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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Plant Replacements in the Fall or Spring

Q. I removed two Italian Cypress trees (harder project than I imagined, especially the stumps). When is a good time to replace them, how big of a hole should I dig, and how should I prepare it? 

A. I can imagine that was a very difficult job removing Italian cypress. Probably the easiest way to do it, yes I know it's already done, is to cut it off and rent a stump grinder and grind out the stumps. The wood grinding's mixed with soil makes a fabulous mulch.
            The best time to replant is in the fall months but the problem is plant selection. There is usually not much to pick from. The best stuff is gone and the nurseries don't want to be stuck with anything through the winter and availability of plants from wholesalers is limited to stuff that didn't sell. But you can still find things if you're willing to look around.
            An alternative to Italian cypress is the Skyrocket Juniper. It is hard to find but stays narrow and smaller. They used to be popular 30 or 40 years ago. This is not a desert adapted tree so it will require soil improvement and I would mulch it with wood mulch at the base on top of the soil. I have never seen it planted in our hot desert climate but I don't see a reason it won't work with some soil preparation, decent irrigation and wood mulch.

You should not have a problem planting in the same holes if the Italian cypress he removed was healthy.
            Dig a hole 3 to 4 times the diameter of the container that the plant comes in. If these holes already have quite a bit of organic matter in them... You can tell by the color... Then don't add
anything. But otherwise mix the soil you take from the hole 50/50 with compost. The best compost out there locally for doing this is Viragrow compost in North Las Vegas.
Viragrow compost available in North Las Vegas

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