Native plants are some of the easiest plants to add to your landscape. If you are looking to add Natives to your existing flower bed or garden, all you have to do is find or create an opening among the already established plants and add in the Native plants. Planting natives is that easy!
If you are looking to create a native plant garden in an area that is covered with grass, sod, or weeds, then you will need to put in a bit more extra work to make sure that you give your plants the best chance at success. All these methods will work when planting plants from pots as well as throwing out seed mixes.
There are a few different methods for terminating the existing plant life, and which method you choose is entirely up to you.
Method 1: Chemical Herbicides
- Using Chemical herbicides is by far the quickest and easiest way to terminate existing plants- especially if you are doing a large area (large as in a couple acres).
-And while it is easiest, it may not be ideal if you want to stay away from harmful chemicals or prefer organic methods of growing.
-If you choose this method, make sure you read all labels and practice chemical safety.
Method 2: Tillage
- Tilling is a common and useful way to prepare a garden bed. The tiller will dig into the ground and break up the existing plants and soil and leave you with a clean surface that is easy to dig and plant into.
- The big problem with using tillage as a method to clear the ground is that when you turn over the soil, it will bring thousands of seeds from the existing seed bank to the surface. These seeds will then germinate and compete with your native plants.
Method 3: Silage Tarp
- This method requires more planning and patience, but it is far less invasive than either of the other methods. This method requires the use of a large 'silage' tarp, but a large piece of plastic will work just as well. Don't use a regular tarp because you don't want any holes. The goal is to use the sun to heat the tarp and heat up the plants that are underneath it to the point where they die back. It uses the process of Occultation.
-Simply lay out the silage tarp over the area that you are wanting to terminate, and secure the edges with heavy weights to keep the tarp from blowing away.
-This process takes 2 to 3 weeks, and sometimes longer depending on how dense the plant material is underneath and what time of year it is. -If you use a clear plastic the process may be quicker than if you use black plastic.
Plants should be planted with a 1 foot spacing.
Step 1. Clear the area
- It is best to start with bare soil. Remove weeds from the area (remove as many roots as possible!)
Step 2. Dig a hole
-The hole should be the same depth as the pot you are planting and about double the width
Step 3. Remove plant from pot and place the plant in the hole
- Grab the base of the stem close to potting soil. Gently pull the plant as you squeeze the pot. Royal Catchfly has weaker stems so it may be best to save that one for last so gain some experience first.
Step 4. Water the plant thoroughly inside the hole*
-Watering the plant and the hole ensures that the lower roots receive the moisture they need before filling the hole
Step 5. Fill the hole with the soil from the hole and then water again*
*Watering during planting may not be necessary. If rain is in the forecast and temperatures are cool then the plants should be fine!
-After planting check on the plants daily for about a week. If the plant gets too dry then give it some water. If nocturnal mammals pull up the plants then put the plant back and replant it.