Fall is here and the weather is already starting to cool down. As we get closer to the below zero winter months, remember that there is a lot of maintenance to do to your lawn before freezing begins. To help you organize your fall lawn care, here is a comprehensive list of maintenance items you should perform or hire someone to perform on your behalf.
If you have water that is sitting in your sprinkler systems or drip irrigation, it has the potential to freeze during the winter and crack the hose and tubing. To prevent an expensive repair in the spring time, it is important to call a professional to blow the water out of the system and winterize it.
Aeration in your lawn is important if you have the type of yard that loves to collect pools of rainfall, making parts of your lawn a bit of a marsh pit during wet weather. You need to “fluff” the soil with an aerator to allow nutrients to reach the roots. After aerating, you need to find a good winter fertilizer mixture to feed your grass that will continue to grow until 40-degree marks hit. Fertilizing your lawn one last time will encourage the grass to grow green and lush in the spring.
Right after the first frost hits, you want to mulch your plant beds to keep your plants warm during the winter. This also helps prevent soil erosion around your plants. Depending on the type of shrubs you want, planting them in early fall will help the plant establish roots in the soil before springtime. Be sure your hole is deep enough and that you do not pack the soil down. You want to give the roots space to grow and allow water to filter through.
Perennials and tree limbs will need to be trimmed and cared for before winter hits. For your perennials, you need to trim the annuals that are starting to droop and die as they attract more bugs that can kill other perennials. Trim down to the ground to allow more energy into the roots. If you notice your plants are crowding, divide them to continue growth of perennials. Dead limbs on trees should be cut away before a winter storm can blow the branch onto your home and cause damage. Trimming the branches properly will also allow the tree to heal throughout winter and spring.
Especially if you have a large number of trees in your yard, your lawn will be a leafy mess. Leaves that rest on your lawn will destroy the grass roots unless they are picked up. You can either rake and bag the leaves or create a compost bin that will turn the leaves into excellent mulch come springtime.
As part of your fall lawn care, it is important that your yard get one last mow before the cold weather sets in. But there is more to this than just turning on a mower and going across your yard! There is a certain length you need to cut your grass to ensure disease does not rampage your lawn over the winter and into early spring. Cutting your yard to about 1-1 ¼ of an inch will help prevent growth issues and will make it easier to clean up leaves because there is nothing to grab onto. Be careful not to cut too low or you will have dead grass in the spring.
There is nothing better than enjoying ice cold lemonade on your back patio and taking in your beautiful flowers on a hot summer day. Keep your plants happy and make sure they have some relief from the heat with these six tips on how to maintain a garden in summer.
Mulch is a great option when you want garden sun protection for several reasons. Not only will it insulate the root systems in your plants in hot weather, but it will retain water and keep the ground damp for a longer period of time. This will help stretch your daily watering and keep your plants from overheating. Usually, you want at least a 4-6” layer of mulch and there are plenty of free and natural mulch options available. These include dry grass clippings, seaweed, alfalfa, and even newspaper.
We all know water evaporates in high heat. Therefore you should avoid watering your plants in hot weather. Instead, it is best to aim for early in the morning or in the early evening to ensure the water actually reaches the root systems. If you don’t enjoy the idea of waking up early just to water your plants, set your sprinkler or irrigation system on a timer and schedule it to turn on when it is still dark outside. This way your plants can reap the benefits of an early watering and you can stay in the comfort of your own bed. Avoid over-watering your plants as too much water can cause root rot and other plant diseases. If you are worried about the heat killing your plants, always check the soil before giving your plants an extra dose of water on exceptionally hot days.
Every plant is different and needs different amounts of sun exposure. Some plants like lavender and coneflower love direct sunlight while others will thrive when they have a break from the Sun. Always make sure you are familiar with each plant’s desired sun and shade levels and arrange your landscaping and garden accordingly. Creating shade covers for plants is a great way to provide a better environment for them.
Shade cloth is a manufactured material that is resilient and resists rot and mildew. If you choose to use a shade cloth, make sure your plants have plenty of room to allow proper airflow so they can still breath. This keeps them from suffocating, lets them continue growing and allows space for pollinators like bees and butterflies to move around. Also if you use a shade cloth too close to your plants, you will trap the heat under the cloth, defeating its intended purpose.
If you would rather provide shade structure for plants by working it into your landscaping design, manufactured shade can be achieved with a trellis or other plant shelters. These allow for partial sun and plenty of airflow. You can even choose a temporary plant shade umbrella to help during the hottest months of the year.
If you are planting annuals or a vegetable garden, a great precaution is to plant them deeper in the soil than you normally would. When you plant your seeds an extra inch or two deeper, the root system has a greater chance of thriving and not getting dried out when direct heat would normally dehydrate the topsoil.
An easy way to avoid having your plants get overheated in the summer is to choose plants that are hearty enough to withstand the heat. There are several vegetable plants that love heat including peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants. Supplement your garden with hearty herbs like basil, rosemary, oregano, cilantro, and lemongrass and you will be well on your way to a summer filled with delicious meals.
If you are more interested in flowering plants that can withstand the warmest temperatures of the year, consider these annuals as heat-loving options that will add an aesthetic flair to your garden and landscape design.
There are plenty of perennials that love the heat as well. Just be sure you lay down mulch to protect these recurring plants during the winter’s colder months. Here is a list of a few full Sun, heat loving perennials.
Transplanting young plants into your garden is a difficult task, especially during the heat of the summer. A great way to ensure your new plants have plenty of shade and access to healthy soil is to plant them near some of your established plants that share the same sun/shade preferences. Your existing plant can act as a shade cover for plants to your burgeoning beauties, keeping them from overheating. Remember your new plants still need some sunshine to maintain their growth, so avoid planting them near an established plant that will provide complete shade.
If you feel overwhelmed when trying to DIY shade for plants in your landscape design, don’t be afraid to ask for help! The professional team at Second Nature Outdoor Living & Landscaping offers exceptional landscape maintenance services. We can help you with everything from mulching and seasonal planting, to finding a landscape design that will ensure your plants and garden get enough shade to beat the heat this summer. To learn more about our landscape maintenance and design services, contact us at 816-844-7733.
Summer is the time for your yard to shine, but it is also a season that can be tough on your lawn and can leave it looking less than ideal. Follow these summer lawn care tips and you’ll have a lawn that will be the envy of all your neighbors!
Are you mowing your lawn correctly?
Mowing the lawn seems like a pretty simple endeavor and the most basic item of summer lawn care, but there is much more involved to it than simply cutting your grass.
You need to make sure your equipment is ready for the task. You need to have a sharp mower blade. When the blade gets dull instead of cutting the grass it tears the grass. This can result in grass that is ragged with brown edges, which not only looks bad, but also provides an opening for disease organisms. A good rule of thumb to help determine how often to sharpen your blade is to do it after 10 hours of mowing time. It can be helpful to have a second mower blade on hand so that you can always have a sharp blade ready to go.
It’s best to leave your grass a bit longer throughout the hottest part of the year. Ideal grass height is dependent on the type of grass you have. Taller grass helps combat evaporation, which means you have to water less and it can also help to prevent weed seeds from germinating in your yard. You should mow your yard often enough that you are never removing more than one-third of the leaf surface at a time.
The yard care professionals at Second Nature would love to handle all of your lawn care needs, leaving you time to fully enjoy your summer and all of the fun activities that come along with the warm weather. Call us today for a price quote on an individualized lawn care package tailored specifically for your needs.
Are you treating your lawn appropriately?
There are a number of chemical treatments that can be applied to your lawn as a part of summer lawn care. You want to make sure you are applying them at the right time to maximize effectiveness.
The best time to apply fertilizer depends on the type of grass your lawn is composed of. Warm-season turf grows heavily during the summer and needs the nutrients from fertilizer. Cool-season lawns need fertilizer applied during the cooler weather of either the spring or the fall.
Applying weed control in the late summer/early fall you can help control any existing weeds and help prevent new weeds. But, if you plan to seed or overseed you should not apply pre-emergent herbicide in the fall.
Japanese beetles, June bugs, and European chafers lay their eggs in the grass in early to mid-summer. Those eggs hatch into grubs in mid-to-late summer. To help you determine the best time to apply grub control you can contact your local Cooperative Extension office.
We understand there are a lot of specific rules for chemical lawn care applications; you can let the summer lawn care experts at Second Nature handle all your chemical applications. Call us today to get a price quote.
Are you watering properly?
Watering your lawn deeply and infrequently leads to the healthiest lawns. Your local water authority can recommend an irrigation schedule or you can contact Second Nature, we can assist you with all your summer lawn care needs, including a watering schedule.
Are you picking up after your dog?
Your dog’s urine, or other waste products, can cause dead spots within your lawn if not disposed of properly. If your grass is dying because of your pet’s urination you should flush the area with water to dilute the urine. Solid waste should be picked up frequently and disposed of properly. The ideal solution to prevent your pet from having an adverse effect on your lawn you should train your pet to use a mulch or pebbled area for their bathroom breaks.
Don’t Bag Your Lawn Clippings
If you are cutting your lawn frequently enough you will be able to leave your grass clippings on your lawn. This practice is known as grasscycling and is helps to save you time. It also is beneficial because the grass clippings can act as a natural fertilizer for your lawn.
Stay Off The Lawn
Driving or parking on your lawn is never a good idea as it leads to soil compaction which can further lead to dead grass, among a number of other problems. During times of drought or excessive heat it can also be wise to limit even foot traffic on your grass, which could lead to damaged turf crowns.
While summer lawn care seems like a basic skill it can involve a lot of different aspects of lawn care. Second Nature can take care of all aspects of summer lawn care for you. Beat the heat this summer and have Second Nature handle your summer lawn care for you!
Call us today to discuss your lawn care needs and get a price quote.