The following guidelines may vary from year to year depending if we have an early or late spring. We will be adding and updating this information continually. If a question you have is not covered, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you find the answer, and possibly add it to this care calendar.
Remove heavy snow from evergreen branches to prevent breakage, especially Arborvitae and Hemlock. Try not to shovel heavy, wet snow onto plants. Keep salt applied to walks and drive away from landscaping beds and grass. Call Couture Landscape Construction to reserve a spot before the spring rush hits to have your landscape beds top-dressed with mulch in early spring.
If it warms up to above 40 degrees, you can reapply Cloud Cover or Wilt Proof to evergreens subject to winter burn (browning of leaves due to winter winds) and/or salt damage (salt spray from roads can drift 20' or more and 20' high damaging evergreens). Follow label directions. Plants to think about spraying include Rhododendron, Yew, Pine, Spruce, Fir, Hemlock, and Holly. If we haven't had much moisture you may want to give newer plants (installed within the last two or three years) a deep watering.
Cut back any perennials not cut back in fall. Now is a good time to give Spirea and Potentilla a "haircut" to control their size and give them a neater appearance if you didn't get to it last October. Clean up any left over leaves from fall before spring bulbs and perennials start to pop.
Keep and eye out for:
Tent Caterpillar on crab trees especially. Their webbed tents are starting to form. When they are small you can simply tear open their tents and the birds will eat them.
Pine Sawfly are starting to feed on the needles of most Pines, especially Mugo and Scotch Pine. They are little green worms with black heads that feed in groups on second and third-year-old needles. They eat fast so don't delay treating them with any of several insecticides such as Fertilome Bug Blaster. Look for Sawfly activity indicated by brown shriveling needles just below candles of new growth.
Spruce Spidermite hatch during April and May and can feed on Spruce, Hemlock, Doug Fir and Juniper. Test for their presence by shaking a branch over a white sheet of paper. If you see moving dots that smear red, you have spidermites. Spray thoroughly with Cygon. Damaged plants have a bronze or brown cast to inner needles.
Apply a Pre-emergent Crabgrass herbicide with fertilizer to lawns to control annual crabgrass. Usually around mid-month when soil temperatures reach 55 degrees and Forsythia is in bloom. If you are planning on over-seeding your lawn and want to stop crabgrass, you must use a special type of pre-emergent herbicide called Treble, which won't harm the good seed.
Apply Preen or Treflan to landscape beds to control annual weeds. Existing weeds can be pulled or sprayed with Round-up (follow manufacture's label instructions).
Prune Lilacs shortly after blooms have faded before seed heads are formed to control size and increase blooms for the next year. (If you wait too long you won't have any flowers next year) Deadhead Rhododendrons after blooms fade to maintain a more compact form and increase next year's blooms. INSPECT landscape plants for dead branches from winter and remove. Also, continue to look for pest problems listed in April.
Trim the candles on Pines to control size before new growth begins to emerge. How long you leave the candle is how much the new growth will be. Trim Yews, Junipers (be careful not to cut into dead zone) and Burning Bush to give a neater appearance after the flush of spring growth and to control size.
Reapply pre-emergent herbicides such as Preen or Treflan to plant beds to continue to control weeds.
How's the weather been? If there has not been regular substantial rain (1" per week) you will need to irrigate you newer plants (installed or transplanted in the last three years). Deep waterings done less frequently are more beneficial that light sprinklings every day as they encourage roots to go deeper making plants more drought tolerant. If we do not receive substantial rain for three weeks your older plants will need to be irrigated. Plants weakened from drought stress are much more susceptible to disease and insect damage.
Dead-head faded perennial and annual blooms to keep plants looking good. Dead or yellowed foliage from spring bulbs can be safely removed now. If you remove the leaves while they are still green you will weaken bulb and it may not bloom for you next spring.
If you have had grub problems in the past you will probably have them again. However, if there has been steady rain and non-irrigated lawns are still green, grubs damage will probably not be a concern this year. If only irrigated lawns are green, apply grub control products such as Merit, Mach 2 or Grubex later this month to control grubs.
Follow label directions. August Reapply pre-emergent herbicides such as Preen or Treflan to plant beds to continue to control weeds. Keep an eye out for grub damage in your lawn. Brown patches usually 6" to 1' across can be early signs of grub damage. Check for grubs by cutting turf with a heavy knife and peeling it back. Check for white "C shaped" larva. If 10 - 12 grubs are in a one square foot area treatment is warranted. Apply Diazinon according to label instructions making sure to water it in with water.
Core aerate your lawn to promote a healthier root system and reduce thatch. This is also a great time to over-seed bare spots. A fall application of a balanced slow-release fertilizer not too high in nitrogen will benefit your lawn and your landscape plants.
Time to plant spring-flowering bulbs. Try to picture what the foliage will look like after the blooms have faded. Bulbs should complement existing plantings and not make it look like a giant mess when perennials and woody plants get their foliage. Confused? Call Couture Landscape Construction for help on how to tastefully incorporated spring bulbs into your landscape. Call early while bulb selection is good.
*PREPARE landscape plants for the coming winter. Apply Cloud Cover or Wilt Proof to evergreens subject to winter burn (browning of leaves due to winter winds) and/or salt damage (salt spray from roads can drift 20' or more and 20' high damaging evergreens). Follow label directions. Plants to think about spraying include Rhododendron, Yew, Pine, Spruce, Fir, Hemlock, and Holly especially if in a wind swept area, facing a western exposure or near a road.
PRUNE OFF broken, dead or cankered branches and dispose of them. Make every effort to rake up and dispose of falllen leaves. This helps cut down on diseases. Asthetic pruning can be done safely on most plants at this time to shape and keep healthy looking.
Spirea and Potentilla can be rejuvenated by cutting out really old branches to the ground and evening out the rest to about half their height.
CONTINUE MOWING lawns until they stop growing to prevent snow mold.
TURN OVER the soil of annual garden beds adding peat moss and other organic matter to improve soil. They will break down over winter and be ready for spring planting.
DIVIDE any perennials that have become over grown and crowded. Transplant to other areas or share them with a friend.
PROTECT roses by pruning the canes back to 8" and mounding soil or mulch around them.
Cut back perennials for winter unless you like the look of the dried flower heads of certain plants then by all means leave them until March. Grasses especially look nice all winter long.
If we have not received much moisture this fall, give your landscape plants a deep watering before the temperatures drop below 40 degrees.
If you have any landscape design needs, now is the time to have Couture Landscape Construction draw them for you before the spring rush begins.