Kansas City Landscaping and Lawn Care Ideas

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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 zone 5 area. The plant 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. Plants are rated to their zones based on laboratory tests as well as the experiences of growers in the fields. Plants rated as hardy to Zone 5 generally survive low temperatures of -10 to -20 degrees. Zone 6 plants are only expected to survive to -10 degrees.

Of course, zones are only part of the answer to how your plants will during this cold snap. Zones define large areas, but not small microclimates that exist around your home. If your plants 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 plants in City are going to suffer from this cold. of Show-Me Horticulture and I were talking about what effect this could have on plants. We both agreed that a few of the standouts are plants that have started being popular at retail nurseries lately despite being unproven (or proven poorly) to thrive with very cold winters such as this years. A few plants that are going to be strongly affected are southern such as Bracken Brown Beautys, crape myrtles, azaleas, and other broadleaf evergreens. These are all plants better suited to Zone 6. They may have done quite well in City the last several years, but will be well-tested this winter to see if they have enough protection to survive the extremes.

Even a few proven plants will still be stressed. Boxwoods, yews, and many broadleaf evergreens will likely show some damage come next from the prolonged cold combined with dry winds that we have experienced over the last several weeks. Another group of plants 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 trees such as , 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 plants now. If your plants went into the winter relatively healthy and unstressed they will have a much better chance of survival than if they were stressed already. Newly planted plants will have a harder time than older, more established plants. 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 plants. Another option that can be helpful is to build a windscreen around broadleaf evergreens to help protect them. Lastly, to help plants bounce back as much as possible, give them a good slow soaking of as soon as the ground thaws and repeat at least monthly throughout the winter. This will help immensely as your plants begin to heal their wounds.

This will be quite revealing as we learn a lesson of what plants 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 plants 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 post. I enjoy talking to other plant lovers and answering any questions you might have.

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Seeding Kansas City’s Lawns

is still burning strong and we surely have several weeks left of stifling heat in City. Many of the in the city are showing the stresses of surviving yet another brutal of heat and dryness. If your lawn no longer looks thick and healthy or has more weeds than grass, it is time to renovate. Renovating your lawn involves removing all unwanted weeds and grass types and then reseeding with improved varieties of your choice of turf. Timing is critical for successfully renovating your lawn – late enough to avoid the worst of the heat yet early enough to allow ample time for growth before the freezing arrives

 

In City, the first week of September is usually the ideal time to seed. 

 

To seed your lawn properly requires a broad knowledge of grass, several different pieces of specialized equipment and a large commitment of time.  For these reasons, I suggest that homeowners contact a qualified professional who specializes in growing quality turf.  Although cost is a consideration, when you look at the time, supplies and rental fees you might quickly realize that using a pro will pay off. Every year, I am disheartened by the dozens of calls I get in late fall from homeowners who have spent hundreds of dollars and lots of hard work seeding their with poor results. I have to tell these customers that we have missed the ideal time for seeding and the repair will require considerable extra time and cost without the guarantee of superior results.

 

Of all the lawn care tasks needed each year, I strongly believe that lawn seeding is the most important one to be done by a professional.

 

When you hire a lawn care company, you will want to check their license, insurance and references to make sure you are working with a professional.  Then ask them about their seeding process.  The highest quality lawn will come from a professional who includes all of the following steps:

 

  • Soil Test - imperative to start by fixing and soil chemistry problems (4 weeks prior)
  • Spray Herbicide - important to control weeds prior to seeding (4 weeks prior)
  • Spray with Growth Regulator - slows down growth of existing turf so it does not compete with new grass (2 weeks prior)
  • Plant seed - prepared by first aerating and then followed with a slit seeder that will slice precise grooves into the soil creating ideal areas for seed to grow
  • Starter and Rooting stimulant - applied to the soil to provide nutrients to emerging seedlings

 
 

 
 

Now, the professional’s work is done and it’s time to care for your newly planted lawn.  You will need to moisten the ground daily for two weeks to promote germination and then to pamper the young seedlings.  As the grass grows stronger, you will begin to establish a regular schedule of deep, thorough watering.  Proper watering is essential to your success and it involves quite a commitment – however, it is the last step to the lush, healthy lawn you envisioned when you started the renovation process. Soon you will be walking barefoot through your lawn enjoying the thick green carpet, underfoot.

 

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Kansas City Landscaping get ready for Heat

It is time for City to prepare for the heat.  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 and landscapes.

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

New Trees or Plants

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

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

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

Watering 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 watering questions feel free to leave a comment to this post and I would be happy o help you out.

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Kansas City Landscaping about to Freeze

Landscapes in City will soon be hitting the deep freeze.   Well, maybe not the deep freeze.  However even with temperatures reaching down into upper 20′s — it is important to have all the information necessary.

First of all this is not at all like the freeze of 2007 — although the dates are not that different.  The difference lies in the of March.  In 2007, City’s was unseasonably warm.  Plants were a good 3 – 4 weeks ahead of normal development.  Last year I already had Iris blooms poking up in my yard.  This year, I barely have leaves coming through last falls leaves.  Freezing temperatures this weekend will only be a slight problem for and homeowners in City.

Different plants will need different amounts of care this weekend.

Read the rest of this entry »

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April Freeze Effects Kansas City Landscaping

It’s hard to believe that the killing April freeze of 2007 was one year ago today in City. It devastated so much of City landscaping. Many of the trees and shrubs that were hurt never recovered. Japanese Maples were one of the most dramatically effected plants. Most of the maples died back considerably and did not look good last year. I recommended that most of my customers wait until fall and then cut back the dead wood and see how they look. However, it has become apparent that most of them will lose there attractiveness and it will take years until they look good again. Most people will end up replacing them.

Japanese maples are still good choices for City landscaping. The combination of climatic features that led to the April freeze were rare and will likely never happen to that degree again.

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Using Deicers to clear Kansas City’s

Let it Snow – Let it Snow – Let it Snow.

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 . Its only benefit is its relative cheapness. However, when you factor in the increased amount needed to effectively melt ice compared to better products, the pennies saved do not justify the risk to your . 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 (sodium chloride) 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 ice melt on top of snow. 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 ice from forming. These products are not designed tomelt away layers of ice 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 watering can. Make the mixture 70% HOT and 30% . Then carefully apply just enough to wet the surface before precipitation starts falling. This will give you the best protection from the ice, 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 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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