Q?What should I be doing for my landscaping this time of year?

Clients often ask, “Is there something I should be doing this time of year for my landscaping?”.  The quick answer is YES!

Probably the easiest thing you can do as a homeowner, is to WATER!  Watering helps plants/flowers/trees survive the winter when there is no moisture present. To support plants as they prepare for the upcoming winter, please make sure that they get an adequate water supply PRIOR to the ground permanently freezing for the winter.  A quick and easy solution is to put your garden hose in your flower beds, around bushes and trees, and let it “trickle” for at least 10 minutes.  The trickle of water will allow it to totally soak up the needed moisture as the ground prepares for winter.  Most shrubs/flowers need 10-12″ of moisture around their root base.  Trees even more!

A good 30 minutes of trickle out your hose is needed for most trees.

The moisture level that you prepare now, will enhance and help “bloom” your landscaping next spring!  A little prep work will go a LONG ways!

Q?“When can I trim back my shrub roses?”

This is a question we get a lot from folks who have planted shrub roses in the Omaha/Elkhorn and metro areas.

Everyone seems confused as to when they should prune their shrub roses.  Interestingly enough……. most seem to feel it should revolve around man-made calendar dates like October 15th or April 15th!  Neither of these is technically correct.

Here’s why the timing does matter.  Pruning too soon may stimulate tender new growth during a warm spell that could be killed later by a freeze.  You NEVER want to prune shrub roses too late in the fall. This stresses the plants terribly.  Prune too late and you won’t get that great spring bloom.  You have stressed the plants!

So what is the best time to prune so you don’t cause plant stress?

Prune when the Forsythia begins to bloom.  In our growing region, the Forsythia is the bright “canary yellow” shrub that is one of the first to bloom. In the Omaha/Elkhorn and metro areas, it is typically on or around April 1st-April 15th in a normal year.

When you see the Forsythia bloom, it means the GROUND TEMPERATURE is warm enough to trim.  (Hint- That means its also time to put down your pre-emergent herbicide)

Nature is telling us when it’s time to prune.  The plants know.  If it’s a long winter they will bloom later.  During a short winter they bloom sooner (Like 2012).  So keep an eye out for the Forsythia and when they start to bloom it’s time to get our your sharp shears!

Q?Tree Bark Damage!

Question- Had a customer ask me – “If a tree trunk has become damaged, due to wind, collision or animals, is there a chance to save the tree?”

Answer – This is a little bit of a loaded question.  It depends.   How severe is the wound, how deep is it, and what caused the accident?

To be honest, typically I would tell a customer “its only a matter of time” before the tree will struggle and not survive.  A majority of the time, it will be insects penetrating the tree’s vascular system, not the actual wound itself that will cause the tree to die.

The outer bark is part of the xylem and phloem vascular system that keeps the tree alive.  It would be like you and me losing an artery or vein that’s really important.  Can you survive, YES.  Will it possibly cause other “issues”… YES

Q?“Is it too early to trim back Ornamental Grasses in the Omaha/Metro area?”

In response to this question-

The answer is “It’s time!” Ornamental grasses are dormant right now, because they are considered a “warm season” grass.  With this in mind, the dead foliage can be removed starting about 4″ from the ground.  Make sure to wear gloves, and use a good cutting utensil because some grasses are TOUGH, and some grass blades very sharp on your hands.    Have fun!

Antler Country Landscaping, Inc., Landscape Contractors, Elkhorn, NE