Water Warning

It is time to start watering your landscape!  Plants use twice as much water at 80 degrees as 70 degrees and four times as much water at 90 degrees as 70 degrees.  Newly planted shade trees (planted within the last year) will show minor signs of stress like scorched leaf margins.  This is normal for a first year tree.   Regardless, the higher temps of summer make watering a necessity in maintaining healthy trees and shrubs.

It is also a good time to raise your mower cutting height.  Due to the increased effects from heat and drought, turf can handle more stress when it is cut higher.   By increasing your mower cutting height, you help the grass compete against possible weeds.  Obviously, we want the grass to win that battle!

If You Missed the Fall Clean Up

If you did  not get around to your fall landscaping clean up, then February into March is a great time to complete that task.  Removing the leaves that seem to collect in unsightly areas, trimming roses, hydrangeas, butterfly bushes, etc.  can be accomplished now.  I was able to tackle this project last week – blew leaves on to my lawn, mowed and vacuumed up the dead grass and leaves in the process.  It’s  a great feeling to get a “jump” on spring and your landscape always has a neater appearance afterwards.

Fall/Winter Watering

Generally speaking, you can stop watering at the same time deciduous trees begin dropping their leaves – usually mid-October in our area. When the daily high temperatures are less than 70 degrees most plants begin to become dormant in preparation for the winter season. Normally supplemental watering is not needed after this point.

There is one exception with newly installed plants. Occasionally watering is needed if we have experienced a fall drought. In these cases, we would recommend watering weekly into mid December. Fortunately, this is not the situation this year.

For established landscaping, we recommend one watering before the end of December to prevent winter desiccation.

The best way to prevent winter injury is to have healthy, moist plants going into the more severe cold period.

Pruning Summer Flowering Plants

Most hydrangeas, roses, grasses, butterfly bushes and other summer blooming plants can be pruned any time after they become dormant. This requires a (hard) freeze with temps in the lower 20’s. There is no rush to do this.

Some folks like to see the dormant flower heads throughout the winter. The real deadline for pruning these plants is before the spring growth begins. I often prune my plants on a warm day after January 1.

It is detrimental to prune spring-flowering plants (spirea, lilac, azaleas, forsythia) at this time because you will be removing the spring flower buds.

Fall Clean Up

Fall is a great time to blow leaves away from your shrubbery and flower beds into your grass and to mow your lawn one last time.   This will give you a head start next year.  By early spring, turf has already grown an inch or more by the time it turns green.  If you have already removed the leaves and mowed your grass, you are a step ahead at a time that can be overwhelming to homeowners .

Fall Planting

Fall is a great season to plant shade trees. Mid October is also the time you can stop watering your shrubbery. You will be delighted to give up that duty for a while.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy your landscaping,the beautiful fall weather and the cooler temperatures. Contemplate how beautiful your yard will look next fall if you place some beautiful shade trees in your landscape now.

Fall Arborvitae Questions

Many of you are calling in about the appearance of brown needles on your arborvitae.  Some folks fear this is a sign that the plant is dying.  Rest assured that the arborvitae is simply shedding its needles.   All evergreens go through this process at some point during the growing year.  The critical factor for you to watch for is whether the brown needles appear on the inside of the plant.   If so, this is a natural occurrence.  If the brown needles appear on the outer layers of the plant, you may have reason for concern.