March or April? Is this really March? The plants think it is April. Yes, they are growing like it is a whole month from now. The warm weather we have had in most of January and February have pushed their growth cycles almost a month earlier than normal. But who is complaining?
Lawns in the Pacific Northwest have a tendency to deteriorate over a few years as coarse wild grasses and weeds invade the lawn. Lawns become irregular and patchy with bare spots and a mixture of different textures of grass, weeds, moss and other invaders. We have a lawn renovation system which assesses the particular problems and needs of each lawn and then proceeds with a several step process that brings the lawn back into its prime condition. This process is cheaper than resodding and accomplishes longer lasting results.
We normally start renovating lawns in April because the soil must warm up so the grass seed will germinate. However, because of the advanced season we plan to start in mid-March. We already have a number of lawns waiting to be restored. Call if you would like a free consultation and estimate for your lawn.
The cost of removing your old sod, preparing the soil and resodding is typically $4000 or more for a 2000 square foot lawn. Our system costs $600 or less. Our system smooths bumpy soil as new channels for seed are created and thatch is removed. Seed is placed in these channels at just the right depth for optimum germination. A light layer of mulch helps hold moisture around the seed. The result is a new lawn equivalent to a sodded lawn in 6 to 8 weeks or less.
Weekly Lawn and Landscape Maintenance
This month we are starting a new weekly or biweekly lawn and landscape maintenance service in Vancouver west of NE Andresen Rd. and NE 72nd Ave. This service will be available in other areas as soon as we get 3 or 4 clients in a particular neighborhood.
We offer 2 types of service:
1. Lawn mowing, trimming, edging and blowing
2. Complete maintenance including lawn care, plus fertilization, moss, weed and pest control of lawns, trees, shrubs and flowers, and natural pruning of all shrubs and trees up to 15 feet.
We provide service with skilled, experienced technicians who can understand your requests and answer your questions. Our service will be on regular same day of week service. We provide the superior attention to detail that is characteristic of all of our landscape services. Our prices are very similar to other landscape maintenance services. Call for a free quotation.
I am often asked what is different about our natural pruning techniques. The goal of natural pruning is to keep the natural shape and thickness of trees and shrubs while they are being reduced in size. Plants keep their natural look rather than being turned into thick, unnatural ball and boxes. Shrubs keep their foliage clear to the ground instead of developing a “chicken leg look”.
Why Natural Pruning is Better
Natural pruning preserves the natural shape and density of plants. Each shrub has its own natural growth shape. Why make all shrubs look alike? With natural pruning, branches are pruned one at a time with hand pruners, loppers (with long handles – for larger branches), or a pruning saw. Pruning begins when shrubs are small, before they have outgrown their planting area and block windows or walkways. This may only require shortening one or two branches the first time.
1. Branches are cut inside or below the leaf surface where other smaller branches hide the stubs.
2. Instead of pruning branch tips, they are cut back to a side branch or removed entirely, keeping the same density of plant growth.
3. Lower branches are shortened less (or not at all) than upper branches, which keeps the shrub full and leafy clear to the ground.
4. Because many fewer branches are cut (especially after several prunings) the difference in pruning time becomes negligible (or sometimes even less over time).
5. The natural shape of the shrub is retained because branches are deliberately cut at different lengths
I have taught at least 50 clients in the Vancouver area how to prune their own shrubs. We prune together going from shrub to shrub. I explain why as well as how to make suitable pruning cuts, tailored to the specific needs of your shrubs and your landscape. As a result you feel more competent the next time you need to prune your shrubs. This service often only requires an hour or two.
Leaf Diseases in Flowering Cherry, Dogwood, and Roses
These three plants develop several different leaf diseases as the new leaves come out in the rainy spring weather. Make sure to rake up all dead leaves under them because they are the source of reinfestation. Then spray with one of the following as new leaves are developing. Organic gardeners can use lime-sulfur (calcium polysulfide) or Neem oil. Three systemic fungicides are Propiconazole, Myclobutanil, and Tebuconazole. Propiconazole is available in Ferti-lome Systemic Fungicide. Myclobutanil is in Spectracide Immunex Fungicide. Tebuconazole is in Bayer All-in-One Rose and Flower Care and other Bayer products. These 3 systemic fungicides stop disease development in already infected leaves as well as protecting new uninfected leaves. Daconil and Chlorothalonil are also widely available and effective, but are not systemic and therefore protect only new uninfected leaves. In most cases you will have to look at the list of ingredients to find the technical, chemical names
Fertilize Lawns, Trees, Shrubs and Perennial Flowers
Lawns can be fertilized twice a year if you use fertilizers with slow release nitrogen. If your lawn is green and growing well, you may want to wait a month or two. If your lawn is not as green as you would like it, apply fertilizer now. Check the list of ingredients to determine if part of the nitrogen is in slow or gradual release form. Organic fertilizers are naturally slow release.
Most permanent plants need fertilizer once a year in the spring. Mature trees don’t need fertilizer other than what they get when other plants around them are fertilized. Their roots go well beyond their branch area. Roses need fertilizer about once every 6 to 8 weeks. Most perennial flowers do fine with one spring fertilizer application. I fertilize annual flowers and vegetables when I plant them. I usually fertilize a second time in early to mid-summer. I use lawn fertilizer for all my woody plants. For flowers and vegetables I use a general purpose fertilizer with approximately equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (16-16-16 or 6-6-6).