There has been a huge move towards organic gardening in the last few years. Many of the pesticides and herbicides that are sold contain dangerous chemicals that cause a multitude of health problems in humans and animals. But avoiding them complicates the process of taking care of tasks out in the yard, such as weed control. Many people have no idea how to make sure that dandelions don’t sprout up in places where they aren’t supposed to grow. Luckily, there are several natural methods for killing weeds that are very effective.
In terms of lawns, some say the grass is greener on the other side. But for one Twin Oaks client, their lawn is the best in the neighborhood.
Achieving beautiful and pleasant lawn does not only mean working on specific areas of your lawn. The outdoor of your yard will have a beautiful and healthy look if every part of the landscape is organized and tidy, including the fence. If your purpose is to attain an impeccable lawn, you must work on embellishing areas surrounding it. Growing the right plants along the fencing is all that you need to get an amazing yard. Here are ideas for attaining a lovely landscape along your fence:
Composting is used by many households to enrich their lawn and as a way to recycle organic material. It is extremely beneficial to utilize this method to make your soil more fertile. You might be overwhelmed when getting started, but starting this practice pile is easy and can grow as composting becomes second nature to you.
What is it and why should I do it?
- Guides how organic manner decomposes
- It feeds the soil and allows nutrients to slowly release to the crops in your garden
- Improves workability of the soil and enables it to be more effective at locking in moisture for your plant’s needs
- Microscopic organisms air out the soil, help to keep plants disease-free and break down the organic material to allow the plants to use it
- Beneficial alternative to chemicals that aren’t necessarily good for the environment and cost money
- Reduces the amount of waste found in landfills. It is estimated that up to 33 percent of waste in landfills consists of compostable materials.
Things Safe to Put into the Pile
- Organic material from food such as potato skins, banana peels, lettuce and coffee grounds
- Plain white paper or black and white newspaper. Color has dye and potentially wax
- Animal waste from vegetarian animals such as cows, horses, rabbits or hamsters
- Sawdust or wood shavings
- Grass clippings and yard waste such as sticks
Things to Keep out of and away from your pile
- Manure from meat eaters such as humans, dogs, and pigs can carry pathogens and diseases that have the potential to spread disease if not heated to very high temperatures
- Meat, fat and dairy. Meat, fat and bones and other animal products can all potentially carry diseases and are very attractive to night time scavengers such as raccoons, opossums or rats.
- Diseased weeds. They will spread to the other matter in the pile and can cause damage to the soil you’re trying to replenish the nutrients in.
Setting up the Pile
- Select a spot of bare earth to put your bin, box or homemade container
- Place a few twigs or sticks on the ground to create air pockets in the pile and help with drainage
- Always alternate the layers of what you put in your pile between dry and moist to prevent the pile from getting too soggy. A bit of moisture is necessary to break down the materials.
- Cover the pile with a lid if you’re using a box or bin. You can also opt to use wood or plastic sheets to ward off animals and prevent the matter from getting overly soggy.
- Use a shovel or pitch fork to rotate and turn the compost every week or two to keep the airflow through it
Starting your journey doesn’t have to be an extremely difficult task if you take small steps and start slow. You’ll reduce the amount of waste in landfills, enrich your soil for the garden and keep recycling the organic matter back to where it should be.
Pollinators are necessary for life on earth, but they are taken for granted. Many people were indifferent to honey bees until their colonies collapsed. Then, they realized the honey bee’s vital importance to agriculture.
It’s easy to attract pollinators to a yard, whether they be bees, bumblebees, flies, butterflies or certain types of wasps. Here are some tips:
Some gardeners buy hives and bees to set up near their gardens or orchids. But if a gardener or homeowner doesn’t want to set up their own hives, they should plant flowers that are abundant in nectar and pollen. Examples of plants with such flowers include peppermint, blackberries and white sage.
These large, fat bees gather pollen on their bodies and hind legs and cross-pollinate plants as they travel from one flower to the next. They are active in the morning and evening and can be seen reveling in the opened flowers of melons and squash just after sunrise. They nest on or in the ground and feed their larvae pollen and honey.
These are tiny black or brown wasps that feed on pollen. The gardener should grow flowers that blossom in earliest spring or even late winter to support them during the cooler months. These include crocuses and Carolina jessamine. Braconid wasps also feed on the nectar of plants with small flowers. These include wild carrot and mint. The best thing about Braconid wasps is that they lay their eggs on pests such as gypsy moths, tomato hornworms, codling moths and cabbage worms. When the eggs hatch, the larvae eventually kill the insect.
Hover flies are black and yellow striped and resemble bees and wasps, but they don’t sting. They get their name because they hover over flowers. They are very efficient because they need pollen to reproduce, and their larvae eat aphids. Hover flies love nectar rich flowers such as coreopsis and feverfew.
These beautiful insects are the most welcome of pollinators. Even though their larvae may chew on some of the host plants, populations of larvae are kept in check by flies, wasps and other predators. Plants are also tougher than is thought. A plant can lose a lot of its leaves and still remain healthy.
Some butterflies have the same host and nectar source, while in other species the host and nectar source is different. The monarch butterfly famously uses the milkweed as both a host plant and a nectar source. The vetch is a host for the common sulfur, orange sulfur, and gray hairstreak but is a nectar source for the American painted lady. The great spangled fritillary uses the violet as a food plant, while the spring azure butterfly uses it as a nectar source.
Another trick to attract butterflies is to use the garden hose to dampen a patch of ground now and then and toss out fruit to rot. This attracts butterflies.
There are hundreds of species of insects waiting to pollinate the flowers that grow in a yard. Designing a garden to attract them is fun, and the results are lastingly beautiful.
Flea season usually lasts from late spring into the autumn, and all that time your home will be vulnerable to an infestation. Below, you’ll learn various ways to eliminate fleas and prevent them from returning to your yard.
You’re a fan of smart gardening in the backyard so you’ve planted countless trees, bushes, and flowers across the property. Tilling and fertilizing the soil leaves the yard looking like a rich and fertile place, but you’re missing one key component. Mulch is an incredibly important resource in any gardening situation. This material ranges from shredded bark to decorative rocks. Spreading mulches around the plants offer countless benefits that will drive your garden to look like a professional nursery.
Organic Mulches Add Nutrients
Wood chips and other natural products give the garden a rustic appearance as they’re spread out under every plant. The main benefit to this material is recycling nutrients. Wood, bark and other items slowly break down under the sun’s rays. The organic materials return to the soil with these nutrients, including:
The nutrients differ as various materials are put down on the soil so keep up with a unique mixture. Leaves, grass clippings, and other compost-like materials break down well as mulches.
Buffers Extreme Temperature Swings
Your plants can’t huddle indoors when the temperature swings too high or low. They might wilt under the hot sun as the soil beneath them becomes dry. Adding mulches to the garden creates a barrier to temperature swings. Over the course of one day, the protected soil only feels a slight change in temperature. This situation benefits nearly every plant because they thrive on constant conditions for growth and reproduction.
Protects Soil From Rapid Evaporation
Mulching also offers water-retention properties. Because the soil is covered and protected from the sunlight, water cannot quickly evaporate from the ground. The roots have a chance to soak up the moisture before evaporation becomes an issue. This feature is particularly important during the warmer times of the year. You’ll lose fewer specimens to heat issues while saving money on water supplies.
Prevents Weed Infiltration
Weeds are constantly frustrating gardeners. They pop up in almost every crevice around the yard. Mulching provides another benefit by drowning out the weeds from the soil level. Weed seeds may be on the ground, but they aren’t receiving the necessary sunlight for growth. The mulches covering the ground stop the weeds from growing at all. If a seedling does break through, the mulches pose a barrier to their stalks, which leads to dieback.
Offers Aesthetic Effect
Defining the garden is often difficult as branches spread and grow across the land. Mulches allow you to divide out the garden into distinct sections. Spread mulches around a tree grouping so that the surrounding grass can be edged and trimmed at the proper location. The entire yard will have an aesthetically pleasing appearance throughout the seasons. Simply keep the mulches arranged within their borders while pruning back aggressive, plant growth.
New alternatives to standard mulches have been in the marketplace for several years, such as shredded rubber. Be aware of these varied products because they can add significant beauty and function to the garden. By trying mulches with varied colors and textures, the garden explodes with color, growth, and beauty.
The appearance of their lawn is something that many homeowners spend lots of time focusing on. Fertilizing, mowing and regular lawn maintenance is obviously important for stimulating growth and ensuring a lush, green lawn. Unfortunately, nothing can undo all of your hard work like those extreme summer temperatures. The biggest key to keeping your lawn looking great throughout the summer is to ensure it stays well hydrated.
However, simply running your sprinklers occasionally isn’t enough, as it is important that you know how and when to water. In addition, you’ll also want to make sure you’re properly informed about the various other measures that you can use to slow down evaporation to ensure your grass gets all the water it needs to beat the heat and stay healthy.
Regular Watering is Key
All plants require regular watering to stay healthy and grow strong, and your lawn is no different. However, watering too much can also cause a number of potential problems. A water-logged lawn creates the perfect conditions for damaging fungal infections and too much water can even end up killing off your grass by causing the roots to rot. Therefore, it is essential that you pay attention to the weather and temperature in order to determine how often your lawn needs watered.
In the middle of the season when the temperatures approach the 90s or 100s every day, you’ll most likely need to water once a day. Still, the easiest way to tell when your lawn needs watered is to stick your finger down into the soil. The lawn should be watered any time that the soil is dry more than an inch or two down.
The Importance of Watering in the Morning
One of the keys to keeping your lawn properly hydrated is to water during the early morning when the temperatures are lower. Watering in the middle of the day is generally a waste as the vast majority of the water will evaporate before the roots can take it up. The lower temperatures in the morning will allow the water to soak into the soil deeper and ensure that the roots can take up all they need.
Although some people recommend watering in the evening, the problem with this is that the grass and soil could stay wet for too long. Some evaporation is obviously necessary to keep the roots from being water-logged and to help prevent fungal infections. For this reason, it is highly recommended that you water in the early morning as the rising temperatures will allow any excess water to evaporate before it potentially damages your yard.
Additional Tips to Help Keep Your Yard Hydrated
Heavy foot traffic can eventually cause your soil to become compacted, in which case it becomes much more difficult for water to penetrate into the soil and reach the roots. Regularly aerating your lawn is the easiest way to help solve soil compaction problems and ensure that the roots receive the nutrients, oxygen and water they need.
In the middle of the summer when the temperatures start to become extremely hot, even watering early in the morning isn’t always enough to slow down the rate of evaporation to ensure that the roots receive all the water they need. This is why many experts recommend laying down a thin layer of mulch, compost or other organic material. By doing so, you can help further slow down the rate of evaporation and ensure that your yard stays fully hydrated.
Lawn care and maintenance is something that we all have to deal with. That is, unless you’re ok with having a dead, brown lawn. Although your maintenance routine will obviously include many different tasks, the most important thing you can do is to ensure that your lawn stays well hydrated. By taking a bit of time to water properly and prepare your soil, you should be able to ensure your lawn looks great from spring to fall.
Even with indoor pets, your furry friends probably love playing in your yard. Unfortunately, you may not be aware of all the dangers that are hiding around your seemingly-safe property. Let’s take a look at five ways your lawn can be dangerous for your pets without proper lawn care practices.
- Unruly Trees
Your grass may be healthy and well-maintained, but what do you see when you look at your trees? Are there any limbs that could give way under heavy wind or snow? If so, you’ll definitely want to have those branches trimmed. For a pet owner, nothing is more terrifying than looking out the window and seeing your pet pinned beneath a branch.
- Poor Lawn Equipment Storage
You just finished working on your lawn, but did you remember to safely store all of your tools? If your lawn equipment is stored in an open space like a wheelbarrow or on a deck, there’s a real chance your pet could get hurt if it tries to explore. Some of the most dangerous yard tools include:
- Lawn mowers
To minimize the risk of these tools injuring your pet, be sure to store them in a secure, enclosed space like a shed or garage.
- Toxic Mulch
You purchased a new brand of mulch to help bring life back to your garden, but do you know what’s in it? Some mulch is formulated with cocoa bean to help give it a more appealing smell, but this same cocoa will attract dogs to it and can prove fatal when ingested by your canine. Only use a mulch after verifying with your lawn care provider that it’s safe for any and all of your pets.
Toys aren’t just choking hazards for young children, but they can be equally dangerous for dogs. When left on the lawn, dogs will often chew up toys and can either choke on the pieces or chew up firm plastic that then goes on to cause damage to their digestive systems. If a toy wasn’t made for your dog or cat, then you’ll want to take it inside when your pet is playing outdoors.
- Algae-Ridden Water
A small body of water can be a popular spot for your pets to cool off, but it’s important to keep that water fresh and clear. During the summer, many homeowners begin to notice a thick layer of algae developing in response to all the heat. A thirsty or overheating dog is likely to try drinking this water, and the algae can cause anything from weakness and lethargy to vomiting and death. Err on the safe side by keeping any water clear and safe for pets to drink.
Lawn safety is an integral part of proper lawn care. Consider these five common dangers to your pets, and make sure your yard is safe and welcoming for even the furry members of your family.
Don’t believe for one second that you have to have a backyard full of sunshine to enjoy a beautiful landscape. There are so many gorgeous options for shade-loving leafy plants and flowers, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to successfully create a shaded landscape. Here are some tips to get you started, and they work great for borders, beds, and under trees.
Decide on the Look You Want
The first thing you should do is take a look at the area you plan to landscape at different times of the day, which will let you know whether to focus on plants that thrive in full or partial shade. Then browse pictures in gardening magazines or surf the internet to get ideas about what you want to do, which styles you like. You can make a sketch possible designs for your lawn or just wing it, whichever you prefer, but make a list of plants you like before heading to your local gardening store.
Select Your Plants and Flowers
Shade loving plants come in many types and varieties to chose from. All sorts of ferns, from Boston to maiden’s hair, are perfect for shady areas. Go for a mixture of textures and colors by including flowers, ferns, tall leafy plants, grasses, and ground cover. White flowers show up nicely in the shade and contrast well dark green vegetation. Some popular plants and flowers that thrive in the shade are astilbe, lilies, hostas, Irish moss, impatiens, and salvia. Your landscaper can advise you on the best choices for your needs.
Prepare the Area
To get started, work up the soil with a tiller and even the surface by racking over it until even. Use landscape fabric to keep weeds from growing in your borders or beds. Now arrange the plants until you have the design you want, making sure to keep the taller plants toward the back and the shortest ones in front. When you’re done rearranging them, use a garden trowel or small shovel to set them. Mulch the plants to hold in moisture and cover the weed fabric, then water each plant well.
Pots and Planters
Don’t forget use decorative pots and planters to make areas pop. Mix tall spiky plants with flowers and ivy that spills over the side, or opt for filling terracotta pots with a colorful favorite, like red geraniums or white impatiens. Planters can be classic, elaborate, or fade into the background to showcase the plants that live in them, whichever you prefer.
Add Some Garden Bling
Create added interest in your shaded landscape with strategically placed benches and pretty statuary. Birdhouses, bird feeders, and wind chimes can provide beautiful accents and a sense of tranquility. Water features such as koi ponds or fountains are a nice touch in a shaded garden as well.
So now you should be able to get your green thumb on designing lush borders and plant beds in shady areas around your home. If you need a little extra help or want to hire an expert to successfully create your dream shaded landscape, contact a reputable landscaper in Ann Arbor, Michigan.