WHEN TO PRUNE (Continued from How to Prune)

If pruning is necessary, you can do light, corrective pruning any time of the year.  More severe pruning of most deciduous trees and non-blooming shrubs should be done during their dormancy in the late winter to early spring before they leaf out.  Insects and disease spores are less likely to infest pruning cuts during this time.  This is especially important for fruit trees that are vulnerable to fireblight.  It is also easier to see the plant’s form when it is without leaves.   In spring to early summer, energy reserves are being used for new growth and heavy pruning can weaken a tree or shrub.  By late summer and early fall, plants begin storing their energy reserves in their roots to use in dormancy for next season’s spring growth.  Pruning should be limited during this time since it may encourage new growth that would not have time to mature before being subjected to freezing temperatures.   By late fall after they have lost their leaves and there have been several hard freezes, more of the energy reserves are in their roots and there is less stress on the plant.

 

Exceptions:

Spring-flowering shrubs bloom on the previous year’s growth.  Flower buds develop in midsummer through fall so pruning in the fall and winter removes the coming year’s flower buds.  If you thin right after bloom before the flower buds are set you will maximize the next season’s flowers.

        If you thin right after bloom before the flower buds are set you will maximize the next season’s flowers

www.ext.colostate.edu

 

Spring-flowering shrubs include Forsythia, Nanking Cherry, Quince, Bridalwreath and Vanhoutte Spireas, Viburnums, Beautybush, Lilac, Peashrub and Weigela.  It is recommended that you deadhead the faded flowers after they bloom.  This not only makes the plant look tidier but conserves its energy for seed development.

Summer-flowering shrubs bloom on new wood that grew earlier in the current growing season.   Flower buds develop in midspring through midsummer so pruning during this period removes the season’s flower buds.  If you thin right after bloom before the flower buds are set you will maximize the next season’s flowers.  Removing older canes of flowering shrubs also allows better sunlight penetration which results in better flowering throughout the shrub instead of just at the top.   Summer-flowering shrubs include most Butterfly Bush, Blue Mist Spirea, Hancock Coralberry, Mockorange, Potentilla, Japanese Spirea, Annabelle and Peegee Hydrangea, and Althea/ Rose of Sharon.

 Prune summer-flowering shrubs Flower buds develop in midspring through midsummer so pruning during this period removes the season’s flower buds

www.ext.colostate.edu

 

Pruning Techniques – To Be Continued

About Urban Gardens, Inc.

Urban Gardens provides landscape design and consulting services to residential clients whose projects range from historic renovations to new subdivisions with a blank slate. Sarah Christian owns and operates Urban Gardens in the internationally recognized Stapleton Development in Denver, Colorado. She received her Masters degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Colorado at Denver in 1995 and has worked in Colorado since that time. She is licensed by the state of Colorado and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects. You can visit her web page at www.urbangardensinc.com

 

HOW TO PRUNE (Continued from Why Prune)

Pruning shouldn't be noticed HTprune2

“A good pruning job is like a good haircut.  It should hardly be noticed at all.”

 

PRUNING TYPES:

Many shrubs will look their best when allowed to grow to their natural form with just occasional pruning of dead, damaged or diseased wood.  Avoid making cuts at a uniform edge creating a round ball or other unnatural shape or across the top of a shrub.   This is a common pruning technique because it is quick and easy.

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Frequent, unnecessary shearing that is done incorrectly can cause shrubs to lose their natural shape, resulting in an unhealthy structure with dead sections and reduced flowering.

HTprune8If you want a tightly sheared look, choose a plant that is suited to this type of pruning

If you really want a tightly sheared look in your garden, choose a plant that is suited to this type of pruning such as boxwood.

 

A natural shape will be very appealing.

1)      Branch by Branch Shaping

One proper pruning technique is branch by branch shaping which involves cutting the longest and oldest branches back to the point of origin where the branch grew from its parent branch. This results in branches of varying lengths and a more natural looking shrub.  It is an acceptable method for deciduous shrubs but does not significantly encourage new growth of wood on flowering shrubs for maximum bloom.

Carying lengths gives a more natural looking shrub.

 

2)      Thinning

One of two methods to encourage shrub flowering is thinning.  The objective is to cut one-third of the oldest wood to the ground each year which stimulates new, better flowering growth from the base of the shrub. This method is time-consuming and does not work well on twiggy, multi-stem shrubs like spirea.  For overgrown shrubs, it is best to do rejuvenation pruning, followed by thinning.

Thinning means to  cut one-third of the oldest wood to the ground each year

3)      Rejuvenation

The other method to encourage shrub flowering is rejuvenation.  Rather than just cutting one-third of the oldest wood, the shrub is cut entirely to the ground or just above it in the early spring before new growth starts.  The shrub regrows from the roots, giving a compact new plant with maximum bloom.  This method is preferred for many flowering shrubs such as multi-stemmed, twiggy-type shrubs such as Spirea, Blue Mist Spirea, Potentilla, Red-twig Dogwood, Sumac, and Hydrangea.  You can also use this method to rejuvenate Lilac, Privets, Barberry, Forsythia, Quince, Mockorange, Weigela, and many Viburnums.  Rejuvenation should be followed by thinning new canes to several strong ones over the next several years with weak cane growth removed at the base.  After three to five years, rejuvenation may be repeated again when the shrub begins to look woody.

Rejuvenation allows for natural regrowth.

When To Prune – To Be Continued

About Urban Gardens, Inc.:

Urban Gardens provides landscape design and consulting services to residential clients whose projects range from historic renovations to new subdivisions with a blank slate. Sarah Christian owns and operates Urban Gardens in the internationally recognized Stapleton Development in Denver, Colorado. She received her Masters degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Colorado at Denver in 1995 and has worked in Colorado since that time. She is licensed by the state of Colorado and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects. You can visit her web page at www.urbangardensinc.com

 

WHY PRUNE?

If a plant is planted in the right place, minimal pruning will be required.  People often don’t do their research on a plant’s mature size and plant it in a space that is not big enough.  Windows may become covered or paths or gates may become obstructed by growth.  Furthermore, plants can be placed too close together by those in search of instant gratification and a full look.  A few years later, the plants have to either be drastically pruned or removed.   Over time, excessive pruning weakens and disfigures shrubs and results in a lot of unnecessary work and yard waste.
Overgrowth can block windows or take over an area.Research a plant’s mature size and plant it in a space that is big enough.

However, If you have selected a plant whose mature size fits its location, there are several reasons when pruning is appropriate.

1)      Health – prune dead, damaged or diseased wood so that energy can go to producing new growth

2)      Crossing branches that rub together – one of the two should be removed

3)      Undesirable growth – suckers at the base of a plant, limbs encroaching on sidewalks, etc.

4)      To encourage flowering – by thinning at the base or rejuvenation.  Proper methods of pruning to encourage flowering will be discussed in more detail in a later blog.

Prune dead, damaged or diseased wood so that energy can go to producing new growth

Undesirable growth – suckers at the base of a plant, limbs encroaching on sidewalks, etc.Learn how to prune unwanted growth.

How To Prune - To Be Continued

About Urban Gardens, Inc.:

Urban Gardens provides landscape design and consulting services to residential clients whose projects range from historic renovations to new subdivisions with a blank slate. Sarah Christian owns and operates Urban Gardens in the internationally recognized Stapleton Development in Denver, Colorado. She received her Masters degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Colorado at Denver in 1995 and has worked in Colorado since that time. She is licensed by the state of Colorado and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects. You can visit her web page at www.urbangardensinc.com

Urban Gardens, Inc. Wins a 2013 CARE Award

Urban Gardens, Inc., a landscape design and consulting firm located in Denver, Colorado and owned and operated by Sarah Christian, won a 2013 CARE Award.  Sponsored by the Homebuilder’s Association of Metro Denver, the Colorado Awards for Remodeling Excellence, known as the CARE awards, are the largest and longest running contest recognizing remodeling of all types, including both commercial and residential projects.  Categories are numerous and include kitchens, bathrooms, landscape, green building, and much more. CARE awards are judged blind by local volunteers, making it a fair competition that recognizes excellence in remodeling, no matter the authorship.PR pic

Sarah Christian of Urban Gardens, Inc. received a First Place prize for a landscape remodel project in the Lowry Redevelopment Neighborhood in Colorado in the Landscaping category. The Cho-Chung family had plans to relocate to Denver from San Francisco when they contracted with Urban Gardens, Inc. long distance to design their backyard which was a blank slate in the Lowry Redevelopment neighborhood. Their vision for the backyard was to have an outdoor space with a “Colorado Zen” feel and an elegant, minimalist aesthetic.  They wanted to use the space for entertaining with a pergola to shade their dining table and a conversation area with a fire pit for summer parties.  They also wanted a Colorado landscape that required minimal water and maintenance and a  place to grow their own vegetables and herbs.

Sarah’s work was judged by the strength of design ideas, aesthetic and market appeal, sensitivity to existing structure, appropriate use of existing building elements, function and flow, craftsmanship, and overall presentation and compliance with entry requirements. When asked, Sarah stated, “I’m very honored to receive this wonderful acknowledgement from a jury of my peers.  I’d like to thank my clients, Ray Cho and Hannah Chung, for a great collaborative effort…” To read more, click here to view official press release.

Dog Urine Damage to Lawns

Summarized from CSU Extension Service, Garden Note #553

Damage to lawns from dog urine is a common problem in urban landscapes and the smaller the yard, the greater the impact – yet the causes and cures are frequently misunderstood. Many urban legends have cropped up, leading to the development of commercial products and the use of home remedies. As a responsible pet owner and an informed consumer, you should be aware of both the true causes and the solutions that actually work and are safe for your dog.

“Dog spots” are caused by high concentrations of nitrogen and salts deposited on a small area of lawn causing injury or death to that area. Some common urban legends about dog urine damage to lawns are:

Urban Legends/True Causes

  • Only female dogs cause spotting to lawnsMOSTLY FALSE

Dog spotting on lawns is caused by dogs that squat when they urinate which deposits a large amount of concentrated urine in one spot. Most “squatters” are generally female dogs but some males do this too particularly in their own yard. Most males prefer to mark vertical objects which present more problems for plants than for lawns.

  • Dog spots are more common with certain breeds of dogsFALSE

Dog spotting is not more common with any particular breed of dog but larger dogs tend to produce larger quantities of urine which is more destructive to a lawn. However, if a dog, regardless of size, tends to go to the same area each time to urinate, spotting will be more common.

  • Dog spots occur because urine is alkalineFALSE Dog spots are caused by high concentrations of nitrogen and salts on a small area of lawn. In some cases, the added nitrogen causes dark green spots and rapid grass growth without injuring the grass. In other cases, the result is a brown spot from the concentrated nitrogen. The brown spot is sometimes surrounded by a circle of dark green grass from the lower concentration of salts on the periphery that fertilizes the grass.

  • Dog spots can be prevented by using food supplements that reduce the acidify a dog’s urine – FALSE

Dog spots do not occur because a dog’s urine is alkaline. There are no dietary supplements that have been scientifically proven to reduce lawn spotting. Products advertised to “naturally” reduce urine alkalinity may cause urinary system problems and can affect calcium deposition in growing bones of younger dogs so you should always contact your veterinarian before giving your dog this type of supplement.

  • Dog spots can be cured by sprinkling the affected area with baking soda, gypsum, dishwashing detergent, etc. to neutralize the urine – FALSE

Water is the only thing that will reduce the impact of dog urine on your lawn. Gypsum and baking soda are salts and may actually compound the problem. Dishwashing detergent could theoretically help dilute the accumulated salts but it could also burn your grass.

 

Solutions

  • When your dog urinates on the lawn, hose down the area immediately afterward.
  • Train your dog to use another area of your yard covered with mulch or gravel or even artificial turf.
  • Make sure your dog always has plenty of water. Increased water will dilute urine and its negative impacts on your lawn, however, do not give your dog home remedies such as salt, garlic, tomato juice, etc. to increase their water consumption. The increased salt intake can cause problems for older dogs and those with heart or kidney conditions. You can also make sure your dog goes out more rather than less frequently to avoid more concentrated urine.
  • Increase irrigation amount and/or frequency. This may help still-living grass recover and dilute salts where the grass has been killed, allowing for more effective reseeding results.

About Urban Gardens, Inc.:
Urban Gardens provides landscape design and consulting services to residential clients whose projects range from historic renovations to new subdivisions with a blank slate. Sarah Christian owns and operates Urban Gardens in the internationally recognized Stapleton Development in Denver, Colorado. She received her Masters degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Colorado at Denver in 1995 and has worked in Colorado since that time. She is licensed by the state of Colorado and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects. You can visit her web page at www.urbangardensinc.com

“Dog Friendly Gardens, Garden Friendly Dogs”

IF YOU WERE A DOG, WHAT WOULD YOU WANT?

The answer is different for each breed because they have different traits but the more you can think like your dog, the better you can accommodate its traits and personality needs and the better your chance of designing a space you can both enjoy.

 

ELEMENTS OF A DOG FRIENDLY GARDEN

Shade & Shelter:

Like humans, dogs enjoy basking in the sun so they should have a place to do that but,more importantly, they can become overheated easily and need a cool place to escape the heat. They will happily share pergolas or other shade structures with their owners but can also use a comfortable, shaded lawn or planted area or even a doghouse. In rain or as the seasons change, dogs don’t want to be wet or cold, so your dog will need shelter to stay safe from the elements.

Water:

Whether it is a simple bowl, an automatic refilling water bowl, or something more elaborate, your dog needs clean, fresh water to stay hydrated and cool.

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Bathroom area:

Make sure your dog’s outdoor bathroom area is in a place that’s both acceptable to you and comfortable for your dog. Contrary to what you may think, it doesn’t have to be lawn.

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Designate an area of your yard for your dog and train it to go there and nowhere else. Use a material your dog will accept that you can clean easily. Flagstone, brick, pea gravel, and small cedar chips are all good choices. Small cedar chips are easy on paws yet large enough so they won’t cling to their coats. Even artificial turf can be an acceptable option. Consider a marking post for male dogs such as a wood stump.

Safe & Secure Fencing:

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Inspect your fence and make sure there are no gaps or holes. Also make sure your dog can’t dig out from underneath or jump over the fence to get out. If you have a digger, you may need to install an underground barrier made of rebar, chicken wire, or poured concrete.

 

 

 

Paths to Run & Patrol:

If you have an unused area of your yard such as side yard, you can enclose the area and have a space dedicated to your dog. However, if you and your dog need to share the garden space, keep in mind that dogs need exercise and a place to patrol their territory – usually along the perimeter of the fence at the property line. A dog will investigate every time it hears a noise and yard areas closest to sidewalks, neighbors’ doorways, etc. will be high traffic dog areas and are not the best locations for more delicate landscaping projects that may be trampled.

patrolOne suggestion is to sacrifice a couple of feet along the fence for a perimeter path. You can plant a living screen to hide the dog run or install low, open fencing that is covered with vines or obscured by taller plantings. This can be simple, open fencing such as a welded wire mesh sometimes known as hog wire stapled to short posts, galvanized steel tubes fitted through holes drilled in the posts, or galvanized cable attached to the post with a simple eye-hook.

If your dog has already created its own path through the garden, don’t try to redirect it. Instead, turn its well-worn path into a formal one. Install a dig-proof barrierYou might also try installing a window in closed fences or walls to allow your dog to see what is happening on the other side of the fence. This can be constructed of plexi-glass or welded wire and framed in.

Plantings:
For more delicate plants, consider gardening in raised beds, vertical gardening with vines or climbing roses on a trellis or against an exterior wall, using pots for annual color around a patio or deck, or installing attractive ornamental fencing in areas you wish to be off limits to your dog.

plantings

If you plant densely, dogs tend to stay out of beds.Tougher plants like ornamental grasses should be planted around the outside edge of the garden and more fragile plants should be planted further back.

Protect new or tender plants with staking or install temporary fencing around newly landscape areas until they are established. Small trees can be protected with tree wrap. Use tough plantings like groundcovers that can take foot traffic but avoid thorny and spiny plants which can cause serious eye injuries. Be very cautious about planting poisonous plants in areas that will be accessible to your dog. For a list of poisonous plants, visit ww.aspca.org/toxicplants.

Dogfriendlygardens13   dogfriendlygardens14

Sources:

Your Dog & Backyard Landscaping, by Cheryl Smith Sunset.com, How to Landscape A Dog Friendly Garden

 

About Urban Gardens, Inc.:
Urban Gardens provides landscape design and consulting services to residential clients whose projects range from historic renovations to new subdivisions with a blank slate. Sarah Christian owns and operates Urban Gardens in the internationally recognized Stapleton Development in Denver, Colorado. She received her Masters degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Colorado at Denver in 1995 and has worked in Colorado since that time. She is licensed by the state of Colorado and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects. You can visit her web page at www.urbangardensinc.com

Alternatives to Lawn

Why replace your lawn?

People usually replace their lawns for either maintenance or environmental reasons. The costs of lawn maintenance include fuel for power mowers, toxic emissions, fertilizers and pesticides, water consumption and your weekend time. Hiring a lawn care service will save you time and energy but the environmental costs remain.

According to GIMME GREEN, a documentary that examines the American obsession with the residential lawn:

  • Lawns are America’s most irrigated crop.images
  • American’s spend more than 40 billion dollars a year on their yards.
  • Americans apply more than 30,000 tons of pesticides to their yards every year.
  • Of the 30 most used lawn pesticides, 17 are routinely detected in groundwater.
  • The EPA finds that nearly half of these 30 pesticides are possible or probably carcinogens.
  • The National Cancer Institute finds that children in households using lawn pesticides have 6.5 times greater risk of developing leukemia.
  • In order to maintain all the lawns in America, it would take approximately 200 gallons per person per day.
  • If present consumption patterns continue, two out of every three people on earth will live in water-stressed conditions by the year 2025.

Yet even those who object to lawns from a maintenance or environmental standpoint acknowledge that lawns can contribute to the beauty of a landscape. John Greenlee, author of The American Meadow Garden said, “I understand what design purpose a lawn serves. It’s a cool, simple panel that allows your eye to rest. It doesn’t have the cacophony of a perennial border, and so I get what that does, but at what expense to the environment?”

Alternatives to Lawn

Homeowners sometimes decide to replace lawns that are difficult to maintain in steep, shady, or difficult to access areas and on poorly drained or compacted soil. If you have one of these problem areas or want to reduce or eliminate your lawn for environmental reasons, here are some alternatives.

Groundcovers & Pavers

Groundcovers and/or pavers are a great low-maintenance solution for small areas like side yards and narrow strips between the sidewalk and street.

 

Landscape choices on public right-of-ways may be restricted by municipal codes and regulations so consult with your local municipality or homeowners associations before beginning work. Neighboring landscapes should also be considered so your design is consistent with the neighborhood streetscape concept. Keep plantings as low to the ground and maintenance free as possible. Mimic the look of grass with massings of groundcovers or short ornamental grasses. Here are three examples of plantings that coordinate well with the front yard plantings while still being consistent with a streetscape concept.

A mix of perennials like shown here would be better placed on the inside of the sidewalk so as not to obstruct views and to maintain a consistent streetscape.

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Groundcovers placed between pavers should be low to the ground and capable of handling some foot traffic. Some to consider include: For Shade: Scotch or Irish Moss, Golden Moneywort, Creeping Veronica. For Part-Shade: Moneywort, Crystal River Veronica. For Sun: Sedums, Moneywort, Mother of Thyme, Dwarf Creeping Thyme, Woolly Thyme, Crystal River Veronica, Turkish Veronica.

Hardscape

Hardscape is the term used to describe the part of the landscape that consists of structures made with hard, non-living materials such as patios, retaining walls, and walkways. Hardscape can be non-permeable such as a concrete patio or permeable such as a brick patio set in sand or a gravel path. It can be used to give a traditional or contemporary look or to convey any style you wish. Outdoor hardscape spaces can be great places for outdoor sitting, dining, and entertaining. Here are some great examples of how hardscape can be used to make an inviting outdoor extension of your home by reducing or eliminating lawn:

Paths

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Front Entries

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Backyards

courtyard-fireplace-29935-1900 contemporary-landscape images

No-Mow Grasses

If the beauty of green grass in the landscape is something you just can’t let go of, you can reduce the size of your lawn. You can also consider no-mow grasses that are more environmentally friendly and easier to care for. Lawn alternatives can range from ground covering plants to non-traditional grasses to synthetic grasses.

Groundcovering Plants – There are many plants that are good lawn alternatives depending on the conditions and functions of the area. Thyme and clover are two. The low growing thyme (left) is a xeric groundcover. Clover lawns (center) require less water, fewer mowings, no fertilizer, and stay green longer than traditional grass. Groundcovers can also be used in shady areas or under trees, where it is difficult to get grass to grow. Vinca (right), Sweet Woodruff, and Lamium are good choices for this.

 

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Vinca photo: Credit: “Ground Cover,” © 2008 Peter Smithy

Non-traditional Grasses – The three most common drought tolerant grasses for Colorado are fescue, buffalograss and bluegramma. All require about half the water of Kentucky Bluegrass once established and have minimal mowing and fertilizer needs. In determining which type of grass to go with, you should consider whether they can be grown in sun or shade, their tolerance for heat and cold, susceptibility to disease, how well they tolerate foot traffic, how long they take to establish, and their maintenance requirements. Be aware of both their strong points and their shortcomings because there is no perfect grass!

IMG_3988_-_fix BuffaloGrass fescue-blend-1012-l

Synthetic Grasses -

Synthetic Grasses – Artificial grass, usually made of polyethylene plastic grass and a base of recycled tires, was originally designed for sports fields but has become more popular for home use. It can be appealing because it has lower maintenance costs and is more durable than natural grass, is pesticide free and saves water. However, it absorbs heat, has a limited life, requires periodic cleaning, uses petroleum in the manufacturing process, may contain toxic chemicals, and has some health and safety concerns. If artificial grass is installed and removed, it takes years of soil remediation to grow anything on that surface because the plastic kills any living organism in the subsoil. Physical and environmental health risks aside, children are becoming more alienated from nature and synthetic grass does nothing to further this important connection.

artificialgrass images easyturf-fieldturf-artificial-turf-playground_013

If you are inspired, there are many alternatives to traditional lawns that require less time, energy and environmental cost to maintain. If nothing else, you can look for ways to reduce the amount of lawn you have and enjoy the public lawns of our parks and open spaces for larger space uses. Regardless of the balance you strike, it is possible to have a lovely space that you and your family can enjoy and be proud of.

Sources:

Five No-Mow, No-Fuss Lawn Alternatives, by Deena Bustillo

About.com, Lawn Alternatives

Turf Wars: Pros & Cons of Artificial Turf, by Lindsay Barton

About Urban Gardens, Inc.:

Urban Gardens provides landscape design and consulting services to residential clients whose projects range from historic renovations to new subdivisions with a blank slate. Sarah Christian owns and operates Urban Gardens in the internationally recognized Stapleton Development in Denver, Colorado. She received her Masters degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Colorado at Denver in 1995 and has worked in Colorado since that time. She is licensed by the state of Colorado and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects. You can visit her web page at www.urbangardensinc.com

We Are Featured on Houzz.com

houzz-logo

Have you heard the news? Urban Gardens, Inc., a landscape design and consulting firm located in Denver, Colorado and owned and operated by Sarah Christian, is now featured on Houzz.com. The new profile can be viewed at www.houzz.com/pro/sarah-christian/__public. Called the “Wikipedia of interior and exterior design” by CNN, Houzz has the largest database of interior and exterior home design ideas on the internet, with over 1 million images of professionally designed homes and 12 million monthly users. Photos can be browsed by style such as Mediterranean or Contemporary and geographic location or searched by design element such as pergola or sandstone patio and saved to virtual ideabooks. It’s the equivalent of clipping design magazines to a scrapbook making ideas easier to search, save and share. Houzz is also an online community with articles written by the design community, product recommendations, and a user forum. Houzz.com is available as a free iPad app as well. According to the New York Times it is “one of the rare nongaming apps with an average iTunes rating of five stars, after thousands of reviews, and the ratings are well deserved.”

Photos of Urban Gardens’s featured projects are now being added to user’s ideabooks, questions are being asked about the projects, and the company is being searched as a local professional. Additionally, when clients work with Urban Gardens, both the client and Urban Gardens may share their ideabooks with each other. Sarah Christian, Owner of Urban Gardens, Inc. shared her enthusiasm about Houzz and said “Having the images to refer to helps clients articulate more clearly their likes and dislikes which results in a better end product. A picture is worth a thousand words.” Homeowners also seem to be enthusiastic about Houzz. …To read more, click here to view official press release.

Preventing and Controlling Weeds

Preventing&ControllingWeeds1

Excluding the handful of people who find weeding cathartic, most of us would prefer to spend our time outside doing something other than weeding. Yet whether we enjoy weeding or not, most find it a necessary chore. There are two strategies for dealing with weeds. One is to try to prevent or at least minimize weeds in your lawn and garden beds, the other is to remove and control weeds once they take up residence.

Prevention

Prevention keeps weeds from occurring or increasing in your yard. When installing lawn, make sure you purchase sod from local growers that grow weed-free sod or seed from local companies that sell nothing but seed and make sure the label indicates that it is 100 percent weed-free. Most retail seed mixtures will contain some weed seed. Once your lawn is established, the best defense against weeds is a lawn that is healthy, dense and actively growing.

Many weeds thrive in lawns where there is insufficient nitrogen because they need less nitrogen than grass. Some of the weeds that like these conditions include white clover, black medic, dandelion and crabgrass.

There are several factors in keeping your lawn healthy. Water properly, in the late evening or early morning avoiding frequent shallow watering and using the frequency and duration recommendations of the Denver Water Board which will vary from month to month. Mow bluegrass lawns to a minimum height of two to three inches. Aerate in the spring and apply a pre-emergence herbicide. The herbicide must be applied in March to early April before weeds emerge or the product will be ineffective.

Lastly, apply a nitrogen fertilizer. A light fertilizer can be applied in the spring but fall is the best time and a heavier fertilizer should be applied at that time. In your garden beds, weeds can be minimized with weed barrier fabric and mulch which limits light required for annual weed growth.

Control

Weeds should be removed from your yard so they will not reoccur. It’s important to know there are different control methods for different types of weeds as they all have different growth patterns, reproduction patterns, food storage and even root systems. Hand weeding is effective with small annual weeds if done before flowering but it is generally not effective with perennial weeds because a large part of the root remains in the soil and quickly regenerates another top.

Use chemicals only on individual weeds as liquid spot treatment is more effective and environmentally friendly than “weed and feed” type applications that are applied to the entire lawn. When applying liquid chemicals to weeds with a sprayer, spray just until the foliage is moist. Dry granular formulations should be applied to wet grass and weeds. Use herbicides when temperatures are above 65 and not expected to rise above 85 degrees within 24 hours of application. Spray weeds when there is little or no wind to minimize the danger of herbicide drift and avoid watering for 24 hours after application. Broadleaf weed killer should be used for broadleaf weeds. Roundup® is an effective weed grass killer but it will kill both the weed grasses and lawn so it should be used only to spot-spray individual patches of undesirable grasses. After weeds have been removed, you should re-seed or sod the empty space to prevent another weed infestation and any soil left exposed in garden beds should be remulched.

In spite of our best efforts, some weeds will still occur. Some species are very aggressive and can be resistant to the herbicides we use. Perennial weeds are some of the most difficult to control but are most effectively controlled with a late summer/early fall herbicide application when they are green and actively growing. Herbicide mixtures, containing three or four different herbicides, often provide better control of difficult weeds. Identifying the type of weed is key to selecting the most effective herbicide product.

There are also some organic methods available such as corn gluten meal which can be used as an organic pre-emergent herbicide with fertilizer to suppress seed germination and help green up your lawn. Vinegar can be used to kill weeds but will also kill lawn and require repeated applications. Boiling water from a tea kettle will kill annual weeds and kill or control perennial weeds.

. . .

 

 

“A man’s children and his garden both reflect the amount of weeding done during the growing season.” – Unknown

 

Sources:

“Weed Management for Pros”, by Dr. Tony Koski

CSU Extension.edu, No. 3.101: “Control of AnnualGrassy Weeds in Lawns”
Plantalk Colorado, No. 1525: “Controlling Broadleaf Weeds in Lawns”
Plantalk Colorado, No. 1530: “Controlling Weedy Grasses in Lawns”

About Urban Gardens, Inc.:

Urban Gardens provides landscape design and consulting services to residential clients whose projects range from historic renovations to new subdivisions with a blank slate. Sarah Christian owns and operates Urban Gardens in the internationally recognized Stapleton Development in Denver, Colorado. She received her Masters degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Colorado at Denver in 1995 and has worked in Colorado since that time. She is licensed by the state of Colorado and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects. You can visit her webpage at www.urbangardensinc.com

Fall & Winter Watering

WHY WATER?

Unlike some parts of the country, Colorado can experience periods of especially harsh fall and winter conditions characterized by dry air, low precipitation, little soil moisture, and fluctuating temperatures. When we experience extended dry periods, there is not enough soil moisture which puts the root system of trees, shrubs, perennials and lawns at risk if not given supplemental water. Plants that are affected may appear normal in the spring but die when temperatures rise in the late spring or summer because their resources have been depleted. Lack of winter water may also make plants susceptible to insect and disease problems.

WHEN TO WATER?

Monitor soil conditions closely from November through March and water during dry periods when there has been no snow cover for two weeks. You need to water when air and soil temperatures are above 40 degrees F, the soil is not frozen and there is no snow on the ground. You should also water mid-day so the water can soak into the ground before freezing nighttime temperatures occur. Don’t forget to disconnect the hose when you are finished watering.

WHAT TO WATER?

Newly planted trees or plants, transplanted plants, evergreens and broadleaf evergreens that loose moisture through their needles/leaves, and shallow rooted trees are especially vulnerable. Lawns, especially newly established ones, can also suffer winter damage and will need occasional supplemental watering to avoid susceptibility to winter grass mites and desiccation. Even established plants should be watered in times of winter drought but can go longer between watering than the categories mentioned above.

HOW MUCH TO WATER?

Most trees, especially when they are establishing their root systems during the first five years after planting, should get ten gallons per inch of trunk diameter. Smaller shrubs (under 3’ tall) should receive five gallons and larger shrubs (over 6’ tall) should receive 18 gallons of water.

WHERE TO WATER?

Water trees to a depth of 12” using a deep root watering device and apply water to all areas beneath the tree and its dripline. Shrubs should also be watered around the base and within the dripline. For newly planted perennials, check the soil conditions 2-3” deep and water around the root ball if the ground appears dry.

WHAT ELSE TO DO?

Winter mulching is another helpful practice to combine with watering. Plants in exposed areas, generally warmer south and west exposures, are subject to freeze-thaw conditions which open cracks in the soil that expose roots to cold and drying.

SOURCES: Colorado State Extension Fact Sheet 7.211 – Fall & Winter Watering http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/Garden/07211.html

Planttalk Colorado™ – Script 1706 – Winter Watering http://www.ext.colostate.edu/ptlk/1706.html