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How do I know when a plant is established?

You have probably heard many references regarding plants becoming established.  Perhaps you have seen tags on plants that say they are drought-tolerant once established. If you listen to gardening podcasts or read gardening articles, you have probably heard people talk about plants being well established.

If so, then you likely know that your plants need more water and food before they are established and that you can start watering them less once they are established. This, of course, leads to the perennial gardening question: How do you know when a plant is established?

After you transplant a plant into your garden, it will take time for the root system to develop and spread into the surrounding soil and for new growth to appear on the plant. This is the time (prior to becoming established) that your plants need more food and water, since their root systems are not able to adequately extract them from the soil.

Once the root system is established, you will notice new growth above the soil. You will also notice that you cannot simply yank the plant out of the ground with a little tug. Perennials will likely take a year and shrubs one to two years to become established. Trees might take up to three years to become established in your garden.

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By mid-summer, perennial gardens can start to look overgrown, annual flowers begin to fade, and bugs may be munching on your vegetables.

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