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Summit, northern NJ, Mid Atlan
justsusan
Aug 3, 2017 8:17 PM CST
My landscaper insists it is fine to plant $16000 worth of shrubs, trees, and perennials the week of August 12 here in northern New Jersey (zone 6B). She does not guarantee or replace plants (she says no one around here does.) Im worried that planting in the heat of August, even with the drip system she is installing, will mean I end up with dead plants and a lot of wasted money. Should I insist on waiting until September or is she right? please help me!
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Aug 3, 2017 8:53 PM CST
Welcome!

I can't believe that a landscaper that was any good would not guarantee their plants and their own ability to plant them properly.

Personally, I don't plant anything after August 1 because I want everything to be well established before they freeze solid for the winter. So, in my book, September is also out - she should have planted them last spring after the last frost date. And she should guarantee her workmanship. Around here, its a year from the planting date.
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North Central TX (Zone 8a)
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tx_flower_child
Aug 3, 2017 10:07 PM CST
Welcome!

I agree with Daisyl. "I can't believe that a landscaper that was any good would not guarantee their plants and their own ability to plant them properly. " And I would add, 'especially at that price'. I know that sounds cynical but it sounds like you're having some major landscaping done.

If it's not too late, I would certainly get some other proposals. And if I did nothing else, I would at least ask around to see if it's true that "no one around guarantees or replace plants". That should just take a few phone calls. I do know that if I buy one plant, I'm unlikely to get a guarantee. But you're talking about way more than that.

As for planting schedule, I can't advise you much other than go with your gut. Maybe see if there's a Master Gardeners' Hotline. (We have one and I'm not shy about calling them with questions.) Or there's bound to be some local resources to talk to, like maybe a gardening club or even an arboretum. Or what the heck? If you call other landscapers for bids or to ask about guarantees, might as well ask them about the best time to plant. Just say that you're curious.

I'm in Zone 8a and wouldn't dream of planting shrubs and trees in August. My understanding is that Fall is THE best time. Our problem in Texas is deciding when it's actually Fall.

I'm going to see if I can get you a good guide but maybe someone else will have already answered before I edit this.

Edit: We didn't ask you what shrubs and trees are going to be planted. It's important to make sure that the plan has an evaluation of your soil, existing sun/shade, whether the plant is considered 'invasive' (don't believe it's ok because everyone else here grows it) and so many other things.
Anyway, here's a resource to play around with. It can be a little overwhelming, at least it was for me. But just play with it and see what you can find out.
https://plants.usda.gov/java/

I also did a quick google about the best time to plant trees and shrubs in northern NJ. Every single site I looked at said that fall is the best time. Not one site would agree that planting in August is ok.

Ok. I'm getting obsessed so I'll just add one more question. Do you know if your landscaper is a certified arborist or has any on staff?
[Last edited by tx_flower_child - Aug 3, 2017 11:15 PM (+)]
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Aug 4, 2017 5:00 AM CST
If the plants are currently well established in containers and are well cared for after planting I'm not sure it would be a problem. That's the purpose of buying plants in containers, to be able to plant any time. It's definitely the wrong time to plant bare-root. I wonder if the landscaper is buying from a nursery/garden centre and gets a discount for not having a warranty.

I too would try and get more estimates and ask about guarantees. Or maybe you could get the landscaping done and plant the plants yourself, and buy them from somewhere that guarantees at least the woody plants. However at that price it sounds like either there are a lot of plants or some are larger trees? Personally I would not pay the extra to get a larger tree planted, smaller ones often establish more reliably and catch up in size quickly.
Name: Pat Morris
Augusta, GA, Zone 8b (Zone 8b)
I love gardening & love to share.
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patmorris1
Aug 4, 2017 6:21 AM CST
Good morning,

All three of the previous responses are right on. And I agree that a Master Gardner (which I have given you a link for -for your area) will be an excellent resource for you -on all your landscape/gardening concerns -and especially for your area.

This is just an additional place where you may like to check with a Master Gardener. I rely on my County Extension Service and Master Gardner's on anything I need some definitive information. They have a wealth of information and most kind to share their information. I am attaching a link to as well as information on master gardeners in your area. If you don't use it now, save it for use in the future -they can answer any question you have.

Either link has great information. The first link breaks the telephone numbers and websites down by county. Since I am not certain of your county in NJ, I just gave you the links for the different counties. A Master Gardner in your area would know exactly when to and when not to plant in your area -he/she may even know the landscaper that you are dealing with.

http://njaes.rutgers.edu/maste...

http://njaes.rutgers.edu/maste...

Good luck. Let us know how the planting of your new shrubs, trees, and perennials go.
Bringing more beauty to the landscape.
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Aug 4, 2017 6:40 AM CST
justsusan said:My landscaper insists it is fine to plant $16000 worth of shrubs...
She does not guarantee or replace plants (she says no one around here does.)


First of all, who is working for whom? If you hire her, it's your decision.

Second, yes, Home Depot guarantees potted landscape plants for a year; just keep the reciept. They also advise you may want to keep the pots for identification purposes, but I think taking a photo would suffice.

Third, $16,000???? That's about what I pay for a car. A whole car. That is a lot of money for plants and for my money they better dang well come with a guarantee!

Just my opinon but maybe you need to get a different landscaper.

Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
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crawgarden
Aug 4, 2017 6:47 AM CST
How much landscaping is involved for $16K, for that kind of money there should be some sort of warranty on the plants and the work. Maybe time to shop around and go for a spring installation. JMHO
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
Name: Carol H. Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
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csandt
Aug 4, 2017 7:30 AM CST
I agree with everyone else that $16,000 is a lot of money to spend on anything that comes with no warranty/guarantee.

I also live in zone 6b. On Labor Day weekend of 2014 I had a large truckload of topsoil dumped along the edge of my windy, drought-prone hilltop property and installed a lot of shrubs to create a shrub border that is about 80 feet long. The winter of 2014/2015 was unusually cold, but I lost only one plant: a 'Pink Velour' crape myrtle. This plant came with a one-year guarantee, so I actually lost nothing by planting in September. By the way, deciduous trees do best if planted after they go into winter dormancy.

Bottom line IMO: Get a warranty/guarantee and plant in September or, for trees, once they are dormant.

My shrub border planted Labor Day, 2014 (doesn't fit into a single photo):

Thumb of 2017-08-04/csandt/8e137d
Thumb of 2017-08-04/csandt/7ba173
Thumb of 2017-08-04/csandt/ac2f03
Thumb of 2017-08-04/csandt/531d6b
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Thumb of 2017-08-04/csandt/8cd481

Carol H. Sandt

“Once you stop learning, you start dying.” – Albert Einstein
[Last edited by csandt - Aug 4, 2017 8:33 AM (+)]
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Summit, northern NJ, Mid Atlan
justsusan
Aug 4, 2017 8:41 AM CST
She is planting 3 4-5 ft schip laurels, 6 3gal plum yew, 12 boxwoods, 16 5gal cherry laurels, 5 5 gal korean spice viburnum, 3 3gal spirea, 3 knockout roses, 2 gold mop cypress, 8 siberian iris, 20 coreopsis, 12 lambs ear, 10 lavender, 25 catmint, 7 salvia and 2 peonies, all one gallon ea, plus 1 pink dogwood (8-10 ft) and one Amelanchier (5-6 ft) 1 Leyland (to replace a fallen one, 10-12 ft) Any way I could find out if that sounds like 16K worth? I thought it was an awful lot of money. This amount is plantingss alone, there are additional charges for prepping beds, mulching, etc.
We are in Union County tucked up against Morris county.
Im starting to feel panicky. I really like her and I don't want to offend her, but I also don't want to get ripped off.
Name: Pat Morris
Augusta, GA, Zone 8b (Zone 8b)
I love gardening & love to share.
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patmorris1
Aug 4, 2017 9:06 AM CST
Check it out first -with a Master Gardner (sent you links in last response) or the like -then you won't be panicking and you can use what information that you receive and if it is suggested that you need to wait on the plantings, share that with the landscaper and tell her that you will do it later (whenever the Extension Service or Master Garden states is best). That shouldn't offend her. Then do your research on the price, etc., before that time comes. Good luck!
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Name: Archivesgirl
Salisbury, MD (Zone 7b)
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Archivesgirl
Aug 4, 2017 9:09 AM CST
That sounds like a tremendous amount of money for those plantings. She is charging extra for prep and mulching? What kind of irrigation do you have or is she installing that also? Is she a landscape architect and where is she getting the trees/shrubs/plants from? Make sure you carefully check the architectural plan to make sure the proper amount of space is available for all that you've listed. I know that we have a lot of landscapers here on the Delmarva Peninsula who overplant as though the plantings are never going to get any bigger. I would follow the wise advice of the other excellent gardeners above. Hope it all works out for you.

Gayle
Name: Charlie
Aurora, Ontario (Zone 5b)
Maintenance of Perennial Beds.
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SunnyBorders
Aug 4, 2017 9:38 AM CST
I also would not do business with a landscaping company that doesn't guarantee especially the trees and shrubs it instals for a year.

In my experience, garden centres around here (always the higher end ones) even provide a year's guarantee for herbaceous perennials. In the case of trees, etc., dying and landscapers, it up to the landscaper to deal with the retailer, get the replacements and pay for the labour costs involved in obtaining and planting replacements.

I'd also be surprised if a drip-line provides enough water for newly planted trees and shrubs.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Aug 4, 2017 9:41 AM CST
justsusan said:She is planting 3 4-5 ft schip laurels, 6 3gal plum yew, 12 boxwoods, 16 5gal cherry laurels, 5 5 gal korean spice viburnum, 3 3gal spirea, 3 knockout roses, 2 gold mop cypress, 8 siberian iris, 20 coreopsis, 12 lambs ear, 10 lavender, 25 catmint, 7 salvia and 2 peonies, all one gallon ea, plus 1 pink dogwood (8-10 ft) and one Amelanchier (5-6 ft) 1 Leyland (to replace a fallen one, 10-12 ft) Any way I could find out if that sounds like 16K worth? I thought it was an awful lot of money. This amount is plantingss alone, there are additional charges for prepping beds, mulching, etc.
We are in Union County tucked up against Morris county.
Im starting to feel panicky. I really like her and I don't want to offend her, but I also don't want to get ripped off.


Guessing the price of these plants at $100 each for the 3 trees, $1000 for the 50 shrubs and $10 for the 1 gallon plants, you have $2000 in plants and $14K for digging a hole and plopping them in.

Plus extra for preparation, mulch and the drip system. I want this lady's job!

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Aug 4, 2017 11:38 AM CST
Just let the landscaper know that you need more time to consider the proposal.
Then do your research and don't call her back. In my opinion, you are being seriously overcharged.
It also sounds like you are being pressured a bit too much. Take time to think before you spend that amount of money.

We hire people because they are professionals. We do not have to like them. All they have to do is complete the job properly, and yes, guarantee their work (the plant sellers should guarantee the plants).

If you like her, cancel the job and just invite her to be your friend. That won't cost you a dime. Thumbs up
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
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tx_flower_child
Aug 4, 2017 12:43 PM CST
@justsusan - I tossed you an acorn because you deserve at least 1 acorn for all that you are going through. (If you don't know about acorns, you can read about them somewhere here.) Anyway, aren't you glad you came to garden.org for 2nd, 3rd, 4th and more opinions? Hope we are allaying your fears and hope you stick around to 'play' with us at this wonderful site.

Lots of great advice here. Totally agree with @Daisyl when she said, 'I want this lady's job!'

As I said (ok, typed) last night, I was on an OCD roll. I could have kept going. BTW - I do love coreopsis but why plant them now? Same with some of the other perennials. Unless she's just seeding them to grow in the spring. Guess to give you a little instant gratification.

@csandt - love what you've done. Looks beautiful.

@greene - you are absolutely right and humorous as well.

Ok. I'm outta here before I seriously go on a OCD rant.
[Last edited by tx_flower_child - Aug 4, 2017 8:53 PM (+)]
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Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Aug 4, 2017 1:18 PM CST
I don't think it is fair to question whether the landscaper's price is reasonable or not without being a party to the project. A large part of what the poster is paying for is the 'design' which is really the heart of any landscape project. How many hours has this person already put into this project? And, what is the commitment at this point? I assume there must be a contract of some sort. I would bring my concerns re planting time to the landscaper's attention and see what she has to say. Will she be checking on after care, or will that fall to the landowner? I would also check on guarantees - in my area a one year guarantee is pretty routine for large projects. But, maybe not in other areas. Personally, I'd wait until fall to plant as well, but as one person notes, they are all in pots anyway, so perhaps getting them in the ground (with a diligent watering schedule) would be better than baking in the sun. I don't this is a simple math problem...
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Aug 4, 2017 2:08 PM CST
Deb, the $16,000 is apparently just for the plants, the preparation, mulching (planting?) etc. are extra on top of that. Good point about the design though. Is that extra as well??

The dogwood and the Leyland are the biggest plants and at that size could be pricey. Actually I'd skip the Leyland!

I started looking up prices at nurseries in NJ but had to give up because we don't have enough specifics to really compare.
Name: Charlie
Aurora, Ontario (Zone 5b)
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SunnyBorders
Aug 4, 2017 3:01 PM CST
I really think some of the questions should be answered before a contract is signed.

I have installed several dozen mixed perennial gardens over the last 30 years. To me, much more challenging, I've maintained a small number of these over more than dozen years.

I'm under the impression that customers' concerns should be answered in the contract before the customer signs it. And that both the costs of materials and and cost of labour (including hours) should be detailed in the contract.

The landscaping business (design and installation, and maintenance), at least here, is a very competitive business, frankly, with many workers (summer university students) learning on the job and a constant turn-over of workers from year to year.

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NM (Zone 7b)
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plantmanager
Aug 4, 2017 3:07 PM CST
Wow on that amount of money for landscaping! It always has been guaranteed to live when we've had landscaping done in Arizona. I never plant after August even in AZ or NM, mainly because they don't have time to get rooted well enough to survive the winter cold. I wait and plant in the Spring.
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Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Aug 4, 2017 3:08 PM CST
sooby said:
The dogwood and the Leyland are the biggest plants and at that size could be pricey. Actually I'd skip the Leyland!.


I agree

Actually, I'd skip most of the mentioned plants.

I'm feeling the people that mentioned the danger of being pressured into something.

There are a lot of bozo landscapers out there...
Luckily they usually get such a bad reputation that they quickly go out of business.

Shouldn't be too much trouble to visit some of the previous yards.... And talk to the people that paid for the landscaping.
Or maybe google the lady's company... Look for reviews....

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