Lawrence Landscape - Blog
As the seasons change here in Kansas, so does our to-do list in the yard. Aside from shoveling snow, one of the most common (and important) things to tend to is winter pruning of deciduous trees and certain varieties of shrubs. Keeping in mind that the maintenance and care of individual plants and trees may vary, here are some reasons why winter pruning in is beneficial to your landscape.
The Benefits of Winter Pruning in Kansas
- Pruning in winter can improve the safety
around you home. By this time of year, most (if not all) of the leaves have fallen.
This makes it is easier to pinpoint problematic areas on your trees and
shrubs. Take this opportunity to cut back any broken or sagging limbs that
could pose a threat to your property. The last thing you need is a limb
falling onto your roof (or you) to set off the new year.
- Pruning the right plants at the right time
promotes healthy regrowth. Pruning lets sunlight and air into the center
of the tree or shrub, which in turn will help promote health when the
growing season comes back around.
- Pruning in winter will reduce stress of
pruning on the plants. In our area, deciduous plants are dormant
throughout winter, so cutting them back them during the colder months will
significantly reduce the stress associated with pruning.
- Prune while insects and disease are not
active. Fresh wounds on trees are
susceptible to being attacked by insects and disease during warmer months,
so taking advantage of the colder temperatures will work in favor of your
There are always exceptions to the rule.
to remember that pruning guidelines vary based on the variety and type of tree
or shrub in question, as well as local climates. With so many varieties of
plants out there, we can’t go into specifics on each of them in this post.
If you have
questions about how and when to prune your particular trees and shrubs, the
best thing you can do is reach out to a professional
. Our team is full of plant lovers and
horticulturists, and we’re always happy to help answer your questions.
Stay Warm. Let Lawrence Landscape Take Care of Your Winter Pruning and Landscape Maintenance
Want to take the hassle out of pruning your trees and shrubs? We can help with that too! Let our team of experts here at Lawrence Landscape take care of your winter pruning in Kansas. Contact us today to get started!
Newly planted trees are typically staked to provide additional support until the tree has established a root system strong enough to serve as its own anchor. These stakes are only intended as a temporary aid. It’s important to remove them a year after planting, or after one full growing season. If trees are left staked for too long, the stakes can end up hindering growth, so don’t forget about them! If you have any questions or concerns regarding your trees and stakes, don’t hesitate to contact us .
Beyond the excitement surrounding the holidays, the onset of winter can leave folks feeling a bit lack luster at times. The vibrant colors of summer and fall have faded away. The trees have shed their leaves, leaving them bare and dormant. It seems like everything in nature has settled into varying shades of gray. Landscapers are optimists, if nothing else, always seeking to find beauty in our surroundings. Considering all this, it’s the perfect time to pay homage to one of the shining stars of the winter landscape: ornamental grasses!
What’s so great about ornamental grass?
grasses are low maintenance.
grasses need very little care overall. Once a year in early spring before new
growth emerges, they need to be cut back to about 6” from the ground, depending
on the size of the grass. Once they’re established, some grasses require little
extra water, depending on the variety. Like all new plantings, they do require
watering to get them established. Ornamental grasses also benefit from being
seasonally fertilized, but it’s not required.
Ornamental grasses provide seasonal interest. The visual and textural characteristics of ornamental grass make them a great addition to residential and commercial landscapes. Depending on the variety, these grasses are vibrant variations of green in the spring and transition into warmer tones of orange, red, and tan when fall arrives. Barren winter landscapes can be transformed by incorporating these plants of varying height, tone, and texture.
Ornamental grasses are practical, too! Beyond the aesthetic appeals of grasses in your landscape, the height of some ornamental grasses makes them ideal as a natural screen to improve privacy. The sound of the grass rustling in the wind can also help block out unwanted sources of noise pollution.
A few favorites from the mouths of landscape designers
We took an informal poll around the office to see if we could identify a few of our favorite ornamental grasses. Here’s what we came up with!
- “The Blues” Little Bluestem Grass – We all agree that this grass is a must have. This grass stays small, approximately 2-ft tall and wide, and it has blue-green foliage that turns orange-red during the fall. Little Bluestem Grass works great for mass plantings and looks stunning in a native landscape. It’s also great to use for wildlife – it provides cover and is a food source for birds!
- Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass – This has always been one of our favorite grasses to use! It’s a clumping grass that keeps to itself and is medium in size. It’s green and the grass reaches about 2-ft tall and wide. The plumes are yellow in color and grow to be about 5-6-ft above the grass itself. This is another great grass to use as an accent by entryways or in masses in your landscape.
- Shenandoah Red Switch Grass – We love this grass for its tight, up-right structure and its bright red colors in the fall. Shenandoah Red reaches about 3-ft tall and gets about 2-ft wide.
Start planning for next year
It’s too late in the year to start planting ornamental grasses now, but it’s never too late to start planning! Figure out what your vision for your landscape is, gather up some inspiration from sites like Pinterest or Houzz, and create an action plan for getting things done. Need help developing a vision, finding inspiration, or fulfilling those dreams? The full-service team at Topeka Landscape is here to help you create your ideal landscape. Give us a shout today!
As fall progresses in northeast Kansas, cooler soil temperatures create ideal conditions for planting bulbs that yield spring-blooming perennials. Getting these bulbs safely into the ground by the end of November (weather dependent, of course) will result in bursts of vibrant color when spring rolls around – a welcomed sight for sore eyes. Are you looking for ways to improve your curb appeal and add visual interest to your landscape? Check out 4 of our team’s favorite spring-blooming perennials that can do just that!
Hyacinth– Add rich hues to your landscape with these fragrant spring bloomers. Hyacinths do best when planted in areas where they will receive full sun. Their tall, spikey stalks also provide great visual contrast with other spring bloomers on our list of favorites! Pro Tip: Group hyacinths into large groups to maximize their fragrance!
Tulip– These cup-shaped beauties are available in nearly every color and herald the onset of spring. Tulips thrive in well-drained soil and should be planted in areas with full-sun exposure. Pro Tip: Interplant tulips with daffodils to help ward off hungry squirrels and deer that love snacking on them.
Daffodil –Celebrated as one of the longest-living bulbous perennials, daffodils are said to easily out-live the people who plant them! Daffodils prefer neutral soil with good drainage and bloom best when grown in full sun. Pro Tip: Interplant these with grassy plants so that when the perennial’s foliage turns yellow, you can minimize the visual impact on your landscape.
Crocus –Low-growing, adaptable, and vibrant, crocuses in bloom are one of the first natural indicators that spring is right around the corner! As with other bulbous perennials, the crocus prefers well-drained soil and full-sun exposure. Pro Tip: Incorporate and layer crocus with other spring-flowering bulbs that will bloom at different times and that have different heights to create longer-lasting seasonal interest.
Important info on caring for bulbs after they’ve bloomed
One of the most important things to understand about bulbous perennials is how they store their nutrients. After these forms of perennials bloom, their foliage will soon turn yellow and wilt. While you may be tempted to cut these back after their done blooming, please don’t! The plants need time to move their nutrients back down in the bulb, and cutting them back too quickly will decrease the amount of nutrients the bulb can store for future use. This will impact the flower quality of the bulbs in the future.
Make your landscape colorful throughout the seasons!
Our team of horticulturalists and plant enthusiasts love to talk about plants and their care. Do you have ideas or goals for your landscape? Let our team work with you to make those dreams a reality. From landscape design and installation to routine maintenance and irrigation, our team is here to help bring your outdoor imagination to life! Let’s start planning today!
We are out and about turning off irrigation systems in preparation for winter, but it’s important to remember that your plants will still need water throughout late fall and into winter! Proper hydration helps plants with root development and encourages them to flower and mature when growing season rolls back around. Even as plants go dormant during winter, you’ll need to keep up with watering them. With dry air, fluctuating temperatures, frigid wind, and low amounts of precipitation, winter watering is critical to avoid winter desiccation and for the survival and health of young trees, shrubs, and plants in your landscape.
Methods To Ensure Your Plants Stay Hydrated
The best approach to protecting plants from winter desiccation is to regularly monitor the moisture levels of the soil in your landscape and deeply water your trees and shrubs between October to March. It's also important to monitor the weather conditions throughout the winter months and water during periods of extended dry weather. Below are tips on important winter watering techniques for your landscape:
- Plants will not need to be watered as often as during the summer months, but should be watered approximately one to two times per month (weather dependent).
- Newly planted trees and shrubs need more water than other plant material that has been established for more than one year.
- To determine if your plants need watering, use a metal rod or a screw driver and probe the soil within the root zone of the plant. If the soil is moist, it should go into the soil easier than if the soil is dry. Also, when the probe is removed from the soil profile, soil will be stuck to the probe if the soil is moist.
- Water should be applied mid-day when air temperatures are above 40°F. Watering during this time of the day will allow water to soak into the soil profile before temperatures possibly drop back below freezing at night. Windy conditions will cause the soil to dry out faster, so frequent watering would be required at these times.
- Completely soak the soil around the base of each plant. Avoid water runoff by sticking the end of the hose into the base of each plant. Water trees by turning the water on at a low trickle and placing the end of the hose in multiple spots within the dripline (located between the trunk and the extent of the end of the branches) and beyond if possible.
- For turf, flowers, and shrubs, water should be applied to at least 6 to 8 inches deep; trees should be watered more deeply (approximately 12 inches deep). Turf should be watered about 6 inches deep from the top of the soil profile.
- The length of time water should be applied to get the desired soaking depth varies as it greatly depends on water pressure and what watering method is used. Whether it's by hose or by sprinkler, it could take upwards of 4 hours or more per watering application.
- Hoses and attachments are the best pieces of equipment to use when watering during the winter months. Remember to remove all hoses and attachments from faucets after you're done watering and drain them completely. This safety measure will help to minimize freeze damage to equipment once freezing temperatures return. Do not turn on and use irrigation systems that have been winterized during the winter.
Another way to retain moisture in the soil is to mulch your landscape beds and install tree rings around the base of your trees. This will help keep the soil cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and will also help to conserve moisture levels in the soil throughout the year. Landscape beds and tree rings should be mulched up to 3 inches deep. For tree rings and any trees located in landscape beds, mulch should be pulled back approximately 6 inches from the base of the trunk of the tree to help to prevent the chances of harboring insects and diseases that could be detrimental to the life of the tree.
Lawrence Landscape Is Here To Help!
Keep in mind that the seasons we experience in the Midwest can be very dry, and have prolonged periods of above or below average temperatures. The results these conditions can have on our landscapes can be devastating if not properly tended to. Help protect the beauty of the plants and turf in your landscape by providing them with the adequate amount of moisture needed for their healthy and prosperous growth.
All of the protection measures mentioned above can be done yourself, but our team is always here to help. If you have questions or concerns, give us a call at 785.843.4370 or email us , and let us help with your winter watering needs!
Depending on what specific goals you’d like to achieve, there are different types of lighting that will help satisfy your needs! Let’s look at some of the styles that are available.
The term “uplighting” refers to the directional focus of the light. These lights are on (or near) the ground and face upwards, highlighting specific landscape features. They can also be used to accentuate specific areas of your home. Some common forms of uplighting include well lights, wash lights, flood lights, and bullet lights. Uplighting is great if you want to:
• Create dramatic shadows in your evening landscape
• Add depth to walls, corners, and fences
• Create focal points on architectural details, stones, trees, etc.
Given that their sole purpose is to illuminate a path, this form of lighting is great for safety. Path lighting comes in handy when it’s dark by 6:30 p.m. and you have your hands full with dinner, kids, and groceries. The last thing you need is to stumble on something masked by shadows. Some common forms of path lighting include garden lights, bollard lights, and flush lights. You’ll benefit from path lighting if you want to:
• Enhance home security
• Improve curb appeal
• Mark path boundaries (your plants and shoes will thank you!)
This form of lighting is installed up high and shines light downward. Because the lighting comes from above, the result imitates natural light and has sometimes been referred to as “moon lighting”. This form of outdoor lighting is great for security, as well as drawing your focus to a specific location, away from distractions. Down lighting may be a good choice if you want to:
• Create focal points in your landscape or yard
• Illuminate the ground beneath a tree
• Draw attention to steps
• Highlight attractive ground cover and flower beds
Smart Technology Meets Outdoor Lighting
Calling all tech lovers – now you can use your smartphone or tablet to control your outdoor lighting systems! Our team has experience with Unique Lighting Systems® and their Light LogicTM cloud-based control systems. We love that these systems provide a way to automate and control outdoor lighting conveniently from your phone or tablet. Light LogicTM has their own list of unique features that include wireless controls for up to four scenes, easy retrofitting into existing lighting installations, and astronomical timing which automatically adjusts dusk and dawn times based on your location.
Let Your Light Shine
Here at Lawrence Landscape, we are well-versed in all forms of outdoor lighting. No matter your need, our team of experts is here to help. Contact us today so we can get started on your outdoor lighting before winter sets in!
Pruning trees and shrubs is a really important part of keeping them healthy. Removing dead, loose, or infected branches and stems from your plants helps control unwanted pests and insects, encourages proper growth, and improves the safety of your property.So when is the best time to prune in the Lawrence, KS area? Keeping in mind that light pruning can be done any time and that maintenance for individual species may vary, here are some pruning best practices:
- Never prune in the fall.
Fall is a wonderful time for doing clean ups around the yard, and
with leaves falling off surrounding trees and shrubs you may be tempted to
cut back the imperfections you see on your trees and shrubs. Don’t do it. Pruning stimulates new growth, and because fall is a time when
plants are preparing to go dormant, this can weaken your plants and make
them more susceptible to frost and winter damage.
- Prune when things are actually
Winter is one of the best times to prune trees
and shrubs that are not going to flower in the spring. If you have plants
that flower mid- to late summer, pruning them in winter is best! A
few examples of plants to prune in winter include boxwoods, oak trees,
hostas, and burning bushes.
- Cut back spring bloomers once their flowers
Trees and shrubs that bloom in early spring
grow flower buds on wood formed the year before. Pruning early-spring
bloomers in the fall will reduce the number of spring blooms dramatically,
so prune them when their flowers are gone in the spring! A few examples
of plants to prune after bloom include lilacs, redbuds, forsythia, and
There are always
exceptions to the pruning rule.
So we just said not to prune spring bloomers until after they’ve flowered, right? Well, that’s not necessarily true for roses, spirea, and butterfly bushes. For these, best practice would be to prune them before they bloom. So how do you know what to do with each individual plant? Our best answer is, it varies!
It’s important to
remember that pruning guidelines vary based on the type of tree or shrub in
question as well as local climates. You wouldn’t read this blog if it went into
detail about every kind of tree or shrub and how to prune them.
Do your research.
Ask for help!
If you have
questions about how and when to prune your particular trees and shrubs, your
best bet is to reach out to a professional
! Our team is full
of plant lovers and horticulturalists, and we’re always happy to help answer
Want to take the
hassle out of pruning your trees and shrubs and have someone do it for you? We
can help with that too! Contact us
and let our team of professionals take care of your landscape maintenance.
Happy fall! Alongside Halloween costumes and holiday parties, your irrigation system should be at the top of your priority list. Really! We are working on scheduling winterizations, so be patient and we will be in your area soon. In the meantime, here are some things you can do yourself to maintain the system during the winter weather.
You can begin to take steps on your own to winterize your system. We strongly recommend hiring a professional, but if you’re in a pinch, these tips will help you out.
Deactivate Programs and Timers
If your irrigation system , like most, is equipped with programmable timers and other settings, these will need to be deactivated for the duration of winter to avoid complications. How exactly you go about this may differ somewhat, depending on the model and age of your irrigation system. For most systems, simply placing it in the “off” mode setting will take care of things.
However, if these options are not available, or your system is not equipped with timer/programming options, you will need to kill power to your irrigation system and shut it off completely. Do be aware that if you do use a programmable system, cutting power will reset and remove all your programming and information. We suggest waiting for a professional if you have a high-tech system.
PLEASE NOTE : it is important to leave your controller plugged in so that the remote access will still function. If you have questions , just give us a shout .
Exposed Pipes and Valves
irrigation lines are at a very serious risk of breaking or cracking if
temperatures drop too low, which is a very real threat here in Topeka with the
kind of winters we encounter. You can use insulating pipe foam tubes, which is
readily available in many hardware stores, to protect your pipes. If your
backflow device is above ground, be certain to cover it with a towel or blanket
if temperatures are forecast to drop below 35 degrees. Try to cover up the
entire thing as best as you can.
In the future, it would be best to consider having a landscaping professional bury any exposed pipes if possible, as it removes much of the risk of needing to re-insulate when your insulation materials wear out.
Shut Off Water To The System
you know where the water shut-off for just your sprinkler system is and are
comfortable shutting it off, you can do that at any time you are not using the
system and it is recommended if/when the weather is forecasted to have
temperatures below 35 degrees.
Any remaining water in your pipes absolutely must be removed to the fullest extent possible to prevent the risk of frozen or burst pipes. The job can be handled a few ways, including automatic and manual drain valves, or by a forced-air removal. However, this job can be very dangerous if mishandled, so we would strongly recommend (if not outright insist) that you have this done by a professional trained in draining irrigation lines.
Contact Lawrence Landscape for Your Irrigation System Winterization!
The Lawrence Landscape team is always happy to help, and we plan on doing a lot of winterization this season. We are currently working on scheduling winterizations, so if you have any questions or concerns, please contact us .
Fall truly is one of the loveliest times of year – the leaves are vibrant with color, the weather is changing from sweltering to crisp, and we are settling into a season of comfort. Fall also happens to be one of the most important times to keep up with lawn and landscape maintenance. Lawrence Landscape is here to help you keep up with these tasks so your lawn and landscape beds will be ready to thrive when spring rolls around. Our fall clean up services are available until the first snow fall, so reach out to us today to get started!
What should fall cleanups include?
- Aeration.Whether your lawn is in seemingly good health or in obvious need of care, core aeration is an important aspect of routine lawn maintenance, and fall is a great time to do this! Aeration also pairs nicely with over-seeding, so take advantage of the temperate fall weather while it’s here! Learn more about aeration here .
- Leaf removal.Your yard needs a good amount of air and sunlight to maintain good health, so be sure to get the fallen leaves off your lawn. If you (like most people) dread this seasonal task, keep in mind that we offer leaf removal and will happily do it for you! We will bag and haul away leaves and debris, and we offer one-time cleanup or regular maintenance, whichever you prefer. The leaves are already falling, so get in touch today!
- Trim up limbs and branches.Diseased or old and brittle branches often don’t survive the winter, instead breaking off and falling onto your lawn. This can be dangerous for residents, and pose a potential risk to your home as well (especially roofs!). Be sure you handle dead branches before a chill sets in, and if the job is too big or too dangerous for you, our experts can always help!
- Do some mulching.Young greenery is at quite a bit of risk for the first couple winters they encounter. Laying down a fresh bed of mulch before the chill of winter sets in can insulate them against the cold, and to fight off soil erosion and water runoff problems throughout the season.
- A “last time” mow.When you’re sure your grass has finished growing for the year, give it one last good mow. This helps to keep your landscape free of catching fallen leaves, and makes the cleanup as the season progresses far easier. It also helps mitigate the risk of disease taking root in fall and contaminating your grass’ roots.
The Benefits of Fall Cleanups:
- Keep your yard looking nice.The landscaping around your home is important to you, and you want your investment to look nice year-round. Doing upkeep in the fall will help make sure your lawn doesn’t have dead patches and that your beds are ready to flourish when spring returns.
- Lessen your workload next spring.Sure, snow will eventually cover up leaves and debris, but it won’t remove them for you. All of that debris will still be there waiting for you next spring and if it has been sitting on your lawn all winter, dead spots can be expected.
- Eliminate the potential for harboring unwanted plant diseases.Fallen leaves and yard debris breed different bacteria and mold that are hard on plants. In addition, this debris can also contain and protect fungus spores and bacteria that can be harmful and potentially fatal to plants. Keeping your landscape and lawn clean will help maintain the quality of your yard for next year.
- Reduce the potential for harboring wintering insects and pests.Many kinds of invasive insects spend their winter underground and in the shelter of fallen leaves and debris that have collected at the base of plants. These piles of leaves and debris create a nice, warm place for them to hide, so doing fall clean ups helps slim down the chance of keeping unwanted pests around for next year.
How do you get started?
Getting started with fall clean ups is easy! Get in touch with us and we can talk more about what you’re looking for specifically. We’ll do all the yard work so you can spend your time doing more of the things that you love.
For many of us, fall is the time we start thinking about a major change in weather. The days get shorter, the leaves start to fall from the trees, and all those vibrant spring and summer hues turn to shades of brown, orange, and red. This is about the time many of our customers ask us, “is it truethat fall is a great time to plant things like trees and shrubs?” The answer is yes!
Why Fall Is a Great Time to Plant Trees and Shrubs in Kansas
Fall is not the only time to plant trees and shrubs, but it is truly one of the best. Planting during this season allows plants to establish strong root systems before winter settles in. Here are a few of the environmental conditions that make this possible:
- Warm soil temperatures:When summer turns to fall, the soil is warm and still in great condition for growing young tree roots. The warm soil helps plants adapt better to their new growing conditions; therefore, the majority of root growth for plants happens in late summer, early fall.
- Ideal air temperature and water requirements:Compared to summer, fall’s mild weather and increased rainfall benefits young trees by helping them adapt quickly to their new growing conditions. While we can experience less rainfall in the fall than in the spring, this is actually a good thing! As we get closer to the winter months, plants will require less water because they will go dormant. They move water and nutrients down to their root zone to further concentrate on root development going into winter. Nevertheless, water applications are weather dependent, and new plantings may occasionally need to be hand watered at times if there’s not enough precipitation throughout the winter months.
- Less room for insects and diseases:As air temperatures decrease, insects and diseases that target and feed on plant material will become less active. This is due to colder temperatures that are less favored for movement and development than in warmer temperatures. Also, some insects and diseases are nearing the end of their life cycle while others are preparing to overwinter; therefore, young trees planted in the cool fall weather are less likely to be attacked by insects and diseases before winter hits.
By planting in the fall, young trees and shrubs are able to create a more adapted root system before the chilly conditions of the winter months hit. These healthy root systems will allow the plants to thrive next spring, and help them further endure the humidity, wind, and heat of the next summer.
Are you interested in new trees and shrubs to further enhance the curb appeal and outdoor living spaces of your home? Our team of experienced professionals can help you get a quick start to the upcoming growing season! Contact us today!