Your Spring Planting Plan Is Here

Garden-flowers

Welcome to May! It’s time to start looking forward to all the amazing things spring and summer can bring to our outdoor world. If you’ve had gardening on your mind, the time to get started is now. It’s optimal time to get to work on your vegetable, fruit, herb, or flower planting initiatives. The pros at Spring-Green are passionate about all things that grow outside. Of course, we’re your neighborhood lawn care partners, but we’re all about gardening too. We know the weather is beautiful, and the time is right to get started. That’s why we’ve crafted this little beginner’s guide for you to check out as you plan out your spring garden this year.

5 Things That Should Be On Your Gardening Mind This May

  1. Get Familiar with Popular Vegetables, Fruit, & Flowers

May is prime time for gardening. Some vegetables, fruits, flowers, and herbs are best planted in later spring.Of course, many variables influence what choices you should make for your specific garden, but here is an overview of perfect options for planting in the month of May.

Fruits Honeydew Melon, Tomatoes, Raspberries

Vegetables Cucumber, Beets, Carrots, Beans, Peppers, Potatoes, Garlic

Herbs Mint, Rosemary, Sage, Cilantro, Thyme, Parsley, Basil

Flowers Crocus, Daffodils, Hyacinths, Primrose, Tulips, Camellia

2. Where to Begin?

Starting your spring garden can be the hardest part if you’re a newbie. Not to worry, though – follow these steps to get your garden growing in time for optimal enjoyment this summer.

Planting in Garden

Start by answering a few general questions:

  • Which vegetables does your family love to eat?
  • If you’re planting flowers, what are your preferences?
  • What is your budget for your garden?
  • Are you looking for flowers that return on their own each year, or do you prefer to plant anew every spring?

Follow some general rules of thumb:

  • Avoid getting fancy for your first garden – start basic and build your way up to more complicated gardening once you’re comfortable.
  • Choose the areas of your yard for the garden wisely. Consider the sun coverage and exposure to other elements like shade, rain, and wind. You’ll also want to choose a level spot of land, avoiding slopes. If you have a large property, you may also consider a place that’s easy to eyeball and see how it’s working.
  • Do a thorough job of clearing away any debris, weeds, and roots from the ground on the area you want to plant.
  • Check out the health of your soil. Soil is one of the most important elements to the success of your garden. You can test the pH balance of the soil, and if needed, add nutrients in advance to get it garden-ready.

3. Explore What’s Best for You & Your Garden

Once you have a good sense of the garden generalities, it’s time to customize your plan for your plantings. You’ll need to define…

  • Size: How big will your garden be? This choice is variable to your space and preference but can influence what you choose to plant.
  • Location: Where will your garden be in your yard? This is a pivotal decision as you want optimal sun exposure for the specific plants you select as well as consideration for rain, weather, and soil conditions.
  • Geography: Some plants thrive in the south and warmer climates or only in the northwest of the United States. It may simply depend on where you are located on the map so make sure you research your plants’ best geography.
  • Time: The amount of time and effort you can put into your garden is another factor that can influence your choice. If you know you don’t have too much time to dedicate to your gardening effort, you may want to choose heartier plants such as Hostas, Daisies, Hibiscus, Garlic, Chives, Basil, or Oregano that don’t require a lot of TLC. You could also opt to plant in a few pots and save space in your lawn.

4. How to Maintain Your Spring Garden

Now you need to get down to the business of planting your garden. Your next train of thought should be related to maintenance. Here are few tips to get you started – of course, many variables can influence your maintenance, such as your climate and your specific garden’s plants:

  • Find the perfect balance of water to keep your garden growing. Your young garden should never be allowed to dry out to make sure the roots can flourish. Generally in the warmer months watering once per day is recommended.
    • Mulch is a great option to protect your garden from weed overgrowth as well as locking in moisture. Best practices are to cover the soil with about two inches of mulch to prevent the sunlight from hitting the soil. Be sure to choose organic mulch, such as bark or cocoa bean shells, to support healthy soil.
    • Although the mulch will help keep weeds at bay, they can still pop up. Be sure to keep an eye out for weeds, dead vegetation and, of course, pesky bugs or rodents to keep your garden healthy.
garden box

5. Tips for a Raised Bed Garden

You may decide to go with a raised garden for aesthetics or because your soil quality is not great. Either way, a raised bed garden is not difficult to install. If you’re handy, you can do it yourself. If you like the easier option, you can most likely find one at your local nursery or home repair store.

As you plan your spring garden, be sure to take into consideration factors like sunlight, rainfall, soil conditions, as well as your level of commitment, so you can ensure your garden is a success. Spring-Green is standing by if you’re in need some expert advice or support for your garden and your lawn care needs. Since 1977, we’ve partnered with home and business owners in our communities to help them get full enjoyment out of their outdoors.

Get started with a call to Spring-Green.

Deer Damage – Protect Your Landscape This Winter

Deer are beautiful animals and a sight to behold when discovered in nature. They can also be pesky unwanted visitors to your garden, causing damage to your lawn, plants and even your property. Discouraging deer from getting comfortable in your lawn is shrouded in tales, tips and myth; some that hold true, and some that are a true waste of time. In this guide, we’ll unpack the tips you need to follow to keep deer away from your lawn and prevent them from damaging your outdoor sanctuary.

Frequently Asked Questions About Preventing Deer Damage

1. Are my plants attracting deer? The answer is likely, yes. In fact, most of the time that homeowners or business owners experience issues with attracting deer, and the resulting damage they can cause, is related to the plants and flowers. Some examples of trees, shrubs, and plants that deer love include Blackberry, Spicebush, Juniper, Hawthorn, Flowering Dogwood, Fruit trees and Rhododendrons. Flowering plants that attract deer include Asters, Clover, Sunflowers, Verbena, Wild Strawberry and Geraniums.

2. Are there smells that can repel deer? The short answer is yes. The longer answer is you can either make your own or purchase deer repellent sprays to keep deer away from your lawn. Both store-bought and homemade options may work as deer have a strong sense of smell and use it as a form of protection from danger. Lemon balm, for example, is an excellent deer repellent that leaves a fragrance that is pleasing to most humans.

3. Do DIY deer repellents work? Keeping deer away from your garden doesn’t have to drain your savings. In fact, there are many do-it-yourself tricks you can whip up to keep deer damage under control.  You might even be able to keep deer away from your plants and trees with ingredients you already have in your home:

  • Option 1: Homemade Deer Repellent Recipe – One cup of milk, One egg, One tablespoon cooking oil, One tablespoon liquid dish soap, Four cups of water, One gallon jug, Spray bottle
  • Option 2: Red Pepper Deer Repellent Recipe – One gallon of water, Three tablespoons red pepper flakes, Two teaspoons liquid Castile soap, Spray bottle
  • Option 3: Coffee grounds that offer many additional benefits, including fertilizing the soil and repelling other unwanted pests and animals, not only deer.

You can make these homemade deer repellent compounds that are environmentally friendly and safe right in your own backyard, and rest assured that you won’t harm the deer but will keep them out of your yard. Simply create whichever option you choose and apply generously to the edges of your yard. Reapply several times a month to keep deer away.

4. Can I plant something to keep deer away? To deter deer from getting comfortable in your yard, plant grasses and shrubs that are bitter, spiny, or potent. Deer avoid eating foul-smelling and bitter-tasting plants such as sages and herbs. Especially focus on planting these deer-deterrent plants around the perimeter of your yard.

5. Do electronic deer repellents work? Electronic deer repellents are ultrasonic devices that emit sounds at wavelengths only animals can hear. The results are mixed regarding the effectiveness of these devices, and they can be expensive as compared to other deer prevention options. Especially in suburban areas, deer quickly learn to tune out noises that are not a true threat to them.

Deer are beautiful animals, no doubt. Who doesn’t love Bambi, right? But, when it comes to your beautiful lawn and landscape that has taken you years to perfect, deer damage is something to avoid at all costs. You may, without even trying, be attracting deer just by planting plants they love and not taking some simple actions to keep them at bay. From deer resistant plants to deer repellent tricks, there are a multitude of ways to keep deer out of your yard.

deer yard

At Spring-Green, we like to eliminate the guesswork for our customers and lend our expertise to help them find the easiest way to achieve their goals. These tips for preventing deer damage can help you protect your outdoor landscape, but, of course, the pros at Spring-Green are here if you need more consultation. For more tips on how to prevent deer damage or repair damage from deer, contact Spring-Green today.

How To Care For Your Holiday Poinsettias

holiday poinsettias

Over 34 million Poinsettias are sold each year making it the highest-selling flowering plant in the United States accounting for upwards of $144 million in revenue. For the curious out there, Easter Lilies are in a distant second place with $22 million dollars in sales. And, let’s face it the holidays just aren’t the same without these beauties strategically placed in our homes and communities.

Many holiday-makers are confused, however, about the best way to care for their Holiday Poinsettias. Spring-Green, experts in lawn care since 1977, can demystify the best way to keep your poinsettias looking great through the holiday season.

Poinsettia Tips and Tricks To Make The Season Bright

Types of Poinsettias – Poinsettias are not popular because of flowers as much as their leaves. The Poinsettias leaves are most commonly red, which is the most popular color. It can also be found in 100’s of shades white and pink including salmon, apricot, yellow, cream and pure white. New Poinsettia color varieties are introduced yearly, and some are even enhanced by dyes.

Choosing the Right Poinsettia – Pay attention to where the Poinsettias are located in the store or nursery you are shopping at. If they are near the door and your area has been cold lately, they might have already been damaged by the cold temps.

Next, check out the soil – it should be neither soaked nor dry. Also, check out the state of the leaves, choosing one whose leaves are not showing signs of wilting. Finally, be sure to keep your Poinsettia protected from the elements during its transport home.

Indoors Vs. Outdoor Poinsettias – Whether your holiday plants can be kept outside depends on where you live and how your winter is going. Poinsettias can handle temps in the range of 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If they are exposed to extreme drops in temperature, they will first wilt and in most cases die. For best results, keep your poinsettia in a warm room and mist it daily.

Watering Your Poinsettias – It’s hands-down, the most commonly asked Poinsettia question: how often do you water a poinsettia? And the answer is not complicated – if the soil is dry to touch or some of the leaves are beginning to droop, your holiday plant needs water. An important, and often-overlooked Poinsettia care tip is – you should never let your Poinsettia sit in standing water. Be sure to drain the bottom after watering.

Longevity of Poinsettias – A common question Poinsettia fans ask is: will my Poinsettia re-bloom next year? The answer yes. The chances are good that your holiday plants will re-bloom next year, but with a caveat, you have to do the work to keep them healthy. Keep these tips in mind and you may have Poinsettias for many years to come! Your Poinsettia will need limited daylight – no more than ten hours daily.

Keep them in a dark space after 5 p.m. until early hours of the morning for 8-10 weeks starting in early October. Be sure to protect your holiday plants from exposure to wind or cold especially protect them from temps lower than 50-degrees Fahrenheit. When cared for properly, poinsettias usually will outlast your desire to keep them!

The History Behind Poinsettias

The poinsettia plant is native to Central America where it was used by the Aztecs for decorative and medicinal purposes. (Contrary to popular belief it is not poisonous.) The Aztecs also considered the red color a symbol of purity and incorporated Poinsettias into religious ceremonies. In Mexico and Guatemala, the poinsettia is referred to as the “Flower of the Holy Night.” Dr. Joel Roberts Poinsett, an American botanist, introduced the plant in 1828.

As the holidays near, the finishing touches on your home décor might require a few poinsettias. (And, they make a wonderful host or hostess gift if you are visiting friends and family this holiday.) The myth that Poinsettia care is complicated is really a false one. You can add these festive beauties to your holiday décor and, if you keep them protected and well-watered, you’re likely to tap into their beauty for years to follow.

Spring-Green, your neighborhood lawn care professional, is here to help you throughout the holidays and all year-round, whatever your lawn care needs may be. Ask us about our satisfaction guarantee and become a Spring-Green customer today.

Pruning: How and When to Prune Flowering Plants

fall pruning

If you hesitate at the thought of bringing the pruning shears to your beautiful flowering plants, you’re not alone. The thought of pruning flowering plants can make even the most experienced home gardener pause. But pruning is important to your plants’ growth, and one of the best ways to bring more blooms the following season. But not all plants should be pruned the same way or at the same time of year. What gets pruned and when? We are so glad you asked!

When to Prune, Timing Is Everything

When and where to prune a flowering plant largely depends on when and where it blooms. Properly timing the pruning of your flowering plants can make the difference between magnificent blooms next season, or—every gardener’s fear—no flowers at all. The key is to determine when and where the plant sets its buds for the next season. In general terms, we want to prune after flowering is finished but before budding begins. You want to prune before buds are set to keep from disturbing the following year’s blooms.

As a rule, flowering plants that bloom in early spring on old wood (or growth from the previous season), like azaleas, should be pruned a week or two after flowering. The new growth that follows is where buds will form. Those buds will then bloom the following spring on what by then will be the previous season’s growth.

Plants that bloom in late summer or fall, on stem growth from the current growing season, should be pruned in winter or early spring, while the plant is dormant. During the growing season that follows, buds will form and bloom on the current year’s growth.
Some plant types will make this easy and others not so much. Azaleas, for example, form buds all along the stem, so you can cut anywhere and still encourage buds to bloom. Hydrangeas are another story. Some hydrangea bloom on the old wood while others bloom on the new growth. The key is to figure out which type(s) you have.

Pruning Tips and Techniques

The reasons to prune flowering plants are fairly few: to control the size and shape the plants, to optimize the blooms, and to remove dead or diseased portions. Deadheading, for example, is the practice of pruning flowers after they have faded out of bloom. In some cases, dead wood is pruned away for safety reasons. The removal of dead wood can be done at any time and diseased wood should be removed as soon as possible. Fall pruning is usually restricted to these instances. In any case, most flowering plants require relatively few pruning sessions.

The act of pruning plants is somewhat ironic in that when we prune, we are in effect causing injury. When done properly, however, pruning techniques utilize the plant’s natural healing process to stimulate new growth and achieve optimal health, beauty, and vitality. For the best results, make sure you fertilize as well as prune. Some plants, like azaleas and rhododendrons, love to be fertilized right at the end of the blooming season as well as during the summer. Finally, use proper tools and keep them sharp in order to minimize trauma to the plant.

The key is to know your particular type of plant and what it needs most. Pruning may not be easy, but the results are well worth the work. Two excellent sources of additional information come from Stihl’s Pruning Guide, a manufacturer of pruning tools, and Proven Winners Rules of Thumb for Pruning Flowering Shrubs.

As always, never hesitate to call on your neighborhood lawn care professional at Spring-Green whenever you have questions or concerns about caring for your lawn and landscape. We are here to help.