734-213-6911 | 4100 S. Maple Road Ann Arbor, MI 48108

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  1. It’s tempting for homeowners to think that once they plant a tree, it will, basically, take care of itself. After all, that’s what trees do in the forest, and some of them manage to live and stay healthy for hundreds of years. A person who has trees in their yard has the task or privilege of taking special care of them so that they achieve optimum health and beauty. Here are some ways to properly maintain a tree:

     

    The Right Tree for the Right Place

    Taking care of a tree begins before it’s bought. A homeowner needs to know which type of tree is best for their climate and if the type of soil in the yard is good for the tree. Some like rich, fertile, crumbly soil that drains well. Others prefer soil that’s wet, and some can still thrive in soil that’s poor. The homeowner needs to figure out how much sun the tree will receive and if it will be exposed to damaging winds, especially in the winter.

    It’s important to know how tall and wide a tree will be when it’s mature. This averts the mistake of planting it too close to the house or garage.

    When the homeowner decides on a tree and finally plants it, the hole should be wide and deep enough for the roots to spread at the bottom. Burlap needs to be removed from the rootball, and any root fibers that look like they’re circling the ball have to be cut to prevent strangulation in the future.

     

    About Water and Fertilizer

    A newly planted tree needs to be watered deeply and regularly. Watering twice a week is good. However, the tree may need more watering if the area is undergoing a drought. Water the tree more often if it’s in sandy soil and less often if it’s in clay. Mulch lessens the need for water, suppresses weeds, and keeps the roots at an even temperature. It shouldn’t touch the crown of the tree and shouldn’t be deeper than 4 inches. Mulch can be made of everything from old coffee beans to pea gravel, but mulch made of organic material, such as rotted leaves or wood chips, decomposes over time and enriches the soil.

    Most trees don’t need fertilizer unless the soil is very poor. However, some gardeners toss a handful of Epsom salt over the roots now and then before a rain. This puts magnesium into the soil.

    The area around the tree needs to be kept clean, so the gardener or homeowner should remove fallen twigs, fruit, and leaves from the ground beneath the tree regularly. Some diseases and pests take advantage of debris to overwinter, and emerge in the spring.

     

    Prune Now and Then

    One way to maintain a tree is to prune damaged, diseased or crossing branches or limbs. Ideally, this should be done when the tree is dormant. Pruning and trimming allows air to circulate among the branches and gives the tree a lovely shape.

    Call a Tree Surgeon When Necessary

    There are some jobs a homeowner can’t or shouldn’t do, such as climb up in a tall tree to remove diseased limbs. Call a tree surgeon for these jobs.

     

    Placing a tree in the right place, making sure it gets plenty of water until it’s established, mulching, judicious pruning, and calling in an expert, if necessary, are all parts of keeping any tree healthy, beautiful, and growing.

     

  2. Solar lights are a modern technology that homeowners can add to their yard to make it look more futuristic. Solar lights remove the extra energy cost that normal lights require while plugged into the utility grid. There are many different types of outdoor solar lights. Solar lighting is particularly popular in areas that get lots of sunlight.

    There are some important things to consider when buying solar lighting:

     

    1. Size of Solar Lights

    Solar lights come in different sizes. One variety of solar lights is the small post kind. These solar lights are self-contained and mounted on stakes. All the homeowner has to do is push them deeply into the ground. The post lights make their own hole. It is nice if these kinds of solar lights are put around flowers or bushes. Many post solar lights come in packs of multiples so that you can scatter them around your yard. Another type of solar lights is the miniature string variety. These solar lights are kind of like Christmas lights. They are small, and they come in ropes. For security reasons, there are also solar floodlights. These can brightly illuminate a pathway if you live in an area with lots of crime. The benefit of solar lights is they do not require batteries. All you need is sunlight.

     

    1. Color of Solar Lights

    Although it is typical to see solar lights that only have a brilliant blue color, this is not the only variety. Many solar lights have Christmas colors. It is possible to get shades of red, greens, blues, and even purple. Manufacturers have also figured out how to make solar lights that change in color over time. This creates an interesting experience for parties while hosting other people.

     

    1. Purpose of Solar Lights

    Solar lights are environmentally friendly. They do not have any need to plug into a utility grid. They produce energy without a lot of waste. Solar lights can be set up to illuminate hard to reach areas of your garden and yard. If you want guests to see an exotic rose bush, it is hard to do so if you have to put long electrical wires out to reach it. People who invest in solar lights often do so because they do not like the expense of setting up a complicated wiring system underground. Solar lights keep running even if the power goes off for a while. This makes them a good emergency preparedness tool to add to your life. Living without power for a long time is not fun if you do not have access to easy lighting.

     

    1. Why Solar Helps When Going Green

    A lot of the electricity that people get from the utility grid comes from power generators that are run by natural gas or coal. When you choose to use solar panels to generate the electricity for your home, it removes the need to burn coal at a power plant, which otherwise adds to the pollution in the atmosphere.

     

    Twin Oaks Landscape wants to help clients in Ann Arbor, Michigan have a better garden. Solar power can help your garden to be more modern and have lights to make it look attractive at night time.Hiring professionals to get the job done is a good way to go about solving the problem. Be sure to contact our sales staff soon if you have a need at 734-213-6911.

  3. Irrigation systems are an important investment for commercial and residential property owners. Such systems guarantee the property owners healthy and hydrated lawns or plants at all times.

    Drip irrigation is a system of irrigation that saves water by letting it trickle slowly and straight to the roots of plants or trees. The water reaches the plant’s roots through a network of pipes, valves, emitters, and tubing. This type of irrigation system is suited for property owners who are in need of automated, consistent watering.

    These are some of the advantages of the drip irrigation system:

     

    1. Water Efficiency

    In general, drip systems are more efficient compared to traditional sprinklers. They supply low volumes of water (one to four gallons of water per hour) directly where it is needed. This reduces losses to runoff, wind, evaporation, or overspray.

    Irrigation systems can save more than 25,000 gallons per year.

     

    2. Protects the Environment

    As the popularity of conservation increases, there is a growing concern about environmental friendliness. This has lead to increased emphasis on water conservation. One of the best ways through which property owners can achieve this is through drip systems.

    The drip system is better for the environment as it minimizes soil erosion and water runoff. Additionally, it uses less water to promote lush plant growth by offering the planet earth a beautiful and greener future.

     

    3. Versatility

    Property owners who need a versatile watering system should look no further than this. Drip systems can adapt to any landscape, whether it is made up of container gardens, vegetable rows or balconies. Additionally, the systems can be powered by different power sources including batteries, solar energy, and other power outlets.

    4. Reduced Pesticide Use

    With drip systems, property owners can expect to use less pesticide. Water applied using drip systems gets directly to the roots of the plants. This means that the spaces in between plants will remain dry and thus, inhibit weed seed germination.

     

    Also, pesticides used on lawns or gardens will not have to be frequently reapplied, as they are not getting washed off by water like with the other conventional watering methods.

     

    5. Improved Plant Quality and Growth

    Maintaining a controlled soil temperature with drip systems is easy. This is because this type of irrigation involves a more precise application of water (directly to the roots). The slow and uniform application of water creates a controlled root zone environment that results in even growth.

    Also, damage due to water contact with foliage is greatly reduced. Wet foliage could lead to potential mold and disease problems.

     

    As you can see, drip irrigation offers property owners several benefits. They ensure that plants are healthy and hydrated all year round. Especially in July, which is, typically, the hottest and driest time of the year for much of the United States.

    Also, they conserve water by supplying drips of it directly to the plant roots. This is good for your pocket and the environment as well.

  4. If you are like most people, you probably started up your lawnmower as soon as you could this season. Even when you cut your lawn frequently, you still have the question of what to do with the grass clippings. It is a concern, no matter what size your lawn is. Here are two great alternatives to consider:

     

    Benefits Of Leaving Your Grass Clippings on Your Lawn

    When you leave the trimmings as they fall, then you do not have to decide if you will rake or bag them up:

     

    1. Leaving yard trimmings on your lawn provides valuable nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and others. You will see a greener and healthier lawn.

     

    1. Raking or bagging yard trimmings is a lot of work. Leaving them on the lawn saves time and a lot of back aches.

     

    1. You will save some cash by not having to buy as much lawn fertilizer. You may not have to fertilize your yard as often as you usually do.

     

    1. Mulching mowers dice the trimmings up to a fine coverage that is safe to stay on your lawn.

     

    1. You do not have to worry about the myth that yard trimmings cause thatch. It is simply not true. One of the only times that you should not leave your yard trimmings is when your lawn has grown high and they are too thick. The other consideration is wet trimmings. It all clumps together and can cause damage and brown spots in your yard.

     

    1. Unlike some commercial fertilizers, yard trimmings nourish your lawn without chemicals that can be dangerous for people, animals, and the environment.

     

    1. Some cities have “Don’t Bag It” campaigns and encourage their residents to leave the trimmings.

     

    1. If you raise the height of your mower, you will deal with more manageable yard trimmings and may not have to cut the lawn as much. Lawn experts recommend that you cut no more than 1/3 of the grass’s height. Lawns that are a little higher can also help with weed control.

     

    Benefits Of Composting Your Yard Trimmings

    Some people do not care for the look of yard trimmings left on their lawns. It is easy for children and pets to track it in all through your house. You still have the option of conserving this organic treasure in your compost pile:

     

    1. Compost piles need some green matter (trimmings, leaves, stems) to complement the brown matter(bark, twigs). Using your yard trimmings gives your compost the healthy balance that it requires.

     

    1. There are some states and municipal governments that ban any yard waste from local landfills. Composting is the natural solution.

     

    1. Since yard trimmings are water-based, they will help the rest of your compost pile decompose faster.

     

    1. You will soon have free compost for your garden.

     

    Remember that you should not compost yard trimmings that are too wet or have been chemically-treated. It will ruin your whole compost bed.

     

    No matter which method you choose, you will not be stuffing landfills with a valuable source of plant nutrition. It can be used to make your lawn and garden beautiful for the whole season. Just a few grass clippings from your mower or tractor is all that it takes.

     

  5. Ground cover is a great way to embellish your yard to the max without much effort. With a ton of benefits, it’s clear that ground cover is the way to go. From filling in gaps to conserving water, there’s no reason not to bring in some extra plants for your yard.

    Ground cover thrives beneath mature trees

    1. Water Conservation

    Most new homeowners are surprised to find out that a fresh, green lawn actually takes a lot of water. Even if you’ve gotten used to the water obligations your lawn requires, there are other options out there. Your home is sure to stay stylish even when planting alternatives to traditional green grass. Not only that, but the environment will thank you, too.

     

    2. Maintenance

    Just like your green grass needs a lot of regular water, it also requires plentiful maintenance. Although you can easily get outside and mow your lawn or hire someone else to take care of it, why not avoid hassles altogether? There are plenty of ground-covering plants that are sure to look great without needing as much care as a traditional green lawn. Not only will you save on water, but also, you’ll free up some time as well.

     

    3. Money

    With both water and maintenance in mind, it’s easy to see how much money you’ll save when you simply switch to a better set of plants. No matter which plants you choose, you’ll ultimately keep your wallet full. Without costly payments to your local lawn-care professionals or water bill, ground cover can be a seriously stylish option for any lawn out there.

     

    4. Beauty

    You’d think that the plant with the highest water and maintenance needs would be the most beautiful, but in reality the world of plants is much more nuanced. The following plants will bring some elegant color into your yard while actually making your life easier:

    • Bugleweed
    • Red Creeping Thyme
    • Baby’s Breath

    Although beauty is in the eye of the beholder, a lawn with large patches of color and bold accents is often a much more pleasing choice than a simple green lawn.

     

    5. Erosion

    In some environments, it’s simply not practical to introduce a water-consuming plant like lawn grass into the environment. With droughts and water limitations, some lawns simply remain bare. Unfortunately, this leaves the soil susceptible to erosion, especially when on an incline. With plants like Chamomile and Hosta, the roots keep the soil together without requiring an excess of water or care. Keeping your landscape intact has never been easier, even in an arid environment.

     

    6. Landscape Solutions

    Do you ever have that one spot in the yard that needs a little something else? Sometimes, a patch of Blue Star Creeper or some stone-covering Kinnikinnick is all your yard needs to have that special something it deserves. Overall, you can solve nearly any landscape design problem with some accents and ground-covering plants.

     

    With these tips in mind, you’ll have no problems turning your green lawn into a water-conserving, money-saving oasis. From stylish flowers to elegant moss, it’s easy to make the most of nature. Landscaping doesn’t have to be a hassle, especially when you have plants like these.

     

  6. Bird feeders are beautiful additions to any home, and they bring special guests that make your yard full of life. For many bird watchers, having a bird feeder is a great way to check out the different species in their area. If you aren’t a bird watcher, there are the other benefits to having a bird feeder in your area. Below are just four of the many benefits that make having a bird feeder a great addition.

     

    Help Provide for the Birds

    Birds, like people, need food to survive from day to day. Some of their most favorite snacks are seeds. If you have bird food houses in your area, you will be drawing the different birds in, and you will be rewarding them with food. Filling the food houses with seed or nectar, for hummingbirds, is a great way to ensure that the species around you are filled and thriving throughout the entire year. Not only does feeding them have many benefits to the birds, but it helps you in different ways as well like beauty and education.

     

    Aids in Normal Migrations

    Birds migrate from one place to another during the year. However, when they are migrating, it can sometimes be difficult for them to find the food they need to make it from place to place. By setting up bird feeders in your area, you are helping the birds during their instinctive migration patterns. Bird food houses can also help with the normal reproductive successes since the birds are being well-fed.

     

    Great for Education

    Bird feeders and other food houses in your yard are not just beneficial to the animals themselves, but they are also beneficial to you as a homeowner. When the different birds and other animals stop at your food houses to enjoy a snack or a meal, you are faced with different species. This is great for those who are wanting to learn about the different bird species or animals that are in your area. You can learn about the colors and migration patterns, and you might even learn more about the species and their part in nature. Having a feeder in your area is a great way to learn and teach others about nature and the animals that surround you.

    Feed Other Animals

    When you have a bird feeder in your area, you also might attract other animals, especially squirrels. Since squirrels collect seeds and other items for the winter, having a squirrel feeder can draw in these animals, and they might just leave your bird food houses alone. Not only will you be feeding the squirrels, but you can also give them the seeds and nuts they are searching for to store up for the winter time. You might be saving their life while they are preparing for the colder months.

     

    You can find them at many places, but you have probably never considered the many benefits of owning one. Bird food houses and other animal food houses provide many great benefits for the animals and the homeowner. With all of these benefits, why wouldn’t you invest in a feeder of your own? You can help feed the animals, aid in their migration, and learn more about them all at the same time, and you can easily do this by simply putting up a feeder in your yard.

  7. Raising herbs is one of the most rewarding kinds of gardening, for many reasons. Here are five to get you going…

    1 – Herbs Have Year-Round Elegance

    Vegetable gardening often looks like a work in progress. A flower garden really only puts on a show for a few weeks a year, but an herb bed, or even a planter, is a thing of beauty all year long. Some herbs do have attractive flowers (think of chives), but the appeal of an herb bed is a close-knit pattern of textures and colors. Ten thousand cottage gardens can’t all be wrong.

     

    2 – You Can Grow Herbs Inside

    Despite certain indoor gardening products (we’re looking at you, upside-down tomato planters), herbs are the only edibles really suited to grow in an apartment. It isn’t just a matter of space: it’s the watering. Most of the herbs used in Western cooking come from the relatively dry Mediterranean basin: think thyme, sage, basil, parsley, oregano, and the like. These don’t need much water, a fact which will be appreciated by your floors, carpets, electronic devices, and/or landlord.

    3 – Fresh Herbs are Just Better

    If you really want to enjoy fresh herbs, you need to grow them yourself. Herbs from your own garden get picked a few minutes or hours before they go into your meal. Store-bought herbs got picked days or weeks before, and may have traveled thousands of miles. It is a miracle of modern transportation that you can get them at all, but they’re hardly in good shape: most of the flavor gets left at the farm.

    4 – Growing Herbs Saves Money

    Herbs are by far the most economical things you can grow. Most gardeners are doing it for love, not money–but you do find yourself wondering if it makes sense to spend a lot of money on, let’s say, a tomato trellis, when store-bought tomatoes aren’t that expensive.

    On the other hand, herbs are incredibly value-dense. Dried herbs (including teas) often retail from $5 to $10 an ounce, and the same herbs grow like weeds in your garden. If you drink peppermint tea, for instance, you might well be spending $100 a year for a plant that will grow with absolutely no maintenance. Your herb bed is the most economical section of your garden, by far.

    5 – Growing Herbs Changes How You Cook

    Fresh herbs are a growing trend in popular cooking, but some cookbook authors (e.g. Ottolenghi) call for herbs on a scale that really demands growing them yourself. Once you make that leap, it opens a kind of door in the way you think about cooking. A few tablespoons of basil from the supermarket will set you back a few dollars, but if you are growing your own herbs, suddenly ideas like “basil soup” or “fines herbes salad” are in range.

     

    Whether you are looking at a major landscape garden, a cottage garden entryway or just a single raised bed, herbs are beautiful, great value, and useful.

     

  8. Just like everything else in your yard, a retaining wall or boulder wall needs to be maintained and cared for. Sloped yards can be difficult to manage, which is why many people choose to have a rock wall installed. Rock walls create flat areas of the yard where there previously was a steep hill. Your yard is beautified and easier to mow when you have professionals install a wall like this. After the wall is completed, there are important aspects to keep in mind that go towards maintaining your wall so your newly built structure can remain in good condition.

     

    Close Inspections

    After the wall is installed, there are large amounts of backfill that are placed behind and sometimes below the wall. This backfill is often compacted during construction. It’s common for extra settling to take place after the wall is newly installed. Closely inspect your wall every spring, and look for low spots and areas that have settled. Areas that settle too much can collect water. Over time water logs your soil composition and it becomes too soft. If you do notice low spots, pull back the sod to even it out, and add backfill as necessary for proper drainage.

     

    Surface Treatments

    After the wall is completed, landscapers will often treat the ground surrounding the wall, particularly areas that were disturbed during construction, to encourage proper rainwater drainage. Surface treatments could include planting new grass, paving, plants, mulch, or another type of ground cover. When spring arrives, it’s important to inspect these areas where surface treatments have been applied, because sometimes, they can become altered or damaged during weather events in the fall and winter. Things to look for include bare ground spots and low areas. New grass can be planted in bare spots, and mulch should be added, as well, to encourage full ground cover and proper water drainage routes.

     

    Weed

    s

    Manage unwanted weed growth through cracks and crevices in your retaining wall by spraying every year as you would the grass or just pull them out by hand as you see them. Preventing weed growth goes a long way towards keeping your yard neat, trimmed, and presentable.

     

    Winter Management

    During winter weather, especially in Northern areas of the United States, avoid using salt or ice formation preventatives as much as possible. Although particular kinds of rocks and blocks are meant to resist the effects of harsh weather conditions, especially rain and snow, using salt or other chemicals around or near your retaining wall will cause damage to the rocks’ surfaces, including pock marks or nicks. Erosion of your wall’s components can cause greater damage in the long run and compromise the integrity of the structure.

    Maintaining your newly built rock wall is simple when you take the necessary steps. When you care for it properly, you can enjoy its natural beauty for many years in the future.

     

  9. SprinklerEven the verdant terrain around the Ann Arbor region can hit a snag when dry conditions happen. A professionally installed irrigation system is a great solution, but to make it effective, some knowledge about the different methods possible and the factors that impact their effectiveness is in order. First, a look at the available choices.

    *Drip Line

    *Steady Sprayer

    *Rotary Sprayer

     

    Drip Lines

    Conduits dotted with pores are buried in the ground to prevent evaporation. The water released by this method remains close to the lines, so it’s impractical for high-density plantings like turf grass.

     

    Steady Sprayers

    While the lines are below ground, the spray heads used in this system emerge above ground when in use to deliver a gentle veil of water radiating in a circular pattern. Steady sprayers utilize much more water than drip lines, but they require fewer conduits. This arrangement allows enough space in between for digging without the fear of hitting a line.

     

    Rotary Sprayers

    A narrow spout of water shoots a considerable length from a single point of origin with this setup, so equipment is kept to an affordable minimum. A lot of ground can be covered, but the downside is a lack of flexibility in dealing with asymmetrical yards.

    Selection Influences

    With this brief description of the basic sprinkler systems, it’s also useful to know what circumstances can alter their functionality. Here are the more important ones.

     

    *Acreage

    *Flora

    *Plot pitch

    *Soil absorbency

     

    Acreage

    For an expansive lawn, a rotary sprayer that projects its stream a long distance from a single point makes economical sense. Small, narrow or irregular patches are better handled by a steady sprayer sprinkler system. Drip lines operate best in flower and vegetable gardens.

     

    Flora

    The torrent of water fired from a rotary sprayer can be too much for tender plants. It’s not a problem, though, for lawn grass and woody shrubbery. Because they broadcast water a fair distance at low pressure, steady sprayers are ideal for annuals requiring replanting. For permanent flora, drip lines supply efficient hydration.

     

    Plot Pitch

    The basic rule here is that as the incline becomes steeper, more surface water will run off in a set period of time. Rotary sprayers provide an opportunity between sweeps for the ground to soak. Steady sprayers throw out water too quickly for heavily tilted land. Set in the ground, drip lines are impervious to this consideration.

     

    Soil Absorbency

    While standard loam soils in the Ann Arbor area are adaptable, clay soil needs the time between passes provided by a rotary sprayer to drink in the water. A lawn with sandy soil that drains easily will benefit from the constant shower created by a steady sprayer sprinkler system.

     

    Now that the pluses and minuses of each irrigation system have been established, it’s time to put them to work. Just remember that there’s no need to settle on just one. These different methods can easily be combined to handle any variations a landscape might hold.

     

  10. The 4th of July is a time when family comes together and celebrates the history of our country. When preparing for barbecues, reunions or other get-togethers for this 4th of July, a great way to decorate is to incorporate your patriotism directly into your garden. Such colorful and charming examples of landscaping decor will keep these celebrations memorable for years to come.

    Different Flower Choices

     

    Obvious choices for colors are red, white, and blue, but there are hundreds of ways to arrange these colors. From traditional rows to the ever popular shape of the American flag, different arrangements can be used to best suit different lawns. The size of the flowers chosen must also be taken into account; for example, tall, white Lilies should not be placed in front of the much shorter Blue Ageratum. The flowers must also be ones that thrive in the same amount of sun; some good combinations are:

    • Red Snapdragons
    • White Heliotrope
    • Red Geraniums
    • White Alyssum
    • Blue Lobelia
    • Red Salvia
    • White and Blue Petunia
    • Blue Ageratum

    Can’t find blue flowers? There is another way!

     

    Containers

    One way to use patriotic colors to great effect is to plant red or white flowers in a blue container. The container can be anything from a window box to an adorable pair of American-themed rain boots. Red Charm Peonies are one option for an easy-care flower with a vibrant red color. They will stand out against a blue and white setting, providing a great patriotic look.

    Flags

    Judicious application of the American flag can also make a garden especially decorated for the holiday, while the colors would appear more subtle for the rest of the year. Placing small American flags in a flower bed is easy to do, and the flags will make the rest of the lawn appear all the more patriotic. Larger flags hanging from window boxes full of red, white, and blue flowers are an elegant use of landscaping decor.

    Helpful Tips!

    Some other facts to keep in mind when planning the look of your patriotic party are:

    1. Remember that your yard will be full of party goers. Plan places for groups to meet and talk, and for walkways between different beds of flowers. This will ensure that the look of the lawn remains unchanged even after a crowded party.
    2. Highlight important plants and areas. If you know that many party guests will assemble in a particular area – for example, near the food making station – give them something to look at and enjoy.
    3. Know your yard. Some areas have more sunshine; others are closer to water. Choose plants that thrive in those areas, to make sure the landscaping decor can be enjoyed for a long time.
    4. Lawn ornamentation can be great in moderation. Consider placing some red, white or blue decorations out. This will add to the festive nature of the decor, and keep your landscaping aesthetically pleasing.

     

    Don’t wait! Start planning for your 4th of July party today! It will be memorable, festive, and patriotic if you start work on your landscaping right away.