Note: Plant your bare rooted Ocotillo as soon as possible to increase the odds of survival. If you can't plant it immediately, keep it in the shade and water the canes at least daily in the summer.
Trim broken roots:
Just before planting,trim only roots that are broken. Trim just above the broken part leaving as much of the root as possible. The jagged ends of the roots that broke off when it was dug up, versus being cut, can be trimmed for a clean cut.
Pick a good location:
Pick a location that will not get excessive water from heavy rains (ponding) or frequent watering from a turf area. Many Cacti grow under the shade ofdesert trees but Ocotillo grow our in the open and need full sun.
Dig a Hole:
Dig a hole the diameter of the roots and deep enough to plant it to the dirt line on the base of the plant. The dirt line is generally about an inch or two below where all the canes join together for an 8 foot tall Ocotillo. It may be 4-5 inches below where the canes come together for a 10-15 foot Ocotillo. A half inch to one inch deeper won't hurt. Br sure the dirt in the bottom of the hole has good drainage (sandy type soil).
Place in the hole so the dirt line is at ground level. Push sandy dirt around and under it so the roots are in contact with soil (use the end of your shovel to pack the dirt to hold it vertical). Guy wires/stakes should not be needed. Carefully take tie wires off to allow the canes to open up, they will spring outward!
The Ocotillo gets the majority of its water through the canes which should be sprinkled daily in the summer (spray with a hose so they are totally wet) for the first month or two. In hot months is is best to spray twice a day.
Water the soil around the plant real good after planting it so the roots get soaked,slow drip is best if possible. Water about every weeks to three weeks in the cooler months, about once per week in the hot months for about a year until established. Too much water can cause rot and decay which will kill the plant.
Once established, it should not need supplemental water except possibly in very dry/hot summer months. It may bloom soon after planting but that does not mean it is established. It may not show any signs of life for the first year but don't give up on it. If you think it is dead, bend a cane slightly to see if it snaps, if it does this branch is dead, check others.</p>
Planting an Ocotillo
August 5, 2009
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