A spring clean up for the inside of your home can mean different things to different people. To some it is as light as cleaning off the patio and the grill and to those Martha Stewart enthusiasts it can be so so much more…washing curtains, emptying cabinets and giving them a thorough wash and possibly even power washing the roof. Everyone’s need are different.
The same can be said for a landscape but there are some things that absolutely need to be accomplished. First removing any branches, sticks and leaves from the property. Doing a good fall clean up can help make this an easier task, but it still needs to be done.
You also want to cut back any Hydrangeas, grasses or perennials that were left in tact for winter interest to make room for new growth.
At this time we also like to cultivate, edge and fertilize the beds with a product that also contains pre-emergent (to help keep down those nasty weeds). This function can prove difficult in Spring and sometimes needs to be chipped away it because of Spring’s wet conditions.
Next is turf. It is important to be gentle with turf in Spring, again those wet conditions can make situations worse by tearing it. That being said we rake wherever possible to pull up dead grass and snow mold, then topdress with a combination of grass seed and peat moss.
Activating your irrigation system is equally important, making any necessary adjustments. But we tend to turn systems off when turned on in early Spring. Running them only aggravates already wet conditions, which can encourage turf fungus and other problems.
Once all of that is complete and all your hardsurface areas are cleaned and tidy, your landscape is ready for the season.
We receive so many questions about our maintenance program, especially from people who are hiring a professional service for the first time. What follows is a detailed account of what it is we do as well as some tips about those extra items that are beneficial to consider. What is included in your maintenance program? Regular weekly maintenance includes:
Mowing and Line Trimming
Weeding and debris removal
Turf Fertilization, Pre and Post Emergent Weed Control Applications
Perennial bed management and rose care
Annual Flower Design and Installation
Seed and Sod Installation
Mulch and Compost Installation
Small garden design and installation
Will I receive service each week? You will receive a weekly site visit except during our spring (April) and fall clean up (November) operations. Who is my contact person for Maintenance questions? An Account Manager is assigned to each customer. They are there to answer any questions you may have, solve problems and address issues on your property as they arise. They can also assist in any new ideas for improving the property. Who can I talk to when there is a crew working on my site? Your crew has a crew leader who assures all operations are completed weekly. You may speak with the crew leader or call your account manager should you have questions. Do you collect grass clippings after each mowing? No. Clippings contain water and elements that are desirable for soil and turf. Your soil contains microbes and fungi that break down the clippings to a form usable by the plants. As the clippings decompose, they return organic matter to your soil, helping create tiny spaces (macropores and micropores) for water and air, improving percolation and fighting compaction. What are your pruning practices? Most landscape plants require some form of pruning, whether to preserve a loose, natural form, or to create tight, compact shapes. Each individual tree or shrub has its own, unique pruning needs, depending on variety, exposure and desired result. Unless you have formal hedges or topiaries, our pruning philosophy is to encourage the natural form of the plant. What if it rains on my scheduled maintenance day? In the event of a rain day, we determine if our operations will be harmful to your landscape (i.e. create ruts, tracking of mud, etc.). If we decide we may cause harm then we will not perform maintenance that day and schedule you the following day. Make certain you are signed up for our e-newsletter. We will send out notifications of rain delay. When do you install seasonal color? We offer four possible rotations of annual flowers (or seasonal color): spring, summer, fall and winter. The timing of each installation depends solely on the weather. A rough time line follows: Spring: bulbs late October / early November, spring plantings Late March-Early April Summer: before Memorial Day Fall: September Winter greens: before Thanksgiving Should I core aerate my lawn? Because every lawn is different, that is a question to ask your account manager. Aeration punches deep holes through thatch, turf, and compacted clay soil. Core aerators then deposit these plugs on top of the turf, where they eventually decompose. Over time, this process will de-compact soil, allowing for greater percolation. It also increases the surface area of the turf, encouraging beneficial aerobic bacterial and fungal growth. Why do I need to mulch my beds? Mulch is an organic covering applied to tree and shrub beds. Mulch beautifies your property. Mulch reduces weeds. Mulch retains ground moisture. Mulch protects roots from heat damage. Mulch enriches the soil as it decomposes.
Seed just planted should be CONSISTENTLY moist until growth begins. This means a daily light watering for 15 to 30 minutes. DO NOT OVER WATER AND DO NOT USE A STRONG SPRAY. You don’t want to drown the seeds, nor do you want to wash them away.
Once seedlings have reasonable growth (½” to ¾”), reduce watering to twice weekly and apply ¼” to ½” per watering. Once mowed, watering can be done as to accumulate 1 to 1 ½” of water once per week. Again, be certain to take rainfall into consideration.
Please note that seed will not germinate without the execution of these watering guidelines.
Sod should be watered daily. Its good health and development requires up to 2” to 4” of water per week for the first couple of weeks. After the first week, start stretching out the time between watering so that the roots will grow downward toward the soil moisture. When you do water, water deeply. Keep up the frequent watering until about 20 to 30 days after planting. Once firmly rooted you may reduce watering to once per week, applying 1” to 1 ½” per application.
Please note that sod will die without the execution of these watering guidelines.
Established turf grass requires infrequent but heavy watering. Remember you are watering the soil, not the grass. Generally established turf grass requires 1 inch to 1½ inches of water per week for optimum health.
Watering twice a week may be required during extreme conditions, such as temperatures of 90 degrees or higher for a prolonged period of time or extremely windy days. Separate the watering to the early part of the week and the later part of the week with a minimum accumulation of 1 inch per watering.
For more information about your turf, check out the National Turfgrass Federation’s website.