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Care & Instructions | Tunzi & Sons Landscaping

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Care & Instructions

Proper care of newly planted material is the most essential element in the success of your project. It is absolutely necessary to follow proper watering instructions for the first year after planting in order to establish vitality, regardless of whether planted material was introduced in spring, summer or fall.

All plant material provided by Tunzi & Sons Landscaping is chosen for its hardiness and adaptability to the Illinois climate. All of the plants we include in your design are able to tolerate our climate zone and its temperature fluctuations in a typical year. In some cases of unusual or extreme weather, you may need to make an extra effort to ensure the vigor of your plants. If you ever have any questions regarding atypical seasons and implications for your landscape, please do not hesitate to call Tunzi & Sons Landscaping and arrange for a consultation with one of our horticulturists.

Following are some general guidelines for newly planted material, but you may need to make adjustments based on your specific conditions. Care for plant material varies from yard to yard due to soil type, sun exposure, elevation, and other factors. If you are unsure of your particular needs, please do not hesitate to call Tunzi & Sons Landscaping for a horticultural consultation.

Drainage

All of the following instructions assume a planting soil that allows for moderate drainage. To determine your soils drainage ability, conduct the following test on a day where the temperature ranges from 65-85 degrees. After one day with no rain, dig a small hole next to the root ball of a plant and feel the soil. If it is moist to the touch but not saturated, then you have moderately drained soil. If your soil is saturated and there is standing water in the hole, then your soil is poorly drained, which is common for soils with heavy clay content. If the soil is dry to the touch and does not clump together when squeezed it is well drained, common for very sandy areas. Make adjustments to your watering plan based on the outcome of this test: poorly drained soil requires less water, well drained soil requires more, moderately drained soil?

Mulch

Our watering instructions assume a shredded hardwood mulch or equivalent. If you have a different mulch, such as stone mulch or peat mulch, you may need to make some adjustments. Testing the soil moisture with your hand will help in this decision. We use shredded hardwood bark. We recommend re-mulching for at least the next 2 years with this product since it has excellent water holding ability and as it breaks down it offers nutrients to the plants. Each year the amount of mulch you need will decrease, as the plants grow larger. After the first two years, mulching will be mainly aesthetic, and we recommend a thin layer to give a nice look to your plantings. Mulching needs to be done without burying the stems or trunks of the existing plantings.

Testing Moisture

Anytime that you are unsure of your watering schedule, you can perform a simple test. Dig along side the root ball of the plant you are concerned about. For perennials and shrubs dig to the bottom of the pot or burlap, for trees, dig down only the first 8-10″. Feel the soil with your hand, make a ball in your fist and squeeze it tight. If the soil drips water out, then it is saturated and you may be watering it too much. If the soil makes a firm ball but no water comes out, it has a good moisture content. If the soil does not hold together and crumbles, then it is too dry and does not have any available water for the plant to absorb and you may be watering too little.

Watering Guidelines

All plant material should be maintained for one full year after planting.

Trees

To water these trees leave the hose at the base of the tree with a slow trickle of water for 20 minutes each. Small trees can be limited to ten minutes each. Trees should be watered every day for the first three days, three times a week for three weeks thereafter. After that, plan on maintaining a watering program once a week during summer and once every two weeks in spring and fall.

Shrubs

Shrubs should be watered every day for the first week, then three times a week for three weeks. After that time water them once a week for the spring and fall and twice a week for the summer. To water the shrubs it is best to walk from plant to plant with the hose and water the center of the plant until wet. Sprinklers can be used if they are placed in an area that allows a sufficient amount of water to penetrate into the soil.

Perennials

Perennials should be watered every day for the first week, then three days a week for three weeks. For the spring, water twice a week and summer water three times a week. Since perennials die back to the ground each fall, they will not need watering attention after the first frost. Toward the end of summer cut the watering back to once a week until the colder weather comes. Water these with a hose or a sprinkler that will be able to soak the top 6″ of the soil. Check your soil moisture often to avoid over watering.

Groundcovers

Groundcover should be watered everyday for the first two weeks, then twice a week through the spring and fall, and three times a week for the summer. To water the groundcovers it is ideal to allow the sprinkler to water them for a period of time that will allow the area to become soggy when stepping in the area. If the sogginess does not go away within 3 hours then decrease your watering time by 1/3.

Sod

Sod should be watered twice a day for two weeks or until it reaches mowing height, then every day along with the rest of the lawn. Summer is a crucial time for new sod. If your sod is installed during the summer months, pay very close attention to it’s watering needs. During the summer, water your newly planted sod twice a day for an average of 15 minutes each time. This is dependant on your sprinkler coverage. If your sod is planted in the spring or fall, it will require watering once a day until it reaches mowing height, then twice a week until warmer weather approaches. To water the sod it is best to allow a sprinkler to do this until the soil becomes soft to the step. Usually this is about an inch of water, but that will change dramatically with soil conditions. If your soil is heavy and reaches saturation quickly, then it is more useful to water your sod in two steps allowing it to partially dry between watering. When it is mowing height, please mow when the soil is dry to avoid putting tracks in the lawn.

Important Note: Grass plants go dormant during times of cold, during the winter, and times of hot, during the summer. If your lawn does not receive proper watering it will turn a brown color during the summer. That does not mean that it is dying, and will turn back to it’s green color as the temperatures cool down.

Grass Seed

Seed should be watered twice a day until it reaches a mowing height. After this time water it with the rest of the lawn. (See Sod For Complete Description) Seed must stay wet to survive, do not let your seed dry out after the initial watering. To water the seed it is best to allow a sprinkler to do this until the soil becomes soft to the step. Usually this is about an inch of water, but that will change dramatically with soil conditions. If your soil is heavy and reaches saturation quickly, than it is more useful to water your sod in two steps allowing it to partially dry between watering. Mow the new lawn when it is fairly dry for the first few mowings.

Transplants

Transplants need extra attention when caring for them immediately after they are moved. Each species will react differently to being moved and the timing of the move will be critical in deciding their specific watering needs. If the plants are moved in the spring they should be watered everyday for three days, then three times a week. During the summer water everyday for a week then three times a week. During the fall water everyday for three days, then twice a week until cold.