"Can I mow my lawn after rain?" is a common question. Homeowners always have the luxury of delaying their lawn mowing until conditions improve. Commercial operators have to respect their contracts and cut on schedule.
Check out the picture below. The lawn was soaked and the contractor wanted to get paid so he cut it. Bad move. It looks horrific and I doubt his clients were excited when they got home. It would have been better to wait, even if the grass was already long.
Why? It looks ugly and it's easy for machines to rip up the lawn; or cause deep ruts.
So, yes, you can mow your lawn after rain but if your mower starts to make tracks, give up and wait.
I personally dislike empty spaces in gardens and so does nature. Left empty, this spot will invite opportunistic weeds to move in and then it'll be my job to remove them.
A much better solution would be to plant something in this space. My previous blog was about Hostas and they would fit here very well. Also ferns and other shade loving plants.
You can experiment with shade loving plants and it doesn't even have to cost too much. You can dig up native sword ferns (Polystichum munitum) in the woods-discreetly, of course!-or visit spring plant sales.
Dead spaces look awful in gardens and they will inevitably invite weeds in. Plant something instead.
Hostas are beautiful plants and they come in many different varieties. Some are tiny and some have huge leaves. By summer they produce flowers and once the flowers fade you can cut back the flower stalks.
By late fall the leaves will fade and you will have to flush cut all of it. Then you can look forward to next year.
By far the biggest mistake I see with Hostas is their placement. Hostas are shade plants which is why they are placed in a corner on my humble patio. Out in the open sun they suffer.
Hostas are perennials so they pop up every year. All you have to do towards the end of summer is cut back the flower stalks. Then, once they leaves start to fade in the fall, you can flush cut the entire plant.
Hostas are great plants but make sure they have shade!
Weeding doesn't have to be long and stressful. You can do it quickly as you walk by. Plus it gives you a chance to look at your garden and enjoy some fresh air.
I did this recently. I noticed the beautiful white morning glory flowers and photographed them before ruthlessly pulling the plan off my Skimmia. If you don't do it, it will just keep going. I know, the pulling doesn't eradicate it but it slows it down.
Another common enemy is crabgrass (Digitaria). It causes problems in lawns and it's especially ugly in planted beds. You can't let it go. Pull it nicely with roots and dispose of it.
Weeding can actually be fun. You can learn about common weeds and make your garden look better at the same time. Some weeds are fascinating.
Again, if you're too busy to weed, give me a call or text. I would be happy to help.
My kids will be heading to school next week which means summer is over. Now it's time to think about your cedar hedges. It might be nice to give them some shape so they look great for the next twelve months.
Do this work on a cooler day and use sharp shears. Of course, if you need help, all you have to do is call or text.
Below are pictures from a recently completed project. The elderly couple was extremely happy to have their hedges done now so they can enjoy them on their back patio; and when they drive home.
The actual shearing only took a few hours, including raking and clean-up blow.
And while you're at it, why not prune your shrubs and touch up your planted beds.
Landscapers do their very best to make sure their clients' lawns look great. They cut at the proper height with nice laser lines and everything gets nicely edged. Then they step back to admire their work and hope their clients feel the same way. And chances are, they do.
But I found out what really makes the men of the house really happy. Sure the lawns look great but driveway crack weeds are a constant source of irritation because they are hard to get at and they come back.
So in comes landscape pro Vas with his line edger turned on the side and on low power. This destroys all crack weeds; just make sure you wear eye protection and close your mouth because often there are stray pebbles that get propelled out of the cracks.
Do this on lower power so you don't blow out your own windows or damage parked cars nearby.
I expect to do this periodically throughout the season but it's better than pouring down nasty chemicals that wash off into our fish habitat.
If your driveway has nasty crack weeds, line trim them out or give me a call.
Our power shears work really hard from mid-season pruning to fall, when cedar pruning begins. The days are busy and it's very tempting to pack up and go home; or just return your power shears to your garage. But I suggest taking the time to lubricate your blades after every use.
Lubrication is especially important on rainy days. Take your professional lubricant and spray your blades liberally. WD40 might be OK if nothing else is available but it doesn't last as long.
The blades will be cleaned and they will run better next time you use them. I recommend the Stihl lubricant because it also does some cleaning at the same time. So get a bottle from your nearest dealer and keep it handy.
Yes, I know, life is busy and weeding isn't exactly sexy. But it has to get done. When I visit a site and see huge "trophy" weeds, I know that there hasn't been much action there recently.
Huge weeds detract from the beauty of your garden and once you let them mature you run the risk of allowing the weeds to flower and produce seeds. And weed seeds in your garden is not something you want.
So, even if you don't have much time for weeding, at least pick up the huge weeds or call me and I will help you.
Your garden should look beautiful and healthy. Huge weeds detract from the presentation we want so fight them!
Depending on the size of your garden, mid-season pruning can keep you very busy for weeks. But as you shear various shrubs don't go too crazy by shredding ornamental grasses into forced shapes.
Yes, shrubs and laurel hedges must be kept from overwhelming your property but ornamental grasses look great. Don't touch them. Let them grow well into late fall when they look their best.
I did some pruning this week and I left all of the ornamental grasses alone. This created a very -for me, anyway- pleasing effect. The untouched grasses look nice and soft.
Vas Sladek, B.Sc., CLT