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The Critical Keys to Yard Maintenance

May 1, 2017 | Gardens, Lawns

Yard maintenance is the most critical aspect of your entire landscape.  Lush, green grass will certainly die or become overgrown with weeds without the proper yard maintenance. Beautiful flower beds will quickly lose that beauty without proper yard maintenance.
Every aspect of your softscape will lose its unique characteristics without proper yard maintenance.

Lawn maintenance is the preservation and enhancement of your lawn and its features.  Take action to maintain your lawn by calling Johnson’s Landscaping Service.

As mentioned, maintaining and preserving your yard and its softscape features is lawn maintenance.  Ensuring your plants and flowers survive the heat or drought is absolutely necessary this time of year.  This article below discusses how to do this in
great detail.


Keeping Your Plants Healthy in Heat and Drought

In an effort to keep your plants healthy during heat and drought, we offer the following advice:

Newly planted trees and shrubs should be kept moist throughout the first year. A thorough soaking of each plant should be done three times a week for thefirst three weeks, twice a week for the next three weeks, and once a week for the balance of the year, even if it rains. When in a drought situation, this is the minimum these plants will need. It is very unusual to “over water” a plant, so when in doubt,
WATER. Be mindful of current weather conditions and vary the watering accordingly. Wilting is often a sign of lack of water.

Watering is best done with an open-ended hose at a slow trickle or with the use of a soaker hose. Water should soak down around
the deep roots of the plant. This takes a varying amount of time depending on the condition, slope, etc. of the soil around each plant. Ten to twenty minutes of a slow trickle may be necessary to attain deep watering. Check the soil down deep to be sure water is not just running off in another direction. Watering in the early morning and/or late afternoon (after 4:00 pm) is generally best.

Another faster and better way to water is to poke a hole in the soil next to the root ball of the plant. Root balls vary in size depending on the maturity of the plant. Average root balls being 12″ to 18″ in diameter. You should attempt to make the hole large enough and deep enough to insert a garden hose into the hole so there is no appreciable run off. Continue to use a slow trickle but this will allow you to water most plants in 5 minutes or less. You may have to use two or more holes for watering depending on the size.

As plants begin to dry out the roots always seek moisture. If the plants are watered on the top two or three inches then the roots reach toward moisture at the surface. Then when the surface ground dries out, the roots become damaged and weak. If the plant is watered deeply at the bottom of the root ball and below, the roots go downward seeking the moisture and the plant root system becomes stronger. Note: Do not use any fertilizer at this time.

Yard maintenance encompasses many aspects of your landscape, none more important or less impactful than your new lawn. Proper care after installation is immensely important.  This blog below recommends tips for ensuring your new lawn prospers and endures.

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New Sod Care – After Installation



This is the most crucial factor in ensuring the success of new sod. The sod must be watered deeply so that the roots of the new grass seek moisture down deep in the ground. Follow this schedule:

FIRST TWO WEEKS AFTER INSTALLATION: Water each new sod area every day for 1 to 2 hours early in the morning, as early as 5:00 a.m., if desired. The water should completely saturate the sod and the soil below. Because the soil will be

THIRD WEEK AFTER INSTALLATION: Water every other day for 2 to 3 hours for one week

FOURTH WEEK AFTER INSTALLATION: Water every 3rd day for 2 to 3 hours.

FIFTH & SIXTH WEEK AFTER INSTALLATION: You should water each new sod area for 3 to 4 hours once a week to get the desired deep watering which forces the roots to seek the moisture deep in the ground as the top surface dries out during
the non-watering periods. This deep watering/deep root system growth strengthens the lawn against the possibility of the mild drought that occurs so often in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

*In the Spring and Fall only (NOT Summer) you can count a rainfall, if it’s a quarter inch or more, as a watering. *Note-It is very important not to over water: there should be NO STANDING WATER – you don’t want puddling of newly sodded areas, if the ground will not hold the water.

MOWING: When the grass reaches 3.5” in height, allow the ground to dry and mow to 2.5” to 3.0”. Use a sharp blade. Mow approximately every seven days. Cut to 3.0” height in hot, dry weather.

FOOT TRAFFIC: Keep all pedestrians off of any slopes or banks that have been sodded for at least one month.

BROWNING: New sod regularly turns brown during the first few days after installation. If the sod is receiving adequate moisture, this is not cause for concern; sod will “green up” as the grass plants grow new leaves.

WEED CONTROL: Weed killers, if needed, may be applied only after the first 3 months, but not during the summer months.

INSECTS & DISEASES: Fungus growth may be a problem on new sod, as it is on any lawn, during hot, humid weather. Check your lawn for brown spots or patches and contact a professional for advice. To help alleviate the possibility of
fungus growth, DO NOT WATER AFTER 4:00 P.M.!

FERTILIZER: Do not apply fertilizer for six months after installation. Then apply 2 applications at one half the normal rate of fertilizer in the spring, one full application in early fall and one application of 2 times the normal rate
in late autumn. (The late fertilization is the most important.)

Plant care is also an essential part of yard maintenance.  New plants need the most care possible to ensure their transition to your soil and surroundings.

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After Installation – Plant Care Instructions

Once you have done everything necessary for your plants to promote vigorous healthy growth habits, it’s time to take care of them. These instructions assume the plants have been planted in a prepared planting area containing fertilizer and soil amenities.

WATERING: Newly planted trees and shrubs should be kept moist throughout the first year. A thorough soaking of each plant should be done three times a week for the first three weeks, twice a week for the next three weeks, and once a week
for the balance of the year. Be mindful of current weather conditions and vary watering accordingly. Watering on warm (plus 35 degree) winter days is highly recommended. Wilting is often a sign of lack of water. If wilting still occurs 24 hours after
a thorough soaking of the plant, please consult a professional horticulturist. Watering is best done with an open-ended hose at a slow trickle, or with the use of a soaker hose. Watering the leaves will not benefit the plant and can even be harmful. Watering
in the early morning and/or late afternoon (4:00 p.m.) is generally best. Do not water mid-day nor in the late evening.

FERTILIZATION: Do not fertilize shrubs or trees for at least one full year following installation. After one year you may fertilize annually in the spring with a slow-release fertilizer. Take care for the environment; use natural fertilizers
whenever possible. PRUNING The removal of excess growth and any diseased or dead wood is essential to the health of all plants, young or old. The use of sharp pruners will prevent damage to plants. Making clean cuts greatly reduces the chance of disease
and insect infestation. Pruning can be done generally anytime depending on the type of plant:

  • Deciduous trees should be pruned in late fall. •Non-flowering shrubs can be pruned anytime (deciduous and evergreen).
  • Flowering trees and shrubs should be pruned after blooming. •Major pruning back of any plant should be done in late fall/early spring. INSECTS AND DISEASES Inspect new plantings periodically for signs of pest and/or disease damage (splotchy leaves, split bark, egg clusters, etc.). Consult with a professional horticulturist at first sign of duress.

Yard maintenance is a brush which paints a large array of proper care and enhancement of your landscape.

If the time and attention your flower, plants, grass and more becomes too unmanageable, please contact Johnson’s Landscaping Service to diagnose your yard and perform the critical functions and tasks which it needs to survive and thrive.

We are still answering phones Monday-Friday, 8-5, and responding to inquiries. If you have questions, please call (301) 656-6414.

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