As the summer winds up, we need to start thinking about getting our yards and gardens ready for the cold months. Doing a little prep work now will help you have a great looking yard next Spring. Here are some tips from the experts at Outdoor Innovations on winterizing your property.
Feed the Lawn
Your grass has taken a beating this summer with withering heat and drenching rains. In the fall months, you should fertilize your lawn with a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen during the start of September. Before the ground freezes (around the end of October, usually), you should do a second wave with a fertilizer that is high in phosphorus. This will give your lawn the nutrients it needs to thrive through the winter. To have a more exact schedule of feeding times, you should get a soil test. This test will tell you about nutrient levels, soil pH, and other important information.
Another easy way to feed your lawn is to mow over the fallen leaves. Leave a fine mulch on top of the lawn, but don’t bury the grass in leaves. This could starve the lawn from sun and moisture during the winter.
Although you’ll want to put your hose away before the temperatures drop below freezing, you still need to keep watering. In most cases, lawns should get about an inch of water every two to three weeks. Keep the ground moist, but not soaking. Overwatering a lawn can promote mold growth as winter approaches.
Cover Your Garden
Before winter comes, tuck your garden in for a nap. If you have the resources, you can plant a nitrogen-rich cover crop such as clover. This plant can be turned over the following spring, so it’s a relatively easy way to protect your garden. Another option is to cover the beds with burlap to keep weeds from taking over the area.
Put the Pruners Away
You typically don’t want to prune before winter, as pruning encourages growth and you don’t want tender shoots exposed to the winter weather. If you’re uncertain whether a plant can be pruned, give us a call and we’ll give you some advice. If a limb is dead, it is ok to trim that off. Pests will use the deadwood to hibernate, so don’t give them a hiding place.
Fix Damaged Areas
This Spring and Summer were unusual and really took a toll on many lawns around the area. If a lawn is severely damaged to the point that it needs to be reseeded, you may want to wait until Spring. If you can’t wait, many experts recommend using a grass that germinates quickly, like perennial ryegrass. You can help the seeds take root by applying a quarter-inch of soil or compost.
Put Down Some Mulch
Now is a good time to put down some fresh mulch. We recommend you place the mulch around your trees in the shape of a tire. This will prevent critters from making their homes in the mulch.
Call an Expert for Winterizing Tips
There are a lot of things you can do yourself, but if you want to make sure your lawn and landscaping is ready for the winter, give the professionals at Outdoor Innovations a call. We’ll be happy to help you get winterizing and help get everything just right before Old Man Winter comes knocking.
Watering Plants the First Year and Beyond
This topic seems to be something that continually comes up. Sometimes we have folks who don’t always understand watering plants or sod. This is okay! We all start somewhere, but it’s important to remember that plants and trees are living objects. They are like your children and pets. You feed and water your children and pets regularly, so why not your trees, plants, and sod? I recently told a customer to water every day through this hot and dry weather we have been having. They said, “Even on the weekends?” Yes, readers, even on the weekends!
Successful Yards Come With Successful Watering
Watering plants does take extra time, but when you invest in your yard, you want it to be successful. The most important way to be successful is to water and keep watering through the entire season until the ground freezes. This usually occurs in the Midwest in December. When it starts to get cold in October, don’t roll up your hoses and throw in the towel! Plants and trees need adequate moisture going into winter. If the plant or tree goes into winter dry, it is very hard for it to survive and thrive when spring arrives. Winter does not kill plant material, dryness kills plant material.
Spring Into the Second Year with Continuous Watering
When spring arrives, your plants are leafing out and are beautiful. You think: “Hey, everything made it; I am off the hook from watering this ever again!” Unfortunately, plant material will still need watering and fertilization in year two and beyond, depending on the weather conditions. Ask yourself during the season: Is there regular rainfall? If not, water your trees and bushes. If your lawn burns up, this is a sign that your trees and bushes need water. The root structure is not matured after one season. It takes years to establish a deep root system so the tree or bush can survive.
Struggle with Guarantees
Recently, we changed our guarantee because many of our customers did not follow our watering guide and their plants died. This is always a struggle for us because we have hundreds of plants that we keep alive every day. Although we have years of experience, we can tell you that the number one mistake is not watering your plants.
We suggest placing a hose at the base of a tree (at a slow rate) for 20 minutes every other day for the first month and then a couple of times a week (depending on the weather) for the rest of the season (until the ground freezes). For bushes and perennials, three to five minutes with the hose and skip back and forth between bushes for water to soak in. The best way to keep track is to set a timer on your phone. You will be surprised how long three to five minutes really is! Happy Watering, and please give Outdoor Innovations a call if you have any trouble with figuring out how much you should water your plants.
If you still have questions, it’s time to give Outdoor Innovations a call! We are happy to walk you through the steps on the “how-to” of watering plants, and we also recommend you watch the videos on our “Watering Instructions” page on our website to get a visual representation. If you’d like to start on landscape design in your yard, give us a call! You work with the owners each step of the way, and we work to personalize your experience and keep you updated each step of the way. Give us a call today for more information and to get started!
Winterizing Your Landscaping
It’s hard to believe that Summer is behind us and we need to start thinking about the Winter. Now is the time to start getting your yard and landscaping ready for the cold months. Winterizing your property now will prevent headaches when the weather gets nice again. You need to keep your landscaping looking great to have truly beautiful outdoor entertainment areas.
A lot of damage can occur during the winter if steps aren’t taken to prevent the harsh weather from impacting your yard. Make sure that wooden surfaces, like patios and decks, are sealed, painted, or coated. This will prevent snow and ice from damaging the wood. Concrete surfaces should be prepared, too. Make sure that cracks are filled and that the surface is sealed. This will protect the surfaces not just from water damage, but it will be protected from salt and other de-icing materials.
Protect Your Pipes
If you have an irrigation system, you should have a landscaper, like Outdoor Innovations, prepare the pipes for the winter. Even a little water inside can freeze and damage the plumbing. Make sure hoses are disconnected from faucets and sprinkler systems are shut off. If you have an outdoor kitchen, you should make sure that the plumbing for that system is also winterized.
Many people have outdoor living spaces or outdoor entertainment areas and those take care to keep them looking nice, also. Outdoor furniture should be covered or stored in a shed or other shelter. They may survive the winter, but they will last much longer if they are protected.
Protect Your Plants
Your landscaper will be able to help protect the plants that you have in your landscaping project. They will know the best way to prepare for the winter, giving you some peace of mind that your yard will continue to look as good as it did when it was new. Shrubs and trees that do not lose their leaves need more protection than ones that do. They are more likely to be damaged by heavy snow and high winds. The landscaper can also help get your lawn ready for the oncoming cold. The yard should be raked and cut lower than usual. Once this is done, a winterizer fertilizer should be applied.
Winterizing Protects Your Investment
By winterizing your landscaping and yard now, before the snow begins to blow, you will continue having a beautiful oasis in your backyard. Let Outdoor Innovations keep your yard looking great no matter what the season.
How do Those Falling Leaves Affect your Yard and Landscaping?
Should you rake your yard in the Fall? This is a question many people ask. With the weather turning colder, we care less and less about our lawn. People are tired of mowing and caring for their landscaping and it’s easy to want to forget it for the rest of the season. However it is a season of change for your yard and landscaping as well, and you may be wondering how those leaves are affecting our Quad Cities yards. So what DO you do with those leaves? To rake or not to rake is the question!
Leave Them Where They Fall?
People sometimes leave the leaves that fall from the trees for the same reason they may “mulch” their yard with grass clippings. They think it will provide nutrition for the yard. This may not be the right choice, however, and here’s why. Leaves essentially block the yard from all of the things that it still needs: water, fertilizer, sun. It may be that the leaves block in too much moisture in some cases (however that isn’t the case this year, right Quad Cities?)
For these reasons we don’t think that leaving them is the right choice. Remove the leaves and bag them up (many places in the Quad Cities areas have burn bans, so please pay attention to your local laws on this matter!)
Other Great Reasons to Rake Your Leaves
Clearing the leaves from landscaping will make it much easier to work on your landscaping come the Spring.
Bugs and other varmints like to live in those leaves. You can keep them away from your home and foundation by raking them up!
Don’t forget the gutters! Leaves in your gutters can make water flow over the top of the gutters which can lead to problems for your landscaping around your home and cause water to build up around the foundation of your home as well. That could mean big, expensive foundation problems like leaks, bowing walls or cracks.
For more information contact us at any time. It’s a beautiful time of year, so get out there and enjoy it by cleaning up your yard and landscaping. Pretty soon we’ll be stuck inside and wishing we could get out and rake the yard. Have a great Autumn, Quad Cities!