How to Care for Your New Plant | Landscape Design | Raleigh, NC

Once your new landscape design is finished and the new plants are installed, their care becomes your responsibility. They will need lots of attention in the first few weeks if they are going to thrive. Here are some tips that will keep your plants healthy and strong for years.


Keeping up with the proper care routine outlined below is necessary to maintain the landscape design warranty on your plants. If you have any questions about proper plant care, contact Redwood Land Design.


Always remember the three W’s – WATER, WATER, WATER!

Your new plantings have special water needs for the first year. Natural rainfall will NOT satisfy these needs. Our warranty will NOT cover a plant that has died as a result of drought or rot.

It’s important to water deeply and thoroughly, concentrating on the roots of the plant. We recommend hand watering in the morning with a gentle shower setting to mimic rainfall. Watering in the morning also prevents the evaporation you get watering in the afternoon and the rot from watering late at night. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy.

If you see the soil start to flood, pause, allow it to drain, and continue watering until the sufficient volume has been applied. It may be necessary to periodically rebuild the soil back up around the plant, being careful not to go too high on the crown.

Seasonal Watering Requirements

For plants installed in spring:

  • For the first 1 to 2 weeks, water daily.
  • For 3 to 12 weeks, water every 2 to 3 days.
  • After that, water weekly until established.

For plants installed in autumn:

  • For the first 1 to 2 weeks, water daily.
  • For 3 to 12 weeks, water every 2 to 3 days.
  • After that, water weekly until established.
  • When deciduous plants drop their foliage for the winter, water thoroughly once and transition to winter care instructions.

For plants installed in summer:

  • For the first 2 to 3 weeks, water daily.
  • For 4 to 12 weeks, water every 2 days if the temperature is above 85 degrees. If it is below 85 degrees, water every 2 to 3 days.
  • If we experience a major heat wave or drought, you may have to water daily regardless of time since installation.
  • Transition to autumn care instructions when the season ends.

For plants installed in winter:

  • For the first 1 to 2 weeks, water twice per week. Do not water if freezing temperatures are expected or if snow is on the ground.
  • For 3 to 12 weeks, water once per week if the temperature is above 40 degrees.
  • It is natural for plant foliage to “droop” when exposed to prolonged freezing temperature. Foliage may even droop on evergreen shrubbery for the first one or two winters, which is a natural reaction to the cold season.
  • Transition to spring care instructions when the season ends, or when new foliage appears on deciduous plants and trees.

How Much Should I Water?

The best indicator of a planting’s water volume needs during the care periods detailed above is the starting container size (3-gallon, 10-gallon, etc.) For most plantings, you will want to water 1/4-1/3 of the container volume per watering.

  • For a 3-gallon shrub, this will be 1 gallon of water.
  • For a 10-gallon shrub, this will be 3 gallons of water.

On average, we find that if you’re using a standard hose setup with a typical shower head nozzle, this is about 30 seconds of flow per 3-gallon container, and 100 seconds of flow per 10-gallon container.

Soaker hoses and a timer system can be used to save time and money. However, you must ensure that sufficient water penetrates the rootball of each plant. Water will pool up at the base of the plant when the soil has been adequately saturated. Water should not only reach beneath the drip line of the plant but several feet out from this. Otherwise, dry soil will wick away moisture from roots.

Required Installation Techniques and Maintenance

Feel free to leave the installation up to us. However, if you choose to have us supply the plants for your DIY project follow these installation instructions:

  • Dig a hole as deep as the plant’s root ball and twice as wide. The crown of the plant (where the roots and trunk meet) should be at the soil surface if you are not using mulch or slightly above if you are using mulch.
  • If roots are circling tightly in the pot, tease them out by hand and cut them in a few places if necessary.
  • Loosen any burlap tied around the crown. You can remove it if you desire, but this is not necessary as the burlap will dissolve in the soil. Remove any metal caging and be sure not to break the rootball while planting.
  • Use the native soil to backfill the hole. If your soil is poor, mix amendments in with it. Amendment for clay soil is usually composted pine bark fines, also known as “soil conditioner.” Amendment for sandy/rocky soil is typically a mixture of composted pine bark fines and compost. Mix in a ratio of one part native to one part amendment.
  • Firm the soil around the rootball, but don’t compact.
  • If mulching the area, use a 2″-3” layer of high-quality mulch. We recommend natural triple-shredded hardwood blends. Use caution as not to mound soil at the base of the plant.
  • Stake your plant if necessary. Remove any stakes after a minimum of 6 months to 1 year.