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Ready for frost or freeze?

frost or freeze

It’s been warm this week, but along the Front Range another frost like we had last week could come with little notice at any time. If you haven’t yet winterized your sprinkler system, do it now—or call a professional to get on their schedule soon. Hard freezes typically involve temps at 28 degrees or below for a minimum of 4 hours. A frost can occur at or below the freezing mark of 32 degrees if the humidity is high.

If you see a frost warning, here are three things you can do: 

  1. Cover tender annual veggies and flowers. Use fabric household items such as towels and sheets to cover plants and hold in warmth. Place tomato cages over plants to support the fabric if plants might break under the weight of fabric and snow. Snow is a good insulator to hold in warmth, but heavy snow on top of fabric can also crush plants beneath it. Avoid using plastic to cover plants as it will not protect against frost.
  2. Harvest selected plants. Cut potential losses by harvesting tender plants like basil and any plants you don’t want to risk losing. Basil can be placed in a vase of water to prolong its shelf life or dried.
  3. Protect the sprinkler system. If your sprinkler system has not yet been winterized, protect the backflow prevention device, which is the U-shaped device above ground usually located near the foundation. Because it is above ground, this device is vulnerable to freeze damage and costly repairs. Identify it now, and gather supplies to have on hand in case of freeze. Then, when cold temperatures are predicted:
  • Wrap the backflow with a blanket or heavy towel for insulation.
  • Cover it with a plastic garbage bag to keep moisture away from the pipes.
  • Tape the plastic bag in place around the base with duct tape.
  • Disconnect hoses from spigots.

The next morning, remember to uncover plants so they and the soil can enjoy warming sunlight. Protective covering for the backflow can remain in place until your system is winterized. 

Click “DO IT FOR ME” to request a FREE quote.

Source: customer-service@bestyard.com in collaboration with Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado

Care for your trees

Care for your trees
  • It takes a little effort to help your landscape ease into the fall and winter. Hopefully you’ve already winterized your irrigation system or scheduled your sprinkler blowout. If not, take a minute today to get it done or get on a professional’s calendar before they book up. Then, turn your focus to preparing trees for winter.
  • Ideally, you should try to prune your trees when they have gone dormant. Pruning shade trees helps them better handle the snowfall and strong winds of winter storms—especially if you have dead or damaged branches hanging around from previous storms. Take care of them before they become a hazard to people or property.
  • Once your trees have gone dormant, it’s a good time to prune suckers and water sprouts. For branches that you can’t easily reach from the ground, ask for help. If you don’t have proper safety gear to protect yourself or can’t prune while standing with both feet on the ground, it’s time to call in a pro. Tree pros have the equipment and the expertise to do the job properly.
  • One exception: Do not prune any spring-flowering trees, shrubs or perennials just yet—late winter or early spring is best for plants like fruit trees or lilacs.
  • Keep in mind that you are preparing your trees for winter, but that doesn’t mean you can completely stop caring for them when the cold sets in. They still need moisture. If the temperatures are above freezing, you can—and should—safely water your trees and shrubs.

Click “DO IT FOR ME” to request a FREE quote.

Source: customer-service@bestyard.com in collaboration with Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado

Compost now for spring

Compost now for spring

If you took a cue from last week’s tip and mulched your leaves, you might have some extra leaf mulch in your yard. Or maybe you cleaned up your garden and have some plant material left over. You can turn those piles of yard waste into “black gold” by composting them for use next spring.

Combine those leaves with other organic waste from your home to build a compost pile that is a well-balanced mix of browns and greens:

  • Browns – dead or dry organic materials like leaves, chopped branches, corn stalks, shredded corrugated cardboard
  • Greens – recently living and wetter organic material like vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee grounds, grass clippings, cut flowers, eggshells

As long as you only use the proper browns and greens and you maintain proper air flow, your compost should not have a bad odor or attract pests. Things you should NOT compost include, but are not limited to, meat, bones, pet waste, dairy, or fats. So while it’s fine to put some leftover salad greens into your compost, don’t add it if it’s been tossed in ranch dressing. And if you’re weeding, do not put weeds that have gone to flower or to seed into your compost or you could end up with more weeds than you pulled.

When the compost is ready, you can apply it atop your landscape or use it as a soil amendment. It won’t add many nutrients to the soil but will improve the soil’s capacity to hold onto both nutrients and water. It also improves the root zone.

Click “DO IT FOR ME” to request a FREE quote.

Source: customer-service@bestyard.com in collaboration with Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado

Mulch your leaves

Mulch your leaves
  • Don’t hurt your back bagging leaves. There’s a better way–you might even be able to avoid raking altogether. But you can’t simply leave everything as it is or you risk suffocating your lawn by leaving it under a layer of leaves. Try mulching; it’s good for your landscape and easier on you.
  • When the leaves have fallen and are dry—don’t mow wet leaves—try mowing your lawn without the grass catcher. If you’ve got a mulch setting on your mower, make sure you’ve got it set. If you’ve got a lot of leaves and don’t have a mulch setting, it might take an extra pass or two with the mower to break up all of the leaves. The smaller the pieces, the more quickly they will decompose. Those biodegradable fragments return nutrients to your landscape, supporting root growth, micro-organisms, and worms.
  • Mulched leaves and grass clippings also help regulate the soil temperature when it gets cold, retain moisture in soil on dry days, and can reduce weed propagation next year.
  • Got piles of fallen leaves in your flowerbeds? You might need to use a rake or blower to move those leaves onto your lawn before you mulch or mow. If you end up with too much mulched material in piles on the lawn, put it right back onto those flowerbeds, in garden areas or around trees and shrubs.
  • Mulching is a great way to reduce, reuse and recycle at one time, and with less effort than bagging leaves.

Click “DO IT FOR ME” to request a FREE quote.

Source: customer-service@bestyard.com in collaboration with Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado

Stay out later

Stay out later
  • Imagine yourself relaxing on the terrace with a mug of tea or apple cider as you enjoy the cooler nights of autumn in Colorado. But fumbling in the dark with a mug of hot liquid is not a good idea. And candles or torches can be a hazard in our fire-prone state.
  • Despite continuing warm temperatures, shorter days can limit the time we spend outdoors this fall. One way to extend the time outdoors is with landscape lighting. It’s an investment in safety and curb appeal, and it can add to your enjoyment of your outdoor living space.
  • Pathway lights make it possible to navigate your landscape safely. Patio lighting can make your yard attractive and cozy past sundown. Plus, technological advances like LED bulbs and quality solar-powered fixtures have made landscape lighting more efficient than ever.
  • Talk with a landscape professional about the right lighting to enhance your landscape and improve your time outdoors this fall.

Click “DO IT FOR ME” to request a FREE quote.

Source: customer-service@bestyard.com in collaboration with Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado

Get ready for fall

Get ready for fall

It’s a good time to put in some work to help your landscape stay healthy as it heads into dormancy for the winter. It’s still warm, but autumn begins next week and we look forward to cooler days ahead. A little care now will help make your lawn hardier so that it will return next spring as vibrant as ever.

Here are some steps to consider. Be sure to talk with a landscape professional about which of these steps are important for your landscape:

  • Adjust the sprinkler timer to water less. Daylight hours are growing shorter, overnight temps are getting cooler and day-time temps will become more moderate. Don’t stop watering altogether but do adjust watering frequency and length. Make changes according to the temperature—not by the date. Keep in mind that if you add any new plants this fall, those will be the exception as they are still becoming established.
  • Zap weeds. Here’s your last chance this year to take care of weeds. The weeds you eliminate this fall are weeds you won’t see at the start of next season.
  • Apply a final application of fertilizer. Using the same fertilizer formulation you used earlier this season is fine. But if you need to buy more fertilizer, look for one high in nitrogen and potassium which are good for healthy roots.
  • Core aerate the lawn before winterizing the sprinkler system. Aeration pulls plugs of soil and sod out of the lawn and these holes open the soil so that roots can take in maximum moisture during the winter.
  • Get expert help if you have had fungus or other turf disease or insect problems this summer. Have problems properly diagnosed so you know what to do now and possibly into next spring to get things under control for good.

Contact your landscape professional to help you get your landscape ready to be tucked in for winter. If you have an irrigation system, schedule your winterization service now, before schedules are booked up.

Click “DO IT FOR ME” to request a FREE quote.

Source: customer-service@bestyard.com in collaboration with Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado

Time for a color change

Time for a color change

Last week we talked about planting now for next spring. If you want some seasonal color now, try a fall-themed container garden. You can make your own decorative creation with traditional containers: a ceramic planter, a window box, or a hanging pot. Or get creative and upcycle things you’ve got in the garage, like an old wheelbarrow, metal bucket or tire. You can even repurpose a football or football helmet into an interesting centerpiece for your outdoor table.

Before you plant

  • Clean out previously used containers by removing summer-flowering annuals and debris.
  • If adding a new container to your home, make sure it has proper drainage.
  • Prepare the soil. Consider adding some compost to help retain moisture.
  • Add a time-release fertilizer.

Recommendations for adding autumn color

  • Ornamental cabbage and kale are good choices, as they do well in fall temperatures and provide interesting foliage. They make great combos with blooming plants in containers.
  • Pansies make it easy to add color. Pansies are available in many colors, so they can fit just about any color scheme you have in mind. Think orange and blue for containers to celebrate the home team in football or a combo in the colors of your local high school or college. You can even find orange and black pansies to complement your Halloween décor.
  • Bring on the chrysanthemums. Mums are an easy way to add fall color. Several containers in the same or different colors grouped together provide mounds of colorful impact and take little time. Group mums in large baskets or repurpose a bench to give them some height and place them in a row. Galvanized buckets and oval bins are also great for grouping plants as one large mass of color.

Too busy for DIY?

If you don’t have the time to create a custom container garden for your home, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some seasonal color. Consult a landscape professional about container garden services. Or visit your local garden center for pre-made containers you can simply bring home and put into place.

It’s still hot out there, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t get a head start on creating containers with warm autumn colors. In Colorado, hot-cider-sipping weather could be just around the corner.

Click “DO IT FOR ME” to request a FREE quote.

Source: customer-service@bestyard.com in collaboration with Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado

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