Maintaining Your Garden

Building and maintaining a garden can be a lot of hard work, but with the right knowledge of plants, gardening can be fun and worthwhile. In general, all plants need to be watered, fed, and pruned throughout the year, taking note that frequency is based on individual plant needs. You can make maintenance easier on yourself by planting according to mature size, moisture and sunlight needs.

Gardening is an activity you can work on year-round in the Charleston area. The activities you perform will be dictated by the season as well as the type of plant. For example, in the spring you will probably focus on planting and fertilizing, the summer months are generally focused on watering and deadheading, and the fall is great for cutting plants back as they go dormant. Although the winter might seem like the time to let your garden sit, think again! Many trees are best pruned in the winter to prevent the spreading of bacteria and diseases.

Simply taking a moment to understand your landscape and the conditions and care plants prefer, truly will take the guess work out of maintaining your garden. The outcome can be very satisfying and rewarding!

At Carolina Landscape, we understand the effort that goes into creating the best garden in the neighborhood. To help you get started on your masterpiece, we have put together some tips and tricks to planning and maintaining your garden throughout the year – we hope they’ll make your job easier!


Perennials are plants which live many seasons and come in all sizes, shapes and colors. They generally have an herbaceous stem and go through a dormancy period where they will temporarily disappear. The roots of the plant are still alive, allowing them to re-appear season after season. The prime bloom time and dormancy period are different for every plant, so it is important to note individual characteristics when planning and caring for your garden.

Perennials either grow in clumps or have runners which allow them to continually expand year after year. It is important to divide your perennials every two to three years to prevent overcrowding in the garden, especially for those perennials that run.

In order to determine when the best time to divide your perennials, you need to know when they bloom. Perennials should be divided when they are not flowering because it is easier for the plant’s root to re-establish itself. Generally summer and fall blooming perennials should be divided in the spring, whereas spring blooming should be divided in the fall before the leaves turn brown.

Don’t hesitate to deadhead your flowers or old stalks on perennials mid-season to promote more blooms and to aesthetically clean up the plant from time to time. Some perennials respond to being cut back, half-way through their bloom season if they start looking leggy or unruly.

When planning for perennials, mix in multiple seasons of blooms to have a garden with color year round. Perennials mature quicker than shrubs and trees so they provide you with an instant change of scenery.

Trees & Shrubs

Trees and shrubs live for many, many years and will not disappear during a growing season. They develop a woody stem that remains and continues to grow. Evergreen trees and shrubs will not lose their leaves whereas deciduous trees and shrubs lose their leaves in the winter months. Both types of plants can grow a wide variety of flowers of all sizes, colors, and fragrances.

Here in coastal South Carolina, the best time to plant trees and shrubs is early spring when the trees are not yet in bloom because the plant’s energy can be focus on re-establishing its roots into the ground. However with the correct planting techniques and attention to watering, they can be planted throughout the year without a problem.

Over the years, your trees and shrubs will need continual pruning. Simple pruning, like removing a dead, damaged or diseased branch can be done at any time. Make sure to sterilize your tools after dealing with diseased plants to prevent spreading. Structural pruning to rejuvenate a shrub or clean a tree canopy is best done in the winter months, although can be performed in the growing season if necessary. Evergreen plants can be pruned at any time, unless they have flowers. Any tree or shrub that produces desirable flowers should be pruned after the plant is done flowering.

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