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Watering Guide Line

Watering Guideline

Good watering habits is perhaps the most important factor in determining your new landscapes success. During establishment (first year in the ground), they should be monitored closely so they do not dry out.

High temperatures in conjunction with winds can really do a number on your new plantings.  If you are unsure as to if the plant needs water, you simply need to check it.  You do this by pulling back the mulch at the base of the plant in question.  Using your finger, feel how wet the soil is.  The soil should be moist and cool to the touch, not just on the surface, but a couple of inches down as well. Too much water can be just as bad for the plant.  Too much water, on a consistent basis can cause root rot (this can kill the plant in time) which shows as a wilted appearance as well.  A dry wilt is always better than a wet wilt.  Bottom line, only water when you know it’s needed.  A plant will tell you when it is thirsty by the way it looks.  Good indicators of dry plant conditions are if the plant is wilting, saggy, or worst case, crispy to the touch.

I think it’s fairly tough to over water the plants on the first month, so plan on watering 2x per week during those first 4 weeks.  After the first month, back it down to at least 1x per week for the next 5-8 weeks.  Again, do not over water; this can happen easily in clay soils.   Remember to use the method above to check the plants if unsure.  Monitor the weather and your plants.  If we are experiencing hot drying winds then chances are good the plants are going to be thirsty.  Plants with large leaves, loose moisture more readily than those plants that have small leaves or needles (in the case of evergreens).  Those large leafed plants can become your indicator plants.  As they show signs of dryness first, you can simply monitor them and when they start to wilt, a watering session is needed for all the large leafy varieties.  You will find out that ground covers, Evergreens and grasses generally can go longer between waterings.  Again it all comes down to knowing your plants.

Hand watering with a low pressure hose is best as you can direct the water to the roots. Overhead watering with a sprinkler is not usually recommended. Overhead sprinklers are typically set to water turf, which requires a different rate of watering than landscaping plants. Unless you have a zone in your sprinkler system set up for the landscaping beds specifically, you will need to water your landscaping plants by hand.  Keep in mind, after the first month or so they will be less susceptible to under watering. If you do not have the time to water or simply are not interested in that aspect of yard maintenance then a sprinkler system in your beds may be warranted.  Talk to us about installing a drip system, we can give you an estimate.

Trees especially need deep watering, usually once per week is sufficient. As always check the soil before watering.  Leaving a hose on at 20% flow for half an hour is a good way to deep water a tree.

Mulching:  A 2 to 3 inch layer of mulch is very beneficial around all trees and plants.  Do not “bury” your plants with the mulch; keep a bowl of mulch around the plant so it is not riding up on the plant stalk or trunk.  Mulch will hold moisture and reduce temperature extremes in the soil.  Keep that mulch level constant.  During spring maintenance season, it’s very common for us to top dress the mulch, returning the level to that of 2-3 inches.

Mark Charipar
President, Landmark Landscapes


What components comprise a professional landscape?

As a landscape professional, I ask a fairly complex question of my customers; “what look do you have in mind for your landscape”? On many occasions I get, “I’d like my yard to look great” or “I want some nice curb appeal”. These generalized statements are exactly what designers constantly address. The fact is many customers lack an understanding of what a professional landscape can entail. I will cover some of the basics in the design concept below.

Per Wikipedia – Landscaping refers to any activity that modifies the visible features of an area of land, including:

1. Living elements, such as flora or fauna; or what is commonly referred to as gardening, the art and craft of growing plants with a goal of creating a beautiful environment within the landscape.
2. Natural elements such as landforms, terrain shape and elevation, or bodies of water;
3. Human elements such as structures, buildings, fences or other material objects created and/or installed by humans; and
4. Abstract elements such as the weather and lighting conditions.
Landscaping is both science and art, and requires good observation and design skills. A good landscaper understands the elements of nature and construction, and blends them accordingly.

The above definition speaks of elements both natural and human. A landscape professional will have an eye for combining these elements in a creative, harmonious, and sustainable manner. In a perfect world, I have a few elements available right out of the shoot. The first natural element I prefer to have or add is elevation. In the picture below, one can clearly see how the ground slopes. This is a good example of elevation change. Elevation change allows one to stack items, if done properly; nothing is hidden behind taller items. Depth is visibly created in the bed through the use of contrasting elements. The picture below does a nice job of featuring contrast as well. We see contrast in color from plant to plant and through the introduction of boulders. I also see the use of contrasting texture as some plantings offer long grassy leaves where others have small dainty leaves. I see too many landscapes where there is very little contrast between one plant and the next. This slope planted with only plants providing green foliage would have presented an entirely different look. Again and again, I see my eye drawn to landscapes that combine elevation change, stone elements, contrasting foliage color, contrasting foliage texture, and differing heights. If you can maintain these principles your landscape is off to the right start in my opinion.


What not to do?

Here is a good example of  “In my opinion” what not to do in your landscape.  As a landscaper, I crying when I see yards like this.  If nothing else it goes to show just how important professional landscaping is in the overall valuation of your property.  This random placement of stones, and bleak expanse of river rock, only lessons the value of this home.


Williams – Project before and afters

Privacy was gained through the installation of large trees, some topping out at 4″ caliper. We also utilized grade change through berming and boulder work to elevate our plantings. Elevation change also aided us in providing our customer with a nice water feature. Hardscaping in the form of pavers and castle wall added additional usable space to the back yard. A natural gas fire pit was installed to take the chill out of those cold Nebraska nights. Lastly, we installed lighting on both the landscaping, hardscaping, and the house itself. Here we did our best to better life for this uprooted Mizzu fan. May your ship sail strong on this ever present sea of red.


Winter Pruning of Trees, A Timely Task

Most folks are putting away their gardening tools in late fall but don’t be so quick to retire inside for the winter. Did you know that winter is the perfect time to prune most deciduous trees?

Why winter?

There are several good reasons to prune trees in winter:

  • The foliage is gone and the structure of the branches is clearly visible.
  • The tree is dormant, this will eliminate the bleeding of sap from the fresh cuts.
  • In the case of oak trees they should only be pruned during the winter. This is due to the fact that freshly cut oaks emit an odor which attracts the beetle that causes oak wilt. This is a serious disease that often times will kill the tree. The beetles are hibernating during the winter.
  • There are several other varieties of tress that are less likely to contract diseases when pruned during the winter months. Prune locust to prevent stem canker. Prune apple, crab apple, mountain ash, and hawthorn to avoid fire blight.

Continue this article here:  Winter Pruning of Trees