Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Spring Pruning

Early Spring Pruning

We posted on our Facebook page earlier this winter about making sure your trees were pruned prior to spring. Now that spring is quickly approaching and I can clearly see some tree buds starting to swell, you need to get to work on some of the shrubbery on your property.

Each of the following plants are commonly found in Siouxland yards and can be safely pruned in the early spring.

  • Butterfly Bush (Buddleia Davidii)
  • Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)
  • Fall Clematis (Clematis terniflora)
  • Honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissiam)
  • Hydrangea, Peegee (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’)
  • Potentilla (Potentilla fruticosa)
  • Spirea (except Bridal Wreath) (Spirea japonica))
  • Wisteria (Wistera species)

If you have one of these, clean and sharpen your pruners and give them a trim before they start to grow. Frankly, I cut my Fall Clematis to the ground every spring and I am always amazed at how HUGE it is in the fall. The first time I did it I was terrified, but the results were fabulous, so now it is an early spring ritual.

Before you run outside and butcher all your shrubs, I wouldn't reccomend you hack all these plants to the ground!! Each has individual needs,so do a little research first. I have found the Monrovia website to be very helpful with information on specific plants. About.com also has a "How to Prune Your Shrubbery" article. Or visit your local garden center for advice. Here in Siouxland, John Kluver at Earl May has a weatlth of knowledge about plant care and is always delighted to share what he knows.

Enjoy the milder weather!

Keep it Green!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Have you created a beast?

Hello sprinkler friends!

I have left you alone for far too long! We had the craziest seaon in our twenty-three year history last year. There wasn't hardly time to take a coffee break much less write a blog post. We do hope that this year is a little more manageable than last.

We had horrible dry conditions last summer, which was a huge coin flip from the flooding the summer before.   Mother Nature can be so moody! Many people simply let their yards die last year, particularly people without irrigation systems. We know of a few that quit watering automatically as well, which seemed like a questionable choice to me.

The biggest thing we saw last year is that the yards that got watered the most during non-drought conditions, needed the most water during drought conditions. We have tried very hard over the years to educate our customers about proper watering procedures and a few just aren't listening. I am going to say it again, just in case you missed it!

Established turf grass does NOT need to be watered every day. Even in extreme conditions.

Really, truly. You did not read that wrong. If you water every day the root system of your grass remains at the surface rather than burrowing deeper into the soil to search for water. In the heat of the day if you were to dig a hole the warmest and driest dirt is at the top and the cooler more moist soil is deeper down. What you are doing by watering daily is creating a thick layer of roots in the hottest driest part of the soil.

Turfgrass that is watered daily, because of the altered structure of it's root system is also more susceptible to disease and has to be manicured more carefully. One false move with a lawn mower or trimmer and you have killed your grass. Daily watering turns your turfgrass into a water greedy beast. Spoiled grass needs more water and more care. Stop the crazy cycle before it starts again.

All this being said, please do not start off your season watering daily. Your yard does not need it.Trust me. Your water bill will decrease and the life expectancy of your well system will increase. You will waste less water - overwatered lawns have greater run off. You will mow less and your lawn will be healthier and happier.

But what if it is really hot and really dry? Do you need to water every day then? Not likely. We will talk about that another day, but in most cases the answer is still no.

Have a great day!

Keep it Green,  Siouxland!