Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Landscape Management Tips for the Rainy Season

Arrival of the rainy season marks many changes in your landscape. Apart from making the ground soft, the rains may also cause some shrubs and trees to lose their leaves or branches. Steady winds, which often accompany the rains, may cause havoc on your trees and shrubs by breaking some branches and making some others stoop or break. If you are worried about the impending rainy season, here are some landscape maintenance tips that will help you keep your turf safe and in good shape:
  • Support/straighten leaning plants: If some of your garden’sadolescent plants are leaning after a heavy shower, take steps to straighten them. Allowing these plants to mature crooked and leaning will adversely affect the aesthetic quotient of your landscape. Therefore, take advantage of the wet soil and put these leaning adolescents into proper posture by offering support or just pulling them in position. In case such an effort breaks the crooked branches, you would still succeed in improving your property’s curb appeal.
  • Remove the damaged/broken parts of plants: If your landscape is strewn with broken branches, hanging tree stakes, damaged plants that can’t be restored back to their healthy self, it’s important to remove them. You should have a systematic plan to take rounds of your turf during this season and spot such problem areas. Once you find them, get them removed and keep your landscape clean. 
  • Protection against fungus: Heavy rains often make your plants damp, especially those that grow in the shade and don’ get adequate sunlight to dry up fast.This triggers the onset of microscopic fungi that anchor themselves on the stems and branches, thus damaging the leaves and the plant. Ornamental plums, flowering cherries and quite a few other trees are prone to such fungi attacks. Therefore, you should treat your plants to kill these micro fungi. In case the DIY approach is too tough to handle, you can hire landscaping professionals to get the job done.
  • Ensure timely pruning and trimming: If your trees aren’t trimmed on time, they will become top-heavy and may end up going down in the rains and storms. In case these trees are close to a power line or your home, they can take the power line down while falling or cause serious damage to your property by crashing into the pool or roof or any other part of the home. With proper trimming and pruning, you can ensure structural strength and longer life for your foliage, in addition to increased safety. Regular trimming can also decrease the chances of losing branches/limbs or the entire trees to storm/rain damage. Though a good trimming can’t guarantee that you will not lose any trees, doing it would significantly alleviate the chance of such loss.
  • Set up a rain sensor: Installation of such a sensor will identify instances when nature brings the water that your turf needs, and shut off the automatic sprinklers. This will decrease your energy costs while ensuring that your turf isn’t overwatered.
  • Prevention against flooding: Heavy rains may often flood your turf. Preventing or limiting such flooding is a constant challenge for landscape owners. One way to combat this problem is to have proper drainage system in your garden. Another common practice is to use swales to clean out rain and storm water. A swale refers to a depression in your turf, whose depth can vary from 6 inches to a few feet. Swales can retain storm water runoff and treat it with a filter meant for pollutants and contaminants. Swales also facilitate drainage by letting water flow into canals/inlets or soak into the ground.
Use these tips to ensure that your landscape isn’t damaged by the rains.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

5 Maintenance Tips for Your Landscape

In today’s busy life, most homeowners forget about their landscape once they have got it professionally installed. A handful of those who are still optimistic beat a hasty retreat once they find it too tiring and time consuming to deal with the endless deadhead blooms or high-maintenance plants. If you too feel that you don’t have the time or energy to invest in your landscape, you can use these five basic landscaping maintenance tips to keep your patch of green healthy and attractive:
  1. Proper watering: In case your turf has newly planted species, remember that these plants will face a certain degree of transplant shock after their initial installation. It’s important that you water them properly to ensure good health. Since sprinklers and irrigation systems often fail to offer sufficient water to the roots, you should apply water directly to the roots. This will provide sufficient saturation and help the roots expand into the surrounding soil media. For turfs that are already established, you can set a watering schedule early in the morning. If you water your landscape sometime at noon, the water will evaporate too rapidly, while watering too late in the day may lead to humidity and growth of fungi. Also, you should avoid over watering as the turf roots need oxygen to survive. If you find standing water on your landscape or notice the turf to be soppy, you should reduce watering. In such cases, you may even consider topdressing or installing a drainage system.
  2. Mowing, pruning and edging: Most landscaping experts suggest mowing two strips around the perimeter of your patch and then mowing in straight lines at right angles to this. The most effective method is to alternate the pattern every other mow, if possible. Pruning your plants and trees, especially their lower limbs, should be done carefully to avoid a negative impact over the life of the plant/tree. Edging is equally important for your landscape’s maintenance as a good edge keeps your turf looking great and creates separation between the turf and bed areas. You can prevent the grass from growing into the beds by edging every other mow.
  3. Weed and moss control: Healthy landscapes haveno or minimal weeds.But when you notice a steady growth of weeds, you should remove them by hand or use a selective herbicide. Refrain from using a non-selective herbicide as it will kill both the weed and the grass. Moss control is another aspect of yard maintenance. Since moss is prone to occur in shady regions and in areas where the soil is not favorable for a healthy lawn, you can prune plants in such areas to bring in more sunlight. Opting for shade tolerant plants can also help control moss. If you spot moss in your garden, you can apply liquid iron to kill it within hours. Once the moss has died, scrape it out, either with a power rake or manually.  
  4. Fertilization: You can consult landscape professionals to select the right fertilizer for your turf. Apply them carefully, as per instructions, because over fertilization can burn your turf. You can even use topdressing and aeration to amend the soil, thus decreasing the amount of fertilizers required.
  5. Plan well: Analyze the life cycles and growth of your plants and plan their maintenance according to their requirements. Remember – good landscaping is all about maintaining a balance between how plants look when they are planted and how they will appear when they have become fully grown. Therefore, have patience, be ready to invest some time and have a maintenance plan handy.
If you feel that all these tasks require a lot of effort and time, and you are just not ready to sacrifice time for such tasks, it’s better to hire landscaping professionals to get the job done.