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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 
       (w/spring fertilizer)     the application is only useful prior to this weed's germination.  On
                                           aver age this will be applied during the 2nd - 4th weeks of March 
                                           (depending on temperatures).  Heavier application should be made
                                           along walks and driveways as crabgrass tends to thrive on the heat          
                                           these surfaces  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.)

2.  Pre-emergent      --     applied to all beds to help prevent weeds among foundation plantings.
     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
                                           throughout the year -- in new bed creation, for example, where
                                           weeds have not yet had the opportunity to sprout (up to three-month
                                           residual effect). 

3.   Pruning of all
      dormant trees/   --       to allow for healing of open wounds 
             shrubs                   on 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
      summer bulbs    --      performed in the latter part of the month.


 5.  Perennial
      maintenance     --       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
                                           plants only.)

6.  Lime/sulphur
     applications       --       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
                                           optimum effectiveness.


 5.  Lilies                 --      This is the best time of year to divide and/or transplant any overcrowded

 6.  Planting           --        Ideal time for spring landscape installations.


 1.  Broadleaf 
      weed control    --       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.

 2.  Seeding/over-
      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.  

 4.  Additional 
         perennial        --      Some perennials can still be divided and transplanted if necessary.
           maintenance        (Again, this applies to fall-blooming plants only.)

 5.  Mulching           --      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.

 6.  Planting
         (limited          --       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:  Be
                                         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 
                                         optimum results)

 8.    Aeration      --          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.


 1.  Thatching        --       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 is 
                                         actually beneficial to the root zone...so don't get carried away.

 2.  Annuals      --            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.

 4.  Early-blooming
           shrubs         --      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 

 5.     Lilies          --         This is the best time of year to divide and/or transplant any over-
                                         crowded plants.

 6.   Planting       --          Ideal time for spring landscape installations.


 1.  Summer                     Apply a slow-release summer fertilizer (rich in potash and phosphorus)
      Fertilizer           --        to help the grass sustain itself through the stressful, dryer months of
                                          July and August 

 2.   Planting           --        Spring landscaping projects involving hardier plant varieties can
                                           be continued -- just be sure to mulch all plants well.

 3.  Insect control                If applying a pre-emergent variety, this can be done now.  It should be
      (pre-emergent)   --       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.



 1.  Assessment         --      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 
                                             mature stock.


 1.  Landscaping        --     The advent of fall marks the return of excellent planting weather.  Time
                  resumes            to 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.

 3.  Bulbs                     --     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.  If your
                                             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 
          control                       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 is now

 6.  Overseeding       --       A perfect opportunity to overseed those bare and/or thin areas of lawn.


 1.  Fertilizer             --       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.

 4.  Composting       --       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
                                           mid-late December.      

 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 fall 
                                           task, keep in mind that these sprays can only be applied in 
                                           temperatures above 40 degrees.)   It should be noted as well that 
                                           sudden temperature changes and drying winds are two of the most 
                                           common causes of rose bush failures.  

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