Now that you have invested your time, energy and hard earned money into your new landscaping project, it's time time learn how to properly care and water your plants. The first year is the most critical time period to establishing a healthy and vigorous new yard.
It is important to walk through your yard weekly and check for any dry or stressed plants. Make any needed adjustments as needed or contact your landscape contractor for assistance.
Desert Gardening can be a challenge! The Las Vegas Valley has many different types of soils and multiple micro climates located between Summerlin to Sunrise Mountain. It is important to take an active roll in caring for your developing new plants care. The guide below will assist you in setting some benchmarks to work from. You may need to adjust some items for your particular location or type of landscaping design.
Drip Watering Tips
Your landscape has most likely been installed with a drip irrigation system to provide the best watering to your plants in our Southern Nevada desert environment. By design, your drip system will need to run for longer amounts of time than a typical lawn sprinkler system. Your drip system may be using two to twenty gallon per hour emitters. There are several emitters at the base of the trees and throughout the root zone. At the beginning of your irrigation system, you will typically have a builder installed back-flow prevention device, an electric valve connected to your timer in the garage, and a filter and pressure regulator to keep the drip system working smoothly.
How Much to Water
Initial watering for the first 30 days with a two gallon per hour emitter will be twice a day for 15 to 20 minutes at 8:00 AM and 2:00 PM. (You may need to adjust the run time based upon the GPH of your home's emitters) This allows the new plants to receive additional water as they overcome transplant shock and begin to grow new roots. After the initial period, the plants roots will have started to grow and will have begun taking up water. From this point forward you will not need to water every day. You will begin to water the plants less frequently by applying water more deeply over a longer period of time. The average valve run time for a two galon per hour emitter is 20 to 30 minutes, once a day. This deep watering allows the roots to become more firmly established without causing hyper top growth of the plant’s leaf canopy. Less frequent, deep watering also helps prevent water run and weeds in your landscaping.
The following mandatory Drip System watering schedule is provided by the Southern Nevada Water Authority:
● 1 day per week during the winter months
● 2 to 3 days per week in the spring and fall
● 4 days per week in the summer
● 20 to 30 minutes average drip valve run time
Irrigation System Watering Schedule and Maintenance
You will need to adjust the sprinkler timer in your garage as the seasons change, per the SNWA Mandatory Watering Days.
In the spring and fall, you should clean out your drip filters by unscrewing the filters assembly and hosing the filter cartridge off, if needed. You should occasionally walk through your yard and inspect your plants and drip system for leaks, stressed plants, or overly wet spots in your landscape. Make any needed repairs or adjustments as needed.
Plant and Tree Pruning
Proper pruning is an important part of maintaining good plant health and form. Use hand pruners or loppers, rather than hedge shears. Shearing the plants creates a lot of debris to picked up and causes a boxed appearance to the plants, rather than maintaining their natural shapes. Scheduled pruning should be needed after the first year and them twice annually in late spring and early fall. Try to schedule your spring pruning after the shrubs have flowered. Prune small branches and limbs in a staggered pattern, toss cuttings into a bucket as you go. Remove dead flower spikes, palm fronds or broken branches as needed. Trim citrus fruit trees lightly in spring only. Trim ornamental trees to keep natural shape and form. Vines are pruned to maintain appearance on their trellises.
Plant Fertilization and Weed Control
For optimal plant health you should fertilize your yard three times a year with a liquid fertilizer, such as Miracle Gro®. We do not recommend using a granular fertilizer as the drippers will not fully dissolve the pellets and the nutrients will evaporate before the plants can use them. Your first fertilization can be performed approx six months after your landscape was installed. You can then fertilize every three to four months.
You will want to avoid fertilizing in very cold weather and be sure to follow all label directions. You may want to use two five gallon buckets from HD or Lowes, filling them to the handles (4 gallons) this will keep fertilizer from splashing out as you walk. One bucket will fertilize one tree or five to six shrubs. Pour the fertilizer over the root zone, not right around the trunk. For shrubs this may be a foot away and four feet away or more for the trees. If you wish to avoid the hassle of fertilizing with buckets, you can install an easy to use automatic fertilization device for a nominal cost.
To help control weeds as they appear, use Roundup® on the young weeds, avoid desirable plants and follow label directions. Apply on a windless day. If you want avoid using garden chemicals, simply hand pull the occasional weed as needed.
Synthetic Grass Care
Professional grade child friendly synthetic grass and putting greens will require very little care to keep looking its best. Occasionally you may want to hose off grass to remove dust. When needed, you can groom the grass by back brooming the blades against the grain direction using a standard push broom. If you need to clean your grass, such as for a spilled soda or kool aid, etc., wet the area and apply a gentle detergent such as Simple Green® (follow label directions) use a rag or brush as needed and rinse well. Allow the area to dry and boom as needed.
Additional Landscaping Resources
Star Nursery: http://www.starnursery.com/
Master Gardeners: http://www.unce.unr.edu/
Southern Nevada Water Authority: http://www.SNWA.com
Desert Greenscapes Las Vegas, NV: http://www.lvturf.com (702) 529-0377
Donald Moore, Landscape Designer: (702) 591-4298 firstname.lastname@example.org