Correct Plant Spacing

Planting a new landscape can be a lot of fun. I always enjoy seeing the ideas that we have become reality. However, something that I see homeowners occasionally do is not use the correct plant spacing.

Why is correct plant spacing a big deal, you may ask. It has to do with the use of the space and the proper installation and care of the plants. If proper spacing can cause problems in the future when the plant is getting too big for the location. The problem can be for the plant and its health, or it can be the space becomes unusable because the plant is overcrowding the area, like blocking a pathway.

The biggest reason I hear after the plants have grown is that ‘they were not that big when I planted them’. Which is true. However, plants are living things and they are going to grow. Even if they were not that big to start, they will get to about the size that is listed on the plant tag when you bought it.

What can be done if they are too close together? Transplanting them to the proper spacing is a good start, however, transplanting plants can result in plant loss. It is not a guarantee. If the plants are becoming too big for the location, maybe it is time to start to think about redoing the landscape all together. Then, the best thing to do is to plant them at the correct spacing right from the start.


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The Difference of Pavers

Are you thinking about changing your landscape, and are not sure if you wanted to do anything different about the hardscape, like your walkway or your patio areas. Pavers may be something to think about.

Adding pavers to a landscape can make a big difference. They will enhance an area where boring gray concrete is or could be. There are so many options when choosing pavers as well. There are classic looks, modern looks, simple looks, and complex looks. There are also natural looking pavers and manufactured looking pavers. On top of all of that, there are many color options. Once you start to mix in borders and accents, the sky is the limit on what type of look you can achieve. There are so many options to choose from. So, when redoing your landscape, maybe it is time to give pavers a second look if you wanted to make a big change to your landscape.

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Fertilizer for Weed Control??

DandelionsNow this may sound strange, but fertilizer can help control the weeds in the yard. But, it is not as direct as what you may be thinking or hoping. The fertilizer itself will not control the weeds, but it can help your healthy lawn to control the weeds.

Now that introduction only seemed to complicate things. I first want to make sure that I have not muddied the waters, so here it is, fertilizer itself will not control weeds. There. But it does aid in the process by creating healthier grass plants.

Healthy grass plants can help to control weeds by themselves. Weeds are competition for grass, when the grass plant is stronger, the grass plant can more easily win the battle for space, water and nutrients. When the grass plant can out-compete the weeds, there will be less weeds in the turf stand.

If your lawn is weak already, just fertilizer will not get your lawn to where it needs to be to fight off weeds on its own. The first things is to get the existing weeds under control. Then you have to manage the water and fill in any bare spots in the turf stand. You have to get the lawn into a very healthy state before you will be able to get good long-term control of the weed problems in your lawn.

However, there is still a chance that weeds will invade your lawn. This is when you need to do more than fertilize and chemical or mechanical controls are needed. Just remember, when ever you use chemicals, as follow the label for using the product.

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Slow to Wake Up in the Spring

Healthy grassHave you every noticed that some lawns like the spring more than other lawns? It may seem weird at first, but when you think about the complexity of the lawn, it is not so weird after all.

In Michigan home lawns, there are three desired main species of grass, Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and fine fescue. Of those three species, there are hundreds of cultivars (subgroups). With that being the case, your lawn will have multiple varieties of grass in it, but your neighbor’s lawn may have different varieties. Each of these varieties have different characteristics that make them unique.

Some are more drought tolerant, some are more disease resistant, some are a dark green, some handle foot traffic better, etc. Each variety of grass is unique, and each will act differently in different situations.

The same is true for the spring green-up. Some varieties tolerate the cooler temperatures of spring better than others. It is just part of the characteristics of that individual variety of grass. When it is more cold tolerant, it will green up and start to grow sooner than those varieties that are not. The same is true for the heat of the summer, there are some varieties that will tolerate the heat better and stay green longer. It is just the differences in the grass.

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Back Filling Around Plants

Installing a new landscape can be a fun transformation for your property. Out with the old and in with the new. When reworking a landscape, it typically means many new plants. I occasionally will get the questions about how the plants are going to be back filled. The most common back filling question is about bringing in new soil to do the back filling.

Back filling is the task of replacing the soil around the root ball of the plant when installing a new plant. It is one the final parts of the installation process. But it is a very important part of the project. The material that you use to do the back filling can make a big difference.

It is best to use the native soil on the site for the back filling. Bringing in new soil just to back fill can cause harm to the plants by creating a bowl effect on the planting. What that means is the original soil can hold water around the new plant like a cereal bowl because of the different soils and the differing drainage rates. Many plants do not like to be standing in water. This is what can cause the harm to the new plant. By using the native soil, you eliminate the bowl effect. The water can drain at a constant rate.

The back filling is the final, but a very important step in the planting process. Doing it right with native soil is what is best for your new landscape plants.

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