Kansas City Landscaping and Lawn Care Ideas

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Top 10 Kansas City Landscape Plants

1. Allegheny Viburnum (Viburnum rhytidophylloides ‘Allegheny’)Viburnum-x-'Alleghany'

This works great when you need a large shrub to add structure to the back of a bed or as a screen in the back yard.  it is not tidy enough to be used as a specimen or in any highlighted position With care it can grow to 12 feet tall in less than 5 years.  I have several planted as a screen against a shed in my backyard and I have pushed them hard – but they are over 15 feet tall in just 5 years. 

The shrub has thick 6” leaves that are thickly textured and beautifully colored.    It has a surprising delicate white flower that persists for Most of May and then ripen into bright red fruits by October.  I call it semi-evergreen because about 1/2 the leaves stay attached for most of the Winter.

This is one of my favorite plants and I recently used it in a  very fun project that turned out very well (despite the quality of the photographs).  These will grow beautiful and provide the perfect screen for this deck and offers an alternative to the overused juniper and arborvitae.  

Kansas City Landscape planting of Viburnum 

 

2. Sweetbay Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana)

Sweet Bay Magnolia in Kansas City

Magnolias often come and go as peoples favorite plants.  However, this one has and always will be my  favorite for planting in City .  It is better suited than many for our zone and grows luxuriously well.  My favorite form is when it is grown as a multi-stemmed shrub.  It has a striking upward growing habit that gives it a strong architectural presence and lends itself well to be a focal in planting. 

I have two of these planted as pillars on the front corners of my house.  They have performed very well for about 4 years now and have grown taller than the roof of my raised ranch. 

 

 

 

 

3. Hardy Banana  ‘Musa Basjoo.

The Hardy Banana is a that grows VERY well in City.  I have had them growing at my house for going on 4 years and a customer has had them successfully growing for over 8 years. 

These pictures show them growing in my yard in early July.  By September they had pushed leaves higher than the roof of the porch you can see there.  That is approx 18 feet high. 

Musa Basjoo in Kansas City P7090106 Phone 036

 

Although these look very tropical they are easily grown  even in our unpredictable winters.   They will die back to the ground in the winter and begin to grow again in the spring.  The more protection you give them the bigger they will get the following year because you will protect more of the – giving it a head start on next years growth. I try to protect several of the biggest plants so they will grow as large as possible the following Spring.  I protect them by building 4’ tall  cages around them and filling them with leaves.  This si the secret to really big plants.  However, even unprotected plants will reach 10’  

Another bonus – they reproduce madly.   You will easily triple your number of plants every year as new pups sprout around the base of the mother .

 

4. Walker’s Low Catmint (Nepeta x faassenii)walkers low catmint 2

I would choose this as one of my all time favorite perennials to use as a llandscaper.  Not because of how showy it it or how rare it is  or for any ONE attribute.  Rather,  because it has so many very good uses and it has never let me down.

This has small bluish green leaves that are highly fragrant leaves that smells like mint.  The grows in a mound about 1 foot high and 2 feet across.  however after its first season in the bed you will not be able to tell its shape because it will have spread through runners and be taking up much more space than that.  In fact this may be the only time I would not use catmint – is if you need it to stay perfectly contained because it is so hardy and likes to spread.  The flower begins blooming in June.  If about 3 weeks later you shear off the old blooms you can easily extend its blooming into late .  The blooms are a pale lavender and spread across the like a purple mist.

It was named Perennial of the Year in 2007 for its versatility and hardiness.

5. False Indigo (Baptisia australis)

 

I have been in love with this since the first time I saw it in full bloom when driving past a very neglected baptisia false indigogarden in the middle of July.  Everything else in the garden had died including what looked like remnants of stella d’ oro’s and some poorly placed care-free roses.  I quickly took a mental note and the next time I was at my favorite nursery I bought a couple plants. 

I was not immediately impressed.  The just stood there for the entire season.  The next year it was about the same.  But, by the third year it had really taken off and is now one of the plants people always notice when they walk around and see that part of my garden.

Baptisia has since proved its worthiness in many designs and ahs often become a favorite to use in designs.  It does have it quirks though.  Number one – it is a that you have to and leave it alone.  it does not transplant well once it is established in your bed because of it unique rooting structure (which is also responsible for its durability.  Secondly – I have found it is incredibly sensitive to any kind of sprays.  In my incessant meddling I am always trying things that will supercharge my plants. During one of these ‘experiments’ I was spraying a mixture of compost tea and iron on  few in my garden around the Baptisia – and it turned black over night – the entire .  The recovered fully – but it took a while.  I have since learned that any foliar spray will have varying degrees of the same effect.

6.  Little Henry Sweetspire (Itea Virginica)Henry's Garnett Sweetspire

This shrub is a great that fits into almost every city in some part.  In order for a to become a favorite of mine, it has to be versatile, tough and at least interesting in sweetspire fall foliageall season.  Sweetspire does this.  It is deciduous shrub that can grow up to 5 foot tall in a roughly globular fashion.  There is a very similar variety call Little Henry’s Sweetspire that is nearly identical – but more compact.  This shrub has two times of the year that it is a knockout.  One time is in early June when it shows off its long beautiful blooms.   It is equally beautiful in the fall when the foliage turns into a striking shade of crimson…and…the leaves persist well into mid winter.  

 

7. Drift Roses (Rosa ‘Meijocos’)

drift rosesI will have to admit that although I hate to admit it I do love Knock Out Roses.  I was one of their first big proponents and had a bush that was kind of secretly handed to me before they were publicly being sold.  However, in the last 10 years they have become victims of their own success and are now way over planted and used in every subdivision entrance, every front yard bed and around every park sign.  Now I feel a little guilty when I  reach out for the knock-out rose once again for the customer that says they want low maintenance year-round color.  There just is not another that can match up in those situations – unless – you were looking for something smaller.

From the same breeders who gave us the knockout rose we now have the Drift rose.  This is essentially a groundcover rose (around 3 feet high) with all of the great benefits of the knockout rose, but in a  smaller package.  It blooms from early spring until the first , it is disease resistant, and it is extremely cold hardy. 

I find it works great to line a walkway with when you do not want the height offered by a knockout rose.  It can also work great planted at the edge of a rocky wall.

 

 

I am going to continue this list – so check back soon – or better yet sign-up here to get regular updates.

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Preparing for Early Fall Freeze for Kansas city Landscape

coming to City Landscaping

Frosted Grass and Leaves

For your plants — the transition into winter is a dramatic and often sudden one that is dictated by the first frost or freeze. As the caretaker of plants, there is very little you need to do in order to protect your plants from a frost or freeze unless you are simply trying too eek out a few more days/weeks before the inevitable end.

This may be true if we have a particularly early frost or freeze. Most plants can be best protected by erecting a tent around a plant. The ideal material for the tent is a thick insulating cloth that covers the plant completely all the way to the ground. It is important NOT to use plastic because it does not insulate well and can further damage by trapping moisture close to the plant therefore increasing damage caused by forming frost crystals.

Many of the plants we love to plant in the fall are chosen especially because they are fairly frost tolerant. Flowers such as pansy, kale, ornamental cabbage, Hardy Mums are all frost tolerant and can extend the beauty of your garden by several weeks. A complete list of frost tolerant plants

Your lawn will not be so strongly affected by the frost. Its correlation with lowering soil temperatures will have an effect but the actual grass tissue will likely not be harmed by the frost in any way. The only caveat to this is that if you walk on frosted turf you can damage the grass blades and they will turn brown if conditions are just right. This is because when you step on the turf while frost is on the grass, you can explode the frozen tissue causing it to die away. This is just cosmetic damage but can stay visible for a long time until next Spring when new growth replaces the killed tissues.

My primary suggestion when dealing with fall frost is to allow nature to decide when its time for this years growing season will end — knowing some seasons will be longer and other will be shorter.

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Frost Hardiness of Kansas City Plants

 

Here are some general guidelines for the hardiness of plants in City Gardens

Vegetables

Hardy Tolerant Tender Warm Loving
Asparagus Beet Snap Bean Lima Bean
Collards Broccoli Sweet Corn Cucumber
Endive Brussels Sprouts Tomato Eggplant
Kale Cabbage   Muskmelon
Kohlrabi Carrot   Okra
Lettuce Cauliflower   Pepper
Mustard Celeriac   Pumpkin
Pea Celery   Squash
Potato Chard   Sweet Potato
Rhubarb Onion   Watermelon
Rutabaga Parsnip    
Salsify Radish    
Spinach      
Turnip      

Annuals

Hardy Tolerant Tender Warm Loving
Corn Flower Black Eyed Susan Aster Ageratum
Ornamental Cabbage Calendula Nicotiana Balsam
Pansy Coreopsis Petunia Begonia
Primrose Dianthus Scabiosa Celosia
Violet Snap Dragon Statice Cosmos
Sweet Pea Sweet Alyssum Impatiens
Torenia Verbena Lobelia
Marigold
Portulaca
Phlox
Salvia
Vinca
  Zinnia

Thank you to the University of Purdue for supplying information needed to create this informative chart.

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Crabgrass annihalated from Kansas City Lawns

I have great news! has been eradicated from the state of . Absolutely annihilated every single ! Not a single growing in anyone’s yard anywhere in the state or City. Ok here is the bad news, this is not a result of any miraculous event or secret government work. Instead, since is a warm season annual, it all died after the first hard .

However, there are literally billions of small seeds laying in wait for the soil temperature to rise to 55 degrees for 10 consecutive days. Each in your yard last year produced upwards of 180,000 seeds and flung them into the air. Even if you didn’t have a single in your yard last year your neighbors did and they generously shared their crop of invasive weeds with you guaranteed. Don’t worry though you can outsmart the and keep it from ruining your otherwise pristine yard. Here’s how.

The battle against is two pronged. One uses chemical warfare to initially suppress the onslaught and the second uses good cultural practices to make your uninviting and able to fight off the gremlins before they get a chance to grow.

Before you can fight the enemy you have to know the enemy. Read the rest of this entry »

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