New plantings need supplemental watering for 1½ to 2 years to establish a healthy root system. When watering it is always best to soak the root ball and surrounding soil deeply. Avoid getting the leaves wet (to reduce disease problems). Wind and high temperatures will increase water needs. Watering by hand is the most efficient way to water your new landscape plants (as opposed to a lawn sprinkler). Sprinklers do not wet the roots of the plants efficiently. They wet the leaves and cause disease and sun scorching.
Over watering will cause the plant to drown. Under watering causes permanent cell damage throughout the plant and also death. One occurrence of water stress can noticeably damage plants and cause total loss. When in doubt, wait one day after your last watering, then dig down into the root area and check the moisture. Moisture should be present, but not mucky.
Here are some Guidelines for watering your landscape the first month:
- Have your hose running at a medium rate.
- Water every other day during the summer, every 3 days during milder weather.
- LARGE TREES: water the base – count to 80 seconds
- SMALL TREES: water the base – count to 45 seconds
- SHRUBS: water the base – count 15 seconds
- PERENNIALS: water the base – count to 7 seconds
After the first month, watering can be reduced to twice a week during the summer and once a week during the fall. Continue to check the moisture periodically. After your landscape has been in for one year, watering will only be necessary during extended dry periods and in the heat of the summer (say once a week).
Fertilize in the spring and fall with 20-20-20 or all purpose fertilizer. Do not use fertilizer on stressed plants.
Plants often show stress by wilting or yellowing leaves. Water a plant that shows these signs unless the soil is already moist. If the soil is moist the plant may be over watered. If you suspect this is the case let the soil dry-out before watering again.
Watering any new or stressed plants with root stimulator is excellent for establishing root systems. You can find Root Stimulator at any garden center.
If you notice black spots on leaves (especially on yellow leaves) this is a possible sign of Black Spot or another fungal problem. All affected leaves should be removed and thrown away, including all dead leaves that are on the ground. In severe cases remove mulch around affected plant and replace with clean mulch. Treat the plant and surrounding ground with a (spray) fungicide. Another fungus you might encounter in your landscape is powdery mildew. You will see it as a white powdery film covering the leaves and stems of a plant. It should be treated with a fungicide as well. There are many fungicide products available at all lawn and garden centers, follow directions as printed on the label.
GENERAL MAINTENANCE NOTES
Trees and Shrubs
Prune to shape as needed. Large branches/limbs are best to cut in the late fall or winter when plants are dormant. Most plants can handle a light trim any time of the year. The exception for blooming shrubs such as azaleas, rhododendrons, lilacs, hydrangeas, etc. is to trim/shape the plant after the blooms are finished.
Woody Perennials and Roses
Prune in fall after leaf drop to 1/3 or ½ of total size. Remove all small stems leaving only good sturdy branches for new growth to sprout from in the spring. This keeps plant compact and new growth full. These plants will increase bloom production if fertilized through the growing season, as often as every 2-3 weeks.
Late winter or early spring, remove dead/diseased or heavily crossed canes. Most climbers bloom on old growth, so a heavy trim reduces not only size but your bloom count. Cutting tips of canes at time of pruning will encourage plant to bush out. If desired feed every 2-3 weeks during late spring and early summer.
Can be pruned in early spring, most pruning should be done at this time. Fertilize in spring and early summer. Be careful! All stems may seem dead!
Remove dead foliage and blooms throughout the season. Cut back to ground in late fall after foliage has died. Fertilizing spring and fall is adequate, however fertilizing through the growing season improves flowering performance, and over all health of these plants.
Topiaries are shrubs or trees that have been trained to grow in a way that differs from the plant’s natural habit. Most topiaries need more frequent care than shrubs and trees grown in their natural habit. It is necessary to prune a topiary often during the growing season to ensure that the growth remains full, compact and healthy. If a topiary is neglected, or if it suffers from disease or injury, it can be hard and sometimes impossible to restore its desired shape. For best results trim your topiaries at least once every 2 weeks during time of fast growth, fertilize in the spring and fall, and watch closely for pest problems.