Planting above waterline to water 6" deep


Be certain you know where normal water level will be most of the time.  
In most stormwater projects, there will be a small pipe, or a cutout in a weir, that lets the water of the pond or wetland drain slowly after a storm.  The bottom horizontal part of the pipe or cutout is where the water should drain down to and then remain, at least most of the time.  There will also be a big overflow, perhaps with a barred entrance, to move the water out quickly once the pond or wetland approaches capacity.  Survival of the plants depends upon installing them at the right elevation relative to this "normal" water level.

The labels on our bags are color coded to tell you where the plants go relative to the normal water level.  
Green markings mean the plants go between the normal water level and the big overflow level.  Pale blue markings mean the plants are happiest right at the water line.  Medium blue labeled plants go from the normal water level to 6 vertical inches below water.  Plants labeled with deep purple should be planted deeper than 6 inches below normal water, and are not covered by these instructions.

We grow all species for shallow water and above in 5" deep x 1.6" diameter plugs containers.
When you receive them, the plants will have been removed from their containers and packed in strong, waterproof bags.  To install the plants make a deep narrow slit in the soil, using a shovel, narrow spade, trowel, or anything else that works.  Slip in the plant so that most of the roots point down.  For plants installed above the normal water level of the pond or wetland, make the top of the root ball even with the surrounding soil, then firm in place.  For plants installed below normal level, the top of the root ball can go as much as 2 inches below the surrounding soil.  

Plant a full bag of one species in a large drift at the right level relative to normal water.  
Then start a new drift of another species next to it.  Unless ordered to do so, you don't want to mix the species randomly all together - it looks messy and unnatural.  Typically plants are spaced 2 feet apart in every direction, so that on average there is one plant per 4 square feet.  However your plans may say otherwise, and the plans rule!

Fine Points

Topsoil should have been applied to your planting area, or compost tilled into the underlying subsoil.  If you are planting into pure subsoil or sand, drop a small amount of a SLOW RELEASE fertilizer into the slit.  A.M. Leonard sells a 3 gram fertilizer tablet that releases over 3-4 months that is ideal.

In the unlikely event that you are working in nice soft soil, you can speed up the creation of your planting holes by using a container seedling dibble with a 6" tip.  Forestry Suppliers sells these and they make installation incredibly fast.

If possible, let the pond and wetland fill up with water, then drain it by opening the drain or pumping the water down below the planting areas a day or so before installation.  

If you don't expect any rain for weeks and the pond or wetland isn't holding water, you should strongly consider setting up a temporary irrigation system.  The plants don't need to be flooded but the soil MUST remain moist for 6 weeks after installation.  If this isn't possible consider using a water absorbing gel, such as Terra-Sorb.  Mix up a wet slurry and place a handful  in each planting hole before adding the plant.  Water everything in well, then keep your fingers crossed!