Fall is coming, even trees sleep…

fallmountains

Maintenance Tips for Late Summer In Colorado:
It won’t be long before this summer is over and we start the transition into Autumn. It is important that you take care of some important maintenance items before your plant material goes into a dormancy phase, while the growing season is still with us. This will insure that your landscape will look great this autumn and next spring!

First, if you haven’t been keeping up with good cultural practices with your turfgrass, now is the time to make amends. Make sure you are following a regular fertilization schedule with your yard. One way of telling if your grass is receiving enough nitrogen is if you have dogs (or have dogs occasionally #2 in your yard): the areas where the dogs have gone are noticeably greener than the rest of the yard. Make sure your grass has enough nutrients (including phosphorus) through August when you will be able to still grow the roots. If the water does not seem like it is getting into the root zone sufficiently, schedule an aeration and then fertilize afterwards. Revive® is a wetting agent that can also be used for better absorption of water. Remember, you need to keep up these basic cultural practices throughout the growing season to maintain healthy turfgrass.

aspen.sumac.l
Weeds always seem to take over this time of year if you haven’t been keeping up with them. The worst weed to keep under control is bindweed (or morning glory). This can take over a landscape very easily if left unchecked. Make sure and keep it under control by spraying Roundup® in planting beds if there is no plant material nearby (spray on a sunny, windless day in the morning for best results). We have been seeing a lot of bindweed in grass areas too. Use America’s brand “Weed N’ Grass Stopper” and follow directions on the bottle. If it is growing around a plant try to get it out by the roots and remove the vegetative portion.

This is also a good time to make sure your drip line is calibrated and programmed properly. Run it 2-3 times a week with the temperatures so hot but make sure there is a dry out period between waterings so the plant receives oxygen to the roots. Use a moisture sensor to make individual adjustments if a plant is looking droopy rather than overwatering the other plants. If you have a true drip line you should be watering it 35 – 45 minutes of run time. Check a couple of plants the next time it runs to make sure it is working properly.

Lastly, check your plants for insect damage if they are not looking healthy. Late summer is when spider mites are at their worst: check for webs and tiny red dots (spiders) in the webs of your leaves. If found, treat them with a proper insecticide or hose them off when the sun is setting.

It is never too late to get on a good schedule of landscape maintenance: it is an investment that will pay you back with colorful rewards!

Advertisements

Enjoy The Transition From Autumn to Winter in the Rocky Mountains!

mountainsinsnowNovember and December are great months to live in Colorado. The trees are finishing their colorful displays, the two big family holidays are around the corner, and the mountains are starting to receive some great skiing/snowboarding snow.

Don’t forget your landscape during the next two months. After your sprinkler is winterized you will still need to winter water your trees with the hose when there is no melting snow for 10 days to 14 days. Make sure and water enough for the entire root ball on a day above 40 degrees and water preferably in the morning.

tree wrapAnother thing that will protect your investment is tree wrap. Wrap new trees to avoid snow scald: the sun’s ultra violet rays will reflect off the snow on the south side and can burn the trunk, stress and even kill the tree. You will usually need to wrap newly planted trees for about five years until they develop sufficient bark to protect themselves.

One slight investment of time right now that costs very little money is to plant bulbs. Crocus, daffodils, grape hyacinths, tulips and many more can turn your landscape into a multi-colored array of flowers starting next February to May depending on the varieties. Late November is a great time to plant bulbs when the temperatures are cooler but the ground has not frozen. Plant them 3X the diameter of the bulb with the top facing up like a hershey’s kiss. You will not tulipsregret it when you see the first crocus popping up through the snow! The best thing about planting bulbs is that they do not need to be watered, will dry up and blow away when finished flowering and especially: will come back bigger each year!

Remember that if you are a new customer, we will wrap your trees for you this year and you will soon be receiving a unique collection of bulbs with the latest varieties from Holland. This year we are sending you Spanish Bluebells, Pinkish-Purple Tommies and a Yellow/Red combination of Tulip Carmen Rios.

Enjoy November and December in the Rocky Mountains!

How much more stress can plants take?

stressedplantIt’s been a tough time for Colorado yards this year.

This week’s storm is just the latest snapshot in a series of damaging weather events. Our plants are not only dealing with this week’s hail storm and the preceding ones, but also the rains in May and June plus the Mother’s Day snowstorm plus the severe freeze last November. Plants have been beaten up in a series of unfortunate weather – and property owners are dealing with serious plant damage and loss.

Longtime industry veterans say they’ve never seen this combination of devastating weather incidents before. One storm after another is taking a toll both on plant material and the ability to get work done.

Plant loss Horticulturists predicted that the harsh freeze last November would damage or kill many plants – and it has. The most common casualties include ash trees and especially stone fruit trees such as cherry, plum and peach. Damaged shrubs include boxwood, privet, euonymus, burning bush, althea and spirea

Should plants be replaced with the same variety as the one that was lost? If you love to see burning bush in the fall, by all means plant another one. Or take the opportunity to seek out new plants. Look for hardy varieties. You might like the new look.

Cumulative effects of moisture

While the Mother’s Day snow storm was a typical Colorado weather event, it still caused damage. Many locust trees were damaged in that storm. The ongoing rains of May and June brought more moisture, humidity and saturated soils. Saturated soils made evergreens, especially mature spruce, more susceptible to blow over in heavy winds. We expect to see more trees falling this season during high winds.

Highly saturated soils will also cause oxygen starvation around roots as water pushes out the air molecules in the root zone. Roots need this breathing room to stay healthy and without it, plants will suffer.

Diseases and pests

Moisture and humidity will also set up conditions for certain plant diseases such as verticillium wilt and powdery mildew, which can impact many common edibles. The good news with some of these problems is that hot, dry weather is the natural cure. Pests thrive during stressful conditions, so be sure to work with an expert who can monitor plants for damaging levels of insects and treat them when needed.

Mud has delayed all kinds of landscape projects. Equipment can’t work in mud, and you can’t plant in saturated soil. Many companies are 4 to 6 weeks behind schedule simply because the ground has been too wet for work. With each storm the backlog for tree services has also grown longer. Companies must triage the damage after each storm. Fallen or leaning trees posing danger to life and property are top priority, which then delays work that was already scheduled. Weather has made delays unavoidable. Be patient and know that it’s worth the wait to have a good landscape company do the work as soon as Mother Nature lets up.

Spring Maintenance Tips

purpleconeflower1Now is the time to brush up on some basic maintenance suggestions to ensure that your landscape “springs” out beautifully.

To begin, now is the time to turn on your irrigation system (but still watch for nights below freezing; remember, backflows are more susceptible to freeze damage in the spring because the water is several degrees colder since fall).

Plant material: Check all your plants and make sure they look healthy and have buds that are ready to break. Run your drip line(s) manually and check that all your plant emitters are working. You can calibrate your drip line with a moisture sensor, available at your local garden center.

Some trees and shrubs will come out later than others, so do not despair if they aren’t ready yet. May 15 is usually a good time to tell if the branches will bud out or have suffered winter damage. Once you have established if the branch is alive or not, make sure to cut out all the dead growth. This will really give the plant a boost. If you haven’t done so already, cut all of your ornamental grasses to about 6 inches above the grade.

If your plants have been in the ground more than a year, they should really break out this spring. If you see this happening, use the foliar feed Miracle-Gro on the end of your hose after they have really started growing (end of May). This will give them a good jump on the summer. Only fertilize your plants lightly if they seem like they are still struggling.

Grass: Now is a good time to get an aeration for your yard and remember to fertilize immediately afterward. Then run your irrigation system manually to get the nutrients absorbed. It is a good idea to water your grass before aeration so that you will get deeper plugs. DO NOT aerate your yard until after it is one year old.

Make sure your lawnmower is working properly and that the blades are sharp. Dull blades can pull on the turfgrass and give it stress damage.

Set your irrigation system to water the grass three times a week and 2-3 times a week for your plants. Obviously water less if we (hopefully) have spring rain support.

Remember to support your local garden center. It might cost a little more than a big chain store, but the information and relationship will be worth it.

Happy spring!

After the Arctic Freeze in Colorado, winter water your landscape plants now for a healthy spring!

winterwater14When the temperatures in Colorado dropped almost 70 degrees in less than 24 hours several weeks ago, it was a major stress on plants moving into dormancy. The best thing you can do for your plants now is be judicious with your winter watering this season.

This week is perfect for getting out with your hose and spending 20 – 30 minutes watering your plant material. Make sure and water enough so that all of the roots are covered and preferably water in the morning so the plants can soak up the water during the day before the temperatures drop at night.

You should winter water your plants every 2 – 3 weeks on days above 40 degrees F if we haven’t had any good precipitation (melting snow). Water with this priority depending on the dryness: water trees first, evergreen shrubs second (including broadleaf evergreens), ornamental grasses, shrub roses and perennials third, and deciduous shrubs fourth. It is dry enough now that you should water all of them.

If you don’t winter water, next year you may have the famous “half tree.” This is a deciduous tree that will leaf out in the spring with the top half dead and the lower half alive. This is because the roots act like a hydraulic system pumping the water to the branches. If there is not enough water, the upper branches will die. This condition could void your warranty with your landscape company since the plants weren’t watered correctly.

This winter in Colorado, make sure you have a beautiful spring landscape with a little extra maintenance now and over the next several months!

Winter Watering Tips for Colorado

Winter Watering Tips for Colorado

This is a great time of year to get in the habit of winter watering your plant material!

Typically January and February do not have as much snow as March and April in the Rocky Mountain Front Range area. This means taking advantage of milder weather periods and getting your hose out of the garage. You want to water only on days above 40 degrees when there has not been sufficient wet snow for two weeks or so.

The primary focus for your landscape’s winter watering needs are all your trees, both deciduous and evergreen. Turn the hose half on and place at the base of the tree for a couple minutes until the root ball is soaked. It is best to do this mid-morning to noon so that the roots have a chance to soak up the water before temperatures drop below freezing that evening.

The second focus are your evergreen shrubs (Mugo Pines) and broadleaf evergreen shrubs (Euonymus). These shrubs have a tough time in the winter with the large extremes in temperatures. They are also susceptible to animal damage from hungry rabbits and deer that are looking for food.

The third focus for your winter watering are your ornamental grasses. We have found that the grasses need extra water in the winter, too, so soak their root balls in the same way. Make sure and disconnect your hose from your hose bib when you are finished!

The rest of your plant material (deciduous shrubs) and your turfgrass are usually okay unless we really have a dry period lasting more than 3-4 weeks.

Your plants will be happier this winter with a little extra water and come out in the spring much healthier!

Fall in the Rockies

Fall in the Rockies

Autumn Maintenance Tips & Fun Ideas for your Green Landscape

Autumn is my favorite season. To me, the colors are even more beautiful and grand then the flowers you get in the spring. It means holidays are approaching — including Halloween, Thanksgiving and of course Christmas. It also means snow is around the corner for all those who love a winter wonderland — especially those anxious Colorado skiers.

There are some basic autumn maintenance tips that can really insure that your landscape will not only survive well through the winter but come out healthy and energetic next spring.

First, make sure you give your lawn a final fertilization with a “winterizer” fertilization blend. Watch the low temperatures at night and drain your sprinkler system if needed. If nice weather continues, drain it for good around Halloween — then let your lawn go dormant. Wrap all your young trees with tree wrap to prevent sun scald from the south sun reflected off the snow (we will do this for you in November if you are a first year customer). Wean your plant material off 2-3 watering times weekly to 1-2. And finally, don’t forget to winter water your plant material! Trees need it the most, then evergreen shrubs, then grasses and transplants. Use your hose to saturate the root ball on days above 40 degrees during dry spells.

Even though the cold is coming there are still some fun ideas to make sure next year looks even more colorful. This is a great time to plant bulbs. They usually don’t require extra water, flower in that transition time before regular plants emerge, their leaves dry out and blow away and then they multiply so that they are even larger next spring! This is also a great time to seed your lawn or native areas. The seed will lay dormant and then come up with the spring rains. Have some fun with the season and do a pumpkin, squash and corn stalk arrangement to personalize your landscape.