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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Here in the Northwest, there are a variety of plants we call favorites. They add color to our yards and gardens and are generally easy to care for. Sedum, Scotch heather, hydrangea, ornamental grasses and lavender are often at the top of the list for the color they provide and the ease of care they require.
As fall quickly approaches, if you’re like most Pacific Northwest gardeners, you’ve got Levy’s Lawns and Landscape or other landscape company out in the yard, pruning, lopping and cutting back the abundant remains of your garden. Or, maybe you’re the one doing the pruning, trimming back plants that have finished their blooming cycle or have already started to go into dormancy. You’ve probably been deadheading the flowers in your yard, and are ready to tackle larger projects, like trees and shrubs.
We’d like to offer you a basic overview of how to prune your favorite plants so they renew themselves year after year:
- Do you have low growing heathers in your yard, like Scotch heathers? Although they are easy maintenance plants, they still require cutting back in the fall. With your pruning shear, carefully prune right below the blossoms where there’s still green. It might seem like a drastic trim, but these hardy plants will grow back in no time.
- Shape your lavender into “ice cream cones”. Established plants can be pruned heavily, to at least 1/3 of the growth. Go even heavier on older plants, but don’t go into leafless wood. Remove all the spent blossoms. Pop the stems and any remaining flowers in a vase in the house for a burst of fragrant scent.
- Snip the flower heads off the stems of your hydrangeas, just above the swollen buds at the base of the flowers. Remove the oldest, woodiest branches—they’re the ones least likely to flower next year. Get rid of spindly branches, too.
- A lot of North westerners have raspberry plants. Hopefully, you’ve eaten your fill of the tasty gems, and frozen some for the winter months. Wait a couple months to prune the completely dormant plants to ensure a great yield next season. Follow this simple rule: remove any canes that gave you fruit. The stems that yielded fruit will still be clinging to the canes, making it easy to tell which ones to cut back.
- “Autumn Joy” Sedum is a popular plant in Pacific Northwest gardens. The cheerful blossoms provide a welcome burst of color when summer’s flowers are fading. If you can, wait until January, when the birds have eaten their fill of the sedum seeds which have fallen to the ground. Then, use your pruning shears to trim the stems down to about 3” from the ground. Or, use longer bladed hedging shears to make short work of your task.
- Ornamental grasses are popular in our Northwest gardens, too. These fast growing, hardy plants can loom 6’ or more in your yard. But, before you start whacking away at your grasses, first you need to determine whether it’s a cool season or a warm season grass. Cool season ornamental grasses include fescue, ribbon grass (Phalaris), feather grass (Stipa), northern sea oats and tufted hair grass. Japanese blood grass, maiden grass (Miscanthus), fountain grass (Pennisetum) and hardy pampas grass (Saccharum) are all warm season grasses.Cool season grasses start producing new growth early in the spring, after temperatures begin to stay above freezing. They also start flowering by early summer, making them good additions in the short growing season of a northern garden.Warm season grasses start their growth much later in the spring. They begin flowering later in the summer and into the fall.Once you’ve determined the type of grass you’re dealing with, then you can plan your pruning. In general, wait until late winter or very early spring to trim back your cool season grasses. Cut them back so about a third of last year’s growth remains. Be careful not to cut them back too far, or you can seriously damage the plant.Warm season grasses can be left untended until the spring, but not so long that new foliage starts to sprout. They can be cut to the ground, if desired. If you do see new growth, however, make sure to trim carefully, leaving the tender green shoots in place.
We’ve got a list of plants you DON’T want to prune, too. You can read it here.
Need help with larger projects, like pruning trees and shrubs? Give us a call at (360) 265-5231
While grabbing the pruning shears and whacking away at your tree or shrub might prove therapeutic for your emotions, it can leave the plant looking unsightly, and can even harm or kill it. Proper trimming encourages new growth by removing damaged or diseased branches, helping the plant to flourish in the spring and summer. It also enables you to keep the size and shape in check. While large tree pruning should be left to a professional skilled in climbing and carrying and operating heavy saws, you can easily manage smaller jobs if you know what you’re doing. Here are a few things to consider before launching into your next pruning attempt:
- Use sharp, proper tools. To avoid damaging or tearing the branches from your tree or shrub, always make sure to use the right tool for the branch. For example, hedge shears are no more appropriate for a tree branch than a handsaw is for a delicate shrub. Keep your tools sharpened – you want clean cuts. In general, use rope saws for high tree limbs, pole pruners and loppers and folding pruners for easy to reach limbs. Disinfecting tools with 1 part bleach to 9 parts water after use helps prevent the spread of tree diseases.
- Cut correctly in the right place. Tree branches grow from stems at nodes. Pruning always takes place on the branch side of a stem-branch node. To avoid harming your tree or shrub, always make sure you find the branch or stem collar – a bulge at the base of the branch. Next, find the branch ridge, the raised section where the branch and the tree trunk are joined. All pruning cuts should be made on the branch side of this collar. Cut as close as you can without cutting through this ridge or you might create a wound that won’t heal properly.
- Prune at the right time of year. Trimming your trees or shrubs in late summer or early autumn may put stress your plant or put it at risk for fungal disease. It can also stimulate new growth, which has little time to harden before cold weather comes. Pruning at this time may also produce weak, spindly branches, unable to withstand winter’s chill. The best time to prune is during a plants’ dormant season, generally late fall or winter. Pruning during the dormant period minimizes sap loss and subsequent stress to the tree or shrub.
- Use safe pruning practices. Make sure your branches won’t fall on power lines, causing outages or electrocution. If using a ladder, make sure its secured to the tree. Don’t trim your trees in icy, windy weather – you’ll only increase your risk of falling.
- Minimal pruning is best. When deciding how much to prune, a general recommendation is to trim as little as possible. Any pruning can stress a tree or shrub. Never prune more than 25% of the crown and make sure that living branches compose at least 2/3 of the height or the tree.