plantcare

Plant Care

Even the lowest of low care gardens and plants need some attention. New installations especially need to be watered and cared for as they get established. And establishment doesn’t happen overnight. Establishment can happen in as little as 1 year for perennials to 3 years for trees and possibly longer for larger caliper trees. Once established plants should be able to take care of themselves water wise unless there is a period of extreme drought and then they may need some assistance to get them through.

Along with watering you also want to consider weed control. If weeds are left to their own devises they can quickly over run a bed or individual plants. Weeds can be hand pulled or controlled chemically or a combination of the two. If using chemicals be sure to mix your product according to the product label and for non-selective chemicals (will kill anything) be sure to carefully target weeds because if it gets on the leaves of desirable plants it will kill them. It can be best to leave chemical treatments to the professionals. We have affordable bed maintenance programs to assist you.

Below you will find some helpful guidelines for watering and care:

Trees

• Trees should be mulched with 1-3 inches of hardwood mulch. More is not better as excessive mulch can invite pests and disease. Mulch should not be piled against the trunk.
• Stakes on newly planted trees should be kept on no longer than one year. If a tree needs to be staked due to damage monitor the stakes and cables to be sure they are not too tight and remove when no longer needed.
• Slow, deep watering is recommended. This can be achieved by weekly applications of 10 gallons of water per inch diameter (i.e. a 2” caliper tree should receive 20 gallons of water) to the critical root zone with a watering wand, soaker hose, or sprinkler. Be careful not to over water. Over watering can be just as deadly as under watering because excessive water can drown the roots preventing the uptake of air.
• Water weekly from April thru October. Although it may seem counter intuitive plants need water in winter months too. November thru March water 1-2 times per month when the temperature is over 40 degrees and no snow cover exists.
• Fertilize twice annually after establishment.

 

Shrubs

• Shrubs should be mulched with 1-3 inches of hardwood mulch. Avoid piling mulch on low hanging branches.
• Small shrubs should be watered with 4-6 gallons of water per week and larger shrubs should be watered with approximately 10 gallons of water per week. Again, over watering is a no-no. If you are watering and you are seeing discoloration/ yellowing do not increase the amount of water. Let the soil dry out a bit and then resume. If you are unsure, call a professional.
• Flowering shrubs should be pruned after they flower so as not to prune off next years’ blooms.
• Evergreens such as boxwoods should be pruned early enough in the season to allow tender new growth to harden off before frost and cold weather move in.

 

Perennials

(plant once and come back year after year)
• Perennial beds should be mulched with 1-3 inches of hardwood mulch. It is easiest to mulch in the late winter/early spring after all plants have been cut back as an even layer of mulch can then be spread over the entire bed. Perennials will find their way through the mulch. If plants are already have significant growth is best to mulch around individual plants.
• Water beds with one inch of water per week in ½ inch increments. Use a rain gauge or tin can to measure the amount of water plants are getting.
• Remove spent flowers (dead heading) to extend blooming and allow for energy storage or root development.
• In the fall, once top growth has died back, remove it to within 2 inches of the ground. Some plants such as sedum, echinachea, and ornamental grasses add winter interest or act as a food source for birds and wildlife and can be left until spring.
• As a general rule, division of spring/summer bloomers should be done in the fall and fall bloomers should be divided in the spring.

 

Annuals

(require planting every year)
• Annuals make the most impact when planted in groups or clustered in between perennials and shrubs. Avoid planting them willy-nilly in a large bed if you are looking for big impact.
• Annuals require more watering than any other plant type. They have one shot to put on a spectacular show and if allowed to go into drought stress the show could be cut quite short. Water them and water them often. At the first sign of wilting, it is best to give them a little drink. They should make a quick comeback.
• When selecting annuals pay particular attention to their sun requirements. Shade annuals can burn up quickly in full sun situations and full sun varieties will look spindly and washed out is left in deep shade.
• To get the most out of the plantings, fertilize every two weeks or so. It makes a big difference in the size of the plant and flower show.
• To extend flowering, take a little off the top of your annuals in August. It may not look the best initially but it can extend the bloom time well into fall.

 

Sod/Lawn/Turf

• Seeded lawns take longer to establish then sodded. However, sodded lawns require more watering.
• Newly laid sod should be watered frequently for the first 3 days. After that it should get watered the equivalent of 1 inch every 3 days until it is fully rooted in and you can no longer pull up the corners. This will normally take 1-3 weeks. After established, water the equivalent of 1 inch per week.
• The first mowing of a sod lawn should occur approximately 2 weeks after installation. Set the mower to the highest setting and lowering it each mow until it is set no lower than 3 inches. Seeded lawns may take up to a month or two before the first mow. All seeds should be germinated prior to the first mow.
• Weekly mowing of any lawn is a must during growing season. You do not want to remove more than 1/3 of the height at any one time.
• Mower blades should be kept sharp and the direction of mowing altered each time.