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Archive for the ‘Maintenance’ Category

Your low maintenance landscape

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016







Nearly every client we meet asks for their landscape we are about to design to be “low maintenance.” This has been a theme for several years now, but recently seems to be really gaining some serious traction. So, what do we mean by a low maintenance landscape and how might it be different that what you currently have? Here are our insights into having your very own low maintenance landscape.

  1. It all begins with your soil, your living soil. Nutrient rich and living soils work for the plants, trees & grasses all the time. As time presses on they should require less input from you in the form of less fertilizers and moving to zero pesticides. This living soil also has the ability to hold greater amounts of water than a soil devoid of organic matter and “life.”
  2. Right plant, right place. Simple right? Might seem so but it is amazing how many times we are asked to plant something in the wrong light condition, or wrong soil condition or to close to a structure. The truth is that all the plantings in your garden will need some attention, this is because it is a cultivated space and not a naturally occurring space like in nature.
  3. A plants best food is its own foliage. What this means is that for deciduous shrubs & trees the best practice is to use their leaves as a natural mulch over the winter. This organic material can then be later cultivated into the soil or a decorative mulch layer can be placed lightly over the top.
  4. Fill up your beds! Add more plants to the open spaces to help choke out invasive weeds. Remember that in nature, weeds are there as a cover crop to go over an area that was recently disturbed or are barren. So, don’t give the weeds a place to grow.
  5. Consider removing some of your lawn and adding more planting bed space. Remember, lawns use much water and require a high level of input to maintain a thick, green appearance year round. Maybe you could increase your back yard patio size, add a seating wall to surround it and then finish with some beautiful low care native varieties.
    1. If you must keep your lawn use the simple tactic of mulch mowing or “grasscycling.” Turf grass research shows that by using proper mowers it is better to return clippings to the turf for nutritional replenishment. One side effect is a lower reliance upon fertilizers as you are now naturally fertilizing your lawn each time you grasscycle.


In your garden now…

Friday, February 12th, 2016

Now is the time in your garden to start some tasks to ensure the best possible Spring and Summer! Here are some “To-Do’s”


  • Tidy deciduous trees & shrubs while they are leafless to see the structure of the plants. Prune if needed to restore their natural shape.
  • Check out seed catalogs, garden books & go to seminars for inspiration, ideas and planning.
  • Schedule a garden coaching/consultation with one of our experts to get professional advice to help you create the garden of your dreams!
  • Keep storms debris like tree limbs and needles off lawns so they remain healthy.
  • Remove old, leftover perennial stems and leaves, be careful not to damage emerging leaves!
  • Bare root trees, berries and roses are arriving in garden stores. Plant them now!
  • Cut branches from forsythia, redbud, quince, flowering cherry, pussy willows and other spring blooming shrubs and trees.


  • Trim and clean ornamental grasses.
  • Treat for slugs around emerging bulb leaves and perennials. Look for a product safe to use around pets like the brand “sluggo.”
  • Divide crowded clumps of summer and fall blooming perennials like coneflowers, shasta daisies and asters.
  • As soil warms, mid to end of the month plant “starts” of cool weather crops like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and kale.
  • Take a closer look at how the lawn grass made it through the winter. Consider the following for a green spring & summer lawn:
    • Moss killer application (Ferrous Sulfate) prior to other work.
    • Aeration – pokes holes in the lawn allowing water & nutrients to penetrate the “root zone.”
    • Thatching – think of this as a brush for the lawn. It removes all the old dead grass and any dead moss.
    • Fertilization – reinvigorates the lawn after the other treatments.
    • Over seed application – applying new grass seed to fill bare spots and give the lawn a head start.

Garden Talk: Rose Pruning

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Roses are a great addition to your landscapes garden and are enjoyed indoors and out. This time of year we have people ask us about pruning their Roses. Let me give you the Father Nature Landscapes way of taking care of your Roses. First, you’ll need a little bit of background on what you are dealing with. Note that this list is not in perfect detail of the in’s and out’s of how to be a Roses gardener, simply the quick, simplified version.

I.  Hybrid T:  Multi seasonal blooming Roses typically used for cuttings due to their long, straight and upright growth before its impressive bloom.

II.  Floribunda: Bush type Rose. Bunch type (3-15 blooms in a cluster) blooming Rose ranging from carpet, climbers and spilling Roses and all in the middle.

III.  Grandiflora Rose:  Bush style rose that is a cross between the hybrid T Rose and Floribunda Rose consisting of both single cutting type Roses and clustered Roses. Can    get as large as 6′ in height.

  1. Prune all of these in February when buds begin to swell.
  2. Think through your desired shape to encourage air flow, use and size.
  3. Cut out any dead canes.
  4. Cut any suckers that may be growing from root stock.
  5. Cut any remaining canes that are smaller than a pencil, or crossing or inward growing stems (These cause damage and allow for disease to enter the plant).
  6. Select 4-6 of the remaining canes, determine the shape desired and cut to height of 1-4′ depending on preference.

This should leave an open shrub with outward growing branch structure.

After first bloom, remove spent blooms to encourage more flowering throughout the summer. This process is known as ‘deadheading’. DSC_0070


Spring into action.

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Yesterday was Groundhog day, and Phil said six more weeks of Winter. Six more weeks is plenty of time to prepare your garden for Spring. In order to help you get started, I have compiled a list of beneficial garden chores.