When redoing large sections of landscaping and bringing in many new plants, homeowners are often eager to see their investment become a mature landscape but wonder how long it can take. The answer is a crystal-clear “it depends.” We’re going to dig into how long it will take for new plants to become established, and what internal and external factors can affect that time.
How Long Will It Take My Plants To Become A Mature Landscape?
This is a common concern among homeowners that are preparing for or have recently completed a landscape overhaul. In some cases, you may have just brought in a handful of new plants, but want to know how long it will take them to adapt and fill in. The answer will depend on a few factors, including what type of plant it is, how large it was at the time of planting, the level of care it was given, environment planted in, and of course the local weather conditions it needs to adapt to. Full maturation can take 3, 5, or even 10 years.
Type Of Plants
One of the biggest variables in how long a plant takes to mature is what type of plant it is. We’ll share how long it takes on average for each type of plant to overcome transplant shock. Transplant shock is the time period your new plant needs to overcome the stresses of planting and begin establishing.
Trees will generally take about 1 year of acclimation to overcome transplant shock, for every inch of trunk diameter. This means that a tree with a 2-inch wide trunk, can take at least 2 years to overcome transplant shock and become acclimated to its new location and conditions before it will start to fill in and establish itself. This is why you sometimes get a tree to fill in more quickly by planting a smaller tree. The smaller tree begins filling in years before a larger tree will begin showing significant growth.
Many people are surprised at just how long it can take shrubs to acclimate. Most shrubs will take between 3 and 6 years to become acclimated to their new location and begin filling in.
Perennials take an average of three years to complete their acclimation period. They follow what’s known as a “sleep, creep, and leap” pattern. This means that the first year after transplant they won’t do much of anything, the second year, they will begin to exhibit some more growth, and in the third year, there will often be a leap in the amount of growth.
The Caliber Of Care Provided
Another incredibly important factor in the length of time until maturation is the level of care provided. This includes proper and consistent watering, proper feeding based on proper horticultural schedules, and pruning according to the horticultural schedule for the specific plant.
If this level of care seems daunting, consider a professional landscape maintenance service.
Trees are the most susceptible to transplant shock since they have the greatest amount of foliage. This foliage puts enormous stress on the root system of a transplanted tree since the leaves are still trying to photosynthesize at the same rate, while the roots are struggling to become acclimated to a new location and new soil.
Environment Your New Plants are Installed In
Establishment is also often delayed by micro-environments such as competition from nearby existing tree roots, turf roots, or soggy environments. This competition can cause your new plants to fight for water and nutrients with nearby plants. This is especially common when new plants are installed under established trees. The new plants often struggle to thrive with the water and nutrients being gobbled up by the older tree.
Other environmental factors that could delay establishment include wild-life activity. Squirrels, rabbit, deer, and many other pests can cause damage. This damage can delay or even kill your plants if not controlled.
Weather Patterns Unique To Your Area
Harsh weather will slow the process, so if KC is having an exceptionally cold winter, hot or dry summer, or overly-wet spring or fall, the acclimation process can be delayed. Conditions closer to optimal will create shorter periods of transplant shock. In same cases, weather extremes can cause additional stress on your plants.
Since your landscaper can’t control the weather patterns, it’s important to understand that the health of your plant is significantly affected by the weather.
Achieve A Mature Landscape: Trust Your Local Horticultural Experts
Undertaking a new landscaping plan can be intimidating. But when you go into it with as much information as possible, it can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. To make sure you have the best chance to experience a mature landscape, reach out to the Kansas City horticultural experts, and let us know what your landscaping vision is. Setting clear expectations gives you the best opportunity to love your landscape.