Thursday, June 28, 2012

High and Dry: Drought Alert

New Plants Need More Water

Due to recent high temperatures and dry conditions, your annuals and new plants could be dying of thirst! It takes trees, shrubs and perennials one to three years to send out and re-establish their root systems so they need extra water while young to survive a drought. Please remember to water all plants thoroughly during dry spells, and follow these recommendations for new and young plants:

- Groundcovers, deciduous and evergreen shrubs and trees, as well as lawns, should receive a thorough soaking once every week. This is accomplished by watering slowly at the base of the plant, so that the entire root system gets a much needed drink. For lawns, a sprinkler can be left in place for one to two hours.

- If your lawn has been installed this spring, it requires watering every other day when there is no rain.

- Annual flowers and new perennials should be checked for moisture and watered daily during the first month. During the second month, every other day is appropriate and thereafter, twice a week. This recommendation can be adjusted in accordance with weather conditions. Annuals and perennials tell you they are thirsty by wilting; if this occurs, the plant has already been severely stressed but it can often bounce back if it gets a thorough soaking right way.

Free Estimates on Irrigation

The summer months are already busy, so consider an automated irrigation system that takes care of the watering for you - even while you're at work or on vacation. Call us for a free estimate on a state-of-the-art sprinkler system that will protect against drought damage and ultimately save time, water and money.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

New Isn't Always Improved... Some Hybrids Don't Live Up To The Hype

It's easy to be tempted by slick ads for new flowers and hybrid plants but buyer beware ... new varieties aren't always better. The beautiful specimens you see in pictures have enjoyed expert care under ideal conditions, and those young plants at the nursery or garden center have yet to prove themselves. While we don't want to discourage creativity or trying new things in your garden, we also don't want you to be disappointed. Wisconsin is far from ideal and presents a number of challenges for even the hardiest of plants - from harsh winters and hot, dry summers to poor soil conditions and a variety of voracious insects and wildlife. Unless a new plant has consistently performed through several seasons here, we caution you to take all promises by the grower with a grain of salt.

Dr. Laura Jull, Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin Department of Horticulture, says it well: "I personally do not endorse or promote any new plant without at least growing it for 3 – 5 years (shrubs and vines) or 10+ years (trees and evergreens) in Wisconsin ..."

Here at David J. Frank, we take a similar approach: We won't risk the health and appearance of your property by installing unproven plants. In other words, we don't believe the hype. Instead, we make our selections based on experience and promise that our recommendations are in the best interest of your overall landscape, now and for years to come. We know what grows, and for this reason, we can make the best possible selections and guarantee that they will do well in the long run.

This doesn't mean you are limited in your choices, because we work with a palette of literally thousands of proven plants – durable trees, shrubs and flowers in a full range of sizes, shapes, textures and colors. This also is not to say we won't include certain plants if a customer specifically requests them, but our plans always begins with the strongest choices for the needs and style of each individual landscape.

So before you choose something new over the tried 'n true, ask these questions:

1. Where did the plant originate?

2. Where and for how long was it trialed?

3. Does it fill a need that can't be satisfied by a proven variety of that same or similar species? (For example, is it worth trying a new hybrid hydrangea when there are already so many sizes and colors of proven performers?)

4. Will the plant be available in a few years? (Keep in mind that, as new hybrids are introduced, older varieties are often phased out, making it difficult to match/replace in the future.)

5. What is the availability and cost?

We hope you will always be excited about new plants and ideas for your landscape, but we also encourage you talk to an expert before making any big decisions or purchases. We have a great team of landscape architects and horticulturists on staff and available to answer your questions so don't hestitate to contact us. Happy landscaping ...