Plants need nutrients to encourage growth and blooms, and to produce healthy foliage and strong roots.
Since a fertilizer in incorporated into the soil at the time of planting, additional applications should not be necessary until the following season. If your landscape was planted in the spring, a light application of a starter fertilizer "worked into" the mulch or soil around each plant in the fall should be sufficient until the following season. A starter fertilizer will be one that is formulated for new transplants and help with the adjustment period until your new trees and shrubs get acclimated to their new home. Follow the label instructions from the manufacturer for spring feeding and again for fall feeding, usually a half rate. After two seasons you can move the plants up to an all purpose tree and shrub fertilizer or one of the specific 'formula' based foods.
Most plants fall into two categories; those that prefer an acid (ph) based fertilizer and those that do not. An easy rule of thumb to remember is most evergreen plants that hold their leaves throughout the winter will prefer an acid based fertilizer. Trees develop a larger and deeper root zone as they mature. While they still will benefit from a surface application of fertilizer, deep root feeding is our method of fertilizing established trees. Holes about 2 inches wide and 8 inches deep are drilled or punched in around the drip line (canopy width) of the tree and a granular fertilizer is poured into the hole to about 2 inches from the top. This gives the lower feeding roots ample amounts of nutrients throughout the growing season. Remember, a healthy and vigorous growing plant will have a better chance of surviving events like dry periods, attacks by disease or insects and harsh winters. Keep your plants well fed and your plants will pay you back with years of blooming pleasure.
Water is essential to any new planting. Without it, your plants simply will not grow.
WHEN... Sufficient quantities of water should be applied daily during the first week then reduced to every 2-3 days for the remainder of the first month. From that point, a good deep soaking should be done once a week right through the end of the fall season. Dryer periods in the summer may require additional applications of water.
HOW... Use a hand held hose to apply water to trees and shrubs. A water wand is a device that attaches to the end of your garden hose and works quite well for this type of watering. It has a shower like head attached to an aluminum wand with a shut-off valve at the handle. Apply water at the base of the plant, directly to the root zone, for maximum efficiency.
HOW MUCH... How long you water depends on a couple of things, your water pressure, the soil type, and the size of the root zone. Young, newly planted trees and shrubs have a limited root zone initially; therefore it doesn't take very long to water this "root zone" area. When the water starts to puddle and begins running off, you usually have applied enough. Give it a chance to soak in, and then re-apply more water for a deep soaking affect. If your ground has fresh top soil it will absorb the water quicker and you will have less run-off. Your water pressure can be adjusted at the handle end of your wand to give you the right amount of flow. REMEMBER slower is better! Deep watering encourages a deep, drought resistant root zone.
A word about over watering; you should let about 1/3 of the root zone area dry out between waterings. Too much water can be just as detrimental as not enough. If the soil around the plants is kept too wet, the leaves may turn a lighter shade of green or yellow, sometimes wilting. The best way to determine if you need to water is to place you hand into the soil around the base of the plants. If the soil is dry apply water. If not, wait another day or two then check again.
Most plant problems that occur in the early stages of a new landscape can be traced back to improper watering practices. It is during this most critical stage that a plant can suffer irreversible damage. Take some time initially to master the above procedures. After a couple of growing seasons your plants will have re-established their root systems and only need supplemental watering during prolonged dry periods.
...MORE TIME TO SIT BACK AND ENJOY YOUR LANDSCAPE! Soaker hoses can assist you in watering your landscape when you can not be around for prolonged periods of time. The soaker hose, usually made from recycled rubber tires, can be wound through the beds and around the plants and then buried under mulch and out of site. An electric timer allows you to set the watering cycle to come on day or night as many times during the week that you choose. It is an inexpensive drip irrigation system that can be removed and reused again. Not only do you save water, using up to 40% less, but you now have all that extra time to sit back and enjoy your landscape!
There are no guarantees in life, plants and trees are living and require proper care. Due to variables beyond our control...
nature, pets and homeowners... We DO NOT guarantee the life of your installed landscape.
Any of a variety of products can be used as mulch, which by definition is 'a protective covering of organic material laid over the soil and around plants to prevent erosion, retain moisture and sometimes enrich the soil, as well as being aesthetically pleasing.' Some materials are better than others in their makeup, those containing more 'bark products' are preferred to those that are from 'mixed woods', but your landscape will benefit from an annual top dressing of mulch each season. Add about 2-3 inches evenly throughout bed and around the plants, but be careful not to pile up too much around the plant stem or the trunk of a tree. Problems can arise in the not too distant future i this practice is continued.
Prevent Damage from:
Insects and Disease
Unfortunately, all living plants are subject to attacks by disease and insects, so its important to identify and control those attacks at an early stage to minimize any damage. Be observant of changes to the plants in your landscape and practice good maintenance to help keep plants healthy and strong which will aid in their natural ability to ward off or recover from any damage done by insects or diseases. If control by means of pesticides (insects) or fungicides (disease) becomes necessary, you can usually find an 'over the counter' product at a garden center that will remedy the problem when caught in the early stages.
An essential part of maintaining your landscape:
Sometimes overdone, other times completely ignored, pruning is an important part of caring for and maintaining your plants. Most shrubs, and a few trees, will need some pruning to serve as intended in the landscape. A general rule of thumb is to prune spring and summer flowering shrubs after they have bloomed,however, dead or dying branches can be removed anytime of the year. A light pruning from time to time will encourage new growth and can be beneficial to a plants overall health, but try to avoid removing to much live foliage at any one time. It would be very difficult to cover all the proper pruning techniques and methods for each plant in your landscape in this short space, but when in doubt please call us.