Leaves in February

We are long past the growing season and are very much so in winter. However, have you noticed that some trees like to hang onto their leaves from the previous growing season. Certain trees will hold and not let go until the next growing season starts.

It is always weird to see a tree with leaves in the dead of winter, even if the leaves are all brown. Many varieties of trees will hold on, like the oak, witch hazel, musclewood, and American beech to name a few. A speculation as to why the trees hold on to their leaves is a lack of a hard frosts when the tree is in the process of getting ready for winter. With the lower number of hard frosts, it slows the process down for the tree, and the leaves end up getting “stuck” until spring time. Again this is just a speculation. Some trees have no problems dropping their leaves in the fall, and others will drop, but they drop in early December like the ornamental pear.

The leaves from the oaks and such do eventually fall off in the spring. The new leaf bud that takes the place of the old leaf pushes the old leaf out. However, at the end of the day, the trees know what is going on and they continue to survive and offer many benefits to us.

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January Thaw 2018

One of the biggest bummers about the melting snow is how dirty everything becomes. All of the nice white snow is now dirty with road grime. Yuck! This melting snow happens every spring, and sometimes in the middle of winter like we have already had this year.

Despite the ugliness of the dirty snow, that melting this time of year is really good for your landscape. When all of the moisture that is around is frozen in the form of ice or snow, then there is no water available for our plants. And our plants do need a drink in the winter. They do not need nearly the same amount of water in the winter as when they are actively growing, but some water to help them through the winter is good. Now I would not water your plants at all in the winter, that will cause problems to your spigots. And any water that is poured outside in the winter will just turn to ice, making it not available to the plant anyways.

But nature does make sure that it provides and the January thaw is very beneficial even though it may be unsightly to look at for us. Our plants will be happier with the mid-winter drink.

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Cold Snap!

Just after Christmas 2017 the weather turned cold, bitter cold. We set multiple record low temperatures in the days that followed Christmas. We received snow at a steady rate. Now the question, what is the snow and cold going to do to my landscape.

Luckily, the answer is not much for the cold and snow itself. The snow acts as an insulation blanket from the bitter cold temperatures. And on top of that, the temperatures are sure cold, but nothing that the plants in our area cannot handle. If we get to temperatures below -20 degrees Fahrenheit, then I would become more concerned, however that does not look likely at this point.

One point of concern that may start to arise is if the snow does not let up, the animals, particularly rabbits, mice and voles, will start to chew on ornamental plants in your landscape. And the damage may be more than normal winter damage from these animals. This is because these animals are not able to find food on the ground because of the extensive snow cover and they have to turn somewhere for a meal, and your landscape plants may be it. There is not much that can be done to deter the feeding at this point unless you set up fencing to stop the animals from being able to get to your plants. However, as the snow piles up, they may be able to make their way over the top of the fence, and with the ground frozen, you will not be able to bury the bottom of the fence and the will just go under the fence.

As we wait out this cold snap, all we can do it dream of warmer weather. It is coming, we just have to wait for it to get here.

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Gifts All Year

I know that Christmas has come and gone for 2017 and we are heading into the new year. But now that the gifts are all open, your landscape can be a gift that gives all year long.

When planning a landscape, something to think about is how there can be interest all year long. This includes the dreariness of winter. We will go over some ideas for each of the seasons to make sure that your landscape has something of interest all year long. This is not even close to an all-inclusive list, but it is a way to get you thinking about what can help to make your landscape interesting all year long.

Spring: When you think of spring, you think of flowers. Daffodils and tulips are a great way to add in color. But typically the spring does a good job with producing interest in your landscape.

Summer: Annual plants are an easy way to add a boost of interest in the summer. In the summer as well, there are many flowering perennials.

Fall: Fall can be an easy season for interest as well. The big thing in the fall are the leaves that change color. Even plants like sedum can flower in the fall.

Winter: This is the trickiest time of the year for interest. Everything is covered in snow, and your plants are not actively growing. However, all hope is not lost. This is where ornamental grasses sticking up through the snow, or the bark on a paperbark birch can be of value. It provides interest even though the landscape is waiting for spring to come around.

Merry Christmas 2017

Merry Christmas from Harkes Landscape Management, LLC! We celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus. During this season of busyness, we hope that everyone can take time to celebrate the reason for the season.

We wish you a Merry Christmas!