View Full Version : 60% Landscape Planting Success Rate

07-17-2012, 09:29 AM
A fellow scaper friend of mine runs a crew and came right out and stated that he expects only about 60% of a landscape planting to make it the first year...

I was really surprised when he told me that, but then I keep hearing those kind of numbers over and over again... So I'm curious as to why this has been accepted...

What percentage is the general success rate for your business?? and what would you attribute it too???

knox gsl
07-17-2012, 09:36 AM
Alot more than that-----water.

07-17-2012, 10:22 AM
If only 60% of my landscapes survived the 1st year, I would be out of business. Thts why I push maintenance on new installs.
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07-17-2012, 01:44 PM
How close should we be to 100%?

Is it worth it to charge enough to cover 2 maintenance visits, up front??

07-17-2012, 01:59 PM
60 per cent is rediculously low in my experience.

If the plants are treated poorly and handled rough, dropped from the truck or exposed before planting, that will effect them. Also, I see alot of installations where shrubs and trees are not planted to horticultural and arboricultural industry standards.

Usually, they are planted too deep and there are air pockets in the root ball.

I believe if the crew is properly trained to respect the plants and their root balls, and properly trained to do more than just plug the thing in the ground, then you'll get a higher success rate.

Take what your acquaintance says with a grain of salt and strive to do better than him.

Florida Gardener
07-17-2012, 02:43 PM
60% is pathetic. IMO, if you use the right plants, install them properly, and they are watered properly, you should lose maybe 1-3%. I have yet to have a plant die that I installed.
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07-17-2012, 06:12 PM
What type of stock does he plant? B&B, boxed, containerized?

40% loss seems excessive.

07-17-2012, 07:17 PM
What type of stock does he plant? B&B, boxed, containerized?

40% loss seems excessive.

He plants everything from perennials to 20' trees... actually his crew does... and I agree,,, it does seem excessive... he does plantings even in this kind of weather, but now he has a better maintenance person, so maybe it has changed for him...
The reason I bring it up is becuz we've heard others saying the same thing...

07-17-2012, 07:25 PM
I almost lost some stuff because the little dish I put around the base of shrubs was never used and the h.o. would just set a sprinkler nearby to water them with... :(
So I grabbed the hose and filled those valleys and they should now be fine...

As stated, air pockets are probably the biggest mistake people do when planting... I still see crews use their foot to press the root balls into dry soil then soak only the very surface, before the water begins to runoff...

07-17-2012, 09:42 PM
I see a lot of stuff planted too deeply. Not watered in properly and mulch mounded up against the trunk 4-6 inches.

07-17-2012, 09:59 PM
60%?!?! HAHAHAHA, I'm cracking up. Probably typical of a company that simply digs a hole in whatever (rock, clay, clods...) and throws a plant in it. Yup, water running off the top and the employee is so poorly trained- if trained at all- thinks everything is ok.

In the past 5 years, I have lost more evergreen trees than anything else, and this was absolutely due to customer's not watering. And I'm talking maybe 6-8 trees... smaller material we rarely EVER have anything die. Soil prep and watering while backfilling is something we do all the time if the soil is so hydrophobic that it runs off.

I would have to guess my success rate on new material is 95% or above.

07-17-2012, 10:12 PM
This picture is actually from today. It was 97 here and we're doing a full install. We can do this because we transport plants properly, rough up rootballs of container plants, WATER, and soil prep. This equates to very little loss in any weather condition.

Existing soils are tilled as deep as we can (we brought in almost 20 yards of screened topsoil and 2 yards of compost on this job yesterday)... Again, all tilled in and prepped. Two of us planted over 40 items today in perfect soil, including two Japanese Maples and EVERY plant was watered in deeply half way thru planting. Almost a 5-step process to each plant going in the ground... SEE PIC

I'm not saying we're the only guys who do this. BUT, there are very few that do. And that means HIGH plant loss and that is unprofessional.

07-18-2012, 08:29 AM
Not much OM in that topsoil, so the compost was probably a necessity... but I agree that you are doing what 'everyone' should be doing at planting time... good job BTW...