The landscape architect or designer gave you everything you wanted to create your ideal outdoor landscape. Your landscape contractor installed everything perfectly down to the last detail and then you thought the hard work was done. How do you keep your investment flourishing for years to come?
Plant health care (PHC) is one of the most important investments you can make for your new or established landscape. Using a holistic approach, PHC involves knowing your plant material, ecosystem of your yard and understanding pests and the key problems that can go wrong. Simply watering when the leaves turn brown or dumping chemicals on shrubs if you see any type of bug is not a solid approach.
Five key things you can do to have a gorgeous landscape:
- Make a list of each type of tree, shrub and perennials in your yard. It is imperative to have a list of plant material in order to know how to care for them.
- Determine key problems that may affect each type of plant. Know the pests that attack them, the type of soil they like, environmental issues and diseases that may affect them.
- Identify key cultural and environmental problems. Abiotic or “non-living” factors such as weather or irrigation and Biotic or “living” factors such as fungus, bugs or rabbits/deer should be identified so you can plan proactively.
- Monitor and study the ecosystem in your yard. Landscapes are dynamic and change from season to season and year to year. Know the directions North, South, East and West, where the wind typically comes in and know what pests/animals may eat your Azaleas. Go into your yard at least twice a month and take a long look around. Look for wilted, curled or yellow leaves and dead twigs.
5, Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Did you know that there are “Good” bugs and “Bad” bugs? Good bugs, called beneficial insects actually eat and eliminate the bad bugs in your yard. “Bad” bugs can destroy your plants. Instead of spraying to kill every bug that moves in your yard, add good bugs (Ladybugs) to kill the bad bugs (Aphids) that attack your Roses instead of blasting them with chemicals. This use of beneficial insects is called Biological Controls. http://www.biocontrol.entomology.cornell.edu/purpose.php
For more information on using beneficial insects, click here: http://www.buglogical.com/biological-solutions/
If you have a heavy bug infestation and must use a pesticide, please call a professional or follow instructions with extreme caution.
The Pee Gee Hydrangea trees are blooming! This is the signal that summer is winding down so it is time for these summer chores:
- Check for the last generation of Lace bugs in Azaleas and keep plants watered to minimize attacks. Use Lacewings or minute pirate bugs as predators.
- When you are outside on a hot day, look for spots to plant more shade trees. Excellent options would be River Birch, Sawtooth Oak or Autumn Blaze Maple.
- Continue watering trees as weather demands.
- Begin drying and hanging herbs.
- Gather your canning materials for summer veggies.
- Order fall bulbs this month.
- Begin planning fall lawn renovation areas and look for chinch bug activity.
- Plant fast maturing vegetables like spinach, lettuce, Peas, Radishes, Arugula, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts and Cauliflower for fall.
- Beware of ground nests of yellow jackets and wasp activity – they are out in force this month!