One should do bed planting whenever possible. This is particularly true of foundation planting around the house, background shrubs, hedges and screens, bank cover planting, and borders.
The rule should be spot planting for individual specimens and bed planting for mass or row plantings. There are some plants which almost demand bed planting. Azaleas, Rhododendrons, boxwoods, and the boxleaf hollies are some that respond very poorly, over the long run, to spot planting, but they do well with bed planting.
Prepare a bed for shrubs in the following way:
- Mark off the area to be planted.
- Inspect the area for drainage problems. Poorly drained soil will need correcting as the bed is being made. Till deeply. Then remove the soil from the bed to a depth of 12 inches. Line the bottom of the bed with 4 inches of coarse bark or gravel, and fill the bed with the soil which has been laid aside.
- Till the bed as deeply as possible with a roto-tiller.
- Work peat moss, ground bark, and any other humus into the entire bed area.
- Work any organic fertilizers like cow manure, cottonseed meal, or blood meal into the bed.
- Inspect the soil for a heavy or slick feeling. Add perlite to loosen it further.
- After soil preparation, plant the same as for spot planting except that you do not need to prepare the soil taken form the hole.
- Water and fertilize as you do with spot planting.
- Mulching, however, should cover the entire bed.
- Do not plant too deeply or mulch tightly around the stems of the plants.