Houston Residential and Commercial Lawn Care and Landscape Services

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Lawn Care Maintenance Monthly Tips: Caring for your Lawn and Landscape

Winter is in full force and Spring is off in the distance.

December

  • 1. Winter tip for watering: In the event of a freeze advisory, please be certain to run your irrigation to fortify your plants and flowers. It takes longer for well-watered plants to freeze. After watering, then cover all the plants and flowers that are susceptible to freeze damage. Commercial landscaping stores sell rolls of white, woven fabric expressly made for quick and easy covering of plants. If some plants do get freeze damage, do not trim off the dead parts until late January, when most of the severe weather has passed. The dead parts will help defend the plants and flowers from another freeze.

  • 2. The irrigation schedule can be set to once a week until February if the rainfall has been moderate.

  • 3. Info on winter watering needs: Contrary to popular belief, the winter is a very dry climate. Ever got chapped lips? The fact is that the cooling weather withdraws moisture from the plants, moisture which has to be replaced to maintain the lawn and landscape in optimal condition.

  • 4. Mowing this month can slow down to a minimum, depending on the weather. For appearances, the leaves may be blown and collected and the mowing postponed.

  • 5. Prune the roses that are spent to promote additional blooming during the holidays. Afterwards, aerate the soil lightly around them and add Color Star blooming fertilizer to each one.

  • 6. Broadcast Color Star blooming fertilizer among all the seasonal flowers are where the bulbs are planted.

  • 7. If your irrigation system does not have a rain sensor, and the rainfall is plenteous, feel free to turn off your sprinkler system until a time you deem proper.

  • 8. Winter info on insects: Severe weather is a natural insect exterminator. Hurray!

  • Come back every month for another tip! Have a blessed holiday season and rest with your family and loved ones. May the Lord bless you and keep you! Numbers 6: 24-26

January

  • 1. Prune crape myrtle trees, removing only limbs necessary to thin out trees and provide a stately structure. This provides additional energy for profuse blooming all summer. Therefore, topping is not necessary. To avoid topping, plant a variety that will grow only to the height proper for the growing area. Ask your nursery for available colors and growth patterns. When pruning, use sharp tools and cut at 45 degree angles, leaving no stubs. This promotes proper healing. Cuts at right angles produce deadwood.

  • 2. Cut down banana trees to 18 inches from ground level. The new tree will develop strength to produce bananas in summer. Use sharp trimming shears, as they are soft, or swipe carefully with a machete. Wear old clothing and gloves as the sap produces black stains.

  • 3. Cut down cannas to 4 inches from ground level.

  • 4. Pruning Tip: Prune back plants with freeze-damaged vegetation late in the month of January.

  • 5. Clean roofs and gutters to ensure rain flows freely. Accumulated leaves on roof will absorb moisture and condense underneath the shingles, causing the roof’s flooring to decay. The gutters should also be unencumbered. If allowed to remain full, the rain will overflow repeatedly and over a period of time decay the fascia boards of the building. Use a tall ladder to get on the roof and a gas powered blower to perform both jobs. If unsure of your safety, feel free to hire a person from the phone book dedicated to this type of adventure, especially if your home is a multiple-story building. Be certain to clear out the gutter downspouts with a garden hose!

  • 6. Tree leaves can remain in flower beds for temporary insulation of plants.

7. Grass mowing is usually not necessary this month. A light covering of leaves can protect grass from cold weather, but do not allow to collect heavily and kill the grass below.

February

  • 1. Trim and shape shrubs and hedges to a desired size before the growing season starts. Consider the possibility of giving your plants a new shape. Possible shapes are pyramids, cylinders, mushrooms, poodles, multi-tiered tabletops, spirals (junipers), bonsai (mature junipers), slanted (long hedges), and undulating waves. Whee! You can have a lot of fun here! If your plants are out of shape, the substance is amenable to trimming into a different shape. Look carefully, and do not be afraid to cut, using hand clippers to remove targeted limbs or foliage, and then fine-tuning the shape with shears.

  • 2. Clean out leaves and pull weeds from flower beds.

  • 3. Prune roses to a third of their height, to remove spindly growth and fortify structure. Remove deadwood as well as the deadwood draws energy from the plants. A desired, uniform shape can be established at this time for all the roses. The roses can be fertilized at this time with Color Star blooming fertilizer, which contains bone meal and blood meal. In addition, fish meal fertilizer is also available as a natural supplement. Valentine's day is a perfect time to plant new roses.

  • 4. Trench flower bed edges and define their perimeters with a sharp, straight-edge spade. Be aware of irrigation lines and utilities upon doing so. Use a 40-inch tall straight-edge spade that has a 7-inch wide X 11-inch blade. Sharpen it on both sides with a bastard file. To avoid user fatigue from pushing the spade into the soil with your foot, practice the following technique. With the right hand, firmly grab the handle top, and with the left hand, hold the handle shaft. While standing poised over the existing flower bed edge, raise the spade as if you are going to strike down forcefully on the edge where the flower bed and the lawn meet. Then aim straight down to where the new, fresh edge should be. Next, in a “throwing down” motion, impel the spade into the soil about 4-5 inches, letting go of the shaft with your aiming left hand, while continuing your hold with the right hand on top. Tilt back the spade to toss up into the flower bed the loose soil from the trench. With practice, this becomes a flick-of-the-wrist gardening routine that creates awesome, crisp edging on which to guide your line trimmer before mowing. Wear steel toes if possible for this gardening technique.

  • 5. Break time, break time! Attend the Texas Home & Garden Show this year, head over to their website for details, https://texashomeandgarden.com/.

  • 6. Turn soil in the flower beds to aerate. A sharp shooter spade can be used. Hold handle with right hand, guide with the left hand, and thrust the sharp shooter 3-4 inches into the soil at 10 o’clock, then twist handle to 12 o’clock. Repeat motion in close-knit patterns to produce an even, lightly turned soil, breaking any clumps as you go and leveling out with a leaf rake. Aerating allows oxygen, water, and fertilizers to reach plant roots for absorption. Sharp tools are always easier to use and reduce fatigue. Beware of sprinkler pipes, utility cables, or gas lines to lamps or BBQ pits.

  • 7. Apply a granular pre-emergence herbicide to the flower beds. This is a selective herbicide that will kill only broadleaf weeds and grassy weeds. It works by preventing seed germination. The best products are available at a public chemical store. Hardware stores do not carry professional grade products. Their products are diluted and not worth the money spent.

  • 8. Mow bi-weekly.

  • 9. Mower blade tip: sharpen or replace mower blade every 2-3 months during the growing season. A sharp mower blade creates a cleaner cut and reduces operator fatigue.

  • 10. Mow grass at 3 inches high with a grass catcher. The grass catcher will collect any weeds that have gone to seed and prevent re-seeding. Apply Scott’s weed and feed fertilizer with atrizine. Atrizine is excellent for eliminating dollar weed.

  • 11. Using a broadcast spreader, apply Scott’s weed and feed fertilizer with atrizine on your lawn. Atrizine is excellent for eliminating weeds and is specially formulated for dollar weed.

  • 12. Begin Bi-weekly mowing.

  • 13. Remove clover individually by hand, root and all, from your lawn. Do not mow it over because it will reproduce and begin to overtake the grass. The same applies for crab grass. An aluminum flower planting trowel is ideal for removing crab grass that is not full grown. With one hand, grab all the leaves like a strand of hair, pull strongly and maintain pull at a 45 degree angle. With the planting trowel, stab into the soil 2-3 inches in a semi-circular fashion back and forth around the base of the crab grass, rocking the plant sideways as you pull. If it does not come out then, turn around and repeat from the other side of the plant. For large, established crab grass, use a sharp shooter, pushing the shovel at 45 degrees around the plant to complete a full circle. Pop plant out by tilting sharp shooter down and fill plant hole with topsoil for lawn grass to patch in.

  • 14. Visit a local nursery and discover what trees, plants, and flowers they carry; when they bloom; whether they are for planting in shade, full sun, filtered sunlight; what is hardy long-term and will not freeze; what is prone to certain diseases. Please note that, at the nursery, shade-type nursery stock will be store in the shade under canopies, and full-sun stock out in the full sun. A continual, year-round cascade of blooming plants can be enjoyed by organizing a planting scheme based on the time plants bloom by month.

  • 15. Create your own “spring break” by planning to visit The Mercer Arboretum, a multi-acre botanical garden on Aldine Westfield just north of FM 1960. The azalea trails bloom between February and April, depending on the weather, so call now for a status and do take tag along your digital camera for awesome photos! Engaged couples, sweet 16’s, and a host of other visitors have their professional photographers meet them there on purpose for photo shoots.

Did You Know?

Every month the list of lawn care and landscape tips changes to match the season,
so come back every month and we'll help make your landscape look its best...
Year round!