This is the moment to plan out your best landscape!
Fall is the best time to figure out what is working for you and what needs to change in your home landscape! Make sure you're addressing the drainage and cultural issues that might exist- bury your downspouts, address pooling water. Cultural issues might be soil problems, soils lacking in moisture or poor, heavy clay soil. These are just some things to keep in mind when assessing your own landscape. This is an awesome checklist/ questionairre we use with many of our clients who are intersted in a renovation/ overhaul.
Also- Fall is a wonderful time to remember which trees you love! Trees form the backbone on any landscape and support everything else. They can grow for half a century and provide incredible savings and relief when it comes to your utility costs! We had the opportunity to visit Loma Vista Nursery and got a glimpse inside one of our favorite tree companies, J Frank Schmidt. We buy many of our young tree slips from them that we plant and grow to maturity at the LLI Tree Farm. As a tree nerd, I'm very excited at some of their new offerings (most of which are improved native species!). They are bringing out a Prairie Gold Aspen tree- yes, a lowland aspen!! Also, a Crimson Spire Oak-- this lovely oak is a tall, narrow favorite that turns a lovely scarlet in fall. As well as the NEW stuff, I'm reminded this fall how much I love crabapple trees. They are a perfect small ornamental blooming tree- the crown can wind and cloud-like or rounded. They come in dwarf sizes for the front of your house as well as full size 20' trees! There are fruitless trees for those who REALLY don't want any fruit trash in their yard and then there are varieties that offer smaller fruit fit for the birds, for us nature lovers. Here is an aswesome chart they made to compare varieties!
Many of our clients have called in to ask us about pruning (roses, hydrangeas, perennials). Here is the best advice I have: wait until the shrubs are in true winter dormancy. The best time to prune is late February or early March for most summer blooming and evergreen shrubs. This means ninebark, spirea, roses, viburnum, TREES of all sorts, boxwood, evergreens, etc. Why? Pruning early in fall actually spurs growth! If the days are still warm (hello 60 degree days), this will bring on some new growth that will get killed off by cold. As well, it's better to wait until winter is nearly done to assess any damage from snow and ice before you prune. When I prune roses, I look to improve air circulation within the plant. I try to open it up like a hand.
What can you do this weekend? Make sure all of your newer plants have plenty of soil, compost or mulch around them covering the root balls. I pile up oak leaves in beds with no disease issues. My main disese issue come up with iris leaf spot- so I cut those back in the summer and cleaned up thoroughly in the bed. I allow the rest of my beds to get nestled in with a nice layer of leaves on them. I mow my yard to grind up leaf matter into tiny bits, thus making it so I don't HAVE to rake. Last week my husband mowed with the bagger on to gather up some leaves in a particularly dense area. We put these on our compost!
Have a warm weekend!
This week we welcomed the Master Gardeners to our Tree Farm. Glen, one of our bosses here at Lawrence Landscape, talked about irrigation for the home gardener. I, Laurel, gave a little rundown of why we design.
Drip Irrigation Basics by Glen Westervelt
Connection to water source:
The “Trunk” Line:
Typically ½ line Poly Ethylene pipe (will handle up to 3 GPM or 180 GPH)
Fittings: Elbow, Tee, Coupler, shut off valve, End cap
The lateral lines:
Drippers rated in GPH (gallons per hour) 1 GPM = 60 Gallon per hour.
PC drippers are” Pressure Compensated” you should get the same amount of water out of the dripper next to the house as you do at the end of your line always buy PC drippers.
Don’t run more than about 20 GPH off of each ¼” connection to the trunk line.
In line drippers: The drippers are made as part of the hose
Advantages: Less parts to lose, easy to install, ¼” line works great for pots with the use of ¼” tees
Control you watering by:
Things to remember:
Changing the size of the dripper
Change the number of drippers per plant.
Change how long you are running the “Zone”
Drip irrigation works very slow, typically you will have run times in excess of one hour.
Animals tend to chew on it if they find out it has water in it.. you should keep parts on hand to fix when needed.
- Just because you can’t see it running … don’t drown your plants
Design- why? and how?
By Laurel Sears
Why do we design a landscape? As plant lovers, why do we NOT just shove as many cool plants as we can in an OK arrangement? What’s the difference between design and an OK arrangement??
We design because….
Use. We use our spaces a lot. The use of our space is specific. We can’t do a great design if we don’t consider how the space will be used!
Good design is satisfying. Plain and simple. Basic design tenets: repetition/ rhythm, harmony, balance.
Uses resources intelligently.
--Water- irrigation and design go together. Doesn’t have to be a larger system but a well-designed area takes plant maintenance into consideration! It’s a must.
--Labor: mowing, maintenance, weeding, pruning....
--Culture (the type of soil, amount of sun and water) - good design puts plants of the same culture together in a way that maximizes their effect.
Create meaning. Yes, this is deep! To capture a fleeting part of another landscape. For example: woodland garden, Japanese garden, prairie meadow. We might choose to plant Sugar maples in honor of our fall trip to Vermont. To relive our grandmother’s rose garden….
Ways to get a good design (from a designer or yourself): Know these things or find them out!
-How will it be used? And how much time do you plan to spend in it daily/ weekly?
-Kids? Dogs? Animals?
-Who will maintain it? How? Water? Pruning etc?
-How much maintenance do they/you plan to do
-What do you dis/like about the current space?
-How long do you plan to be in your house (assuming the design is for your home landscape)?
-Any specific cultural elements that can impact design? Bog, wet, dry, sandy, rocky, etc.
-BUDGET. Pet peeve of every professional designer ever—the secret budget. Yes, we may (likely) come in over budget because (likely) you want to spend less than your budget and custom services are always more expensive than anyone wants! But… designers will always pare down or spread out a design in phases. If we at least know a ballpark, the conversation will be much more fruitful!
Follow Lawrence Landscape @ www.lawrencelandscape.com/blog Also, on About The House with Jeremy Taylor, KLWN radio
Twitter and Facebook
This update is from one of our senior designers, John Karrasch.
Decks without Borders
We’ve all seen them, the little 10’x12’ treated lumber decks created to transition from the house to the yard. We cram a table with 4 chairs and a grill on them and then spend the rest of summer trying to navigate around the furniture while making our way to the narrow openings in the railing.
What if your deck space gave you unlimited access and views to your yard? What if you could enjoy a 180 degree view of your yard during the summer and from the kitchen table in the winter?
Our most recent deck project does just that. We removed the existing 12’x14’ deck that was not functioning for the homeowners’ needs and greatly minimized the view of their beautiful new landscape (to be installed after deck is completed)and replaced it with a 14’x16’ open access deck of composite material. The added benefit of steps wrapping the deck is that people may use the steps as seating and for displaying potted plants.
Sometimes the best design is not what you add- but what you take away! jk
More updates when the landscape is installed.
If you're interested in local agriculture, come visit the farms in our rich valley. It's the Kaw Valley Farm tour: October 5, 6. 10:00 am- 6:00, $10 per carload for the whole weekend.
Come see us at the LLI Tree Farm this weekend. We will be offering free pie pumpkins for the little ones- paint them, paint your faces, use our PUMPKIN SLING SHOT! Enjoy some cider while you walk through the trees. We've set up a self-guided tour with information on our trees to learn more about what might work in your landscape. Start with the baby trees, check out the kinds of maples we grow and lots more. If you want more information, we will be happy to drive you out into the field!
Buy tickets at The Community Mercantile, the LLI Tree Farm, The Farmer's Market and more. Enjoy the Fall landscape with your family, at your own pace! Have an adventure.... hope to see you there.
Tree Planting Season- how do I pick the tree for me?
-Determine the purpose of the tree
Shade? Privacy? Decoration? Storm water mediation?
-Determine ideal mature size and where will it be planted?
Often desired placement = size constrictions. KNOW THIS.
-Any environmental concerns about tree location?
Low and wet. High and dry. Very sunny. Undertory and shady. All concerns to remember….
Other pertinent questions: how long will you be at your current residence? What kinds of trees are planted in your neighborhood?
In order to support a balanced tree ecosystem, we need to vary what we plant. We’ve planted tons and tons of Ash trees over the last 15-20 years. Now, we are faced with a devastating epidemic: Emerald Ash Borer. It’s been confirmed as far west as Wyandotte County. We aren’t far behind. This will wipe out most of the Ash trees in the city- with a few specimen examples saved by rigorous spraying, injecting, care and maintenance. We’ve begun, as a city, to overplant red maples. In order to keep another red maple plague at bay, we must vary what we plant!
When you purchase your tree, learn the botanical name. This ensures that you are getting what you think you’re getting. If you go down south and ask about a Tulip tree, chances are you’ll end up with a southern magnolia! However, most folks up here are consistent that a Tulip tree is a Liriodendron or Tulip poplar. [Side note: this is one of my absolute favorite LARGE trees. Need shade? Need a lovely, wetland loving, pollen free tree with the most amazing spring blooms?? Here you go!]
Here are some of the awesome street trees/ shade trees that are recommened for our area, that we grow at the LLI Tree Farm. (note: each name is a pdf put out by JF Schmidt, from whom we buy saplings for planting. Also, these are accepted street trees in many neighborhoods in Lawrence, KS.)
Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)
'Skyline' Honelocust (Gleditsia triacanthos 'Skycole')
Of course you love red maple (Acer rubrum), who doesn't? But of course, those are overplanted. These other trees offer different qualities of shade, hardiness, fall color and spring loveliness... investigate your options! Come down to the Tree Farm and look at all of the large and small trees we have to offer.
Kaw Valley Farm Tour-- October 5 and 6. Click the link for the poster!
We are on the tour, as we are every year! Tickets are $10 per carload :). You can visit us out at the tree farm or buy a ticket elsewhere around town. Lots of fun planned for that weekend- potato sling shot/ cannon, face painting (9-1 pm), pumpkin painting, cider and self-guided tree tour! We would love to see you that weekend.
On the radio this weekend discussing the whole reason some of us live in Kansas: GARDEN VEGETABLES (and all those other summer edibles). And then of course-- LAWNS!
It's not time to overseed and get grass seed to grow yet. In about two weeks, we suggest starting your lawn renovation. Now, we like to present a program for you that will make you a happy camper. It includes core aeration, verticutting, seed and starter fertilizer. It's important to know that this doesn't include any grading or new soil. For the homeowners who have nice thick turf but a few dead patches, this will work really well. Fall is a good time to seed because with regular water and cooler nights, the seed can germinate and get good roots put out.
One of our Facebook friends posted this picture of her grass. Anyone know what is wrong?
Hint: It's a really complex name. It's called Brown Patch. I know. I know. Anyway, brown patch is a fungal disease. It happens when the lawn is watered in the evening or early morning and the water stays on the leaf blade too long. The recommended treatment is to change watering times to early morning as the sun is coming up. Also, fertilize in fall with a Nitrogen dominant fertilizer. The fungicide that we would apply is useful but should be a last resort. If you change your watering and allow it to dry between waterings, the grass should begin to recover. Here is the K-State info sheet on it!
So, we may not have mountains or an ocean but we do have good soil and sun to grow plants!
Here are some highlights for us home gardeners.
Let’s talk about Basil:
Do you use much of this? I usually plant as many plants as I can, at least 6-8. Right now I have two varieties: Lettuce Leaf and Genovese Basil (the most widely used, the best flavor for Italian cooking and pesto). The varietal offerings vary but the main types are Thai basil (for use in southeast Asian food, minty flavor), decorative basil (like purple ruffles, tastes pretty good for most food!), Genovese (the gold standard for Italian and pesto recipes) and Greek or globe basil (I use this for drying, tiny leaves, dark oregano-type flavor).
Tips for harvesting basil: basil will turn brown quickly when cut. I use my thumb nail and cut only the top 1/3 of the plant. That first rosette should be tender and flavorful. Don’t use the thicker stems or super whangy-fiery tasting parts. Never take more than a third of the plant! Wash/ rinse dirt off of the leaves and pat dry. Or use a salad spinner to dry. Refrigerate. Some people take long stalks of basil and put them in a vase to keep them fresh. I usually just refrigerate and use as quickly as possible- within 12 hours!
Eating it: infused olive oil. Just stuff leaves in a bottle and fill with good quality olive oil. This stuff is a treat- drizzle on your tomatoes and mozzarella. Use it to sautee onions or in stir fry. I use it as a base for my Mediterranean cooking!
Schiffonade (thin strips) with mozzarella, garden tomatoes and balsamic/ olive oil is amazing!
Pesto (literally the word for “paste” in Italian): this is a summer staple for us! Simplest recipe ever, leftover will freeze beautifully. Add nuts, basil, cheese and blend. Drizzle in oil until consistency is soft, paste-like. Measurements: I go by the handful. Dress pasta, bake chicken with it or spread it on italian bread!
3 parts- Lots of fresh basil. (If you want a milder flavor, use half fresh basil, half Italian flat-leaf parsley)
1 part- Pine nuts or good quality English walnuts (Mild flavor is key. Use unsalted almonds if you want.)
1 part- Peccorino romano, grated.
A few cloves of garlic. Make a wise choice! What is your mood?
Olive oil to desired consistency.
Salt. Always need more than you think!
Garden favorites: How are your vegetables doing? Are your tomatoes split from too much water? Here is what is on for harvest right now!
Peppers- from mild bell peppers to spicy jalapenos and wax pepper to HOT cayenne, these are coming on strong. Due to the cool weather, my hottest peppers are not very hot right now and aren’t ripening. I just the milder ones off and eat them, regardless. The hot cayenne I am letting redden on the bush. I also put the wax peppers in vinegar for a spicy addition to soups, salads, etc.
Tomatoes- If yours are splitting, you want to make sure you aren’t watering any more. That’s too much rain right there! Adequately fertilize (not more than every 4-6 weeks for garden grown). Mulch with newspapers and compost or just compost. I have been picking mine green and allowing to ripen inside. Tomato pests are HUGE right now. The best defense is mulch, clean up all litter and use an organic spray. I choose Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew- it’s good for worms, caterpillars. These are attacking my Kale and cole crops as well as my tomatoes.
Tomatillos- These little guys are also called ground tomatoes. Same family but different taste. Excellent for green chile, Chile Verde and salsa. Mine are producing SO many!!
When you start to envision your landscape, remember that one of the best thingsabout a garden is that it highlights the season. Make sure you chose plants that offer multi-season interest- and don't forget late summer!
Just like the shrubs that turn a great scarlet in fall or plants that hold the interest in the winter landscape, late summer is a time that many garden mainstays take a break. Even your roses may stop blooming in the heat. It's time to fertilize, be very regular about your watering (one inch every 7-10 days, slow drip on the root zones) and dead head for more blooms!
This is the time of year when annuals , like the Lantana pictured here, really show their true colors. They love heat and tolerate a little drought, they only live one season and they just bloom! The rudbekia or brown-eyed-susan is really wonderful. It's a prairie perennial, will reseed and loves heat and drought! How sunny!
This picture, taken in a client's landscape, features all kinds of great late summer garden beauty in one place! You see the daylily in the background- keep in mind that most daylilies bloom in June. So this is one that is a late season bloomer- you might ask for that if you have specific late summer holes you want to fill! Then we have the misnamed but cool and curious Blackberry Lily- not a lily but an iris hybrid. It has the orange petals and red spots, very airy and fleeting blooms but a great color/ texture in the garden. As well, we've got the Kansas staple, the purple coneflower. These are just beautiful! They are made for our climate and soil. You can't go wrong, put a few in!
This is one of those that needs a larger landscape- they are hardy hibiscus! They get tall, have enormous flowers (red, pink, creamy white) and nice foliage. This is one of many in the city plantings around town. They give a great color contrast and striking, exotic blooms! You'll buy this in the spring or fall and you won't really know what to expect. Then BOOM!, summer hits and you've got this. It's a nice reward!
Summer tips for your landscape: keep a handle on bagworms. Call us for spray if you need it!
Keep your landscape mulched.Trees too! This cuts down on spider mites. This cuts down on drought and heat stress.
Keep watering 1" every 7-10 days. Here is more watering information!
Raise the blade on your mower. Most lawns are in a normal dormancy. Don't stress them out- leave more blade to photosynthesize food into the roots.
Plan for fall. We are not planting landscapes right now. Not that you can't, but we find that the heat stress on new plants, coupled with vacations, can lead to landscape failure! So plan on planting in fall (late August onward works fine). Consult with a landscape designer, if that's your cup of tea, right now! You can have that plan to put into action by late August.
Also, if you plan on planting trees this fall, keep in mind that we can plant them early in the fall or late. The earlier we plant them, the more care they will require. Everyone's favorite, the red maple, sells out quickly. If you want to enjoy a fine show of color this fall, PICK OUT YOUR TREE NOW! If we plant them in dormancy, when the leaves have fallen, they will be much less fragile and require less watering and care. Visit the Tree Farm for some ideas.....
Are any of your plants' leaves starting to look silvery or white and stippled? You might have spider mites. When it gets hot, the spider mites come out in force! Take a look at this great blog by the K-State Turfgrass department. One of the things our maintenance staff recommends is early detection. If you think you may have a problem, give Chas a call at (785)843-4370. We do a chemical spray to get rid of the eggs and the bugs. If you want to treat them yourself, do so early! You will use strong blasts of water to the underside of all leaves (see why you have to catch it early?) or a Neem oil, horticultural oil on it. You can barely see the tiny, 1/64" of an inch bugs on there, but they are there!
On to pruning: I'm not a huge believer in too much pruning. But it's important to know the basics, even if that means calling in a professional to help! Feel free to call a tree care company for any tree maintenance. But rest assured, on a small young tree, you can probably handle routine maintenance.
First let's start with trees. Trees are a big investment and it's really important to start pruning at planting time. Most full size trees bought from a tree farm or a landscape company were tended well from planting time and come to your house well pruned. A central leader, that center verticle limb, should always be present. Make sure you understand what shape crown your tree is supposed to achieve.
That being said, as a homeowner, you should always be on the lookout for dead limbs, low hanging or dangerous limbs. These should be cut when you find them. Or again, as I've said before, consult a tree care company or arborist if this is not in your wheelhouse!
Most, if not all deciduous trees, should be pruned in late season dormancy. This means late winter.
Oak trees should not be pruned until July, and even then, wait as long as possible to avoid open wounds that can possibly spread disease. Recently, the Shade Tree Fund of Greater Kansas City put out the suggestion to wait until fall because of the variable weather we are experiencing. The beetles that carries the oak wilt spore is supposed to stop flying by July but may go longer now with our wierd weather. Many trees that you might prune in late winter will have sap bleeds- and this shouldn't cause you alarm! Maples, walnut, birch can all be pruned but will have flowing sap at this time of year. If you feel this might be damaging or it concerns you, you can prune these when their leaves are fully expanded.
Crabapple, mountain ash, hawthorns shouldn't be pruned in Spring or summer because it increases the chance of infection and fireblight. Stick to winter dormancy!
Have you noticed what trees are in bloom at this time of year, this hot mid-summer?
Those beautiful yellow blooming trees with dark leaflets- that's a a compound pinnate leaf for you hort heads out there- are called Golden Rain trees or their botanical name is Koelreuteria paniculata.
They are a medium to fast growing tree, usually tops out between 30-40' tall and as wide. They produce a showy yellow panicle bloom, which contrasts nicely against the dark green leaves. I like this tree too because it is commonly referred to as "the chinese lantern tree"! it produces those neat brown husks that look like little lanterns... Anyway, it's blooming. It's lovely and loves the heat!
Also, just a reminder: your trees and shrubs will need additional water once every 7-10 days. If you think we've gotten enough rain to keep them happy, remember 1" per week. If your rain gauge says 1", you're good. If you think your sprinkler is doing the job, put out a rain gauge and then look an see what it says. A tiny amount every day or every other day is the exact opposite of what a tree or shrub needs (which is long deep watering and long deep roots!). If you think that you can't get water to all of your new trees, you might consider a Treegator or gator bag. Here is the link! We sell these with our trees-- protect your investment!
On another note entirely, the Lawrence Journal World runs a contest each year for the "best of Lawrence" in lots of categories. You, the reading public, vote on best coffe, bartender, doctor, bike trail, landscape service, etc. There are a lot of categories! Anyway, we were voted "Best Landscaping Service" in Lawrence. Thank you all! We are tickled and honored. I know the great work of our crews, designers, supervisors and staff is the reason why.... :). And here is a funny picture of yours truly and one of the bosses, Frank Male:
Do I look a little skeptical? Because Frank looks STOKED! I think I was mid-sentence!
Hey you- with the yellow tree!
Do you have a pin oak, a Quercus palustris to be exact? These are stately trees, topping out at nearly 60'. Although Pin Oaks are noble and beautiful trees, with their great triangular shape and graceful descending lower branches, they rarely remain beautiful in our clay-packed area. Now is the time of year when many pin oak (Quercus palustris) trees start to show their true colors. Unfortunately, those colors don't include dark green! Yellow or lime green are typical colors associated with pin oaks in our area. The pin oak performs poorly in most Midwestern soils- this is especially true in areas where the topsoil has been removed, which exposes the clay subsoil.
A typical Kansas soil has a pH higher than the optimum range for pin oaks, which prefer a well-drained soil with a pH from 5.0 to 6.5. When the soil pH reaches levels near 7.5, iron chlorosis, a nutrient deficient symptom develops. Iron chlorosis appears as yellow leaves with green veins. Some leaves may develop angular brown spots with brown curled leaf margins. Iron is essential for production of chlorophyll. Without enough available iron, the tree fails to produce enough chlorophyll to maintain healthy green leaves. Branches and twigs may begin to die after suffering from chlorosis over a period of several years.
The problem is not however with the amount of iron available. Midwestern soils typically have plenty of iron. However, the high soil pH prevents the iron from being used by the plant. There are three methods in which iron chlorosis can be treated due to an alkaline soil situation.
1. Make the soil more acidic: Wow, that sounds fun! Incorporating elemental sulfur or peat moss is NOT an easy task and must be repeated over the entire area many times a year. However, this will slowly help to decrease the soil pH making the iron in the soil more available to the tree.
2. A second way to treat iron chlorosis is by applying a foliar application of iron chelate or iron sulfate. This is approach is temporary since the iron does not move beyond the leaves that have been treated. A rate of 2.5 oz. of iron sulfate in 3 gallons of water is the recommended rate. Iron chelates are water-soluble forms of iron that remain in the solution making them available to the tree. The best conditions or time to make foliar applications are during the evening or in periods of cool weather. This is not effective for large scale areas- can you picture trying to spray two 45’ tall trees?!?
3. Injection. This is the most effective method of treating the problem. The tree immediately takes it up into their vascular system and the problem begins to subside. How permanent is this solution? The pin oak will revert to the chlorotic state once the supply of iron is exhausted, usually 2 or 3 years after implantation.
Price: See information below. Between $100-$250 per tree. $50 for each additional tree on the property.We are happy to assess your tree, explain the process and do the injection. Let us know if you have questions!
Correction to the price: the price of the injection is based on the SIZE of the tree.
More Tree Care Tips:
If your tree is starting to have dead limbs interspersed throughout, call a reliable tree service to get those branches removed. It is likely just normal for that tree. However, if you see it becoming more of an issue every year, your tree could be in decline. It is always recommended that you remove dead limbs when you find them. Don't let them sit there- this can breed necrotic tissue (it can rot!) at the crotch where the limb joins the trunk. Just like on your body, when your tree has an open, festering patch, disease and infection can set in.
Leave cuts open- don't seal them up. Mostly, when your prune out dead branches, your tree will callous over the cut area. The air helps speed the callous process.
Do fertilize. Don't do it after June-Spring is the best time to fertilize. You can use tree spikes (those that you put in the ground around the tree) or granular and water it in. Read package instructions well to get the right amount and the correct application method.
MULCH AROUND YOUR TREE. New trees are especially subject to being nicked by weed eaters/ string trimmers. If you mulch around the dripline of the tree, you keep machinery away from the base of your new investment! Mulch also prevents weeds from cropping up and stealing all the moisture and nurtrients from your tree. See this little drawing? Yep- it does all this.
Remember that the dripline is the end of the tree canopy....Mulch in a circle just that large! Really.