Caring For Your Landscape

Learn more on how you can care for your landscape.

 

We will feature tips, tricks and educational articles that will help you take care of your new landscape.

Landscape Articles

                                          

Landscape Tips

Learn tips, tricks, and fun facts here.

 

Fun Fact - #8

The History of the American Front Lawn:

 

We take for granted the front of our house and we don’t even realize it.  Back in the day when we first were settling here in America we didn’t have a nice maintained front lawn to come home to each evening after work.  The grasses we are a custom to in our yard were not used. 

 

The history begins with the Settlers finding land.  They cleared the land to their best of their ability with none of the modern tools or equipment we use today.   They planted crops and provided for their families on the land that they cleared.  As people founded towns and communities grew, the focus on the land became on making the community free of mud, manure and trash that would be carried into business and homes.  While many settlers longed for short green pastures from their homelands many them decided to begin importing a popular grass from back in Europe called Junegrass which as we know it today as Kentucky Bluegrass.  Very few American settlers could afford to use the grass to complement their homesteads and provide for the labor to create spectacular landscapes to enjoy and entertain guest.

 

It wasn’t until 1947 the phenomenon of a suburban lifestyle began.  William Levitt a New York developer began making communities of single family homes which we know today as subdivisions.  Levitt began using grass to convert the dirt in front of the house.  He transformed the area into a beautiful neighborhood that we all now enjoy.

 

Fun Fact - #7

The Invention of the Lawn Mower: 

The first lawn mower was founded during the Industrial Revolution.  In 1830, Edwin Beard Budding was an engineer.  He studied a textile mill’s process for cutting pile.  The cutting cylinders used in the mill trimmed the pile from woven cloth.  This lead Edwin to a similar idea of using blades mounted on a frame and two wheels to be used to cut grass.  He patented his idea of a simple machine that had blades that cut grass as you stood behind and pushed, this simple design has been modified many times since by inventors to include steam engines, combustion engines, riding lawn mowers and now a wide range of accessories for them.

 

Tip #21

Improving Your Soil Content: 

Whether you have clay or sandy soil if you begin a compost pile it can better serve your lawn.  Begin with collecting your grass clippings, leaves, and other organic matter and turn the soil to at least 1 foot wherever you want your garden or plant in your landscape.  If you continually add organic materials you will soon have a workable soil that will increase growth.

 

You can check your soil’s acidity by purchasing a soil test kit to determine if your soil is missing any key nutrients.  Most grasses thrive in a soil that is neutral or slightly acid with a pH of 6 or 7. You can add lime which will aid in creating the best environment for earthworms and beneficial bacteria to thrive which in turn will improve the soil’s structure but a soil test kit must determine if you need to add lime.  The soil test kit will aid you by helping you determine what your soil needs to getting it healthy again.

 

Tip #20

Soil Drainage Plays a factor into how much water is needed for plants and shrubs.  Normal moisture, rainfall, and excessive heat also need to be determined.  If you have clay or heavy soil you will need to reduce the 1" of water, to 1" of water every 5th day during the first month of the new plant.  Then 1" of water every 10 days beginning the second month.

 

* Sandy soil needs less water more often.

* New trees can take 5 gallons of water weekly.

* New or relocated trees can take up to 3 years to reestablish a good root system.

  

 

Tip #19

Mulch for Plants:

Did you know that Mulch plays an important role to your newly installed plant, trees or shurbs.  Mulch helps a plant retain moisture in the soil if there is a 3" to 6" layer of mulch around the plant. Mulch decreases water evaporation and discourages the growth of weeds which compete with your plant for food and moisture.  Mulch also provides a more even temperture and provides more vigorous growth.  When laying mulch around your plants never place mulch up against the trunk of the plant or tree.

 

Tip #18

Fertilizing Plants:

To fertilize your plants properly you will need to determine the kind of plant and the type of soil it is in.  In early spring all plants should be fertilized.  If you have annuals or woody plants then these should also have a summer application after any pruning.  If you have perennials fertilize once buds have formed.  If you have bulbs fertilize at the time of planting.  Do not apply fertilizer when the soil is too dry.

 

 

Tip #17

What is a Water Soil Test?

The water soil test provides a true picture of the amount of rain that is penetrating the newly installed plant.  Using a soil probe will test how well the soil drains around the plant and its root system.  To check the soil with the probe, the probe will easily go through moist soil while it will resist dry soil.  You can also, dig up soil in the area and check the amount of moisture depth in the soil.  To provide your plants with watering effectively, your soil should be saturated to a depth of 5 or 6 inches once a week.

 

Weather conditions besides the amount of rainfall also throw off the amounts that you are trying to record.  For example dry winds increase evaporation in the winter and summer.  The increase to water during drought conditions also increases because of these winds.

 

 

Tip #16

Did you know that the time of day to water is also very important for plant and shrub care? 

Early morning and late afternoon provide the optimal times to water.  Morning nourishes the plants and provides a good start for the daily stress of heat they may be under during the summer.  While late afternoon also provides that needed refreshment when the temperatures drop.  The trick with watering in the late afternoon is to be sure that the leaves on the plants have time to dry before night fall.  If the leaves on the plants are still wet from watering earlier in the afternoon this sets the plant up for frugal disease.  If you prefer to water in the late afternoon a soaker hose can be used even into the late evening as long as the leaves on the plants do not get wet.  The key is to not have the leaves wet to where a fungal infection can become present and take hold on to your plant.  While you may choose to use a soaker hose, a soaker hose should not be left on.  It should be used for short periods as to not over water the plant as the soil and the plant may not need as much water as you think so the soil probe test is a handy way to figure out how your soil drains.

 

Watering in the middle of the day should only occur if your plant is under extreme stress.  Remember that watering during extreme heat does increase the rate of evaporation leading to increase water loss to your plants.  The best time is still early morning or late afternoon.

 

 

Tip #15

If you have Roses these tips will help you have thriving roses. Roses love the sun all day, so planting them in an area where there is a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight is the first step. Another key to beautiful Roses is their need of a consistent supply of moisture that has good drainage. When fertilizing roses be sure to purchase specially formulated rose fertilizer and apply it according to the directions. Some fertilizers are packaged with fungicides and insecticides to reduce applications of other products for combating disease or insect problems. To avoid disease issues if you are watering overhead, water your roses in the morning so foliage has time to dry before the evening.

 

 

Tip #14

Are you someone that likes tulips and daffodils in your flower beds or garden?  Then soon it will be time to begin planting them for next year’s enjoyment.  Unlike most other plants these types of plants known as bulbs have a different growing cycle.  To get those lovely blooms in your garden in spring you will need to plant them in fall as planting them any other time the plant won't produce those beautiful colorful blooms.  Bulb plants take root in the late fall season.  Once early summer hits they are done.  The best time to plant is October - November for our area when the soil has cooled to about 55 degrees.  The cool soil helps the bulbs take root before winter.  There is about 8 weeks to plant after the first frost.  If the ground hasn’t frozen yet, you will be able to still plant them. During the winter the plant continues to take root. It begins producing leaves by early spring, usually by March in our area you will begin to see the signs that the plant is growing as it emerges from the ground so once spring has arrived you will have a lovely flower bed of fresh colorful flowers.

 

When early summer arrives a bulbs season comes to an end.  Since bulbs produce flowers every year it is important to let the leaves on the plant die naturally after blooming.  If you cut the leaves to early you will stress the bulb and it won't be as strong and healthy for the following spring.

 

 

Tip #13

Thinking of adding mulch to your landscape.  We sell mulch by the yard.  To figure out how many cubic yards you need of mulch measure the length and width of the area in feet. Then multiply these figures together to find the area in square feet.  It is recommended that you have a 2-3 inch depth of mulch.  To figure the depth you will need to multiply your total area in feet by how deep you want your mulch in inches.  For example 250 feet x 3 inches = 750. Now divide your answer by 324 (1 cubic yard of mulch will cover 324 square feet 1 inch deep). Round your answer to the nearest whole number to find out how many cubic yards of mulch you need for your landscape area.  In this example 3 yards

 

 

If you have a circular bed to figure out how much mulch you need for it you will need to measure the diameter of the bed in feet then divide this by half to get the radius. (Example:8 ft bed divide by 2 = 4 radius) Then take the radius and multiple it by itself. (4x4=16) To get the area in square feet, multiply the radius squared by pi or 3.14. (16x3.14=50.24) Then multiply the area in square feet by the how deep you want the mulch in inches, for example 2 inch depth (50.24 x 2 = 100.48). Next divide this figure by 324 (1 cubic yard of mulch will cover 324 square feet 1 inch deep) (100.48 / 324 = 0.31). For a 2-inch layer of mulch on this 8-foot circle, you will need 0.3 cubic yards of mulch. Because this bed is so small, the number is rounded to the nearest tenth, rather than the nearest whole number.



 

Tip #12

Did you know that besides a privacy fence that you can use plants and trees of various heights to create the privacy you want while enhancing your senses and creating a place outdoors to relax with colorful plants, trees and shrubs.

 

Tip #11

During hot humid weather even Perennials that are normally healthy are prone to fungal infections if planted too closely together.  Perennials that are on top of each other, drooped over, lying against the ground, or have no air flow are subject to this type of infection when the weather conditions are right. Look for moldy foliage and prune the plants and throw the damaged piece in the trash not into your compost pile. If you throw the moldy pieces into the compost it can spread the disease back to the plants when you use your compost next time. To avoid the disease from spreading to other plants, cut back sternly the affected area. Check all plants carefully. To care for your perennials properly be sure to transplant them to thin them out and give them more room to grow. Be certain to prune your perennials early so that they won’t become too large for their area.

 

Tip #10

Did you know that the main cause of lawn and plant failure is because of the lack of water?

 

During our Northern Indiana drought periods watering the lawn is a very important step in keeping your grass, plants and trees hydrated and healthy.  The lack of rain along with heat and dry winds evaporate the moisture content within the soil that the plants require.  The best time to water is early morning or late afternoon when the temperature goes back down.  Water your established plants at least 1 inch of water a week during the growing season.  Newly installed plants require 1 inch of water 2 times a week for the first month once installed.



 

Tip #9

Did you know that you should mow your grass diagonally and then alternate the directions each time you mow?

 

By alternating the directions each time you mow it helps prevent the striped look across your lawn and it also assures that the grass is cut more evenly and helps to wear your blades on the mower evenly too.  You should cut high in a dry summer to help conserve water.  This also helps crowd out that crabgrass.  If you have a shady area you can cut the grass higher or less often.

 

Tip #8

To deter crime we know to have well placed lights on the outside of homes and businesses but did you know that bushes, shrubs, trees and plants are also important. We tend to forget to clip shrubs near windows and doors low to help prevent a break-in. Trimming shrubs below the window and keeping all the doors around your house free of clutter provides a better view for neighbors to see if someone is lurking around your home or business when you are away. Be sure that you trim trees to provide more natural light during the daytime and for your outdoor flood lights to shine ample light around doors and garages at night. Remember that you also want to trim any tree that is near the higher windows of your home that may serve as a ladder for the adventurous crook.

 

Fun Fact - #6

Do you know what chipmunks and squirrels like to eat besides nuts?

 

They like some types of plants and several kinds of bulbs. If you have noticed your bulbs or transplants have come up missing then you may have a chipmunk or squirrel problem. Contact your local garden center to see which plants and bulbs may work better in your landscape.

 

Fun Fact – #5

Did you know that golf plays an important role in the American landscape?

 

The last 50 years golf has influenced our residential lawns more than we know. The United States Golf Association persuaded the U.S. Department of Agriculture to research turfgrasses by providing funding for turfgrass research to universities. This research has led to new and improved turfgrass that golfers, businesses, and homeowners now enjoy. Golf has even shaped our modern fertilizers, weed killers, and other lawn products we use to achieve that beautiful green lawn.

 

Tip #7

Spring Cleanup time is here so we can begin cleaning up our lawns, gardens and flower beds. If you have started your seeds inside the house and they have sprouted, in a few weeks it will soon be time to transplant them into your garden or flower beds. Be sure that in your area that you have had a hard frost and your nightly temperatures are staying above freezing before placing your young seedlings outdoors.  If your area might be in for a frost, covering your seedlings will help protect them. Remember before your seedlings are planted outside into their new home that you must first harden them. Do this by placing them several short days outdoors and watch them for signs of wilting, be sure to also protect the seedlings from the wind.

 

Fun Fact - #4

Geraniums are one of the most popular flowers in flower beds or potted plants. It is so popular due to its reliability and producing beautiful color all season. They are available in red, white and pinks. They grow well in sunlight and can grow between 6 – 24 inches.

 

Tip #6

Consider using planters outside that you can move around to grow vegetables, plants or flowers that love the sun when your landscape can’t adapt to your choice of plant. Adjust the planter to the plants needs during the day or throughout the season while adding color and variety to your landscape.

 

Tip #5

Did you know that strawberry plants are one of the many plants used to control erosion?

 

Alpine Strawberry plants, Pachysandra, Rock Spray Cotoneaster and Vinca minor are some of the popular plants used to help control minor erosion.  Some other plants and shrubs that you may also like to use are shrubs like juniper, some jasmines, rock rose; vines and ground covering like ivy, honeysuckle or bearberry can be used to combat erosion.

 

Tip #4

Cut branches from the trees in shady areas, to provide more light on to the grass which will help it continue to grow. All types of grass need sun.   Tree branches grow out further every year and take more sun away from the grass.

 

Tip #3

If you are a DIY person and you have just moved to a newer house in an existing neighborhood don’t do any major landscape work until after the first year of living there or be sure to consult a professional. During that first year living at your new home make notes and drawings of where the existing sun is along with the trees and shrubs in your yard. Track the sunny areas and the areas that form shade during what time of day. Take into account the trees and shrubs from your new neighbors yard. This will help in determining what type of plants will grow and when, during each part of the season.  By waiting the first year if you want to tackle home and garden projects yourself this will help keep your cost down. You'll be able to take your drawing to any nursery and the sales rep will be able to help you narrow down which plants will work best in which parts of the landscape with the amount of sun you have available in your yard.

 

Tip #2

Did you know that when pruning your shrubs you should never take off more than six inches in one pruning for a deciduous shrub and no more than two or three inches of a conifers.



 

Fun Fact - #3

Did you know that when we have high temperature/high humidity nights for several nights in a row that it can damage grass in the sunny areas as well as in the shady areas?

 

Tip – #1

Remove the snow lightly off of your evergreens with a broom to keep the weight of the snow from breaking the branches of the evergreen.

 

Fun Fact - #2 

Did you know that most plant damage is done during the winter months?  Damage to plants occurs not because they freeze to death but actually from getting damaged by snow and ice breaking the branches, along with them becoming dried out or drowning.  Read More

 

Fun Fact - #1

Did you know that when shopping for a shade tree or replacing it in your yard that the branches will spread as wide as to nearly the same height of the tree and that the roots may go even further? So when you plant your new tree you should allow for 65 feet between shade trees so grass and other plants can continue to grow.

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