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Gardening indoors

In this post, there are some tips and tricks for indoor herb gardening.

The backyard garden may be finished for the season, but you can keep your green thumb in shape with an indoor herb garden this fall and winter.

If you choose the right conditions, windowsill herb gardening requires little time and effort. If you have a sunny exposure for a south or west facing window you’ve got most of what you need to cultivate an herb garden all winter long. In return, you’ll get the joy of greenery plus some extra flavor to add to your meals.

The basics of creating an indoor herb garden

  • Place plants where they will receive full and direct sunlight at least 6 hours per day.
  • Most herbs prefer moist, but well-drained soil It can be easy to over-water container herbs, which leads to root rot. To avoid this, use containers with drainage holes and check moisture before watering. Water plants at the base of the plant, not over the top.
  • Most any container is suitable but know their differences. Clay pots allow for good air movement, but soil will dry faster and require more frequent watering. Glazed ceramic pots are more restrictive in terms of air circulation but hold water well. Know your container and water accordingly.

Herbs to consider

  • Chives are well-suited to containers can be moved indoors and out with the seasons. Make sure soil is not constantly wet. Harvest leaves from the outside of the plant.
  • Dill is often best started from seed because it does not transplant well. Thin seedlings to prevent over-crowding as plants mature.
  • Parsley grows well indoors. Harvest small amounts at a time to prolong growth and cut flowers back when they first appear. Leaves are no longer tasty after plant has bloomed.
  • Cilantro can be off-putting to some, but if you enjoy the taste it’s a key ingredient in many cuisines including Mexican, Chinese, and Thai.

If you’ve got a large window box for growing, plant dill, cilantro and parsley as they have similar water needs. When spring comes, the plants can continue as container gardens or be planted into the soil.

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Source: in collaboration with Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado

Wrap and water your trees

In this post, we will learn about when to wrap and unwrap your trees.

November is a good time to think about wrapping your vulnerable trees for the winter. If you planted a new tree this fall or have a young tree in your landscape, wrapping it can protect your trees from winter damage.

  • Why to wrap

Changes in temperature—especially those days when the temperature drops 20 degrees in two hours—can cause the frost cracks or split bark. The tree bark can also suffer sunscald, which are burns caused by sun exposure once the leaves have dropped and left the young bark vulnerable. Wrapping the tree protects that vulnerable bark. Some say it might even protect it from some wildlife that might gnaw on bark or rub their antlers on it.

  • Water, water, water

You should also continue watering trees as long as it is warm. Winter watering is crucial to tree health. Put down a layer of mulch to keep the moisture in and to insulate the soil and roots below.

  • When to unwrap

Just as we told you last week to water by the temperature, not the calendar, so should you take a lead from the weather as to when to remove tree wrap. The general rule is to remove it in April or early spring. With Colorado’s less predictable weather, you may need to adjust if you know that a later freeze is coming.

The best way to ensure proper winter tree care is to consult with an arborist or landscape professional who can help you make the right tree care decisions based on experience and by assessing the current conditions.

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Source: in collaboration with Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado

Water by the thermometer, not the calendar

In this post, we will discuss about the best time to water lawn.

Fall is a critical time for lawn care and moisture. Hopefully, you shut down your irrigation system prior to the hard freeze and snow we just had, but your landscape still needs care. We are still experiencing drought, and taking care of your plants now can ensure that they return to their full splendor next spring.

  • Keep watering

Keep watering even after the system is winterized. Haul out the hose and sprinkler and keep watering as needed as long as temps are warm. Don’t water when a hard freeze is expected. Freezing temperatures can result in damage to your plants.

  • Water by temperature, not by date

Water when the air and soil are 40 degrees or above—and only water then. Don’t water when there are freezing temperatures, which can result in damage to your plants. Don’t water if there is snow covering the lawn. Water mid-day to avoid an overnight freeze that can damage your turf.

If your lawn is moving into dormancy and drying out, make sure it gets sufficient water. Push a screwdriver into the soil to see how hard the soil is. It should go down several inches and easily. Dry ground will be difficult to push through. If that’s the case, then you need to water.

Follow these steps and you will be promoting a healthier lawn that over time will require less water.

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Source: in collaboration with Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado

Prepare for snow

As snow is in the weekend forecast, get yourself ready.

Along the Front Range, snow is in the weekend forecast. We’ve already seen temperatures dipping pretty low at night this week, so you should already have prepared your irrigation system.

  • Remember the sprinkler system

If you have not yet winterized the sprinkler system, don’t delay. Make an appointment to have a professional blow out the lines. In the meantime, shut off the system and protect your backflow device against freezing temps.

  • Snow on top of leaves is a mess

Wet leaves take time to dry out, become heavy and even slimy. It will save you time and trouble in the long run, if your yard is covered with leaves, to deal with them before it snows. For leaves on the lawn, a smart move is to mulch them with a mulching lawn mower. The fragments left behind are good nutrition for the lawn.

In bed areas, you’ll also be ahead of the game by raking most of the leaves out. Work especially at cleaning out ground cover.

  • When it snows this time of year

Storm damage is more likely to occur on trees that haven’t yet dropped all their leaves. Snow can build up, weigh down the branches and cause breakage. Trees that still have a lot of leaves are especially susceptible to damage.

If you see snow accumulating and you can reach branches on smaller trees, use a broom handle to gently shake limbs so snow falls off. Start on the lowest branches, working up. Otherwise, snow falling from higher onto lower branches just adds to their snow load that leads to breakage.

  • Don’t forget evergreens. 

Even though they stand tall winter after winter, in very heavy snows, their branches can also break. Keep an eye on them during heavy snows and shake their branches as well.

  • Prune to prevent more storm damage and decay

It’s always best to have broken, ripped limbs pruned back with a clean cut. Otherwise, torn limbs can invite pests and disease. This is one time when having an arborist, who really knows trees, do the work will pay off in the long term.

  • What not to prune

Shrubs that flower early in the spring have already set the buds that will become pretty flowers. Avoid pruning lilac, dogwood, forsythia, viburnum and spirea in the fall or you will see fewer flowers next spring.

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Source: in collaboration with Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado

Did you plant spring bulbs yet?

In this post, we have mentioned some useful tips to help you with bulb planting.

This fall’s mild temperatures give us an opportunity to plant now for a beautiful landscape next year. It’s a good time to get bulbs into the ground for spring color. Choose your location and buy your bulbs now if you haven’t already.

It’s hard to go wrong with tulips, daffodils, hyacinth and crocus. Add edibles to the mix by planting garlic and saffron crocus. Note the bloom times of each type of flower so you can group and plant them accordingly. Daffodils and crocus are early bloomers. Depending on the variety, tulips can have 3 different bloom times. Your bulb provider should give you that information so you can make the best choices.

Bulb planting tips:

  • Select locations that are well drained and get plenty of sun.
  • Plant the bulbs as soon as possible after you buy them.
  • Group bulbs by bloom time, ideally in groups of seven or more bulbs. When bulbs bloom as a group, they will have a greater visual impact than if planted separately or in a row.
  • You can plant bulbs one at a time with a special bulb tool or spade, but a more efficient practice is to dig a hole or trench large enough for each group of bulbs. Dig the hole 3 times deeper than the bulb height.
  • Place bulbs in the hole spacing bulbs about twice their width from the next bulb.
  • Place the tops (pointed ends) up. If you can’t tell top from bottom, place bulbs on their sides and the shoots will naturally grow up and the roots will grow down. Once all the bulbs are in place, re-fill the hole with the soil or cover your trench.
  • Fertilize according to label directions with a product high in phosphorous – a super phosphate.
  • When planting hyacinths, wearwear gloves as touching them with bare skin sometimes causes a rash.

After planting, top dress the beds with shredded wood mulch or a layer of mulched leaves.

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Source: in collaboration with Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado

Turn on the lights

Here are some benefits of lighting up the outdoor areas & landscape.

The days are getting shorter, but it’s still warm enough to enjoy our outdoor living areas. Fewer hours of daylight shouldn’t keep you from enjoying your landscape. Outdoor lighting can keep the party going and allow you to spend quality time on your patio through the fall.

Landscape lighting is practical: it improves home security, allows your address to be seen for deliveries or in emergencies, and adds curb appeal if you’re looking to sell. It can also be fun!

Smart lighting

With an app on your phone, you can control the mood of your outdoor space. Not only can you turn lights on and off, but you can also change their colors, dim and brighten them and even make them dance. Many landscape professionals can help you with lighting design that fits your personal style.

Consider LED lighting

Afraid that adding lights will increase your power bill? Fear not. Newer technologies with low-voltage lighting offer energy efficiency, so it won’t substantially raise your energy bill. LED uses up to 80% less energy, and the bulbs last much longer than traditional lighting.

Another benefit: LED lighting provides light where it’s needed without adding pollution to the night sky. By using it, we can brighten our own environments and still do our part to keep the stars visible.

LED is a relatively easy retrofit around most homes. It can be installed during the winter months as long as the ground is not frozen.

Landscape lighting is a cost-effective home improvement that lasts all year. It shines brightly during the dark months. And when the longer days of summer return, it extends the hours and can re-set the mood of outdoor living far into the night.

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Source: in collaboration with Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado

Compost your yard waste

Things to take care while converting your yard waste into Compost.

As the growing season winds down and you prepare your landscape for winter, you may find yourself with a lot of yard waste. Instead of bagging it and tossing it into the garbage, why not make that yard waste continue to benefit your plants by composting?

What to put in your compost bin:

  • Leaves
  • Grass clippings
  • Straw
  • Plant debris

While you’re at it, you can also add food waste from indoors, like coffee grounds, fruit peels and cores, and vegetables.

What not to compost: 

  • Any plants which are diseased, such as plants with powdery mildew
  • Large pumpkin and squash vines, which may take too long to decompose in your backyard compost
  • Weeds that have gone to seed
  • Pet waste

Food waste that should never go into your backyard compost includes, but is not limited to, meat, bones, dairy, or fats.

What’s in it for you?

Once the process is completed, your compost is best used in one of two ways:

  • Mulch – Spreading a layer of compost can help your garden or landscape retain moisture and suppress weeds.
  • Soil amendment – Colorado’s dry, clay soil benefits from adding compost. It helps the soil retain moisture and improves air flow.

How it works

Compost needs time to break down, whether it is tilled into the soil or applied atop it. It can create a homogeneous soil mixture ripe with microbial activity. This process does not add many nutrients to the soil but improves the soil’s capacity to hold onto both nutrients and water. It improves the root zone. That’s what makes it so beneficial to your landscape.

Plus, by composting at home, you can reduce waste, save landfill space, and improve your landscape in the process. 

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Source: in collaboration with Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado


6 Secrets to a Lush, Green Lawn!