Thursday, March 10, 2016

Mulching - When, Where and How Much?

Some Dos and Don'ts For Your Plant Beds

Nothing says spring like a freshly mulched planting bed. Mulch protects tree trunks from lawn mowers, suppresses weed growth in flower beds and helps retain moisture for plant root systems. But improper mulch use can harm your landscape. Too much mulch disrupts airflow and may encourage insects and disease.

Plants will benefit from mulch in any season as long as they have the right amount. Tree rings and shrub beds do well with 3"-4" of mulch. Don't allow mulch to be piled on trunks or bury branches. Both perennial and annual flowers only require a 2" layer of mulch during the growing season, but a thicker 6" layer in late fall will protect them from winter cold.  

The desire for longer lasting mulch color has given rise to the use of color-enhanced or dyed mulches. Buyer beware, all mulches fade. It is merely a matter of how quickly. Hardwood mulches are naturally dark in color because they come from hardwood trees. They do break down more quickly, but add nutrients to the soil.

Color enhanced mulches often come from shredded lumber or pallets. The dye not only fades, but also can stain hands, tools, and sidewalks. We recommend shredded hardwood mulch for its added nutrient value and natural appearance, but personal preference still rules the day here. Choose the mulch that compliments your home or business best.

Did you know that we provide both mulching and bed maintenance services?

Call us if we can help at 309-303-0919.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Lawn Care Q and A - Part 1

Frequently asked questions about your lawn

Q: How do I get rid of weeds?
A: The best way to stop weeds is to get them before they start. Annual weeds that grow from seed can be prevented with the application of a pre-emergent herbicide prior to seed germination in the early spring. There is also a pre-emergent herbicide to prevent many perennial type broadleaf weeds. After the weeds appear, you can apply a post-emergent herbicide or pull the weeds by hand. We recommend a program that will control weeds and feed your lawn for healthy growth.

Q: Are dry fertilizer products better than liquid?
A: In some cases granular can be better, but in other cases, the liquid material may be the right choice. Granular applications allow for a slower release over time. This helps with ongoing pre-emergent weed control and nitrogen feeding for turf. Liquid applications are more effective on some established weeds for quicker kill and control. We use a combination of granular and liquid spot applications to achieve great results for our clients.

Q: What is core aeration and why is it important?
A: Core aeration is one of the most important processes used in keeping turf healthy. An aerator is used to reduce compacted soils and greatly reduces thatch build up, allowing the turf to breathe, which reduces the number of attacks by insects and diseases. Aeration also helps nutrients and water to reach the root zone, encouraging healthy root growth.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Early Spring Checklist

Your Outdoor Honey-dos For This Month

Trees and Shrubs:
· Prune trees to shape and raise undercarriage
· Prune rose bushes
· Fertilize trees and shrubs
· Inspect for insects and disease, treating as necessary

Planted Beds:
· Apply a fresh layer of mulch to beds
· Remove weeds, sticks, debris, etc., from planted areas
· Apply pre-emergent weed control in planted areas
· Postpone spring flower installation until after the last frost, usually May 15th or later

· Apply pre-emergent weed control over entire lawn
· Power rake your lawn to loose thatch and debris

Hardscapes, Water features, Irrigation Systems, and Outdoor Lighting:
· Reset automatic timers on outdoor lighting when Daylight Savings Time begins
· Schedule your irrigation or water feature start-up
· Check outdoor lighting fixtures for damage, replacing bulbs if necessary
· Inspect hardscapes for any damage caused by winter weather

· Finalize design and installation plans for this year's landscaping projects