The sad truth of how YOUR "new landscape" is possibly... even likely not going to survive.
You Invested Thousands in a New Landscape and Now It's Dying. Why Tree and Shrubs Die and a Way to Prevent this from Happening to You.
Let me start by saying I have this slow, deep burn inside of me. It's always there! I can't enjoy the majority of landscapes. My attitude has turned negative toward one of the things I'm most passionate about. The game is rigged against you. Before the first tree or shrub ever being planted in your landscape. Before your home was even built. Mistakes at every stage from landscape design, installation, maintenance, and management were done to negatively affect your landscape to this day.
Let me swing open a concealed locked door and reveal the naked truth about the landscape industry.
You see… most businesses in the landscape industry are focused on production. The landscape industry has regressed into a fast-food business system. There is no chef, the food is terrible for you, the service is fast, and it's cheap. The focus is on doing more, running faster and harder, like a hamster on a wheel. It’s a very slippery slope and the results speak for themselves.
After many years in this industry and following the normal practices… this is the very liberating conclusion I came to. The landscape system is broken and a false economy.
Every single day I witness horticultural dyslexia on high-end landscapes, and it largely goes completely unnoticed by the homeowner. Why? Well, many are too busy to notice and think that these services have their best interest in mind since… well you’re paying them for it.
During my career, I've noted this cycle of trees and shrubs being planted and then utter failure. I see homeowners or businesses investing $20k, $30k, $50k, and $100k plus on a landscape. Then what doesn't die within the first 6-12 months begins to peak around year three to year five. Afterward, the landscape begins to slowly decline and by years 7 to 12, it looks so constipated that most of the landscape is replaced just to begin the process all over again. NO... not 100% of the landscape dies.
It's not your fault, you hire the best landscape services possible, but it just never quite seems to come together. Could all the money you have invested and spent on your landscape ultimately have been wasted and in vain? Honestly…what I mainly see is landscapes being “maintained” and slowly year by year they deteriorate until the overall landscape becomes disorganized, and sloppy, with little remaining dignity.
It’s so systemic, as mentioned above, the problem begins before the home is built and moves forward from there. How is that… you might ask. Well, when the lot is cleared the existing topsoil is largely removed. Then the home construction process compacts any remaining soil that is left. Any mature trees near the new home have their roots damaged, ripped, and severed which initiates tree stress.
After the home is built, the lot is graded, and “sometimes” topsoil is added on top of this compacted graded area creating additional poor drainage. Since we live in an area with heavy clay soil this further complicates poor drainage issues. At this point, an irrigation system is installed further damaging mature roots creating additional tree stress and future tree decline.
Wait it gets worse…The tree and shrubs are then purchased from a nursery. Usually, they are ordered and delivered to the home with no prior inspection of health, root problems, disease, or insect infestations. These plants are then installed into terribly compacted soil by digging (I prefer the term carving) holes that are usually just big enough to stuff the plant into the ground. The landscape installation service normally warranties the plants for one year. It matters little beyond this one-year warranty period what happens because then it’s “your problem” forever afterward.
This happens next… a landscape service is hired. Sadly, it’s like painting over rust. A business that’s primary service is mowing the grass doesn’t qualify any individual much less a business as tree and shrub experts. Yet the keys of the landscape are gladly thrown to them. They are allowed to make important decisions about planting, pruning, irrigation, fertilization, and insect and disease control. I mean everything! I know, I know, you like your landscape service. They’re nice people. As the saying goes, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions". They may have good intentions... but your landscape is still suffering.
I want you to remember this… at the end of the day, whatever "well-intentioned" mistakes that have occurred on your landscape everyone gets paid. They smilingly ride off into the sunset to whatever is next… but not you. You get left holding all the problems and headaches to “fix”! It’s your landscape and you must live with the end results. This is the biggest factor of my slow burn!
So what's the answer?
It's crucial to have your landscape inspected by a competent professional. They shouldn't be affiliated with any landscape service business that performs work on your property. They must be independent and systematically inspect every aspect of your landscape. The goal is to identify problems in your landscape and mitigate these issues before they become a major crises.
If you need help. I'm that voice. Contact me today for a landscape audit.