Plant Care Guide
The first week is important following installation. Soaking the soil will help establish the roots and prevent shock. The higher the temperature, the more frequently the plants need watered. After the plants have adjusted to their new environment, keep the soil moist, but not saturated (too much water can be harmful to new plants). To detect the amount of moisture in the soil, simply touch below the soil surface and under the mulch layer. If the soil is sticky, cool, and moist, there is enough water in the soil. If the soil is powdery and dry, then water needs to be added as soon as possible. Plants grown in container mixes will require more frequent watering than plants balled and burlapped. Remember that our native soils are clay based (poor draining) and may retain water and moisture longer than expected.
Symptoms, such as wilting leaves, brittle stems, and undeveloped buds can occur with both over and underwatering, and extended periods of drought. Please check soil moisture before watering. The ideal time to water your plants is in the morning from five to ten o'clock. Watering in the morning allows the plants to gradually take up the water. Keep in mind that only the roots take in water for plant use.
Direct all the watering to the base and drip-line (soil immediately beneath the perimeter of the plant) to maximize the water intake. Soaker hoses work the best and are available at any home improvement store. Continuous watering of your plants in the hot afternoon sun does not aid in their growth and development. Excessive watering in contact with the foliage may cause the sun to "scorch"the leaves. Also, avoid watering plant material during the late evening hours. This allows the water to "stand" for an extended period of time, promoting bacteria and fungal growth.
Fertilizer is to plants what vitamins are to us! In other words, fertilizer helps plants reach their highest potential. Acting equally well, fertilizer for trees and shrubs is available in both liquid and granular form. Be sure to read ALL directions before applying any chemical to your landscape! Spring and Fall are optimum seasons to fertilize. As a rule, NEVER fertilize when temperatures exceed 75 degrees.
Pruning helps to "nip and tuck" your plants to maintain a good growth habit and shape. You can prune dead limbs anytime. The following is basic pruning guidelines:
- Flowering plants should be pruned after blooms have died back and before the onset of next season's buds.
- Evergreen plants can be pruned year round in moderate temperatures.
- Prune shade trees only in Fall.
- Prune most ornamental grasses,in the Spring, to a height of 4".
- Prune most perennials down in the late Fall, generally 2-3" in height depending on the plant.
QUESTIONS and ANSWERS:
Q. When do I mulch and how much should I put down?
A. Hardwood mulch is an organic material that breaks down over time. Re-mulching is needed every year, best in the Spring or Fall. Apply at a depth of 1-2", but no more than 3". Too much mulch can harm the plants.
Q. Does applying new mulch to beds bring in termites and other insects?
A. The heat generated from the composting process of mulch destroys any living insect or larvae. Also, a thin layer of mulch is normally not the natural home for termites. As long as you are using a processed mulch product from a reputable company, there should be no problems. Avoid any FREE mulch from tree trimming companies, as this mulch generally is not processed and may have diseases or insects from the dead trees they removed.
Q. It's spring, why are some of my plants not leafing out with the others....are they dead?
A. Just like people, all plants are not the same and they have different growth habits. Some plants flower or leaf out very early in spring, while there are others that flower and leaf out at a later time. This also includes perennials and ornamental grasses. This is normal....but if no new growth appears on the plant by the end of May, that particular plant should be evaluated.
Q. Why are the leaves on my plants wilting and dropping off, it's not Fall? Are they dead?
A. High temperatures during the growing season, transplant shock, and the need for increased watering will stress out the plants. Leaves may wilt or drop temporarily. To check if a plant has died, scratch the branch below the surface of the bark. If the wood is green, it is still living; if brown, the branch is dead. If the plants have green buds, it is still alive. These symptoms can also occur with both over and under watering (see watering instructions).
Q. Why are weeds in my new beds?
A. Weed seeds are everywhere, dispersed from the wind, birds, etc. When soil is being moved around, it helps the seeds germinate, thus creating weeds. No soil or mulch is naturally sterile. Weeds can be controlled by using a pre and post emergent, or pulling manually. Pre-emergents will kill a majority of weed seeds before they emerge. Post-emergents kill weeds that are already growing. READ THE LABELS when applying chemicals.
Q. Do I need to apply a special plant food to make my pink flowering Hydrangea flower blue?
A. Yes, some Hydrangeas require a plant food for acid loving plants to change the pink flowers to shades of blue. This type of plant food also helps the growth for Hollies, Azaleas, and Rhododendrons too.
Q. When do I remove tree stakes?
A. Remove the tree stakes no earlier than one year after installation, but no longer than 2 years.
Q. I have mushrooms and fungus growing in the mulch beds, what do I do?
A. Mushrooms grow when there is a lot of moisture. They will die when the soil dries out. The fungus is natural, because the mulch is highly organic. You can remove the area of fungus, or gently rake your mulch.
Q. I have dead plants. Is there a warranty for the plants? If so, for how long?
A. The plants are guaranteed for one year and a one time replacement, from their installation date. The dead plant is only to be removed by Blendon Gardens, for it to be covered under the warranty. Refer to the warranty information sheet your designer gave you for the specifics. You can also visit our website at www.blendongardens.com or call our office at (614) 840-0500.