How to plant bare root ground covers
The first step is to correctly till the top 12 inches of soil where the ground cover is to be planted. It may be necessary to improve the soil by adding organic matter to the existing soil. The proper amount for this application is roughly 25 percent by volume of the planting area. If the planting area has ever been planted before, this step may not be needed.
The next step involves mixing 10-10-10 fertilizer into the soil prepared in the first step.
After properly preparing the soil in the planting area, it is time to plant your bare root ground cover plants.
Using a screwdriver or small spade, dig a small hole for the plant. Your recently tilled soil should make this task quite easy.
Next, remove the plant from the container and insert the root into the hole. Do not force the plant into the hole as the root must be straight and not curved at all. If necessary, remove the plant from the hole and dig the hole slightly deeper to allow the root to be straight.
Cover the root with soil, and water immediately.
Bare root plants should be spaced 4 inches to 8 inches apart resulting in approximately 9 plants per square foot of space.
The hardest part of this planting job is the initial soil preparation work. Planting bare root ground cover is fun, and the results will be worth all of your effort.
How To Plant Bare Root Ferns
When you receive your bare root fern in the spring, it will need to be planted. You will need the basic garden tools such as a shovel to dig hole, mulch, water, etc. There are very few steps to planting the fern.
The first step is to pick the location that you want to plant the fern. Remember that ferns prefer partial to completely shady areas. They also like their soil to be moist and rich. The next step is to dig hole. The size of the hole needs to be wide enough to hold the tuber and deep enough to allow for a few inches distance between the tuber and the top of the dug hole. Once the hole is dug, add the tuber. If it is not obvious which end of the tuber should be pointing up, put it in the hole sideways. Smaller ferns can be planted close together, however larger ferns, like the Christmas Evergreen, Royal Ferns, etc., need more distance between them.
The next step is to add a layer of mulch. A good much, such as aged compost, bark mulch, etc., will be needed for the area to retain moisture. Straw can also be used to help with keeping the soil moist and cool. Water as much as is needed to keep the soil moist. Do not over water. This will cause the tuber to rot. The fronds will begin to pop up as the ground begins to get warmer in the late spring.
When you are ready to plant, inspect the roots for any damage or dryness, etc. If the roots seem dry, soak in water for about an hour. Use a good quality potting soil with good drainage or add some peat or sphagnum moss. Making sure the dormant plants have adequate drainage at this point is critical to the success of the plant as it will deter mold and diseases, as well as help much needed nutrients reach the roots.
Dig hole deep enough for the longest roots and wide enough to give roots some room to spread. After you dig hole, gently set plant in prepared hole and lightly sprinkle your good drainage potting soil around the roots until it is about half full. Lightly water the half-filled hole and allow the water to settle for 15 to 20 minutes. Fill in the rest of the hole around the roots and water again. Do not press and pack the soil at this point, as it could damage the delicate roots.
After planting, inspect the exposed areas of the plant and pinch or trim any damage, etc. Water daily if weather allows. Early morning is the best time for watering the new plants. Drainage and evaporation will be best during the day when it is sunny and warm.