Deep Planting – a north Queensland perspective

There’s an idea doing the rounds that the latest thing in gardening is ‘deep planting’. And by ‘deep planting’ we mean really deep, as in digging a hole up to half a metre deep and burying the poor plant up to its eye-balls.

So, we’ve been doing a bit of research here at Yuruga to find out where the idea came from and whether it has any merits or applications to us up here in north Queensland.

The concept had its origins in some revegetation projects down south, where the seedlings being planted were old and very tall and lanky, with a small root-ball, a long thin stem and a couple of leaves on top. If planted in the normal way, the stem would bend over double and the plant would die. So the planters came up with the idea of digging a deep hole and burying most of the stem to make the plant stand up. And it worked.

How did they get away with it? How come the stems didn’t rot and kill the plants?

Well, they were lucky. Being a revegetation project along creek and river banks, the plants being planted were riverine species that tolerate flooding and silt piling up around their trunks. Hence, they were able to tolerate ‘deep planting’.

Various other people ‘down south’ are also reporting some success with this idea, but when you delve down into what is actually happening you will find that the plants are being planted in soft, deep, organic loam. So the soil is nicely aerated and has properties similar to a potting medium that a nursery would use to strike cuttings. Hence, plants which are reasonably easy to strike from cuttings will survive deep planting in these conditions.

However, be warned. It is highly unlikely that this technique will work up here in the tropics with our pronounced wet season, or on soils other than soft loams. We would certainly predict that it would be a disaster in heavy or clay soils. The technique has only been tried on a small range of plants, and not every species that has been tested has succeeded. So if you want to try the idea, you do so at your own risk.

Given that the technique was developed for planting over-grown, long lanky plants, then the solution is obvious. Don’t buy over-grown, long lanky plants!

No professional commercial nursery these days sells plants of such poor quality. When you come to Yuruga, the plants you buy will be well-proportioned and sun-hardened, with strong sturdy trunks. So – no need to resort to risky ideas like ‘deep planting’. Simply plant your plants in the normal way, with the top of the root-ball a couple of centimetres below the soil surface.

You will find our tried and trusted advice on how to plant your plants (based on years of local experience and knowledge) in our Information Sheets available at the nursery and on our website.

Happy gardening, and see you at Yuruga!
Peter and Ann

One Reply to “Deep Planting – a north Queensland perspective”

Comments are closed.