Winter is just beginning, but it is never too early to think about your spring landscaping. Taking heed of a few simple tips this winter can help you make the most of the warmer spring temperatures when they come. Prepare for your spring landscaping by taking these steps.
1) Clean Your Yard Periodically
One of the first things you will have to do when beautifying your lawn for spring is to clean up the debris, such as leaves and twigs that accumulated over the winter. If you do not attend to your lawn until you begin the process in April, the task can seem daunting. On the other hand, taking advantage of periodic thaws in the wintertime can help you stay on track all season long and help with the cabin fever we all begin to feel over the winter months.
For the more manicured preference, clearing of debris is the first step to the cleanup in preparation for mulching. If of the more naturalistic mindset, leaves and debris can be collected and composted or even further broken down and recycled as mulch.
2) Choose Your Mulches Now
It may not be time to lay mulch and other landscaping materials, but you can lay the groundwork. Edge out your beds, trim back any dead branches, and begin to research what kind of mulch you might want to lay in the spring. Hardwood mulches have become the norm for many homeowners due to color and longevity. Homeowners may want to consider natural mulching options such as bark and leaf mulch. Many public and professional gardens utilize natural mulches as these options successfully break down and contribute to plant health and soil biodiversity.
3) Examine Trees After Every Storm
In order to keep your lawn in the best shape (as well as protect the structures around your house), look for signs of dead or hanging tree branches after every winter storm. You should remove dangling limbs immediately for safety’s sake, and to save time on spring cleanup.
4) Apply Pre-Emergent Controls
Late winter or very early spring (think February/March) is actually the perfect time to get a jump start on weed control in both your lawns and your landscape beds. Crabgrass control should be applied to lawns and pre-emergent should be applied when mulching landscape beds. Pre-emergent should be in the ground once thawed but before temperatures reach 55 degrees. If you wait too long to apply your pre-emergent, seeds will begin to germinate and it will no longer be effective.
5) Design Your Landscape Projects
Springtime may seem like a long way off, but it’s mere months away. If you are planning for any landscape or outdoor living projects or renovations for the upcoming season, now is the time to contact your landscaping design team. Take the winter to plan and coordinate details so that when spring rolls around, you ready and can enjoy the results of your project throughout the rest of the season.
DiSabatino Landscaping is Delaware’s #1 Hardscape and Landscape Specialist. We can help build a outdoor fireplace or fire pit to keep you warm over the winter months ahead. Give us a call today! 302-764-0408
Is Spring Here Yet?
By Adrienne Angelucci
As many of you may have noticed, Mother Nature has not quite made up her mind as to whether she wants to continue the blustery saga that characterized winter 2017-2018 or allow us the pleasure of an actual spring.
As a result, we along with the plants in our gardens are frustrated and not quite sure how to dress and how to react. With colder temperatures, random snow showers, and blustery winds, expect the signs of spring and plant emergence from trees to perennials to annual flowers to be arriving later than usual.
Although difficult, we will need to be patient with plants this year and give them time to react to warmer temperatures and weather that is more consistent.
One easy way to help determine if plants are simply slow to emerge or dead are a simple scratch test. Using a small knife or even your fingernail, scratch the bark to reveal the internal stem. If green, the plant remains viable; if brown, this portion of the plant may have died back.
The important thing to do is to make sure you test numerous branches in the plant in various locations. This will give you an overall sense, as it is normal for plants to have some dieback here and there. The scratch test may reveal that only the upper portion of the plant is damaged and the internal portion is viable. For this situation, a light pruning will help to promote rejuvenation.
In addition to an overall delay, the highs and lows of this winter were especially hard on broadleaf evergreens (any plant that maintains its leaf in the winter that does not fall into the conifer category). Many plants, including Nandina, Laurel, Azalea, Boxwood, etc.. , subjected to the constant undulation in temperatures, freeze/thaw cycle and harsh winds, are showing signs of winter burn and or defoliation.
You may notice this as some of the plants have brown and rust color areas with plants appearing like they have been singed in a fire. Essentially, the plant is showing damage from dehydrated plant cells.
Unfortunately, there is very little can do to treat winter burn. Recommendations will depend on the severity of the burn. For mild burn, proper feeding (fertilizing) and watering will help.
The reality of winter burn is that patience comes into play again. Waiting to see if the plant pushes new buds and seeing how the plant regenerates is the ultimate answer. Unfortunately, successful rejuvenation can sometimes take an entire season if not more.
At this point, it may be more beneficial to remove the plant and consider replacement. Proper planning is key for winter burn protection; the installation of wind breaks, burlap, or application with anti-desiccants prior to winter can help.
Unfortunately, these methods are not the end all, depending on how Mother Nature is feeling. So a little patience, TLC and fortitude will be needed heading into this growing season. If you have questions, DiSabatino Landscaping has answers. Call us to assess your plantings – we can help identify what ones to nurture and which ones need replaced.
DiSabatino Landscaping is Delaware’s #1 Hardscape and Landscape Specialist. We can design an outdoor living environment that will add quality to your life and value to your home. Give us a call today! 302-764-0480
I DO NOT WANT ANY BEES IN MY LANDSCAPE!
I hear this remark all the time from homeowners for whom I design landscapes. It makes me ask, “Why not”?
Unfortunately, bees have gotten a bum rap by homeowners in the last 20 years or so. People unfairly view Bees as an angry and aggressive intruder in the backyard, an unwanted guest with the sole purpose of ruining your backyard barbecue with family or friends, which simply is not true.
The main purpose of bees is to collect pollen (for their hive) or distribute pollen (on other plants) to aid in the development of fruit on those plants. Pollen provides a valuable food source for bee larvae back in the hive.
Without pollen, bees cannot produce honey, bee larvae will die, and with a hive losing its ability to sustain itself through the creation of new generations of worker bees, will simply perish.
The spreading of pollen from one fruit or vegetable plant to another is how the plant forms fruit…and from that fruit, creates the necessary seed that will allow that plant to reproduce itself again for future generations.
Many of the food crops we enjoy, such as corn, wheat, apples, tomatoes, and blueberries, all rely on bees to spread their pollen. Without the efforts of those pollinating bees, the world’s agricultural industry would collapse!
Homeowners are often afraid of bees for fear of getting stung by them. By nature, bees are not aggressive, unless they must protect their hive from physical threat. Hornets, yellow jackets, and wasps (which do not resemble bees at all) are more likely to be aggressive and sting an unsuspecting human visitor in the landscape.
I have been an active gardener for over 30 years and cannot recall ever being stung by a bee.
What bees and other pollinating insects can bring to a landscape is movement…and life!
Sitting in a quiet space in your landscape and watching bees hover and dance from one flower to the next gathering pollen on their legs is almost hypnotic. For many gardeners, watching bees in their landscape definitely lowers their blood pressure.
Think about these points the next time you see bees in your backyard, and you are tempted to run for the aerosol spray insect killer.
Cheaper Isn’t Always Better
Is cheaper really better? When it comes to the investment you make in the landscape around your home, the answer is NO. At DiSabatino Landscaping, our design consultants take pride in creating plans that fit your vision, lifestyle and investment level, but keep in mind that what seems to be cheaper upfront, can be costly in the long run.
A Warm Winter cuts both ways. While this past winter was good on our energy bills, it was a bit confusing to dormant trees and shrubs. Washington D.C. saw the earliest bloom ever of its famous cherry blossom trees. It was 10 days ahead of the earliest peak bloom in recorded history: March 15, 1990.
Now that the warm mild winter is behind us, excitement is in the air for the arriving spring season. Mild winters often trick Cherry trees, bulbs and other plants to bloom early only to be quickly knocked down by March snows and/or ice storms. This can cause damage to many prized evergreens.
The good news is that the brief late freeze we experienced at the opening of spring this year is not likely to kill or cause long-term damage to most of your shrubs and trees, unless they are a variety already prone to freeze damage.