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Posts Tagged: plants

Helping plants through a heat wave and saving water at the same time

What is too hot?

This will depend on the plants –

  • Cool season plants like pansies, snapdragons, and veggies like broccoli, lettuce, etc. don’t like temps above 75.
  • You will see those veggies bolt, (Go to flower and seed).
  • Warm season plants like tomatoes, peppers, squashes, zinnia, impatiens, & annual vinca love & thrive in warm temps (75-90).
  • But when we get in the mid and upper 90’s to 100 even those can slow production or suffer.
  • Newly planted perennials, trees & shrubs too can suffer.
  • The more mature a plant is the better it should be able to withstand the heat.

It’s hot outside – Should I water more?

  • Not necessarily. Plants may look wilted just as a reaction to the afternoon heat, they may bounce back in the cooler evenings.
  • If that happens, they don’t need water, if they are still wilted in the AM, they need water.
  • If you just water without knowing how much moisture is in the soil, you may overwater them.
  • Plants can temporarily shut down all their functions when we get to the high 90’s.

Solution: Get a water meter! AND Water deeply, not just during the heat spell, but all the time. 

  • Train the roots to go deeper for water.
  • The deeper the roots go to get water the better off they are when the heat or stress comes.
  • The top few inches of soil dries out much quicker than the deeper soil.
  • This is true of all plant categories – annuals, perennials, shrubs, trees & veggies!

Remember plants are pretty resilient.

  • Just like people – keep your plants as healthy as possible!
  • When they are healthy, they will be more resilient when stressed by the heat of other environmental elements.

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

Source: in collaboration with Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado

Fireproof your landscape

Credit: Colorado State University Extension – Fire-Resistant Landscaping – 6.303


Homeowners need to know how landscaping can help protect their homes.

Planting and maintaining a “defensible space” of a landscape is more difficult to ignite and can offer significant fire protection.

Steps to become more fire-wise with your landscapes:

  • Avoid placing plants too close together.

Spacing plants apart from one another keeps the fire from traveling between them or “climbing” up smaller bushes into the more flammable branches of nearby trees.

  • Remove flammable debris. 

Dead trees, shrubs, and small plants growing close to or underneath larger trees will fuel a fire and should be removed.

Keep gutters clean, and make sure plants are well-watered.

Mow natural grasses and weeds to six inches or less within 30 feet of structures to prevent flames from traveling across a yard.

  • Replace flammable landscaping with fire-resistant plants and mulch. 

Incorporating perennials instead of low-moisture shrubs and using gravel instead of bark mulch can provide better fire barriers to a home.

Fire-resistant plants are high in moisture, have fewer leaves or needles, stay close to the ground, and do not require significant pruning and re-seeding following a fire. Pavers, concrete, and brick are best for patios.

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

Source: in collaboration with Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado

It is planting season – plant “smart” trees

The ground is warm, we shouldn’t have any more freezes (fingers crossed),

sprinkler systems are turned on and nurseries are getting truck deliveries of new plants daily.

Now is a great time to visit your local nursery or garden center and check out some of spring’s best “smart” plants.

Local nurseries and garden centers do a great job of bringing in plants that are “smart” for this area, which have been shown to work in Colorado.

In this dry climate, we need to plant trees and plants that will thrive.

Plant native and drought-resistant plants and trees.

These can handle the heat, the clay, and the lack of moisture and still thrive.

5 Examples of “smart” trees and plants:

  1. Western or Northern Catalpa
  2. Gambel Oak
  3. Silver Fountain Butterfly Bush
  4. Arnold Red Honeysuckle
  5. Yellow flowering or Golden Current

With warmer weather here, get your drought-tolerant, xeric, and native plants in the ground as soon as you can!

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

Source: in collaboration with Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado

Container Gardens for All Ages and Abilities

Many people live where they don’t have space for a garden. A container garden is the perfect solution for all ages and all abilities. Almost anything can be grown in a container, except a large tree.

One of the most manageable containers is a hanging basket. There are so many available, you can purchase one already done, or you can customize it and put it together yourself. You can even grow vegetables like cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, or strawberries in a hanging basket.

Someone with limited space can have beauty and function with a mixed container of veggies and flowers. Containers can have vertical elements like tomatoes, pole beans, and vines like Clematis or morning glory. The center can also be something bushy like a pepper plant.

You can have carrots or lettuce around the vertical element and a cucumber, tiny pumpkin,
or trailing flowers like verbena, or calibrachoa, or make it all edible with edible flowers like nasturtium.

How to create a quick combo planter perfect for right outside the door.

  1.     Choose the container and make sure it has proper drainage.
  2.     Fill the container with good potting soil
  3.     Choose plants that have compatible growing needs – Sun vs. shade, more water or less, etc.
  4.     Put plants in – thriller, spiller, chiller – can be centered or tall in back, short in front.
  5.     Water well
  6.     Mulch
  7.     Fertilize a couple of weeks later.

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

Source: in collaboration with Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado

Need spring color now? Plant some pansies

If you’re really feeling the itch to get out and garden, consider planting some cool-hardy pansies.

When you go pick out your pansies:

  • Check with the garden center staff that the flowers you are purchasing are ready to plant.
    • Pansies should be hardened off before putting them in the ground.
    • They are probably hardened off and ready to plant if they have been kept outdoors at the garden center.
  • Be aware that pansies that haven’t yet been hardened off need some protected outside time to get used to the outdoors.
    • They need to adjust to night-time temps more than they need sunshine.
    • Keep them outside on the patio in a protected area for about five nights before planting. If there is a frost or hard freeze, bring them indoors.
  • Keep an eye on the temperatures at night. Once planted, pansies are frost-hardy but will be seriously damaged by a hard freeze.
    • If temps fall below 28 degrees, protect the plants from freeze damage like you would annuals in the early fall.
    • Cover them with sheets, blankets, or towels (but not plastic).

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

Source: in collaboration with Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado

Spring snow

Springtime in the Rockies is usually a roller-coaster ride of nice days with warmer temps and colder days that bring heavy snows.

And March, as we all know, tends to be the snowiest month. For many plants, this transition time into spring can be the most challenging time of year. Snowfalls from this point forward tend to pack more moisture, and that added weight is more stressful on plants.

Here are some coping strategies to help your plants:

  • Deciduous trees:

Damp snow will cling to every branch and twig, and the cumulative effect can lead to cracked and broken limbs. If it’s possible to reach high in the tree with a long pole – such as a broom handle that has an extension, it’s a good practice to gently shake snow from the tree. Be sure to work from the bottom of the tree upward, so that when snow falls from the higher branches it does not add more weight to already snow-laden lower ones.

Even later storms that drop snow on trees that have started to leaf out will hold more snow as it clings to the leaves. Gently shaking limbs in these storms is even more critical. If there’s a hard freeze after trees break bud – either leaf bud or flower – it will normally kill those buds. Leaves will come back from a secondary bud, but flowers will not bud again and this will also mean fruit loss. The good news is the freeze will also kill seed buds on trees like ash and elm that drop seeds that require clean-up later.

  • Shrub care:

Many herbaceous shrubs have weak wood and long, pliable branches that make them susceptible to wind and snow damage. Examples include Russian sage, golden elder, sumac, pussy willow, blue mist spirea and dark night spirea.

Any branch that has been broken by the weather (and this includes trees) should be pruned back. Those rips and breaks are an open invitation to pests and disease of all kinds.

  • Protect these plants with timely pruning:

A little maintenance now can save more work and treatment costs later.

  • Ornamental grasses:

Most people prefer to leave dried ornamental grasses standing in the garden for the winter because of the beauty provided by their shape and swaying plumes. Under heavy snows, however, many of these grasses can be crushed, so they should be protected or pruned beforehand.

  • Broken and bent grasses:

These grasses won’t bounce back to their upright shape, so they should be cut back. Cutting these plants back after a March snowfall is actually good timing since it’s best to have old growth well out of the way before new shoots emerge.

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

Source: 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.

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

Source: in collaboration with Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado

Protect your plants

Are your plants protected? Here is the checklist.

The forecast predicts overnight temperatures in the single digits this weekend. Are your plants protected?

  • In the landscape

Mulch is key to insulate and protect vulnerable plants. In late fall/early winter, you should have put down two to four inches of mulch in beds, especially those with shallow-rooted plants and bulbs. This also helps retain soil moisture, which is especially important in our current dry conditions.

  • Plants in containers

In a deep freeze, container plants can freeze. Roots touching the edge of the container or close to it will be most susceptible to freeze damage. One thing you can do today is to wrap containers with a blanket or other insulating material to add protection.

  • Clay containers may crack

Pervious clay containers can absorb water, and when the water in the clay freezes, pots can crack. This can happen whether the soil is in the container or not. If containers are outdoors, move them to a warmer, protected area if possible.

  • House plants

Do you keep your plants in a sunny window? With below-zero temps, windowsills can be very cold, especially if they are also drafty. Sun-loving plants such as cyclamen, Christmas cactus and amaryllis may suffer. Make sure leaves don’t touch the window glass and pull plants back as far as you can. Consider reclocating them temporarily until warmer weather returns.

  • Prevent plant loss

The best way to prevent freeze damage is to have plants that are up to the challenge of Colorado’s often harsh climate. Pay attention to the plant hardiness zone and the microclimate where you live. Choose plants with elevation and exposure in mind. Consider drought-tolerant plants, especially natives or those developed for Colorado’s conditions. You’ll save water and also save money by not having to replace plants that can’t survive a hot, dry summer.

Plants that look the best in Colorado are the ones that were meant to live here or were developed to thrive in our conditions. 

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

Source: in collaboration with Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado


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