Damaged leaves - Twelve Oaks LandscapingI get asked a lot of landscaping questions, and I’d like to share with you how I answer some of them, because I know that many of you might have the same questions.

Son-In-Law – I transported a few small trees two weeks ago to my mother-in-laws yard. The soil that I dug them up from was very sandy, and sort of fell off of the roots on one of them. It made transporting it there a little easier, but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t supposed to happen. Just for the record, I did have burlap and twine ready to protect the ball of roots. To make a long story short, now some of the leaves have blackened at the ends. I’m watering it dutifully, (actually, my father-in-law is), and I’m hoping for the best, (well, my mother-in-law is. I could care less whether it died here or there.) Do you think it’s going to make it? Is there anything that can be done to help it live?

Matt, the Landscaping Expert – Keep watering.

Son-In-Law – O Landscaper of much wisdom, and few words…. can you elaborate on that? How often should I water? How much is too much? Is there a technique that might make the task easier, more carefree? Is there any tip that can have me come out looking like a garden hero to my in-laws?

Matt, the Landscaping Expert – Ok, here’s what you have to do. Make a soil ring around the tree to hold water.  Then lay the end of a garden hose at the base of the tree and turn the water on at a low flow rate (1/4 to 1/2 of full open).  If the soil is truly sandy, perhaps you can mix some organic peat, Michigan peat or other water holding medium with the sand. Fill the tree well (depression) with water (about 20 minutes), let it soak in and repeat.  Do this several times per day but stop and wait a while if the soil becomes swampy. DO NOT FERTILIZE! This will add to the stress that the plant is experiencing.  One final tip; prune out any weak, crossing branches or trim back every branch by about 1/3 (the shrub will lose some of its branches anyway due to the stress, but you can select which  parts of the plant must go rather than leaving it up to chance).  Oh, did I mention that you have to WATER it?
Good luck!

Matt, the Landscaping Expert – By the way; what kind of tree/shrub/plant are they?

Son-In-Law – It’s an Asian Pear. My wife bought it after I got her turned on to those scrumptious fruits, which had delivered at least one good year already. Except I didn’t get to taste any, because my wife’s nephews came through like a hoard of locusts.

Senior Lady-on-the-Block – Is there anything I should be doing with my landscaping with this late Spring?

Matt, the Landscaping Expert – What does your landscape consist of?

Senior Lady-on-the-Block – Just the ordinary stuff. Nothing too fancy. Shrubs, a couple of trees, lots of mulch.
Matt, the Landscaping Expert – You can prune out dead branches and soft prune overgrown shrubs, clean out any remaining autumn leaves, do weeding, spade edge the beds and a fresh layer of mulch (total depth of mulch, old and new, should be between 3 and 4 inches) can be spread.  Also, remove any dead parts of perennials.. Call me if you need clarification.
Senior Lady-on-the-Block – I’m kind of asking for clarification now. Is it safe to plant with snow on the ground in April?
Matt, the Landscaping Expert – No. wait till the threat of frost is past for tender annuals and vegetables. In NJ that would be after May 15.