Kansas City Landscaping and Lawn Care Ideas

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Archive for December, 2007

Repairing Damage to Kansas City Trees and Landscapes

— the life blood for , flowers and and is exactly what  gardeners pray for more than anything else.  EXCEPT when it comes down and freezes on the branches, leaves and trunks of the in our landscapes.  Then it becomes a massively destructive force.

Beautiful Frozen Weeping Birch The victims are predictable, elms, silver maples, birches, and willows.  These are some of ’s favorite landscape — but they are on a ’s hit list.  There wood is brittle and their growth structures is suspect.  They cannot withstand the mighty weight that puts upon their branches.

If your have major damage, your first course of action is to make a decision. IS THE TREE WORTH SAVING?  Look at what the damage is.

Is it major damage to an already weak tree?

Will the aesthetic value of the tree be ruined permentantly?

Will the damage make a weak tree more prone to disease and future damage?

The costs of major repairs can be the same as removing a tree altogether.  has a plethora of UGLY dotting our streets and landscapes from past years growth.  Many of these , even under the care of a certified arborist, would not be able to saved and would have been better off if cut down and replaced with another high quality tree that would add to the homes value and looks.

Remember – -the best time to a tree was 10 years ago! The second best time is today!The next question to answer is – Can you handle the repair y0ourself? Small limbs can be easily repaired with pruning shears or pole-loppers provided they are within reach. Otherwise you will have to climb a ladder up into the tree. Unfortunately – more people are killed from ladders and tree climbing in the United States than are killed skydiving – so this can be more dangerous than you might expect. Power tools should NEVER be used from a ladder since this compounds the danger incredibly. Some repairs you might consider doing yourself.Broken limbs – These should be removed back to the next major branch. Do not leave branch stubs – they lead to decay and disease.Broken tops - For with tops broken out, remove the snags to the next major interior branch. Generally, this will be a major fork. Avoid topping the tree to allow small side branches to grow out and continue the tree’s height growth. These branches will be weak and prone to breakage.

If the bark has been stripped from the trunk of the tree when it the broke the limb then cut any ragged edges off the trunk. Take care not to pull any extra bark off the tree. Cut any loose bark away with a sharp knife in the shape of an elongated football standing on it tip.

To avoid doing further damage to the as you cut it then this 3 step procedure should be used when cutting any heavy branches off of the tree. The first cut is made on the underneath side of the branch about 18 inches out from the trunk. The cut should be approximately half-way through the branch or until its weight first starts to bind the saw. The next cut should be made on top of the branch about 1 to 2 inches in front (toward the end of the branch) of the bottom cut. Continue cutting until the branch drops free. The last cut removes the remaining branch stub from the trunk. The cut should be made from the top of the branch at the branch collar. The collar is the slight ridge where the branch attaches to the tree’s trunk or another major branch.

with split trunks or major limb forks may possibly be salvaged if the split is not too extensive. Repairing this type of damage will involve a cable and brace technique that should be left to a professional tree service. Some small to medium-sized may have been uprooted. It may be possible to straighten these and brace them with guy wires. Do not attempt this unless one-half to one-third of the tree’s original root system is still in the soil and the remaining exposed roots are relatively compact and undisturbed. Before straightening the tree, remove some of the soil from beneath the root mass so the roots will be placed below the existing grade level. Attach two to three guy wires to the trunk and anchor the wires 10 to 12 feet away from the tree. Corrective pruning to help improve the shape of damaged is best done now. The tree will respond quickly this spring if it has not been severely damaged. Take care not to remove more than one-third of original branches. This will severely retard the tree’s growth in the spring and may damage it beyond recovery. Treatment of the trunk and limb wounds with tree paint is not necessary. In fact, research shows that painted areas can lead to increased rot and decay due to trapped moisture in areas where the paint cracks open. You may want to fertilize your tree this spring with a good quality tree fertilizer now to encourage new growth in the spring.

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Preparing your Landscape for Ice Storm in Kansas City KC

may soon be pounded by a severe .  If this is the case one of things you should be prepared for is the possible damage that could happen to all the valuable and you having your landscape.  can be very damaging to both people and plants in your landscape. Fortunately, there is a few things you can do to prepare or protect your plants from the upcoming damage.

and Junipers

These multi stem evergreen can be protected by tying all of the leaders together in the middle. This will protect them from becoming damaged by splitting in the middle from the weight of the .

Small High-Value Specimen (Japanese maples, etc)

These can be protected by placing burlap or plastic over the top of the canopy — This will distribute the weight of the amongst all the branches and help prevent major Breakage.

Young with Low Limbs

If you have young with low overhanging limbs these can be supported with 2×4′s, shovels, or anything else that will help bear the weight.  Place the brace about 1/4 of the total length of the branch away from the trunk.

, especially evergreens, can be split by the weight of on individual branches, I highly recommend that you go out and a piece of cord around the middle of theses and then possibly place a piece of burlap or plastic over the top of the shrub.With these few preparations your landscape will be better off if is hit with major this week.  However, it won’t protect your larger , which are also very susceptible to losing limbs that get too heavy.   Unfortunately, there is nothing we will be able to do that will prevent these limbs from breaking off now.   If this occurs, check back with the and I will give some advice on the best way to repair damaged and .As Gary says, Prepare for the worst and HOPE for the best

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Using Deicers to clear Kansas City’s

Let it – Let it – Let it .

Wintery precipitation can be a beautiful thing, as long as you are looking at it from inside. However, with the beautiful snows come the dangers of slippery walks and driveways. Luckily, we have several deicers available that help us keep our walks and drives safer and thanks to new options, products that won’t hurt the important around our house.

I am going to start the discussion by removing one option altogether – SALT. Salt belongs in your cupboard and not by your plants. When you put any deicing products on outdoor surface, you are essentially placing them directly on the roots of the plants and lawn that border either side, because runoff will carry the chemicals directly to them. Salt is one of the most efficient killers of your plants – and is not all that effective as a deicer. Its only benefit is its relative cheapness. However, when you factor in the increased amount needed to effectively melt compared to better products, the pennies saved do not justify the risk to your landscape. Better options are Potassium , Magnesium or Calcium Chloride. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

The biggest difference is the temperature in which they will work effectively. Potassium Chloride will work as long as the temperature is above 15 degrees or so.  Magnesium and Calcium Chloride will work down to about 5 degrees.  Below 5 degrees and no deicing products are helpful, besides, as far I’m concerned, at 5 degrees nobody shouldn’t be walking outside anyway! The first step in getting good results with deicing products is to make sure you are buying what you think you are buying.

For some reason, the packaging on deicing products can be especially confusing – almost to the point of deceptive. Nearly every product sold will be a mixture of different chemicals. You want one with the absolute least amount of rock salt () you can get. Many of the products that claim to be the newest and best are nothing more than colorfully packaged rock salt. A quality product will have LESS than 10% rock salt. Rock salt is used as a cheap filler. Do not let price be your determiner. Some of the most expensive products have the cheapest products inside them. READ THE LABEL! You should be able to get a good 30 – 50 pound supply for less than $20 and this will last you for the entire season.

Once you have selected a product, you need to make sure you use it effectively. This starts by using less than you might think you should and apply it before you might think you should. Never apply melt on top of . It is most effective if applied before the precipitation starts. All you need is a little bit to get the melting started and to keep the from forming. These products are not designed tomelt away layers of that have already formed.

A quick tip from the professionals: these products are more effective in their liquid form. In time, I believe these products will be available as liquids to consumers. However, right now they usually are not. So what I suggest is that you dissolve just enough to be used into either a high quality non-corrosive sprayer or into a plastic can. Make the mixture 70% HOT and 30% deicer. Then carefully apply just enough to wet the surface before precipitation starts falling. This will give you the best protection from the , be the easiest to apply evenly, be the least damaging to plants and be the most economical.

Hopefully, this winter you’ll feel confident when you head up to the hardware store that you have the information to buy the best deicer for you and can apply it quickly and easily.  Allowing you to sit inside, enjoying the winter as you sip hot chocolate.

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Watering in the Winter

Using this warm couple days would be great to add some to your lawn.But it just rained you say.  YES — but only .5inch or less in most cases.  By another 1/2 inch now you will be getting the benefit of 1″ of with only 1/2 the usage.  If you put a half inch down today — You would be set until some warm day in January.  1″ of is infinitely more helpful to your lawn than a half inch because it feed and encourages deep roots.Also – don’t forget to soak any or planted within the last season or two.  Put a slow drip on them and you’ll be rewarded with better plants.  Its hard to rely on snowfall for winter because so much of it runs off the surface.  Use your hose when you can!

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