Watering Plants Correctly & Thoroughly

watering-plants-landscaping ideas-Asheville

With hot weather comes our share of dry days and lack of rainfall. This can cause potential stress on your landscape and plantings. Supplemental watering will help the survival of your investment.  Take these notes on how to adequately water leaving all plants thoroughly satisfied.

Observe for Adequate Moistures

Make observations in the garden. Take a look at the leaves of the plants. Are they wilting? Are there brown leaves at the base of the plant? Scratch beneath the soil’s surface with a small trough to see if the soil beneath the surface is holding water or how dry it is. Dig several inches down to the root system to tell if there is any moisture. The soil should be moderately damp but not soupy wet. If there is moisture, skip watering. If not, get out the soaker hose and curl around the base of the plant or throughout the planting area. If a drip irrigation system is set up, the emitter can be added to adequately water at different gallons per hour.watering-plants-landscape ideas-Asheville

Watering for Penetration to Root Systems

If watering by hand or spot watering, first water until there is some runoff. Water each plant lightly using the rain dial on the handle instead of the hard pressure jet spray. A slow, steady stream is best to give a good drink to each plant. Water will slowly penetrate better instead of running off the surface of the mulch and away from the plant. After ten minutes of watering, brush away the mulch around the plant and dig down to see how much in inches the water has penetrated. This will give you a good understanding as to how long to continue watering. If setting up the sprinkler in the yard over a period, place a small bucket in the vicinity of the plant. Measure the amount of water obtained in the bucket and how long the sprinkler was running. Check the root system around the plant to see the depth of penetration and follow up accordingly.

Watch the weather forecast each week and observe the health of your plants by taking a daily walk through the garden. Any stress to the plant, whether it is drought, the wind or other conditions can make it susceptible to diseases. Enjoy your plantings for years with regular fertilizing and a water regiment.

 

 

 

Landscape Calendar—How to Keep the Garden Healthy and Blooming

Landscape Calendar

Everyone has a calendar on their phone or computer with appointments and reminders of important events but do you have a landscape calendar? If you’re as busy as a bee, you have to schedule it on the calendar or you’re liable to forget! That’s when a landscape calendar comes in handy. From year to year, we forget what the chore list is and when we’re supposed to get the job done. To keep your investment in the ground growing and not wilting or dying prematurely, we have listed a comprehensive garden task list that will keep the bees buzzing as well.

Landscape Calendar:

January:

  1. Clean, condition, lubricate and repair garden tools.
  2. Cut back ornamental grasses
  3. Apply Early Spring Pre-emergent Crabgrass Control
  4. Buy summer blooming bulbs.
  5. Get the lawn mower serviced before the rush!
  6. Organize tool shed and gardening tools.
  7. Inspect garden chemicals and make a list of things to buy.
  8. Look through seed catalogs and make a list for purchase.
  9. Look at your landscape while the leaves are off. Are there any spots that need filling in or additions, changes? Make notes and startpruning limbs-landscape calendar
  10. Prune out dead, damaged and diseased wood in trees (not fruit) and shrubs to prevent bark tearing and damage to the plant.
  11. Fill bird feeders and keep clean.

 

February:

  1. Add manure, compost or fertilizer around shrub roots and trees before mulching.
  2. Apply Early Spring Pre-emergent Crabgrass Control
  3. Add soil conditioners to the soil such as gypsum and Calcitic lime if needed.
  4. Sow seeds under lights according to germination directions.
  5. Cut back dead perennial foliage.
  6. Spray early season dormant spray if needed.
  7. Removed dead wood off rose bushes, seal cuts.
  8. Order summer bulbs.
  9. As hostas emerge, spread broken eggshells around the base to prevent slugs and snails.
  10. Fertilize bulbs at the first sign of emergence.
  11. Prune butterfly bushes to 1 ft. from the ground. Prune back summer and flowering shrubs for new shoots (i.e. Beautyberry, Caryopteris, Rose of Sharon)
  12. Prune roses.
  13. Mulch all beds before perennials emerge to keep the mulch at 2-3 inches in depth.

 

March:

  1. Cut back and prune dead shoots, damaged and diseased limbs on trees (fruit trees too) and shrubs.
  2. Plant and/or fertilize the pansies and voilas.
  3. Spread pre-emergent herbicide (corn gluten or Preen) on your garden beds to prevent weeds.  Caution: do not spread of flower seeds are germinating.
  4. Fertilize the perennials with slow release fertilizer or compost that are emerging out of the ground.
  5. Spread mulch around perennials as they emerge if not before to provide protection and prevent weeds from germinating.
  6. Clean up the leftover dead leaves and flower heads at the base of plants and shrubbery (i.e. Camilla’s)landscape calendar-watering plants
  7. Fertilize shrubbery with a slow release fertilizer or compost.
  8. Examine shrubbery and trees for pests and treat.
  9. Apply Early Spring Pre-emergent Crabgrass Control
  10. Add soil conditioners to the soil such as gypsum to soften the clay soil and add calcium.
  11. Begin to weed all areas of the garden.
  12. Mulch all beds to keep the mulch at 2-3 inches in depth.
  13. Blow off and remove leftover leaves and debris before mulching and dispose of in compost pile.
  14. Cut back died perennials that were not tended in February.
  15. Do not trim spring flowering shrubbery until after blooming has ended.

 

April:

  1. Use a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer on summer bulbs.
  2. Cut back dead stems on bulbs or foliage on any lingering perennials.
  3. Set out annuals after last frost day (usually Mother’s Day weekend in WNC)
  4. Walk through the garden and watch out for any pests
  5. Propagate tip cuttings of herbaceous perennials. Divide or transplant before blooming begins.
  6. Watch rose bushes for mildew and fungus and treat.
  7. Prune flowering hedges and shrubs after bloom.
  8. Weed the garden after a soaking rain. It will make it easier to pull up the roots if thoroughly soaked.
  9. Prepare container gardens by washing out the pot, filling with drainage material and new soil and fertilizers.
  10. Treat lawns with middle spring fertilizer and broadleaf weed control.
  11. Seeding and overseeding, thatching and aeration can be done this month. Don’t overseed if pre-emergent has been spread.
  12. Finish mulching all areas that have not been mulched to this point.
  13. Soil tests can be taken and sent to the NC state extension office.
  14. Spraying herbicide on poisonous and invasive weeds can be started once the temperatures reach 70°F.
  15. Finish the fertilization of all trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals.

May:

  1. Water plants and containers assuring each plant have the needed amount. Check the soil to assure the water is penetrating down into the root system after several minutes of watering. Note how long it took to get this deep penetration.
  2. Weed and monitor for pests.
  3. Stake tall perennials that become floppy with grow-through supports.
  4. Plant seeds after all threat of freeze are over.
  5. Plant summer-flowering bulbs (gladiolas, dahlias, caladiums)
  6. Deadhead tulips and daffodils (Do not remove foliage until it turns yellow.)
  7. Apply Late Spring soil builder and broadleaf weed control. Add iron.
  8. Prune spring flowering shrubs after flowering.
  9. Stake and secure perennial vines for support. Remove dead stems on clematis and shade the root zone.landscape calendar-perennials-deadheading
  10. Pinch back asters and mums for fall flowering.

 

June:

  1. Order spring bulbs for fall planting.
  2. Fertilize perennials and deadhead.
  3. Weed the garden and water in needed places.
  4. Record observations in the garden for record keeping. i.e. How much mulch was ordered? What was planted? What pests to look out for in the garden?
  5. Pinch back numerous perennials to make stems/buds: Artemisia, Asters, Mums, Echinacea, Gaillardia, Russian sage, Phlox.
  6. Propagate perennials to multiple.
  7. Fertilize containers and deadhead.
  8. Replace spring annuals with summer plants for coverage.
  9. Start early summer fertilization and weed control.

 

July:

  1. Water and fertilize flowering containers.
  2. Deadhead perennials.
  3. Divide irises and daylilies after bloom.
  4. Watch and monitor roses for disease and pests and treat.
  5. Sit and enjoy your garden in the shade!
  6. Start summer fertilization and broadleaf weed control application.
  7. Add compost over summer flowering bulbs for an extra boost.

 

August:

  1. Water and fertilize flowering containers.
  2. Deadhead perennials.
  3. Do no pruning or fertilizing of shrubs this month.
  4. Add to and fluff tired container gardens. Water and fertilize.
  5. Remove all dead limbs and debris from summer storms.
  6. Overseed lawns.
  7. Edge the lawn beds this month to maintain a distinction between the lawn and the garden beds. container garden-cobblestone pavers-landscape design-Asheville

 

September:

  1. Apply bulb fertilizer to daffodils and tulips.
  2. Plant spring bulbs. Divide daylilies and distribute.
  3. Weed and water.
  4. Check for garden pests and treat.
  5. Clean up garden as perennials die.
  6. Record notes in a garden journal.
  7. Cut back lavender to ½-1/3 after blooming. Avoid cutting woody stems.
  8. Plant trees, shrubs and perennials to get their roots established during the fall and winter season.
  9. Plant winter containers with evergreens and berries.
  10. Seed, overseed, thatch and aerate.
  11. Add soil builders to the lawn. No weed control for germinating grass seed.
  12. Remove leaves from the lawn and dispose into a compost pile.

 

October:

  1. Divide perennials.
  2. Mulch perennial beds and water deeply.
  3. Clean garden and cut back and dispose of debris in a compost pile.
  4. Plant spring flowering bulbs. (crocus, daffodils, snowdrops, grape hyacinths and tulips)
  5. Plant pansies and ornamental cabbage for annual color and display.
  6. Water thoroughly before the first freeze.
  7. Add the fall and pre-winter fertilization application to the lawn (no weed control)
  8. Add the required amounts of lime to the lawn.
  9. Take soil samples and mail to the state extension service.
  10. Weed as needed.
  11. Remove leaves from the lawn and dispose into a compost pile.

 

November:

  1. Drain, disconnect and store hoses and timers. Winterize watering system. Protect outside faucets with covers.
  2. Clean, sharpen and repair garden tools.
  3. Apply the last fall and pre-winter fertilization application on the lawn if it wasn’t completed in October.tulips-spring garden chores-landscape calendar
  4. Plant spring flowering bulbs to a depth equal to 4 times the bulb height.
  5. Remove all fruit from under bushes and fruit trees on the ground.
  6. Remove leaves off the lawn each week and dispose of.
  7. Remove dead, damaged and diseased limbs before winter.
  8. Water containers and plants consistently to prevent desiccation from cold temps and the wind.

 

December:

  1. Fertilize annuals sparingly in the garden with calcium nitrate.
  2. Spread mulch over any barren spots in the garden beds.
  3. Finish the last clean up and dispose of debris in the compost pile.
  4. Cut perennial grasses back.
  5. During heavy winter snowdrifts, sweep off heavy loads off shrubbery to prevent limb breakage.

 

 

Hopefully, the bees will be buzzy in your garden as you create a little movement of your own. Before long, your plants will be flushed out, blooming and the bulbs will be multiplying. And while the blood, sweat and a few drops of water are shed, we are certain your garden will grow with this consistent landscape calendar! If you have thrown away your work clothes and need help in the garden, give us a call and a regular maintenance contract can be set up. It will give more time to stop and smell the roses!

Low-Maintenance Landscaping

This article first appeared in Angie’s List under their Expert Contributor section. Click and share and enjoy the read!

Approximate cost: $32,000

This homeowner in Asheville, NC, (mecca to empty nesters and retirees for the natural beauty of the mountains and mild climate), built her mountain home to enjoy part of the year. The dilemma was that she would only be here seasonally to nurture and care for and the other seasons traveling the world. Thus, a low-maintenance garden was ordered. Who doesn’t want a low-maintenance garden that they can ‘plant and grow’ and still travel the world? This homeowner lives in two locations throughout the year so it’s imperative to have a garden that is satisfied to maintain its beauty with the seasonal rain.

Speaking of rain, the homeowner had two dysfunctional downspouts that were dumping water 8 feet from the house into the yard and saturating the lawn. Rerouting the drainage to a dry river rock bed and drain basins were the first priority to establish stormwater flow tfrontyard makeover-landscaping-drainage-Weavervillehroughout the property in preparation for landscaping. A trench along the back garden bed (which had a previous French drain installed) wasn’t functioning with the sod and soil on top. Therefore, the entire length of the drain was uncovered, dug deeper and lined with landscape fabric. To add that ‘mountain’ and native look river stone was used to mimic a dry river rock bed and hide the drain basins. The water permeated the river stones if there was a heavy flow and was routed to the drain basins on either end of the river stone bed. The homebuilder had routed the downspouts into neighbor’s yards so underground drainage had to be uplifted and rerouted around the entire perimeter of the foundation to the back portion of the home and over the steep hillside digging down some 4 feet.

The homeowner wanted to sit out in the privacy of their backyard and admire the mountainous view so a tiled back patio was laid. To appreciate her view scape, limbs and trees were selected, cleared and replaced with junipers and groundcovers that would smother out the invasive growth and weeds leaving a place for her pooches to safely play.

install-landscape-Lawn-N-Order-WeavervilleWith extra amounts of topsoil left from digging, raised beds were established to plant various specimen plantings (including Tamukeyama Japanese Maple and a Scotch Pine topiary) and native plant material for this area and climate given the perimeters of the homeowner’s choices. To carry the ‘indigenous’ theme, ten tons of mountain stone boulders harvested locally were brought in and set strategically to accent their form while lending foundational anchors to the landscape. Specimen conifers and perennials were placed as if they grew up around the boulders original to the landscape.

Sometimes a garden is established from scratch and the canvas is clean to work from with only a few minor hindrances. The homeowner and company worked through the foundational details of drainage problems and brought to the surface a beautiful plethora of four-season plantings that are virtually carefree and look great from spring to winter.

If you need a custom job installed with your particular needs in mind, give us a call to set up a consultation.

 

The Truth about Weed Barrier Mats

weeds-crabgrassWeed barrier mats are made of porous, plastic, woven sheeting to allow penetration of water to plant roots and prevent weeds from germinating. The idea behind weed matting is to suffocate the weeds and keep them from coming up through the mulch by applying this woven fabric on your garden beds. The fallacy is weeds still grow on top of the surface over time. The roots of the weeds extend down through the woven fabric and make them even more difficult to eradicate. When a weed is pulled in conjunction with this matting, the roots are locked into this blanket. Roots break off and the same problem exists.

Our solution is to eliminate weeds by carefully applying herbicide in accordance with the directions at the recommended rates. This will get to the roots, killing the plant and preventing propagation. If you prefer more organic methods, then pull the weeds (refer to Farmer’s Almanac for best days), after which apply a 3-4” base of mulch in landscape beds to hold in moisture and prevent weed seeds from seeing light and germinating. If you see patches of dirt in your beds, then weeds have a safe haven to grow. Applying fertilizer and organic matter will also present an unfavorable haven for weeds (as they prefer more compact, unhealthy soils).

If you need garden maintenance, please contact us and we’ll take care of the dirty work!