That Landscapers HATE to Fix
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.
We touched on the monarch arrival back in our last newsletter, as this annual migration is a unique and amazing phenomenon in North America. The monarch butterfly is the ONLY butterfly known to make a two-way migration like birds do! Some fly as far as 3,000 miles to reach their wintertime home.
Where are they headed, anyway? Monarchs in Eastern North America have a second home in the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico. These monarchs fly south using several different flyways, and then merge into one HUGE single flyway in Central Texas. It is truly amazing that these monarchs know the way to the overwintering sites even though this migrating generation has never been to Mexico!
As for those worried about the monarch population size – don’t fret! Chip Taylor of www.monarchwatch.org says that they are expecting a reasonably robust population to migrate south this fall. To aid in this effort of protecting and ensuring a successful trip, monarch waystations have been set up along the migration route – 25,131 waystations to be exact – with Texas holding the number one spot with 2,110 monarch waystations! These waystations hold a variety of milkweeds and nectar sources for these travelers to feast on.
Want to track the monarchs?
It’s super easy! Just visit journeynorth.org to see a live map of Adult Monarch Sightings throughout the country. Here’s what the sightings look like as we write this article:
Amazing, isn’t it?
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.
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.
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.
How to Apply
A 10 pound bag covers 5000 sq feet and is easily applied with a spreader.
Combine a granular ant killer with the Ironite into your spreader and get a 2 for 1 punch.
Elements your palms need to stay healthy
Applied in correct combination; magnesium, iron, and manganese will keep fronds from yellowing or curling. How much and when depends on where you live.
Here in East Texas, a bag of 8-8-8 is sufficient in keeping your palms healthy and happy!
Steps to establishing a new palm:
- Water plays huge role in establishing a new palm. Water every day for 45 days until the risk of transplant shock has passed.
- Apply the fertilizer away from the base of the palm, staying around 18″ away from the base. Banding fertilizer around the base of the palm tree is considered a poor practice because it can damage the roots.
- Wait about 4 to 6 weeks after planting to fertilize.
Fertilizing palms DO’s:
- Thoroughly read the directions on the fertilizer bag.
- Water BEFORE AND AFTER fertilizing, especially when using a quick release material. Under-fertilize rather than over-fertilize.
- Under-fertilized plants just don’t grow as fast; over-fertilize them and they may die. Pick a fertilizer with an approximate NPK ratio (like an 8-8-8).
- An ideal palm fertilizer has the right mix of microelements, magnesium and calcium.
- Fertilize your palm trees three times a year: spring, summer, and fall.
- You can also augment with organic fertilizers such as blood meal, bone meal, fish emulsion, and worm castings.
- Fertilize completely around the plant, distributing the granules over the entire root distribution area (approximately the size covered by the mid-day shadow of the plant).
- Work fertilizer into the soil if possible.
- Rake the garden of debris, apply their fertilizer, and finish with a top dressing.
- Soil test for salt content, especially in container plants. Inexpensive pronged meters easily tell you when you have problems.
- Keep turf well away from your palm trees. This will make it easier to fertilize your palms and will help keep diseases away from your palm.
Fertilizing palms DON’Ts:
- DON’T fertilize on dry soil, as it can lead to plant burn and death.
- DON’T over-fertilize as this can lead to plant injury.
- DON’T Throw granular fertilizer down the crown of the plant.
- DON’T Throw all the fertilizer in one pile at the base of the plant. Scatter it.
- DON’T Throw the fertilizer against the trunk of the plant in a big pile as this can lead to necrosis or scaring of the trunk.
- DON’T Use the cheapest, highest concentration quick release fertilizers such as ammonium nitrate 30:0:0 (lawn fertilizer), as this can lead to plant burn or injury.
- DON’T Put fertilizer directly in contact with the roots when repotting a container plant, especially if using a quick release fertilizer.
- DON’T Put manure into the hole when planting a palm. Too often the generated heat and solute concentration are damaging to the palms roots.
- DON’T allow rain to fall on your stored bags of fertilizer as this may solidify the granules or leach out the fertilizer. Protect the bags with a tarp.
The Home and Garden Center in Longview has started a brand-new program that was inspired by YOU and it’s called Grab and Go Containers.
Designing your own pot of high-quality, magazine-worthy plants can be a difficult task if you’re not the super creative type, or if you don’t know what plants work best together for a specific season.
So that’s what the Grab and Go Containers are for.
‘Grab and Go’ containers are pre-planted containers that come in various sizes and price ranges, enabling you to simply browse their selections, grab it and go. Or, if you’re feeling inspired, you can use the containers to place into your favorite container and enjoy a quick and easy finished look.
The plants in each container have been hand selected by experts to grow well together and look amazing all season long.
They give you instant, professionally designed containers just like the ones out of your favorite magazine, but without all the work.
The Home and Garden Center has divided the year into 6 seasons and each season will have a new combination of plants that will be included in their Grab and Go containers.
- Early Spring: Begins in March
- Late Spring: Mid-April through May
- Early Summer: May through June
- Late Summer: July through August
- Fall: September through October
- Winter: November through December
You can learn more about the grab and go seasons and their combination of plants here.