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!

Landscaping on a Steep Slope

Landscaping can be a challenge on a steep slope. What plant is right for my hillside gardening? Let’s look at a few and how to make the proper selection for your hillside. The selections will also keep your erosion under control and the soil in your yard instead of washing away to the neighbors!

landscaping-steep slope-erosion controlOne of the considerations all horticulturist teach is ‘right plant, right place’ for its longevity and survival. Observe which direction the slope is facing. How much sunlight will your plants be getting?  Three hours versus eight hours? Eastern light versus western light will play a part in the selection of plant materials.

Since plants will be on a steep slope, drought tolerant varieties are highly suggested since irrigation may be at a minimum. On steep grades, the drainage will be more rapid than on a lesser grade surface.

Ideal Plants for Steep Slopes

Select conifers we recommend for sunny locations are: Cryptomeria japonica ‘Globosa Nana’ or Pinus thenbergii, Picea pungens ‘Fat Albert,’ Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’.

Evergreens for partial shade are: Picea abies ‘Nidiformis’, Microbiota decussate, Tsuga canadensis ‘Jeddeloh’, Magnolia grandflora ‘Little Gem.’

Other Shrubs: Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’, Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’, Viburnum, PJM Rhododendrons, Cephalataxus, Pieris Japonica, Chaenomeles speciosa, Ilex verticillata

Grasses: Panicum virgatum ‘Rotstrahlbush’ (Switch Grass), Muhlenbergia capillaris, Schizachryium scoparium (Little Bluestem), Calamagrostis acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’

Groundcovers: Rubus calycinoides, Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’, Delosperma cooperi, and Dianthus

Steep Slope Planting & Irrigation

When landscaping for a steep slope, do not plant vertically out of the hillside. It will look like the leaning tower of Pisa and will not perform well. Prepare a mini terrace for each plant. The bottom part of plant’s soil base will need to be built up in a half well to support the plant. This method helps retain moisture to soak deep into the root system.

Irrigation has to be maintained the first 2-3 years for the best survival rates. Installing a drip irrigation might help with consistent watering schedules and be a timesaver for the homeowner. Place plants with more watering requirements at the bottom or halfway down the slope. The plants at the bottom will have more of the accumulation of water from drainage. Once your plants are established after the third year, continue to monitor for water needs and adjust according to the weather.

Hillside gardening can be a challenge if you don’t know which plant material works best. Ryan Houston is an NC Plant Professional and an NC Licensed Landscape Contractor and can give you the best solutions to your hillside gardening needs. Give us a call for a scheduled consultation. We will go over your options and suggest a customized solution for your landscape.

Spring Cleanup Chores to Do

forsythia-forced branches-landscape designer-After the deluge of cold weather, I’m sure some of you are itching this spring to get out and look to see if your trees and shrubs sustained the frigid wind and cold. Observations through walking around in the yard will give you a clear understanding of what spring chores need to be attended to first. Make note of spring cleanup chores that need to be done in the next 2-3 months to keep your garden growing and healthy.

  1. Observe winter-killed branches and prune away dead, damaged and diseased limbs after last winter storm unless there is a pending hazard.
  2. Pull up old annuals and spent perennials to tidy up.
  3. Cut back ornamental grasses to 2-3 inches for new growth to emerge.
  4. Cut back rose canes below the blackened area (winter damage) by 1 inch.
  5. Divide select perennials and transplant after the soil thaws.
  6. Rake leaves and dead foliage that could foster diseases, mold and smother grass seeds.
  7. After threat of frost, fertilizing and mulching can resume.
  8. Collect soil samples to test the soil’s pH.
  9. Begin seeding when forsythia starts to bloom.
  10. Spread pre-emergent for broadleaf weeds at forsythia bloom time.
If you need Spring CleanUp Chores performed, contact us!

Winter Garden Protection

storm winter-damage-evergreensThe weatherman was correct in forecasting a freeze warning this recent weekend and continuing. This means temperatures are likely to get down into the single digits. With that in mind, let’s talk about your plants in the winter garden landscape. Winter weather may play havoc causing winter damage in your garden and we want to give you some tips on how to manage.

Your root hardy perennials in the winter garden should be fine. Foliage should already be killed back by the cold weather thus far and plants are in dormancy until spring. Hardy perennials, shrubs and trees are still in dormancy, which decrease their likelihood of damage due to the reduced sap content in their branches. With our recent rains, we should be in good shape since a little drink from Mother Nature insures against drying out or desiccation. If recent rains haven’t adequately watered your plants and the rain clouds passed you by, then there’s need to be concerned. Thoroughly water your winter container gardens that may have plantings or particular shrubs or trees that get a lot of wind. The freeze plus wind will increase the likelihood of desiccation. Most landscape plants can recover from a brief dip below freezing. When temperatures plummet below 28 degrees F., then cellular damage can take place. On top of that, if your garden suffers wind along with low temperatures, you may not be as lucky. Wind can plummet the feel like temperatures thus your plant will feel the same exposure. Wind damage is another leading cause of desiccation other than lack of watering.

During a seasonal change when plants are waking up from their long winter naps. If you, however, have some marginally zoned plants in your yard, take special actions to prevent loss by covering with fabric, old sheets, frost cloths (except plastic). They can be uncovered as soon as the temperatures rise above 32 degrees F. Small plants can be covered with a bucket or mulch.If you see browning leaves after the freeze, leave it until spring and then remove. The extra coverage will protect the undergrowth from getting hit if another freeze pops in on us.

If you have suffered winter damage, we can help with diagnosis and replace your plants with recommendations for your landscape.