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MICHELIA champaca

  • Planting

    1. Dig holes or beds wide, not deep
    2. Lightly amend heavy clay or sandy soils with organic matter
    3. Gently remove plants from containers, keeping the root ball intact
    4. Loosen potting soil and roots around bottom and edges of root ball
    5. Plant level with surrounding soil, spreading roots outward
    6. Fill around roots with lightly amended native soil
    7. Water to settle soil around roots
    8. Cover the area with leaf or bark mulch 1 - 3 inches thick but not piled up onto the plant's stem/trunk
    9. Water deeply
    10. Stake large trees to prevent excess movement in strong winds

  • Watering

    1. Woody plants need watering less frequently than tender annuals or herbaceous plants
    2. Most established trees, shrubs, and vines can go weeks without supplemental watering except in extremely hot or windy weather
    3. Watering from a hose or sprinkler should be done slowly and deeply, not frequently, to avoid shallow root development or root diseases. Allow soil to dry several inches deep before irrigating
    4. When practical, especially in arid climates, use and maintain water-efficient soaker hoses or drip irrigation. Water briefly two or three times a week to keep soil moist, not wet
    5. Most winter injury is from drying out, not cold temperatures. Be prepared to water during prolonged sunny, windy, dry spells even in the winter.
    6. Mulches help prevent water loss during hot, windy, or sunny weather

  • Pruning

    1. Prune trees to remove wayward, broken, dead, or diseased branches and limbs, or for safety around utility lines
    2. Use pruning saws and loppers for moderate work, and a chainsaw for heavy work. As always take all safety precautions when using power equipment, or when you have to get off the ground for pruning
    3. Remove branches flush with limbs, limbs flush with trunks, leaving only short swollen areas instead of stubs which can rot into the interior ("heart") of the tree
    4. For large limbs, make three cuts: one partway through the bottom of the limb to prevent splitting or tearing bark, the second farther out to remove the limb, and the third to remove the stub
    5. Pruning paints are for cosmetics only; a proper cut will heal quickly, and is better insurance against rot or insect infestation

  • Propagation

    1. Most trees are grown from seed sown when ripe (usually in the fall) and exposed to natural temperatures and humidity
    2. Some trees are grafted or budded, especially fruit trees and hybrids, by taking pieces of the desired tree and inserting them into the stems of "rootstock" trees; this is done in winter or early spring
    3. A few trees can be grown from cuttings taken in the late fall or early winter

  • Fertilization

    Most plants need a regular "diet" of all-purpose plant food, either specialty (labeled for your specific plant type) or a generic N-P-K (nitrogen - phosphorus - potassium)

    Fertilize early in the plant's growing cycle - spring for summer plants, fall for winter plants

    • For leafy plants, use a fertilizer with a higher nitrogen content (first number)
    • For flowering or fruiting plants, use a fertilizer higher in phosphorous content (middle number)

    If using a water soluble fertilizer:

    1. Mix as directed on container according to directions
    2. Wet the leaves and drench soil
    3. Repeat

    If using a granulated fertilizer:

    1. Scatter a small amount of all-purpose fertilizer lightly under plants from the stem to beyond the outer spread of branches or foliage
    2. Water slowly and deeply

    NOTE: Never over fertilize! You will see lots of weak, leafy growth and few flowers