Creative Landscaping & Design, LLC 5360 M-139, St Joseph, MI 49085   (269) 473-1356

Landscape design - landscape construction - lawn & garden maintenance

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Post-Installation Care Guides

Trees, Shrubs & Perennials Care

Seeded Lawn Care

Sod Lawn Care

"No/Low Mow" Lawn Seeding Care

Paver Patio Care

Winter Pond Care

 

Trees, Shrubs & Perennials

To keep your plants healthy, here is a quick guide to easy and effective plant care. 

 

WATERING is the single, most important aspect of new plant care. How often and how much will vary depending upon soil type, temperature, season, and plant variety. As a general rule, watering shrubs and perennials two to three times each week for the 2 months is most beneficial. Here’s a simple way to determine how LONG to water your plants. Place a shallow pan on the ground near your plants and run a sprinkler until there is about ½” of water in the pan. How long did that take? That is how long you will water each time. This will provide enough water to encourage deeper, healthier roots. Trees will need watering once or twice a week, beyond the plant watering, for the first year. Our crews will leave a channel around the base of your new trees. Slowly fill the channel, let it drain into the soil, then fill again. You may need to increase watering in hot, dry weather or in sandy soils. After one year, watering will usually not be required except during periods of drought.

 

FERTILIZING trees and shrubs is usually not recommended for the first year.  In the following seasons, fertilizer may be added to increase growth rates. Tree or shrub ‘spikes’ are an easy way to add nutrients, or holes may be drilled around the plants with a well-balanced fertilizer added to the holes.  In perennial beds, fertilizer may simply be sprinkled around the plants. PLEASE follow the manufacturer's recommendations! More is NOT better? Too much fertilizer can cause ‘leggy’ growth or damage your plants.

 

PRUNING may occasionally be required to maintain the plant’s overall shape and good health.  Remove any dead or damaged wood, and snip back branch tips when needed to encourage side branching. Cut branches back flush with a larger stem or trunk. 

Early spring-blooming shrubs are normally pruned in early summer, while summer and fall-blooming types are best pruned in early spring. Needled evergreen shrubs are pruned after new growth has turned the same shade of green as the older branches. 

We hope these tips are helpful. Please call with questions – we’ll be glad to help!

Seeded Lawn Care

CARE OF YOUR NEW LAWN DURING THE FIRST 6 WEEKS IS VITAL TO ITS LONG TERM HEALTH. The following are our recommendations for a successful lawn establishment.

 

Water your new seed every day for 3-4 weeks.  Watering is the key to a thicker, more weed-free lawn. It is best to water in the morning for 15-20 minutes.  If grass seed does not receive enough water, it will not germinate but weed seeds that are present in your soil will.  So, watering frequently will produce more grass & fewer weeds. After you have mowed your lawn once, start watering LESS OFTEN, but for LONGER TIMES.  Drop back to every other day, for 20-30 minutes,  then every third day. After 6-8 weeks, your seed should be well established and ready for long term care.  Best practice at this point is to water only once or twice a week. Again, morning watering is best. Here’s a simple way to decide how long to water:  Place a shallow pan on the lawn, and let sprinklers run until ½” – ¾” of water has accumulated. How long did that take? Water that length of time once or twice a week.  This will encourage healthier roots and discourage weed problems.  

 

We recommend mowing your lawn at 2 ½”–3” high and even longer in hot, dry weather.  Reduce mowing height to 2” in late fall.  Leave the clippings – they return nourishment to the soil and do NOT add to thatch.  Frequent, shallow watering is the most common cause of excessive thatch.

The fertilizer will not be needed for at least 6-8 weeks.  All new lawns will have some weeds.  Weed & Feed may be added after the lawn has been mowed 3-4 times, to eliminate the broadleaf weeds. Crabgrass preventer should NOT be added until the spring after installation.  PLEASE follow the manufacturer’s directions on whatever products you use. More is NOT better! Overfertilization can burn your lawn, and will add to thatch and disease problems.

We hope this information has been helpful.  Enjoy your beautiful new lawn!

Sod Lawn Care

Your new sod is beautiful! You can keep it that way by following the recommendations below. Care during the first 6 weeks is vital to the health of your sod. Watering is the key!

 

WATER YOUR NEW SOD TWICE A DAY FOR 15-20 MINUTES UNTIL ROOTING BEGINS!   

 

WATERING - Day 1: For the next several weeks, plan on paying extra attention to your sod’s watering needs. Watering will ensure close contact between the sod roots and soil and will prevent your new sod from drying out. Once the sod roots have firmly grown into the soil, then less water will be needed. This usually takes a few weeks, so for the first month or so, your new lawn will need a little extra help from you to become established.

 

In temperature above 80℉, generally, more water is needed, and if it is below 60℉, less water is needed.

During the hotter months, your sod needs to be soaked with water as soon as it is laid. Water each zone as soon as it is laid. Test it by walking on it. If you make deep footprints, your sod has enough water. 

 

If the soil is firm, or during the cooler months, determine how much to water your sod needs on Day 1 by lifting up a corner in several places and inspecting it for dampness. The soil on the back of the sod should be damp to wet. If it is not damp, water for at least 30 minutes.

 

WATERING - Days 2-5: Check your lawn at least once a day. More if it is hot or windy. Walk on your new lawn to inspect it. If the soil is soft and you make deep footprints or water has puddled in areas, it is too wet and you should stop watering for a while and then water less often with less water.

 

If the soil is firm and during cool months, left a corner of the sod in several places to make sure that it is damp but not dripping wet or dusty dry.

 

Also, monitor the color of your sod. Green is good. Blue-Green indicates not enough water and there will be problems in 12-24 hours. Yellow-Tan means the sod is heat/moisture stressed and will go dormant, but the roots and crown are still alive so if you water more, new leaves will appear in 7-10 days. Cracks that appear between rolls indicate that not enough water has been applied and you should water longer or more often.

 

WATERING - After day 5: You can water turf any time of the day but avoid watering in the late afternoon or early evening. Now you must reduce your watering habits or you will drown the new roots. Roots will not grow into waterlogged soils. Reset your timer if you have an automatic system.  

 

MOWING may begin when the sod is firmly rooted (it won’t lift up when you tug on it). Your first cut should happen around 4” tall and make sure that your blades are sharp. We recommend mowing your sod to 3½” high and longer in hot weather. Let the clippings work into the grass. They return nourishment to the soil. If the clipping is sitting on top of the grass, mow again to mulch them in between the blades.

 

FERTILIZER will not be needed for at least 6-8 weeks. Long term, we recommend 4 applications per year: mid-April, crabgrass preventer & fertilizer; mid-late May, weed & feed with fertilizer; late June, fertilizer; and mid-late September, a winterizer fertilizer. PLEASE follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.  More is NOT better! Heavier or more frequent applications may cause thatch and disease problems.  

We hope these tips are helpful.  Please call with questions – we’ll be glad to help!

 

"Low/No Mow" Seed Care 

Water your new seeds daily for 15-30 minutes in the morning for 3-6 weeks. Once the grass begins to be green, water can be cut back to every two to five days, depending on soil type and weather conditions. Sandy soils and hotter weather will require more watering. Once established, water only during dry periods. Occasional and thorough soakings are better than frequent light sprinklings. This encourages deep root growth and makes your turf more resistant to drought.

 

Fertilizer is not recommended for No Mow. If you must, fertilize in early spring or late summer only. Avoid high nitrogen fertilizers that stimulate excessive top growth which requires mowing.

 

Mow at a height of 4”-5” once a year when the seed heads appear. This is usually in late May or early June. For a more manicured look, mow once a month or so, at a height of 3.5” - 4”.

 

If you notice a build-up of dead brown grass in your No Mow turf, the lawn can be dethatched to encourage new spring growth. Dethatching should be done in early spring before the grass begins actively growing.

In the fall, leaves should be removed. Mowing with a mulching mower is the easiest method. The nutrients from the mulched leaves are all the fertilizer your No Mow lawn will ever need.

 

 

Paver Patio Care 

Winter Maintenance and De-Icing

Winter maintenance of your pavers simply involves using two recommended types of de-icing products that are inexpensive and readily available:

  • Sodium Chloride (NaCl) – used for temperatures down to +20°F (-7°C), commonly known as rock salt.

 

  • Calcium Chloride (CaCl2) – can be used for temperature ranges from below +20°F (-7°C) to -2°F (-19°C).

 

There are some recommendations when using deicing products:

 

  • Deicing products should be applied in a minimum amount to help melt the ice and snow.

 

  • After the snow and ice melt, the excess deicing chemical should be swept and removed.

 

  • When the winter is over, the pavers can be thoroughly washed to remove excess deicing agents.

 

  • Other products that aren’t Sodium or Calcium Chloride but are labeled as safe for concrete shouldn’t be used. Some of the products listed as safe for concrete were incorrect or false and caused damage to concrete pavers.

 

  • Magnesium-based products should be avoided as these are very aggressive and cause damage to hardscape surfaces.

 

For snow clearing, use a plastic shovel and plastic blade protectors for snowplows or blowers. Some pavers are compatible with subsurface heating systems installed beneath the pavers. The system can be installed either before or after laying the pavers in the form of electric heating cables or heated glycol tubing. This system will permanently fix icing issues in problematic areas.

 

Sealing Your Concrete Pavers

Sealing will enhance or deepen the color of the paver. This process will further protect the surface from staining. Once you choose to seal the pavers, it is recommended to reapply the sealer every 3-5 years.

 

Taking Care of Weeds and Moss

Weeds may grow from seeds that germinate between the pavers. Reapplying the joint sand as needed will prevent this. 

Cleaning your Concrete Pavers

When power washing the pavers, avoid using the pressure washer at high power. Instead, a gentle wash with the nozzle pointed at a 30-degree angle, 12” away from the surface will suffice. Alternatively, the pavers can be cleaned with a nylon-bristled broom and a mild solution of dish soap and water.

 

Winter Pond Care

To keep your pond and its inhabitants healthy through the winter months, there are some preparations to be made.

  • Fall clean-up:  Decaying plant materials may be harmful to fish. Scoop out fallen leaves and trim the leaves and stems of pond plants down to just above the waterline. Tropical water lilies need to be brought indoors. They can be trimmed back to just above soil level, then placed in a plastic tub, cover with wet newspapers, and add a tight-fitting lid. Store in a garage or basement area that is cool, but doesn’t freeze.

  • Pond critters:  Continue feeding fish while they are active and water temps are above 55°. Frogs & toads will crawl into the small crevasses between rocks in your pond. If you’d like to provide an even cozier spot, place a shallow plastic container of sand and chopped leaves at the bottom of the pond. This provides extra space for burrowing critters and can be easily removed when the pond is cleaned in the spring.

 

  • Running the waterfall:  Running your waterfall in the winter will result in some beautiful winter scenes. It will also keep a hold open in the ice and will help oxygenate the water for your pond inhabitants. You will want to disconnect your automatic refill line if one was installed. It may freeze if left connected. Water will evaporate during the winter, so watch the water level and add water as needed. Ponds with long or slow-moving streams also need to be watched during extremely cold weather. Ice dams can form and divert water over the side of the liner.

 

  • Shutting the waterfall down:  Remove the pump from your skimmer, submerse in a bucket of water, and store in a frost-free location. Add a floating heater (available at most farm stores) to keep a hole open in the ice. If you have large fish, or a large number of fish, you will also want to add a 150 gallon-per-hour recirculating pump near the surface so it bubbles above the surface. This adds oxygen that they need to survive.

 

We hope these tips are helpful. Please call if you have any questions.