Roots in a cell-pack

Planting Those Root Blocks? No!

Sunday morning and time for Garden Hints and Tips.

I have just a couple this time because I apparently have had too much coffee this morning and I am talk-typing too much and too fast. So I will just pull back on the reins here. And it is such a gorgeous morning outside, I just have to get out there. So here goes.

Don’t Plant Those Root “Blocks”

Have you purchased any new plants in the little six-cell containers or any container where the roots have been growing steadily for a period of time? Sometimes the roots have ran out of room and are packed into a rectangle or column which even holds its shape when you pull it from the container.


Don’t just plant it like that. Be sure to pull the roots from that compacted mess. This example in my photo is NOT showing any severe root compaction. If it were, you would see almost a covering of white roots all around the soil block. For that case,you will need to take a garden knife and slit vertically down the sides of your root block so that the “binding roots” will be free to move out into the new garden soil you will be planting it into now.

If you don’t allow these roots to be free, you may later have a dying plant and when you pull it up, it will still be in the same block shape. Just go ahead and set it free when you first plant it.

Ants – Trying Peaceful Co-Existance

About a week ago, I decided to plant new and different plants in two large urns that I have had for several years. These are concrete urns, not hypertufa, but I love all kinds of stone-like materials. I love the shape and when they were on clearance, I had to have them. Disadvantages: These urns are very heavy. And I am always thinking of moving them to a “better” spot.

Imagine my dismay when I started digging around in the soil, adding some fresh soil into the old soil, and what happens? Deja vue! Ant Wars again!

Tiny little ants all over my hands and running up my arms and all around the rim of the urn.

Now this is beginning to get on my nerves.

But I am going a different route this year. I am going to try Peaceful Co-Existance. I will leave them alone. Well, after I did some major destruction as I planted these flowers in the urns. But I will just let it be and see if we can just live together. If they don’t harm the plants, then I guess I can learn to live with them.


We will see how this goes. The urn on the right is the one with a whole city of ants. The other urn didn’t have any ant city, just the usual worms and other creepers and slither-ers.

I like the way the urns look. These are just the basic “geraniums” (which are really called pelargoniums) and alyssum. I chose the purple and hot pink for a pop of color. I will let you know how these turn out. It will be an experiment to see if the one on the right declines in any way due to the ants.

It will be a test case. I will try my best to treat them the same as far as watering and pinching the plants with the usual dead-heading. Hopefully, they will both do fine and I can learn to live with my ants. Otherwise, this garden tip may turn out to “Fight Them With All You Have.”

Apparently, they love my garden and I will have to learn to live with them. 

Thanks for reading. And have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. Stay safe and celebrate wisely.

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