- Drip Irrigation
- Rose Pruning
- Tree Care
- Spring Landscape Preparation
- Winter Turf Care
- Freeze Protection
- Perennial Cutback
- Tree Pruning
- Benefits of Rye Grass
Landscaping tips for your home and garden.
Revitalize Your Lawn through Aeration.
By creating hundreds of little holes in your lawn’s surface, allows for rain water and nutrients to more quickly penetrate the surface of the lawn. This also feeds the roots of your plants and grass. By aerating your lawn, you’ll help prevent the soil from becoming compact, which allows the root systems of your lawn to grow deeper. Aeration occurs when you use a tool specifically designed for aerating your lawn. It is a tool with little spikes that puncture your lawn as you roll it across your yard. The little puncture marks provide fresh air to penetrate to the root system of your turf.
Your lawn will stay looking more beautiful and healthy if you aerate it.
Using drip irrigation helps minimize fertilizer and nutrient loss that can come with other irrigation systems. Drip irrigation minimizes water run-off and soil erosion because the water application is so precise and local. Some of the advantages of drip irrigation includes the ability to irrigate irregular shaped areas or flower beds and allows the safe use of recycled water. Moisture within the root zone can be more regularly maintained, which helps minimize soil erosion.
Irrigation systems are important in general to keep your landscape healthy and beautiful. Drip irrigation systems operate at lower pressures than other types of pressurized irrigation, which reduces energy costs to you.
Rose pruning is typically done in the spring before the rose bushes bloom. You’ll want to watch for the leaf buds to swell on your rose plants. This means that when the bumps on the canes get larger and reddish in color, it’s time to prune your roses!
How to Prune Rose Bushes
- Use clean, sharp tools.
- Look at the overall plant, but begin pruning from the base of the plant.
- Prune to open the center of the plant to add light and air circulation.
- Make your cuts at a 45-degree angle, about 1/4 inch above a bud that is facing toward the outside of the plant.
- Ensure it is a clean cut (not ragged).
- Remove all broken, dead, dying or diseased wood (any branches that look dry, shriveled or black). Cut until the inside of the cane is white.
- Prune any weak or twiggy branches thinner than a pencil.
- Remove sucker growth below the graft.
- Trim any remaining foliage.
There are certain things a tree owner must know to keep trees healthy and in the very best condition. Here are just a few:
Limit Staking Your Tree
Tree staking is never done with the intention of harming a tree. Staking is usually done with love and with a desire to promote root and trunk growth and protect a young tree from harm.
What some tree planters do not understand is, rather than helping a tree develop root and trunk growth, improper tree staking replaces a supportive trunk and root system with an artificial support that causes the tree to put its resources into growing taller but not growing wider.
Protect a Tree’s CRZ
Before starting a mulching project, become familiar with the critical root zone (CRZ) or tree protection zone. This zone is generally defined as the area under a tree and out to its drip line. Improving conditions in this protection zone will also result in major health benefits to a tree.
Mulch Your Tree
Mulching is the most beneficial thing a home owner can do for the health of a young tree. Mulches are materials placed on the soil surface to improve soil structure, oxygen levels, temperature, and moisture availability.
Fertilize Your Tree
Ideally, growing trees should be fertilized throughout the year. The greatest amounts should be applied during the early spring and summer months. Several light applications a year are preferred as the tree gets older.
Prune Your Tree
Pruning is essential in developing a tree with a strong structure and desirable form.
Storm Proof Your Tree
A tree is never in greater danger than during a storm. That can mean a threat from pounding rain and hail, from the fury of the wind or the scorch of lightning. You may also have to remove a tree that endangers life and property during or after a storm.
Winterize Your Tree
Trees in Fall are beginning their dormant phase. Some trees may seem to be inactive but the fact is they need to be winterized – protected and cared for to remain healthy and free from diseases and insects.
Prepare Your Landscape for Spring
After the last cold snap, it’s time to clean up all the accumulated debris from your lawn. You want to help your landscape get off to a healthy start by doing the following:
- Remove all leaves and other plant debris such as sticks and dead plants.
- Aerate damaged areas by turning over dirt and removing plugs of dirt.
- Mow the lawn about 30 percent shorter than you would normally.
- Apply seed or starter fertilizer according to manufacturer instructions.
- Cover all patches with peat moss or mulch.
- Thoroughly water your lawn and keep it consistently moist for two to four weeks.
- Fertilize again after four weeks.
Freezing temperatures can be damaging to a landscape. There are a few things you can do to help keep your landscape protected, even in harsh winters.
The key is to remove debris, leaves, pine needles and unwanted branches from around your landscape. If these items are not removed, they can contribute to rot and mold along with other lawn diseases. By removing them, you’re leaving plenty of room for new growth that will contribute to a healthy landscape in the spring.
It is also very important to keep your lawn weeded regularly. You can weed by hand or by applying herbicides so that your turf has plenty of room for growth.
Winter is the perfect time to aerate and de-thatch your turf. During summer months, it gets packed down and tangled. Aerating will help open up your turf to fresh air, water and nutrients that are imperative for healthy growth.
Protect your lawn from freeze damage by doing the following before a freeze:
Water Your Lawn
Thoroughly water your landscape plants before a freeze. This can help reduce any change in your plants caused by freeze damage. Cold and dry winds often accompany cold weather, which can dry out plants. By watering your plants, you will help retain moisture. Wetting the foliage of plants before a freeze does not, however, provide any cold protection. A well-watered soil will also absorb more solar radiation than dry soil and will re-radiate the heat during the night.
Move Plants Inside
If possible you’ll want to move all your plants, in containers, inside your home, where the temperatures will stay above freezing. If it’s not possible to bring them inside, try to place them close to the base of your home to help keep them as warm as possible during a freeze. Covering your plants in plastic can also help keep them from getting freeze damage. If you move your plants inside, make sure you give them as much light as possible, so they can continue to grow.
Mulch can help protect plants that are in ground. Using dry material like pine or straw will help keep moisture in. You should be aware that mulches will only protect what they cover. Mulch at the base of a bird-of-paradise will help the roots, but will provide no added protection to the leaves. Mulches, then, are best used to protect below-ground parts or crowns or may be used to completely cover low-growing plants to a depth of four inches. Leave cover on no more than three or four days.
Do your best to cover any outside plants with plastic or cardboard boxes. Styrofoam boxes also help with insulation. You want to cover them the best you can to avoid freeze damage.
Proper Care of plants in the cold winter includes making sure you do a deciduous perennial cut back. This allows the perennials to focus on the growth necessary in early spring to maximize the foliage and blooms throughout the year. Without proper care and attention, perennials will have to fight through the old growth in the spring time. You want to cut them back, so they have plenty of room to flourish. Unfortunately, winter perennial cut back are often overlooked. Make time and effort to cut back your perennials. You’ll be able to see a noticeable difference during their peak season.
There’s no better way to get into the holiday spirit than to decorate your home with beautiful poinsettias. The scientific term for poinsettias is: Euphorbia Pulcherrima. Introduced in the United States by Joel Roberts Poinsett (who fell in love with the plant called flor de noche Buena – while U.S. ambassador to Mexico in 1828 and began growing and giving them out as gifts in his home state of South Carolina), they make up 85% of potted plant sales during the holiday season.
Poinsettias are commercially grown in every state, with California the top producer, and though they come in other colors such as white, pink, orange, pale green and cream, red is the most popular and preferred. They can grow to be several feet in height and bear dark green leaves that measure three to six inches in length. To acquire color, it must be left in the dark for 12 hours at a time; at the same time, the plant needs much light during the day to reach a bright color.
They are a perennial, tropical (non-tolerant to freeze, which means you must bring them in when it gets too cold) shrub that exudes holiday cheer with their vibrant and festive colors. Whether adding to your courtyard design outside or livening up your foyer to greet family, friends and guests inside, poinsettias are perfect for the holiday season.
There are three main benefits for pruning (also known as tree trimming or tree cutting) your trees:
- Personal safety
- Health of the tree
- Tree appearance
It is often recommended for personal and property safety reasons to reduce the risk of falling limbs and branches. In addition it is important to remove branches that may be resting on utility lines or near rooftops.
For the trees overall health, proper tree pruning helps stimulate new growth and the healing of wounds. It is necessary for the continued health of the tree to remove dead, weakened, diseased and insect-infested limbs. It can also encourage greater fruit production.
And finally, it improves the appearance of trees in your landscape. This is not only beneficial for the look of your property, but can also increase the overall value! Limbs too close to rooftops can encourage moss and other fungi to grow and reduce the life of the roof. They can also allow various tree climbing animals’ access to your roof and potentially your home.
Winter Rye grass is an annual grass that lives for one season and dies out. This type of grass is useful for creating a green lawn in the winter by over seeding an existing lawn. The nice thing about Rye Grass is that it can be mixed with other seed types such as Bermuda for winter hydro seeding. The Rye will come up immediately while the warm season seed remains dormant until spring. By the time the Rye Grass dies out, the warm season grass will be well established, ideally leaving your lawn looking green year around.
Rye grass is also a great choice to help with erosion control because it establishes itself quickly. Although it’s annual, it can reseed itself naturally to produce new turf each fall, if it is well maintained. It usually takes about 3 weeks for winter rye grass to establish itself.
Mulching can be one of the most beneficial things you can do for your soil and your plants. If you have not considered mulching your garden in the past, you may want to reconsider.
The main reason for mulch is to retain moisture in the soil. A three inch layer of mulch will reduce evaporation and lessen your watering time. Mulch protects soil from baking and drying out by altering the soil temperature and serving as an insulator to accommodate the surface needs in both the summer and winter seasons. Mulch also prevents soil crusting by allowing water to penetrate into the soil for absorption and movement. Consistent moisture fosters healthy plant growth.
Another benefit of mulch is weed reduction. A layer of mulch will help prevent the germination of many weed seeds, reducing the need for cultivation or the use of herbicides. Weed seedlings will smother before they are tall enough to peek through the mulch. Weeds use up water and nutrients intended for your plants. A weed free garden is lush with the proper plants. If weeds are allowed to grow, they will choke out what you have spent so much time and energy designing and planting.
While there are many types of mulch, organic mulches such as wood chips, grass clippings or other locally available materials help improve the soil by adding organic matter as they decompose. They also may encourage the growth of worms and other beneficial soil organisms that can help improve soil structure and the availability of nutrients for plants.
Mulches can also be used to enhance the look of your property. Many bark mulches provide uniformly rich brown color that contrasts with the plants. The mulch helps keep plants clean by reducing the splash of soil onto leaves during rainstorms, and helps infiltration of the rainfall into the garden.
In summary, the main reasons to use mulch are:
- Helps maintain even soil temperature in the roots by keeping them cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
- Promotes plant growth.
- Controls weeds.
- Conserves soil moisture, meaning you use less water.
- Improves soil structure and quality over the root area.
- Protects from mechanical damage (Mowers, string trimmers, etc.)
- Helps beautify your plantings.