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Chapter One - Watering, Plant Sizes, and Fertilization
All new plant material, including native trees, plants and cacti require some care in order to survive. All new plant materials, with the exception of certain cacti, require extensive watering when first planted. New plant material should be watered a minimum of 30 minutes every day. Water on this schedule for about 3 weeks during the spring and fall months, and about 1 week during the winter months. After this period, cut the watering back to twice a week, except during December and January, when once a week is sufficient. Total watering in the summer is usually 4-6 hours per week, or longer.
Investigate the watering conditions of your new plant material, using a pole type instrument such as a screwdriver. Probe the soil near the plant, taking precautions not to damage the roots. The soil should be moist 4 to 6 inches into the sub-surface. An indicator of too little water is wilting and curling of the leaves of the plant materials. This will be followed by die back of the small branches. Often the edges of the leaves will turn yellow and in some cases appear to be dried. Too much water damages roots by removing oxygen from the soil and it will cause some types of root rot.
Plant Material Sizes
We purchase our plant materials from the leading wholesale nurseries. We cannot purchase plant materials at wholesale cost from retail nurseries. Occasionally retail nurseries may have plants available that we cannot purchase from wholesale nurseries. Plant materials though the year will vary in size and/or fullness. We reject all unhealthy plant materials which we believe, do not meet the ANA standards (Arizona Nurseryman's Association). Our foremen select much of the plant material at the wholesale nurseries and our landscaper inspects all plant materials personally before accepting delivery. Some plant species may be in short supply in the Phoenix area along with California and Texas, this can affect our selection process.
Fertilizing Trees, Shrubs
Do not fertilize new shrubs and trees for 30 to 60 days after planting as nurseries have been applying maximum amounts of fertilizer. Soil amendments and root stimulators, however can be added and may be useful in encouraging new plant growth. Most fertilizing is done from early March through October. Frost tender plants should not be fertilized after July as this will encourage new growth and can cause the plant to be killed by frost.
Protection From Frost
A large number of the landscape plants and trees are susceptible to frost damage in the colder locations in the valley or on abnormally cold evenings. This damage can be fatal to plant materials depending on temperature, time of the year, length of cold age and strength of the plant material, as well as other factors, such as wind, moisture, and location. The deadliest condition is a cold frost following a warming trend in and around January and February. Do not trim frost damaged portions of the trees and shrubs until all danger from frost has passed, as the damaged plant material protects the plant from more serious frost damage. Do not fertilize during the frost months. It is suggested you protect your plants and trees from frost. There are many methods of protection from which to choose. The simplest is to cover your plant material. Plastic is not recommended for covering plants.
Review Or Inspect Your Landscape
In the summertime, we recommend that you inspect your landscape once a week for signs of stress. Signs of stress are wilting or curling of leaves. Other things to look for are yellowing or browning of leaves, and damage from insects and bugs. Also make sure each plant is receiving adequate water. During the winter months we recommend that you inspect your landscaping a minimum of twice a month. Check you landscaping after storms for wind or rain damage, and re-stake or retie trees, if necessary. Retying of trees is required periodically, and larger, stronger tree stakes may be required as growth occurs.
Plant death can be caused by insecticide or herbicide sprays, either yours or your neighbors. Plants can also be killed by improper fertilization, by bugs and insects, fungus, root rot, parasites such as nemotodes, weather conditions and from damage to root balls by children playing or by lightning. The effects of lightning can come later after the storm. Damage in this case is to the roots of the tree and may not show above ground on the trunk. Lightning does not have to strike the tree directly to cause damage.
Granite is mined and is natural in color. Some colors may not be acceptable in certain subdivisions due to design restriction of the subdivision. Granite colors are not 100% consistent. There will be variations in the shades of color, the amount of color or colors and the darkness of color. Granite will also darken some as it ages.
Granite comes in various sizes and grade- 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, inch minus, 3/8, 1/2, inch screened. 1/2, 3/4, sized. Fines exist in all grades even sized. Fines have the appearance of dirt, and when first dumped the fines will be on top of the pile. Part of the installation procedure is to wash the fines down after installation of the granite. The normal amount of fines found in granite is as follows:
Minus = 60% to 70% crushed fines
Tree staking is usually done with the nursery stake that comes with your tree from the wholesale nursery. As your tree grows you may have to retie with nursery tape. Retying may be required two or more times a year. In time it may be necessary to replace the nursery stake with a larger, stronger stake, such as a lodge pole. Lodge poles are readily available at most nurseries.
Sodded lawns are hybrid Bermuda and go dormant in the winter. Sodded lawns may be over-seeded with rye approximately October 1, if you wish a winter lawn. New winter lawns, October 1 to April 1, are seeded with rye. Rye grasses will not survive the summer heat in Phoenix and must be re-seeded each fall.
New sod lawns require deep watering every day for approximately 2 weeks until rooting occurs. Water 2 or 3 times per day for 5 to 10 minutes each time. In fall and winter the hybrid sod is over-seeded with rye grasses when installed. All lawns require seeding in the fall if you wish a winter lawn.
Summer Bermuda grasses require approximately 2 inches of water per week. Winter rye grasses require about half this amount of water. Your sprinkler system will apply approximately one inch of water each hour of operation. Please not: shade, soil conditions, wind, temperature, types of sod, as well as sod conditions, play a major role in how much water your lawn will require. Fertilizers really don't reduce the amount of water a plant will use.
Sod should be fertilized with ammonium phosphate two or three weeks after installation of the sod.
After the initial fertilization, lawns can be fertilized with any good general purpose commercial lawn food. Fertilizing should be done two or three times per year.
Warranty, plant materials
All plant materials are guaranteed providing plant materials are maintained and watered properly. Please check with your service manager for length of warranty. The guarantee does not cover materials damaged by frost, wind storms, lightning accidents, acts of God, insects, vandalism, or mistreated by pets or children. Please notify the landscape contractor immediately if your plant material appears stressed during the warranty period.
Note: Ocotillos may take up to two years to leaf out. Therefore, we do not guarantee them.
Warranty, Sprinkler irrigation system
Your irrigation system is guaranteed against workmanship and material defects. Please check with your service manager for length of warranty. It does not include damage done by the owner or his agent, or from vandalism, storm damage, lightning or other abuses such as driving over sprinkler heads with a lawn mower or automobile.
It is suggested the owner check the system periodically and make adjustments as needed. Emitter heads may clog and can be unclogged by the owner without the use of tools.
If you have an automatic irrigation system you will be given a sprinkler controller operation booklet. Please use this book to operate your system correctly.
It is very important that you take the time to read your manual on your time clock. It will be set properly when your landscaping is complete. Changing your timer without understanding what you are doing can void your warranty on plants, trees, and sod.
If you have any questions about your irrigation system, please call the landscape contractor.
System Emergency Shut-Off
To shut off water to your system, use the blue handled shut-off valves located next to your front yard hose bib. This does not affect the water to your home.
Frost Protection, Sprinkler Irrigation System
Frost damage to irrigation
systems is extremely unusual. However, frost damage can occur to the
vacuum breaker in the colder sections of the valley on unusually cold nights.
In the event of an unusually cold night, cover the vacuum breaker to protect it
from frost or wind. A cardboard box can be a good cover.
Wrapping the pipe that extends into the ground also helps. Your vacuum
breaker is usually located at your water service point of connection to your
We cannot kill live weed materials if they are buried out of sight in your yard. Weeds above ground may be sprayed and/or pulled. We apply a pre-emergent herbicide to your granite, this will prohibit weed seed from germinating, but cannot stop the growth of weeds already established. Pre-emergent will remain active 3-6 months. We recommend the reapplication of pre-emergent on new homes during this period. If you get weed growth, we recommend spraying with a product such as Roundup. When using any of these chemicals, please read and follow the manufacturer's recommendations very carefully. If you pursue any weed problems right from the start, weeds should never become a major problem. We do not recommend the use of plastic to control weeds as plastic creates many other problems and generally becomes unsightly after a year or two.