Basic Landscape Maintenance
image by Felisha - Morguefile, S.F. Heron, Neelix - Wikimedia Commons
You've spent thousands of dollars on landscaping the exterior of your home. Gardens, walkways, patios, decking and play areas have been lovingly installed. You've created the best outdoor entertainment areas as well as fragrant, beautiful gardens for your family and visitors to enjoy. Landscaping requires maintenance to keep plants, shrubs and trees healthy and looking their best. Even low-maintenance landscaping requires some annual care to keep plants thriving.
Water regularly to keep you plants healthy and looking beautiful. Landscape shrubs, trees and flowers cost a significant amount of money. Don't lose this investment due to neglect. Use a gardening technique called "watering deeply." This means watering at the base a plant near the center stem rather than simply sprinkling the leaves with water. Check the soil if you're concerned about overwatering. Dig down 6 inches and grab a clump of soil. If you can make a round ball, your plants don't need water.
Keep up with weed maintenance tasks. Once weeds take over a garden, even the hardiest perennials don't stand a chance. Use a trowel to dig into the dirt beneath the weed for complete removal. Some weeds throw out rhizomes, underground roots that can extend across an entire garden. Dig up as much of the weed's roots as possible.
Apply mulch to your garden beds on a regular basis. Mulch helps the soil retain an even temperature as well as moisture. Mulch also decomposes to add organic nutrients to the soil and assists in weed control. This simple landscape addition can refresh your landscape by providing a groomed appearance to your garden. A 4-to-6-inch layer works perfectly for weed control, water retention and temperature control.
Prune back dead flowers on flowering annuals and perennials. This labor of love might need to be done every week or two, but you'll have happily blooming, beautiful plants throughout the growing season. Prune annuals by clipping the stem behind the dead flower. Clip dead flowers on perennials back to the first set of leaves.
Observe your plants regularly to check for any areas of dead or diseased leaves or branches. Checking your plants regularly will help you catch any pests or disease that may kill your expensive plantings. If you suspect a pest or disease, clip a section of the live plant showing evidence of the problem. Take the clipping to your local nursery for evaluation.
Prune back any broken or dead branches on trees or shrubs regularly. Use pruning clippers for branches up to 3/4 inch wide, pruning loppers for branches up to 2 inches and a pruning saw for larger branches. Always remove branches with a 45-degree cut to the parent stem or trunk of the plant.
Prune flowering shrubs after the blooming season. Use a technique called thinning that clips the branches close to the trunk. Use 45-degree cuts, and vary the location of the removal to retain the shrub's natural shape. Avoid cutting the ends of branches off to control growth because this will cause a rush of growth the following season right at the point of the cut.
Protect tender plants such as roses and perennials with a layer of mulch applied to the ground after the first frost. This mulch layer insulates the ground to keep it at an even temperature. Carefully brush this mulch layer aside in the spring to allow the plant's new shoots to grow.