Masterpiece Landscaping Blog

October 8, 2013

Autumn Watering in the Northland

We receive notices from city ‘officials’ in a monthly bulletin. City officials are politicians and want people to re-elect them. Here in Minnetonka where I live city officials are officials for life…..

In our horticulture world they rail against wild mustard and buckthorn nearly every month during the growing season. A few years ago purple loosestrife was on the city officials hate list. Now that European insects which suck the life out of purple loosestrife have been intentionally settled in Minnesota at Duck hunters request, purple loosestrife is no longer among the officials’ hate lists.

The loosestrife, a beautiful aggressive wildflower from across the Atlantic, still commands its territory but now stands in shredded ugly form, due to these sucking invited immigrants from European insect world.

City officials often turn landscaper with additional advice regarding lawn care, watering times and amounts, tree and shrub plantings and sales….usually plants with little or no particular landscape garden artistic value.

Politicians outside the inner city usually agree with the adage, “One is closest to God in the Garden”. If that is the case, why are most landscape gardens in the Twin Cities so ugly, disorderly, or non-existent?

Watering your garden, I was informed by Minnetonka officials, should continue well into the fall, reminding readers that trees and ‘bushes’ need their drinks right up to crushing snowfall. No mention was noted whether garden plants should be watered more, less, or the same as the rest of the growing season.

Temperatures drop rather rapidly here in fall time Minnesota. Although the sunlit daily temperatures may reach 80 degrees Fahrenheit, it is common for evening temperatures to drop 30 or more degrees…..and therein lies the lesson of watering.

Those of you who do care about your landscape garden plants and live locally, that is the folks who actually water their grounds from time to time, should begin to reduce the regular garden waterings by middle September to about one per week, depending on the regular levels of rainfall.

Disease, cool temperatures, and too much water mix a lousy cocktail for many perennials and smaller woody shrubs in our Northland.

Many, perhaps most suburbanites these days don’t bother to water their grounds at any time of the growing season. Their once flourishing blue spruce, now forty feet tall, are nearly all deathly sick with an assortment of diseases. Mammoth deciduous trees such as basswoods, green ash, river birch, silver and Norway cultivar maples hover menacingly over rambler houses of the 1950s and early 60s.

Most hardy woody plants don’t have much of an age limit for life if they are well maintained. Mature size is also primarily determined by the kind of maintenance offered plants. Good soil, nourishment, and timely watering yield a great product for a long time in our Northland neighborhoods.

Regular watering is by far the most important of all services the homeowner can provide landscape garden plants….particularly vital during the first and second season of new plants in the ground.

Almost all landscape plant deaths are caused by lack of regular reliable watering. When the weather cools off, continue, but reduce the frequency of the regular watering of your woody plant collections.