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Our Blog

Containers Can Add Winter Interest

Do not leave outdoor containers looking sad and empty, lets add some creativity!

Containers

You don’t have to leave outdoor containers looking sad and empty. Nor do you have to put them in storage until spring. Your dormant landscape might need a pick-me-up for the winter, and that’s where those containers come in handy.

If you choose a colorful container, that alone can add a pop of color. Use it to add some interest to your porch or stoop.

Follow the same guidelines (thriller, filler, spiller) that you would in summer to combine materials. For a “thriller,” use long branches like dogwood. Fill spaces with pinecones, artificial flowers, or holiday ornaments, and position evergreens or garland to spill over the sides.

If you don’t already have pinecones or branches in your yard to use, visit your local garden center for some natural elements—or even some weatherproof decorations—to add interest to your container.

Be sure to remove any ornaments or other holiday décor as you transition into simpler winter interest. You’ll keep your containers and your patio or window boxes looking good until it’s time to plant flowers again.

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Look Out For Winter Birds

Help the winter birds, leaving meal for them in yard.

Look Out For Winter Birds

Now that your own Thanksgiving dinner is finished, consider leaving a meal for the birds in your landscape.

There are many birds that overwinter in Colorado, including chickadees, juncos, crows, and the striking cedar waxwing (pictured above). Help them this winter by providing a bird feeder for them.

Try to identify a few of them in your yard before choosing the food source you provide. Not all birdseed is created equal; you’ll want to choose a mix that your local birds will eat. According to CSU Extension, black oil sunflower seed is a safe bet that many wild birds in Colorado enjoy.

You might also choose a suet bird feeder, which will bring around nearby chickadees and woodpeckers. There are special feeders available that hold a block of suet—or you can go the old-fashioned route and use a pinecone coated with peanut butter or fat.

Keep an eye out for other wildlife or house pets that might seek out the tasty snacks in the feeder—seeds, fat or even birds. Adjust the location of your feeder to help keep the birds safe. If squirrels frequent your landscape, you might need a special “squirrel-proof” feeder.

Don’t forget to provide a beverage with that meal. Give birds a water source with a bird bath or shallow tray of water. Replenish it daily and clean it weekly to be sure your feathered friends have a clean place to take a drink.

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Upgrade Your Holiday Lights

Few things to take care if you are planning to upgrade your holiday lights.

Holiday Lighting

In the past, holiday lighting could be a complicated, even dangerous undertaking. But improved technology has made lighting up your landscape and home for the holidays safer and more energy-efficient.

LED lights use a fraction of the energy that traditional incandescent bulbs use, and they often last 30 times as long, according to the US Energy Information Administration. They don’t get hot like incandescent bulbs either, which lowers the fire hazard.

Check your lighting at home to see if the cords are worn or damaged, or if the bulb connections are loose. If that’s the case, or if you’re looking to lower your energy bill, then it might be a good year to trade in your old lights. Some municipalities offer free recycling programs for holiday lights, while some retailers might feature a trade-in offer that gets you a discount on new, energy-efficient lights.

If your lighting plan is DIY, play it safe with a telescoping light-hanging tool. Some models can reach more than 20 feet or come with clips to help you attach lights to your gutters. Those clips are handy—you are less likely to damage cords with clips than with nails. Of course, you can avoid the hassle altogether and hire a professional to create a beautiful display and to do it safely.

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Recycle Your Yard Waste

Here are a few tips to recycle your yard waste.

Recycle yard waste

While the word recycling may make you think of soda cans, plastic bottles, and electronics, don’t forget that recycling can happen in your landscape, too.

As we’ve mentioned before, you can mulch your leaves and use them on your roses and garden beds to help soil retain heat and moisture. But pinecones, twigs, and branches can become rustic décor for your home. Instead of buying them in a craft or home decorating store, save money by collecting them during fall cleanup chores. Then, bring them inside in a number of ways:

  • Leave them as-is or add some spray paint for a pop of color.
  • Make a wreath.
  • Decorate an empty patio container garden.
  • Add texture to an arrangement.

For the remaining yard waste that you can’t reuse or add to your compost bin, look for resources in your area that accept materials for drop-off. Find some collected resources at www.alcc.com/recycle.

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8 Pro Tips To Have The Best Yard in Your Neighborhood This November

This guide tells “how and when” to create a beautiful lawn this November…the envy of your neighborhood…

And to prepare it to survive our harsh winter, and thrive next spring.

For homeowners with professional services and DIYers.

1.  Fall Color

Up Your Fall Wow Factor.

Take your fall containers and beds a step beyond traditional mums and sunflowers (not that those aren’t great fall flowers—they are a couple of our fall favorites!).

Consider these 10 additions:
– Lady Godiva™ Calendula
– Purple Fountain Grass cultivars Pennisetum setaceum
– Graceful Grasses® Toffee Twist Carex flagellifera
– Sunsatia® and Innocence® Nemesia
– Supertunia® Petunia
– Bright Lights™, Soprano® and Symphony Osteospermum
– Dolce® and Primo® Heuchera
– Fun and Games® Heucherella
– Prairie Winds® ‘Cheyenne Sky’ Panicum
– Rock ‘n Grow® SedumFall Color

Sunsatia® and Innocence® Nemesia, Supertunia® Petunia, Graceful Grasses® Toffee Twist Carex flagellifera


2. Prepare your bulb garden

Autumn is a good time of year to plan ahead for your spring bulb garden.

Choose the right location in your landscape, preferably an area that gets full sun—at least six hours each day.

Think about which flowers you’d like to see next spring in your garden. In addition to tulips and daffodils, consider some less-common bulbs for variety and interest, like the dramatic snake’s head fritillary (fritillaria Meleagris), shown top left, or early-blooming snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis), shown bottom left.3. Winter Fertilizer

Apply an Early Winter Fertilizer between October 15th and November 30th.

Because your lawn is recovering from a grueling summer it is more vulnerable to winter damage.

Most of lawn care experts agree that the early winter application of fertilizer is the most important one for lawns.

It promotes a healthy, thriving root system, store vital nutrients for the winter and early spring, and aids the cold hardiness of your turf from winter damage.

 4. Winter Mites

Apply a Mite Control Application in November to Mid-December.

Do this if your lawn or your neighborhood had mite damage in 2018.

This is one area where an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.

Mites can cause considerable damage to your lawn if left undiagnosed and not treated in 3 weeks or less.

Almost all serious injury by grass mites are related to winter drought stress.

Winter Mites

South-facing hills with sun exposure are typical areas where turf damage can be expected.

Tony Koski, Turf Specialist at Colorado State University, says, “fall watering of lawns that were damaged by winter mites (clover mites, Banks grass mites) is essential for discouraging mite activity this upcoming winter and reducing potential mite problems.”

5. Thanksgiving Decor

Add to your Halloween pumpkins to make a have the best Thanksgivng decor to welcome family and friends and be the envy of the neighborhood.


6. Fall Clean Up.

Do a Fall Clean Up in November to mid-December.
Take time to put your yard and landscape “to bed” in fall, your lawn will reap the rewards.
Give your lawn a healthy start next spring by managing these fall tasks.

  • Trim shrubs and ornamental grasses
  • Divide plants. If your perennials are overcrowded, fall is an ideal time to divide the root ball and replant. Cutting back the plants prior to transplanting can help reduce shock.
  • Plant fall bulbs. Plant in fall to enjoy spring’s first blooms – crocus, daffodil, tulip. The best time to plant is after the first frost so the bulbs will stay cool all winter. Dig holes for bulbs and fertilize before replacing soil.
  • Pick up leaves. Fall cleanup will save time for gardening come spring, and clearing your lawn of leaves and sticks will prevent the heavy, wet foliage from suffocating the turf. Dark, moist environments are breeding grounds for disease.
  • Clean up. Wash down the patio furniture and store it for the season. Make sure to pick up toys so they don’t get buried or lost.

7. Winter Mulch.

Mulch after Fall Clean Up in November to mid-December.

Add an inch-thick layer of fresh mulch in plant beds and around trees, but don’t let the mulch touch tree trunks.

Mulch insulates roots and retains water during the winter. It adds organic matter to the soil as it decomposes.

A great lawn is like a nice dress, or a well-fitted suit. But what is a dress without shoes? Or jewelry, or a purse?

If you want to make everything come together, and look perfectly finished, you want mulch.

Click Mulch Secrets for more information.

8. Christmas Lights

Do you want to transform the outside of your home into a holiday wonderland?

The holiday season is a time for family and friends.

Enjoy the holidays with dazzling displays that will create memories that last a lifetime.

See our Christmas Video.

Christmas Lights

Browse our Christmas Online Catalog.

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Wrap and Water Your Trees

Tips that are important to protect your trees from winter damage.

Wrap and Water Your Trees
The general rule of thumb has been to wrap young trees in late November and remove the wrapping in April. But here in Colorado, we know that weather patterns don’t read calendars. Freeze can, and recently did, occur early in the fall. But don’t despair if your tree got caught without a “blanket” in October. If you planted a new tree this fall or have a young tree in your landscape, it’s not too late to wrap it. Despite the cold temps we’ve already seen this fall, it’s still important to protect your trees from winter damage.

Changes in temperature—especially those crazy days when the temperature drops 20 degrees in two hours—can cause frost cracks or split bark. The tree bark can also suffer sunscald, which are burns caused by sun exposure once the leaves have dropped, leaving the young bark vulnerable.

There may already be damage from the season’s first frost, but wrapping now can help protect young trees against further damage.

If you’ve got an evergreen tree with brown needles after an extreme temperature change, don’t despair. We won’t know the extent of the damage until spring, so don’t give up on your tree or shrub yet. Be patient; keep watering and caring for it. When temperatures go below freezing, don’t water the soil. But you can mist the needles to help protect them and possibly mitigate the damage. As we’ve seen with trees hit by previous deep freezes, needles may be damaged but the buds that contain spring growth may have been spared.

Thanks to Dr. James Klett of CSU and certified arborist Patrick O’Meara for sharing their expertise for this week’s tip!

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Be a good neighbor

Early reminder to have a plan in place to keep your sidewalks and driveways safe and here are some basics:

Snow

According to some predictions, Colorado could see a colder, snowier winter this season than we’ve seen previously. This week, the Front Range got a sneak preview of a snowstorm just before Halloween, and much of the state saw frigid temperatures. It was an early reminder to have a plan in place to keep your sidewalks and driveways safe. Here are some basics:

  • Shovel your sidewalk after it snows. It’s the right thing to do, and in many places, it’s the law. Check with your municipality to be sure you are maintaining your walkways in a safe and timely manner.
  • Don’t shovel or plow snow into roadways. It can prevent vehicles from being able to park, and it might undo the work done by snowplows. Clear roadways are important not only for commuters but for emergency vehicles.
  • If it looks like precipitation on sidewalks could freeze and cause a hazard, consider icemelt to prevent slips and falls. Using a salt-free or pet-friendly product is good for neighborhood dogs, wildlife and the health of grass and other plants near your walk.

If shoveling snow isn’t your thing, contract with a professional to help keep your property safe for yourself and your community.

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Leave the leaves

Here are a few tips to improve your landscape.

Leave the leaves

What if we told you that you can actually improve your landscape by not bagging your leaves for trash pickup? Instead, you can mulch your leaves and leave them on the lawn. Mulched leaves will bio-degrade, providing nutrients to the grass roots, micro-organisms, and worms in your landscape. They also help regulate the soil temperature when it gets cold, retain moisture in soil on dry days, and can reduce weed propagation next year.

But you can’t simply let them sit on the lawn when they fall. You’ll still have to do a little bit of work to mulch the leaves. If you have flower beds or other non-turf areas, you should rake or use a blower to move leaves onto the grass. Then, run your mower without the grass catcher. If you have a mulch setting, make sure that is in place. You might need to do this a couple of times to break up all of the leaves. The goal is to break down the leaves so that they can decompose more quickly and so that they are not “suffocating” the lawn by covering all of your grass.

Before you mulch, wait until the leaves are dry. Trying to mulch or mow wet leaves will only leave you with a clogged mower. When they are dry and crunchy, it’s time to get to work. Mow and leave everything—mulched leaves and lawn clippings—on your lawn.

If you have excess debris—big piles of mulched leaves left behind—you can put that extra mulch on your vegetable garden, flower beds, or around your trees and shrubs. Use them somewhere in your landscape instead of bagging them and throwing them away.

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