Category Archives: Planning in winter for spring

Don’ts For Spring Cleanup

Horticultural Services, proper pruning, Lehigh Valley, PA., Allentown, PA., Bethlehem, PA.  Spring cleanup
Keeping up with pruning is important so that your landscape doesn’t get out of control like this one!
Last week I listed things you should do in your landscape for spring cleanup. This blog is about things to not do or not do too early.

Do not cut back roses, buddlia (butterfly bush), caryopteris until the weather is warmer. Late spring frosts can kill the plants if cut back too early.

Do not cut clematis back in the spring except for the fall blooming paniculata because you will be cutting off the blooms. Wait until it finishes its bloom before pruning.

Do not prune any spring or early summer blooming plant until after it blooms unless you do not care about forgoing the flower for that season.

Do not shear any plant that you want to keep in its natural growing shape. Shearing ruins the form of most plants that are pruned that way. The correct way to reduce the size of ta plant is to cut one third of the plant way down into the wood of it. That will take a few years to grow back out. Each year you should cut one thhird or so of the plant; that way you will be keeping it at the size you desire without ruining the look of it.

Do not use dyed mulch (even though the color holds up better) if you care about adding dyes to our water table and if you don’t want to have unnecessary wood born insects, such as termites, on your property. Dyed mulch is not aged naturally so it doesn’t heat up to destroy these insects before being laid on your property.

If you need professional pruning or are not sure what to prune and when, call us to help you.

Things To Do For Spring Cleanup

Spring cleanup, landscape design, Lehigh Valley, PA, Allentown, PA, Bethlehem, PA, Outdoor living rooms
Ready for a spring cleanup!
It’s time to start thinking about cleaning up your property for spring. This post is about the things you should do in the spring. My next post will be about things your shouldn’t do!

Do cut all perennials back to just above ground level, including the evergreen ones, because the foliage that has been through the winter will soon look very tattered. Exceptions would be Iberis (Candytuft), which gets cut back after its spring bloom along with Helleborus (Lenten Rose) and Euphorbia Robbie. Some plants, such as Hemerocallis (daylilies), Hosta, and plants without much branch structure, just need to be cleaned up if not removed in the fall. Never cut Lavendula (lavender) the whole way back; just reshape it in the spring.

Do cut fall blooming Clematis paniculata (Sweet Autumn Clematis) back to at least one third of its growth.
Do cut all ornamental grass back in the spring so it can regrow again. Some grass that heavily seeds should be cut back in the fall, such as Chasmanthium (Sea oats), so you don’t have the plant everywhere you don’t want it.

Do check for scale on any plants from last season. If detected, use a dormant oil spray while it is still cool and before the leaf break to control the spread of the scale.

Do try the new Hyddrangea macrophylla “Endless Summer” which blooms on new and old wood if you don’t already have them. It is definitely worth digging up all those purple and blue ball hjydrangeas that are old in order to get the continuous full-flooming ones on the market today. They are wonderful!

Do fertilize your acid-loving plants with an acid-loving fertilizer such as Hollytone because we do not have acid soil in the Lehigh Valley. This will help them have dark green foliage. If the foliage is still yellowish in color, an acidifier such as sulphur or aluminum sullphate scratched into the soil is better. This slowly helps the plant as the water takes it down into the soil over a year or so.

Do keep mulch on your beds to prevent weeds from germinating freely and to keep moisture in during dry periods.

We can help! If you find that you would like to have experts do some or all of these kinds of tasks using our knowledge on your property, please call us.

Winter Planning

Winter landscapes, Planning your landscape, planning your landscape in winter, Lehigh Valley, PA, Allentown, PA., Bethlehem, PA.
Take a good look at your landscape in winter to see if you are happy with what you see. If not, now is the time to plan for the change in spring.

If you are one of those people that mourn the end of the gardening season, here’s some good news.  Just because plants go dormant in winter, doesn’t mean that people have to do the same.   Planning is such a very important part of winter.  With the bones of the landscape exposed, you can see what’s out of balance and where you need to make some changes.  You might want to add more structure to the garden either with hardscape or plants with structure and form.  You want to make sure that if you can view that part of your landscape in the winter, that there is enough evergreen or winter interest such as berries, ornamental grasses, or beautiful branch structure.  It’s a great time to take a step back and see if you are happy with your landscape.  If not, now is the time to plan and then make adjustments in the spring.

In the winter you can see what sight lines you want to view and which you might want to screen with evergreens.  Often times there are borrowed views of neighbor’s properties that are quite attractive but if not, you might consider creating your own little oasis as an escape from the world.  In that case, you would want to create a screen with fencing or plant material so you can have your own privacy.

When people hire me in the winter to do a design, they are not competing with all the many phone calls, emails, and job sites to visit.  They have my undivided attention to work on their design.  I do get cabin fever for all the green leaves to start growing again and so I get the most inspired because I am so anxious for everything to come back to life.

What does your landscape need?  Think about it now, don’t wait for spring so you are ready to go!

How to Go From Outdated to WOW!

Entry garden, Outdoor entry, outdoor foyer, front of house landscaping, landscape, Bethlehem, PA., Allentown, PA,
This new space creates a new area to relax as well as adds value or curb appeal to the front of this home on the way to the front door.

What makes a landscape look outdated?  The number one reason is plants sheared in various shapes to prevent them from growing over windows or eating your house.  Many new homeowners install plants along their foundation when they initially move iinto their home.  They haven’t studied varieties,k cultivars, and selections enough to understand how big some plants can grow as they mature.  They see plants they like in the garden center or nursery and think they would look nice.

When plants are inexpensive and large in the garden center, it’s generally because they grow fast.  For that reason, these are poor choices for use along foundations.  Still, many “landscapers” use them because when these monsters are installed they produce a finished look with minimal expense.

Putting any plant in the ground is beneficial for the future of the planet and the continuing education of our children, but it is very important to put the right plant in the correct place.  It’s inconvenient and expensive to move a plant when it’s overgrown its place.

Entry garden, Outdoor entry, front of house landscape, landscaping, Allentown, PA, Bethehem, PA, Center Valley, PA
These old tired shrubs did nothing to enhance the front of this home, especially because they were sheared so they didn’t grow over the windows.
The new architecturally designed paving area creates a sitting area for use as well as the path to the front door in the far corner.