Not many plants get more traditional or southern than Hydrangeas. They provide your landscape with very large and beautiful blooms for several months during the summer. What you might not know however is why some plants bloom a different color than others. It all has to do with the soil pH the plant is growing in. When a plant is growing in an acidic soil where the pH is around 5.5 or lower you will get blue blooms. When you get a more basic pH of 6.5 or higher you will get pink blooms. It is also not uncommon to see blooms with shades of Purple when you get pH’s in the middle. You can actually change the color of your plants bloom by altering this pH. Im sure you have heard about putting old rusty nails or other metal at the base of the plants. As it rust the water will bleed into the soil and alter the pH and change the color of the blooms. Also, remember to make sure these plants get plenty of shade. They don’t like the afternoon sun very much and will wilt and get droopy. Hope this helps!!!
Have you ever seen a lawn pimple! HaHa…actually it’s just a massive build up of water under ground. It’s very common this time of year when your sprinkler system has been turned off during the winter. Sometimes there will be breaks and since they are underground you can’t see them. In a situation like this one, the root system of the grass is thick enough and the soil compacted to the point the water stays under ground. It then forms a water bed like situation in the lawn and the water builds up there. The issue ends up being you have punch a hole in the ground to let all the water out then dig around to find the break. It’s very important to find these types of breaks because it is usually a major one that is letting lots of water out. Considering how much the city charges for water you want to get it fixed! Hope this helps! Let us know if you have any questions!
To aerate or not to aerate?
Wait what do you mean aerate?
Our area is no stranger to clay soil. That along with all of the rain and high heat can cause for very compacted soil. To combat this soil compaction problem there is a process called aeration. This is the process of physically removing cores of dirt which helps loosen the ground. When the ground is not as compacted it allows for better absorption of water, proper air flow and better ability for nutrients to get to the grass roots.
The real question is how do you know if you need it? We suggest getting it done at least once a year. If you have never had it then lets just assume you need it! A simple test is to take a normal screw driver and try to stick it into the ground. If you can not get it into the ground relatively easy then you need to consider getting this done. You should not have to lean into it and put a ton of muscle and body weight into getting the screwdriver into the ground. The benefits are huge. If you have any questions about how or where to do this feel free to ask any questions!
Each Spring we get calls about peoples sprinkler systems smelling! Let me explain…during the winter when you winterize your sprinkler system you are actually only draining water from the vacuum breaker. In a lot of homes there is still water left in the pipes. It’s been just sitting there stagnate for 4-6 months now and will develop a foul smell. When you turn your sprinkler system on for the first time it will start to flush all of this water out of the lines and also spread the bad smell. The good news is it will go away pretty quick. The bad news is if there was a lot of allege or dirt build up you may need to flush your lines out. Trash as fine as sand can cause your vales and heads to not function the right way and prevent the sprinkler system from spraying the lawn in the right way. The easy way to clean these line out would be to remove a nozzle on each zone and let the water flow freely until it becomes clean and clear.
As if there was not enough to worry about…the one plant we all thought was virtually impossible to kill has a new disease that is attacking them. The LSU Ag center is actually the lead agency in discovering the fungus and running test. It’s got the most original name you have ever heard of, Boxwood Dieback disease. And as you would guess it, it causes the plant to die back. The first tall tell sign is you will notice random die back in the plant. Some limbs look well and alive while others are dead. The cause of this is a fungus. The cure at this point is going to be a fungicide however it is so new we are still running trials on how much and what kind works the best. Send us pictures if you have any questions!
Here is a quick link to learn more information.
If you start cleaning up your flower beds early this year be careful about trimming certain plants to early. One of those are Loropetalums. This is the purple shrubs you have seen all over town. They have a wispy natural look to them and are very hardy. One benefit is they bloom several small pinkish purple flowers in the Spring. However if you trim them to early you will actually be removing most of these blooms and will not get the full effect. Typically by May they are done blooming and can be cut to shape and size you were hoping for. Hope this helps!
In our area it’s pretty normal to start cleaning up your flower beds in February or March. While there is nothing wrong with getting a head start there are a few important things to remember before you start trimming. Typically speaking in our area Azaleas don’t bloom until April and into May. If you were to trim your azaleas to early in February or March you would actually be removing a lot of the bloom buds that are going produce the flowers. Since the blooms are the main reason planting the azaleas it’s a loose loose! The proper time to trim these shrubs in immediately after they drop all of their flowers. Usually May or June. This is also a great time to feed them with a nice slow release granular fertilizer. Also don’t forget to regularly inspect your azaleas for bugs or other pest. Typically it’s to late and the damage is done before most people realize there is even an issue! Hope this helps!
Japanese Magnolias are an amazing plant to get anyone ready for Spring. This tree is in the magnolia family but differs for a few reasons. One it that it looses all of it’s leaves during the winter time unlike your more traditional magnolia trees. You may think of this as a negative until later winter or early spring when the tree starts to bloom! They produce the most beautiful pinkish, purple and white flowers and they usually cover the entire tree! Some people call the tree a Tulip tree or a Tulip Magnolia because the blooms look a lot like tulip flowers. Regardless of what you refer to them as, they are one of the most traditional, truly southern plats. And because of the timing of their bloom cycle right before spring they are the perfect kick start to the new year!
Sometimes confused as scale, aphids are a bug that can create a unsightly mess in your Azaleas. They are a bug that feed on the sap of the plant by sticking a needle like beak into the plant. As they feed they drop their waste on the plant that’s called Honeydew. This is a clear sticky substance. After a short period of time a black mold grows on the honeydew. It’s this black mold that usually first alerts people to a issue. While it’s not deadly at first, it can over time be bad for the plant therefore it needs to be addressed ASAP. The entire plant should be sprayed with an insecticide to kill the beds and then treated routinely as a preventive measure. Hope this helps!
Like clockwork every year 90% of our new clients sign up in April & May. Why? Because it is warm and the weeds are growing like crazy! If you have any interest in using a lawn treatment program then now is the time to get started. When the average ground temperatures start getting to 55 and higher you WILL have issues. That is unless you applied a pre emergent. Pre emergents act like a blanket covering the entire lawn. This blanket prevents the weeds from being able to germinate and start to grow. Once the germination process starts you can not stop them from growing. Instead you will have to use herbicides all year to kill the weeds. It’s really easy to prevent this from being the case. Most lawns only cost $45-$65 to treat. At least give it a try!