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13 Jul 2016

Landscaping 101

When you decide to decorate your landscape with trees and shrubs, there are upsides and downsides. The upside is that your property will have color and texture, and will actually have increased value. The downside is that in order to maintain the visual aesthetics and value, those trees and shrubs have to be meticulously attended to on a routine basis. The problem with that is that many homeowners are not confident about their pruning abilities, nor should they be unless they have extensive experience with this particular task. Improper pruning can have serious consequences for the plant, which is why we highly recommend leaving the job to your landscape professionals. However, there are some tips we can offer those of you who just have some minor pruning to complete. With the right tools and the right techniques, you can help keep your trees and shrubs in perfect health and shape, and in turn, keep your landscape looking spectacular all season long. Okay, yes, pruning CAN be kind of frightening if you do not know what you are doing. But just as with everything else, practice makes perfect. You may want to start small – perhaps practice your pruning technique on a small indoor tree or even a more resilient outdoor shrub. The idea is to train on a plant that will not suffer greatly if you prune too much, which can easily happen. A properly pruned plant is a healthy plant, so you want to learn as much as you can about the art form. But why prune at all? Of course there is the aesthetic appeal. You want your ornamentals to accent your garden and overall property. However, pruning has several beneficial effects on the plant itself. When you prune your plant, the flow of water and nutrients throughout the plant’s vascular system is greatly improved. It also permits thriving areas of the plant to receive the most moisture and sustenance while those areas of the plant that are not performing very well are removed, no longer using up what can be directed toward the stronger parts of the tree or shrub. It is difficult to describe specific techniques because each plant is unique and the approach is also unique. But what we can recommend is that you employ the best tools for the job. Landscaping experts stress the importance of not utilizing cheap tools. While they may be more costly, high quality pruning shears, loppers, saws, and hand pruners are an asset and should be thought of as an investment in the overall well-being of your landscape. Tools that are sturdier are going to stay sharp for an extended amount of time, and will also deliver a more defined and healthy cut. Higher quality tools will also last for an extended amount of time, so the higher price you pay may seem a lot initially, but you will not have to keep replacing the tools. Now that you have high quality tools, make sure to keep them sharp. The sharper a pruning tool, the less stress your hands and arms will undergo when trying to cut through thicker branches. A sharpened tool will also deliver a healthier cut. While pruning is beneficial to a tree or shrub, it is still a small trauma from which the tree or shrub must heal. If you think about a cut on our own skin, one that is “clean” will heal better than if the cut were caused by something jagged and rusty. There would be an increased risk of infection and it would probably result in an unattractive scar. The same thinking goes for a tree or shrub. The cleaner the cut, the quicker the tree or shrub will be restored to health, and the less likely there will be any scarring. Last but not least, keep your pruning tools clean. As with any tool, you want to make sure it is free from debris and gunk. However, it is also important to clean the blades before beginning to prune a different plant. Again, using ourselves as an example, if a surgeon is going to operate on a different patient, he will not use the same tools because they can spread disease and bacteria. The same theory applies with pruning tools because each plant has its own unique make up of bacteria. In addition, if the plant has a disease you are not aware of, you can transmit that disease to another plant by using sheers that have not been properly cleansed. Landscape technicians recommend wiping the blades with rubbing alcohol to eliminate any bacteria. You will also want to make sure you clean them well before putting them away after your pruning is complete.

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13 Jul 2016

Making Your Landscape Beautiful

Have you been thinking about ways to bring some personality to your landscape? There are simple ways to spruce up your garden area by planting colorful trees and shrubs, but if you are looking to really go the distance in improving the overall aesthetic and financial value of your landscape, consider adding a hexagonal gazebo! Gazebos are becoming increasingly popular with homeowners looking to add an outdoor living space that is not only visually pleasing, but also practical and usable. Imagine having a place to retreat to after a hard day’s work or on the weekends where you can escape the rat race and soak up the fragrant aromas of surrounding flowers, the tranquil sounds of birds chirping or perhaps a nearby fountain, and take in the vibrant colors that make up your landscape. In addition to having this place to enjoy as your own personal retreat, a hexagonal gazebo would also make a great place to entertain friends and family without being stuck indoors. Can you picture it? If you still are not convinced this might be a step in the right direction for you, keep reading! We are positive you will rethink your landscape design and will want to add this great structure to your property! The great thing about hexagonal gazebos is that they are simple. Gazebos themselves are quite traditional, but they also add flair to your landscape. Each landscape requires something that will make it unique, and hexagonal gazebos are just the structure to help you achieve that! In addition to having a unique garden space, you will also increase the financial value of your property if you ever decide to sell. An ornamental gazebo might just be what a potential homeowner wants in order to invest in a new home. In the meantime, you get to enjoy a paradise in your very own backyard. While hexagonal gazebos are in fact hexagonal, they do not have to be a one-size-fits-all style. In fact, landscaping specialists can help you design a gazebo that will complement your garden and meet all your expectations. You can make the structure your own with the addition of benches, railings, and perhaps even a skylight to enjoy evenings out in the garden. If you want a gazebo you can enjoy even on a rainy day, there is also the option of a canopy top, roofing shingles, or an ornamental cupola. The roofing shingles, if utilized, can be the same shingles used on your home’s roof so you can have matching structures. Another way to accentuate the gazebo and your entire garden area is by adding a lighting system around and throughout the gazebo. Another way to personalize your gazebo is by adding seasonal plants to bring even more color and texture to your landscape. Can you imagine enjoying your morning coffee surrounded by bursts of color and the relaxing hums of your very own Garden of Eden? If you have a beautiful garden, do not waste it by just enjoying it from afar. A hexagonal gazebo is the perfect structure to allow yourself to be immersed in your landscape. Call your local landscaping professional today so you will not miss another cool summer night enjoying the sights and sounds of your garden.

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13 Jul 2016

How to Win the Battle Against Weeds

Fighting weeds can be a daunting and difficult struggle but there’s no reason to throw in the towel and let the weeds win. If you’re ready to go to battle against the weeds plaguing your yard in Wilmington, DE, following are a few suggestions to make sure that you’re working smarter instead of harder against ridding the yard of weeds. The first thing you should know is that not all weeds are equal so you may need to approach the battle in a few different ways. If you’re looking to get a little dirty and pull the weeds out yourself, there are few ways to best prepare so that you get the maximum results. Pulling weeds after it rains or after you water the lawn is the most ideal time. The reason why is because the soil is still quite wet which provides a little more give. You’ll expel less energy and be able to yank that weed right from the root. Another way to ensure that you’re fighting a good fight against weeds properly is to not mow your lawn too short. Grass that’s left a little longer will better block the vegetation underneath while securing a stronger root hold for the grass itself. If moisture and nutrients have a difficult time getting to the weeds, it won’t grow – a shorter lawn provides an easier path for water and fertilizers to get to the weeds. Vigilance is also key to combatting weeds because the war can be a long one. Spending a Saturday pulling weeds won’t mean that they are gone for good. Keep an eye on your lawn and take care of the weeds that you may see extending out from the soil. Strange growth patterns in your lawn may also be an indicator that there are weeds trying to push through. A few of the famous weeds out there like broadleaf weeds which look like little clover leaves or ivy popping up from the ground or crabgrass may be best treated at different times of the year. Broadleaf weeds, for instance, can be spot-treated whereas fighting crabgrass begins at the beginning of spring with a chemical often referred to as a “weed-and-feed” which can kill crabgrass while promoting grass growth. A good lawn care company can offer a comprehensive lawn maintenance plan so that your lawn stays healthy and green keeping weed growth to a minimum. There are also sprays and treatments in the marketplace that you can use on your own; just make sure to read the instructions. Identifying the type of weed you have may be needed to purchase the appropriate weed-killer from the store. A possible side effect from using store-bought weed killer is that it may harm your grass since some sprays are pretty much a blanket approach to kill plants in general – these are often used when weeds sprout up from the cracks in concrete.

Sticky
13 Jul 2016

Keeping the Lawn Green During Dry Conditions

Whether the summer brings a week of dry conditions or there is a harsher event like a drought, there are a few maintenance tips that we can recommend in order to help keep your lawn looking green and ensuring that it stays healthy. A week of consistently dry and hot weather can pull quite a bit of moisture from the lawn and do considerable damage before the next storm comes through. In fact, there are times when really dry conditions can upset the lawn for the duration of the year making it extremely hard, if not impossible, for it to come back to normal. We can offer the following tips so your lawn remains as lush, green and healthy as possible in Wilmington, DE. Core aeration is a procedure we recommend that can be quite beneficial even when there aren’t dry conditions. When you combine this process with removing thatch from the lawn, you’ll be ensuring that the roots get some much needed moisture. Dethatching will remove the grass clippings and thatch that can plague a lawn even in non-drought conditions. Aeration will create pathways to the roots so it can receive water. With these two important maintenance projects completed, even the smallest amounts of moisture can reach the roots and help the grass stay as green as possible. One of the lessons that we can take away from the recent dry conditions in the western states is the benefit of collecting rain. In drought conditions, water may be limited so digging a reservoir or trough around some of the landscaping will allow water to collect when it does rain, or when you’re allowed to water the lawn, so your trees and bushes have access to water for a little longer. There are also ways to collect water in barrels that can then be utilized for watering if necessary; be aware of pooling water though because it can attract mosquitos. There are two preventative ways to help out your lawn during dry times. One is to avoid walking too much on the grass. While this may seem odd, whenever we walk, play or run over our grass it causes stress to the lawn. Although this isn’t normally an issue, during periods of sustained dry weather, this added stress can hurt the integrity of the grass. The second preventative measure is to consider planting drought-resistant plants. This will even help you use less water in general even if there is no drought in place. Drought-resistant plants will need less water which translates to spending less money on water bills. Hopefully these dry conditions are sporadic and won’t last very long but once the rain starts to pour it’s best to properly take care of your lawn to help it stay green. Don’t over-water the lawn because this could lead to more troubles like shorter roots; fertilizing the lawn may help increase the amount of nutrients that the lawn receives and therefore make it thrive once again.

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