How To Set Your Plants Up For Success: Our Recommended Products

We love plants. We love to help our customers succeed with growing their new plants. So, we thought we’d share a bit more about the products we recommend using whenever new plants are planted.  

It can seem overwhelming at first.

“Why should I add all these powders, liquids, and blends to my soil?”

“Shouldn’t my plants know what to do naturally without all this extra stuff?”

The answer to both these questions can seem complex, so we wanted to break it down for you to understand why we recommend these products and how they truly do help your plants succeed. 

MYKE Tree and ShrubMYKE Tree and Shrub

First off is “the little blue tub” that we always recommend for eligible trees and shrubs called, aptly named, “MYKE Tree & Shrub.” Yes, it extends the warranty from a 1-year to a 5-year, but why?

MYKE Tree and Shrub is an all-natural growth supplement that contains biological fungi called mycorrhizae which is an inoculant that stimulates the existing mycorrhizae in the soil to produce more mycorrhizae. 

Why does a soil inoculant matter?

Soil is naturally teeming with bacteria and fungi, though most are neither beneficial nor harmful. Still, they play a subtle, yet vital, role in plant health by boosting the number of helpful organisms in the soil. By adding helpful bacteria or fungi to take up those tiny spaces, you minimize the risk of dangerous microorganisms taking up residency and potentially harming your plants. An easy-to-understand comparison would be an inoculation humans receive to ward off undesirable diseases, sort of like a flu shot.

When applied correctly, which is close to the roots during the transplantation (we recommend patting it directly on the root ball), Mycorrhizal fungi will start to germinate in the soil and make their way to the nearest roots. The roots are then colonized by the fungi and mycorrhizae is established. Upon establishment, mycorrhizae assist the root system through a more efficient uptake of water and nutrients for the plant.

Fertilome Root StimulatorFertilome Root Stimulator

Ok, I get it. Sort of. But if I’m using that, why would I also need fertilizer?

While MYKE has minuscule amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in it, it is not to be confused with fertilizer. It’s true that those minuscule amounts may be of minor help to the plant, but it is not a replacement for a good plant starter fertilizer such as Fertilome Root Stimulator.

Can’t I just use the same fertilizer I use for my lawn?

No, for new plants with tender roots, you want to use something formulated specifically for root growth. Fertilizers that are for established plants have higher concentrations of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which can burn the tender root systems of new plants.

Fertilome Root Stimulator is recommended when transplanting to stimulate early root formation and development. It is perfect to use when transplanting trees and shrubs. In fact, it can also be used on berries, fruit trees, and flowers. In addition to the gentle fertilizer needed to give the plants a healthy, but not overwhelming, boost of nutrients, it includes an active ingredient called Indole-3-butyric acid.  

Indole-3-butyric acid is a plant hormone used to initiate root formation. It should be used one time after initial planting at the rate of 3½ tablespoons of root stimulator in one gallon of water. We recommend using this product for new plantings at the initial planting, then again in the fall when plants start going dormant and push their energy into root growth. Do not use this product excessively or in amounts higher than recommended as it can lead to root burn, nutrient toxicity, or dry and damaged roots. 

Awww, OK, that all makes sense. But with those products, why would I also need to amend my soil?

Unfortunately in the Salt Lake area, the soil structure needs help to allow for proper drainage along with nutrient density. We used to be a lake bed, a salty lake bed, so we have high alkalinity, poor drainage, heavy clay or sandy soil, and not a lot of organic matter to help break down the clay or hold moisture levels appropriately.

This is why, in addition to a mycorrhizal inoculant and a root stimulator, we recommend one of the following soil amendments to give your plants the best start possible, depending on which area you are in.

Our Recommended Soil Amendments:Garden Soil Amendments

These blends are fully composted composts with few or no raw wood products in them and create a wonderful soil environment for strong plants and healthy root growth. Additionally, they are OMRI listed for organic gardening and great for breaking up hard clay soils and improving drainage, which in return will promote healthy root development. We have found the best ratio for use is 1 part soil conditioner to 3 parts native soil.

Note: Using a product that is not fully composted will steal nitrogen from the plant you are trying to grow in the process of composting the raw wood in the material, so you will end up needing to add a nitrogen fertilizer to supplement the soil

In summary, key factors that will help your new plant to establish properly and successfully include a mycorrhizal inoculant, a root stimulator, and a soil conditioner. 

Be sure to check out our other informational pages on how to properly plant and water your new tree.  

Happy Gardening!

The Glover Diagnostics Department

Related posts