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Tag Archives: shrubs

Landscape Maintenance for Spring

Bloodgood Maple
Spring Landscape Maintenance for Summer Beauty

What is your spring landscape maintenance plan? We all want to get our landscape gardens off on the right roots so we can enjoy a healthy, thriving and vibrant landscape through the spring, summer and fall. Spring landscape maintenance plans start with general plant and bed maintenance, followed by shrub pruning, perennial cutbacks, fertilizing, mulching and edging beds. Garden Design Inc. offers full service Spring Landscape Maintenance and ongoing landscape services for Allentown, Emmaus and the entire Lehigh Valley Landscape companies.

March – April  Landscape Maintenance

Overview:  Plants begin to break dormancy. Work done now sets tone for remainder of season. Good Garden Hygiene will reduce needs for excessive pesticide and herbicide throughout the season

General Plant Maintenance:

  • Cut back and cleanup dead and decayed perennial growth from prior season
  • Prune any dead branching from woody shrubs and small trees
  • Weed removal – winter weeds bittercrest, chickweed dandelion etc.
  • Check for Scale and treat with Horticultural Oil
  • Divide Perennials – where appropriate to fill in and encourage healthier growth.

Infrastructure Maintenance:

  • Exposed lighting wire or irrigation tubing – dig and bury
  • Check lighting systems, replace bulbs as needed, adjust timer as needed
  • Check downspouts and drains for clogs or other issues
  • Inspect hardscapes for heaving – repair lifting or shifting paving
  • Inspect general garden drainage and resolve any washout problems
Landscape Maintenance
Landscape Gardens Allentown

Perennials:

  • Mow Liriope, Epimedium and other appropriate cutback groundcovers
  • Hand groom Fern, Hellebore, Bergenia, Geranium (semi-evergreen perennials)
  • Uncover plant crowns and ‘press down’ from winter heave
  • Cutback and Divide Grasses

Flowering Shrubs:

  • Rejuvenate Pruning – on heavy bloomers – Roses, Spirea, Hydrangea, Weigela
  • Selective Pruning – to Form/Shape larger woody flowering shrubs i.e. Viburnum
  • Reduction Pruning – Reduce 1/3 old wood past seasons i.e. Red Twig Dogwood

Evergreen Shrubs:

  • Rejuvenate Pruning – form oriented shrubs i.e. boxwood and ilex
  • Selective Pruning – Remove dead and damaged wood
  • Disease & Pest – Inspect and treat Scale and psyllid (boxwood)

Trees:

  • Selective Pruning – Remove dead/diseased wood and prune minor to good form
  • Remove reversions, scions and root sucker growth

Fertilizing:

  • Perennials – Fertilize around the crown, not on it
  • Shrubs – fertilize 3-5” around the drip line, not inside or beyond
  • Trees – Fertilize 6-12” around the drip line. Deep plug fertilize every 48”

Mulch:

  • Cut bed edges – Check work order for specification Hand Edge vs. Machine
  • Note prior over mulching and remove/spread out before new mulch
  • Install mulch between plants – do not ever dump onto a plant!
  • Move mulch around plants, never closer than 1” to crown or trunk
  • Never bury crown, trunk or branching in mulch
  • Never over mulch around any plant (2” Maximum)

Landscape Plants – Sun vs. Shade

Landscape plants
Landscape Plants
Front of House Landscaping

Sun versus Shade – Landscape Guide for proper plant choices

What amount of sun is full sun, part sun or partial shade? And how can knowing these specifications guide plant choices?

Each landscape plant has a preferred range of sun exposure. All shrubs, trees and perennials need sunlight. And it is often more than one would think. But each plant has specific sunlight preferences relating to the quantity of light, the quality of light, and the time of day it receives that sunlight exposure. These specific light exposure preferences are easily found with sources such as http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org with their PlantFinder application. This source provides a detailed range of landscape specifications for virtually all ornamental landscape shrubs, trees and perennials.

The majority of landscape trees, shrubs and perennials prefer over six hours of full sunlight. This is considered a full sun preference. Within the full sun plant category, there are many nuances that are less easily understood. For example, many Hydrangea varieties are listed as a full sun plant. However, Hydrangea does not like hot, late day sun. Therefore, Hydrangea should be located where they get good morning sunlight into early afternoon. That would be on the east side of buildings or larger shrub and tree groupings.

Few landscape plants are truly adapted to blazing full sun throughout the entire day. Mediterranean plants like roses, Hypericum, lavender and succulents all tolerant full, hot, all day full sun. They are also a group of plants that tend to be drought tolerant. They in fact prefer the dry soil over too much water. Thought the standard is at least six hours of sunlight, this group may be best classified as a full, full sun grouping and prefers at least 8 to 10 hours of sunlight to be healthiest. This landscape category also tends to tolerate the sandy or clay soils with little organic components.

The full sun, part shade landscape plants is a category that includes plants that prefer at least 3 hours of full sunlight. They will tolerate more if available. But this category of tree, shrub and perennial often prefers relief from late day sun or full summer hot sun. These plants will tolerate mildly filtered sunlight if direct, unimpeded sunlight is not available. But don’t expect as optimal plant health if placed in filtered light.

Part shade plants are a group thrives best in filtered sunlight. For example, a loose tree canopy above the landscape gardens will allow dappled sunlight through to give a sequence of sun and shade to each plant. These plants are the types that tend to wilt and burn easily if exposed to direct sunlight any time after morning. They are also a group of plants that tend to prefer rich, organic soils because they have evolved in the hummus of a forest floor.

The full shade plant category is by far the most limited with regard to options and choices. Not many plant families or species truly prefer full shade. At least not many that are commonly used in the ornamental horticulture and landscape trades. We struggle to find plant options when a garden is especially shady. And often those garden tend to be dry in the urban and sub-urban landscape posing yet another level to the plant choice challenge. Plants like Rhododendron are often thought of as full shade plants, but that is a misconception. The plant will tolerate full shade, but it will not be as healthy and grow as well as it would in a part shade setting.

Landscape plants and plantings have preferences, but will often tolerate a little less or a little more sunlight than generally specified. They may not grow as well, but sometimes we just have to put a certain plant in a certain location because we love it there. This means we may need to water the plant and fertilize it more, take a little extra care. But don’t be afraid to try and to learn. That process is the joy of landscaping, the journey not the desitnation.

Landscape Planting Design, Emmaus, PA

Landscape Planting Design
Landscape Planting Plan, conceptual planting design for landscape project in Emmaus PA

Garden Design Inc. was invited to develop planting plans for the pictured property in Emmaus PA. The home is newly constructed with no existing landscaping. But, it does have outstanding views of the natural landscape vistas beyond the back of the home. The program for this phase of landscaping is divided into four phases. One phase is to provide a beautiful entry planting where the driveway exits the main road. Another priority is to install tree, shrub and perennial plantings along the busy main road. The front of the home plantings invite visitors and soften the architecture. Finally, several planting islands extend visual interest and create a sense of space to the gardens. This is a conceptual planting plan. It allows us to share the design ideas and character without investing the extensive time required to detail each planting choice. This level plan allows us to budget a project. Once a client reviews the ideas and budget, we can then design the specific plant varieties.

All of the gardens are a combination of trees, shrubs and perennials. Trees provide the main vertical architecture. They help scale a property into the surroundings. Trees also provide the middle and taller level layers to the landscape. This design has a combination of evergreen and deciduous trees. The evergreen trees are designed as landscape anchors and strong visual screens. The deciduous trees are mostly small to medium size flowering trees. These create a veil to screen views and provide seasonal interest in flowers and fall leaf color.

Shrubs are the backbones of a planting design. This design uses a combination of evergreen and deciduous flowering shrubs. Larger sizes are used along the roadway and the perimeters. These will tend to be more of the evergreen varieties that flower but not as profusely as others. Small and more ornamental shrubs are used to ward the fronts of the planting beds and nearer to the home.

Perennials, ornamental grasses and ground covers complete the planting design. These are arranged toward the front of the planting beds. The perennials are designed with contrasting textures and bloom seasons. The goal is continuous landscape interests from spring to fall.

The next phase in this project is to review with the client. With their direction, we will complete the planting specifications and a proposal to install the landscape project. For more images of landscape plans see Garden Design Plans on Pinterest or Garden Design Landscape Plans