Category Archives: Summer Landscapes

Posts about summer interest, plants

Watering Your Plants in Hot Weather

It looks like we’ve returned to a period of hot weather with the possibility of afternoon thunderstorms¬†here in Asheville and western North Carolina. Just as you and I need more water when it’s hot, so do your plants. This is especially true for plants that have been installed for less than one year and for those in areas with lots of competition with tree roots. It’s easy to be fooled into thinking that your plants have received the water that they need from natural rainfall.

If you have newly installed plants and have been watering them every three days, you may need to increase it to every two days. It’s important to water them slowly and deeply rather than frequently and lightly. The water needs to go deep into the soil to encourage deep, strong roots. The best way to know if you’re watering deeply enough is to dig into the soil several inches to check the moisture. Do this around your established plants too. Some of them may also need supplemental watering.

The best times to water are early in the morning and in the evening.

If you need help with your landscape and gardens, please contact us.

Terri Long Landscape Design, Inc.

PO Box 19004

Asheville, NC 28815


Enriching Your Life with Natural Beauty


Shrub Pruning Season Almost Over

Don’t be confused about when to prune your shrubs. Although my father had good intentions, he tested many shrubs ability to withstand severe pruning at the wrong time of the year. Don’t prune just because it’s convenient for you or you don’t know when to prune.

My approach to designing landscapes and gardens includes selecting plants for their anticipated mature size. Some plants really prosper and grow bigger than expected. In these cases, they may need some pruning to control their size. There are a few shrubs that need to be pruned severely every year or two in order to produce a more beautiful, lush plant, such as Redtwig Dogwood and Bluebeard. Most low-maintenance shrubs will only require light pruning to improve their shape or remove damaged or diseased stems. Yes, even the best plants can have problems at times.

Spring Blooming Shrubs

Simply stated, spring flowering shrubs should be pruned shortly after they finish flowering. The reason is that they set their buds for next years flowers after they bloom. If you prune them now, you’ll cut off next spring’s flower buds. If they need pruning, wait until next spring after they bloom.

Summer Pruning

Light pruning of other shrubs in your Asheville landscape should be pruned by the middle or end of July. Pruning will prompt new growth. This new growth needs time to harden off before cold weather comes. If they’re pruned after July, the new growth is in danger of being killed or damaged by autumn frosts. Then, you’ll have even more pruning to do and a damaged shrub.

Fertilizing Shrubs

This guideline also applies to fertilizing your shrubs. It’s not advisable to fertilize during periods of hot, dry weather like we’ve experienced this summer. It will prompt new growth and take energy out of your shrubs while they may be struggling just to survive the dry weather.

Ideal Pruning Times

Minimal pruning can be done during cold weather when the plant is dormant. I always enjoy cutting evergreens to use as holiday decorations. Removal of dead or damaged stems should be done as soon as the problems are noticed. The best time to prune summer flowering shrubs is in late winter through early spring. Evergreens should generally be pruned in early spring after danger of frost has passed.

Here’s the caveat.

Although we’ve had rain this week, it’s been dry and hot this summer. Unless you absolutely have to prune or fertilize your shrubs, it would be best to wait until next year, and hopefully, the weather conditions aren’t putting so much stress on them.

If you need help with your landscape and gardens, please contact us.

Terri Long Landscape Design, Inc.

PO Box 19004

Asheville, NC 28815



Watering Your Asheville Landscape

The weather has been so hot and dry in Asheville and the entire southeast this summer. Even established and drought-tolerant plants are showing signs of stress from the high temperatures and lack of rain. Many homeowners don’t realize how long it takes for new plants to get established and how often they need to water them.

Watering Your New Landscape

We all have busy schedules and watering may not be a priority when the plants appear to be doing okay with just water from rain. Some plants, such as hydrangeas, show us early when they’re stressed while others don’t let us know until it’s too late to save them or large portions of the plant die off. These include trees and evergreen shrubs.

It’s also easy to put off watering plants when it’s so hot that we’re uncomfortable and battling mosquitoes.

Water Deeply

  • Water your plants deeply every 2 to 3 days rather than small amounts daily. Watering deeply means using a hose with a gentle stream of water and individually watering each plants for several minutes. If the water starts running off quickly, move on to the next plant and then return to the previous one.
  • You don’t have to water all of your plants at once. You can divide your landscape into areas and water an area at a time.
  • If a plant starts to wilt, check the soil moisture. Water it immediately if it’s not moist. If the soil is moist, the wilting can be the stress of the heat, sun or another problem.

Rainwater and Soil Moisture

  • New plants need about 1 to 2 inches of water every week- possibly more in really hot conditions. A rain gauge is useful in monitoring the amount of rainfall each week. Keep in mind that heavy downpours don’t soak into the ground as much as a gentle rain. Even though it rained 2″ in one hour, much of that rain didn’t reach the plant roots.
  • Check the depth of the soil moisture periodically by sticking your finger several inches into the ground near the plant’s roots. If it’s dry, the plant needs water (even it if rained the day before.)
  • Plants under trees don’t get as much rainwater as other plants and may need to be watered while others don’t.

Time Needed for Plant Establishment

  • New plants need at least a complete year to establish their roots. Large trees will need even more time. This means watering regularly as the temperatures start to warm early in the spring, through the summer, and until the days get shorter and cooler late in the fall.
  • If your plants were installed this year, you’ll also need to water them next spring or longer for a complete growing cycle.

Best Times to Water

  • Best times to water are early in the morning and in the evening.
  • If you water during the hot, sunny part of the day, some of the water will evaporate before it can be absorbed by the plant’s roots. If that’s the only have time that you have one day, it’s better than not watering at all.

Drought-tolerant Plants

  • If you’re like me, I first thought that drought-tolerant plants wouldn’t need to be watered except by Mother Nature.¬† All plants, even drought-tolerant ones, need time to establish their roots.
  • During long stretches of hot, dry weather, even drought-tolerant plants may need some additional water after they’re established.

Hand-watering is time consuming the first year. By using drought-tolerant plants in much of your landscape, you may not need to water much in successive years.

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Landscape Care in July

It’s the middle of July, and it’s been unusually hot and humid in Asheville this summer. I hope that you’re enjoying summer blooming shrubs and flowers in your landscape.

Here’s a few tips to improve the look of your landscape now:

  1. When you deadhead (cut off spent blooms), cut a few extra nice flowers to use in a floral arrangement in your house. You can also use flowers, foliage and stems from shrubs and trees. Crush the ends of woody stems with a hammer or something similar so that water can go up the stems.
  2. July is the month when you need to finish any pruning of your shrubs. You may want to prune off wild shoots, dead stems or suckers to improve their appearance while keeping the shape natural. The next safe time to prune shrubs is after they go dormant in the winter. If you prune after July, any new growth will not have a chance to harden off before cold weather and may suffer damage.
  3. If you prune spring flowering shrubs now, you’ll be pruning off next spring’s buds and won’t have as plentiful floral display. The time to prune them is after they finish blooming next year.
  4. If you don’t have an irrigation systems, water your plants, especially your trees, during periods of hot, dry weather. Landscapes and gardens planted less than one year are still getting established and need to be watered deeply every two to three days when we haven’t had much rain. Check the soil moisture around the plant roots and water if it’s not moist. Established plants that aren’t drought tolerant may also need to be watered. Water each plant in the morning or evening.

I’d love to hear from you. Please contact me with your questions or comments.