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Red Admiral on Blue Boneset

Guarantee a good start for your new Texas natives

At Madrone Nursery, we grow our plants in a rich, compost-based soil mix using a minimum amount of fertilizer. A "rule of thumb" for planting our nursery stock in your landscape is to dig a hole the width of the plant's container, deep enough to place the root ball about 1/2" below ground level. (Columbines, penstemons, and grasses should be planted at the same depth they are in the container.)

Loosen the roots at the sides and base of the root ball and gently unwind any larger roots that are circling the exterior so they can be pointed downward. If fibrous roots are heavily matted along the edge of the root ball, cut an "X" through the base and slice a shallow line up each side to spread the quadrants of soil slightly. This will encourage new roots to grow outward towards the surrounding soil.

Finally, place the plant in the hole and fill in any space around the edges and top with the soil that had been removed. Water well to be sure that there are no large air pockets and then continue watering on a fairly regular basis for a couple of months or more if rain is scarce.

Don't assume that a new native plant can survive with "no" water. They still need time to become established before they can thrive in your garden or acreage. Be sure to water the area farther out at the drip line of the plant and not just soak the trunk or stem. You want to encourage roots to grow into the surrounding soil.

And remember, even natives appreciate being mulched to keep down weeds and soil temperature - but only a light layer is needed. Heavy mulching can smother your plants.

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