Like any plant, one of the key things you want to remember is not to plant it too deeply. Many people make that mistake and end up making a little bathtub in which water collects and the roots eventually rot because they’re too wet. So if you’ve got a nice specimen here like this rudbeckia triloba, you just want to give it a little rap on the bottom and remove the root ball from the container.
Now, what you’re going to see here with this one is like a lot of plants that come in containers. It’s a little bit root-bound here on the bottom and on the sides meaning the roots have grown out, they’ve hit the edge of the pot, and they’ve started to sort of collect there,and this is a bad thing because what we want the roots to do once we plant it is we want the roots to go out into the native soil. We don’t want them to stay in this little root ball here. So one of the things were going to do is we’re going to rough this up a little bit here and, again, don’t be too gentle with it.
You can do it with your hand or you can do it with a saw or you can do it with your pruners, whatever it takes to sort of rough that root pattern up a little bit here. Again, it might seem like I’m being a little rough here, but the only thing you really need to be concerned about at this stage is don’t let the roots dry out. If the roots dry out they’ll die. Otherwise they’ll be okay. So we’ve roughed that up a little bit.
Now, we’ve dug a hole which is not too deep and we’re going to just pop this baby in there. Now, I can see that the top of the root ball is even with the surrounding soil or near enough. It may be a little bit high. A little bit high is not bad. It’s better than low. So now we’re going to backfill a little bit of the soil around there, Hal is going to put some water in the hole, and then we’ll finish it off later.
What we’re trying to do here is make sure that the soil that’in the root ball and the soil that’s in your yard are well-bonded so that there’s no expansion and contraction creating a schism where the roots can’t go across. So we’re going to make those two soils mix together a little bit, go together, and then the roots are going to be able to easily move out in the yard where they need to be to collect enough water to live long-term.
Now that it’s in the ground, we’ve got plenty of water in the hole, so it should be pretty happy. Don’t go out and water for another couple of weeks until that water sort of drains out and the soil congeals together. Then after that, you want to make sure and come out and water this plant maybe once a week. Not a light top-watering, but a deep watering. If you take a five-gallon bucket, fill it full with about two or three gallons and slowly pour that on the plant to make sure that the root ball gets hydrated. Remember, it’s going to take a while for the roots to move out into the native soil and until that happens you have to make sure to get plenty of water into the root ball itself, but not too often, just about once a week.