May showers bring…. June Pruning! With all the warm weather and rain we’ve been having, everything has been growing at top speed! Many trees and shrubs have been growing vigorously and have put on a flush of new growth so far this spring. It is time to slow that down just a bit. With regular summer pruning, you can help plants be their healthiest, whether that means setting the right amount of fruit or getting set up for proper blooming next year.
If summer pruning is not on your to-do list (or the job is just too big), call on the Certified Arborists and experts at Frontier to take care of it for you! Contact us here.
Summer Pruning Goals
Generally, summer pruning helps to reduce vigorous growth a little bit. We want to make sure the tree can direct energy towards fruit production and/or setting flowers for next year (depending on the type). This is also a chance to get rid of dead, diseased or unwanted plant material. Additionally, it is a time to make sure that there is proper air flow to the center of the tree or shrub (to help decrease fungal diseases) and to make sure that light can penetrate through.
Pruning Broadleaf Evergreens
We recommend pruning broadleaf evergreens (like rhododendrons and camellias) to increase strength for winter and to set flower buds for the following year. We do this in early to mid-summer to avoid any harm that can come from cold weather on fresh cuts. Wait until after blooming has finished then cut off dead flower heads and the rosettes of leaves just behind them. This will allow for new growth, while making the plant immediately more attractive. Older plants may need removal of deadwood and other shaping.
Summer Fruit Tree Pruning
We know that fruit tree pruning can be daunting because you don’t want to hurt the tree while it is producing. But a little summer haircut will increase healthy fruit production and help set the tree up for good growth in the future. The goal is to get light and air to the inside of the tree while channeling the tree’s energy into producing fewer, larger fruits, moving away from vigorous growth. Fruit trees are only capable of handling a certain fruit load so thinning can actually help you get a better crop of large, juicy fruit. Prune the center of the tree to keep in line with the shape that you want and allow for better air flow and light penetration.
Hire a Certified Arborist!
If DIY is too daunting or you don’t have time, call on a Certified Arborist to take care of your summer pruning. The head arborist at Frontier Tree Service, Tim Walker, is a Certified Arborist and we will be adding another one very soon!
A Certified Arborist knows exactly what your trees need and can prune according to the season as well as your goals for your tree(s). We have years of experience and skills to do the job efficiently and effectively. Our certification process is updated continuously so we always stay current on best practices, latest innovations and other continuing education. The health of your trees is always our top priority.
New Tree Experts at Frontier!
We are pleased to welcome some new members to the Frontier team! Certified arborist and tree expert Joseph Thomas is joining our staff, along with his wife Celeste (formerly of Thomas Family Tree). The two of them have years of experience in the tree business and they know our area, climate and community very well. We are excited to have both of them on staff!
Northwest summers are as dry as our winters are wet. We have about three straight months of dry weather coming up and it’s time to get prepared. If you have irrigation or a sprinkler system, now is the time to make sure they are in tip top shape and ready to go (let us know if you need help). Whether you have a sprinkler timer or you water by hand, it can be good to get on a regular schedule of watering.
There are a few plants that will need extra care this summer. We wanted to give you a few tips for making sure the new, young tender plants in your yard survive the dry weather! Whether you had a landscape planting installed by our crew or planted them yourselves, they will need your care in order to thrive!
Tender new plantings: Newly planted trees and shrubs have been grown in ideal nursery conditions and will need to adjust to living outdoors in your landscape. They have been in a root ball or container their whole lives and will now spread out their roots and adapt to the soil in your yard. This process can be a little bit traumatic. So, we can help them adjust by giving them extra water throughout the summer months. Water deeply and heavily a few times a week, during hot weather, for the best results. Keep an eye on your plants for signs of stress or dehydration.
Young, shallow roots: Some young new plants have short, shallow root systems that haven’t fully developed yet. These plants will need more water than well-established shrubs or perennials. Anything you start from seed (vegetables or annuals) will need extra water while they are in the seed-to-seedling stage. Newly planted vegetable or flower starts also need frequent water to help them acclimate to the soil and get over the shock of being transplanted.
Once these plants have settled into their new homes and adjusted to the shock of being transplanted, they will need less frequent watering. In fact, infrequent but deep watering encourages plants to grow deeper roots and will increase plant health over time. However, in the beginning, it’s best to baby them just a little bit.
Happy summer, garden enthusiasts! We hope you had a happy 4th of July and are gearing up for summer vacations, swim trips, barbeques and other summer fun. We’ve got a few summer ideas to keep the landscape in good shape during the summer.
Keep it wet:
Summer is finally here and that means that Mother Nature’s sprinkler system has shut off for the next few months. It’s time for us to step in to water plants and preserve the health of our landscapes. Make sure your irrigation clocks are on and scheduled just the way you need it. If you run into issues with your system or need any repairs, you can contact us to come take a look.
If you do not have an irrigation system, just remembering to water your yard a few times a week during the cool of the day. Morning is the best time. Give the ground a good deep soak every time. This will keep you from having to water so frequently and it will encourage your plants to grow deeper roots, in search of water, as the soil dries out. Just don’t leave them without water for too long! If you go on vacation, make sure to have someone water the garden for you!
Fix it while it’s dry:
Since the soil is finally drying out, it’s the perfect time of year to take care of a wet problem area in your landscape. Do you have a soggy corner or an issue with drainage? Now is the time to do an overhaul of that area to fix the problem! Our landscaping team is fully equipped to help you solve these issues. We can work on repairing the soil, improving drainage, and replanting the area, whether it is part of your lawn or garden. We can recommend some plants that love wet soil, to help with issue, or we can come out and totally redo your lawn and drainage. Give us a call to discuss the possibilities! Let’s do it now, while the soil is dry!
Summer is nearly here and everything is lush and green! It’s the right time to just enjoy the garden, while keeping up on maintenance. We have a few tips for you, this June, to keep your landscape healthy and gorgeous.
Pruning: We don’t recommend doing any heavy pruning this time of year, since any high temperatures can damage freshly pruned plants. We always want to minimize plant stress. However, it is a good time to do minor pruning of flush growth, to help plants keep their shape during this time of increased growth. This is especially applicable to evergreen conifers, whether they are trees or shrubs. This minor pruning helps maintain overall health, without harming the core of the plant. Our maintenance team can come out to help you with this type of pruning and to spruce up your yard while they’re at it. Get an estimate by clicking here.
Irrigation: It’s time to get your system turned on for the year. Most of the heavy rains are behind us and it does get fairly dry here in the summer. A good irrigation system is adjustable, based on rainfall, so you can tailor it to the weather. Be sure to get on a regular schedule by the end of the month, though. July-September are generally very dry months. Hopefully by now you have had your backflow testing and any repairs done. If your system needs maintenance, contact us soon to get prompt service.
Weeding: Everything is having a growth spurt right now, including the weeds. It seems like every few hours, some new ones are popping up. We recommend getting to them early and often, to stay on top of it. Try to dig out the entire plant, including the roots, and pull them up BEFORE they make seeds. If it gets out of control, or you just need a little professional help, our maintenance team is on the job!
What other garden tasks are on your list for this June? Do you have any concerns or questions about your landscape? Leave us a comment below!
August is usually the warmest month of the year for the Pacific Northwest. Occasionally, the heat can be a little surprising to both plants and people, since we have cool temperatures for most of the year. But we can all survive and even thrive with a little bit of extra care. We have several ideas on how to keep your landscape looking clean, healthy and beautiful in the lovely summer sun:
Generally speaking, we all want to increase the amount of water that we give our plants during hot weather. Additionally, it’s best to water in the morning or in the evening, when temperatures have cooled. We do this to reduce evaporation but also because water reflects light and retains heat and can burn leaves in midday. Get to know your plants’ individual water needs and plan accordingly. You can set a timer on your irrigation system then water the extra thirsty plants by hand in between. Check for signs of dehydration in plants. The most common sign is leaves drooping, shriveling and curling. If they burn, they generally turn brown and curl up. Try to catch them before they get to that stage and give them a long deep soak!
The best weeding advice we could give is to stay on top of them! By weeding for a few minutes every couple of days, we can save ourselves a back-breaking Saturday afternoon when we’d rather be fishing. Take a moment in the evening to relish in the beauty of your landscape and while you are there, quickly dig out a few weeds that are trying to creep in or snap off that dandelion seed head before it blows away. Prevention also goes a long way to keep weeds at bay. Adding a few inches of mulch to your garden beds will smother and kill most weeds. It also has the added bonus of helping the soil to retain moisture on those hot days!
Cleaning up after your plants:
Some plants get a little messy this time of year and tend to shed a few things. Before we even get into the falling leaves of autumn, there are other little messes to clean up. Clip off (or deadhead) any spent flowers on shrubs, perennials and annuals alike. All of them will look a lot neater for it and will produce more flowers as a result. Just be sure to clip off the entire flower, including any developing seeds. This will encourage bloom production in roses, dahlias, nigellas and more! Additionally, it’s a good idea to pick up any ripe or rotten fruit that may drop from your (or your neighbor’s) trees. Leaving it on the ground just attracts all kinds of critters and makes quite an unsightly mess. Cleaning them up keeps the bugs at bay and any seedlings as well!
In the heat of summer, it’s a good idea to cut your grass a little taller than normal. This helps it retain moisture and stay greener longer. If you have some bare spots, now can be a good time to reseed so that new grass has a chance to grow and become established before cold weather hits. You can fertilize your lawn at this time as well, to give it a boost of growth for the fall. But be careful not to over-fertilize because it can burn your grass, especially in the heat.
Think ahead for fall planting:
We are lucky to live in such a mild climate. Because of our warm autumns, we can often plant a second crop of vegetables for a fall harvest. August is the right time to get those in the ground. Try planting more cold-tolerant varieties like broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, lettuce and peas. Late-summer and early autumn is the perfect time to plant new trees and shrubs as well. The plants like the warm soil and the cooler air so take a look at your yard and see if there is a nice spot for a new hydrangea or Japanese maple. Then contact us and we’ll help you get it installed.
Is your yard getting out of control? Is your summer to jam-packed to leave time for weeding and land care? Give us a call and our expert maintenance team can come to the rescue to tame and beautify your landscape! Contact us today to get a quote!