Monthly Archives: August 2011

Annual Colors flowerbed

Annual Color

Annual flowers can be a great source of color to accent your home’s landscape. While flowering trees and shrubs provide short periods of color, most flowers offering annual color begin blooming shortly after planting and continue to flower for the length of the growing season. Plants with annual color come in an abundance of colors, sizes and species adapted to either sun or shade. Annuals are perfect for flowerbeds, borders, pots and window-boxes, hanging baskets or as temporary ground covers and fillers.

Annual Colors flowerbed

Flowers promising color that lasts one season are non-woody plants that complete their life cycle in one season, ending with seed production. Some annual plants do re-seed themselves, such as marigolds, American daisies, cosmos plus others, and appear to have a perennial habit but they’re actually referred to as self-sowers.

Annual color can play an important role in a well-designed landscape. Compared to most perennial plants, annuals require more maintenance and water, so plant annual beds need to be near water sources and able to be maintained. Try to keep annuals in beds with other annuals or plants with similar water requirements. Planting annuals randomly throughout the landscape not only increases maintenance, but also lessens the plants’ aesthetic impact.

Zinnia flowers

Although annual flowers and plants bring a variety of interesting textures and forms to the landscape, they are most notable for the color they provide. You will get the most effect in the landscape by planting in a simple mixture of color. Color themes using related colors, such as red, orange and yellow (warm colors) or green, blue and purple (cool colors) work well. Warm-colored flowers bring excitement into the landscape and tend to appear close to the viewer, making the space in which they are planted feel smaller. Cool-colored flowers, however, appear more distant, creating a greater sense of garden space. Cool colors also tend to relax and soothe viewers.

Using shades of one color (including white) is also a popular and attractive theme. Another pleasing effect comes from using complimentary colors, such as orange and blue or purple and yellow. These color combinations form high color contrasts and create a lot of interest in the landscape. Always be aware of surrounding or backdrop colors to achieve a coordinated overall design. The best way to set off annual flower colors and textures is to provide a simple backdrop of green vegetation.

Pinestaw and Mulch - Carolina Creations Landscaping

Mulch and Pine Straw

Mulch is a layer of material (like bark mulch or pine straw) laid on the soil surface to discourage weeds from germinating, to prevent moisture loss, and to improve soil fertility.

In most cases, it is also aesthetically pleasing.

The most natural mulch and pine straw is a loose organic material applied in a layer, three inches deep or more. In nature, autumn leaves provide a blanket of organic matter, but in the garden we can use anything from chipped bark to cocoa shells to garden compost, leaf mold or pine straw.

Pinestaw and Mulch - Carolina Creations Landscaping

Mulch and pine straw help to retain moisture in the soil by preventing water from evaporating from the surface layer. Dark colored mulches can also help raise the temperature in the soil early in the season and promote rapid root growth in spring as well was foster healthy plant development, and control erosion. Organic mulch and pine straw are popular because they are easy to use, they are adaptable and they help improve soil fertility as they slowly decompose. Meanwhile they are incorporated into the soil by earthworms and other soil dwelling creatures.

You will need to replace an organic mulch about twice a year. It is important that the soil is warm when you mulch. The bacteria within the soil and the mulch are constantly releasing nutrients and if the temperature is too low this process will stop. Putting a good mulch on before the winter sets in reduces the temperature changes in the soil that cause stress to perennial plants so they will thrive better.

Benefits of Mulch and Pinestraw

The benefits of mulching will be easy to see. The soil remains healthier and has a constant supply of new nutrients being gently released at nature’s own pace. Also weed control is much easier. The most beneficial effect is keeping the moisture where it is most needed. Soil under mulch is generally cool and moist to the touch. You won’t have to water as often and it maintains a constant, healthy environment for your plants even during the long hot summer months.

Summer Pruning

Although some plants can be pruned at almost any time of the year, in general this is far from being the case and often timing is critical if the desired result is to be achieved. The main pruning period for many plants, including roses, soft fruits, and many tree fruits, is the dormant season, from late autumn to early spring. However, winter pruning stimulates growth whereas summer pruning checks it. Most of the pruning to form the spur systems of restricted forms of fruit trees, such as cordons and espaliers, is carried out in summer to avoid promoting unmanageable growth.

pruning hedges

Summer pruning of hedges puts the perfect finishing touch on a garden and creates an attractive boundary. Cutting a hedge regularly maintains its shape and avoids problems with unwanted shade. A regular pruning regime makes it easier to control hedges. As with most garden maintenance, cutting regularly makes things much easier than leaving maintenance until the hedge has taken over the garden. Most evergreen hedges require trimming a couple of times during the growing season. Conifers need particularly regular attention due to their fast growth. In comparison, maintenance of informal hedges is determined by when they flower.

The full ornamental potential of many plants can only be realized by pruning at an appropriate time and must take account of the age of the wood that bears flowers, the most decorative foliage, or the most vividly colored stems. Many shrubs that flower in the spring do so most prolifically on one-year-old wood. Cutting out the oldest wood when summer pruning after flowering will encourage the development of replacement shoots that will flower the following year. Shrubs and climbers that flower on the current seasons’ wood are best pruned in early spring, with the previous years’ wood being cut back to a low framework of branches.

In the case of some plants that are susceptible to particular diseases, the risk of infection can be reduced by pruning when they are least vulnerable. Silverleaf is a serious fungal disease of plums and other stone fruits and also of some ornamentals. The windborne spores, which gain entry to the plant through fresh wounds, including pruning cuts, are released by the fruiting bodies of the fungus from early autumn to late spring. Summer pruning greatly lessens the risk of infection.

Core Aeration

One of the keys to having a healthy and lush lawn is to perform core aerations on a regular basis. Aerating your lawn is necessary to keep your turf healthy and growing. Sometimes instances resulting from what you may think are insects, under watering or fertilizer problems, are actually happening simply because you are not aerating the soil as often as it needs.

core aeration

Core aeration enables the roots to take in more air and sunlight. The process involves extracting small amounts (plugs) of soil from the stand of turf. One advantage of this procedure includes improving the supply of oxygen to the roots of the grass and allowing the soil to breathe more freely. It also helps the nutrients and fertilizers to reach the roots directly. An other benefit of core aeration is that the soil gets loosened up and able to take in more water.  When a lawn had not had sufficient aerations, only half of the quantity of fertilizers reach the roots and the rest are lost on the surface itself.

Commercial power lawn aerators have spikes or cores for aerating the lawn. The core aeration version of the equipment is most effective and is ideal for large lawns, fields and parks. If you have inbuilt sprinklers in the ground, we’ll take care to not disturb them while using aerators on your lawn.

It is best to have your lawn aerated at least twice a year though it can be done three to four times if you are doing it for the first time or if the soil is quite rigid and compact. It is also necessary to water the lawn well the previous day of aeration so that the soil is soft and easy to core. But make sure that you do not pour too much water and make it muddy which makes it difficult to aerate and is ineffective.

Once you have aerated the lawn, you can leave the soil plugs on the grass itself and then plug them back later. The plugs will also break up on their own which will be effective for the breakdown of the thatch.

Irrigation

Proper irrigation design and installation is critical for the overall success and health of your landscape. Make certain you are working with an experienced and licensed professional like Carolina Creations.

lawn irrigation services

If not properly designed or installed, irrigation systems can be one of the most troublesome and expensive components of the landscape. More often than not, we have seen a great investment wither away because of inadequate design and installation practices. Furthermore, proper irrigation design and installation should include and plan for responsible water consumption rates.

Inadequate design standards and short cuts used during installation will only cost the end user (i.e. you) more in the future.

We at Carolina Creations Landscapes, Inc. have the knowledge and training to properly design and install efficient systems that will protect the value of your landscape. Guard your investment and let the staff at Carolina Creations Landscapes, Inc. educate you on the benefits of working with a Licensed Professional.