By Renee Godfrey Quillin
The onset of Spring arises with longer daylight hours and warmer temperatures to break winter dormancy and promote early blooming plants to graciously emerge. At this point we are well on our way into winter cutbacks followed by spring clean-up. The typical spring rain bring on the beginning of possible unwanted diseases and pets into the garden and turf which in returns begins IPM (Integrated Pest Management) monitoring and treatments. Coinciding with the warming temperatures and after the threat of frost has passed is the perfect time to de-winterize irrigation. To complete spring season with the exciting and colorful venture of freshening up planting containers and landscaped beds with summer annuals is a mark that spring is in full swing.
Beginning early spring and continuing onto mid-spring are the cutbacks of cool season winter interest grasses and perennial as well as a thinning of rose shrubs. All fall blooming ornamental grasses get cut down to respective heights depending on diameter size. Winter interest perennials such as Hydrangeas, Autumn Ferns and Hellebores need to be tidied up at this point in the year. Hydrangeas blooms stand tall, adds texture to a dormant barren winter garden and tend to hold well over the winter, but just before the buds begin to break the stems must be cut back to a respective height to ensure an upright growth. At this point it is best to cut back the tattered and winter damaged Autumn Fern fronds and Hellebore foliage to allow new shoots to arise. Thinning rose canes are done by completely removing crossing, damaged or diseased canes. This should be done every late winter/early spring to promote air circulation within the crown of the rose plant thus creating a drier environment and reducing possible future fungal issues. Removing canes also promotes new growth which brings forth new blooms. Spring clean-up is by far on the most beneficial as well as most aesthetically pleasing garden practice that takes place through-out the year. After the cutbacks are completed spring clean-up commences. Spring clean-up involves removal of all excess mulch and debris that could potentially cause fungal issues, edging garden beds for a crisp clean edge, application of fertilizers and pH adjusters if needed that where determined from soil samples taken in the Fall and finally a re-application of fresh 2” layer of mulch in the garden beds. It is a very laborious process but well worth the results with fresh new beds ready for the following seasons.
Warming temperatures brings forth desirable new foliage and blooms along with not so desirable pest and disease. On top of Planted Earth Landscaping employees constantly monitoring for pest and diseases, we work with IPM (Integrated Pest Management) companies that also thoroughly monitor properties so it’s ‘all hands-on deck’ approach to ensure pest and disease are kept under control. Especially this year’s unusually warm weather pattern that the Mid-Atlantic region is experiencing this year will result in an increase insect populations and fungal outbreak. Along with IPM practices comes de-winterizing and irrigation inspection. This is done after the last threat of frost to eliminate the risk of damage to the irrigation system by the certified irrigation company that is fully skilled in doing so. During the process of de-wintering and inspection involves water to run through the entire system and to ensure that there are not brakes or leaks in the system. At this point it is also advised to de-winterized all spigots on the property and to make sure that they are properly functioning and can be used through-out the growing season.
The best way to decorate outdoor containers or accenting existing landscape beds are with summer annuals! This is where Planted Earth Landscaping gardeners can take the reigns on creativity. Green trees and shrubbery with lush lawns along with surrounding hardscape create perfect backdrop for an exquisite summer annual display. Containers such as planters and window boxes to enhancing the boarder of a garden bed are the best ways to accentuate the surrounding landscape. Considering popular colors of the season, client’s personal preference and locational environmental factors, Planted Earth Landscaping encourages our gardeners take all into account and to think outside the box by creating unique and eye-catching designs by using a variety of elements and textures for every taste. The goal is to extend and compliment your living area to the outdoors to be enjoyed during the warm growing seasons.