Healthy plants can fight disease and grow strong during challenging environmental conditions like drought. When plant healthcare best practices are in place on your commercial property, you’ll maximize your landscape investment because plants will be resilient.
Really, the same basic concepts apply to people: a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water, exercising and eliminating risks keeps us feeling and looking good.
So, back to plants—longevity and vitality are two qualities every commercial property owner is looking for in the landscape. But those are the result of 5 important factors that set your plants up to succeed.
Here is our plant healthcare program “must do” short list.
#1 Put The Right Plant In The Right Place
Location is everything, and by choosing the appropriate place for plants you’ll set them up for growing success. Pay attention to sunlight. Also consider nearby buildings and structures that may block light, or create a microclimate such as a wind tunnel or a hotter area because of asphalt.
Grade is also important: Is the plant bed on a sloped area where water could drain out of the soil? Is erosion an issue in that area?
With a strong understanding of the desired planting area, you can use that knowledge to select plants that will thrive in the space. Read plant labels to find out their sunlight, soil and water requirements.
#2 Use Quality Soil
Clay soils that are common in Northern Illinois are not ideal for planting. And, over time nutrients can leach out of the soil and soil pH can become more acidic or alkaline.
Find out what your soil needs by conducting a soil pH test and sending the samples to an extension agency such as the University of Illinois Agricultural Extension.
Once you find out the soil pH, you’ll know which amendments to add to improve its quality for planting. Trees, shrubs and turf grow best in soil with a pH of 5.8 to 7.0.
Quality soil can be added to planting beds to create an ideal environment for flowers, shrubs and grasses. We know, soil is not the sexy part of planting. But quality soil is the foundation for plant health because it provides the nutrients and growing environment for materials to thrive.
#3 Install Mulch With Care
Mulch helps soil retain moisture and nutrients, inhibits weed growth, and stabilizes the soil temperature. Mulch can also protect plants during hot months.
But, there’s more to mulching than dumping clumps of new mulch on a bed and spreading it. We know, the task seems simple enough: apply mulch. But we stress to clients that the amount of mulch you apply is critical to plant health.
We go in-depth about mulching best practices here, but here are some basic take-aways. Mulch should be 2 to 3 inches deep. So, if you’re adding to a bed that already has mulch, be careful not to lay down too much. You’ll only need 1 inch for a refresher layer.
#4 Water Plants Adequately
Plants need water to survive. During the heat of summer, we can’t always depend on Mother Nature to do the watering or us, so be sure to create a watering plan for your commercial property.
Will you use a drip irrigation system in plant beds to ensure that shrubs and flowers are properly watered? (Proper watering means slow and deep—just the type of watering that drip irrigation provides.)
Hard, fast spurts of watering just creates run-off because the dry soil can’t soak in moisture fast enough, and water will not reach thirsty roots.
#5 Practice Proper Pruning
Pruning is necessary to not only shape the growth certain shrubs, but to preserve plant health. With pruning, timing and technique are critical.
Heavy pruning should be done when plants are dormant, whereas light pruning can be accomplished throughout the growing season.
Prune all dead, diseased or dormant branches by cutting them back to their point of origin, or back to a strong lateral branch. So, before you make the cut, trace the limb to its source and snip there. If you question when or how to prune, get advice from a professional.
Not pruning at all is better than cutting haphazardly.
Trust A Plant Healthcare Expert To Preserve Your Landscape Investment
A sustainable landscape is a long-lasting one, and that means regular maintenance and adhering to best practices that will keep plants healthy and growing strong.
Let’s talk more about how you can improve the health of plants on your commercial Illinois property with our plant healthcare programs. Contact us any time at 630.497.1000, or fill out this simple contact form and we’ll get in touch with you.