General Plant Care Guidelines

General Plant Care Guidelines and Instructions

Finished with your landscaping project and want to learn more about how to give proper care for your newly installed plants? Here’s advice from J&G.

Trees and Shrubs:

In general, at J&G we try to use trees and shrubs that need minimal care for them to look their best. Most of the plants recently installed, such as Cherry Laurels and Blue Hollies will just need seasonal hand-pruning to keep their shape, very few will ever need mechanical shearing. Some shrubs, such as Boxwoods, should be pruned from the inside out, removing any dead growth, to keep the canopy “open” for better air circulation. Please contact us with specific concerns.

When pruning trees, we use a few basic rules. First we look for and remove crossing branches (those that are physically rubbing each other), suckers and pieces that show evidence of disease. When removing crossed branches, take a step back and make an informed decision on which branch to remove, there is usually a dominant branch that is more desirable. Other irregular patterns to keep an eye out for are branches that grow from one side back through the canopy. The idea of tree trimming is to keep the tree’s form healthy and open to allow for better air circulation within the canopy. Hand-prune the exterior of the canopy to keep the shape desired.

Groundcovers, Perennials and Ornamental Grasses:

Again, at J&G, we try use this group of plants to compliment the larger plant material listed above. Our palette of plants include those we have found to perform the best over time and are fairly low maintenance.

Ground Covers:

Most ground covers are evergreen and need little attention other than keeping them within their location in the landscape. To do this, either by hand or mechanically, trim the spreading growth back to the line desired. Liriope, however, performs best if cutback at some point during the late winter or early spring. Since each spring, new growth emerges from the crown, the old growth can be removed down to within 1” of this point. Around late March or April look for new growth within the old, then with one hand hold onto the old growth and remove it, making sure not to cut the new growth. If we planted a large mass of Liriope, larger hand shears or mechanical shears can be used to help speed up the process. If you enjoy a nice clean look throughout the winter, cut-back the growth with your Fall Clean-up.

Perennials and Ornamental Grasses:

Perennials and Ornamental Grasses are another group of plants where personal taste will help decide how to handle their maintenance. We cut-back most perennials during our Fall Clean-up when new growth has ceased and the plant has little ornamental value. Some perennials, such as Black-eyed Susan and Purple Coneflower, can be left throughout the winter because their flower heads are ornamental and offer nourishment to over-wintering birds. In the spring, be sure to cut these perennials back to the emerging growth, again taking care not to damage the new growth.

Most perennials will need little care other than this throughout the year. Some plants, such as Coreopsis and Salvia, benefit from a mid-season shearing to encourage continued flowering. By hand, or mechanically, remove spent flower heads, also known as “dead-heading”.

Ornamental Grasses add a 4th season of interest by being able to be left throughout the winter. Their foliage dies and turns brown in the fall and will stay up-right until removed. If you feel a landscape looks better without this effect, remove with your Fall Clean-up, cutting back to 3-5” above the ground, otherwise, cutback in the spring when the new growth has begun. Take care, again, not to damage the new growth for fear of “flat-topping” the plant. If winter snow topples the plant, simply remove the foliage at your convenience.

Seasonal Maintenance

To keep your property looking its best, we offer several maintenance options that can be tailored to meet you specific landscape’s needs. This includes an early spring clean-up to get you ready for a season of outdoor enjoyment, a fall touch-up to keep your yard looking good through the winter months, or we can set up a schedule for your property so that periodically a crew performs various maintenance services. Here are some examples of maintenance items we like to perform:

Spring Landscape Maintenance Services

  • Prune all shrubs and ornamental plant material, as necessary, to maintain plant size, health, and beauty; all unwanted and unhealthy growth will be removed including: crossed branches, suckers, and evidence of disease.
  • Lightly rake and remove excess mulch from planting beds; remove and dispose of all debris/trash within the designated scope of work
  • Perennials, Liriope and Ornamental Grasses will be cut-back to new growth; Specified perennials will remain as-is
  • All planting beds will be edged to improve bed definition and ease maintenance; edging will be established manually with a spade
  • Fertilization of all plant material will be performed in order to maintain and/or improve plant health and beauty
  • All bed areas will have a pre-emergent applied in order to inhibit weed growth
  • Where applicable, previously installed drip irrigation will be inspected and checked to see if in proper working order
  • All beds will be mulched with double shredded hardwood bark mulch
  • Hard surfaces, including walkways, patios and driveway, will be blown clean
  • All debris from the above listed services will be removed from site and disposed of properly (disposal fee included)
  • Periodic services include but are not limited to:
    • Inspect property and address landscape issues, as necessary
    • Remove unwanted plant growth from mulch beds
    • Inspect ornamental plant material and prune, as necessary

Fall Landscape Maintenance Services

  • Prune all shrubs and ornamental plant material, as necessary, to maintain plant size, health, and beauty; all unwanted and unhealthy growth will be removed, including: crossed branches, suckers, and evidence of disease
  • Lightly rake excess mulch from planting beds; remove and dispose of all debris/trash within the designated scope of work
  • Perennials, Liriope and Ornamental Grasses will be cut-back to new growth; Specified perennials will remain as-is
  • Drip irrigation, where applicable, will be checked to ensure in proper working order
  • Light mulching of planting beds with double shredded hardwood mulch Hard surfaces, including walkways, patios and driveway, will have be blown clean
  • All debris from the above listed services will be removed from site and disposed of properly (disposal fee included)

Thank you again for your business and enjoy!