Proper care for your new plantings is the single most important step to ensure their health and long life and to protect your investment. Here are important items to remember:

1. Water is the key to all plant growth. A few long and deep weekly waterings are much better than frequent light waterings. To check if watering is needed, remove some mulch from around the plant. The soil should be damp, not muddy or crumbly dry. Allow the soil time to drain between waterings. This promotes air penetration into the soil, which is key to root development.

During summer months, generally, new plantings should be watered three times weekly, less during cooler, wet weeks. Ten foot trees need approximately 15-20 gallons, shrubs need 3-7 gallons per watering and smaller plantings need 1-2 gallons. Watering needs must be monitored closely and tailored to each plant.

2. Mulch helps to moderate fluctuations in temperature and moisture. A 2-3 inch layer of double ground bark mulch should be maintained on your plantings. This will also suppress weed growth. Mulch decomposes with time, adding organic matter to your soil. Keep your mulch beds stirred up (not crusty). This prevents fungus from forming and makes mulch last longer. Don’t mulch over 3” deep. This will aid water and air penetration.

3. Pruning and shearing determines shape and habit. Remove all dead wood by cutting back to a point of live wood. Try to remove interior tree branches to increase air and light, allowing plants to attain their natural form. Our designers are trained to know this information.

4. Fertilizer helps to supplement nutrients not available in native soil. Apply at the beginning of your plant’s second growth season, not the first year. Use an organic type, balanced blend of fertilizer. Apply at recommended rates on the product label around the drip line (outer edge of branches) of the plant.

These are general care guidelines. The conditions and plant species at your particular site may require some modified care. If in doubt, please call 302-521-2984 with any questions before trouble shows up - by then it may be too late! We’ll be happy to go over any special needs you may have.

All material is guaranteed as specified and all work completed in a workmanlike manner according to standard practices. Any alteration or deviation from above specifications involving extra costs will be executed only upon written orders and will become an additional charge over and above the estimate. All agreements are contingent upon strikes, accidents or delays beyond our control. Our workers are fully covered by Workmen’s Compensation Insurance.

All plants are guaranteed to be alive and in good condition for a period of one year after installation, unless otherwise stated. Plants will be replaced one time only. With regularly scheduled Professional Garden Care you get extended guarantees on all new installations.

All guarantees or claims against us are null and void due to: 1) improper watering or care by owner, 2) failure to meet payment terms, 4) acts of nature including, but not limited to, flood, drought, insects, prolonged freeze.

Any underground wiring, drainage, tile fields, utility lines, etc., incorrectly located or not located by owner or their representative and subsequently damaged by Johnston & Associates Land and Water Creations Inc. crews will be fixed at an additional cost to the client.

There is no guarantee on herbaceous perennials or groundcovers (e.g. pachysandra, ivy or vinca) and no guarantee on transplanted plants.


  • The execution of this proposal includes the furnishing of plants and materials as specified in the proposal, including pruning, staking, watering labor and clean up to execute the plantings properly.

  • All plant materials are to be nursery grown, of excellent landscape quality and free from insects and diseases. Selection and installation to be in accordance with ANLA standards. Plant size shall be a fair average between the size range indicated.

  • If trees cannot be located where shown due to utilities or other obstructions, existing or proposed, trees shall be relocated in the field as approved by the landscape architect/designer.

  • All shrubs and groundcover shall be placed in continuous beds as delineated on the plans, unless otherwise noted.

  • Mulch to be double-shredded hardwood bark, or approved equal, and spread to be a minimum depth of 2 inches.

  • Landscape contractor is responsible for sufficient watering at time of planting and until hob is completed and turned over to the owner.

  • Staking - use 2”x2”x6’ oak stakes on shade trees over 2” caliper and evergreen trees over 8’ height.

  • Planting bed preparation-prepare all planting beds as follows: rototill existing soils and incorporate amendments as specified in proposal.

  • Planting height-plant all trees, deciduous and evergreen, 1-2” above existing grade (measured from trunk flare) for future settling. Fill area around tree planting with topsoil and form a saucer outside the original soil ball for watering.

It's a well known fact that most accidents occur in and around the home and although your garden is an ideal place to unwind, it calls for the same level of attention as the inside of your home, if accidents are to be avoided.

Here are our tips for avoiding accidents and injuries while working in your garden:

  1. When using equipment such as a trimmer, work a safe distance away from other people or pets.
  2. Wear the correct eye and ear protection and protective clothing, including rubber-soled shoes with closed toes.
  3. Never work while standing on an unsteady surface such as a stool.
  4. If you are working on a ladder make sure it is placed on a level surface. Ladders should be held or secured.
  5. When using a hedge trimmer or chain saw, do not trim or cut higher than your shoulders, especially if you are in a tree or on a ladder.
  6. Before using any tool or appliance, read and follow the manufacturer's instructions for the equipment you are using.
  7. When using electrical tools or extension cords in the garden, make sure they are designed for outdoor use.
  8. Inspect your garden tools before use for frayed cable or damaged parts.
  9. If the product is damaged, don't use it and don't attempt to make repairs yourself. Return the product to the retailer or manufacturer if it is new or under warranty, or have the product repaired by a reputable company.
  10. Never tamper with a product or remove safety features.
  11. Check that electric switches on your garden appliance are OFF before you plug it in.
  12. Check the ladder before using it for broken rungs or any other damage.
  13. Don't over-reach whilst working up a ladder. It is far safer to re-position the ladder.
  14. If you have a petrol-driven lawnmower, ensure you store the petrol in an approved container, away from possible sources of ignition.
  15. Keep your hands and feet away from the mower's blades and never reach under the mower for any reason while the mower is in use.
  16. Wear gloves and sturdy shoes with a good grip when walking behind a hand mower, to avoid the risk of slipping.
  17. If you are using an electric mower or power tool wear rubber-soled shoes and make sure the appliance is fitted with a residual current device which will cut-off the electricity supply if you have an accident.
  18. NEVER let a child ride on or operate a garden tractor or ride-on mower, even if the child is supervised.
  19. Do not leave garden tools lying around - someone could trip over them and injure themselves. If you must do this ensure they are not placed where they could be a tripping hazard.
  20. Do not attempt to use a lawnmower while small children are present and pay particular attention when reversing.
  21. Never leave power tools or lawnmowers unattended - sharp blades can cause serious injuries, even when the appliance is not in use.
  22. Never work with electrical power tools in wet or damp conditions.
  23. Inspect your garden tools and lawnmower regularly for frayed cables, loose belts, missing or damaged guards, and accumulation of grass, leaves or excessive grease.
  24. If your electricity supply does not have an RCD trip box, protect yourself while using electrical equipment outside by installing a special socket or a plug-in adapter.

How safe is your garden? Poisonous plants.

A number of garden plants are poisonous if eaten, whilst others may cause skin irritation if handled.

Small children in particular are often attracted by brightly coloured berries, leaves and petals and may pick them or pop them in their mouths. Often this causes only mild symptoms, however some plants are capable of causing severe poisoning, so it's well worth taking steps to protect your child.

Familiarize yourself with the plants and trees in your garden and identify those which may be harmful to your child.

If you cannot identify a plant or tree, take a sample to your local garden centre for identification.

If you identify poisonous plants or trees, ensure you keep young children away and educate older children about the potential risks.

Consider removing highly toxic plants such as foxgloves, deadly nightshade, rhubarb, and mistletoe altogether.

Teach your children never to put the leaves, berries or flowers of unknown plants in their mouth.

If you child has eaten any part of a poisonous plant call your doctor immediately or, in severe cases call an ambulance or take your child straight to A&E, along with any leaves, seeds or berries.

Enroll in a first-aid course so that you can deal with any emergency situations which may arise.

Water safety

Children can drown in less than 4 cm of water, so it is vital that children who are swimming or playing near water in your garden should be supervised by an adult.

Very young children are most at risk but even older children who can swim can get into difficulties, so it is important to follow some common-sense guidelines.

Empty paddling-pools and turn them upside down after use.

If you have a swimming pool, it should ideally be fenced off with a self-closing, spring-lock gate. The gate should also be locked, unless an adult is present to supervise.

Your swimming pool should have clear signs, indicating the deep and shallow ends of the pool.

All pool chemicals should be stored out of the reach of children.

A plastic reaching pole, buoyancy aid with throwing line and first-aid kit should be kept close to the pool.

Children with armbands, rubber rings and other buoyancy aids should never be left unattended in the pool - even for a few minutes!

Teach your children basic water safety rules and ensure they learn to swim as early as possible.

Garden ponds should be securely fenced off or even filled-in, to avoid the danger of small children falling in and drowning.

Johnston & Associates Plant Guarantee - Terms and Conditions

Garden Safety

Tips and Safety

Caring For Your New Plants

Dean Johnston