Even if yours is a simple landscape, it represents thousands of dollars in value to you. Properly cared for, your landscaping will appreciate more every year. Some property owners can honestly value the plantings around their homes in the $50,000 to $100,000 range. Sound outlandish? Look around your own Johnson County property. Consider what it would take to replace all the plantings you own.
A 20 year oak, or a full grown magnolia are nearly impossible to actually replace if lost, but they continue to add value to your home as they mature. A single shrub that cost you $150.00 to install 5 years ago may easily be worth 8 to 10 times that amount today. You have a solid, rapidly growing investment in your landscape, and when you look at your outdoor space, you are watching over your ‘portfolio’.
Your landscape investment can suffer like any other. You lose value if black spot destroys 5 or 10 rose bushes; if grubs wipe out half your lawn; or if poor fertility leads to shade tree decline. There are five steps you can take to be sure your landscape holds its value and stays as healthy as possible.
1. MANAGING INFECTIOUS DISEASES
There are over 5,000 plant diseases. Many can and will damage your trees, shrubs, and lawn. Regular, careful observation will spot most potential problems and preventive or curative treatments can be arranged to protect your plantings.
Take a few minutes each week to stroll around your property. Make a note of any plants that aren’t looking as healthy as they should. Let us know when there’s a problem. We’re here to protect your investment in your lawn and landscape.
2. MANAGEMENT OF DESTRUCTIVE INSECTS
Most insects feed on plants, causing damage as they eat their way through your property. Some burrow into your trees to lay their eggs, and quite a few actually inject toxic materials while they’re feeding that can poison your plants.
A combination of observation and scheduled treatments will keep the serious insect problems under control. Some insects show up year after year about the same time. Preventive treatment programs will stop most insect problems before they cause costly damage.
3. WEED MANAGEMENT REDUCES COMPETITION
A weed is any plant growing where it’s not wanted. Weeds that get out of control start competing with your desirable plants, robbing them of water, nutrients, and fertilizer. In planting beds, around shrubs, and in lawns, weeds not only look bad, but decrease the health, appearance, and therefore the over-all value of your plants as well.
Good weed management as part of a lawn care plan is a combination of efforts. Proper cultural practices are important. These include keeping beds mulched and lawns thick and mowed high. A healthy, thick lawn reduces weeds, and a thick layer of mulch around shrubs and flowers prevents many weeds from sprouting.
With pre-emergent weed controls for both your lawn and planting beds, you keep weed seeds from germinating. Post-emergent weed controls should be carefully applied to control weeds once they’ve started growing.
4. FEEDING YOUR INVESTMENT
In addition to keeping pests out of your landscape, be sure your plants get a regular diet of balanced food as well. Good fertility management avoids the “feast or famine” results of irregular feeding schedules.
Fertilization timed for the most effective results is always best. Delivering the right doses of nitrogen, phosphorus and potash at the proper time of year will keep your whole landscape green, lush, and healthy.
5. WATER MANAGEMENT
This is just as important as anything else you may do to protect your lawn and landscape investment. Measure the amount of rainfall your property receives. Gauges are available and take the guesswork out of managing your watering schedule. A program of adequate, consistent watering will make everything else you do produce bigger and better dividends all year long.
The finest gardens are those that make an attractive appearance throughout all the seasons. With forethought and assistance in planning, your winter landscape can be as interesting in dormancy as in mid-season. And observing the quiet beauty of winter in the landscape helps us appreciate all the goodness nature has to offer.
After working hard to maintain the vitality of our lawns and landscapes all summer, it’s easy to put away our interest in outdoor details about the same time we stow the garden tools. But whether we notice or not, winter forms, textures and colors are giving our outdoors a special kind of attraction.
Landscape plans should always take into account how the plantings will appear in winter. Using a variety of shapes and textures will add a multi-seasonal interest that you’ll enjoy more and more as the seasons pass.
Evergreens of all sorts really come into their own as the flashier plants lose their foliage. Few can compare with the majesty of a mature spruce or the grace of a white pine. Use evergreens as a backdrop against which to accent other species. Though they offer a certain constancy in their colors and shapes, there is still a vast selection. From 6-inch high creeping junipers to 40-foot arborvitae; from shades of green through silvery blues to the deep violets—evergreens offer variety.
Brightly-colored berries are another great addition to any “off season” garden. Hollies may be the best known berry producers with their deep glossy leaves and bright red fruit so favored for decorations during holidays, but also consider barberries, pyracantha, and cotoneaster, all of which are popular broadleaf evergreens which produce berries.
When deciduous trees and shrubs have lost their leaves, and their “skeletons” are visible, it’s amazing to see the differences in construction between plants that looked so similar only a few months ago. Weeping varieties–willows, cherries, and mulberries–give a graceful impression of still life waterfalls when leafless, and corkscrew willows show clearly how they came by their name.
The impressive beech holds just enough of its bright yellow leaves through most of the winter to draw attention to its intricate branch structure and smooth silver bark.
This is the season when trees can show off the unique character and texture of their bark. All the beeches, plus birches, shagbark hickory, sweet gum, sycamores, poplar, and Chinese elm have interesting bark. From silvery smooth to dark and rough, the texture of tree bark adds variety to the garden.
Some of the spring flowering trees have already set their flower buds for next year adding an additional feature to the outline of the landscape. White dogwoods have unusually large buds that are visible even from a distance.
Colors this time of year are usually more muted than in spring or midsummer, but they can be just as beautiful. Heathers and heaths are low-growing evergreens that provide shades of pink, lavender, orange, red or rust in both the flowers and foliage. Rock gardens that were full of bright green succulents in the summer put on a new look of tawny browns and deep purples.
Red-twig dogwood is a shrub which makes good on its name by displaying its thickly growing red branches after losing its leaves. Ornamental grasses offer a wide variety of color too. Tall, reedy varieties will dry to a golden tan and work well as a complement to the deep green of evergreens. Ornamental blue fescue keeps its cool silver blue color all winter.
Lavender cotton is another perennial that maintains a silver appearance throughout the year. The varieties and choices are tremendous for creating a landscape that enhances both the appearance and value of your property all year long. So next time you look into additional planting, be sure to ask, “How will it look in winter?”
Custom Lawn has a landscape designer available to answer any questions. From Overland Park to Lenexa to Shawnee, we cover the entire Johnson County area from our Olathe location.