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Preparing for Spring: Yard Maintenance

Preparing for Spring: Yard Maintenance

Yard Maintenance is an important part of preparing your garden for the up-coming year. Whether you have a landscaping crew do this, or you work in the yard yourself. Don’t miss these important steps:

  1. Following the recent snow, clean up any de-icing products from driveways and paths, and keep off planting beds. Add some gypsum to any beds that may have been affected by these products.
  2. You may have already added some soil amendments to planting beds, as part of your Fall/Winter garden maintenance. If not, it’s not too late for this. The Pacific Northwest still has many months of rain before the drier season is upon us, this will help the organic amendment penetrate the soil, and encourage good soil life and drainage.
  3. It’s also a good time to adjust soil pH, if your soil is too acidic, you can add some agricultural lime. If your soil is too alkaline, you can add aluminum sulfate, sphagnum peat or organic soil amendment, (most of these tend to be acidic). Adjusting pH will ensure that your plants can absorb the nutrients they need.
  1. Now is the time to fertilize plants. Rhododendrons, Camellias and Azaleas will appreciate an acid fertilizer mix for their upcoming blooms. Other trees and shrubs can be fed a general organic fertilizer. Your lawn will also appreciate some fertilizer, as it comes out of Winter dormancy.
  2. Cut back grasses; Miscanthus, Calamagrostis and Pennisetum, can now be cut down to the base, so they will be ready for the new Spring growth. The stalks can even be left on planting beds as mulch to keep weeds down. Perennials can also be cleaned up and any dead leaves and flower stalks removed, once danger of heavy frost is past, for example, Sedums and Echinacea.
  3. Pull up any weeds and make sure to dispose of them in your green bin, don’t throw them in the compost bin, unless you want weeds sprouting up! If you didn’t already apply bark mulch or dust, top dress the soil to keep the weeds down.

We hope that these tips will help you with your yard maintenance.
Contact Frontier Landscaping for help with this and so much more!

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.

Rescuing Your Lawn from Winter Distress

Lawn under snow

 

In a year when winter has been particularly long, cold, and wet, it’s not unusual to enter spring with a distressed lawn. The high pressure produced by intense winter conditions creates a lot of opportunities for pests and diseases to move in and cause problems.

 

Here are a few common issues we observe in the Clark County and Portland metro area. If you’re seeing bare patches, brown patches, or circular patches of pink or white, you may be facing one of the following:

 

 

Red Thread

 

Red thread, or Laetisaria fuciformis, is an opportunistic lawn disease. Its name comes from thin red strands this fungus sends out from the tips of infected grass blades. If your lawn and soil isn’t well drained, a wet winter can throw the door wide open for problems due to this infection. Prolonged exposure to moisture is the primary cause of red thread in unhealthy turf. 

Red thread lawn disease red thread lawn disease

 

From a distance, you may notice circular patches of pinkish grass ranging up to 8 inches in diameter. It’s important to take a closer look to see if ‘threads’ are present, though, as there are similar symptoms that result from other kinds of issues.

 

 

The good news is that red thread does not destroy grass roots and crowns. There is potential for full recovery if you commit to thorough treatment. The best way to ward off future infections of red thread is by conditioning your soil, providing good drainage, and sticking to a proven, consistent maintenance plan.

 

 

Pink Snow Mold

 

Pink snow mold, as its name implies, is associated with extended snow cover. Like red thread, it’s caused by a fungus, Microdochium nivale. Pink and white foamy fungal spores sit on top of infected grass blades, creating pink circular splotches across the lawn. In a prolonged wet and snowy winter, it can result in severe damage to turf.

Pink snow mold in lawn

 

The road to recovery begins with skilled thatching and aeration. Committing to best practices for fertilization, drainage, snow management, and pest control is the key to keeping damage from snow mold to a minimum, whatever future winters may bring.

 

 

Crane Fly

 

Crane fly infestations are notorious for their potential to kill an entire lawn. While adult crane flies swoop and fly around the yard, it’s the eggs they lay down that spell serious trouble. Crane fly larvae (also known as ‘leatherjackets’) are 1-inch long and tan or grayish white in color. The hungry larvae wreak havoc on turf as they feast on grass roots and crowns.

Frontier Landscape insect remediation in Vancouver, WA. Lawn pest control in Vancouver, WA

 

Look for patches of damaged grass that may appear to grow together and spread. Peeling back the soil will reveal whether crane fly larvae are to blame. While a healthy lawn can handle a medium population of larvae, a teeming infestation means it’s time to call for help.

 

The encouraging thing about battling crane fly is the potential for treatment and full recovery. The crew at Frontier Landscaping has generated impressive results for lawn restoration and would be happy to work with you to save your lawn if you’re dealing with an outbreak this year.

 

Maintaining healthy turfgrass is the #1 way to prevent future pest and disease issues!

 

Lawn Rescues and Revamps

 

In the moist Pacific Northwest, especially after a very wet winter, it’s not uncommon to have problems show up if your soil and grass haven’t been regularly maintained for optimal health.

 

If you’re in need of treatment, the Frontier Landscaping crew is expertly qualified to help you back to a thriving, healthy lawn. The process we have developed through years of local experience consistently produces successful, healthy turf.

 

Aeration

 

Aeration is a generic term for exposing soil to the air by removing plugs of soil from the turf. The openings created by aeration help water and nutrients move more easily through the soil.

 

How lawn aeration works

 

While it’s common practice to leave soil plugs in a lawn after aeration, the crew at Frontier Landscaping has determined that the most successful lawns are created when we pick up and dispose of the hardened plugs. This additional step allows topdressing to better penetrate the new holes in the soil, enhancing the entire aeration process overall. While it is a greater effort, this step has consistently shown itself to be an effective key to helping sick lawns bounce back quickly and look better than ever.

 

Additional benefits of aeration:

 

  • Limits fertilizer runoff
  • Improves ability to absorb water
  • Slows buildup of thatch
  • Builds strong root system and layer of topsoil

Frontier Landscaping recommends aeration once each year for all lawns to maintain great health.          

Reseeding and Fertilization

 

Once soil has been aerated, ¼ to 1 inch of rich soil conditioner is applied. This mix works down through the new holes left by aeration and sets the lawn up for improved future drainage.

 

Why does this matter? Good soil texture promotes healthy turf. In turn, healthy turf is significantly less susceptible to disease.

 

Once soil has been treated, your lawn will be ready to be reseeded and fertilized. It’s not uncommon to see new grass emerging within a month of completion.

 

 

Intense seasons of wet weather can result in significant pest and disease pressure on lawns, especially if the grass isn’t robust and healthy to begin with.

 

If you find yourself facing ugly bare spots, remember that many issues are treatable if caught in time. Give us a call to learn about treatment options for your lawn. We’ll help you through and are happy to design a custom care plan for the future based on the specific needs of your landscape.

 

Ready for a winter lawn rescue? Call (360) 574-8979 or send us an email to arrange a consultation today.

Solving Water Problems With Dry Creek Beds

Dry creek bed, drainage solution, solving water problems

Dry creek beds provide attractive, functional relief, especially if your landscape is plagued by standing water. In the wet PNW, drainage problems are a common headache. Do any of these sound familiar?

  • Floostanding water in lawnded flower beds
  • Pooling water below a deck
  • Swampy places in the lawn
  • Puddles around a foundation

Leaving drainage issues unaddressed has serious consequences, from dead lawn and plants to costly repairs and decreased property value.

 

The Good News

Frontier Landscaping has years of experience designing and implementing features that effectively carry water away from problem areas. Dry creek beds are star performers, particularly in sloped terrain. They work twice as hard for a landscape by running water from Point A to B, and standing alone as an attractive feature in drier months of the year.

“Even property owners with no drainage issues may choose to install a dry creek bed due to the elements of natural beauty in the way they look.”

dry creek bed with ornamental plantings as an attractive drainage solutioon

 

Controlling Water Flow

Dry creek beds are an excellent choice for addressing places in the landscape that are hard-hit by heavy rains.  While a flat place in the yard may benefit more from a simple lawn drain, gradients and hillsides need the water capacity and speed that a dry creek bed can provide during extreme conditions. Effectively redirecting the flow of water saves you from ongoing erosion and long-term damage.

 

Water-Wise Gardening

When property owners are looking for a greener way to landscape, dry creek beds play an exciting role. Different-sized rocks, boulders, and choice plantings give eye-pleasing texture to outdoor spaces, but require much less water than an expanse of lawn. While bark dust alone can look flat, a dry creek bed introduces definition and contrast. It’s aesthetically pleasing and earth-friendly — a winning combination.

 

Dry Creek Beds for Natural Beauty

We regularly install dry creek beds to add natural beauty to a landscape. Expertly balancing a few key ingredients (a natural shape, native plantings, multiple sizes of stone) brings a natural, organic flow to an area. The results are breathtaking in any season, wet or dry.  

 

Additional Considerations

No two landscapes are exactly alike, and the solution that works for one may not work for another.  While dry creek beds are particularly suited to slopes and hillsides, they aren’t usually the best choice for flat ground.

Other elements, like French drains, catch basins, and lawn drains also have a part to play — and that’s just the beginning. Frontier’s installation team has years of experience solving drainage problems for local property owners.  

 

French drain pipe and garden path installation

French drain pipe (L), installed as a garden path (R). 

 

French drains are a functional solution for flat terrain and less water. They often have a part to play in designing an overall solution for moving water in a landscape. Read more about them here.

 

surface water catch basin diagram

 

Ranging in size from 6 to 24 inches, catch basins can be square or circular. These grated drains are typically placed alongside a driveway or in a low or sloped spot in the yard or hardscaping, like a patio. This is a straightforward fix for diverting water away from wet spots. A blend of rocks around it allows the catch basin to blend in with the landscape.

From basic to beautiful, there are many combinations of elements we can put to work that provide an effective long-term solution for drainage issues in your landscape.

Ready to learn how can we help you solve your standing water problems? Call (360) 574-8979 or email us for a consultation. We’ll work with you to protect your landscape with the right drainage solution to meet your needs.

Find more inspiration for dry creek beds and landscape design by visiting us on Houzz!

houzz_logo

Garden Chores for May

basket with tools for garden chores

  • Pruning – May is ideal for shearing evergreens such as junipers, conifer and cypress. Azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons can also be pruned back to eliminate frost-damaged branches. Remember that cutting back into bare branches or cutting new flowers off before bloom can harm your plants or stop growth, so use care. Want help? We assist with pruning and maintenance for gardens of all sizes. Learn More About Our Pruning Services
  • Fruit trees – Thin fruit as needed. Have questions or need help? We’re here for you.
  • Fertilizing – New shrub, tree, and rose plantings will benefit from treatment with fertilizer; remember to water well after application.
  • Flowers – Hardy annuals are safe to plant now, but wait to plant more tender annuals (impatiens, geranium, fuchsia) in the ground until nighttime temps stay up over 50 degrees. All summer-flowering perennials, bulbs and shrubs can be planted now, as well as chrysanthemums for fall color. Have fun!

Summer bulb collage - canna dahlia gladiolus begonia lily

  • Watering – Now’s the time to make sure that your irrigation system is working so that you’re prepared to meet the needs of your garden. Schedule an appointment with us to prep, prime, install, or repair before things heat up this summer. More About Frontier’s Spring Start-Up Service
  • Lawn Care: De-thatch, dig out perennial weeds or spray, aerate, and overseed with grass. In some cases, applying a thin layer of fine soil helps as well. Call us for more information and guidance on lawn care. Short on time? Let us handle it for you. Check Out Our Maintenance Services
  • Weeds / Pest Control – Get aggressive and eliminate weeds before they go to bud and seed. Mulching is a great way conserve moisture and prevent weed seeds from germinating; try using hemlock or fir. Eradicate slugs with bait or traps. Clearing vegetation near your garden helps. Examine the lawn for damaged turf; wet or waterlogged areas are particularly susceptible to hungry crane fly larvae. Recovery is faster when issues are caught early.

April Garden Tasks

What a beautiful time of the year with the rhododendrons, magnolias, camellias, forsythia and other spring flowering plants reaching their peak of beauty. There are a few April garden tasks one can do to keep the garden looking its best this season. Remember what is accomplished early in the season will help cut down on garden maintenance the rest of year.

april garden projectsLAWN CARE

Now is a good time to give some attention to the lawn. The application of a spring lawn fertilizer will perk up the lawn and improve overall color and appearance. If needed, get one that includes moss killer. Most lawns could use aerating now, and, if necessary, a thatching. Applying new grass seed fills in the lawn and deters moss and weeds. Use about one pound per 300 square feet. Call Frontier today to find out how our landscape services can make having a lush, beautiful lawn.

FRUITS & BERRIES

Local garden outlets have their finest selection of fruit trees and berry plants this time of year. All types of fruits and berries do best when planted in full sun – consider a small back yard orchard this year!

VEGETABLES

Amazingly, it’s time to get the vegetable garden underway in earnest. Plant perennial vegetables like asparagus, rhubarb, horseradish now. You can plant cool weather veggies: peas, carrots, beets, greens of all sorts, cauliflower, cabbage and more. Wait until later this month to plant beans and corn. Don’t put in warm weather crops like tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and peppers until next month.

April garden projectsSUMMER-FLOWERING BULBS

If you missed the fall window for planting spring flowering bulbs such as tulips and daffodils, you needn’t miss this opportunity to plant summer-flowering bulbs including dahlias, gladiolas and lilies. Mix bulb fertilizer, processed manure and peat moss into the soil and check the instructions for proper depth.

TREES & SHRUBS

There is still time to plant trees, shrubs, perennials and other plants. Rockery perennials and hardy annuals may also be planted at this time.

PRUNING

April and May are ideal for pruning or shearing evergreens such as junipers, conifer and cypress. However, if you cut back into bare branches it can be difficult or impossible for the plant to regrow. Optimize your evergreens with an expert pruning by Frontier Landscaping’s team of professionals.

CALL US!

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