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  • Claire Goldman

Great Expectations

Hello, builder! You would like to close your house on August 1 when it’s 100 degrees outside and hasn’t rained in a month and need your landscape to look amazing? Why, yes! We can absolutely help you. No problem. We love to plant in this weather.

Yes, there is a bit of sarcasm in that scenario. The truth is there are a lot of situations that require summer landscape installations and the game changes a little in the summer. So – if you need to get some plant material in the ground right now or in the near future, what should you expect?

Plants feel stress. There can be an adjustment period when they are installed this time of the year. Certain trees will go through a shock and drop all their leaves. Some species are more sensitive than others. But, if your plants are installed and some are looking a little sad, don’t panic. Definitely call your landscaper and let them know! But, don’t panic. Usually, with the right balance of water, you can get your plants and sod through this time of the year and into the fall – at which point, they can get their roots established and be ready for next summer!

Our jobs right now include a lot of baby-sitting plant material and adjusting irrigation. New sod needs constant water right now. The roots are so shallow and as soon as they dry out, the sod starts showing signs of stress. Once that sod roots into the ground well, it won’t dry out as quickly. But, a LOT of water is required to get the sod established. Your yard will be mushy. It’s okay. Again – don’t panic. It’s a short term problem.

I wish there was a perfect calculation for how to water new plant material. It really depends on each location, species, and the weather. These plants are grown in mixes that are set up for the nursery setting and frequent irrigation. So, until the plant’s roots grow into your native soil, they are going to dry out much faster than they will when they are established. If you have a plant looking droopy or starting to yellow, it may need supplemental water. Stick your finger in the ground and check the soil first! Plants that are getting too much water show the same signs of stress as plants getting too little water. If the soil is dry, grab the hose and water it directly at the base of the plant where the root ball is.

The bottom line is, if you have a good landscaper, they will help you through this process. Stay in touch with them after the install. Keep an eye on the plants and report any concerns. Most landscapers appreciate the feedback and will provide a warranty. However, it’s only fair to allow the landscaper the opportunity to come take a look at things and address any issues before you have a dead plant.

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