Landscapes should be watered regularly; and watering is mandatory for newly installed landscapes. There is nothing more frustrating than installing new plants and lawns only to see them suffer, or worse, die due to lack of moisture.
To establish properly, new lawns and plants require proper watering. And when the owners take the time to water everything should work out well.
Consider the picture below. The lawn and cedar hedge (Thuja occidentalis) are new; when I first visited this unit, there was no lawn, just two stumps. That was last year.
I'm very happy with the way things look.
I love blade edging because it gives all hard and soft edges a clean line; much better than anything a line trimmer could do. But as you bury the metal blade into your edges, you inevitably kick up dirt which collects in the blade cover. Then, later it falls out in a black soil ball and becomes noticeable.
When you do your clean-up blow, you must sweat the details. One of them is eliminating the black soil ball from your lawn by either blowing it away or better yet, picking it up.
Leaving it on your freshly cut lawn is not an option.
Consider the picture below. It's an entrance to a strata complex and the Daffodils look great in spring, now that the snow is gone. The laurel hedge by the wall is fine but we have to ask a question.
What happens once the spring bulbs fade? Eventually we'll cut them back and then what? This front entrance is missing plants; there should be something to look at as we move deeper into spring.
Of course, one problem is lack of irrigation; there are no sprinklers installed but that shouldn't stop us from planting something inspiring in this high-profile area.
Always fight dead space in your life and garden.
There are some great landscape upgrade tasks you can do in spring, before it gets too hot. One is top-dressing weak lawns with a thin layer of soil and over-seeding; another is planting new hedges. One install project this week involved replacing dead cedars (Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd' with yews (Taxus). Yews seem to do better than cedars in our West Coast landscapes, although we also planted some cedars.
If your lawns are limed and aerated, definitely consider making some changes to your landscape by improving your lawns and planting something new. Have some fun with your landscape!
Spring is finally here on the West Coast and it's time to consider lawn aeration with lime application. Aeration allows more water and oxygen to reach the root zone; and lime should, in theory, lower the soil pH levels.
If you don't do anything to your lawn, definitely aerate it once a year.
If your lawn is small, consider using a hand-aerator tool. If your lawn is larger, renting a machine is the way to go; or hiring a professional landscaper.
With February we finally got real winter weather so let's remember the beautiful January we had and the colour we saw in the landscape. The new season isn't too far away so let's just get through this early February cold spell.
Please visit my West Coast Landscape Professional website to read my latest blog about Argentine farmworker Fabian Tomasi. It's a sad case of what happens when people are exposed to agrochemicals at work.
Fabian would give speeches to local kids and at the end he would ask them to not forget him. We can do that for him.
Reel mowers are a great choice for home owners with smaller lawns where gas-powered machines would be overkill. I'm seeing more and more reel mowers, even on sites maintained by professionals. It turns out, some home owners love getting out and cutting their own lawns outside of their regular maintenance days.
Why reel mowers?
They're cheaper than big gas or electric-powered mowers and require very little maintenance. I imagine the occasional lubrication and sharpening will suffice.
They're also lighter and, this is crucial, they don't emit any harmful pollutants unlike their gas-powered cousins. (You never have to buy gas.)
They also give you great exercise and a feeling of accomplishment.
If your residential lawn is small, then reel mowers are a great choice.
Today I had to deep edge a long line of boulevard trees and it occurred to me that we can create a lot of magic with just one tool.
The problem with the picture below is that there is no definition, no tree well to capture water and nutrients; and no way to keep machines from getting too close to the tree trunk.
So grab your spade and create a small tree well around your tree or planted bed. Make sure the spade hits the soil at 90 degrees. Remove all grass and weeds from the new tree well, including excess soil.
Never pile soil up high over the tree trunk. Reuse it elsewhere or put it in your green waste. Why? Because soil piled over the tree trunk like a pyramid will create a moist environment where it isn't supposed to be moist. Diseases can develop as the wood rots, animals move in, and adventitious roots can pop out from the covered trunk. As they grow and get thicker, they can girdle the tree and essentially choke it to death.
Use a spade in your garden to create some magic, like deep edges.
Vas Sladek, B.Sc., CLT