Now what? Here are some recommendations.
Periodically walk through your landscape and take a look at the appearance of your plants. Whether they're newly planted or a few years old, how do your plants look? Do they look healthy? Are they well established? Are they growing?
We make every effort to leave you with proper watering instructions for YOUR plants. We prefer to provide this information while the work is still ongoing but we will check in with you a week or so later if necessary to make sure you got and understand these watering tips. Proper watering is vital to helping your plants stay healthy. But just in case you forgetů here are some basic watering tips.
The amount of water your plants need varies for a number of reasons: weather, wind, season, and the type and size of the plant. The most important thing to remember is that ALL plants need water. How you water is just as important as how often and how long you water. It's not complicated if you stick to the basics.
It is very important to begin hand watering to help ensure the survival of your plant material. If your landscape is new, your plants have been kept well watered throughout the handling and installation process. Watering your new plants is essential because now is a transition time for them as they adapt to their new environment. Even if your landscape is not new it is just as important to water your plants thoroughly to keep them healthy all year round. Just spraying water on the bush or tree is not sufficient. In fact, spraying water on the leaves of "soft foliage" plants (e.g., Spirea, Viburnum, Lilac, Perennials) can be damaging to the plant. The focus must be on thoroughly dampening the root ball.
One of the best tools for this kind of watering is a "watering wand" (looks like a shower head) available at most hardware and garden stores. The root balls of "Soft foliage" plants should be thoroughly watered every two to three days and the root balls of Evergreens (e.g., Taxus, Holly, Boxwood, Spruce) every three to five daysless in the spring & fallmore in the summer and when it's hot and/or dry. The best way to tell if your plants need watering is to pull the mulch back from the root ball and put your finger down into the soil. If it's dry, it's time to give your plants a drink. Another more scientific method is to use a moisture meter. You can purchase one at your local hardware store or we can provide one for you and teach you how to use it. Hand watering should be done even if it rains.
Fertilizer was applied when your plants were installed. If you desire you can water and fertilize at the same time with any product that attaches to your hose (i.e., Miracle Grow®). Fertilizing annually with a granular product (10-10-10 or 12-12-12) will also help keep your lawn and garden growing. This will increase the health and growth of your plant material.
Once your plants become established they are likely in need of a touch up. Just like you and I need an occasional haircut, so do your plants. Proper pruning with a pair of hand pruners is very important to a plant's health. If you desire, we can personally show you how to prune your plant material. We almost always prefer hand pruning making singular, precise cuts over shearing. It takes a little longer but it's also takes less time to clean up and is healthier for the plants.
Usually in the spring of each year, a new layer of mulch, i.e., hardwood (black) mulch, Pine needles/nuggets, cypress, is desired to freshen up the look of your landscape. Before applying new mulch, be sure to remove any undesirable foreign material (weeds, etc.) from your landscape beds. The old mulch should be "roughed up", or fluffed, with a Garden Weasel® or similar tool. If the mulch is matted in any area, remove it completely. Then add a new layer of mulch no thicker than two inches deep. Excess mulch will certainly smother weeds but it will smother your plants as well. So two inches is the rule!
Caring for your landscape is not difficult. It is our desire to school you if you wish to maintain it on your own. But if you need our assistance, we can provide complete maintenance services including our "Platinum Program". This service provides three clean ups per year (Spring, Mid-Summer and Fall) plus one visit per month (non clean up months) for minor ornamental pruning and weeding, as well as evaluating your beds and landscape for stress, disease, and insects. It also allows us to prune your ornamental plants at the appropriate time of year to provide balanced, proportional growth and increase the longevity of your landscape. We can configure your landscape management program to include the "Platinum Program", or a combination to suit your individual needs.
The NUMBER ONE thing we recommend is ENJOY your outdoor living space!