Drought Watering Guidelines

As you know the current weather conditions are extremely dry and grass and plant materials are struggling to survive.  As a result we have put together some watering tips for you to follow to ensure that your plant materials can survive.  Water is essential for plants to grow and develop, and it carries minerals from the soil to the leaves.  It also acts as the raw material from which plants manufacture food.  Below you will find some information regarding the root systems of different plant materials:


Plant Type                                        Minimum Root Depth

Annuals & Groundcovers                     2” – 4”

Turf Grass                                                     4” – 6”

Perennials                                                   12” – 14”

Shrubs                                                           18” – 24”

Trees                                                              24” – 60”


While your sprinklers may be sufficient for grass areas, groundcovers and perennials, trees and shrubs have a deeper root system that require a lot more water.  It is a good idea to deep-water trees and shrubs by using your garden hose and holding it at the root system for a period of 1-2 minutes.  Do this twice a day during periods of extreme drought.  For other plant materials such as annuals, perennials, groundcovers and grass, they should be watered additionally between the hours of 2pm and 6pm in order to cool off the root system and prevent rooting from drying out.  It is best to water several hours before sunset to give the leaves time to dry before dark.  If you water too late in the day the plants are left wet at night, fungi and related diseases set in.


In addition to watering more, you may want to have fresh mulch added to your beds and around trees to keep moisture from evaporating and prevent over drying.  If you should need any fresh mulch, please feel free to call us to be added to our schedule.



Great Lakes Landscape Design, 2016

Do you have Boxwood, or any other broad leaf evergreens?

Boxwood with winter burn.

Boxwood with winter burn.

In our industry, plant material is manufactured to provide the most ideal conditions for plants to thrive and put on as much size as possible to get them to market with the best visual appeal and health for long term growth. Additional care post installation at some point will be beneficial to keep these plants thriving; i.e. mulching, pruning, fertilizing, etc. Landscape is dynamic and continues to change with our surrounding environment, and so do our tactics for care. Winter conditions have become increasingly harsher and pathogens become present. It is up to us as professionals to keep our clients up to date with those changes, and to come up with solutions to help maintain their investments. Water loss is the greatest threat to a plants health, and as the ground freezes plants are unable to pull moisture from the soil, and thus the leaves are sacrificed. Harsh winds can also have a profound effect drawing moisture away from the plant causing sunscald, windburn, and in extreme cases death.

Healthy and maintained Boxwood.

Healthy and maintained Boxwood.

Great Lakes Landscape Design partnered with Contenders Lawn Service, can provide our clients help to maintain these plants so that they can continue to thrive for years to come. We can provide wind break in extreme high conditions with burlap to help ease harsh winds, this will shade the plant during those sunny winter days that can encourage broadleaf evergreens, such as boxwood to photosynthesize while the soil is completely frozen which causes these plants to desiccate. As an additional level of service Contenders can apply a foliar spray called an antidesiccants that can help prevent this. Antidesiccants are a compound that when applied to a plants leaves can slow the process of moisture loss by creating a thin barrier over the pores and locking in the moisture. This compound can also help decrease the level of photosynthesis during sunny days when the soil is still completely frozen.

An evaluation of your plants health may be necessary, if your plants show any signs of struggling. As we move into another harsh winter the plant may not be able to recover from the season with an already depleted energy store from any pathogen that it may be infected with or any amount of stress that it could be experiencing.