With poor soils it is recommended to prepare planting holes for each plant by adding composted manure, composed leaves, peat moss, pine bark fines or other compost into the planting hole.
When planting gently remove the plant from its container, keeping the root ball intact. Then carefully loosen the roots in the potting soil and around bottom and edges of root ball so the roots are free to grow out into the surrounding soil.
- Bulb planter
- Auger (a power auger making a 12 to 14 inch hole that can be filled with compost or other material can help where the soil is poor.)
- Tree planter (on the right:tree planter in action) Of these methods the tree planter has been shown to be the fastest and easiest in soil with good drainage. Good drainage is essential so the drainage of the soil needs to be checked before planting. Poor drainage is one of the primary problems when growing plants. In soil with poor drainage raised beds should be used.
- Raised bed machine. Where you have clay soil with poor drainage it is necessary to use raised beds to obtain needed drainage so the plant roots do not stand in the water. If the roots of the plant are in standing water they will drown and the plant will die. At some farms and nurseries raised beds are used because the soil is clay with poor drainage.
When to Plant
If you have irrigation and mulch you can really plant potted plants any time of year the ground isn’t frozen.
However Ideal times to plant are: Early Spring and Early Fall
Irrigation is almost essential in establishing plants. (An exception may sometimes be in the late fall or early spring planting). Late fall is often a good time to plant because it gives the plants time to establish strong roots during the fall, winter and spring before the plants must endure the hot weather in the summer.
Plant Spacing and Row Spacing
Commercial Production Planting
Historically, commercial plantings of aronia were done in a line of closely spaced shrubs, leaving enough room to drive a tractor and equipment in between the rows of mature plants.
- Row Spacing 12 to 15 ft
- Plant Spacing 24 to 36 inches
About 1070 plants per acre can be grown with a spacing of 3 feet between plants and 12 feet between rows. This practice is commonly used in Europe for machine harvesting.
Note: When determining the row width, you should measure the width of the mowing and hay making equipment to be certain it is suited to work in the row of that width when plants are mature.
For more than one acre mechanical harvesting is less costly than hand harvesting.
One should keep in mind that closer spacing of plants within the rows for machine harvesting will double the amount of fruit production for the first few years and more than make up for the higher cost of planting the plants more densely.
This method can work if you plan to harvest small acreage by hand, or use a self-propelled harvester requiring less row width.
- Row Spacing 10 ft
- Plant Spacing 4-6 ft
You should not plan on hand harvesting if you plant more than 1 acre. For more than one acre mechanical harvesting is more efficient and less costly than hand harvesting.
One form of hand harvesting is to let groups from organizations such as youth groups to harvest berries to raise money. Nonprofit groups can pick aronia berries on the farm to raise money for their worthy causes.