Thursday, February 9, 2012

February plans for your landscape

The warm weather is coming ... but, will there be one or more last freeze(s)? That is one of the major questions that landscapers and gardeners deal with in this region. There are still some things that must be done to prepare for the growing season.

It's time to consider rejuvenating your formal flower beds. Depending upon your budget, you can plant pansies, poppies, daylillies, dahlias, petunias, bachelor buttons and other colorful flowers to add great color to your landscape. The summer flowers will be ready for planting around April or early May. Once again, it depends upon your budget and time allowance as to what type of planting you will undertake.

Another consideration is planting a natural wildflower garden. You can add seed mixes that can be obtained at nurseries that will produce color year round. Seed mixes should include some of the following flowers in different percentages: Gallardia, Asclepias, Aster (Daisies), Columbine, Calendula, Chrysanthemums, Coreopsis, Cosmos, Delphinium, Dianthus, Dyssodia, Echinacea, Poppies, Desert Sunflowers, Baby's Breath, Sunflowers,  Impatiens, Morning Glories, Mallows, Alyssum, Dusty Millers, lupine, Desert Rockpea, Forget-Me-Nots, Primrose, Penstemon, Salvias, Gazanias, Phlox, Bluebells, Deseret Marigolds, Mexican Hat ... these are just some of the suggestions you have available to you. Considerations must include location, reflective heat, ground contours, shade/full sun.

The advantage of gardens such as these are low maintenance and year round color. Thinning and deadheading spent flowers are optional to a degree; it depends on how much time or what kind of budget you have.

Another major event to consider is pruning your trees. The non-native deciduous shade trees and fruit trees are just about ready to start their growth for the new season. With the lack of leaves, you can see the structure more easily and start your pruning "artistry."

For native trees, wait until the start of summer to prune.

One important consideration is to prune the dead, decaying and damaged branches (the three D's) first. The next part of the approach is to consider where the growth of the remaining branches will be. Will it grow into other trees, awnings, walls ...

The proper way to prune is shown in the illustration to the left. The first cut is to ensure the branch doesn't tear the bark due to the weight of the branch being pruned. The second cut will take off the bulk of the branch. The last cut, outside of the collar or swelling of the branch from the next larger branch or trunk that it is being removed from.

Make sure you don't prune more than 25-33% of the tree. Doing more can cause stress and lessen the ability for the tree to properly photosynthesize. It can also cause sunburn to the inner tree branches and trunk. Don't leave stub or make flush cuts. These inhibit the tree's ability to properly heal the pruning wounds.

If you have any questions about formal or natural gardens,  or about pruning, just drop your questions or comments on the blog or on the FB page. I'll be glad to answer you or find a consultant for you! Happy gardening and pruning!

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