Sagebrush can be found growing wild throughout the western region of North America. There are many different species of sagebrush. Most produce silver-green leaves and small inconspicuous flowers. And most are easy to plant in dry climates if you employ the right techniques. Because dry-climate plants can survive where others cannot, the assumption is that they are "fool-proof" plants. But, like any other plant, sagebrush has specific planting needs.
Dig a hole that is just as deep and twice the diameter of the container your sagebrush plant is currently growing in.
Fill the hole with water and allow it to drain. This technique moistens the surrounding soil. Now that it is no longer dry, the water you give your newly planted sagebrush will not be wicked away.
Remove the sagebrush by cutting away its temporary plastic container. By cutting away the container in this manner, you minimize damage to the sagebrush's roots and increase the likelihood that it will survive transplantation.
Loosen the sagebrush's roots by gently pulling them away from the root ball. If the roots have wound around the interior or the container this may be difficult. If so, use a sharp knife to create four evenly spaced, 1-inch deep vertical slits that run the length of the root ball.
Examine the loosened roots. Use a pair of sharp bypass pruning shears to prune any dangling broken sections, any roots that have grown in a long circle around the interior of the pot and any mushy or blackened roots (prune these 2 inches into healthy white root tissue). Do not prune more than one third of the root ball.
Plant the sagebrush in the hole at the same depth as it was growing in its previous container. This is perhaps the most important planting technique of all. If the sagebrush is planted too deeply or too shallowly, it may not survive. Do not cover the sagebrush's roots with more than 1 inch of soil.
Water the sagebrush. The best technique is to lay a slow-running hose at the base of the plant for an hour or so. Water until the soil is moist to the depth of the sagebrush's roots (insert a wooden dowel into the soil to check the moisture depth). Check the moisture level frequently and water the plant whenever the top couple of inches of the soil dry out. Once the plant establishes itself and produces new growth, annual rainfall should provide enough moisture for the plant.
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