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Lawn Care Blog

Fertilize Trees and Shrubs for Better Blooms

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Preparation continues for the blooming season. You've attended your lawn, your ornamental grasses, your flower beds. Don't forget the trees and shrubs. They need attention too. They will be bursting into bloom soon, and you can insure those blooms will be even more hardy with the help of some early fertilization and insect spray.

While a year-round program by a professional lawn care specialist in Maryland would provide the most benefit, you can still make a difference if you start now. In March in Harford County, trees and shrubs benefit from a fertilizer at the root zone, or a foliar spray. These will enrich the plants and help encourage strong growth.

Next, consider a dormant oil spray for appropriate ornamental trees, as well as large evergreens and fruit trees. The dormant oil spray will control insects and their eggs or larvae that have been laid over the winter months, preventing them from ever hatching to become a bigger problem. Then, prepare for another round of insect spray next month to control insects that chew on the trees. Apply fungal spray that will prevent fungus-related diseases on your ornamental trees. Space out each of these treatments by a month, allowing the trees and shrubs to fully absorb each fertilizer or spray.

With proper fertilization and preventive measures, your trees and shrubs will have the best chance at beautiful blooms and a good, healthy season.

Mulch in March Before Bulbs Bloom

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The month of March can be so unpredictable in Harford County. Weather conditions can range from blizzard to 70-degree spring days and back again. No wonder the plants and grasses are confused! As Harford County lawn maintenance specialists, we've been emphasizing early intervention for weed control and grass growth, but what about spring flowers? Though very fragile, spring flowers can be stronger if the soil is rich and the environmental conditions are right.

Before your bulbs begin to bloom, it's a good idea to mulch, if you haven't already done so. This process can enrich the soil, enabling your bulbs to be just a little more hardy. Mulch will reduce the amount of water that evaporates from the soil, keeping it moist. It will also keep soil from compacting, which will enable water to get to the plants more easily. Mulch actually helps keep soil temperatures cool to moderate -- better for your bulbs. Mulch also prevents weed growth.

Ideally, flower beds should be maintained with mulch year-round. Sometimes it makes sense to enlist the help of a professional lawn care service for year-round attention. Maintaining a consistent program will benefit your flower beds by cooling the soil in summer and moderating it in winter.

Regardless of who does it, now is the time to pull back your mulch and either thin the layers or replace existing mulch with new material. If you're just starting, put down no more than three inches of mulch. This will allow air and rain to reach the soil more easily, while still keeping the soil temperature steady. You'll get the benefits of richer soil and beautiful spring blooms.

Give Your Ornamental Grasses a Haircut For Health

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Have you ever looked out your window after a windy night and seen long, dry ornamental grass "blades" all over your lawn? If they haven't blown off yet, the strands of grass are probably dried and dead looking, like a shaft of hair with dried, split ends. They both look lackluster. Get a good haircut, and your whole head of hair looks fuller and shinier. Similarly, ornamental grasses will grow fuller and more vibrant if they are cut back before they begin to grow again.

Professional lawn care specialists in Maryland recommend that the best time to trim ornamental grass is just before new growth begins. You can do several things to prepare for the new growth. First, mulch around the base of the grass to protect it from freezing temperatures. Consider this a "leave-in conditioner" for the ornamental grass. Cut any falling or leaning blades frequently to prevent mold from developing under snow. The ornamental grass should be cut within four to six inches of the soil level. The sooner you cut it back, the sooner new growth will appear. If your variety of ornamental grass remains green year-round, just cut the old, dead foliage, not the whole plant. Finally, divide grass plants if they are getting too large. Lift them out of the ground and divide the root ball into two pieces. Replant them at the same depth as the original plant.

If you cut your ornamental grass early, the next windy day won't be filled with fly-aways.

Don’t Let Crabgrass Make You Crabby

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Don’t wake up on the wrong side of your lawn this spring, opening your eyes to a crabgrass forest. If you’re worried about crabgrass, start paying attention to it now, so you won’t be scowling at it later. Certainly, crabgrass is ever-present in the lawn, especially during warmer months, but it’s always in a different stage. Rarely is the entire lawn full-grown crabgrass, because individual seeds are different in size, depth and germination time. As the weather gets warmer, crabgrass begins to emerge. According to researchers at the University of Maryland, the minimum daytime soil temperature for the first sighting of crabgrass is 54 degrees. Soil temperature has to be between 60-70 degrees for major crabgrass growth.

Harford County lawns can see 54-degree soil temperature as early as March. Short of taking painstaking temperature measurements, you can take the advice of Harford County lawn care services and watch for weeds to grow next to sidewalks, patios and driveways. Soil next to concrete gets warmer more quickly, and seeds often get lodged between the concrete edges. Once crabgrass begins to sprout here, you can be sure the rest of the lawn is not far behind. The earlier you apply a preventer or pre-emergent, the better chance you have of staying ahead of the crabgrass. However, the earlier you apply, the earlier it will wear off, so be aware that two or three applications might be required during the season.

Finally, if you have thin or bare patches in your lawn, be sure to seed it first so the new seeds can take hold. Crabgrass preventer has to be applied after seeding.


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