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  1. Pruning and trimming shrub not only makes them attractive, but supports their health and stimulates the growth of leaves and flowers. Pruning takes away dead, weak or damaged branches where pests and diseases can shelter. Here are ways to prune a shrub or bush:


    First Things

    The first thing to do is make sure that instruments are sharp. Dull blades crush limbs, and put the plant at risk for disease or infestation. Most gardeners only need pruning shears or a pruning saw to thin bushes and shrubs.


    Another thing to consider is the natural habit of the shrub. This means the shape it would take if it was allowed to grow wild. Some shrubs grow as compact spheres, while others are layered, cushion-shaped, vase-shaped, sprawling or fountain-like. It’s a good idea to let the shrub’s natural shape tell the gardener how to thin it.


    Types of pruning are thinning, shearing and heading back. Shearing takes a few inches off the top and sides of the shrub to shape it. Thinning takes away weak or dead branches.



    Thinning can be done at any time of the year. If the bush or shrub is thick, push aside the outer branches or crouch under the base, and look up into the shrub if it is upright. Look for shoots or branches that are weak, dead or straggly and prune them close to the ground or where they join a larger stem. Find branches that rub against each other, and remove the thinner one. If limbs look like they’re turning into the center of the shrub, remove them. Limbs should move outward. Removing these weak limbs allows for better air circulation and neatens the shrub.


    If thinning is done regularly, this can be done in a few minutes. If the shrub is big and hasn’t been thinned in a while, the gardener may be pruning for over an hour and end up with a large pile of brush. A shrub that’s been sheared can also be thinned but very judiciously. Remove only a few limbs at a time.



    Shearing can be done with electric hedge trimmers and can be a faster job than thinner. Shearing does not take the natural habit of the shrub or bush into account as much as thinning does. It is used to force a shrub into a shape that fits the gardener’s idea of what they want in the landscape.


    When a gardener properly shears a shrub, they cut off some or nearly all of the new growth at least once a year. This depends on how fast the shrub grows and the shape the gardener wants it to take. In areas with mild winters, shearing can be done year round. In places where winters are cold, shrubs and bushes can be sheared in all seasons save late summer or early fall. Shearing can stimulate new growth that can be killed during a hard frost.


    Heading Back

    Heading back is a type of pruning where the end of a long, unbranched stem is cut off to encourage side shoots. This makes the plant bushier.

    A well-maintained yard can make your yard and landscape look beautiful and healthy. Use the above tips when you start your yard maintance.


  2. With summer coming to an end, it’s almost time to start preparing your lawn for winter. The coldest months can wreak havoc on even the best cared for landscapes, and if you want your lawn to make it through January unscathed, it’s best to give it a little TLC before the snowfalls hit. Here are a few tips for keeping your lawn healthy, regardless of the harsh wintertime weather.

    Get Rid of Leaves

    Kids may enjoy jumping in piles of leaves come autumn, but every homeowner understands how much of a hassle they can be to get rid of. If you want a healthy lawn come spring, however, it’s important that you don’t let dead leaves remain.

    When debris like dead leaves or grass sits on top of the soil for too long, it’s known as thatch. This can be very damaging to the lawn, because:

    1. Thatch can become a haven for fungal diseases, which hinders the growth of healthy grass.
    2. It can encourage the growth of moss, which negatively impacts grass health.
    3. It can impede drainage, which affects soil quality.

    To make sure your landscape isn’t negatively impacted by thatch, clear out any dead leaves before winter comes. For best results, use your rake or leaf blower when the leaves are dry rather than wet, as they’re easier to manage.

    Care for Perennials

    If you’ve invested a lot of time, money, and effort into your landscape, it would be a shame to see it go to waste because of cold temperatures and some snow. There are a few ways to protect your perennials before the cold weather hits.

    1. Autumn is a great time to prune and cut back perennials. Use a solid pair of pruners on your plants, as a dull pair of shears can do more damage than good. Try not to prune too early in your plant’s growth’s cycle, as they need to store as much energy as possible before the temperatures drop.
    2. Autumn is also a good time to get rid of the weeds that crop up around perennials. They’re also storing up energy for wintertime, so hitting them now can help minimize your weed problem for months to come. Apply a weed-killing compound to your weeds, and that should help you control your growing weed population.

    Get Rid of Seasonal Plants

    Before the wintry weather descends, clear any seasonal plants from your lawn or garden. You can even add them to the compost pile, and mix them with some manure or lime. This will provide effective nutrition for your soil during the colder months, leaving you with the perfect place to plant come springtime.

    Protect Weather-Sensitive Plants

    There are plenty of plants that are negatively affected by cold, wintry weather. Survey your lawn and find all the plants in need of a little extra care. Then surround them with a ring of leaves or straw for the duration of winter. This layer of insulation will help keep them safe all season long.

  3. Natural Methods of Weed Control

    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.


  4. 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:


  5. What Can You Use as Compost?

    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.

  6. 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.

    Braconid Wasps

    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

    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.

    Butterflies and Moths

    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.

  7. 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.


  8. 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:

    • Nitrogen
    • Potassium
    • Calcium

    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.