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Posts Tagged: mulching

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.

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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.

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

Add some plants

Add some plants

The hottest days of the summer are over, and things should be cooling down soon. It’s a good time to add plants to our landscapes. Since irrigation systems will still be running for a couple more months, there’s time to water new plants and help them get established before winter.

  • Planting now gives new plants a head-start on next growing season. When spring comes around, they’ll be established and ready to take off and grow.
  • Choose the right plants. Look for plants that can thrive in Colorado. Our elevation and at times harsh environment can be a challenge for plants. And with ever-present drought, it’s important to choose plants with low water requirements. Don’t limit yourself to flowering perennials, either. Consider adding trees or shrubs to your landscape, too.
  • Be flexible. A local nursery or garden center or a landscape professional can guide you to plants that will enhance your landscape despite the challenges. But have a few choices in mind; supplies may be limited. Many have turned to gardening and renovating their landscapes during the pandemic, and growers can’t make new plants overnight.

Follow this checklist when establishing plants now or any time of year:

  • Place plants according to the micro-environments within your landscape. Match plant needs to locations in the yard that provide sun or shade, good or poor drainage, shelter from buildings, etc.
  • Know how large plants will be at maturity and avoid placing soon-to-be large plants too close together. Give them the space they need to grow without being overcrowded.
  • Group plants with similar water requirements together so you can water them efficiently without over-watering some or under-watering others.
  • Remember that even very low-water plants require regular drinks of water to become established. Make sure they get established before cutting back to little to no water.
  • Place mulch around newly planted trees, shrubs and perennials to help retain moisture.
  • After the sprinkler system is winterized, check plants regularly and water as needed especially during times with little or no precipitation.

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

Lose the lawn bag

Lose the lawn bag
  • Emptying your grass catcher can be a hot, messy job in the heat of summer. Save yourself the work and improve your landscape in the process by grasscycling. Leaving your grass clippings on the lawn helps return nutrients to the soil and reduce evaporation from the soil.
  • If you’ve got a mulching mower, you’re ready to grasscycle. Be sure the blades are sharpened, and your mower will cut your grass into lengths that are perfect for leaving on the lawn.
  • If you’ve left your lawn a little too long and fear the clippings would be too heavy, you can still skip the bag by using your grass clippings as mulch in your vegetable garden. Just like other mulches, the clippings help hold in moisture and keep weeds at bay. Then, be sure to schedule mowing so that you aren’t cutting more than 1/3 of the lawn’s total length. That will leave you with just enough grass to leave on the lawn and reap the benefits of grasscycling.
  • Worried that clippings will make your lawn look messy? Be patient. It may take a few hours, but the clippings will settle into the soil to decompose. If you can’t wait that long, you can gently rake the clippings to spread them and help them settle more quickly.

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

Five benefits of mulch

benefits of mulch

It’s getting warmer across Colorado, and our plants will need more water. But just because the drought is over on the Front Range—for now—doesn’t mean we shouldn’t still try to conserve water. The Western Slope, which provides much of our water supply, is still in drought. And our own next drought could be just around the corner. We should give the plants the water they need but not waste a drop.

One way to save water and dress up the landscape in the process is to top dress bed areas with mulch. And there is nothing better to use than fresh, 100% organic wood mulch.

Here are five great reasons to use wood mulch:

  • Seasonal mulching decreases evaporation rates from the soil by as much as 35 percent, so your water use is more efficient.
  • Mulching suppresses weed growth. If there are fewer weeds in your yard, there are fewer plants competing with your landscape plants for nutrients and moisture. That’s another water savings.
  • A healthy layer of mulch insulates plants and helps protect their roots from the extreme temperature shifts we experience in Colorado.
  • As mulch breaks down, it becomes nutritious organic matter, which promotes future healthy growth.
  • It looks great. Mulch creates an even appearance across the landscape and provides year-round color, texture and interest.

Mulches recycled from local pruning debris can be put back into the landscape as a healthy amendment. Locally sourced mulch is a sustainable option, supporting the local economy and lessening the carbon footprint. Because it is derived from organic material, it settles onto the soil and does not blow away like mulch that has been recycled from treated wood products such as pallets. It must, however, first be watered in so that it settles. A landscape professional can help you choose the right mulch and apply it properly for the most benefits.

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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