Maintaining Your Landscaping

Below area few tips on maintaining your new landscape.  If you would like more information, or have specific questions, please give our Garden Center a call at 410-766-6877. 

Watering Specific Types of Soil:

- Shallow topsoil on clay – water lightly and frequently

- Clay soils – water by slow soaking (water 10 minutes, soak 20 minutes). Use a sprinkler that emits water slowly to prevent run-off

- Sandy loams – water in one continuous application, frequently

- Slopes – treat as clay soil

Water Saving Tips:

- Repair leaky faucets, nozzles, and hoses

- Use nozzle or cut-off valve on the hose so water can be shut off when not in use

- Use a broom to clean pavement

- Collect rainfall to water landscape plants and flowers

- Run sprinkler systems manually when needed rather than on a schedule

- Avoid watering when windy

Watering Container Plants:

Any plant in a container depends totally on YOU for water and nutrients necessary for growth.

Potted plants should be watered daily through the hot months, sometimes twice daily depending on location, and as needed during cooler months.

To ensure the moisture is even within the pot, water so that it runs out the drainage holes.

All About Water

Watering correctly is essential to developing a healthy, successful outdoor landscape. IT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR IN GETTING YOUR NEW PLANTING ESTABLISHED. While watering is not difficult, it is hard to give specific advice because of variations in soil types, grading, humidity, type of plants, weather, wind, mulch, and so on. There are however, some common sense rules that can be followed: 

1. How much do I water? 

Water the root zone completely and then allow the soil to dry. Watering too much can cut off air to the roots, growth stops, and plants die. Watering too lightly or not frequently enough, will not allow moisture to move far enough into the soil. Roots grow where moisture, nutrients, and air are available. Shallow rooted plants cannot tap deeper water reserves in droughts and heat, thus they cannot survive. 

To tell if you are watering thoroughly, look underground using a shovel or trowel through the top 4 inches of soil to be sure water is moving to the root zone. 


2. What kind of irrigation equipment do I need? 

Various kinds of irrigation equipment can be used to water plants. At planting time, just a hose with slow running water may be adequate. A water breaker could be used on the end of the hose resulting in a greater volume of water being applied without too much force, preventing excessive runoff. Sprinkler systems of many kinds are available and particularly valuable when watering plants after they have been planted. 

The main purpose of the sprinkler is to apply water slowly so less is lost and a thorough job of soaking the soil around the plants is accomplished. For deep watering of trees and shrubs, watering wands or “root feeders” that attach to a garden hose are efficient. The water is placed around the roots so little is wasted through run-off. Regardless of what is used for watering, the system must provide water in such a way that it waters the soil thoroughly from the ground level to the bottom of the ball of soil or planting hole.

3. When is the best time of day to water? 

Anytime of the day is better than not watering at all, however you can reduce plant disease and water loss from evaporation by watering early in the morning when the sun and wind are low. Leaves that stay damp during the night are more apt to be attacked by fungus. By watering early, you give plants a chance to dry before night. 

Fertilizing Your Landscape Plants

Fertilizing Your Landscape Plants

Soils contain most of the nutrients plants need to grow and prosper, but often YOU must supplement to make up for deficiencies. 

Commercial fertilizers contain primarily three basic nutrients: 

1.     Nitrogen

2.     Phosphorus

3.     Potassium 

Fertilizer labels indicate percentages of these nutrients. While percentages may vary, the order in which they appear never changes. The percentage variations tell us two important facts about the fertilizer. First they tell us how much nutrient is in the fertilizer. In a ten-pound bag of 5-10-10 fertilizer, 5% is nitrogen, 10% is phosphorus, and 10% is potassium or potash. Secondly, the numbers give us the relative proportions of the nutrients. Ratios of 1-2-2 (such as the 5-10-10 bag), indicate there is twice the phosphorus and potassium as nitrogen. 

While plants need all the nutrients for normal, healthy growth, each nutrient stimulates different type growth. NITROGEN – develops leafy growth. POSPHORUS/POTASSIUM – develop roots, flowers, and fruiting. Plants respond to the fertilizer based on the proportional amounts. 

Some fertilizers contain trace elements like iron and zinc that your soil may lack. Soil testing is the best way to determine what your soil specifically needs. Without testing, use of an all-purpose fertilizer should satisfy the needs of most landscape plants.

When Do I Fertilize?

Plants need nitrogen when they are growing rapidly, thus the heaviest application should be made in the SPRING. Fertilizer is often applied to trees and shrubs in the fall

when top growth slows. Root growth continues through the winter and is aided by this practice.

There is a special group of acid loving plants including: Rhododendron, Azalea, Dogwood, Holly, Hydrangea, Magnolia, Pyracantha, Fern, and Viburnum. Special fertilizer formulas are designed for these plants that thrive in acid soils. Application should be made as soon as growth begins in the spring (mid March to early April). Do not fertilize just preceding blooms.

This is not a fertilizer, but a soil additive that makes soil more acid, correcting alkaline soil conditions. When soil maintains the correct acid situation, acid-loving plants can absorb the nutrients they need more readily. Aluminum Sulfate turns pink Hydrangea deep blue. Follow application directions on the label.