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 .

This is one of my favorite 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 .  However, this one has and always will be my  favorite for planting in City landscapes.  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 landscape 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 .  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 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 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 .  However, even unprotected will reach 10’  

Another bonus – they reproduce madly.   You will easily triple your number of 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 .  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

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 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 landscape 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 . 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 landscape 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 .  

 

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 frost, 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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Kansas City Landscaping dodged a bullet

City gardeners can breathe a sigh of relief that we did not reach the forecasted lows last of week of -20. For many years, we have been lulled into thinking that we may have shifted into zone 6. However, it only takes one very cold night to ensure that we are truly a area. The hardiness zones are based on the average lowest temperatures for a 10 year period. We are about to reset those zone maps if we approach -20 degrees. are rated to their zones based on laboratory tests as well as the experiences of growers in the fields. rated as hardy to generally survive low temperatures of -10 to -20 degrees. Zone 6 are only expected to survive to -10 degrees.

Of course, zones are only part of the answer to how your will during this cold snap. Zones define large areas, but not small microclimates that exist around your home. If your lie in a low lying area or out on a windswept plain, they are going to have considerably more exposure to cold temperatures than if they are nestled in a protected courtyard, along a south facing wall or on the wayward side of a hill.

That being said, many in City are going to suffer from this cold. Dan Simmons of Show-Me Horticulture and I were talking about what effect this could have on . We both agreed that a few of the standouts are that have started being popular at retail nurseries lately despite being unproven (or proven poorly) to thrive with very such as this years. A few that are going to be strongly affected are southern Magnolias such as Bracken Brown Beautys, , azaleas, rhododendrons and other . These are all better suited to Zone 6. They may have done quite well in City the last several years, but will be well-tested this to see if they have enough protection to survive the extremes.

Even a few proven will still be stressed. Boxwoods, yews, and many will likely show some damage come next spring from the prolonged cold weather combined with dry winds that we have experienced over the last several weeks. Another group of that will very likely show some signs of stress will be some of the ornamental grasses such as the ornamental fescues, the Japanese Silver grasses and the fountain grasses. Some of the larger such as Zelkova, Golden Rain Tree, dogwoods and redbuds could suffer some superficial damage to outermost branches as well.

Unfortunately, there is not much you can do to protect your now. If your went into the relatively healthy and unstressed they will have a much better chance of survival than if they were stressed already. Newly planted will have a harder time than older, more established . The snow that is insulating the ground is the biggest protection we have right now and this can be bolstered if you are inclined to pile snow around the crowns of your most valuable . Another option that can be helpful is to build a windscreen around to help protect them. Lastly, to help bounce back as much as possible, give them a good slow soaking of water as soon as the ground thaws and repeat at least monthly throughout the . This will help immensely as your begin to heal their wounds.

This spring will be quite revealing as we learn a lesson of what truly are able to survive City’s coldest temperatures. We will be better gardeners if we observe and learn from what nature teaches this week and choose that will thrive in City even during when it is at its coldest.

If you have any questions, please feel free to visit me at www.HamonsLandscaping.com or posting questions as a comment to this blog post. I enjoy talking to other lovers and answering any questions you might have.

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Snow is good for Kansas City’s Lawns and Landscapes

City has had a record snow storm this week. Gary Lezak reports that most areas received between 10 and 14 inches in City. Although snow can be a hassle for traveling and moving around in, it is GREAT for .

Not only does the snow insulate the crowns from widely swinging temperature extremes, it also will add important moisture applied slowly and evenly.

You can even help your out with extra moisture by choosing where you toss the snow when shoveling your walks and driveways. By piling it on flower gardens and around you will be giving them extra moisture. However, if you used any kind of or snow melting product, be very careful as concentrating these in one area could be harmful. Here is a great article on using deicers around your plants.

About the only time snow can be damaging is if it stays around for weeks and weeks without melting it can cause some disease issues. However, in City we rarely see snow stick around for longer than a week before it melts away.

So enjoy the snow and rest well knowing that your are well taken care of while you enjoy them from the outside.

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Why do they insist on piling it on?

There has been a near media blitz this year informing City Gardeners.  However while looking at an landscape last week I saw more mulch volcanoes. 

I can fin no excuse that there are professional landscaping companies out there who still continue to pile mulch around .  It make me very sad to know that there continues to be companies and residents who are having there landscaping ruined by either ignorant or careless landscapers.

 

Overland Park mulch tree ring 

 

Here you can see the results

 

Tree ring in Kansas City Landscape 

Notice how the bark has already started to rot away.  The darker color indicated the bark that was dying and ready to peel off.  Additionally, the picture doesn’t show it well.  However there were also multiple insect holes in the bark under the mulch.

Kansas City landscaping shows results of mulch volcanoe

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Kansas City Landscaping Riddled with Webworms

 

 

City Landscaping with

 

 

Webworms

 

Have you seen webs in your that look similar to this?

 

P8230292

 

Well, you’re not alone.  They have appeared all over City this .  The good news is they are relatively harmless tot eh they are in.  They are the protective casings made by caterpillars while they feed on the leaves of the tree.  Although the space where they are feeding will lose its leaves – next season you will not even be able to tell they are there.

They especially like birch, walnut and ash tress in my experience.

 

Here is a quick video that shows webworms alive in there webs.

 

 

Spraying is not necessary.  If they are unsightly – a broom works well to remove them from .

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Kansas City Landscaping sees Rash of Volcanoes

Its a purely human phenomenon – really. If you see a mistake repeated often enough then it becomes perceived not as a mistake, but as the way things should be done. This is being done in City Landscapes right now

This is the case with the dreaded Mulch Volcano. Mulch volcanoes are not a City landscaping phenomenon, they effect cities all over the US

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Despite recent public campaigns by The Johnson County Extension Office and the City of , there are still instance found all over the city.

The above example was just yesterday ata very nice office park. I am sure that the manager of this office park paid good money to a “reputable” landscaping company to maintain their landscaping. However, what has now happened is that these have been forever weakened by this ignorant practice

When mulch is spread more than 2″ thick against the base of a tree several things happen — and none of the m are good. First, the mulch will hold moisture against the trunk pf the tree. This si dangerous because it encourages rotting and disease. It will also rot the bark away adding additional avenues for insects and disease to attack the flesh of the tree. Roots are also damaged by the moisture held in the mulch because they will grow upwards seeking this moisture. As they do they will begin to circle the trunk. These circling roots will eventually kill the tree byessentially strangling it.

How should be mulched then? should be mulched 2″ – 3″ thick (about one finger deep) and all mulch should be pulled away from the trunk of the tree truck 2 or 3 inches. Think doughnut instead of volcano. How big you want the mulch ring to be is up to you. Ideally — it should extend to the drip line of the tree — but that is not always practical or aesthetically the best choice. However, a good minimum is a 6′ diameter.

Here is what a tree looks like when you peel away the mulch volcano after several years. This particular was at a new customer in that I started working with this season. I did not pull the mulch away — it was done before he had moved in. You can see that this tree will NEVER be a beautiful specimen again and will likely die prematurely from earlier neglect.

Mulch volcanoo aftermath in Overland Park

Mulch volcanoo aftermath

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Kanas City landscaping about to be hit by major snow – maybe

Will it snow?  I’ll leave that up to the experts at NBC Action News.

However, if it does snow, here is what you need to know for your .

Most will be ok.  We have had a very seasonable march so the that are in bud and coming out of dormancy will be able to handle the cold.  As long as the cold stays above 25 or so.

I do see an exception to some of the fruit in the area.  i have noticed that some of them were beginning to bloom.  These will likely lose some of their blooms.

I would wait to cover any until after it snows.  The wight of the snow ontop of the covers will likely cause more damage than the temperatures.

Also, there is a risk if we have substantial snow that with leafed out branches or with blooms could catch enough snow to hurt cause their limbs to break.  This could true for evergreens as well.

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Leaves falling on Kansas City Lawns

A gift has been bequeathed to you. As part of this gift, each homeowner in City will be given over 200 pounds of this miracle product –guaranteed to revitalize your soil, allow it to store more moisture, improve soil structure and provide high grade . The gift will fall from above and scatter itself over your lawn. Many of your neighbors will even freely share with you – some even purposely blowing this gift into your yard.

If you haven’t yet figured it out, this gift is the leaves from .

 
Leaves in Overland Park Lawn

The sad thing is hundreds of people will throw this gift out. Collect it, bag it and put it on the curb.

Instead of raking and bagging those bulky leaves, save yourself some time and put them to good use as a natural mulch and soil amendment from your lawn.

I suggest two ways of utilizing this gift for your lawn based on your personality type. To determine your personality type, consider the cast of the popular TV sitcom Friends’. If your personality type mirrors the character of Monica, you are Type A. If you are more closely aligned with Joey, then you are type B. If you do not know what the show Friends is, you can assume you are Type A.

The Monica Personalities

Since you are very concerned with every detail of your lawn, the best way for you to use your leaves is by regularly mowing your lawn with the bag attached. Use a lawn mower with a bag attachment to quickly gather your leaves and shred them into mulch. This will vacuum and clean your lawn as well as shred the leaves at the same time. These shredded leaves are more valuable than gold for all the in your landscape. They can be piled in vegetable gardens to be tilled in later or they can be added as mulch in perennial gardens. Then spread these leaves up to 12" deep in your gardens. Mulching with leaves conserves moisture, controls weeds and grasses, protects against extreme heat and cold, and prevents soil erosion. Additionally, they can be composted in a compost pile to be used later.


The Joey Personalities

As a Type B personality you are focused on long term results of your lawn. You are willing to deal with a little bit of shredded leaf clutter on the lawn knowing that in the long run your lawn will look better and be healthier. Mow your lawn with a mulching lawn mower regularly. The mulching mower will shred the leaves into fine particles which will filter down through the blades of grass onto your lawn where they will disappear and benefit the soil. With regular mulch mowing, many homeowners would never have to rake their lawns as an acre of lawn can recycle the leaves of 60 .

Either of these methods is paramount to the old standby of raking and trashing your leaves. By raking and trashing you are adding immense amounts of waste to our landfills and depriving your lawn of necessary nutrients and organic matter. But more importantly, at least to all of us TYPE B’s in the world; it is a whole lot less work! There is only one reason I can see where raking is ever necessary. If you have small children, it is imperative that you rake the largest pile of leaves you can possibly assemble in the middle of the yard. Then, spend at least 3 hours jumping in and redistributing them all over your yard before mowing them by one of the methods mentioned above.

Enjoy the gifts that fall from the sky this autumn and make sure you fully utilize them to make your lawn more healthy and lush.

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Watering Kansas City Landscapes

Quick, look out your window! Your Kansas City lawn is inhabited by exotic residents from faraway lands. They have come from all corners of the globe and they plan on staying. They will require you to take care of them. No use complaining, after all, you not only invited them, you planted them. If you are like most homeowners in City, you have a landscape full of exotic . Your bluegrass lawn is from Europe, your beautiful Dogwood is from Japan, your lush impatiens can trace their roots back to Africa and even City’s favorite , the yew, can trace its lineage back to Ireland. Although all these can survive City’s heat and cold, they need supplemental to thrive. each can seem overwhelming, but with a little knowledge and a few tips you can have a beautiful, well-watered landscape.

By dividing your landscape into four categories, you will better able to manage your needs.

Turf

Your lawn is one of the thirstiest parts of your landscape. Most lawns require 1” of water per week. This can either come from rainfall or supplemental . The most important (and most often broken) rule of lawn is to water deeply and infrequently. City’s most proud gardeners, with their spirits blinded by the glory of our lush spring, begin their lawns religiously. Convincing themselves that if they can get their lawns green enough now – they will stay green through the . Unfortunately, every ounce of excess water they throw on the grass in the early spring is deadly. If the soil in the lawn is not allowed to dry between , the roots of the grow very shallow, encouraged by the ample water and warmth at the surface. However, City’s glorious spring is only the opening act to our reliable, but dastardly summers. Shallow roots are a death sentence to your lawn. By only when the top 6” of soil have dried out, you will be dispensing some tough love that will result in your lawn being able to survive the .

For irrigation systems in and other cities, you should be every as little as possible but as deep as possible.  I usually start by suggesting that homeowners try to water 3/4″ for each zone on two consecutive days.  So they will water on Monday and Tuesday and not again for the rest of the week.  This long deep and infrequent si the kept to healthy grass all long.  If you grass cannot quite make it through the whole week without looking wilted then you can give another 3/4 inch on Friday.  To get 3/4″ of water from an irrigation system usually requires atleast 40 minutes on rotors and 20 minutes on spray heads.  However, every sytem is differnt and you should ideally measure how long it takes for yuor sytem to apply that amount of water. Use a straight sided container placed out in the middle of the sprinklers zone and turn it on and let it run until it has fille dup with 3/4″ of water.  That is how long it will need to run.

Trees/shrubs

and shrubs are often ignored when it comes to because of the perception that such a large must be able to pull water from deep down in the soil. However, most of a tree’s roots are in the top 3 feet of the soil. Although can and will survive in City, supplementing their water just few times through the year will reward you with increased growth, enhanced beauty and bolstered resistance to disease and stress. Typically, will need a little extra water in the middle of the and a couple times during the hottest part of the . for should be done by observation, not a schedule. When you see signs of stress such as wilted or dropping leaves, apply 3” of water to the area under the braches. This can be done with a well-adjusted impact sprinkler or a soaker hose. The method of application is not as important as making sure ample water is applied where and when the needs it.

Perennials

Perennials have widely varying needs based on species and type. It is important to know the specifics for your when . These can generally be learned by talking to your favorite or nursery. However, there is still a guideline that will lead you to the healthiest and most beautiful flowers – water only as much as your need and not a drop more.

Annuals

annuals is different than other types of . Annuals tend to be shallow-rooted and need ample to thrive. Annuals should be watered when they first show signs of stress. In the heat of the , may mean every day. If you water annuals from overhead, do so early in the day. this This allows the leaves to dry out preventing disease from hurting your .

Water is the most important gift you can give the exotic residents of your landscape. You will be rewarded with beautiful, healthy that can thrive year round in ’ foreign landscape.

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Kansas City Landscaping get ready for Heat

It is time for City Landscapers to prepare for the heat.  Weather forecasts are showing that City will soon be hitting 90 degrees for the first time this year.  This tends to be a  tipping point for the lawns and landscapes.

You can help your and service by taking care of your lawns needs.

New or

Water new or when the top 3″ of the soil dries out completely.  Water the slowly and deeply allowing the entire root system to become soaked.  larger take more time.

This is very important.  You cannot give a time to water because every soil will absorb water at a different rate.  The goal is to water the entire root system and then let the entire roots ystem dry out just before adding new water.

Lawns

Lawns should be water with 1″ of water per week.  This is best done with one long slow if your soil will absorb that much water.  Most City lawns will do just fine with one long irrigation.  Depending on the type of sprinkler being used — This may require up to 1 hour of .  It is best to measure the water rather than guessing.  I use a straight sided margarine tub placed int he middle of the sprinklers path to tell.

is an essential part of maintaining your landscapes.   It does not have to be difficult but it does have to be consistent and done correctly.  If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment to this post and I would be happy o help you out.

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