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Installing Native Plants

Create a Native Plant Garden

Site Preparation

Carefully plan out where you would like the garden to be. Mark the space out on the lawn. You can create an outline of the bed with small stakes and twine or you can use spray paint or spray chalk to mark the outline.
 
Strip the sod back. Dig down about 1-1/2 when removing the sod from the edges. Take the sod you stripped back and lay it in the center of the bed upside down and pack it down firmly. Use several layers of wet newspaper to cover the entire garden area. You can also purchase plastic or cloth to cover this area at a garden center if you dont want to deal with the newspaper. This covering will help prevent weeds from popping up in your new garden.
 
Cover the layers of newspaper with 6-8 of topsoil. If you are purchasing your top soil, grainy looking soil is going to work the best. If it appears clumpy, it probably has clay in it which will not drain water well in wet weather and will become very hard during dry spells. Look for topsoil that is very dark in color. The dark color indicates that the soil is rich in organic matter. If you have compost available, this can be added to the soil as well.

Installing Native Plant Plugs

It is best to plant your native species on a cool or cloudy day to minimize the stress of transplanting. Planting in the early morning or late afternoon also helps. Most flowers should be planted in the spring, after the danger of frost.
 
Work the soil. Use a garden spade or rototiller to break up the large clumps. Add soils amenities as need. You may need to add sand to your soil if you have clay based soil. This will help with drainage. Most gardeners will add some organic matter or compost to the soil to provide the plants with essential nutrients.
 
Dig a hole in your freshly worked soil. Put the soil aside to fill the hole back in later. The diameter should be about twice the diameter and the same height of the root ball of the plant. Gently remove the plant from its container, and brush your hand over the root ball to stimulate the roots.
 
Place the plant in the hole. Its very important to place the roots at the proper level so that the plants roots arent exposed and the foliage of low-lying plants doesnt get too wet. Fill the hole about half-way with the original soil. Gently pack the soil to remove any trapped air. Give the plant a good drink.
 
Finish filling in with soil around the plant, gently pack, and water one more time. Cover the base of the plant with a good mulch. Straw, dead leaves or grass clippings work well. After planting, keep your plants well watered for the first year until they establish a good root system.