8th myths.

So when I searched Youtube to find videos demonstrating proper planting technique, I found some experts I trust making no mention of amendments while others recommending all sorts of them. So is the jury in on the amendment question, or are there still good arguments to make for them? Will more be revealed?

Well, I sure don’t know. So when I recommended the following videos I added an “Update” about the Washington and Oregon recommendations, because the whole Good Gardening Videos campaign is about evidence-based information. Viewers will just have to decide for themselves, I guess. But long-held and even beloved practices like adding good old compost at planting won’t go away overnight, I’m betting, if ever.

Videos about Planting Trees and Shrubs

How to Plant a Hydrangea” by Laura LeBoutillier on the Garden Answer Youtube Channel. Her technique works well for shrubs in general.

“How to Plant a Tree, Step by Step” by Charlie Nardozzi for the National Gardening Association. Though he recommends planting in fall, the how-to advice applies equally well to spring, which is the most popular time to plant because that’s when the garden centers are well stocked with plants.

How to Plant a Knock-Out Rose” by Star Roses.

“How to Plant a Tree from a Container” by Osmocote is helpful and doesn’t even mention using their products.

“How to Plant a Tree” by Behnke Nurseries in Maryland.

How to Plant a Tree or Shrub” by horticulturist Dave Epstein at Growing Wisdom.

“How to Plant a Large Shade Tree” from TV’s This Old House focuses on large trees that come balled and burlapped from the nursery.

“How to Plant a Potted Tree or Shrub” by Land Designs in Connecticut.

Videos about Transplanting (moving) Trees and Shrubs 

“How to Transplant a Large Plant” by Utah State.

“How to Transplant a Shrub” by The Garden Continuum in Massachusetts.

Videos about Planting Perennials


“How to Plant Perennials” by horticulturist Kristin Schleiter. Good watering instructions, too.

“Top Tips for Planting Perennials” by Lucy Summers, author of  the (Royal Hort Society-endorsed) Greenfingers Guides. We include this non-North American expert because it’s so useful (after she calls it “a bit silly and a bit basic.”)

“How to Plant Perennials” by Tagawa Gardens in the Denver area.

Videos about Transplanting (moving) Perennials 

“Moving Perennials in the Fall or Early Spring” by horticulturist Dave Epstein of Growing Wisdom.

Posted by on February 24, 2017 at 8:02 am, in the category Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Watch Someone Else Do It.

7 responses to “Best Videos about Planting Trees, Shrubs and Perennials – and Let the Arguing Begin?”

  1. Katie says:

    It never fails, this will always be an argument, and everyone is always a know-it-all about it. But as long as you are confident with your own soil and your own decisions it shouldn’t matter what other people are telling you. Thanks for all of the videos! Its a good bookmark page for quick questions.

  2. Sheera Stern says:

    Know your soil. I garden in the Passaic Shale Formation. My soil is better for throwing pots than gardening. I don’t “plant shrubs and trees.” I plant in large beds, heavily amended to break up the soil. I till once with a variety of composts and top soil, then mulch yearly with compost and various mulches. Also, I rarely remove fallen leaves under trees. After twenty years you get deep loam. It’s a process.

  3. Sandy Lentz says:

    “Arguing”…? Please, no more arguing. There’s too much of it already in the world now. Maybe “discussing”? Or even ranting? This Master Gardener really appreciates your efforts to get accurate gardening information out there. I spend much of my time at help desks or garden meetings clearing up misconceptions. But gardening ideas, like any other science, change with new learning, so we need to be open to them.

  4. I’ve heard them all, from yes, no, maybe, sometimes! Get 4 gardeners in a room and there will be 5 opinions! Even compost can be controversial. Mainly, sticking to what naturally grows in the soil is a good bet. I do compost and rake on the leaves to improve moisture-holding and break up my clay soil. But I no longer try to “amend” to grow things that I simply cannot grow in my soil. Great rant!

  5. skr says:

    getting a plant with a good root ball in the first place can be challenging. I can’t tell you how many container trees I have seen with just trainwreck rootballs with awful knots of j-roots like matryoshka dolls from the cutting plugs on up to 15s.

  6. Dave Reed says:

    I haven’t added soil amendments planting any of dozens of trees in my personal garden in 25 years, but I hesitate to recommend that to customers who might think you’re a fly-by-nighter who doesn’t know, or care, and is just trying to save a buck. It will be awhile until there’s general acceptance of using only native soil, but I am confident in telling anyone who will listen.

    I find that the most critical part of planting a tree or shrub is not untangling roots, or the width of the hole, but planting so that the root flare remains slightly above grade. For that reason I would never dig even a half inch deeper than the rootball, and in severely compacted soils, if there’s not a way to plant in raised beds, the hole will be an inch or two shallower. Planting too low, or allowing a tree to settle are sure fire ways to kill a tree in clay soils

  7. The most important step, after getting someone else to dig the hole, is to untangle, open up, the root ball, a particular problem with trees or shrubs grown for any time in plastic pots. Also in areas with heavier soils, adding lighter, compost-rich materials to the bottom and sides of the hole help with early growth. In 5 out of every 6 cases where a tree or shrub dies after planting, and I tug on it, the intact root ball comes right out of the soil. In the other cases watering was insufficient, especially over the winter, a problem for fall planting.

Leave a Reply