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Spring garden tasks: Reasons to get outside

Spring garden tasks: Reasons to get outside

witch hazel

Capricious as March may be in her whims of weather, taking on a few of these spring garden tasks – even if between showers – will spruce up your landscape and lay the groundwork for a great growing season.

A clean sweep of decluttering, purging and tidying now will reward you with a fresh palette and greater options going forward.

Remove dead, damaged branches

Tree and shrub branches that have been damaged by cold, snow and wind should be pruned back to live stems; use a handsaw for any larger than ½ inch in diameter.

Prune (some) shrubs

While it’s a good time to prune summer-flowering shrubs, such as Rose of Sharon, before buds swell, the ideal time to prune spring bloomers is right after they flower. However, you can also prune them while in flower and use the flowering stalks in arrangements for inside. Forsythia and lilacs are wonderful examples.

Prune roses

Cut back winter-damaged rose canes to 1 inch below the blackened area. On climbers, keep younger green canes and remove older woody ones; neaten them up by bending the canes horizontally and tipping buds downward. Use jute twine or gentle Velcro fasteners to hold the canes in place. This task is best accomplished with a pair of sharp bypass pruners – and good gloves!siberian iris - dividing (2)

Divide perennials

Prune flowering perennials to a height of 4-5 inches to allow new growth to shoot up. Where soil has thawed, dig up overgrown clumps of perennials, such as daylily and hosta, dividing them into smaller clumps to be shared or transplanted elsewhere.

Clear the decks

Rake fallen leaves and dead foliage from around the base of your plants; they can smother plants and foster disease. Pull up weeds and spent annuals and rake away existing mulch to make way for a new layer after spring planting. Use pins to fasten loose drip irrigation lines and a square-head shovel to give beds a clean edge and keep turf grass from growing into them.

Feed

Now is a good time to spread a pelletized fertilizer on the soil’s surface so that spring rains can carry it to the roots. Add 5-10-10 fertilizer around bulbs as soon as they flower to maximize bloom time and nourish next year’s growth.

Compost yard waste

A compost pile can be as simple as a small corral made by joining a section of wire fencing. Collected leaves, cuttings, spent foliage and other debris will decompose and create nutrient rich humus for amending your garden. Branches larger than 1/2 inch in diameter should be cut down or chipped to accelerate decomposition or add a bagged compost starter to the pile. Keep the pile as moist as a wrung-out sponge and aerate it with a pitchfork every two weeks. Early spring weeds may keep growing and go to seed. These and chemically treated plant material should be otherwise disposed of.

Prep lawn for spring seeding

Test your soil’s pH in various locations where your lawn will be and assemble the right amendments. Remove damaged, diseased turf to prepare for the seeding that should follow in a few weeks. You can remove dead turf with a square metal rake, then flip it over to spread compost. Work in a half-inch layer of compost to keep the new seed moist and increase the germination rate. Begin seeding once the forsythia starts blooming in your area.

flagstone path maintenanceClean up paths & patios

Rake escaped gravel back into aggregate walkways and patios and order more to spread in large depressions that often form near the driveway’s apron. Refill joints between flagstones by sweeping in new sand or stone dust; water with a hose to set it, then repeat. If the freeze-thaw cycle has heaved pavers out of place, remove them and replenish the base material as needed before setting pavers back in. Use a pressure washer with a low pressure tip to remove slippery algae spots or leaf stains from patios and walkways.

Restore worn wood fences

Remove badly rotted or damaged pickets, boards or lattice and scrub wood structures with a mixture of 2 gallons water, 2 quarts bleach and 1 cup liquid soap; let dry. Patch rotted sections with wood epoxy; install new wood as needed. Check wobbly fence posts to see if they need replacing. Scrape off old paint, then sand with 60 grit sandpaper to prep for a new finish coat. Once temperatures go above 50 degrees F, brush on a new coat of paint or stain.

Choose Frontier Landscaping for help with your spring landscape cleanup. We are based in Vancouver, Wash., and provide services in the Portland-Vancouver area and throughout Clark County, Washington.

Call today to find out how Frontier Landscaping can grant you the yard you’ve been wishing for.

If the Weather is Fickle, you might get in a Pickle!

If the Weather is Fickle, you might get in a Pickle!

We had a pretty funny February and many people (and plants!) feel like spring is here to stay. Well, we’ve lived in the Northwest for a long time and we know better than to trust a warm February. Even though we’ve had an unseasonably warm and dry winter, we might still get cold temperatures and wet weather and it’s good to be prepared.

Rain weather

Protect Plants

Many bulbs, perennials, fruit trees and other plants have woken up early from dormancy, due to temperatures in the mid-60’s this past month. However, if temperatures drop again (and they likely might), plants can incur damage. We recommend keeping your beds mulched to insulate root systems. If we have a hard freeze in the forecast, you can even throw a blanket over vulnerable plants to protect them.

Plant with Caution

Many plants can go in the ground during cold temperatures. Dormant trees, fruit trees, roses and berry plants all do well when planted in winter. However, hold off on planting tender annuals and most vegetables until we get further into spring to avoid frost damage.

Pay attention to the Forecast

A quick look once a day at the low temperatures will help give you a warning if a cold frost is on the way. We also send out cold weather warnings via our email newsletter and on our Facebook page. Stay tuned to both pages to get weather updates and seasonal tips.

Is your Lawn Growing? Spring must be Coming!

 Lawn and Yard Maintenance

The warmer weather in February means that the grass has been growing fast! It’s already time to get mowing! Whether you mow your lawn yourself or hire our maintenance team to take care of it, it’s good to keep an eye on it and not let it get too long! Lawns are at their best when kept weed-free and at a reasonable height. It’s time to get your lawn and landscape ready for outdoor activities and enjoyment. Our maintenance crew can schedule regular visits to keep your yard looking clean and trim.

Schedule Now!

If you would like to have regular mowing and yard maintenance on your home or property, now is the time to sign up and schedule your visits! We are scheduling for the 2015 season now and it’s already filling up. You can choose your level of service to make sure you get the right amount of care for your property to keep it looking beautiful. We serve both residential and commercial properties of any size all around the Vancouver area.

Beyond Mowing

While a well-mowed and trimmed lawn is often an essential component to a beautiful landscape, it’s far from the extent of our maintenance services! We can provide you with a maintenance plan tailored to your specific needs. Our professionally trained maintenance teams offer the following services:

  • mowingPest and Weed Control
  • Plant and Turf Fertilizing
  • Irrigation Repair/Maintenance
  • Low Voltage Lighting Repair/Maintenance
  • Water Feature Repair/Maintenance
  • Lawn Mowing and Renovation
  • Seasonal Yard Clean-ups

 

Click here to learn more about our maintenance services.

Contact us here or call us today!

 

 

Keep Your Plants Healthy and Strong!

Make sure your lawn stays green and your garden well-watered this summer, without all the hassles!

Summer is on its way and it will be rain-free around here by July. It’s odd to think about, as the spring rains soak us, but Northwest summers are notoriously bone dry. But we all still have our landscape investments to keep up and we want to enjoy our yards!

Now is the time to install new sprinkler systems or start up your existing system. Frontier Landscaping will come to your home or business to make sure your sprinklers work properly and are ready to go for the season. Whether you want us to come out one time or begin a continuing service, we can take care of your needs.

Sprinkler Systems for plant care

 

Spring Start Up: Irrigation Repair

If you have an existing sprinkler system, this is the service for you.  Our skilled irrigation technicians will come test your system for efficiency and get it ready to go for summer!

We perform backflow testing to ensure that your system is not leaching unclean water back into the watershed. We’ll test for evidence of leaks and will address cracks or damages that have occurred. Then we tune-up the entire system to make sure it’s in tip-top condition for the year.

The Spring Start Up service also includes pressurizing your irrigation system, running through all the zones, making minor adjustments for coverage and programming the controller.

water your garden

Sprinkler Installation

If you do not yet have an irrigation or sprinkler system in your home or business, we would be happy to design and install a system that works for your landscape! We make sure that your plants get the water they need, when they need it, without the hassles of dragging the hose around! We install a timer system and work with you to determine the watering needs of your plants. Then you just set the timer and walk away, knowing your irrigation system will keep your landscape in good health.

We install a wide variety of irrigation systems including the Rain Bird line of products from one of the leading irrigation manufacturers in the world. Our high-efficiency systems are designed to be the most cost-effective on the market and can be tailored to your particular property. We install environmentally-friendly water-wise systems that use efficient drip irrigation as well as rain gauges that will turn off your sprinkler timer, when it is raining, to save water.

We are certified to repair and maintain systems as well as perform backflow testing to keep your systems running smoothly all year long. The same technicians that install your system will keep it in top working condition. Click here to read our Landscape and Irrigation Guarantee.

Now is the time to get your irrigation system up and running for the year! Call or contact Frontier Landscaping today to get a quote. 1-888-544-5006

 

 

Spring Lawn Challenges

Spring is a time of quick growth and lushness. Our lawns are going crazy, with all the rain and warmer temperatures. It’s time to take a look at your lawn and make sure it’s performing at its best. Lawns can struggle with weed and pest issues as well as other problems. Call on Frontier Landscaping to help you fix your lawn. We can help you figure out what is going on and work with you to solve the issues. Get the healthy green lawn you want! Here are a few common lawn problems, along with some solutions:

Mossy Lawns

Moss in lawn Moss is a consistent problem for lawns in the Pacific Northwest. Imbalanced clay soil, shady yards and cool temperatures make for ideal conditions for moss growth. Here are a few tips for getting rid of moss in your lawn:
  • Balance your soil pH by adding lime.
  • Trim and prune trees and shrubs to allow for more light to filter through.
  • Overseed your lawn so there is no space for moss to grow.
  • Add rich compost and other organic matter to balance your soil.
  • You can kill moss by applying Iron (1-2 times, as needed) and then removing thatch.

Compacted Soil

solve soil compaction This is another common problem in our area. Northwest soils, including those in the Portland-Vancouver area, have a naturally large percentage of clay. This makes the soil very heavy and dense, minimizing air and water flow as well as root growth. In a high-traffic area (as lawns often are), compaction can get even worse, leading to drainage problems. It is important to aerate and loosen soil to allow for proper drainage and healthy plant growth.
  • Aerate your soil with a plug aerator or a pitchfork.
  • Add organic matter and live microbes to break up clay particles.
  • Filter sand into holes to help drainage in clay soil- it often works better than compost.
  • We recommend using “Turface” soil conditioner for compaction and drainage in lawns.
  • For more severe drainage problems, grading or French drains may be necessary.

Crane Flies

Crane Fly in lawns

The Crane Fly is a flying insect that can damage turf. They look like large mosquitos, though they are harmless to humans. They especially attack cool season turfgrass, leaving dead, patchy spots all over. Adults emerge in the summer but it is much more effective to take care of them when they are in the larvae stage. Here are some steps you can take:
  • Test different areas in your lawn for crane fly larvae.
  • If present, you can apply a pest control treatment.
  • If you have brown patches, you can remove thatch and reseed those areas.
Call on Frontier Landscaping to help you fix your lawn. We can solve moss issues, deal with drainage problems, remove weeds, pests and more. We want to give you a lush green lawn this year! Contact us today.  

Keep out the Moss!

Deter moss

Our wet winters bring all kinds of green wonders to life every year. We are lucky to live among many beautiful evergreen trees and shrubs, ferns and other native beauties that thrive on the rain. However, there is another plant that thrives on all the water we get and it can occasionally invade your landscape. We are talking about moss. Moss can be used artfully in some designs but, for the most part, it is a weed and a nuisance. It can choke grass and other plants and can be unsightly. There are many ways to get rid of it naturally. Keep reading for our tips!

Moss is especially a problem for yards with lots of shade and with poor drainage. They love those cool moist areas and will linger and spread in shady lawns and beds, if given a chance. You can improve the drainage in your yard by adding organic matter or, if that doesn’t help, calling in your favorite landscaping company to fix the problem. We also recommend opening up your yard to sunlight, if it is a persistent problem. This can mean cutting back any evergreen and shade trees or removing them all together. The skilled experts of Frontier Tree Service can help you determine the best way to trim a tree to maximize light getting through, without compromising the health of the tree or the beauty of your yard.

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An easier fix is to add iron to your soil. This does an efficient job of killing the moss and helps to keep it from returning. It will not harm your lawn or other plants and will only enrich your soil. In fact having rich, diverse healthy soil is a great way to keep out many unwanted pests and invaders. It’s a chemical-free way to keep the moss out of your lawn and beds. We can come out and apply iron to your lawn and garden beds for you, as part of our maintenance service.

Give us a call today to get rid of the moss in your yard. 1-(888) 544-5006

 

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