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Installing trees, plants and mulch

The first step to ensuring your landscape will thrive is making smart choices when choosing trees, plants and mulch

Once you've made your water-efficient selections, you'll want to use your landscape plan to identify where your plants will be located. Mark the locations with temporary paint or marker flags, and take a good look at the visual once you're finished to ensure you've placed plants and trees where they will have plenty of room to grow.

Plants flourish in loose, nutrient-rich soil–and because the soil in Southern Nevada is neither of these things, you will need to do some preparation. For soil tips and other installation help, consider consulting a Water Smart Landscaper.

Installing plants

Desert plants can be added to your landscape at any time of year, but fall is the best time to ensure plant health. Planting involves more than digging a hole and dropping a plant in the ground. Haven't found the perfect plants for your landscape yet?

Browse the Plant Search

Staking trees

The trunk of a healthy, well-developed tree should be strong enough to hold itself upright, but trees in open areas may need staking, especially if the area is particularly windy. For trees to survive in Southern Nevada, you'll also want to select the best types for our climate.

View Regional Plant List

Applying mulch

Use a layer of one to three inches of mulch, depending on your preferences. Don't allow mulch to make direct contact with the plants, forming a ring about two to three inches around plants instead.

Get Mulch Tips

Money DOES grow on trees!🌳

As part of the Water Smart Landscapes rebate, our Tree Enhancement Program pays new participants a bonus of $100 for every new tree installed (up to 100 percent canopy coverage).

Get Program Details

Tree care during conversion

Existing, mature trees are a valuable and attractive part of any landscape. Unfortunately, a tree's root system can be disturbed during a landscape conversion or other construction project. Roots left behind lose the temperature buffer and water source provided by the lawn and the sprinkler system, which leads to drying and additional root loss. Follow these tips to ensure trees are protected:

  • 🌳 Convert during the cool season, if possible

  • 🌳 Identify and protect major roots

  • 🌳 Use weed killer and a de-thatcher to remove grass around trees

  • 🌳 Establish a protective barrier around the tree to avoid damage

  • 🌳 Avoid trenching under the canopy

  • 🌳 Use a drip system to supply water under the canopy and out to the drip line

  • 🌳 If a weed barrier is needed, use landscape fabric

  • 🌳 Install mulch correctly

View additional recommendations by the Southern Nevada Arborist Group to ensure your trees stay healthy throughout landscape conversion projects.

Tree Protection Tips

Protect your trees and save water

As you transition from a water-intensive grass lawn to desert landscaping through our Water Smart Landscapes Rebate, there are crucial steps you need to take to protect precious trees.

Get a Rebate

SPEAKING FOR THE TREES: Star Nursery experts share tree tips for landscape upgrades

Episode 36 - March 6, 2023

Trees are an important part of our community and urban environment, especially as we face a hotter, drier future in Southern Nevada.

To protect our water supply, many residents and business owners are replacing water-thirsty grass with water-smart landscapes, but the upgrade process can put trees in jeopardy.

On this episode of the Water Smarts podcast, Star Nursery experts Dr. Q and Joey Lynn Watt talk about how to shield trees during a landscape conversion and best practices to keep the trees thriving after completing the upgrade.


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