The most effective use of water in the landscape is to water deeply then allow soil to dry somewhat before watering again. The requirements for lawns are different from plants, and newly installed plants should be treated differently than established ones.
Both sod and newly seeded grass lawns will need to stay moist until their roots are established, and then will need more attention for months afterward since most grasses have very shallow root systems. Lawns will generally require watering every day to maintain adequate moisture. With new seed, missing one day can kill the tender shoots. Depending on the time of the year, sod will generally begin to root in the first couple of weeks. When the grass has grown enough to require cutting, you can taper watering down to one or two times each week. If temperatures are very hot,you might need to water every second day. Seeded areas will need to be watered lighlty to maintain soil moisture until the grass needs cutting. This can take a month or more before you taper off watering frequency.
Newly installed or transplanted plants will need regular watering for the first 4-6 weeks, then you will be able to taper off to once a week depending on rainfall. During the hottest times of the year,you will have to water as much as every other day while the plants are getting established, and twice a week at other times. Be careful not to overwater plants which can be as harmful as too little water. The surrounding soil should be allowed to dry out prior to the next watering.
Established plants should need water only during prolonged dry periods. Most plants will show signs of stress long before they are in danger of dying from lack of water. If you see drooping leaves, or leaves turn off color, these are probably signs that plants can use more water.
There are some plants that will not tolerate excessive water, whether by irrigating or from drainage problems. Plants such as yews and laurels prefer drier conditions, and will suffer with too much moisture.
Garden pests include both insects and weeds. While our installation does not protect against insect damage, there are some basics to be aware of:
- Japanese Beetle problems seldom inflict more than a cosmetic damage to plants. There are numerous trees and shrubs that attract beetles. Although they are a pest for no more than a month, most gardeners elect to spray to control them.
- Bagworms, tent caterpillars, and webworms are problems for a range of plants. Bagworms affect needle evergreens such as junipers, arborvitae, and leyland cypress and can cause considerable damage to these plants. Tent caterpillars and Webworms are similar but occur at different times of the year, affecting mostly flowering trees. Caterpillars rarely cause significant damage. Bagworms and caterpillars can be controlled by hand removal or with a spray program.
- Spidermites can cause damage, and in severe infestations death, in needle evergreens such as Alberta Spruce. Mites are most prevalent during hot, dry periods. They can be removed from affected plants with a strong direct spray of water, but severe infestations must be controlled with a systemic pesticide.
- Azaleas planted in sunny locations can suffer damage from Lacebugs. They can be controlled with a systemic spray. Mild infestations rarely do any more than cosmetic damage.
- Scale is found on branches of a variety of plants, but most commonly on euonymous. Scale insects can easily kill a plant and are more difficult to control than pests that feed on leaves. Scale is most often treated with horticultural oil.
Maintenance of a healthy and attractive landscape involves much more than just keeping plants alive. Even so-called low maintenance landscapes require some regular care. While many homeowners are able to keep their lawn and gardens in top condition without help, there are others who call Meadows Farms Grounds Maintenance for assistance.
- The mulch used on most landscapes will last a year or more until it decays enough that it must be replaced. In most cases remulching will require only about half of the mulch that was used on the initial installation. Wood mulches break down into the soil so it is not necessary to remove them prior to adding new mulch. Mulch serves several purposes: helping to keep weeds down, retaining even moisture in planting beds, and maintaining even temperatures in the Winter so the freeze and thaw cycle doesn't damage plants.
- We do not use weed fabrics as a standard on our landscapes because they do not allow water to flow freely to the soil, and in fact can be responsible for preventing water from reaching the roots of plants. Although they prevent most weeds from growing through, some weeds can grow through the fabric and some will grow in the mulch over the fabric. Also, spreading perennials that we include in many of our landscapes are prevented from spreading as the designer intends.
- Weeds should be pulled or sprayed with an herbicide regularly. If not, weeds can compete with ornamental plants for water and nutrients, and they are unsightly. Many weeds can be pulled by hand while they are young with the additional advantage that they won't go to seed and spread. Once a weed is established they can become difficult to pull so the most practical option might be an herbicide such as Roundup. Roundup is relatively safe to use, and is available at all Meadows Farms garden centers. Leaves that are sprayed will kill almost every plant, with the exception of some hard-to-kill plants such as ivy, poison ivy, and brambles such as blackberries.
- To maintain a crisp definition between grass and mulched beds, we use a garden spade to cut out sod that encroaches on the bed. Many homeowners use a power edger to define lawn edges along driveways and walks, but the spade works best to define the edge between lawn and landscape beds.
Watering your landscape
Landscape pest control
Landscape bed maintenance