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Instructions for planting Prunus mume

(Japanese Flowering Apricot)

Select a site with good sun, a full day of sun is best, but they will bloom in high filtered shade or a half day of sun. Prunus mume is not particular about soil, but will do better if the site is not very wet or dry.

For the best growth, you can prepare a bed of improved soil. I recommend putting a layer of compost 4-6 inches over an area at least 25 square feet (5' x 5'), and tilling the compost into the existing soil. Prunus mume will usually do fine in regular garden soil, even if it has a lot of clay.

I would dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball and deep enough so that the top of the root ball will be even with the surrounding soil, but not any lower. You can place the plant in the hole while still in the pot to get the depth right. Once the pot is removed, place the root-ball in the hole and adjust the plant for depth and vertical orientation. Step back and view from two angles if you want a trunk that is straight up and down. With time, Prunus mume tends to have a gnarled look, rather than a single straight stem. Staking is usually necessary only if the plant seems loose, or is moving in the wind. Backfill the hole with soil that came out of the hole and firmly pack the soil around the roots. I usually make a ridge of dirt around the root-ball which makes a basin in which water can collect, and slowly soak into the soil. Water well after planting. The first year, the tree needs to be watered 1-2 times/week with a deep watering that gets water down to all the root-ball. The frequency of watering depends on the heat, and how established the plant has become.

Frtilize lightly in March and May in the South, or April and June in the North. Mulch with any organic mulch like pine bark or wood chips. The plant can be trained to a desired shape by pruning and staking. Lower limbs can be cut off to have a tree form. Without pruning, it will make a small tree 25 feet tall and 20 feet wide. Dead branches and crossed branches can be removed in winter.