Planting a bush is a basic landscaping procedure every gardener should master. To ensure successful planting and transplanting, focus on caring for plant roots. Provide a hospitable environment for your bush's roots to move from pot to ground. Make certain that roots do not dry out during this transition and that roots have room to spread in their new location.
Getting Bushes Ready
Typically, bushes appear from the nursery either potted or wrapped in burlap or other material to protect their roots. Root care is critical to successful planting and survival, and water is the critical tool needed for transition from nursery to ground. Inspect bushes you have purchased or had delivered. Wet the surrounding soil immediately and keep it moist until your bush is in the ground. (Many of the brown spots emerging in a commercially-planted hedge 8 to 12 weeks after planting result from plants that were put into the ground dry.)
Preparing the Ground
Dig a hole twice the depth and circumference of the bush root ball. This will facilitate the spread of roots and nourishment of your bush. Loosen and enrich all the soil you have removed from the hole by digging in a small amount of peat moss or sand and homemade or commercial leaf compost. Remove debris or large rocks. Replace enough dirt in the hole to hold the roots and moisten the soil evenly. Approximately half the soil you dug out will let you plant and secure your bush. Most gardeners agree that fertilizing can wait until the following spring, whether you are planting in spring or fall.
Planting Your Bush
Loosen roots from planting pot by placing it on its side and rolling it gently on the ground. If your bush is wrapped, loosen or remove wrapper completely (this gardener's preference, although nurseries use materials identified as eventually biodegradable to wrap roots), keeping damp soil around roots as much as possible. Ease the bush onto the moist soil in the hole and press down with your hands.
Replace remaining soil in the hole, spreading it evenly around and over the roots of the bush. When the hole is filled, tamp soil down hard all around the bush with your foot. This will remove air pockets in planting soil that can cause dry and dying roots (constant moisture helps perform this same function).
Water your bush immediately, and continue watering at a rate of 1 inch of water per week, twice or three times a week. Continue this watering throughout the planting season (if you planted your bush in spring, water all spring; if you planted in fall, water till frost). Watch your bush for signs of new growth before reducing watering.