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Care Guide

New Ground Plantings

FOR BEST RESULTS, test the soil for the first two weeks to adjust the watering schedule to your location. As site conditions vary wildly around the Chicagoland area, each landscape is unique in its needs. On average a new landscape will need supplemental watering the first 2 or 3 seasons to establish.

To find the perfect watering schedule, stick your finger 2–3″ into the soil before each watering session. If it’s slick then the watering schedule can be cut back, however if it’s dry and crumbly then the watering schedule can be increased. Kemora recommends watering all new shrubs, perennials, and groundcover about 2–3 times a week for 30 minutes (about 1" of water a week) and then increase or decrease based off site conditions. For Trees, Kemora recommends putting the hose at the base of the tree about once a week for 45 minutes to an hour on a slight trickle.


Container Plantings

If your new plants are in containers less than 30" in diameter and have adequate drainage, you'll most likely need to water every day. Check the soil before watering to ensure your plants need care for that day.


Heat of the Summer

Check out Kemora's handy guide here on how to increase watering for all of your plants.


Indoor Plantings

Check out Kemora's handy guide here on how to keep your indoor buddies happy year-round.


Check out Kemora Landscapes' pdf guide for a more thorough breakdown on watering.
New Sod

FOR BEST RESULTS, keep grass MOIST (but not soggy) for the first two weeks and STAY OFF GRASS. As site conditions vary wildly around the Chicagoland area, each landscape is unique in its needs. And listening to your new landscape will give it the best chance to thrive.

To find the perfect watering schedule, stick your finger 2–3″ into the soil before each watering session. If there is standing water then the watering schedule can be cut back, however if it’s dry and crumbly then the watering schedule should be increased. For cool weather installations (under 75°F) water approximately 20–30 minutes once daily in the morning (about 2" of water a week) and then increase or decrease based off site conditions. For warm weather installations (over 75°F) water approximately 20–30 minutes twice daily in the morning and evening (about 3" of water a week) and then increase or decrease based off site conditions.


New Seeding

FOR BEST RESULTS, keep grass MOIST (but not soggy) for the first two weeks and STAY OFF GRASS. As site conditions vary wildly around the Chicagoland area, each landscape is unique in its needs. And listening to your new landscape will give it the best chance to thrive.

To find the perfect watering schedule, stick your finger 2–3″ into the soil before each watering session. If there is standing water then the watering schedule can be cut back, however if it’s dry and crumbly then the watering schedule should be increased. For cool weather installations ONLY (under 75°F) water approximately 5–15 minutes twice daily in the morning and evening (about 3" of water a week) and then increase or decrease based off site conditions.


Heat of the Summer

Check out Kemora's handy guide here on how to increase watering for all of your plants.


Check out Kemora Landscapes' pdf guide for a more thorough breakdown on watering.
New Sod

Mowing new grass encourages root establishment. After two weeks (or once grass is 3.5" tall), pull up a corner of sod—if it stays in place cut the lawn down to a 2" height and mow once a week.


New Seeding

It is important to stay off newly seeded areas for the first 2–3 weeks as the grass establishes. Once grass reaches a height of 3.5" it is safe to mow. Cut at a 2" height and repeat once a week.


Check out Kemora Landscapes' pdf guide for a more thorough breakdown on mowing.
If after a few month's of establishment your new lawn has holes, fear not! Remove all dead material and fill holes with grass seed and organic matter. Then water these patches like new seed, making sure to pay attention to existing grass for signs of over-watering.

Check out Kemora Landscapes' pdf guide for a more thorough breakdown on overseeding patchy areas.
Fertilizing Plants

Fertilizing is not necessary as Kemora designers choose plants appropriate for their recommended spot. However if you wish to give your plants a boost, spread a slow-release, granular fertilizer at the beginning of the season. Avoid liquid fertilizers as they can burn roots. Repeat every 2–3 years as necessary.

For organic fertilizer we recommend mixing two parts leaf compost with one part sand to allow for proper drainage.


Fertilizing Grass

Fertilizing grass within the first year of establishment is not recommended as it can burn grass roots. Once a lawn is established it can be fertilized 4 times per season. Both chemical and organic fertilizers can be used, though weed resurgence is more common with organic.


Check out Kemora Landscapes' pdf guides on plants and grass for a more thorough breakdown on fertilizing.
Hedging

If planting a hedge, the size of the plants at installation will determine when to cut. Allow shrubs to grow together and to the desired height before cutting. Then to maintain the shape and size of your hedge, sheer 3–5 times throughout the growing season depending on the plant species.


Pruning

Pruning can be a great way of taming wild-looking plants or to encourage blooms. Check out Kemora's handy guide here on pruning best practices.


Check out Kemora Landscapes' pdf guide for a more thorough breakdown on pruning.
Weeding

Learn what your garden looks like in order to spot weeds when they're young. Weeds are easiest managed when pulled as tiny saplings—allow them to grow and they'll establish a root structure that will be hard to kill. Check out Kemora's handy guide here on spotting common weeds in the Chicagoland area.

Make your design work smarter—design tweaks such as replacing mulch for landscape fabric and decorative gravel is one way of mitigating weeds while plants establish. Planting tightly-packed groundcover is another as they shade out pioneers when densely grown together.


Deadheading

Deadheading isn't necessary for the success of a landscape, but can be a way to encourage re-blooms on certain plants. Clip any spent flowers once they're finished blooming—or keep them to allow seedheads to mature as unique motifs for the winter landscape.


Check out Kemora's handy guide here for a more thorough breakdown on plant care.
Spring Cleanup

While not always necessary, bi-yearly cleanups are great for maintaining the landscape in a way that allows it to thrive. If it was a particularly hard winter, or planting beds were left to winterize on their own, a spring clean-up is a great way to help the garden jumpstart.

○ Cut back dead ornamental grass and perennials before new growth starts
○ Clean bed of debris
○ Recut bed edges
○ Overseed and/or aerate lawn. Optional pre-emergent treatment to help inhibit the growth of weeds
○ Mulch to help with summer weed suppression
○ Prune early-season trees and shrubs

Check out Kemora's handy guide here on what's included in a Spring Clean-Up through our Maintenance department.


Fall Cleanup

While not always necessary, bi-yearly cleanups are great for maintaining the landscape in a way that allows it to thrive. Cleaning the garden for winter may seem counterintuitive but can help jumpstart your garden for spring.

○ Optional--Cut back dead foliage (some ornamental grasses add interest to the winter landscape and can be left until spring)
○ Clean bed of debris
○ Apply anti-desiccant to protect wintering evergreens
○ Overseed and/or aerate lawn
○ Prune late-season trees and shrubs
○ Plant spring bulbs
○ Mulch if levels are low or to winterize vulnerable plants
○ Shut off outdoor water at indoor valve to avoid pipe cracks


Check out Kemora Landscapes' pdf guide for a more thorough breakdown on cleanup tasks and when to perform them.
Kemora Landscapes will offer one-time only replacement of any tree, shrub, evergreen or woody vine that has died within one (1) year from the date of installation, provided Kemora Landscapes has purchased the plant, the plant has been cared for as instructed, and not misused. Kemora Landscapes will not replace plants killed by animals, rodents, insects, mechanical damage, neglect, improper watering, improper chemical application, natural disasters or other reasons over which Kemora Landscapes has no control. Additionally, Kemora does not guarantee plants that are planted in parkways. This warranty does not cover annuals, perennials, ground covers, wildflowers, seeds, bulbs and non-winter hardy plants. These will be warranted through the first growing season only. Plants planted in a container carry no warranty. Any repairs/replacements made to any installation after expiration of the warranty will be made at Customer's expense. Any repairs made to any installation by any party other than Kemora Landscapes voids any warranties offered by Kemora Landscapes. The warranty for the contract is only valid if payment is received in full on completion of work.
The first season is the toughest for establishing plants. Although Kemora chooses high quality plants from local sources that are free of disease, some sit above ground at the nursery for some time so can show signs of stress including spotty leaves, slow growth, etc.

Pest Troubleshooting

Check out Kemora's handy guide here on the most common infestations in our area.

The first season is the toughest for establishing plants. Although Kemora chooses high quality specimens from local sources that are free of disease, some sit above ground at the nursery so can show signs of stress including spotty leaves, slow growth, etc.

Grass Water Troubleshooting

Check out Kemora's handy guide here for signs of water stress.


Plant Water Troubleshooting

Check out Kemora's handy guide here for signs of water stress.


Disease Troubleshooting

Check out Kemora's handy guide here on common diseases in the area.

Timer Setup

If your landscape is like the typical small Chicago lot, soaker hoses are a convenient way to set your plants up for success. First determine how many zones are necessary—while 1-zone is perfect for a small pocket garden, a 2- or 4-zone timer is perfect for landscapes that stretch farther from the home or are divided in multiple areas.

Please visit here for 1-zone, 2-zone, and 4-zone irrigation timer operational manuals.


Timer Duration

FOR BEST RESULTS, test the soil for the first two weeks. As site conditions vary wildly around the Chicagoland area, each landscape is unique in its needs. And listening to your new landscape will give it the best chance to thrive.

Knowing how many zones your timer has, where the zones are installed, the types of plants the soaker hoses feed, and site conditions will help determine how long to set an irrigation timer. To find the perfect watering schedule, stick your finger 2–3″ into the soil before each watering session. If it’s slick then the watering schedule can be cut back, however if it’s dry and crumbly then the watering schedule can be increased. Typically Kemora sets each zone to turn on once every 3 days for 20 minutes in the early morning and then increase or decrease based off site conditions.


Seasonal Changes

Once a reliable watering schedule is established it will not need to be changed until seasonal / weather patterns change. Be on the lookout for the heat of the summer when plants might need an increase in water. Be sure to adjust the schedule after the summer as well as autumn tends to bring more rain.


Winterize Soaker Hose

When temperatures reliably reach 40°F, simply disconnect the timer and bring indoors. Let the soaker hoses winter in place as they are perforated and will drain into the mulch layer.

Sand Joints

If using traditional jointing sand, the joints between pavers / stone will need sand swept into them every few years to help mitigate weeds. Polysand is a popular alternative to traditional sand as it creates a flexible hold between joints that requires less infill over the years.

Staining

Minor stains from leaves or debris can be treated with a light powerwashing or dishsoap and elbow grease. For areas that might experience heavier stains like motor oil, make your design work smarter. Many new concrete pavers on the market offer protective seals that allow for easy cleaning. There are also sealer options for pavers and natural stone.


Scratching

Caution is advised when moving objects across hardscape surfaces as they can scratch the surface and leave unwanted blemishes behind.


Efflorescence

Efflorescence, or the migration of salt to the surface, is a common occurrence with many natural and man-made hardscapes. It can easily be cleaned away after appearing. Or if you prefer a sealant can be applied after installation to mitigate the appearance. It is important to note that Efflorescence is both a harmless and natural chemical process that does not harm hardscapes.


Check out Kemora Landscapes' pdf guide for a more thorough breakdown on hardscape care.
Cedar Care

Cedar is a softwood that is naturally insect and weather resistant, and as such does not need to be stained or sealed. If left to naturally weather, cedar will develop a silver patina. If you would prefer a color or gloss coat, we recommend waiting 3–6 months for the wood to dry before application. Expect a reapplication every 3–5 years to keep the color consistent.


Pressure-Treated Care

Pressure-treated lumber is infused with rot-resistant chemicals to boost lastability. It boasts the same durability as cedar and as such does not need to be sealed or painted. It will fade to a light buff, however if another color is desired, we recommend waiting 3–6 months for the wood to dry before application. Expect a reapplication every 3–5 years to keep the color consistent.


Composite Care

Composite is a new type of material that presses wood and plastic particles together into boards which are then treated like regular lumber. Because of their composition they are highly durable, and can be manufactured in a wide array of colors to ensure an even color that lasts for years.


Check out Kemora Landscapes' pdf guide for a more thorough breakdown on carpentry care.


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