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Newly planted landscapes can initially be stressful.
Your backyard has gone from a…

…fallout shelter to a veritable oasis, but how do you take care of all this new plant material? We get that no one’s born with a green thumb. We’ve had to work pretty hard at it ourselves! So we’ve compiled a list of the most common ailments with water in the landscape and how to look out for them to keep your garden thriving.

Standing water in your beds? Might be time to turn off the tap. Credit: I am R. via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]


  • Overly-saturated soil
  • Yellowing leaves and wilting If the plant is limp and sagging, it is overwatered
  • Slowed growth
  • Brown patchy spots on leaves While this may look like an underwatering problem, its an indication that the plant cells took up too much water and burst, killing the cells and turning them brown


Leaf spotting can be an indication of overwatering. Credit: stefan klocek via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0].



If your landscape meets this criteria, chances are you’re overwatering. Let it dry out for a few days before testing the soil at different points throughout your landscape by sticking your finger into the soil about 2–3 inches. When the soil is no longer wet, resume watering—though this time at a reduced rate than before. Keep periodically checking the soil until you have a good watering schedule.



Wilted, brown leaves could mean either over- or underwatering. Be on the lookout for multiple signs of stress on your landscape…

If weeds are the only thing surviving in your yard, it might be time to turn the tap on. Credit: Harry Rose via Flickr [CC BY 2.0].


  • Dry, dusty, and/or cracked soil
  • Browning, crispy leaves Crispy, dried margins or leaf tips means die off
  • Stunted growth 
  • Noxious weed colonization If the weeds seem to be thriving more than your plants, it may be a sign that conditions are too harsh for the more delicate ornamentals



Browning needle tips means a water-stressed plant. Credit: Lal Beral via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0].



Sound familiar? It may be a knee-jerk reaction to go flood your hostas, but a steady, consistent trickle of water will best do the trick. Consider establishing drip irrigation for your more water-loving culprits like annuals and container landscapes. For watering shade or ornamental trees in need of a little help during the oppressive summer months, a gator bag or deep root irrigator works best.



Kemora Landscapes is a full-service design, build, and maintenance company based in Chicago.

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