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Garden & Landscaping Tools & Tips

You have questions and our experienced crew has answers

It is our passion to inspire and share our abundance of plant, tree & landscaping knowledge, so you can take that home and put it to action. You can always meet with our team at the garden center, send a message or call anytime.  Also, we recommend browsing these helpful resource guides for useful tools & tips straight from our expert horticulturists and arborists.

Screened Porches Ideas

Monthly Landscaping & Yard Care Calendar

January

  • Mulch perennials if no snow cover and not already mulched.
  • Check trees for wind damage and frost cracking.
  • Make sure you are using de-icers that are plant safe.
  • Look for ideas for next season and start planning for your landscaping projects.
  • Water houseplants
  • Look for spots that need more winter interest in your landscape.
  • Depending on snow fall, & frozen ground temperatures, check if you can water trees if abnormally dry season

February

  • Prune dormant trees, shrubs, grapes, and berries only if necessary. 
  • Getting rid of everything that is dead, dying, sick, or broken is the first stage in pruning plants and shrubs, followed by cleaning up the rest. Look for suckers, branches that are growing parallel to or too close to one another, and branches that cross or rub against one another.  Cut side branches close to the main stem if you're removing them. If the surviving branch is left too long, disease and insect infestation might develop in the cut region.
  • When you prune, keep in mind that you're leaving wounds on your plant that will need to heal, which is why we recommend not pruning more than 10-25% of your plant, tree, or shrub at a time.
  • Summer-flowering deciduous shrubs - These are shrubs that bloom on new growth.
  • Random-branching conifer trees and shrubs
  • Deciduous perennial vines - These types of vines bloom on new growth.
  • Inspect house plants for insect issues.
  • Start planting seeds that will benefit from an early start.
  • Beat the rush! Call Landmark to set up a site visit & consultation with one of our expert designers.

March

  • Apply dormant spray to fruit trees, lilac, and flowering trees.
  • Start planning gardens and containers for the approaching growing season.
  • Keep snow and mulch on beds to protect tender new growth from freezing night temperatures.
  • Beat the rush! Call now to set up a site visit with your designer.

April

  • Clean and aerate lawn.
  • Apply pre-emergent in mid to late April (crabgrass and some broadleaf weeds).
  • Slowly uncover roses, perennials, and strawberries.
  • Apply preen around new trees, bushes, roses, and perennials.
  • Fertilize evergreens.
  • Time for spraying for borers and pine diseases.
  • Begin planting trees, shrubs, perennials, flowers and vines once soil can be worked 
  • Re-mulch beds to prevent weeds and soil drying out.
  • Seed new lawn areas or repair bare spots.
  • Fertilize woody plants such as shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer.
  • Trim hedges and summer blooming shrubs before new growth emerges.
  • Plant cool season annuals and vegetables.
  • Divide and replant summer blooming perennials.
  • Once snow has melted and temps start to rise cut back old perennials.

May

  • Apply post- emergent herbicide to lawn (broadleaf weeds).
  • Plant annuals and gardens.
  • Prune junipers, yews, flowering shrubs after flowering.
  • Start fruit tree spray schedule.
  • Start fungicide spray on roses.
  • Manage bagworms.
  • Prune spring blooming shrubs immediately after blooming.
  • Prune Maples.
  • Overseed lawns.
  • Remove excess debris that collect over time.
  • If you haven’t yet fertilize woody plants like trees with slow release fertilizer. 
  • Plant spring bulbs and tubers.
  • Transplant any perennials.
  • Install new beds and amend soil.

June

  • Pinch back mums and annuals.
  • Apply Fungicides (Scotts Disease Control or Bayleton) for fusarium prevention in lawn (last week of June or the first week of July).
  • Water lawns deeply 1” per week.
  • Fertilize annuals.
  • Watch for insects in roses, flowers, and vegetables. Use sprays appropriate for insects.
  • Plant cold sensitive plants pumpkins, cucumbers, sweet potato ect…
  • Continue regular watering for newly planted material and supplement watering as needed for established plantings.
  • Deadhead flowers.
  • Weed regularly to keep on top of them.
  • Continue pruning as needed.
  • Trim hedge plants to shape as needed. 
  • Prune most evergreens mid- June.
  • Re-Mulch any beds that still need it.
  • Treat black spot in roses.

July

  • DON’T apply Nitrogen to lawns (cause diseases).
  • Watch for grub damage.
  • Water new plantings if rainfall is insufficient.
  • Apply insecticide mid-July for white grab prevention.
  • Continue to deadhead plants.
  • Bring outdoors in! Cut flowers that can be enjoyed indoors.
  • Continue to weed your beds.
  • Continue to water plants as they get established.
  • Contact a Landmark Landscaping designer for fall projects.

August

  • Water new plantings if rainfall is insufficient.
  • Late August: divide iris, peonies, and fall bulbs.
  • Insect control needed in roses, flowers, and vegetables.
  • Reduce fertilizer on perennials, shrubs, and trees. This allows them to prepare for dormancy.
  • Divide spring blooming perennials.
  • This is the best time of the year to seed grasses.
  • Move indoor plant to shadier locations if outdoors.
  • Check for insects on plants as you move them indoors.
  • Continue regular watering of perennials, shrubs, and trees planted this growing season.
  • Don’t prune plants that are susceptible to Rust.
  • Show off you landscape and share picture to your Facebook page.
  • Continue your harvest of fruit, vegetables, or flowers.
  • Needle drop on evergreens will begin and go through October.
  • Plan for plantings of spring blooming bulbs.
  • Continue to deadhead to encourage blooming.

September

  • Fall grass seeding time continued
  • Spray 2, 4-D for dandelions.
  • Plant trees, shrubs, evergreens, perennials, peonies, and iris.
  • Plant Fall bulbs for spring bloom.
  • Dig frost- tender bulbs after a hard frost.
  • Relace tired annuals with fall planter arrangements. 
  • Determine landscape areas lacking color.
  • Don’t forget to continue watering and weeding.


October

  • Complete fall bulb plantings.
  • Divide Peonies.
  • Amend soil so it is ready for spring.
  • Water until the ground freezes.
  • Apply winter mulch to keep everything protected.
  • Rake leaves to minimize lawn disease.
  • Remove dead annuals and get ready to replace with winter arrangements.

November 

  • Remember to water if rainfall is insufficient.
  • Re-wrap tender tree trucks to protect from rabbit damage and sun scald.
  • Mulch Roses 4-6” deep.
  • Clean and put away tools for next year.
  • Remove garden debris to have ready for spring.
  • Continue to water until ground is frozen.
  • Begin dormant pruning of ornamentals, fruit trees, oaks, and elms.
  • Install winter container designs.

December 

  • Mulch roses and perennials, cut back only far enough to prevent wind damage.
  • Water if insufficient moisture and ground is not frozen
  • Make sure as the snow gets higher that the trees guards are high enough to protect from pest damage.
  • Gently remove heavy snow loads off branches.
  • Clean indoor house plants.

How to Care for New Plantings and Trees

WATERING

This is the most crucial part when you have planted a tree, shrub, or perennial. The question of how much water needs to be applied needs to be addressed. The amount of water needed depends on the plant you have and the time of year it is planted. Spring plantings where temperatures are cooler and rains more plentiful require less than summer plantings when temps are hotter and rains less frequently.  Fall plantings are similar to spring in temperatures with the potential for fewer rains.  The volume of foliage (leaves) will influence water needs as well. Example: A tree will need more water than a small perennial.  Most newly installed plants require at least an inch of either rainfall or supplemental water each week.  Weather conditions affect the rate of water consumption of plants as well. Hot, windy, summer days dry out plants quicker than calm, cooler, shady days. It takes roughly 8 weeks for a plant’s roots to reestablish in the soil. Once they start to develop new growth that is a good sign that they are rooting in.  Back off watering after this occurs but continue to monitor them. This is the golden rule for new plantings, water deeply but infrequently. Light, infrequent watering’s encouraging shallow root growth, whereas infrequent deep watering’s encourage deep root growth.  Remember roots seek out areas where the moisture resides. Correct watering methods will encourage your new plants to develop robust deep root systems and increase their drought tolerance. Talk to our wonderful staff if you have additional questions as to your plant’s needs.

TREES

Trees need water to survive.  The small moisture-absorbing roots will get damaged during planting, resulting in transplant stress. Keep in mind, newly planted trees need to be kept moist but not to the point of being saturated. They will need to be monitored weekly to ensure the root ball does not dry out. The outer band of the root ball will need to be watered to encourage root growth out into the existing soil.  Some sites may have been compacted from construction leading to poorly drained soils.  In these situations, trees should not exceed 1 inch of water per week. If the tree gets more water than this, it will get over watered. A good rule of thumb is to water no more than 2-3 times a week. As an easy gage for watering, we like to say a minimum of 5 gallons per week on potted trees (15-gallon pot size or smaller) and a minimum of 10 gallons on larger balled and burlaped trees (3” to 1.5” caliper in size). Supplemental water may not be required during the rainy seasons.  However, it will need to be increased in the summertime i.e. June, July, and August; they most likely will need more than 1 inch of water to establish. Repeat this routine throughout the growing season. The simplest way to check if your tree needs water is to pull the mulch back from the trunk and pick up a portion of the soil. Compress the soil and make a ball.  If the soil is very sticky, it is too wet and will have to dry out for a few days. If the soil is dry, it will not form a ball. The correct amount of moisture allows for a ball that is not sticky. When you are ready to water, there are a few ways you can do so:  Option A: Water with a garden hose on trickle for 30 minutes.  Option B:  fill 5-gallon buckets as described above.  Option C: Fill up 20-gallon self-watering bag which is available for purchase at the garden center.

The leading cause of death in trees is overwatering. This occurs most often in irrigated lawns with automatic sprinklers. Be aware that your turf requires more water than the tree itself.  So that is why you cannot water your lawn every day. Back the timer off to no more than 2-3 times a week. Going into winter it is wise to give your new trees a deep watering. Trees should go dormant with a moist root ball to protect the root system through the winter.

PERENNIALS & SHRUBS

Perennials and shrubs will require less water than trees do. New plants need to be watered a minimum of twice a week or every four to seven days. Be sure to allow for them to dry out a little between watering. But be careful to water accordingly on hot days. The amount of water varies on the type of plant you have. Example: Hydrangeas will take a lot more water compared to a drought-tolerant sedum.  Large leaves dry out quicker than small leaves. Plants with leaves tend to dry out quicker than evergreens with needles. Once your plants have made it through the first year you can reduce the amount of supplemental water you give them. Continue to monitor your plants, severe temperatures, and or droughts that can place even established plants under undue stress.