Get a Jump on the Spring Gardening Season

Even though the ground is still frozen and, in some areas, snow-covered, gardening projects can still begin. It may not be placing those delicate flowers and vegetables out yet, but important details can be accomplished before the calendar gives the “go ahead” to start the annual planting process.

Planning

Rather than wait until the last minute to rush through the nursery with a half-baked list of ideas, late winter is always a great time to plan. Look for new ideas, perhaps at one of the important garden shows in the area, or consult with a professional landscape designer or nursery to plan that spectacular garden design.

Besides sketching the vegetable and flower plantings, late winter is an excellent time to re-imagine the yard with new trees and shrubs.

Clean Up and Service the Equipment

While your equipment may have received a cursory cleaning last fall, late winter is a great time to service machinery and prepare for the coming season. Tillers and lawn mowers should get fresh oil and fuel, and a start-up test can be beneficial to identify any operating problems.

Remove the Dead Leaves and Accumulated Debris

Some of last year’s leaves and small fallen branches undoubtedly remain, either from your trees or from the neighbors’. Cleaning these up now will leave your planting areas and lawn looking great as you wait for the real gardening season to begin. Matted leaves can restrict the early growth of perennials and provide a comfortable home for insects.

Eliminate the Weeds

Weeds will begin to pop up as soon as the ground is soft. Attack the problem shortly after the soil can be worked, often before the last frost. Till the soil to discourage weeds from taking root. Pull and discard any that may have established themselves late last year. Cover the area with mulch for now until planting begins. Mulching should continue to keep weeds from developing.

Perennial Pruning and Care

Cut back ornamental grasses to allow new growth to develop. Also, for many trees and shrubs, late winter is the right time to consider pruning. However, if you are not sure, consult an expert who has experience in the varieties and climate with which you are working.

Some varieties of perennials like hostas, asters, and Siberian iris can even be divided at this time to create new plants, free of charge.

 

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Jump into Spring with Your Favorite Flower Bulbs

As we see the last vestiges of winter chill dissipate and signs that spring is near, the time to think about what’s next for your flower bulbs is here. Some varieties may have been planted in the fall that should begin to pop up as the weather warms. Others may be planted in the early spring for summer flowering.

In either case, the joys of gardening begin anew.

Spring Bulb Planting

Bulbs planted in the fall that begin to come forth early include tulips, crocuses, daffodils, and others. However, whether we neglected to do that planting last year or want to supplement the glory of previous plantings, spring bulbs can bring added pleasure.

Whether in a container garden or positioned among the rest of your plantings, spring bulbs bring an extra measure of color and beauty to your landscape while summer approaches. Bulbs available for spring planting in most zones can provide virtually the entire spectrum of color and texture.

Landscape professionals or nursery experts can advise which options work best in your area and soil types.

Spring flower bulbs can yield blooms as early as late spring and early summer.

Here are some examples to consider:

Spring Blooms:

  • Dutch Windflowers
  • French Anemone
  • Grecian Windflowers

Early Summer Blooms

  • Dahlias
  • Begonias
  • Canna Lilies
  • Foxtail Lilies
  • Christmas Bells
  • English Iris
  • Mountain Bells
  • Asiatic Lilies
  • Dutch Iris

Thinking Ahead

Bulbs of the prior year can be lifted in the fall, dried and stored for spring planting. These should not be stored in plastic because living organisms must be allowed to breathe.

Planting Spring and Early Summer Flowering Bulbs

  • The first consideration is to purchase quality bulbs that are not withered, moldy or dried out. Usually, the more substantial bulbs will produce more flowers, although the smaller ones will increase production over the coming years.
  • Find a well-drained location that gets lots of sunlight in the early months of spring and early summer. Remember that trees have not developed their summer foliage yet, so more areas are suitable than you may think.
  • Always plant with the pointed side up since this end will become the stem.
  • Plant bulbs to a depth of approximately three times their length.
  • Amend the soil with bone meal or a water-soluble fertilizer and water.

If you have questions regarding spring bulb planting, always consult your local professional to ensure best results.

 

Opportunities to Grow in Nursery Jobs

Working mostly outside, helping plants and trees grow and flourish is how many people love to spend their precious spare time. Many who are in nursery jobs as a career cannot imagine doing something else with their lives.

Working for a nursery is a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors, watch nature take its course (with a little help), and learn more about the science and business of plants and trees.

What Do Nursery Workers Do?

Depending on the size of the nursery and the breadth of offerings, nursery workers perform a vast number of essential jobs. Whether in a greenhouse or outside, nursery workers assess and adjust the conditions for best growth and good health for a broad variety of plants, shrubs, or trees. Functions include, but are not limited to, planting, watering, feeding, cutting, pruning, transplanting, and even transporting and replanting.

Tree Farm Workers

Tree farms specialize in shrubs and tree growing for commercial sale. Starting with the planting and care of seedlings in greenhouses, nursery jobs move outside where workers plant, tie, wrap, feed and spray the saplings. Eventually, the young trees are lifted and prepared for transport to their new homes. Highly specialized equipment is required to ease the physical work and protect the trees and shrubs from damage.

Large Nursery Operations

With larger concerns, certain nursery jobs are more specialized. For instance, where controlled irrigation is used to precisely water plants and trees, some workers are dedicated to monitoring, measuring, replacing, and repairing irrigation systems to ensure proper hydration throughout the farm.

Marketing and Record Keeping

Some nursery workers are adept at explaining the operations and pointing out the positive attributes of each plant. They detail the proper care, feeding, and natural characteristics of each plant, shrub, and tree to prospective customers. Also, some nursery jobs involve keeping detailed records of inventory, marketing projections, sales results, budgeting and more.

Nursery Management

Like any business, nurseries require solid management. From overseeing numerous employees, establishing the core objectives, monitoring the budgets, and setting the course for coming years, nursery managers must be experienced in virtually all areas of nursery operations.

Opportunities in Nursery Operations

Nursery operations are becoming more comprehensive. Opportunities are abundant for individuals to become more engaged in the art and science of growing plants. Education and experience in horticulture, botany, soil science, plant breeding, irrigation, and landscaping are real assets.

 

Backyard Landscape Design

Whether for new construction or a complete do-over, backyards and lawns offer a unique opportunity to create a virtual personal paradise for homeowners. Perhaps less encumbered by neighborhood norms, a backyard to a landscape architect is akin to an empty canvas to an artist.

Backyard landscape design may adapt to the homeowner’s vision of a peaceful and relaxing retreat, an activity center, or a comfortable area for entertaining. Positioning planting areas, trees, shrubs, walls and walkways, and other elements establish the mood of the space and define its purpose.

Effective landscape design should reflect seasonal color and light schemes as they change. And, as the landscape design matures, new plants and features may be included to provide an even more exciting and ever-changing landscape.

Role of the Landscape Designer

Homeowners often learn that after several seasons of adding, replacing, and spending, doing their own backyard landscape design never seems to achieve the beautiful lushness and coordinated color that professional landscape designers can create. Professionals have years of experience, education, and knowledge of plant life and the ways a variety of plantings can come together to create a magical combination.

A professional landscape designer anticipates the long-term. Understanding how plants and shrubs mature and grow together harmoniously is essential to ensuring the investment is long-lasting with only routine maintenance and upgrading.

Creating the Landscape Design

The designer begins by determining what effect the property owner would like to achieve. Landscape designs intended for privacy and quietude may be substantially different than developing for a lively and colorful entertainment area.

Next, the landscape designer will survey the area to identify permanent fixtures, changes in elevation, prevailing wind direction, path of the sun, and access to water and electricity.

Knowing what the customer expects and the positive attributes and limitations of the space, the landscape designer will begin to draw a plan, either by hand or by using state-of-the-art software tools to replicate the vision.

The plan may include paved seating areas, perfect for entertaining, surrounded by lush shade trees or covered by a pergola for protection from the sun. Or, perhaps a gazebo amid flowering and evergreen shrubs for personal privacy is preferred.

Using ProLine™ Equipment from Heritage Oak Farm

Designed by and for landscape specialists, ProLine tree and shrub handling equipment eliminates damage to plants and trees while reducing time and effort.

Contact Heritage Oak Farm for more information at 1-888-288-5308.

 

Just Because Winter Arrived, Don’t Forget the Lawn

Although most of the leaves have been raked and the air has turned cool, lawn work should not end. Lawn care maintenance in winter is important to ensure lawns come back healthy when spring arrives.

Is Overseeding an Option?

Professional lawn care companies are busy all year making sure their client’s lawns stay great looking. Once cold weather sets in, lawns will take on a yellow-tan color as the grass goes dormant. Depending on the severity of your winter, lawns can be overseeded with a perennial or annual ryegrass if staying green is the owner’s objective. However, if snow will be covering the lawn during most of the winter, owners may choose not to go this route.

Rake Up the Rest of the Leaves

During the early winter months, it is important to rake any remaining leaves and debris before the turf freezes. Leaving this material in place restricts the reemergence of the grasses in the spring, causing a late start to the desired appearance. Rake gently to avoid uprooting the sleeping grass. And avoid treading on grass areas while the turf is frozen since this tends to kill the grass crowns or result in snow mold which will delay normal growth in the spring.

Weeds Like to Start Early

Weeds do develop in the winter. The first prevention for weed development is to apply a pre emergence herbicide in the fall. While this can be very effective, some weeds may still develop. Spot treating these as soon as they are detected should keep the lawn in great shape for the spring growth.

Continuing to mow the lawn after the fall season can be useful to keep the lawn looking great.

Voles Love Grass

As many homeowners know, snow cover creates the ideal environment for these rodents to do their damage. They burrow beneath the snow cover eating the grass roots as they go. Once the snow melts, lawns may be criss-crossed with tunnels. The ruts can be gently raked and seeded in the spring and signs of the damage will soon disappear.

Contact Heritage Oak Farm

For information regarding winter lawn, shrub and tree care and lawn care maintenance in winter, contact the experts at Heritage Oak Farm. Their ProLine™ of professional landscaping equipment helps lawncare and nursery professionals perform their tasks efficiently and profitably.

Call Heritage Oak Farm at 1-888-288-5308.

 

Winter Tree Transplanting

After the fall lawn cleanup is complete and those late autumn plantings are in place, some homeowners have another set of jobs to accomplish as cold weather arrives. Maybe moving a tree or shrub has become a priority.

The best time to transplant a tree is during the winter and early spring. Once the first hard freeze sets in, trees and shrubs go to sleep, resting until the coming spring. Although in midwinter the ground may be frozen in northern climates, starting the winter tree transplanting process before the tree reawakens is an ideal time. After the tree comes back to life in the spring can be the worst time to transplant.

However, winter tree transplanting is not recommended when the ground is solidly frozen. In icy climates, the best time to transplant is before the ground is frozen hard or after it has begun to thaw.

Preventing Shock

The process of transplanting involves cutting some of the roots. If the tree or shrub is dormant during a winter transplanting process, the tree, in essence, is numb and will not suffer. During other times of the year, the tree or shrub can go into shock and may not recover.

When existing roots are cut, the tree begins to develop new, more fibrous roots that are even more capable of absorbing water and nutrients from the soil.

Digging and Transplanting

At a nursery or tree farm, removing young trees from their original growing spot requires digging up the tree and wrapping the root ball snugly in burlap covering. Lifting the tree during its dormant season ensures the health of the tree until replanting on the new owner’s property.

Similarly, winter tree transplanting is best if the property owner decides the original location is wrong. In winter, professional landscapers can dig up the tree correctly and replant it in a designated spot. The tree will revive as usual in the spring.

Using Heritage Oak Farm’s ProLine™ Nursery Equipment

Whether you are tackling winter tree transplanting or only moving them from one spot to another, Heritage Oak Farm’s ProLine equipment is professionally designed to accomplish each task quickly and without damage. For digging, lifting, hauling or transplanting, ProLine equipment is ideal.

Check out the Heritage Oak Farm’s website to view their broad line of professional nursery equipment.

Or, phone the Heritage Oak Farm experts at 888-288-5308.

 

Benefits of a Professional Lawn care Service

“Why does the neighbor’s yard always look better than mine?” This frustration is a common lament among amateur gardeners, homeowners and commercial building managers who have committed to managing their landscapes themselves. The reality is that excellent landscape upkeep and lawncare demand expertise, considerable time, hard work, and doing things at the right time.

In many cases, problems can begin to develop in a lawn that can go unnoticed for weeks until that issue becomes major. While do-it-yourselfers continue to muddle along with sketchy advice from friends and websites, the yard will not get better on its own. Help is needed.

Bringing in the Pros

A professional lawn care service can save money while creating a lush and beautiful lawn that the owner is wanting. Knowledge, equipment, continual care, and regular scrutiny can keep small problems from developing further.

Here are some ways that a professional lawn care service can prevent costly problems while improving the health of the owner’s lawn:

Priorities: Excellent lawn care is time-consuming and hard work. To achieve the best results, care and treatment should be regular. Many times, other things must take higher priority. Irregular care can be damaging.

No Interruptions: Homeowners can enjoy vacations or be away for business or family events without neglecting their lawn for several days. Sometimes this neglect can cause long-term damage. A professional lawn care service will remove that worry by ensuring the landscape remains on a regular schedule.

Knowledge: The most important asset that a professional lawn care service brings to your landscape is knowledge. Maintaining the best conditions for health such as sufficient and timely watering, the right frequency and amount of fertilizer, use of pesticides, identifying diseases and their treatment, and mowing at the correct height and frequency are only some advantages. All of these lead to a picture perfect lawn.

Consistency: Consistency in lawncare is much like consistency in automotive care. Proper treatment at regular intervals keeps everything working properly. Professional lawn care services perform their mission on a precise and well-planned schedule that is neither too much nor too little.

Right Tools: A professional lawn care service arrives with all the right tools for the job. These are sharpened and well maintained. Implements like mowers, edgers, feeders, spreaders, and seeders add up to substantial investments. Homeowners often forget to factor their real cost of lawn maintenance.

Contact Heritage Oak Farm for more landscaping information at 1-888-288-5308.