MY FIRST LANDSCAPE PROJECT (for pay)

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Ok, so most of you know I've embarked on a landscape project for a friend from church. I just started it today and wanted to post pics of the start and progress as it goes along. It will probably take a couple weekends worth of work. Here are some pics after I attempted to rototill today. The pics are from right to left.

Here is a list of shrubs (1 tree) going in:

2 Calycanthus floridus 'Venus'
3 Cornus sericia 'Baileyi'
2 Clethra alnifolia 'Ruby Spice'
1 Betula nigra 'Heritage' (this one is super root bound, I'm going to have to do some surgery)
1 Ilex verticillata 'Southern Gentleman'
3 Ilex verticillata 'Winter Red'
3 Rhododedron 'Mt. St. Helens'
1 Weigela florida 'Midnight Wine'
2 Deutzia yuki 'Cherry Blossom'

I'm back to work on it at 8am tomorrow so I'll post more pics later in the day.

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Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Thanks for starting a thread! I'm looking forward to seeing the progress.

Try soaking the Betula in water for a day before operating; it makes roots easier to loosen without breaking.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Ooh good advice thanks. I'm going to be planting it today because it's so top heavy it will easily be blown over standing in it's pot. I'll start the water on it when I get there this morning.

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

Yes - major disturbance of roots on plants in full leaf should ALWAYS only be done after full imbibition/turgidity/hydration of the plant.

Otherwise you are going to further shock the plant after reduction of root mass, when it can't take up water as easily as before the roots were disturbed.

Putting the plant - pot and all - in a bigger bucket of water for a couple hours is the simplest way to accomplish this.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Thanks. It's in a 15 gallon pot but I'll see what I can do.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Pot in a heavy trash bag gather edges up, and fill

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

Dang, sallyg - there was a lot of trial-and-error potential there...

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Can't stand to see a young innocent boy suffer when I have my flashes of brilliance
B^)

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 7a)

Seq, great list of shrubs. I have a few of them myself, and others I would get if I had to do it over. Do you think the owner will be able to correctly water all of these newly planted shrubs? I just killed a tree last month due to poor watering. Ugh, I should know how to do this by now. :/

I'd never heard of the cultivar 'Cherry Blossom' and just looked it up. I really like it! Do you have one yourself? It's small enough that it could be tucked in pretty easily.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

From personal experience, the Duetzia may also need protection from rabbits/groundhogs in winter... mine were browsed to the ground... a piece of that mesh stuff would do the trick. i've resolved to do better protecting young shrubs from winter browsers.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

ssg, did you under water or over water?
I've done okay so far with "guess-timating" when watering new trees and shrubs, but I just acquired a moisture gauge. I tested the soil around some things I thought needed to be watered, and it showed that the ground was plenty wet enough already.

I wasn't sure I trusted it, so I stuck it in a bag of dry soil, and it measured "dry".

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Ugh, that tree was a nightmare. I don't think I've ever seen anything that root bound. Below is a pic of me cutting the pot off the roots...

I completely cut off the bottom inch of roots. Then I teased them like crazy and cut through some of the larger circling roots. I hope this thing lives. For the soil it was pretty much 50/50 topsoil and compost. The first load had some Biotone in it. I didn't want to over do the fertilizer so I gave it much less than I would have normally. The roots were soaked in a tub of water for about 3 hours and the hose ran on low for about 2 after planting.

I almost finished the wall and I laid out the edging for the larger walk way. It doesn't seem like I spent 9-10 hours out in the beating down sun with no shade. I look like a native american right now (not that there's anything wrong with that).

I go back to work on it next Saturday.

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Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

You got a lot done!
She'll probably need to water that tree mid-week. I planted some large shrubs last year that were so root-bound that I had to saw through the bottom roots. They lived but needed lots of water during the first few weeks.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Yeah I should tell her that. It's a river birch do I'm not sure it will care if it's a little over watered. I have to go back tomorrow to stake it and will tell her then.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Oh my- there's new landscaping going in around a new Walmart here. they've got several dozen good size, now DEAD, trees planted. Couldn't tell what kind, all crispy brown. Of course, you see that they are being planted in the most gawdawful looking subsoil crap you can imagine. The sad life of parking lot trees.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Sad lives for a parking lot tree indeed. Lots of neglect, poor soil, salt from winter, small growing area.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

FWIW, my little river birch went shocky when I planted it and dropped all its leaves, putting out only a few new ones before the end of summer... but the next spring it leafed right out and is now growing well! I watered, but maybe not often enough, although it was at one end of a bed that got a weekly deep soak. You're right, I don't think you can over-water a river birch, at least as long as it's in a good hole... in a hard clay "pit" that holds water, anything will drown. Good thing for that tree that you came along!

Poor parking lot trees. And you know they weren't cheap, even in quantity. Sometimes I think they have to fulfill some sort of "green" or landscaping mandate... "Hey, we planted them, it's not our problem that they didn't survive."

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Well I don't know how good the hole is. It is about twice as wide as the pot the tree was in but there is all clay with some embedded shale surrounding my hole. Three feet away from that though is the rock wall which should help drain any excess water. The homeowner is committed to watering it so I don't think it will be too much a problem.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

You might consider whether soaker hoses or a little drip system would help your client with regular deep watering. Soakers should work as long as you use 2 or 3 lengths in parallel separated by say 4 feet of regular hose. My understanding when working with a slope is that it's fine for the supply line to run up/down a hill, but the soaker hoses shouldn't go up/down more than a foot or so (same for drip systems unless you use the drippers that self-regulate pressure).

If you put a quick-connect at one end of the system, the homeowner could just hook their hose up to it, or you can run a supply line back to the hose bib and put in a Y-valve there so a regular hose can be connected at the same time. A twist-timer helps by making it more "set it and forget it" -- and if you have a less attentive client down the road, you could install a programmable timer. :-)

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

That's interesting, I've never heard of soaker hoses not being able to run down hill. I'll have to check into that.

A question I'm pondering now is can I support the tree with bungee cords? I'm trying to think of something quick I can put up to support it until the roots develop better. What do you guys think of that? I've been wracking my brain because there are 3 leaders and it wouldn't make sense to support them from only one side. I figure I'm going to have to support each of them from two sides much like a single branched tree. Any thoughts?

Frederick, MD

When I brace a multi-trunk tree, Jeff, I put three stakes around the tree, in equal distances around the perimeter and then take the rope all the way around the tree from each stake. I feel that's the best way to support the entire tree.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

That's an interesting perspective. I didn't think of that. I might steal that from you and slightly modify it for my application. Thanks CAM!

This tree was all about blowing over when it was in it's pot. There were just too many leaves and branches and not enough soil (all roots) in the pot to keep it weighed down.


Side question on soaker hoses: if you're connecting multiple lengths together, do you remove the blue disc on the starting end between soaker hose lengths?

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

I think if you run soaker hoses downhill, you don't end up with enough pressure at the uphill end for effective watering... I know it seems like once the line fills up, it should ooze out all along the length regardless, but that's the explanation I've heard. I need to get some new soakers; maybe I'll try to test the "don't vary the elevation too much" theory by playing with them before I lay them out.

I don't have a lot of elevation changes out back, but I did run soakers starting at the far end of the veggie garden so they'd go downhill... overall change in elevation is probably less than 2 feet, though.

Because I tend to run several hoses in parallel, I can't answer your question about connecting them. I have read not to exceed 100 feet, though other sources say 200 feet. For my back treeline, if I can find 100 ft. soakers, I can just run them east and west and put the supply line right in the middle.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

I've done some reading up on this and here is what I've read. It's fine to run the soaker down hill if the water source is at the top of the hill. Supposedly the soaking is more even then as there is about equal pressure through the length of the hose. Now if one is running it uphill from the source, then the pressure is very low to minimal at the end and thus useless. This works for me as the source is uphill from the entire area.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

Ah... that explains why I did my system as I did... My backyard runs slightly uphill from my house/source. I ran a supply line up, then drip irrigation out level or slightly downhill from the supply line. Everything gets watered. :-)

I'm reading up again on drip systems, since i think that might be more the thing back in the treeline to deeply water new trees/shrubs. Looks like there have been some innovations and improvements since I put a drip system (now pretty much defunct or at least in need of refurbishing) in for our fruit trees 12 years ago.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Yeah I also read that soaker hoses can get clogged after a year. And if you're serious about it you need to put a filter on the supply end.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

Soakers in my veggie bed have been going strong for at least 8 years, maybe longer, right in the bare dirt, and they still seep all along their length. I run them a little longer than I used to -- an hour instead of 45 minutes -- so that might compensate for some clogging with age. I do have a filter on the faucet connected to the supply line for those soakers and most of my "system," and that may help.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Do you take out the blue washer on subsequent lengths of soaker hose?

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

I've used soaker hoses (the round rubber kind) to water the shrubs in my backyard for years. The main sets of hoses run from the very top of the hill all the way to the bottom, one set (probably 2 hoses) on each side of my yard. I pull my garden hose up to the top of the hill and connect it to the 3-way connector under my yews. The hoses have been there for years and never get clogged. I leave them out all year. The only time I have to replace them is when I don't see them and slice into them with a shovel ; - )

They do not have to run 100% downhill; they can run parallel for a while too. For example, if I have 3 new shrubs I want to water deeply, I wind a soaker hose around each one several times before continuing down hill to the next one.

I can't say whether the blue rings are in between the soaker hoses or not, but I can look tomorrow.

Frederick, MD

I do the same thing, Muddy... wind the soaker hose around new plants a couple of times. Then I mulch over top of it to get maximum benefit.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

Good to know soakers can run downhill OK - thanks!

Sorry that I was no help either with the blue rings... I'd leave them in but test to be sure the water is filling the "downstream" hoses all right.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Nope - take out the blue rings. I just checked to see what I did (because it worked!), and the rings are gone. That makes sense, because as soon as you join 2 soaker hoses they become one longer hose.

BTW I don't think the water pressure is an issue when the water source is downhill from the hoses.....at least it isn't at my house. If I'm using a sprinkler, for example, the flow of water coming out of it is the same whether it's at the top of the hill or the bottom.

This is going to sound very strange, but I think I'm in love with this sprinkler: http://www.amazon.com/Melnor-Oscillating-Sprinkler-Deluxe-3900SQF/dp/B000HHM6BW
You can set it to water exactly the area you want, no matter what its size or shape.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Ok, thanks for the tips. I'll have to take the washer out of mine then. That's a nice oscillator. I have two very similar to that. Looking around on there though, it might be nice to buy a timer. Then I could water at night, reposition in the morning and water while I'm at work. Hmm...the ideas are churning in the grey matter...

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Come to think of it, I don't think I have those blue rings in any of my soaker hoses, at least not the round ones. They might be in the flat ones.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

So you don't even have one for the first hose in the run?

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

Muddy, I think I'm going to replace our 20 year old sprinkler! Did you get the plastic or metal one? Not sure there's much difference in function, so I'm thinking the metal one will stand up to kids better. (Because of course the other function of sprinklers is cooling off kids in summer!)

Salem Cnty, NJ(Zone 7b)

Awesome project, seq!!!

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Thanks Jan! I go back tomorrow morning to do some more.

Frederick, MD

Looking forward to the next pics, Jeff. Feel like I'm watching a home improvement show. :)

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

I'll sure post them! Thanks for all the support :-)

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