Landscape Myths vs. Reality

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Landscape Myths vs. Reality

Myths of landscape maintenance

1) Myth: Spring cleanups can be done by just anyone. All you have to do is spread some mulch around and rake up some leaves and you are done.
Reality: There are several things that should be done during the clean up and mulching that not only are more aesthetic but help improve the long term health of your landscape. Excess mulch should be removed from beds and especially around the base of trees and shrubs. All beds should be edged to define the beds and show the distinction between turf and planting areas. Also certain plants should be cut back during this process and dead foliage should be removed. Mulching should be spread evenly in open bed areas and sparingly around trees and plants.

2) Myth: Pruning can be done at anytime with shears or whatever tools you have.
Reality: Pruning of certain plants can impact the health of the plant as well as remove interesting features the plant may have such as flowers. There are also many different tools used in pruning. When pruning trees especially it is important to use the proper tools to make the proper cuts so that the health of the tree is maintained. While shearing is sometimes an acceptable practice to certain plants it is not for every plant and using the proper tool in the proper way can make a big difference in the overall health and appearance of the plants.

3) Myth: Installation of plants can only be done in the spring and fall, not into the summer.
Reality: Most plants that come from the nursery can be planted during the summer and into the winter depending upon the type of plant. Summer especially is a good time to install most all plants. While you will have to water more often in the heat of the summer, the plants will be actively growing and establishing their root system and will be heartier going into the winter months. And since some trees and shrubs have already been dug from the field, it is better to get them in the ground and let them grow rather than sit in the nursery.

4) Myth: You have to wait until September before you can plant grass seed.
Reality: You can start sowing seed for turf in the early to mid August. Especially with aeration or slitseeding the seed will get a head start in being established. You can usually seed thru the month of October with good results. However the later you wait the longer it takes for the seed to germinate. And once the soil temperature falls below 55 degrees I would stop even trying. One of the most important things in establishment with seed is creating good seed to soil contact.

5) Myth: Leaf clean up can wait until spring:
Reality: While not every single leaf must be removed in bed areas, it is important to remove leaves from the turf. Leaves can actually smoother the turf over time, and eventually kill it. In planting beds some leaves is okay, however they should not totally cover certain woody plants. Leaves in large quantities are more detrimental than beneficial to most plants. If certain plants need to be covered I would suggest using mulch or straw that will allow moisture to reach the roots of the plant.

6) Myth: Fertilization is a waste of time and is detrimental to the environment.
Reality: While excess fertilizer can cause certain problems, a well managed fertilization and weed control program is actually more beneficial to the environment for several reasons: 1) Healthy turf helps filter dirt and dust from the air. 2) Healthy turf converts carbon dioxide to oxygen 3) Healthy turf also has a cooling effect. Unhealthy of turf that is not taken care of can actually have the reverse effect and cause more or worse problems in the long run by allowing erosion and other issues.

Do you have any questions about certain myths or landscape practices?
Maybe I can help set the record straight. Call 703-544-0028 and ask for Joe.

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