Obviously, there are optimum points throughout the year for performing
certain landscaping and property maintenance tasks. This section is
intended to provide a rough outline of the services best performed during each
month of the season. It should be kept in mind, of course, that conditions
can vary greatly from year to year, and that this basic guide may need to be
adapted in accordance with seasonal abnormalities.
1. Crabgrass control -- the most effective forms of this are
applied as pre-emergents, meaning
application is only useful prior to this weed's germination. On
age this will be applied during the 2nd - 4th weeks of March
on temperatures). Heavier application should be made
along walks and
driveways as crabgrass tends to thrive on the heat
exude. (Crabgrass control is usually applied as a
component added to
spring fertilizer -- if you do not require crabgrass
control, this is still the
time to apply fertilizer alone.)
-- applied to all beds to help prevent weeds among
bed weed control.
This, too, as a pre-emergent must be applied prior to the weed's
germination to be effective. With this in mind, it can be used at any time
year -- in new bed creation, for example, where
weeds have not yet had the opportunity to
sprout (up to three-month
3. Pruning of all
-- to allow for healing of open wounds
branches or stalks before the
warmth brings infectious diseases
and/or insects, to both of which
these areas are most susceptible
(this pruning recommendation
excludes, of course, flowering spring
4. Planting of
-- performed in the latter part of the month.
-- dividing of larger perennials.
Those plants that have outgrown their
space, but still compliment their area, simply need to be split, leaving
the main cultivar and moving the offspring to another suitable location.
Also at this time, most perennials should be cut back to about 6" above
ground level while still dormant. (Note: This applies to fall-blooming
-- Following a pH test to determine which of
these may be needed in
your particular soil, it is best to achieve balance as early in the year as
possible in order for all other lawn treatment applications to achieve
-- This is the best time of year to divide and/or
transplant any overcrowded
-- Ideal time for spring landscape
-- As stated on the Lawn Treatment
page of this site, one must realize that
weeds will never be completely eradicated, but that with a diligently
implemented program, they can be quite effectively managed. Thus,
timely applications of broadleaf weed control can minimize dandelions
and other common intruders.
seeding (w/straw) -- As in the case of
pruning, the earlier one can perform seeding tasks, the
better -- before heat and dryness unduly stress the germinating seed
and/or new turf (as the longer the seed has to establish its roots, the
number of new grass seedlings which actually survive will be that much
3. Sod installation -- the single biggest
key to the success of sod is water. As a result, the
same reasoning regarding heat and dryness that apply to seeding
likewise apply to sod installation -- although perhaps even moreso.
-- Some perennials can still be divided and
transplanted if necessary.
maintenance (Again, this applies to
fall-blooming plants only.)
-- This is an excellent time for mulching shrubs,
perennials and newly
planted materials as this aids with water preservation to combat summer
dryness. Early mulching is especially important around shallow-rooted
shrubs and perennials.
-- Depending on ground temperatures, some
planting (of the hardiest
plant varieties) can begin.
7. Plant fertilization -- Fertilize all perennials and
early blooming shrubs to enhance color and
bloom production, as well as to promote overall good health. (Note:
sure to use a high-quality, slow-release variety, not a liquid that will be
depleted within a week of application. Also, be aware of your ground's
pH so that you choose a fertilizer which adds the correct nutrients for
-- If your lawn has not
responded to treatment, it may be that your soil is
too compacted to allow the treatments to reach the root zone. Evidence
of this is thin grass, possibly with sporadic bare spots.
-- Provided the ground is dry enough on the
April-mid May date selected
for this task (to prevent both you and the thatcher from sinking into a
muddy mess), this is the ideal time to rid your lawn of that excess straw-
like buildup. But remember -- a quarter-inch or less layer of thatch
actually beneficial to the root zone...so don't get carried away.
-- Once the
risk of a freeze is past, annuals should be planted as soon as
possible to allow ample time for rooting and maturation prior to the intense
warmth possible by June -- the earlier you plant, the better your flower
shows in summer and fall.
3. Rose Bushes -- Feeding and
pruning (winter kill only) of selected rose bushes (keeping
them "deadheaded") will in many cases lengthen bloom time and promote
healthier, more beautiful plants.
-- All of your early-blooming shrubs should be
pruned back to keep them
within their intended space and assure that next year's flowers are not
-- This is the best time of year
to divide and/or transplant any over-
-- Ideal time for spring
Apply a slow-release summer fertilizer (rich in potash and phosphorus)
-- to help the grass sustain itself
through the stressful, dryer months of
July and August
-- Spring landscaping projects
involving hardier plant varieties can
be continued -- just be sure to mulch all plants well.
If applying a pre-emergent variety, this can be done now. It should be
-- noted, however, that I have found post-emergents
to be most effective
for insect control. Clearly this is an issue on which philosophies are
4. Annuals (cont'd) --
Finish planting of later-blooming varieties.
-- Take the first week of July to examine your
beds and turf. Feed, mulch
and water (a good soaking in the early morning hours) those that need
a boost during the traditionally hottest, dryest months of July and Aug.
2. Fungus control
-- Be on the alert at this time of
year when turf and plant understories
become particularly susceptible to fungus and insect infestations.
Take control measures where necessary.
3. Water, water, water -- Obviously, many plants and
turf will benefit from a much-needed boost
of H2O. However, it is important not to do this during the heat of the
day, but rather in the form of a slow trickle over several hours during
the early morning. A timer on your hose can be very helpful for this.
4. Evergreen trimming -- During cooler hours or on cloudy
days, preferably. This is best
performed now as new growth has had the opportunity by this time
to have hardened off.
1. Grub control
-- This is the time when grubs
become most active. Be attentive for
signs of their presence as they can be quite devastating to turf.
2. Bagworm control -- This is also
the time when bagworms become quite active. They prefer
Arborvitae, but if these are not available will find varieties of Juniper
quite a delicacy. In either case, they will strip the plant bare if not
stopped fairly early.
3. Tree trimming
-- One of the better times to prune must
deciduous trees -- low limbs,
weak limbs, crossover limbs, etc. Remember -- a protective salve
should be applied to larger limbs to aid in the healing process and
to discourage infection.
4. Water -- again
-- If conditions become dry enough that
restrictions are implemented in
your area, use the water you're allowed first for all surface rooted plants
and new plantings. Others are more likely to be able to withstand
drought thanks to the large fibrous root system developed by most
-- The advent of fall marks the return of excellent
planting weather. Time
update your look, add new areas of interest or start from scratch.
Let your creative juices flow!!!
2. Hedge trimming -- Most hedge
plants and vines are trimmed now, and again in Oct. if
you wish to keep them dense. If time or budgetary considerations
limit you to only one trimming, this will suffice, but be aware of that
sacrifice in density and formal appearance.
-- Fall is also one of the busiest seasons for planting
bulbs. Doing so
now will likely assure that your efforts are handsomely rewarded in the
spring. But keep in mind...tulips, narcissus and lilium need to be
planted at least 5" deep, while crocus and cyclamens are fine at 1-2".
4. Chrysanthemums -- Time to buy those
"mums" to get their full effect for the longest possible
time. And, if you plant them deep enough, fertilize them well, and cut
them back after the first frost, the same plants will give you years of
enjoyment, eliminating the need for constantly purchasing
replacements. (Important: Mums like sun and well-drained soil.
mums aren't as glorious as those of your neighbors, odds are you have
too much shade and/or ground water.)
1. Fall broadleaf
-- Along with the (natural process of) lawn
reseeding at this time of year
comes weed reseeding as well. As a result, another broadleaf
control application is strongly recommended if the ground gained from
a spring application is to be retained and improved upon
2. Planting cont'd
-- If you didn't start those landscaping projects
you'd planned to
embark on in September, no problem. October still provides great
weather for planting. Mulching is also recommended at this time.
3. Perennials - again -- Yet another opportunity to
divide many perennials, transplant the
resulting extras and mulch both the old and newly planted areas
well. This is your last chance so these can adjust to their new
home before a deep frost occurs.
4. As dormancy
approaches -- Support, shape and
strengthen all prone plants before dormancy.
5. Hedges, etc.
-- Again, that second fall trimming of hedges and vines
-- A perfect opportunity to overseed those
bare and/or thin areas of lawn.
-- Time for a final application of
slow-release fertilizer, high in potash/
phosphorus -- applied to strengthen the lawn through the harsh
conditions of winter.
2. Leaf cleanup
-- This begins in earnest. Most effective if
performed in a series of
stages to prevent leaves from sitting on the lawn for an excessive
amount of time as lawn areas thickly covered begin to die relatively
fast. It increases the labor of a one-time cleanup, but pays big
dividends in lawn health and thickness.
3. Cut back mums -- Time to cut back
those mums and heavily mulch their crowns.
-- Put those leaves to use! A perfect
time to begin building a compost
pile (in a remote corner of your property, of course) for use in the
spring -- your plants will thank you for the effort.
5. Final mowing
-- Hooray! By the end of the
month, no more lawn mowing -- except where
leaf collection continues into Dec., as a final cut/vacuuming of remaining
leaves provides the final assurance of an attractive and healthy lawn's
emergence once the snow clears in the spring.
1. Deer netting
-- For those of you in wooded or high
deer-traffic areas, it's time to protect
your outdoor investment by wrapping all susceptible plants with deer
netting and/or staking off large problem areas (for which heavier gauge
netting material is available.
2. Clean out beds -- Very
important! Clean beds so insects and fungus can't winter in your
gardens as these may present grave problems in the spring if allowed
to do so.
3. Final leaf cleanup -- Those beautiful deciduous trees
that give you spring's first burst of color
likewise provide fall's last blaze of glory, waiting to drop their leaves in
4. Additional plant -- It is
advisable to burlap any plantings prone to wind damage. Also
protection with wind
damage in mind (and its severely drying effects), you might
want to consider a foliar spray to prevent yellow or brown areas
appearing on your plants in the spring. (Note: While this is a late
task, keep in mind that these sprays can only be applied in
temperatures above 40 degrees.) It should be noted as well that
temperature changes and drying winds are two of the most
common causes of rose bush failures.
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