So you grew an apple tree in your Seattle garden, and now you don’t know what to do with all the apples the tree produced. You’ve baked apple pie countless times and gifted your neighbors and friends apples, but there are still loads of apples left.

How about you make apple cider? Not only would you enjoy the warm drink during the cold winter months, but your home would also smell amazing with the sweet fragrance. Here’s an easy apple cider recipe that you can prepare at home.

Is Apple Cider Same as Apple Cider Vinegar?

No, apple cider isn’t the same as apple cider vinegar. Apple cider is a non-alcoholic drink often made from fresh apples, while apple cider vinegar is alcoholic and fermented from apple juice. To be clear, this post is about an easy apple cider recipe – the non-alcoholic drink.

Ingredients for Apple Cider

Here are the ingredients you need to prepare apple cider at home.

  • Fresh apples
  • Sweetener (sugar or maple syrup)
  • Warming spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves or allspice)
  • Wooden spoon or masher
  • Fine mesh strainer
  • Water

Recipe for Apple Cider

These are the steps to follow for this easy apple cider recipe

Step #1: Combine Ingredients

Slice fresh apples into four pieces and place them in a pot. Add cinnamon and other spices of choice. Then, pour in water until it covers the ingredients.

Step #2: Cook Until Soft

Cook uncovered on high heat until the mixture starts to simmer. Then, reduce the heat, cover the pot, and leave to continue to simmer until the apples go soft.

Step #3: Mash Apples

Use a wooden spoon to mash the soft apples to release more flavor. Then, leave the mixture to simmer for some minutes.

Step #4: Strain Mixture

Strain the mixture to remove the solids and drain the liquid apple cider. Remember to press down on the strainer to release any flavor in the solids.

Step 5: Serve or Store

Add a sweetener of your choice, and the apple cider is ready to serve warm or cold. You can also store some bottles in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Washington State is famous for its numerous varieties of apples. So much that when you go grocery shopping in Seattle, you’ll find between five to ten types. But, what are the best apples to grow in the Seattle Area? Keep reading to find out.

5 Apple Trees to Grow In Your Seattle Garden

Several apple trees grow well in the Seattle area. However, here are the top 5 apples you should consider growing in your Seattle garden.

1.     Braeburn Apples

Braeburn apple trees are easy to grow and require little maintenance. The apples have a mildly tart flavor with a spicy sweetness. They are best for baking but also great for snacking and making sauce.

2.    Red Delicious Apples

Red delicious apples are one of the oldest varieties of apples grown in Seattle. They are bright red, and have a signature sweet taste and thicker skin than most other varieties. You can snack on them or use them to prepare salads.

3.     Fuji Apples

Fuji apples are a cross of Red Delicious and Ralls Janet apples. They were originally grown in Japan but are now grown in the Seattle area. They have a variety of uses, including snacking, baking pies and making salads and sauces.

4.    Gala Apples

The kids’ favorites, Gala apples have thin skins and light flavors. Originally grown in New Zealand, the apple tree also serves ornamental purposes. They grow fragrant, white-pink flowers that would add beauty to your garden.

5.     Bramleys Apples

Bramleys apple trees grow vigorously and produce lots of apples. You may have to support the tree branches with stakes to prevent breakage due to overload. The apples are big and green with reddish markings.

The best apples to grow in the Seattle area shared in this post can grow in various soil. However, ensure that the soil is well-drained, and plant the tree in the section of your garden that gets direct sunlight. If you need help preparing your garden to grow the best apples in Seattle, you can reach out to us at Levy’s Lawn & Landscaping today!

 

If you’re thinking of growing trees in your Pacific Northwest garden, ensure you plant fast-growing trees. Imagine planting a tree, and 4 years later, it isn’t mature enough to flower. So, it can’t beautify your yard, let alone provide shade from the sun or serve as a windbreak. How much longer would you have to wait? You can avoid waiting for years, and find out the fast-growing trees to plant in the Pacific Northwest in this post.

3 Fast-growing Trees To Plant in your Pacific Northwest Garden

From Alaska to Oregon, there are several fast-growing trees to plant in the Pacific Northwest. But, we’ve outlined our best three fast-growing trees below.

1.     Pacific Silver Fir

This type of fir tree stands out among firs. It isn’t popularly known as the “lovely fir” for nothing. The underside of its leaves and the tree bark are a silver color, hence its name. It can grow as tall as 50 to 80 feet. The Pacific Silver Fir is the perfect fast-growing tree for your yard if you reside along the coast between Northern California and Southern Alaska, as it loves wet and shaded areas.

2.    Weeping Beech

No, this tree doesn’t drip water or any fluid. It’s called a “Weeping” Beech because it branches hang downward, giving its foliage a graceful weeping form. It has vibrant purple foliage that will add color to your garden and grow more than 50 feet tall and wide. Also, its growth slows down after it attains maturity, so you don’t have to worry about pruning all the time.

3.     Japanese Maple

This tree showcases different shades of colors through the Spring and Fall season. Its ferny foliage, which creates a crisscrossing canopy, takes on a bright orange-green color in early spring and transforms into a striking red in the Fall season. The Japanese Maple lacy leaves allow light to sift through it, giving it an unforgettable luminous sigh. Furthermore, it is compact, so it’s the perfect fast-growing tree to plant in a small yard or garden.

Other fast-growing trees to plant in the pacific northwest include western red cedar, the cherry, the incense cedar, and the common juniper trees. If you need help strategically planting the trees in your garden to beautify your yard or provide shade for relaxation, you can reach out to us at Levy’s Lawn & Landscaping today!

 

pruning basics by levy's lawns and landscaping washington

So, the trees in your yard look like they’ve seen better days, and you’re considering pruning them. It’s a great idea. Pruning will help restore their structure and improve their health. It’ll also manage the direction of their growth and reduce the risk of causing damage to people or property. But where should you focus your pruning efforts? Read on to find out.

How To Decide Where To Focus Pruning Efforts

Two major factors determine how much you should prune your tree:  the age and the health status of the tree.

  • Is the tree matured or young? You should prune a matured tree lightly, as its growth rate has slowed down. On the other hand, a young tree can withstand heavier pruning, as it will grow back its branches rapidly.
  • Is the tree healthy or diseased? If a tree is suffering from a severe disease, you’re likely to do more pruning than you would from a healthy tree. Branches that won’t be removed from a healthy tree would have to be cut because they are diseased.

Parts of The Tree To Prune

Sometimes, all you need to focus on is removing some twigs and overgrown branches. Other times, you would need to remove more. In any case, here are the several tree parts to focus your pruning efforts.

  • Diseased, dying or dead branches
  • Twigs sprouting at the trunk’s base
  • Branches growing across the tree’s center
  • Branches that cross and rub together or may rub in the future
  • Vertical branches that may grow into additional or secondary trunks
  • Overgrown foliage and branches affecting buildings, power lines or visibility.

How To Prune Your Tree

When pruning, you should cut back to a bud, twig or branch to encourage healthy new growth. However, you have to do it carefully, so you don’t cut into the trunk and remove or expose live tissues, as this will create an entry for insect pests and diseases that may damage the tree. You can avoid this by cutting branches just before the points where they spring from the trunk (i.e., the collar). You can find a more in-depth pruning guide here, or reach out to us at Levy’s Lawn and Landscaping for professional help.

 

 

Planting Bare Root Stock


Bare rootstocks are young trees, shrubs, and flowers transplants with roots that aren’t contained in the soil. They are sold with their roots free of dirt and wrapped in plastic. 

 

When most people hear of bare rootstock, they wonder if such a stock will grow when transplanted.

Well, if you’re one of them, in this post, you’ll learn all you need to know about planting bare rootstock.

First of all, bare rootstocks grow into healthy plants faster than container stocks, as they don’t have to transition from container soil to local soil. They are also up to 50% more affordable and can be shipped from anywhere in the world. So you can easily buy trees native to other parts of the world.

Picking Bare Root Stock To Plant

When planting a bare root tree, you have to choose the right bare root stock carefully. First, ensure it has a straight trunk and that the branches are evenly distributed. Next, the roots shouldn’t be dry nor mushy, but moist and firm. If you’re ordering it online, buy from a reputable grower and examine the root packaging immediately it arrives – it should be moist.

How To Plant Your Bare Root Stock

Step #1 – Remove the bare rootstock from the packing for inspection. If you are not ready to plant the bare stock right away, repack the moist roots or cover it with damp wood chips. When you’re ready to plant, check the stock and cut off any dead, broken, frayed, or diseased root or branch.

Step #2 – Dig a tapered, shallow hole in moist soil that crumbles readily. The hole should be about three times the diameter of the root spread and resemble a shallow cone. Then, poke the inside of the hole with your shovel to give it a few twists that will make root penetration easy.

Step #3 – Create a mound to place the bare root stock by shoveling a little loose soil into the hole.  Then, spread the root on the mound and backfill the hole while using your hands to work the soil in-between the roots.

Step #4 – Check if the plant is standing straight, and backfill the hole completely. Then, spread some wood chips on the ground a few inches from the trunk to retain moisture. You can use a cylinder mesh hardware cloth to protect the plant and keep mulch away from the trunk to prevent rot.

Step #5 – Lastly, water the soil slowly, allowing the water to soak into the ground before adding more. Subsequently, water it at least once per week so the root doesn’t get dry. You may also stake the plant to give it more stability and strength against wind.

Need help planting bare rootstock?

Let Levy’s Lawn & Landscaping help you transplant bare rootstocks that will grow into healthy and beautiful plants.  Contact us today!

planting bare root roses levy's landscape washington

 

 

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Artful ways of using rocks in your garden


Rocks can be used as delightful materials to design your landscape. Given their nature, they provide hard, durable, easy-to-maintain landscaping options. You can use them to make your house outer wall more aesthetically pleasing, incorporate into your garden, or use them in hardscaping your yard. Here are our top picks of how you can landscape with rocks.

1.     Rock Gardens

If you live on a sloped property and have a garden, incorporating rocks into your garden is the way to go! Having a garden on a sloped property means you run the risk of your garden getting washed away by erosion. Big-sized rocks along your garden slope can prevent this from happening, as well as beautify your garden path.

2.    Stony Waterfalls

A stony waterfall would make your property look elegant while giving it the feel of nature’s paradise. When the pacific northwest weather gets hot, a stony waterfall will provide a natural calm with its coolness. To make your waterfall look more natural, you can follow these steps.

3.    Stone Staircases

When you do not have a uniformly leveled-yard, rocks are an excellent way to form staircases leading up to your home. You can use selected rock sizes and colors to create the staircase of your dreams.

4.   Rocky Fireplace

You can spruce up your outdoor fire pit by incorporating rugged designs. With a rocky fireplace, your home landscape would take on a classical look like something out of a fantasy movie. You should try it out!

5.    Stony Garden Walkways

Walking around the garden can be messy as your shoes can take up garden soil and become messy. Stony walkways in your garden can help prevent messy walks around your garden. For the walkway, rocky slabs are great! You can also use small stones on the walkway with larger ones as borders.

Interested in using rocks to landscape your yard? Contact us today at Levy’s Lawn and Landscape. We provide a wide range of landscaping with rocks options, and can help you install the perfect design for your home and personality.

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planting edible gardens in the pacific northwest

According to some of the top landscaping companies in the country today, you should spend a maximum of 10% of your home’s value on landscaping. This means that whether you decide to install a fountain or put up a pergola, your landscaping option should remain within the 10% limit. However, not many people can simply set aside 10% of their home’s value for landscaping. Well, the good news is that almost anyone at all can have a beautiful and visually appealing garden without exactly spending a fortune.

Top 4 Budget Landscaping Ideas for Your Home

If you are looking to improve the landscape of your home, outlined below are four great landscaping ideas that are not only inexpensive but aesthetically pleasing as well.

1.     Edible Garden

One of the easiest and inexpensive ways to add life to your home’s outdoor is by turning it into an edible landscape. Beside being inexpensive, an edible garden can prove to be beneficial for your entire household. All that is required is that you plant seeds, which do not cost much at all. However, you can also choose to plant seedlings if you do not want the stress of tending to planted seeds. An edible garden will help beautify your home while saving you a lot of money at the market from harvested produce.

2.     Trees

Trees are another option you can use for your home when on a budget. In fact, it is one of the least expensive landscaping projects anyone can use. When you have a tree planted in your home, you save money from the cost of electricity in the long run, as you can easily sit under it on an 80˚ day, rather than turn on the air conditioner. To get started, you will need a couple of digging tools, some mulch or its alternatives and the tree itself. The Sun Valley and Pink Oak Tree are examples of trees you can use to landscape.

3.     Vertical Gardening

If you do not have a lot of money to landscape your home, another idea you can use is vertical gardening. Vertical gardening is any landscaping practice which utilizes vertical spaces to grow plants, and it can help you save a lot of money, as well as space. Although vertical gardening is mostly used indoors in lobbies and offices, more people are beginning to use it for their home’s exterior due to the amazing transformation it provides.

4.    Grass

Lastly, you can decide to landscape your home with grass. Using grass to landscape is a great idea because it is natural, very easy to grow, has a welcoming color and most likely already existing in your landscape. However, to get the most out of grass, it will have to be incorporated heavily into your garden or front yard and also be groomed regularly to prevent overgrowing. You can even choose to take it a notch by adding stepping stones to create an interesting pattern on the grass. 

Without spending a lot of money, you too can have the landscape of your choice. All you have to do is pick any one of these great budget ideas and watch your home come to life. They are guaranteed to add some jazzy style to your home within your budget. If you need help landscaping your lawn or yard on a budget, you can contact us at Levy’s Lawns & Landscaping today!

Mount Shuksan Red Farm Builiding Yellow Daffodils Flowers Snow Mountain Skagit Valley Washington State Pacific Northwest

Often, the style or design used in a garden is generally dependent on the surroundings. For instance, the condition in the Pacific Northwest is temperate with a varied landscape, which makes it one of the best places in the Pacific to grow and tend to a garden. Here, there is an endless possibility of beautiful gardens you can grow, ranging from drought-resistant dry gardens to Japanese gardens.

3 Easy Garden Designs for your Pacific Northwest Garden

In truth, some of these garden types are difficult to plant, because they require a lot of effort on your part to thrive. However, there are many types of gardens you can plant in the Pacific Northwest region, which are relatively easy to design and do not require much fuss. Take a look at these three easy garden designs you can plant within the Pacific Northwest region.

1.     Gracious, Eye-Catching Corner

This garden design idea, which sits at the corner where your sidewalk meets, is an easy-to-do one. Usually, this garden design is anchored by the Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry and surrounded by the other plants, forming a triangular shape. You can use beautiful flowers with bright colors, such as Victoria Wild Lilac, Grey’s Senecio, Vancouver Gold, Tuscan Blue Rosemary, Hall’s Japanese Honeysuckle, and more. The Gracious, Eye-catching Corner garden design is of low maintenance and will be appreciated by neighbors and passersby.

2.     Beautified Blank Wall

This garden design is a great addition to the exterior walls of your home, as well as for areas with minimal space. Flowers which thrive during fall, as well as shrubs that look and remain fresh all year round, are perfect for this garden type. The Clematis Hybrid, Sunshine Grey’s Senecio, Newport Dwarf, Tuscan Blue rosemary and Flower Carpet White rose are some of the many plants you can use for this particular garden design. To design your garden with this Beautified Blank Wall designs, simply plant all of these flowers on the floor facing the wall, and vertically grow the Clematis Hybrid in two columns, with some space in between. Other plants for this garden design include Provence lavender, Hidcote English lavender, Moonbeam coreopsis, Trellis and Johnson’s Blue geranium.

3.     Postal Garden

You can landscape the area around your mailbox by growing a garden which is visible to neighbors, visitors, and passersby. Although the plants to be used in this garden should be heat tolerant and very tough, you can help them retain more moisture by adding mulch to the soil. Some of the flowers you can use to grow the Postal Garden, include; Golden Sword Yucca, Powis Castle Artemisia, Cherry Chief Autumn Sage, Goldsturm Coneflower, Appleblossom yarrow, Autumn Joy sedum, Stone edging, and Moss Phlox. Although not all of these plants thrive all year round, during summer, you can expect to see an astonishing display of flowers in pink, gold, red and blue. These are some of the easiest garden designs you can grow in the Pacific Northwest region. They are eye-catching and do not require any prior knowledge/expertise to grow them. Levy’s Lawns & Landscaping is an expert at creating breathtaking garden landscape designs. So, if you need help, you can contact us to guide you further on how to create a simple garden design, or to get it done for you.

When January rolls around in the Pacific Northwest, our attention can be drawn to the rain, to wondering when the rain will yield to springtime sunshine, to recovery from the holidays, or to simply staying indoors, where it’s warm. While these endeavors can be useful, there’s also a lot to be done in and around the yard. So, grab your rain hat and don your muck boots, because we’ve got a few things for you to do outside.

  • When was the last time you got your lawn mower blades sharpened? Think about it. Have you ever got your lawn mower blades sharpened? Mowingwith a dull blade can create a ragged cut that quickly turns brown. Keeping your blade sharp can be one of the best ways to encourage a greener, fuller and healthier lawn. Best of all, you can do it yourself. We recommend the following:
    • You’ll want to remove the blade to sharpen it, but there are a couple of steps to take before that. First, remove the spark plug from the mower. You don’t want to accidentally bump the blade and force it into its power stroke, resulting in an injured hand. Then, look for the carburetor and air filter. Make sure the carburetor side is up when you tip the mower to get at the blade, otherwise, you might end up with a smoke cloud next time you start the engine.
    • The blade is usually held in place by a single bolt or nut. This can be extremely tight, so you might need to add a squirt of penetrating oil before you attempt to loosen it. Then, for leverage, use a breaker bar or socket wrench that fits the bolt. Pro tip: Before removing the blade, spray it with spray paint. This will enable you to return it to the correct position once it’s sharp.
    • We recommend using a hand file to sharpen the blade. Clamp the blade in a vise and follow the same angle as before, from the topside down. Don’t over-sharpen – once it’s “butter sharp” you can replace it on the mower.
    • Before replacing it on the mower, make sure and balance it. Simply hang it on a nail. If one side dips low, file more metal from that side until the blade hangs level.
    • If the blade is pitted, or lined, it might be time for a new blade.
    • If you’d rather not sharpen your mower’s blade, or would like some help with lawn mowing, give us a call at (360) 265-5231. Keeping client’s lawns trim and tidy is one of the things we do best.
  • If you’re certain the ground is thawed, plant bare-root roses, trees and shrubs. We’ve got a handy article to tell you how.
  • Start seeds indoors for your veggie or flower gardens. Obtain some “cell flats” which can be placed in solid trays. The trays will enable you to move the seedlings outdoors, when its time. And, the divided cell flats will make for easy separation of your seedlings.
  • Get out the hammer and nails and build some arbor boxes, containers for container plants, or window boxes. There are lots of articles and ideas online. Or, you can purchase instructional books at your local hardware or garden store.

We hope this gives you a few ideas. Happy gardening!

It’s late winter or early spring in the Pacific Northwest. You just returned from the garden shop, where you purchased some new bare-root roses, trees or shrubs that will look lovely in your yard. Perhaps now you’re wondering how to plant the burlap bundled trees or shrubs you bought on impulse. Fear not! We can help!

  • Come February and March, bare-root roses are available at Pacific Northwest garden stores. Less expensive than containerized roses, they often transplant into the garden easier than containerized roses.
    • Wake up the roots by soaking them in warm water for an hour or two before planting.
    • Find a warm, sunny spot in the garden. Dig a wide hole (slightly wider than the root spread), making sure it’s deep enough to cover the top of the roots. Add some compost or planting mix and plant the rose, keeping the graft union about a half-inch above soil.
    • Water thoroughly. If the plant sinks below the recommended height, gently pull it up to the proper height. Add more soil if needed.
    • Make a ridge around the plant to form a watering basin. Add mulch.
  • Late January and early February, you’ll start to see bare-root trees and shrubs arrive at your favorite garden store. Make sure to keep the roots moist and to plant them as soon as possible once you get them home. You can even soak them overnight.
    • To plant, dig a hole at least as deep as the roots and twice as wide. Add up to 20% compost and some fertilizer.
    • Make a cone of soil in the center of your hole.
    • Place the plant on top of the cone, gently spreading the roots. Make sure the crown (where the roots meet the trunk) will be at, or slightly below the ground level once its covered with soil.
    • Add soil. Tamp it down firmly but gently.
    • Water the plant thoroughly. Note: You’ll need to do consistent deep watering of your new shrub or tree for at least two years.

Your newly planted trees, shrubs or roses will add beauty and value to your yard for years to come. If you need help with landscaping in or around your new plants, give us a call at (360) 265-5231.