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Wednesday
Feb012012

Crepe Myrtle Pruning

Crepe myrtles are common in our landscapes because they bloom all summer long, peeling bark creates interest, and they are as tough as they are beautiful. This time of year you will see many neighbors and contractors pruning crepe myrtles, unfortunately many of them are doing it the WRONG way.

Many believe chopping down the Crepe is required to produce summer blooms– this is not true at all! Your tree will be just fine and bloom through the summer if you never prune it; however, your Crepe will bloom more profusely with larger blooms if it is lightly pruned from the canopy.

Others severely cut back their Crepes to control size. If the tree is too big for the space, you probably have the wrong plant in that space and should think about replacing it with something more appropriate. There are many varieties of Crepe Myrtles, some even maturing at a size of 5’-15’ so if the right variety is chosen, little maintenance will be required.

The best practice to take when pruning Crepe Myrtles is to selectively prune to promote its natural tree form and maximize blooming. This is done by pruning off shoots that grow out of the canopy, pruning out “suckers”, pruning rubbing or crossing interior branches, and keeping the trunks limbed up. Ideally, the tree should have 3-5 trunks and the trunks should be half the trees height.

Remember, blooms come from new growth so your pruning needs to be done before Spring. Please call me to schedule your Crepe Myrtle pruning– done the right way.

 

Tuesday
Jan102012

Cool Season Weeds

So far its been a very mild start to the Winter. That means all the broadleaf weeds that have germinated and usually start to flower in Spring have already started to grow out and flower. We will be starting a liquid broadleaf application a little earlier than usual to nip these broadleaf weeds before they mature.

Monday
Dec122011

Poa Annua Control- DO IT NOW!

Its been a pretty good Fall and Winter for lawn care. Once we got through the brutal Summer and nutsedge infestations, the conditions were much better for lawn renovations and getting new grass established. So far your lawn has received the first winter feeding and we’ll do one more for our Premium Lawn Care Programs to get through the winter.

I’ll also be taking soil samples and getting a soil analysis for all new Premium Program customers.

This Fall I am trying a new product ProGrass that controls the dreaded Poa Annua weed, only on lawns that we’ve had a problem with the weed. We’ve seen this insidious weed take over problem turf areas during the Spring and up to this year there has been no effective or economical solution. The first treatment goes down late November/early December and then a follow up treatment 3 weeks later. I’m hoping for good results with ProGrass, I’m looking forward to finding out next Spring...

Although weeds are much more noticeable in the Spring, this is the time for winter broadleaf weeds to germinate such as chickweed, henbit, etc. I will be spraying a selective herbicide this month to eliminate these weeds, I like to wait until the new grass from renovations has had time to take root and become strong enough to take the stress from herbicide application. 

Next month I’ll be going over the complete turf and shrub application schedule for our programs. 

 

Tuesday
Nov012011

Irrigation Winterization

Seems like the winters have gotten harsher the last couple of years and every January I get a couple of calls from customers whose backflow has frozen and burst because the system was not winterized.  We will be scheduling irrigation winterization shut downs starting in late November and going through December with my irrigation sub Ron Pepper. Or I also recommend Rainmaker Irrigation (704-596-6200) if you prefer to set it up yourself.

Here is the process:

The water is shut off at the meter or shut off valve. The backflow is drained and taken apart so no water can freeze and expand. An air compressor is hooked to the backflow and each zone is blown out so no water remains in the pipes. Access to the irrigation timer is needed to do the winterization.

This service usually costs $75-$95 depending on the number of zones in your system.

Please call or email to confirm that you want me to coordinate your irrigation winterization with Ron.

 



Tuesday
Nov012011

Annual Flower Beds

Nothing makes the landscape shine during the winter like a bed of healthy, colorful pansies. Unfortunately, sometimes the healthy and colorful part can be tricky. After consulting with my horticulture advisors and testing some products, I have come up with the ultimate combination of soil amendments to get the healthiest plants with constant robust blooms.

Here is the “secret” formula:

1. Build the bed with one part top soil, one part Sustane organic fertilizer, and mulch with a fine pine bark soil conditioner. Because the Sustane is made of composted turkey manure, it provides rich organic nutrients through the season. The soil conditioner gives the bed a fluffy consistency to allow easy root growth.

2. Sprinkle over 2 cups per 100 sq ft of granular fungicide and insecticide and lightly work into the bed. This allows the plants to absorb these pesticides systemically and will last through the season. It will prevent aphids from feeding on pansies and winter fungus from blotching the leaves.

3. Start with healthy robust plants with established root systems. We get the bigger pots from Roundtree Nursery and stay away from the small 6-pack containers.

4. Spray pansies with Macron ornamental fertilizer and deer repellent. This additional fertilizer treatment is key to getting maximum blooms from your pansies. We will spray Macron on the pansies twice the first month, then every other month for the rest of the season.

5. Deadheading through the season to promote more blooms.

This is what we deliver when we install your pansy beds this fall. Only the best products and cutting edge techniques to get great results.

Please give me a call if you would like to create a new pansy bed in your landscape or decorate with pots.