Landscape Contractor Serving Commercial and Residential
March 16, 2022 0 Comments

Spring Cleanup

Quick Checklist to Get Your Yard Ready for Growing!

  • Remove all weeds, debris, and fallen leaves & branches
  • Prune back all expired perennials
  • Cut back liriope and other groundcovers
  • Shape deciduous shrubs that have not started to leaf out
  • Edge beds with trench edge to define and border the beds and trees
  • Remove any old mulch that has not broken down (can be distributed in wooded areas on the property/woodlines).
  • Install new mulch to freshen the beds, reduce weeds and retain moisture for the coming summer
  • Plant annual color for a summer-long shot of color

Check out our 22 point checklist for a property review.

Interested in a spring cleanup? Contact us to schedule your cleanup today!

January 4, 2021 0 Comments

Don’t be a Sucker

Suckers are those extra growths that occur from the bottom of the tree, usually unwanted and unsightly. They sap away at the growth of the tree and require trimming to keep them in check.

Certain plants are more prone to developing unattractive suckers and are, therefore, higher in maintenance.

Here are a few of the usual suspects:

  • Cherry
  • Magnolia
  • Crapemyrtle
  • Anything grafted

If you notice that a multi-stemmed tree has spindly and clustered growths coming from the base, it is time to get the pruners out.

Cut them off as close to the ground/base as possible. If you leave too much stem, they will continue to be a nuisance.

They can be cut off at any time, but dormancy (winter) and full growth (summer) are the best times for removal. Cutting too close to the fall allows for new growth to begin again before there is time to harden off. This could endanger the plant itself.

Are they detrimental to the health of the tree/plant?

No. Though they utilize energy that could go into flower or leaf production, the biggest reason for removal is aesthetic.

January 2, 2021 0 Comments

Not So Evergreen

"Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius." -Pietro Aretino

The winter chill can do a number on your favorite yard friends. It is important to distinguish what is "normal" wintertime attire and what is "damage." Evergreen trees and shrubs tend to take a beating with the cold--more so than deciduous (plants that lose all their leaves in winter) ones. Some hold up relatively well while others always seem to take on a rather questionable appearance.

Normal Evergreen Behavior
  • Coppery coloring
  • Reddish coloring
  • Spotty coloring
  • Some leaf loss
  • Some breakage from winter storms

Abnormal Evergreen Behavior

  • Breaking of branches
  • Leaves or needles falling off, leaving barrenness
  • Brittle branches
November 15, 2020 0 Comments

Off With Her Head!

With Fall upon us, you should not neglect the outdoors. 

Your irrigation heads should be on their way to dormancy and your perennials should be getting cut back. Most irrigation systems by this time are either blown out and winterized or on the schedule to be done. Proper maintenance of your irrigation system ensures that next spring is a smooth transition. Delaying this step can result in cracked lines if water freezes in the lines, and damaged heads.

As for your perennials, unless you like the look of the petrified remains leaves, and stems (which some do!) now is the time to cut your perennials back nearly to the ground. You can leave a few inches above the mulch for identification/location purposes. Most perennials come back from their roots and do not require the prior year's growth to revive. Fall is a great time to divide those perennials that seem to have taken on a presence of their own. In most cases, a sharp shovel and some well-placed shoves will cut your perennial so it can be transplanted or given away.

Some plants that you can hold off on cutting back due to their winter appeal are:

  • Grasses
  • Liriope
  • Heuchera
  • Sedum

So get out your shears and pruners and lop away!

November 4, 2020 0 Comments

Bulb Planting Time

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Fall is the time to plant those spring bulbs. Hyacinths, daffodils, tulips, and narcissus are all in order for a splash of spring color. For small amounts of bulbs, Costco and other wholesalers carry reasonably priced bulbs. For larger quantities (for your woodland setting, for example) or commercial applications contact a landscape professional.

To calculate how many bulbs you need:

Number of bulbs per square foot

 

Tulips, standard 5 Tulips, wild 9-13
Daffodils, large 4-5 Daffodils, miniature 6-11
Hyacinthoides 5-6 Eranthis 20-24
Crocus 8-12 Allium Globemaster 1-2
Muscari 14-18
Scilla 15-16 Hyacinths 3-4
Anemone blanda 20-24

In order to grow properly in Virginia, bulbs must be planted between October 1 and December 30.

Proper Care

Water

Never let your plants drown or drought. Slightly moist soil is your best bet. If the ground is saturated, the plants will rot at the roots. Not enough water will cause dessication. In the heat of summer, especially, keep an eye on the plants. The curling and drooping of branches and leaves is an urgent indicator: Water!

Watering in the morning or in the evening ensures that the most amount of moisture is reaching the plant and not just evaporating.

Protection

Your plants are newly installed and have nothing to keep them from shifting around: no roots to hold them firmly upright. Though installation is always done properly, outside factors such as wind, kids, pets and wildlife can cause damage or displacement of the plant. These culprits can rub up against, step on or urinate upon the traumatized plants and be a major cause of death or disfigurement.

Try to ensure that the plantings receive the least amount of disturbance within the first few weeks following the installation. As they get established they will still need to be checked for damage from insects, critters and acts of God.

Maintenance

As I tell those clients who want a maintenance free landscape, go plastic so I tell you: plan on it. If you want to preserve the integrity of the plants and your investment you need to anticipate an annual/bi-annual mulching and cleanup at a minimum.

Usually through the growing season you will find it necessary to perform (either yourself or your chosen professional) regular weekly or bi-weekly weeding. The weeds deplete the soil, sap water from the plant and sometimes actually crowd out the desirable plant. It is important to stay on top of the invaders before they become a problem.

July 30, 2020 0 Comments

August Checklist

The hot temperatures of August can turn even the hardiest of gardens into a wasteland.  This is the time to make sure you are continuing watering and other garden maintenance. However, watering can be a Catch 22:  you don't want to drown your garden, yet you don't want it to go through a drought either. So keep these tips as a Rule of (Green) Thumb:

Watering Tips

  • Slightly moist soil is your best bet. If the ground is saturated, the plants will rot at the roots. Not enough water will cause desiccation. In the heat of summer, especially, keep an eye on the plants. The curling and drooping of branches and leaves is an urgent indicator: Water!
  • Watering in the morning or in the evening ensures that the most amount of moisture is reaching the plant and not just evaporating.
  • Check your sprinklers for adequate water supply. Dry or wilting plants indicate water stress.
  • Water more frequently the plants in pots. Potted plants tend to dry out much faster than those in the ground.
  • Clean beds of debris to prevent critters nesting.
  • Deadhead your perennials and annuals.
  • Ensure adequate mulch coverage to retain moisture.
  • Check for water flow and sitting water around the house.
  • Schedule your Fall Project Consultation!

Download our Summer Checklist!

June 5, 2020 0 Comments

Gardening: The Original Self-Help Movement

"If you have a garden and a library, then you have everything you need." -Cicero

I admit I am an avid reader of all things,  and a consumer of endless self-improvement books, business books, and the like. They come in all shapes and sizes, differing perspectives, some faith-based, others not so much; some are applicable, others not so much. Each one has played its part in my journey and, if worthy of repeat visits, has a place on my bookshelf.

In the past few years, I have taken to become a "gardener", not just a landscaper. During one of my many "rescue attempt" sessions (i.e I didn't weed anything for a week and now I have to spend hours trying to undo my laziness) It dawned on me that if one were to spend more time gardening and less time "planning to succeed", all the lessons contained in a collection of personal improvement courses (including the number one self-help book, the Bible) could be grasped.

For example, think how easy it would be to understand the concept, " You reap what you sow" when you plant a carrot seed and, VOILA! a carrot grows. Not a turnip or a clump of lettuce, a carrot. Try planting a cucumber seed with the hope that it will become a sunflower. What disappointment! It is a mere cucumber. Yet, every day, we go about planting seeds, some good and some bad, and we lament that they have not become what we expected. If we plant the seed of order and contentment, that is what we receive. If we plant the seed of gossip, resentment, the contention that is what we receive in return.

It could also be said that if you fail to sow, you will have nothing to reap. I am a planner. I plan everything out as best I can beforehand to avoid as much pain as possible. It's what makes me a good landscape designer but not the greatest gardener. In order to be a great gardener, some planning is in order, but the most important thing you can do to be a successful gardener is to PLANT SOMETHING SO YOU CAN GROW SOMETHING! Thinking about it, charting it out, buying organic and non-GMO seeds, preparing the soil to perfection are all great and necessary. However, if you never actually plant the seed, it will all be for naught.

So if you really want to make the self-improvement journey, set your highlighted book aside for the spring and get out there and:

Grow something and in the process, grow yourself.

May 8, 2020 0 Comments

Late Spring Frost

This spring has definitely been different, so it should be no surprise that we would have a late Spring frost. Some hardy plants can handle light frosts, others can handle the dips below freezing. Few, however, can remain intact when the temps drop much below 32 degrees.

I recommend covering young plants as best you can, and if you have potted plants, bring them inside, or even under a covered patio or garage.

Here are some materials you could use to cover:

  • Old sheets, drop cloths, tarps, burlap, or newspapers.
  • Cardboard boxes, open them on one end, turn them upside down and place them over your flowers. Tape any cracks to keep out the cold air.
  • Empty pots, buckets, milk jugs with the top cut off, or other containers made of wood, plastic or clay to cover your plants (just be sure they’re tall enough to fit over plants without crushing them.
  • Pre-made row covers (from a gardening store)

Remember:

  • Place covers over your plants before the temperatures hit freezing. If you’re using plastic covers, wait until twilight to avoid the sun cooking your plants through the plastic.
  • If your cover is lightweight enough to blow away in the wind, weigh it down with rocks or bricks.
  • Remove cardboard or fabric covers as soon as the weather warms up.
  • Remove plastic covers as soon as the sun rises.

 

pruning rhododendron
March 5, 2020 0 Comments

What not to prune in March

pruning rhododendronI find this time of year to be one where it is easy to get pruner-happy. While most things can survive a poorly timed pruning, there are a few that will make you skip a year of beauty if you cut at the wrong time.

What can be cut now?

  • old perennial growth
  • dry branches and leaves
  • old grass growth
  • some fruit trees, vines--depending on whether they bloom on year-old wood
  • old flower heads

What to avoid cutting now?

  • Rhododendrons and azaleas: the buds were set in the fall and should only be pruned immediately after they bloom
  • Forsythia -- wait until done blooming
  • Hydrangea macrophylla (mop head hydrangea) -- except to remove old flowers. Wait until new growth comes on before pruning out dead

If in doubt, wait.