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One of the best ways to get in the Spring Spirit is to get your yard looking great. After a long winter, your lawn and gardens may be looking a big ragged and weary. Don’t know where to even start? Use these 5 Tips for Lush Landscaping and you will be on your way to a luscious lawn.
Clean Up and Clean Out! Take an afternoon and clean out any dead foliage and/or tree branches from your lawn and garden beds. Harsh winter storms can leave branches, leaves and other tree debris.
Weed Patrol Clean any existing weeds out of flower beds and check your lawn for any weed growth. Once you are clear of weeds- you should plan on spending 10-15 minutes a few times a week to keep new weed growth out of your gardens.
Fertilize Fertilizing your grass, shrubs and flowers now will make sure that anything you want to thrive this season will. For your lawn, there are an array of options available including terf builder and organic weed killers. The same goes for flower beds and shrubs. If you plan on fertilizing herbs and/or vegetables that you will use for cooking, consider using an organic fertilizer that is free of pesticides.
Check your Irrigation System Whether you have an in-ground sprinkler system or a hose attachment, you should check to make sure all your sprinklers are working. For an in-ground system- make sure your pump and tank are operating correctly especially if they haven’t run in a few months. Check the sprinkler heads and test them to see if any need to be replaced.
Mulch A fresh layer of mulch can take any flower bed from drab and dreary to beautiful. Professional landscapers typically suggest about 4 inches of mulch on top of any soil in order to prevent weeds and help plants retain moisture. Make sure to pull the mulch around the base of all plants and shrubs as this will help keep moisture around the root ball.
Finally, summer is here and you can start enjoying the lawn you’ve worked so diligently to perfect! But don’t stop now! Your lawn needs year-round care to keep it looking its best. Follow these summer lawn care tips to avoid potential problems that could damage your summer lawn and landscape.
For additional care, our lawn care experts are available to meet with you and discuss your lawn care program preferences and develop a personalized program that helps you meet your lawn care objectives. We offer many varieties of lawn care programs including natural lawn care programs, we even offer organic lawn care options.
While this may sound simple enough, how and when you mow your lawn is a critical component of summer lawn maintenance.
Mower Height A mowing height between 2.5 to 3 inches is best for most of the season when moving fescue grasses, except during summer stresses when the lawn mowing height should be raised one-half inch to mow at 3 to 3.5 inches. Raising the mowing height provides more insulation from summer heat and reduces water loss from your soil. Bermuda and zoysia should be cut weekly as low as possible without scalping it.
Grass Length Be sure not to let your grass grow too long, because removing more than one-third of the total leaf blade height at one time could stress your lawn. Keeping your lawn mower blades sharp helps to protect the grass from lawn diseases. A dull mower blade shreds or tears the tips of the grass, leaving the grass vulnerable to lawn disease.
Grass Clippings Many homeowners are confused about what to do with their grass clippings. Mulching and returning your clippings to the lawn returns nutrients and does not contribute to thatch. The only times it makes sense to collect clippings would be if you had a severe disease and you did not want to further contaminate the lawn, or if the leaf clippings are too long.
Mow Wet? Or Wait? If you have the dilemma of deciding whether it’s better to cut the grass when it’s wet or let it get too tall, it’s better to cut it when it’s wet. Although this can create some clumping with your clippings, it’s better to get the grass cut, and remove the clippings rather than letting the grass get too tall. Do not mow a wet lawn if you have lawn disease in order to minimize the spread of many diseases including red thread, dollar spot, patch disease or other lawn fungus diseases.
The end of summer does not have to be the end of color in your landscape. Choosing plants for their fall color, persistent flowers, and ornamental berries will keep your yard attractive well after the first frost. Many trees and shrubs produce brilliantly colored foliage in autumn.
Why do the leaves change color? As temperatures drop, and days shorten in the fall, plants show off their yellow, orange and red pigments. These colors have been present in the leaves all along, but were masked by green pigments during the growing season.
In addition to fall color many trees and shrubs can provide Fall and Winter interest through their fruit and flowers. Several trees and shrubs also have interesting bark and silhouettes throughout the Winter months.
Many flowers also do well in the Fall. Below are some varieties to consider.
Garden Mums. These are one of the most spectacular blooming plants for fall. They come in a large selection of colors and varieties. Mums may be planted anytime from spring through fall. Garden mums grow best in areas receiving full sun for a half day or more. Mums planted in the spring or those that have wintered over should be pinched back monthly to keep them to a height of 12″. Make the final pinch no later than July 15. Fertilize with a high phosphorus formula from May 1 until August 15. To improve winter hardiness, mulch mums after the soil has frozen in late December or early January.
Pansies. Fall is a great time to plant pansies. Significant improvements have been made over the last few years. If well established in the fall, pansies will not only provide fall color, but will winter over and be ready to burst into bloom first thing in the spring.Their color will brighten the garden well into summer. Pansies are best suited to sunny or partially shaded locations. Fertilize on a regular basis during the growing season. Some winter protection may be necessary, such as a light mulch applied after the soil has frozen in mid winter.
Ornamental Cabbage and Kale. These interesting plants resemble their edible cousins but these are really a feast for the eye. Both ornamental cabbage and kale can be planted in spring or fall in a location that receives a half day or more of full sun. As the autumn weather grows cooler, the leaf colors intensify, making these plants a vibrant companion planting for garden mums and evergreens.
Hardy Asters. Hardy Asters are easy to grow perennials that can be planted in spring or fall. They vary in color from purple to pink to white. Varieties of asters differ in blooming heights. They will add color to your garden from late summer well into fall. These native American plants require a location that will provide 6 hours or more full sun a day. Use a regular perennial fertilizer applied according to label directions from May 1 until mid August.
Gardeners have plenty of reasons to get cold feet about winter. Plants are at rest and their bright colors dissipate, leaving a palette of white and gray. And with nothing to plant, they might think there are few winter landscaping tips.
On the contrary, careful planning in spring, summer, and fall — plus a few easy accents during winter — can lead to a beautiful landscape that shines any time of year. If you want to be sure you have some winter interest in your garden, you are really looking at just a few things.
Here are six winter landscaping tips to make you love your yard in every season:
Focus on bark. Deciduous trees lose their leaves in wintertime, leaving their branches and trunks in focus. But that can be a good thing if you have any interesting ornamental trees that have really visually distinctive bark. Many of those trees and some shrubs are smaller, meaning they’re easier to find spots for in the winter landscape. A few of our favorites include dogwoods and birch trees, great for both texture and color.
Include berries. Many trees and shrubs have berries that endure through fall and winter, and those can provide food for birds in your area. Crab apples hold their little fruit and they make a great addition to the winter landscape. A holly with berries is really beautiful, for example.
Remember evergreens. Evergreens are great in the winter landscape for many reasons. Evergreens actually grow in a variety of colors such as the gold thread false Cyprus (yellow) and dwarf blue spruce (blue). They can add color and character to your yard, and since evergreens don’t lose their leaves it’s a consistent look you can count on any time of year.
Rely on your hardscape. Winter is a good time to really assess your landscape to determine where it’s missing focal points. The solution to enhancing your winter landscaping might not be a plant at all. Winter is the best time to consider hardscape. A trellis, a bench, an arbor, even a garden sculpture are simple additions that can make a big impact.
Adorn your summertime containers. Window boxes, hanging baskets, and winter-hardy containers are all indispensable for winter landscaping. Miniature dwarf Alberta spruce and broad-leaf evergreens, such as Japanese Andromeda, holly and rhododendron, are perfect for wintertime — but they all have to be watered during dry periods. You can even fill containers with evergreen boughs of different textures and colors and interesting twigs, anything with color in it.
Stick with four-season perennials. Some perennials have evergreen foliage — ornamental grasses, hellebores, even dianthus with its beautiful low-creeping foliage — making them great for winter landscaping. Make sure to read the plant label and find out if the plant has foliage in the winter (so you can see it year round).Winter is also a great time to stock up on the non-plant elements you’ll need for the next year’s garden. You can bargain shop for anything for the garden. Take a tape measure, research plants, figure out seeds you’ll need, and write down what worked and what didn’t in the current year.
With these winter landscaping tips you should be well on your way to an attractive yard regardless of season. If you’d like help designing and installing your winter landscaping, call us today!