fbpx

Treating Summer Drought Stress in your Landscape

Fall is  an excellent time for landscape improvements, the sun’s still shining, temperatures are more mellow. Plants love this time of year, it’s perfect to establish healthy roots and still mild enough to work outdoors comfortably.

When you go outside this month to decorate your porch or rake your leaves you may start to notice plants struggling that were looking healthy during the summer. This can confuse and bewilder homeowners. A once healthy fir tree may start dropping its needles, or a mature ornamental tree will drop its leaves a month early. Although it’s  been weeks since the summer heat wave, these are symptoms your landscape was under summer water stress.

What’s normal and what is a sign for concern? This can be hard to determine but here are some troubleshooting tips to help you prevent and diagnose drought stress in your landscape:

Needle drop on your conifers 

You have established conifers that are losing their needles like crazy. This can be dramatic, but it is usually a normal part of getting ready for winter for most conifers. If the interior needles (closest to the trunk) of your trees are shedding that is probably normal.

Signs to watch out for: The center branch (central leader) having dieback issues. This is a sign the tree could not get water into its system. The tips or new growth drying out and losing needles or entire branches. A tree care professional can determine if selective pruning will help your plant recover or not.

Leaf drop or branch die off in ornamentals 

Die out in the crown or on main branches of trees or early leaf drop can be dramatic and very concerning to homeowners. Many deciduous ornamental and flowering trees will drop leaves in order to combat drought stress.  On young plants you can slightly scrape the bark and if you reveal green it’s likely going to be ok. Maintenance involves diagnosing issues, removing any dead wood and in many cases this will restore the plant’s health. 

Early fall color on ornamental shade trees or shrubs

Although beautiful, this can be alarming! Check to see if leaf buds are still developing normally in the dormant period. These can usually be found at the base of the dropping leaf. Be mindful to offer irrigation during dry autumn times, or dry spells prior to a frost.

Perennials browning or crisping, dropping flowers early 

It is not uncommon for perennials to be looking rough by the fall. If you have flowers and ornamental grasses in your landscape that have well established root systems, this is probably not cause for alarm. You can wait for the foliage to begin to die back naturally and then help by cutting back remaining foliage. Landscape technicians will mulch leaving some space for the crown of perennial plants to emerge the next spring.

Plants need a lot less water by the time September comes around, but once the ground is freezing, plants cannot take up moisture, even if the surrounding soil is moist. So water your plants and trees that are in containers and the landscape prior to a freeze.

Disease and Pests 

Pathogens and insects often attack plants when they are undergoing stress. Ongoing landscape maintenance is the key to monitoring and keeping your garden healthy to prevent diseases and infestations before they start. If you do have an issue that requires treatment, increasing the overall health of your soil and plant is imperative to helping your plants recover. Multiple threats will attack stressed plants, so make sure an experienced professional diagnoses all your disease and insect issues.

Landscape techniques to prevent summer drought stress

Regular steady irrigation schedule, adjusted to the seasonal weather conditions is so important to establishing a healthy landscape.

An automatic sprinkler or drip irrigation system. These actually save you money and conserve water by getting your landscape the irrigation it needs in regular intervals. 

Give your landscape trees room to mature, do not plant annuals and perennials right at the base of trees. Give a buffer of 3-5 feet around trees to ensure that you do not drown or bury the base of your tree in bark, compost or other plantings. Young trees need longer durations of deep watering than other plants, so be sure to target their needs specifically.

Monitor slopes and drainage issues. Areas of the landscape on hills or slopes often need water delivered at a slower rate. They also pose a challenge to plant your landscape plants at the proper depth.

Ongoing landscape maintenance will help prevent stress issues, but if your garden is displaying the symptoms of drought stress this fall, we can help you diagnose and salvage your landscape so that by next spring it is revitalized and healthy again.

Call us today to schedule your landscape maintenance or tree care consultation. 

Landscaping for Form and Function: Making the Most of Your Space with the Elements of Design

Ultimately your landscape should be an extension of your home, a place to relax and destress. With a little planning and intention, you can match the elements of design to your personal goals for your garden and landscape. Creating a landscape you can use, enjoy, and relax in are all important things to consider. An appropriately planned landscape design will match the elements of designs with natural and architectural features of your home, and enhance the beauty of your landscape, increasing your quality of life. These days home can become much more than where you relax and rest. Home is now where you work or where your kids go to school and it’s important to maintain your landscape in a way that it reduces your stress level. With landscape renovations, you can regain the ability to relax and recoup at your home while adding value to your property.

Before you hire a landscaping company it’s a good idea to take an inventory of your personal goals for your landscape. You will also want to address any trouble spots, structural, visual and environmental issues your property has like slope or drainage issues. The elements of design can serve as a tool for addressing and improving your landscape.

Line

Line can be applied in various ways to the landscape. The lines of sight from your home into your yard and visa-versa are important to consider when designing your landscape. Where your property sits in relation to the horizon line and the tree line are prominent areas that influence the overall feeling of your outdoor spaces. Lines are also important when you design the transitions between hardscapes and garden beds, like paths and walkway to greenspace and in the edging of turf areas.

Shape and Form

Shape and form are present in a variety of garden features. You need to realize that landscapes are dynamic outdoor spaces, and that plants will change shape and form as they mature. A garden will look very different the first year it is installed than after ten years in the ground. This is why maintenance and plant selection is so crucial to your landscape’s long term health, and your ability to enjoy it.
Shape and form are very critical when determining what hardscape features you want. A large deck can dwarf your garden areas. An expansive turf can make a small yard appear bigger. This is a crucial element to focus on to make the most of your existing space based on what areas you want to enhance what you want to minimize.

Direction

The direction of the sun’s path over your home is also an important consideration when assessing your landscape. Of course, you need to be aware of sun exposure for your plants, but there are other direction considerations. West and South sides of homes typically get the most sun and heat, as long as they are not obstructed by another structure or building. The North side is often a challenge in the Northwest, due to more shade and that can coincide with wet soggy soils in the winter. It is also important to know the weather patterns on your property in relation to your structure so you can plan seating areas, structures and plant trees out of wind patterns and sun exposure properly.

Direction in the landscape has to do with the way you and your family move through your space. If you are designing an outdoor eating or entertaining area it’s important to make your indoor kitchen accessible easy to transition between gathering when you need inside your home and taking it to your outdoor space. Recreation areas also need to be placed in a way to minimize disruptions between play and rest. For example, it’s best not to install a basketball hoop near a calming water feature. Or a dog run that will get muddy in the winter adjacent to a formal seating area. Again, every property is unique and skilled landscape designer will have experience to consider all the directional needs of your landscape.

Texture

Texture can play off in both your garden and hardscapes. The types of plants you choose can have a light or heavier texture depending on their color, leaf density and size. In the hardscape, using smooth concrete will give an elegant formal look, whereas rough natural stone feels more rustic and organic. Texture can give the illusion of movement and help to break up harsh lines by softening the transitions between plants and structures.

Color

This is where the preferences of the homeowner really come into play and an opportunity to be creative! Some people prefer more neutral colors when it comes to plants and more formal areas for outdoor seating, while others get excited by vibrant and contrasting colors. It really is a personal opinion. Landscapes that look well balanced have a consistent application of either similar or vibrant colors that maintain visual interest throughout the property. You should also consider how plants change throughout the seasons. To have a vibrant landscape you can add color by choosing plants that bloom at different times and during different seasons. As we go into fall, trees with fall color get the spotlight for visual interest, but you don’t neglect using plants that bloom in the spring and summer.

Value

Every garden has that one darker corner or large tree that shades the space. Value can be attributed to the way the light lays over the landscape depending on the time of day or your plant palette of lighter or darker plant foliage and flowers you prefer. You can lighten up areas and draw attention to them by installing up lights on trees or water features. The value of your plants will also change throughout the seasons. In Spring, gardens have a bright new look of fresh new foliage on trees and shrubs. Once you make it to Fall, trees morph into fall color, evergreen leaves are settled into a deeper green in contrast to the new growth you observe in Spring.

Space

Defining your space and the space between your property and neighbors is a frequent request. This goes hand in hand with creating privacy between neighbors. The right fencing or hedging can help you define your outdoor space to screen away close-by windows, and things like work spaces or recycling/garbage containers.

As long as your garden and landscape functions for your needs there really is no hard and fast rule when it comes to design elements in your landscape. A good landscape designer will work with you to create the design that makes your personal aesthetics with functional details to create a true oasis to complement your life and help your house feel like home.

Contact us today to begin your landscape renovation this Fall.

The Benefits of an Automatic Irrigation System

The Benefits of an Automatic Irrigation System

This summer has been beautiful in the Northwest, but prolonged sunny days can dry out your plants, wreaking havoc on your landscape. Installing an irrigation system saves you time and money in the long run. It preserves valuable water resources, using less water more effectively, saving you time and money on utility bills.

Having an irrigation system makes it possible to enjoy your summer without the worry or time consuming task of hand watering, or even worse returning from a weekend away to find your garden scorched. Irrigation systems can be adjusted as your landscape matures and timers can be set easily by the property owner as the seasons and weather patterns change.

Effective watering is the foundation to a healthy landscape. Even drought tolerant plants need a solid foundation, with regular watering over the first 1-3 years to establish strong healthy root systems. Regular compost application, barkdusting, and mulching garden beds will also aid your landscape in water retention. Proper watering helps your plants with fertilizer uptake, overall plant health and your soil stay healthy by maintaining the proper balance of nutrients. Plants cannot take up nutrients when they are in a state of drought. Even weeds are better controlled when your landscape plants are thriving.

Proper watering is the most important requirement to establishing long term plant health and preserving the investment you make when renovating your landscape. Installing irrigation is an investment to your landscape. Having an automatic irrigation or sprinkler system increases the value of your property. Maintaining your irrigation system is also important to make sure you prevent breaks, leaks, and maintain pressure. Frontier Landscaping can help you set up or repair your irrigation, allowing you to get back to the summer activities you enjoy. We guarantee all our work. Call (360) 574-8979 or send us an email to arrange a site visit for an estimate today.  Due to COVID-19 our construction crews are booked out past the point of irrigation being needed.  We would be more than happy to assist you with an estimate so you can install irrigation over the winter or spring for the next hot summer.

Landscape & Irrigation Guarantee

Frontier Landscaping provides expert irrigation design, installation and repair to residential and commercial properties in Vancouver, Portland, Battleground, Kelso, Longview, Camas, Clark County and Multnomah County.

Landscape Services for Property Managers

Landscape Services for Property Managers

In addition to commercial and residential landscape services we also partner with property managers to alleviate the burden of landscape maintenance from their already full plates. We will work with you on an individual or group of properties to set up a clear and consistent maintenance plan that keeps your tenants satisfied all months of the year.
We make sure it’s done right and with the best environmental practices we can offer. Let us help you set up a landscape maintenance services that includes:

  • Lawn Care, complete with regular mowing, edging and fertilizing
  • Tree care including 24 hour emergency tree service
  • Leaf clean up and garden bed maintenance
  • Hardscape Maintenance, including pressure washing and moss prevention and removal
  • Planting beds
  • Pruning, mulching and leaf removal
  • So much more
When you’re overseeing a property or multiple properties you need to partner with a landscape company you can trust. We have highly skilled staff that are the best in the business. We have been active in the Vancouver and Portland areas for over thirty years and it shows. We provide efficient plans for your property with a budget tailored to your priorities. 

In addition to residential and commercial services we also service:

  • Individually managed property or home
  • Commercial complex or office
  • Group of properties managed by same company
  • Estate or property the includes extensive grounds
  • HOAs or Neighborhood Associations
  • Apartments, Townhomes or Condominium Communities

Property management has many scenarios, you need to have a company you trust to handle the unexpected. If unfortunate issues arise we are skilled at both emergency tree removal and storm clean up.We also provide the preventative care to reduce the risk to your tenants. You never know what to expect during Pacific Northwest Winters and we are experienced to handle whatever Mother Nature sends our way.

Contact us today to start your property management plan.

Ideas To Keep Busy – Part 1

Keeping Busy and #StayHome

As we’re being asked to #StayHome, parents and families are looking for fun ways to keep kids busy. We found a few fun ideas from Growing A Jeweled Rose to help keep kids busy in the garden. We’ve selected our favorites and listed them here. If you try any of these, please post your photos or if you have any other ideas, please share in the comments below. As adults, some of these look fun to us too, so don’t feel like you can’t participate if you don’t have kids at home.

installation

If your kids are a little older and/or are ready to help in the yard, here are a few ideas we found to help keep them busy helping you

Debris Clean- Up
One thing you can do is to clean up your yard. This means removing leaves, twigs, branches, dirt and other items that have accumulated over the fall and winter months.   There are some common issues in Clark County & Portland Metro, so if you’re seeing bare batches, there are a few issues you could be facing.

Make it fun – make it a race to gather debris and bring it to the compost pile. Use a stopwatch (or app) to time them.

Composting
Collected leaves, cuttings, spent foliage and other debris will decompose and create nutrient rich humus for amending your garden. Adding organic compost can be a great way to improve the condition of your soil. Composting also helps to improve water retention, airflow and can improve the strength and feel of the soil. The debris in your yard, such as leaves, plants, grass clippings and even kitchen scraps (not animals) can make great compost. You’ll need to turn it frequently to speed up the decomp process.

Make a game for your kids by having them take turns turning the compost. Time them and have them pass the turning tool around to all of them.

Retaining Walls

At Frontier Landscaping we receive many requests for Retaining Walls. This is one of the more frequently discussed additions with regards to a clients’ hardscaping, when deciding on their Landscape designs. This can be with a brand-new landscape or an addition to an existing landscape. Some of our clients live on more sloped areas and it is not unusual to want to create flat or level spots within the Outdoor areas to get more usage from the property. When deciding on a Landscape or improvement to the existing Landscape, at Frontier Landscaping we discuss the best way to increase the living spaces and or enhance by adding these features to the design.

A Few attributes of adding retaining walls

  • Creates more useable Outdoor Spaces
  • Rapid Installation
  • Creates vertical, horizontal areas as well as adding curvature
  • Concrete, wood, synthetics, brick, blocks, etc.
  • Wide variety of colors, sizes and textures
  • Provides support

One method of building Retaining Walls consists of modular concrete blocks that interlock with each other. They can be used to hold back a sloping face of soil to provide a solid, vertical front. Without adequate retention, slopes can cave, slump or slide. With construction of our Retaining Walls, higher and steeper walls can be constructed with the ability to retain the force of earth pressure created by the backfill soil, giving more flexibility to your design choices.

Retaining Walls can be installed in a wide variety of colors, sizes, and textures. They can incorporate straight or curved lines, steps, and corners. They are ideal for not only slope support, but also for widening areas that would otherwise be unusable due to the natural slope of the land. Retaining walls are often used for grade changes, and for other functional reasons such as widening driveways, walkways, or creating more space in a patio outdoor area. More usable area for your Landscapes and Outdoor Spaces.

Retaining Walls provide lateral support to vertical slopes of soil. They retain soil which would otherwise collapse into a more natural shape. The retained soil is referred to as backfill.

CALL US!

Call us today for a free quote on all your landscaping needs!