One of the unique products we use in our installations of California native and water conserving landscapes is Ecologel Solutions HYDRETAIN ES PLIUS.
This amazing moisture management product helps MIDWEST LANDSCAPING reduce plant transplant shock and avoid overwatering of the plants that by their natural growth habits, do not require a lot of water once established.
HYDRETAIN ES PLUS is a root zone moisture management product that effectively reduces the over-all watering requirements of plants, shrubs, trees, turf, and agriculture as much as 50% or more.
The product is a propriety blend of the patented HYDRETAIN SOIL MOISTURE MANAGEMENT technology enhanced with an advanced naturally served soil surfactant. When used in combination the synergistic technologies provide positive water conservation and drought stress reduction through efficient subsurface soil moisture management.
Also in addition to reducing the overall water requirements . HYDRETAIN ES PLUS works to provide the proper soil moisture needed to maximize the effectiveness of most fertilizer products.
HYDRETAIN ES PLUS comes in a 40 lb. granular form or a 16 oz. hose end application bottle.
1/Gallon bottles of the HYDRETAIN can also be obtained by contacting us at ( firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone direct: (562) 755-9914.
BIOGRADABLE - ECO-FRIENDLY - CHILD & PET FRIENDLY - EFFECTIVE - ECONOMICAL
The important task of supplying needed water to your landscape plants and trees becomes very critical in the hot summer months we are experiencing. With the craze in installing 'drought friendly' and 'water conserving' plants and trees, some people forget that even though those plants and trees that are quote 'Water Friendly' some of those plants and trees do need a application or a drink of water from time to time to maintain their health and sustain their lives out in this extremely heated months of the year.
By first grouping the plant and trees in proper design configurations within your landscape you will be able to benefit from using the correct plant for the correct zone. Sun loving plants just do not do well in north facing project areas and vice versa for shade plants in a overly sunny spot around your home or business. There are many other resources that will help assist you in selecting the correct plant or tree for the various zones in and around your home or business and let me suggest you check out the Tree of Life website at www.californativeplantys.com for those of you who live here in California. For those in other parts of the country, please link to your local county extensions and water supplier websites and I am sure they will be able to assist you.
Watering Times: It is best early in the mornings when the soil is cooler and it can naturally dry out doing the day as to prevent possible fungus damage from damp, dark evening time watering which is prime breeding ground for water borne diseases. In the desert zones you can get away with more of your evening into night watering because of the lower humidity rates but by watering in the early morning hours you are safe with not possibly getting fungus challenges.
How Much : A good rule of thumb is at to at least 1" of water per week. Deep soakings of the water help develop strong deep rooting systems for your plants and trees. By using a soil probe which you can obtain from a quality nursery or online or by simply sticking a pencil or screwdriver into the soil you can see at what depth the water you apply reaches. This simple monitoring system is really effective as some folks think that if it is dry on top of the soil, it must mean my plants need water. Not always true. Some soils hold more water in the ground than others because of the clay content of the soil vs sand content. Clay soils hold more water longer than sandy type soils. By using a soil probe, screwdriver or pencil to see at what depth you have moisture before and after a watering this can help you determine your watering application rate. Another great thing to do is have your soil tested to actually understand what type of soil you have. There is a simple soil texture test you can do yourself by going online and typing in 'soil texture test ' and you will come across a simple ribbon test to help you determine your soil type.
How often: Depending upon the soil type and what size plants you have, the first 1-3 months @ 1/gallon plant it is suggested you water 1-2 time per week. After 3-24 months 1-2 times per month ( some plants may still need more waterings ) After 24 months some plants will be naturalized and no supplemental water will be needed ( Most Calif. native plant groupings) and other plants will need supplemental waterings throughout their growing periods.
An occasional quick rinse or sprinkle in the early hours of the day is always a plus, and for your landscape trees deep water soakings of at least 1-2" 1-3 times per month of water is a great.
Drip irrigation is fantastic but ole fashion sprinkler system or micro-spray watering of your plant materials would be my choice for a more natural watering approach. I do not come across a lot of drip lines out in nature.
With these simple tips on plant selection, location, watering times and depths it is my hope that you will be able to not only establish your shrubs and trees be maintain their life spans for many years to come.
Normally you would tend to avoid planting shrubs and other 'Water Thrifty' landscaping plant materials in the hotter season's of the year. June, July, August are not your prime planting months especially for plant materials which normally in their native growing habit, hardly ever get supplemental watering during these hot months. Here in Southern California, we get most of our rains in the winter months of October,November, December up through hopefully March and April of the following year. Most water conserving/thrifty plants,trees, and shrubs drink up during those months and create a sort of reserve for the hotter months to come. Succulents like Agave,Cactus, and Aloes have a much better survival rate than their less fleshly cousins and the survival rate is much higher when planting these varieties during the warmer months.
There are still many landscape rebate programs going on here in Southern California and with that there are 'Deadlines' to get the make overs completed. This leads to customers needing to finish their projects as soon as possible even if it means planting in the warmer months of summer.
One of the best tip I can pass on to you is to be sure when you do plant your trees and shrubs, make sure you hydrate the hole for the plant with water and if possible mix within that backfill water some Moisture Manager water management product ( Check out the link on my website) which will help your plantings through the normal stress of being transplanted from a container where it has called home for many months and also help keep those water friendly plant materials properly hydrated by supplying available water vapor from the pore spaces within the soil at the root zone. The application will last up to 90 days so this is a real big plus as most newly planted shrubs,trees, etc... will take at least 60-90 days to grow out their root systems to properly anchor and stabilize the plant or tree before it actually starts to grow out in leaves,branches, flowering, etc.. ( I am writing a book which one of my chapter's' will cover the concept of root growth before a plant grows to it's maturity ).
Plant the shrub or tree a inch or so above the planting hole, be sure to create a nice water basin around the base of the tree or shrub and mulch within 3 to 40 inches of the trunk of stalk of the tree or shrub planted to help contain water when you do water your plants.( You can possibly get away with watering your new plants /trees 1-2 times per week especially after using the Moisture Manager in your water back fill when you first installed the plants.
Do your planting if possible early in the morning to help reduce the heat stress level or, in the early evening but, avoid excessive evening watering of your new plant materials as you do not want to welcome the opportunity for fungus of other diseases to have an opportunity to settle in especially if you live in humid zones of the state or country.
By being patient to when you do your planting, choosing the correct plants for the correct zones and utilizing the cutting edge products out there that can reduce planting stress levels and increase the moisture availability level for your landscape team, success during the hot summer month is within reach.
* Be sure to link to the "AS SEEN ON TV LINK" on my web site to be able to go directly to the 'Moisture Manager' website and receive a great discount on the product just by entering the discount code provided.
Many consumers and professional landscapers are installing various landscape projects that require or may I say 'Suggest" utilizing various types of landscape fabrics ,mesh tarps, pond liners and yes even frost protection fabrics to reduce weed growth,help protect wind sensitive plant materials plus, create safe puncture proof 'buffer zones' when building pondless and other water features plus protect against extreme weather and climatic conditions.
Every home gardener and landscape pro has purchased and installed landscape fabric or as it is commonly called 'Weed Block' down before putting down mulch in planter beds, or in areas where you do not want weeds to rear their heads. There are various types of landscape fabric and I will give you a quick refresher course on some of those fabrics and also give you some of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly when installing some of barrier materials.
Your local home store probably carries a inexpensive brand of landscape fabric that normally comes in 3- 5 ft. to 50 to 100 ft. rolls. A lot of times this fabric is made out of some inexpensive rubbery/plastic like material made with a series of small holes in it throughout the square footage of the roll to allow air & water to penetrate through but, it is also designed to not allow weeds to grow up and through the fabric . This fabric is okay but really does not hold up well in the long run due to the thickness of the fabric and the quality of the material it is made from. You know this stuff, you can almost tear it apart with your hands ! May I suggest you steer clear of these types of fabrics as it will just break down through time and activity within the areas it has been installed and just give you weeds and frustration.
Spend the extra money and shop for some quality landscape fabric. What I mean by quality fabric is normally one made from NEEDLE WOVEN or NEEDLE PUNCHED FABRIC materials. The strength of these fabris far out weigh the inferiour 'homeowner brand' of fabric and it will last longer and provide more weed blocking power than the the later.
Speaking of weeds, please keep in mind that weeds are pretty flexible in where and how they grow. They seem to come up any and everywhere you do not want them but more importantly, thy are either wide bladed weeds or grassy bladed type weeds. Some examples of wide bladed weeds would be clover,dandelions,splurge and your grassy type weeds would be bermuda grasses,crabgrass, etc... The grassy weeds will still from time to time come through the weave of some of the woven fabric as when the grassy weed blade germinates and grows, it is almost like a sewing needle with is point that goes right through the weave seaking out sunlight. Just apply some horticultural grade vinagar to the grassy weed or a shot of glyphospate if your not to concerned about contaminating the world with weed killer and go about your business gardening.
When installing the fabric, make sure your area where you are installing is as clear and level of rocks and soil clumps so that you can get a nice level installation and when installing the fabric, I always use a strong steel fabric pins to help hold the fabric down and secure it to my project area. Search out the 'SQUARE TOPPED STAPLES' as they finish flush to the ground and the ' HOOP SHAPED STAPLE' is really ment to secure down drip tubing when installing drip irrigation.
Over-lap say 1/2 inch to 1 inch of the landscape fabric over each other when laying out your fabric in the project area and I usally install the pins with a rubber mallet every 5 feet or so along the overlap seam and in various areas on the fabric where it seemed loose..
Follow-up with your mulch if you are mulching and enjoy the beauty of your newly install landscape.
I will share other the uses of other types of landscape fabric I mentioned earilier in future blogs so come back soon.
* Blog Bonus ! Send me back your comment on this months blog and recieve back a really cool gift.
* Offer expires 12-31-17
Drought conditions have become a part of our regions reality for the past 4 years. With various cities and water districts nationwide demanding their customers reduce their water use especially outdoors. I have come up with some valuable tips and suggestions to help keep you in the "GREEN " this year and for years to come.
El Nino was supposed to bring us hoards of rain and needed water to our reservoirs but it appears to be just another "average rainfall year" here in Southern California. It is a good idea to educate yourself on what is available to the consumer and business owner to help reduce their outdoor water use and keep some of that well earned ca$h in your pockets.
1. One of the most simplest things you can do as a consumer or business owner, is to retro-fit your existing irrigation system to a more efficient and reliable one. There are irrigation sprinkler nozzles that help you better manage irrigation use, eliminate irrigation runoff, and reduce your water bills. The Toro Precision Series Spray Nozzles offer all the above and have been proven to reduce water usage by 35% . The Toro Precision Series Rotating nozzles supply matched precipitation rates at any arc and radius from 14 to 26 feet. The water is applied slowly and evenly thus helping to reduce runoff and wasted water. Both nozzles can be retro fitted into numerous other brands of popups and should be looked at at your local irrigation supply store such as Site One ( Formally John Deere Landscapes ) www.siteone.com or Ewing Irrigation Products www.ewing.com to see if they will help solve some or all of your irrigation watering woes.
2. The next best suggestion I have is to upgrade that irrigation controller to a more modern 'Smart Controller". Smart controllers such as the Toro Evolution Series controller offer standard functions such as manual watering ,setting water days and start times and also have the ability to add extra features such as the Toro wireless weather sensor which uses live temperature and solar measurements plus historical weather data to calculate the amount of water needed for irrigating various landscaping shrubs,turf, and other plant materials. Plus you can add a 'Rain Gage" to automatically shut down the irrigation system during a rain and, you can also add a Precision soil sensor to help monitor the soil moisture level in the soil so that the system only waters when the soil moisture level reaches a certain point to automatically activate the irrigation controller or keep it shut off if enough available moisture is contained within the soils profile.
3. After you have completed your irrigation system retro-fit, you are now ready to apply a remarkable moisture management product to your landscape turf,trees,shrubs, and potted plants to help minimize drought stress,control or eliminate dry spots,enhance nutrient uptake and much more. Ecologel's Moisture Manager will help keep all your landscaping plants hydrated. Proper soil moisture management is the key to healthy plant materials. Moisture Manager works by being applied to the soil and the hygroscopic and humectant properties of the product produces a thin persistent film on root surfaces and attracts available water in the form of water vapor between soil pore spaces to attract, capture, and retains that water vapor to have it available for the plants root system. This helps reduce and eliminate drought stress that can lead to disease and pest, and can also help you lower your watering expenses.
* utilizing drip irrigation when feasible and changing over various water hogging plant materials with water thrifty plants,trees, and shrubs will also lead a great pathway to water savings and a beautiful landscape.
By incorporating some or all of the suggestions above, you can realize some real water savings and reduce water waste and runoff. Check out my website for the "As Seen On TV " Moisture Manager banner and save on your purchase of Moisture Manager. Just use the special code "Unique" to receive your discount at checkout.
* For more information on the Evolution Series 'Smart Controllers' , Precision Series nozzles ( H2o chip technology nozzles and Precision rotating type nozzles, ,soil sensors, and weather sensors go to ( www.toro.com )
* Be sure to check with your local water districts and water providers as they may have rebate programs available for you from your purchase of "Smart Controllers", water efficient nozzles, soil sensors, and weather sensors.
Fall is traditionally the best time to consider installing drought tolerant and native landscaping plants,shrubs, trees, and ground cover. Below I have listed five great tips that have proven to be very valuable in my landscape project installations over the past years.
1. Dig your planting hole at right angles and at least 1-1/2 times the size of the container your plant material is housed in.
By digging at right angles, you are encourage the root system of your plant to grow in a more natural downward and outward process rather than possibly growing in a " soup bowl " root bound process.
Also the roots have an opportunity to stretch out and anchor in better with the extra planting hole width.
* Note: Be sure to plant your material at least 1-1/2 " higher in the planting hole so to help avoid stem root rot from having the plant planted to low in the ground.
2. Hydrate the planting hole first.
By hydrating the planting hole first, you help reduce the possibility of the plants root ball from drying out.
Placing a fresh plant into a "Dry" hole is a sure way to have the moisture from the plant wick out to the surrounding hole dry soil area. By hydrating the hole first, you are able to reduce the wicking effect as the surrounding soil within the hole has reached a saturation point and will not pull available water from the plants root ball.
* Tip: I use a product called "Moisture Manager" in the water we pour into the planting holes. The product is a food grade compound/humectant that pulls available water vapor from the soil pore space and makes it available for the plant roots for up to 3 months.
Send me a email to get you more information on this amazing product and to place a order for a quart bottle to try out.
3. Avoid using a lot of the soil amendments and soil fertilizers when back filling your planting holes.
I have found over the past couple years from following the specifications from one of my ace native plant landscape designers ( Mr. Rob Moore of California Native Landscape Designs www.californianativelandscapedesigns.com ) that it is not really necessary to use a lot of supplemental soil amendments and fertilizers when installing native plant materials.
In my experience the nurseries where I purchase my plant materials have taken every effort to supply the best living environment for my chosen plants and usually the plant materials have ample soil amendments and fertilizers already within the planting container already and only in very extreme crappy soil conditions such as new construction sites or planting areas that have been covered with concrete sidewalks, patios, driveways, etc... you would really want to consider amending the soil before planting your new plants.
* Tip: I do use a mycroryze product that helps increase rooting and help reduce the transplant shock levels when I install the new plant materials. Contact me for more information on what we use and recommend.
4. Monitor your watering habits.
You can over water or under water plant materials so be careful not to " OVER WATER" your newly installed plants.
It is much easier to hydrate a limp plant rather than attempt to "Dry Out" a overly water one.
By observing the plants leaves,stems, and understanding your chosen plants growing characteristics, you can help reduce the death cycle on your new landscape.
* Tip: Soil moisture meters help you to get basic readings on your soil moisture content and can be used as a help in monitoring your soil moisture levels. You can find inexpensive ones at your local home store garden section or online.
5. Enjoy the "New Growth Process"
This process is leaving the newly planted addition to your landscape alone and giving it time to establish it's root system and become accustomed to its new living environment. This process normally takes approx. 60-90 days based on weather temperatures, watering frequency, and the attitude of each plant.
Yes, plants do have an attitude so leave them alone and let them show you what type they have.
A positive attitude equals a new home for your plants and a negative attitude equals a replacement in my book.
Good luck and let me know how things are going and if this blog was helpful.
Summer time and the living is easy right ?
Not so true for some native and drought tolerant plant materials and shrubs. As you probably already know, installing drought tolerant and native plants and shrubs during the hot summer months is not the best idea for the shrubs or for your pocketbook. The hot days and warm nights combine to create a continual evaporational effect to the soil and creates a interesting challenge for the home gardener and professional alike who want only for those shrubs to flourish and display beauty within the landscape. The best time normally to install drought tolerant shrubs and native plant materials is in the fall and spring when the weather conditions are not as extreme and the newly planted shrubs roots can enjoy stretching out underground in the warm through the day and cool in the night soil temps. During the hot summer days evapotranspiration takes place which draws the available water from the soil into the air. Plus, gravity is doing it's thing and drawing water down words away from the root zone of the newly installed plant or shrubs causing extra stress on the establishment of the root system and the proper hydration of the shrubs in order for it to survive.
Native shrubs ( At least those here in Southern California ) get most of their supplemental water during the fall and spring months. By installing native shrubs in the middle of the year you are actually reversing a natural growing process the native shrubs are born to perform. The plant stresses out from not enough water at the root zone because of gravity and evapotranspiration and it also stress out from its roots being saturated with water it "Normally" does not receive during the hot summer months so what do you get ? A HEADACHE and FRUSTRATION.
Some "Sage Watering Advice" from our friends over at Tree of Life Nursery ( www.californianativeplants.com ) will help you during these hot summer days.
* Pre-irrigate the planting hole so there is adequate moisture around the root system.
*Apply 1-2 inches of organic mulch ( No Manure ) around the root zone of the plants but keep the mulch and excess soil well away from the stems and crown.
* Water by hose,drip,or low volume sprinkler in the early morning and avoid watering in the heat of the day or night.
* Water only when the soil in the root zone ( 6-8" down ) begins to dry out.
* For best results, avoid using overhead irrigation for long durations ( Especially in the sun ) because prolonged leaf wetting during the dry season can promote disease.
By understanding the ideal planting times for natives and drought tolerant plants and shrubs plus incorporating thoughtful and effecting watering habits to newly installed and existing plants materials, you will have better success and less stress and money loss from over watering or under watering your landscape kids.
" Have A Successful Day "
Conversion of conventional sprinkler popup to Little Tuffy Micro-Spray and rotator nozzle configuration for an existing shrub bed.
* www.valvettesystems.com - Little valve shrub heads
* www.rainbird.com _ Rainbird 1800 popup drip conversion kit.
* www.toro.com - Toro Percision Rotary nozzles
With our California drought showing no end in site, a number of business and private home owners are considering redoing their landscapes and irrigation systems and taking advantage of the available rebate programs out there for retro-fitting your existing irrigation systems to drip or retro-fitting your existing pop-up sprinkler nozzles to a more efficient rotary type delivery nozzle and there are rebates available on the commercial site level to replace existing popup sprinkler stems and bodies with a type of popup stem that will help the client save water.
There needs to be caution however and investigation on what rebate programs are available to you, what requirements have to be met by your water provider.
There are various product types eligible for commercial client rebates such Weather based "Smart" irrigation controllers, Central computer irrigation controller systems, Large high efficiency nozzles, Rotating nozzles for pop-up spray heads, In-stem flow regulators, Rain barrels, and many more water efficient materials are going to be on the rebate horizon with our current drought showing no signs of letting up.
With many local cities offering rebates on turf removal, it is a wise choice in those areas where turf is not being actively used and maintenance to that turf area is a hassle and costly.
Be careful when hiring contractors that can do your project at little or no cost or for just signing over your rebate check to them as you may get a big surprise on what you have agreed to. I have heard horror stories of yards and yards of ugly grey crushed gravel with common everyday low water shrubs thrown in here or there with no weed barrier installed orwithout any type of irrigation system. The client is left to water the newly planted shrubs and ground cover and God knows what they will think or will have to do to get rid of the weeds once they do get a good rain or as a result of watering and having no weed barrier to help curb those potential weeds.
Inquire from the contractor the procedures,quantity and quality of the groundcover materials they propose to use at your home or business, and also ask for quality and variety in your plant selection choices. So what if you are not paying anything for the project, the contractor only lives with his or her installation one time, you on the other hand have to live with their work forever.
Do your part to reduce your water and energy cost and be aware of what is available and practical for your unique landscaping needs.
See you back here at "Ed's Blogs as I will give you a synthetic turf facts and tips in my next blog so stay tuned and share this blog with all your friends and business associates !
* Great water rebate site : www.bewaterwise.com
* Great web site to hire a certified water manager to help you efficiently manage your water use at your home or business:
Time of Year:
The most suitable time of year to do native planting is during the typical rainy period here in Southern California. Fall season normally is the start of the winter rain and with our warm days and cool nights, the establishment of native plants and the survival rate is greatly increased as the plants rooting system is active and top growth is limited due to the short sunlight periods of time through the fall days. Spring time is also a great time to do plantings of natives and the winter rains help keep the plants well hydrated. As we move into the warmer months of the year, it is advisable to take note of what types of natives you are attempting to install and understand that plants blooming period. Work at adjusting your installation time to duplicate the native plants natural cycle of growing and blooming. It is better to plant before it blooms than just before in my opinion. With the warmer summer months, it becomes difficult to balance the natives actual water needs ( Some native receive almost no supplemental water at all during the warmer summer months ) and the actual moisture needs of the plant due to evapotransporation of the applied water to the plant. Some folks and contractors for that matter, tend to over water the native due to the need to keep the plant alive but the natural characteristics and requirements of the native is to not receive as much water as it is receiving thus leading a lot of times to plant failure and death.
keeping these thoughts in mind will help you better plan your native plant installation time and give you a better success rate when it comes to the survival of your plant materials.
Nature has a devine order. Part of that order is the laws of attraction. What is this law ? Visual beauty, unique characteristics, supplier of physical and/or social needs. These values are needed when developing or recreating a natural environment for beneficial insects and wildlife. There are various native plants Calif. natives in this case that will provide a great foundation and starting point for the creation of a native landscape. Review this short list of some of the more favorite and workable shrubs and small scale trees.
1. Calif. Coffeeberry : Rhamus californica -Attracts & supports native birds, hummingbirds,ladybugs,full sun/partial shade shrub,low water once established.
2. Cleveland Sage: Salvia clevelandii- Attracts & supports native birds,ladybugs,butterflies,full sun, partial shade shrub,low water once established.
3. Hollyleaf Cherry: Prunus ilicifolia ssp ilicifolia-Attracts & supports native birds,full sun/partial shade shrub, low water once established.
4. Calif. Lilac: Ceanothus species-Attracts & supports butterflies,ladybugs,full sun/partial shade low water once established, * Suggested cultivars: Yankee Point,Concha,Skylark. ( One of the most fragrant and colorful natives)
5.Shrub Oak: Quercus berberidifolia ( Large shrub to small tree ) Attracts & supports native birds, full sun, low water once established. ( If you live on the coast, plant the locally endangered Coast Scrub Oak Quercus dumosa.)
6. Manzanita: Arctostaphylos species. Ground cover to tree. Attracts & supports native birds, hummingbirds,ladybugs,full sun/partial shade, low water once established. * Suggested cultivars: Sunset, Howard McMinn. ( Manzanitas are being lost as a result of urban sprawl, so plant many ! )
Be sure to check with your professional landscaper or nursery to obtain more details on your choices and most important,
OBEY THE LAWS !
* Native plant list was compiled from brochure "Top 10 native plants to attract wildlife into your garden" by Flyway Cities Coalition San Diego.