Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Yard Care in Fall

Fall is here again. The trees look like they are celebrating with their display of assorted colors. With hues of reds, yellows and oranges, everywhere around you is a spectacular display of nature. Then the leaves start to fall on the ground. Then they need to be raked and dumped- common chores that every house owner does, unless of course you are renting a condo where it is then up to the management to clean them...

But actually...Fall is a great time for doing yard care.

It is the proper time where you can rake the leaves, cut off dead branches and do some pruning of your shrubs. The importance of a fall yard cleanup is to get rid of diseased branches and leaves that may carry with them mold and fungi which are harmful to your plants and trees. does not mean that because it is Fall, one has to only do yard work and cleanups..This is the perfect time of the year to plan your garden in preparation for spring. Since the yard is bare from all the raking and the harvesting of crops in your garden, the ground layout is very visible and this will help you properly lay out your spring and summer garden.

You can start digging the soil and add some compost to put in some nutrients. You can collect the dead leaves and branches (make sure they are healthy and absent of pests and diseases) and gather them in preparation for another compost heap.

You can also do fall gardening and put in plants that like to thrive in cooler temperatures of fall and spring. This is the time to get your tools and bury fall bulbs of tulips, amaryllis, snowdrops, daffodils, crocuses..and many more flower bulbs that later on grow and bloom in spring.

Some ornamental grasses also like to flourish in fall. Chrysanthemums are a great addition to your fall garden! These flowers love to bloom in the fall to show off their shades of white, purple, yellow, red, orange and even mixed colors. They love to grow in full sun but in cooler conditions.

The greatest thing about fall apart from yard cleanup, is to the colors that autumn brings while at the same time you get to enjoy your landscape.

Grower Overstock Hosta Mix

Fall flower bulbs

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Don't Just Cut Away! Know When to Prune

Pruning is an important factor in a growing shrub or tree. However, unnecessary and untimely cutting of branches and stems will lessen or halt its flowering season. Know the right time when pruning various flowering shrubs and trees. This will ensure a healthy, attractive and vigorous growth of your plants.

photo from
There are two types of shrubs and these are deciduous and evergreen shrubs. Both these types have specific time of pruning.

Deciduous shrubs. This type opens up its buds in spring and throughout the summer and fall season, then go dormant in the wintertime and then new growth appears again in spring.

  • Spring-blooming shrubs. They flower in the spring from the season's previous growth. Pruning these shrubs largely depend on their appearance and growth. When you notice the shrub's growth to be unwieldy, it is best to prune it during late winter to start of spring (April-May). Prune back as far 1/4 to 1/2 of the previous growth. Although heavy pruning may result to reduced flowers, the whole plant will experience beneficial long term effects of pruning. Examples are forsythia and lilac.
  • Summer-blooming shrubs. These shrubs that bloom in summer (like spirea and potentilla) can be pruned the same time as the spring-flowering shrubs. Prune in late winter to early spring and you will still be rewarded with a profuse blooming season in summer. NEVER prune the summer-flowering shrubs in late summer (July  to August) because it will lead to delayed growth and flowering. The plant will also be prone to winter damage.
Evergreen Shrubs. These shrubs stay green for the whole season. Taking care of these shrubs is done through cutting back its branches in early spring from March to April before they start to open new growth buds. Yew and Juniper are one of the examples of evergreen shrubs and they are commonly used as hedges. Prune these shrubs lightly in summertime for a neat appearance.

Deciduous Trees. The best time to prune deciduous trees is from February to March just before they open up foliage. Maple varieties will tend to bleed its sap when pruned in late winter to early spring, but don't be alarmed- the bleeding will gradually stop. Oaks are especially best to prune around February and March. Pruning oak trees around April to July will attract sap-drinking beetles harboring the oak wilt fungus and this will damage the oak.

Fruit-bearing Trees. The proper time to prune fruit trees is between February to the start of April to avoid the plant from getting injured from the freezing winter temperatures. 

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