6 Mistakes Homeowners Make

That Landscapers HATE to Fix

Overplanting

While more MAY be better in some cases, it’s not better to have more in your landscape. Not spacing out your plants and over-filling them may offer instant gratification for the first year your new plants are in the ground, but in two years, your plants will begin to die because they’re fighting for space and nutrients. This common mistake is a HUGE WASTE of time and money.

HINT: Fill in empty spots with annual flowers until your shrubs mature!

Not Knowing Your Landscape’s Needs

You’ll want to have an idea of what your yard requires and then choose plants that fit those requirements. How much direct sunlight does your yard get daily? Is your soil clay-based, sandy, or rocky? Are there any water restrictions? Are there drainage issues? Knowing the answers to these questions can help you make the best choices for your landscape. There is NO REASON not to research and learn more about the plants you are putting in your landscape. Planting shade plants in sun, or sun plants in shade is an inexcusable snafu in any landscape.

Starting Without A Plan

Don’t go to a Garden Center with a “my heart will guide me” mentality. This will lead to over purchasing and a major loss of money. You’ll also run into issues during your landscape install that could’ve been solved by planning ahead.

Not Paying Attention To The Style Of Your House

Your landscape should complement your home and increase your curb appeal! Different landscape styles work better aesthetically, so always use the look and structure of your house when deciding on garden bed shapes (i.e. A farmhouse-style home won’t work with a formal landscape). Unsure where to start?

HINT: Use a garden hose to help aid in the process of figuring out the shape of each bed; lay out the hose on the ground and use it as your guide, it’s soft and can follow the curves of your house, leading to perfect garden bed shapes.

Planting Too Close To Your Home

When planting, you must bear in mind that bushes, trees and plants WILL get bigger! Where you plant them is SO important – typically, leaving a minimum of 1-3 feet between your plants and your house. Ignoring how large a tree or bush will get can lead to walkway, sidewalk and foundation damage – or, even worse, it can rot your siding, allowing moisture and bugs to creep into your home. Not cool.

Relying On Pinterest To Do Your Landscape

It is SO EASY to get excited and jump into a project when you scroll through Pinterest. HOWEVER, you need to keep in mind the time, resources, and money that go into the ‘simple’ photos you see online. While it can be helpful for ideas, you have to get real about where you and your yard are located zone-wise and how much the project will cost overall.

How To Plant In Red Clay Soil

So many people in the South have red clay soil.

This stuff is mushy and disgusting when it is wet; but when it is dry, it takes on a form almost like concrete. Worst of all? It’s completely nutrient deficient.

Red clay soon becomes waterlogged during rainy weather. When soil stays wet, the water can cut off the air supply to roots, as well as to microorganisms in soil that are important to your plant’s well being. Root rot, suffocation, and many other diseases can occur.

Adding to the plant’s misery, when clay soil finally does dry out, roots struggle to spread through the hard soil. How can a poor plant survive?

Don’t give up! While you need good drainage for plants to survive, having red clay soil and nice plants in your landscape isn’t impossible!

With a little prep and TLC, you can grow beautiful shrubs, just by enhancing the texture and drainage of your soil.

Below is a drawing, courtesy of Encore® Azaleas of how to prep and plant shrubs in clay soil!

EA-220_FS_How_to_Plant_Red_Clay_8.5x11in_2018_ (1)

 

Delightful Dragonflies!

Flying insects are for the most part, really annoying. Mosquitoes bite you, leaving itchy red welts. Wasps sting. Flies are just disgusting. But there’s something kind of magical about dragonflies.Dragonfly_PNG_Clipart-2427.png

Adult dragonflies are what people in the gardening industry call, “beneficial bugs”, meaning that they eat the pesky insects that fly, like flies. They are also a great way to control the mosquito population. A single dragonfly can eat 30 to hundreds of mosquitoes per day. Dragonflies will also eat moths and smaller dragonflies, and one Asian variety of dragonfly will even eat spiders right out of their webs.

Dragonfly-PNG-High-Quality-ImageNo need to worry about bites or stings with this incredible insect! Contrary to urban legend, dragonflies do NOT bite or sting. They can TRY to bite but cannot break human skin – not even the LARGEST dragonflies can bite a human.

Dragonflies are expert fliers. They can fly straight up and down, hover like a helicopter and even mate mid-air. Dragonflies don’t just chase down their prey as most predators do. Instead, they snag them from the air with calculated aerial ambushes. Dragonflies can judge the speed and trajectory of a prey target and adjust their flight to intercept prey. They’re so skilled that they have up to a 95 percent success rate when hunting.

Think of a “stealth fighter jet” when it comes to a dragonfly’s ability to nab prey in flight quickly, effectively and intelligently. Amazing!

Grass Got the Summertime Blues?

You’ve been watering your grass all summer long and it may look bleached out.

Make it look like spring again with Ironite!  This granular iron product is simple to apply to your lawn and will make your lawn or plants turn green – not overnight but almost.ironite-fertilizer-mineral-supplement-canada-reviews-broadcast-spreader-settings

You might ask, why not just use some fertilizer?  DON’T!!!  Applying fertilizer to your lawn at this time of the year can burn your grass and can easily stripe your yard.

The Importance of Iron

Plants need iron and cannot properly create chlorophyll without it. This results in poor growth because chlorophyll plays an important role in photosynthesis.  Chlorophyll also gives plants their green color, and the primary symptom of iron deficiency are leaves that are yellow between their veins.

ironite-lawn-fertilizer-hi-yield-iron-plus-grassHow to Apply

A 10 pound bag covers 5000 sq feet and is easily applied with a spreader.

HINT:

Combine a granular ant killer with the Ironite into your spreader and get a 2 for 1 punch.

The Best Small Trees for Your Yard

chastetreeChaste Tree

One of our favorite trees!  Who wouldn’t want a tree that has blue flowers throughout the summer?  This fast growing tree is known as a “Texas Superstar” for how well it performs and the Texas Department of Transportation uses them in landscape designs on highways throughout the state.  It is deer resistant, prefers full sun, is drought tolerant and likes well draining soil.  If you trim off the spent seed pods you will be rewarded with another bloom cycle in late summer to early Fall.

 

Crape Myrtlestuscarora1-400_grande

These summer blooming trees come in 4 main colors – white, pink, red and purple.  There are many different varieties available from trees that mature at a height of 10’ to those that reach 25’.  They bloom best when planted in full sun and can be planted as a stand alone specimen plant or in groupings.  For something different try planting 2 or 3 small plants of different colors in the same hole – it will look like 1 tree that has different color blooms.  You see them lining driveways and is another staple tree used by DOT.

 

japmapJapanese Maple

If you have a shady spot, consider planting a Japanese Maple.  Whether you choose an upright variety or a graceful weeper they add an array of fall color to your garden.  These are slower growing trees who require well-draining soil and will tolerate morning sun but like afternoon shade in our Texas summers.

 

Teddy Bear or Little Gem Magnoliateddybear

Enjoy the fragrant white flowers of the stately Southern Magnolia but on a much smaller tree.  Both are shorter varieties with the Teddy Bear being more compact of the 2.  Grows best in full sun, but is a slower growing tree.  Part of its appeal is that it is evergreen and does not drop its leaves in the Fall.

 

PinkRoseofSharonTree_400_1-01_grandeRose of Sharon

Many new hybrid varieties have been introduced within the past few years bringing about renewed interest in this old favorite.  They bloom in a variety of colors; white, pink, red, purple, throughout the summer months.  They will reach 10’ – 12’ tall and prefer full sun to partial sun for best performance.

 

 

Tulip Treetulipmagnolia

These pink to burgundy colored flowering trees bloom early in the spring.  They are a multi-trunk tree that is a slower growing tree but will eventually reach 15’ – 20’ tall and 15’ wide.  They are also called Saucer Magnolias and are actually a Magnolia but most people call them Tulip Tree due to the tulip shape of the bloom.

How to Use Bat Guano

Bat guano, or dung, has a long history of use as a soil enricher. It is obtained from only fruit and insect-feeding species of bats. Bat guano makes an excellent fertilizer; it’s fast-acting, has little odor, and can be worked into the soil prior to planting or during active growth.bat-guano-400x266

What Do They Use Bat Guano For?
There are several uses for bat guano. It can be used as a soil conditioner, enriching the soil and improving drainage and texture, and a suitable fertilizer for plants and lawns, making them healthy and green. It can be used as a natural fungicide and controls nematodes in the soil as well. In addition, bat guano makes an acceptable compost activator, speeding up the decomposition process. With so many uses, why would you not use bat guano?!

How to Use Bat Guano as a Fertilizer
As a fertilizer, bat guano can be used as top dressing or worked into the soil and can be use fresh or dried. Typically, this fertilizer is applied in smaller quantities than other types of manure.

Bat guano provides a high concentration of nutrients to plants and the surrounding soil. According to the NPK of bat guano, its concentration ingredients are 10-3-1. This NPK fertilizer analysis translates to 10 percent nitrogen (N), 3 percent phosphorus (P), and 1 percent potassium or potash (K). The higher nitrogen levels are responsible for fast, green growth. Phosphorus aids with root and flower development while potassium provides for the plant’s overall health.

Note: You may also find bat guano with higher phosphorus ratios, such as 3-10-1. Why? Some types are processed this way. It’s also believed that the diet of some bat species may have an effect. For example, those feeding strictly on insects produce higher nitrogen content, whereas fruit-eating bats result in a high phosphorus guano.

Get Rid of Fire Ants (for good!)

Want to learn how to kill fire ants including the almighty Queen in 5 minutes without measuring or mixing anything?   Just attach a bottle of Amdro Quick Kill to your water hose and aim away.  It is just that simple.AMDRO-Quick-Kill-Outdoor-Insect-Killer-RTS-32oz.png

The exact name of the product is Amdro Quick Kill Outdoor Insect Killer – it may be a mouthful of a name but it works!  It is fast (kills ‘em dead in 5 minutes) and is so easy-to-use.

Attach your hose and with no measuring or mixing you are ready to go – gently soak the mound for 30 seconds.  It is a fast acting formula that destroys an entire fire ant amdro-lawn-insect-pest-control-100522991-1f_1000mound, including the queen, in under five minutes.  You can treat 40 fire ant mounds with 1 quart sized bottle and is safe to use in your lawn, around your shrubs, flowers and trees.  Children and pets can safely re-enter the sprayed area after it dries.

It also comes in a concentrated form which we keep mixed up in a 2 gallon sprayer at all times in the nursery.  When we find a plant filled with ants we spray it and they are dead – it has changed the way we treat ants throughout the nursery.

Fire Ant Facts:

  • Up to 250,000 ants can live in 1 mound
  • Total time from egg to adult averages 30 days
  • Worker ants may live up to 180 days
  • Fire ant queens live from 2 – 6 years