Getting Ready for Spring

Here we are, it is early March, and spring is just around the corner. At Harkes Landscape, we are getting ready for the growing season to start. Equipment is in the process of being woken up from its winter hibernation, and we are prepping as much as we can to get the season going. We are not the only ones getting ready for spring.

Your landscape and lawn are getting ready as well. Winter may still be in the forecast, but your landscape and lawn are heading in the growing direction, even if it is not yet evident. But we do not want spring to show up too early, then have a late spring hard frost and cause damage like a few years ago. Luckily if this is the case, most of the landscape plants are able to recover.

Now, there are some signs of plant growth. You may be able to see some tops of some early spring bloomers appear. Typically we will see hyacinths, daffodils, and tulips starting to sprout from the ground. With these signs we know that spring is coming. We just have to be patient as we wait for it to get here.

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Contract Comparison

Shopping for a service can sometimes be overwhelming. Since you are looking for a service, that means you would like to have something done. But how can you tell if you are comparing apples-to-apples when looking at competing contracts?

One of the best things to do is to actually read everything on the contract. I know that many times potential customers will look at the price and that is all that is looked at. But that can be a mistake. Read everything, and make sure that what is included in what you are looking to have done. And be careful, if there is a service that is left out of the contract, it is most likely not included.

I know that the bottom line is important when making a decision about a service, but not all services are alike. Some contracts may be cheaper, but they may offer a lot less. If that is the case, you may end up paying more because you now have to add on those additional services.

The best thing to do is read. Some times it will come down to something other than the bottom line to get the best deal.

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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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