04 Mar 2017

What Are Some Ideas for Designing My Garden?

Not everyone is lucky enough to have a huge space in their homes. Some people have no yards as they rent one room apartments. However, the urge of planting flowers should not be stopped just because you have limited space. You can take other options like doing container gardening. This is the latest trend that keeps homeowners with less spacious homes busy.

There are a lot of designs available for a container garden. You can choose from sources available from the internet, home beautification magazines or from those who have already engaged in this endeavor. Here are some useful tips that you may want to consider for your container gardening:

  • Determine the growing condition in your area. This is essential as you will need to determine if your climate is sultry or cold to match the types of plants that you will use. Some plants best thrive in dry lands while others grow abundantly in areas that are moistened.
  • Choose the kind of container you will use. You can try finding best deals from home stores for the kind of container you are to use. Just make sure that the containers have enough holes for a good drainage system. Homeowners can make use of containers like terracotta pots, those that are made of wood, plastic containers and even cans.
  • Choose a color theme. Container gardening is not all about planting flora in different containers. It is also about creating coherence with the kinds of plant you use. This is where choosing colors get in the picture. You can choose from analogous colors. These colors that are closely linked in the color wheel. Monochromatic schemes can also be chosen to maintain a two-toned look with the plants you use in your container garden. The best shades of plants that are taken are those that complement each other.
  • Plants should also be chosen according to texture. This will make your container garden come with a more natural appeal. Although container gardens do not make up a huge space, you will feel closely tied with nature as you take a look at a blooming flower outside your window box.
  • Plant Arrangements. Plants should be arranged according to their sizes and habits. Some plants can be mounding, upright or trailing. You should be able to determine what kind of habits your chosen plants have to be able to smoothly arrange them in the places where you are setting up your container garden.

Vegetable Ideas for Container Gardening

Did you know that you can grow organic container gardens? It is certainly possibly to get produce from those little containers where you planted your vegetables. You can take this idea and incorporate it in your container garden. This will help you easily get fresh vegetables that you have grown yourself. This will also allow you to eat healthy food straight from your container garden.

Cabbage, broccoli, beets and beans are excellent examples of vegetables that can be planted in your container garden. Planting tomatoes is also an excellent choice because they can add more color to your garden. Tomatoes best complement the color of the green leaves and the red color that its produce have. They can also be easily placed outside window boxes to receive appropriate sunlight.

You can also choose eggplants for your container garden. Once it bears fruit, you will enjoy looking at small, violet colored produce hanging from the plant. Garlic, onion and lettuce can also be planted as they do not require a huge space.

Other Ideas for Container Gardening

Make sure that the containers you use do not have narrow openings. This will allow enough space to whatever flora you want to plant. These containers should also have the quart capacity between 15 and 120. Very small pots are not ideal because they can hinder the movements of the plant roots. The holes of the containers should be about half to an inch across to allow good drainage system. Always remember to leave two inches space from the top of the container and the top of the soil when you are replenishing it. This will ensure that the plant gets enough air. Frequently watering your plants is also essential especially during hot and dry seasons.

 

 

07 Jan 2017
gardening in fayetteville

Now Is The Time For You To Know The Truth About Proper Garden Care In Fayetteville

“Where you gave a plot of land, however small, plant a garden. Staying close to the soil is good for the soul.” – Spencer W. Kimball

 

One of the most efficient and beautiful ways to make use of an extra space in your front or backyard is creating a garden. It’s also a step into a greener and healthier lifestyle, plus, it certainly adds appeal to your property. Not to mention, gardening offers a lot of health benefits too! Even the sight of a blooming garden every morning as the sun gently touches your skin can make any day brighter and set a good mood for work, school or other outdoor activities considering the 217 sunny days in Fayetteville.

 

There’s no explanation needed as to why our grandparents love gardening and start their day with it – it simply is a hobby or practice that’s worth all the labor, may it be in the colorful flowers, blossoming shrubs or fresh vegetables.

 

Starting your own garden in Fayetteville can create the perfect front yard and backyard landscapes. Imagine growing attractive annuals, perennials, spring bulbs, and rose flowers, as well as trees, shrubs, and groundcovers that put on a year-round gardening display. Although, we have one common struggle, just like any other expert gardeners when they were beginners: what’s the truth or secret of a successful garden? The answer is proper garden care.

 

Garden Care Explained

Babies or infants require proper care in order for them to grow into good persons, and your garden needs just as much for it to flourish. A prolific garden requires regular maintenance throughout the growing season. Plants need sun, water, and nutrients to grow well. You, as a gardener, even if you’re just a beginner, must mainly worry about nutrients and water if planting in a bed with the proper sun exposure.

 

It is imperative that you provide what your garden needs to keep it healthy, green and growing to its fullest potential. Garden care isn’t just one to task be fulfilled, but it is comprised of different chores which are relevant in promoting growth and vitality of your plants as well as the overall upkeep and riddance of pests. This particular activity is year-round and its rhythms are dictated by seasonal conditions and local climates.

 

 

How To Properly Take Good Care Of Your Garden

Alright, so you’ve done an incredible job in starting your own garden, yay! Now, after building it and as your plants start to grow, your job here is not yet done – there’s a lot more to do if you really desire to make your garden bloom the whole year. Yes, having a garden is fantastic, but the real question here is, how to do it? What level of care is required in order for the garden to thrive and reach its full potential of growth? No need to worry, we’ve put down relevant information to help you ensure your garden is a huge success throughout the entire growing season, with consideration to the cold winter season.

 

Be Mindful Of Watering

Watering is a regular activity and you have to be consistent about it. It’s a simple fact that plants need water, the challenge here, though, is the amount of water that your plants or garden require. An efficient irrigation system is highly advised to ensure that the watering schedule id followed and that your plants receive the right amount of water. A drip irrigation system is more preferable for a garden because it can save up to 60% of the water used by sprinkler systems, plus, it can cover both large and small garden areas. You can setup the automatic timer for a more proficient watering. A soaker hose can also be a good choice.

 

Overwatering your soil can allow moss or mold to emerge as well as diseases that could destroy your garden. A little amount of water is bad too! You’ll know if it is under-watered if you see wilting of plants, brown or dead leaves, and stunted growth. It’s paramount that you learn the ways of how to avoid water stressed plants.

 

In watering garden plants each season, you have to consider the precipitation levels in Fayetteville. In spring and summer, your garden must be watered deeply and it should penetrate the ground to six inches. It’s better to water deeply twice a week than lightly every day given one or two inches of water per week. Deep watering should be done until fall. When winter comes, the plants go dormant but it doesn’t mean that they no longer need water.

 

Your plants won’t need as much water during their dormancy as they do in the spring and summer but be sure to water them deeply a few times a month. Remember, water when the soil is dry to the touch, the temperature is below 40 F. (4 C.)

 

Keep The Weeds Out

Weeds are not welcome in your garden, hence, you should keep them out. The presence of weeds can harbor insects and disease. If you weed regularly, particularly at the beginning of the growing season, it should be relatively easy to keep weeds at bay. Early weed detection and removal can help the plants establish in the garden, and if you neglect it, weeds will rob moisture and nutrients from your garden plants while also providing a haven for pests and disease. Certainly, you don’t want that to happen.

 

Once you see any signs of weeds emerging, immediately act on to it. You can manually pick and remove the weeds from your garden, or suppress its growth by adding mulch. Controlling weed growth can also be done naturally or culturally which includes non-chemical practices or methods like spraying household vinegar on it and applying boiling water.

 

Aside from the organic weed control methods, you can opt for the chemical approach. In case you choose to use chemical herbicides, be sure to select the appropriate product for your situation. There are herbicides that may not directly tackle the problem and may cause other problems which are why you have to best ones. Also, you must not forget to read, understand and follow all of the label directions when mixing and applying herbicides.

 

Mulch, Mulch, Mulch – Why Is It Necessary?

Mulch is a necessity for landscapes as well as gardens. Adding mulch can be useful in a lot of ways such as improving the soil retention of soil, regulating soil temperature, preventing soil erosion, reducing the occurrence of diseases, and as we’ve mentioned previously, it can greatly reduce weed growth. It keeps the soil moist, too. Almost any organic matter can be used as mulch materials including hay, straw, leaves, sawdust, paper, bark or grass clippings. So, when you’re done mowing your lawn, don’t throw all the grass clippings away, instead, pile them up and make use of it as a mulch.

 

The ideal time to apply mulch to your garden is in early spring or in fall, but don’t do it too early otherwise you’ll delay the soil’s warming. For your garden, pile a three or four inches layer of mulch and pull it back from trunks and plant stems to discourage rot and mice. If you have perennials or flowering trees, it would be great to pile up a volcano-shaped mound of mulch at its base.

 

Feed Your Soil

In as much as we, humans need food to live, your garden plants need nutrients as well in order for them to flourish. However, to ensure that this will be successful, you have to test your soil first. Gather samples from your area and bring it to a soil testing laboratory. This service is offered for free by the Cooperative Extension Service and the Soil Testing Laboratory, so, if you want to save money, don’t hesitate to take your samples there.

 

Most native soils in Arkansas are acidic, including Fayetteville (it depends on your area, so be sure to conduct a soil test), which require amending to increase soil pH. In connection with this, liming the soil makes nutrients available to the plants especially calcium. Now, once you’ve tested and enriched your soil, supplemental feeding will no longer be necessary.

 

By adding organic matter to your soil, each year before planting and side dress with more organic matter once or twice during the growing season is one of the best ways to feed your soil. Apply organic substance as much as possible, and with the help of a compost, you’re garden’s success is guaranteed. You can make your own compost in the shady part of your garden area by mixing kitchen scraps, garden clutter, and a whole bunch of organic materials. Organic plant foods are slow releasing and will continue to feed your plants all season long.

 

Moreover, commercial fertilizers can be one of your options too. Choosing the right type of fertilizer as well as the appropriate amount depends on the results of your soil test. It should have the right ratio of supplemental nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorous, calcium, etc. Don’t have second thoughts about asking local suppliers for assistance in picking the best fertilizer.

 

When The Weather Gets Cold, Do Cover

When winter comes, we bundle up to protect ourselves from freezing, same with your plants. You need to protect your plants from frost and you could use a cold frame or hoop cover. You might want to consider other season extenders such as row covers, cloches, hotbeds, etc. Using these materials can help insulate your plants and keep the soil warm. They can be used in the spring to help start plants sooner or in the fall, before the frost sets in, to keep the plants going. This practice will help prepare your plants for winter and help them thrive through the entire dormancy period.

 

Furthermore, cover the soil with mulch so it won’t erode over the winter. The first frost in fall is often followed by an extended period of frost-free weather. Hence, cover tender flowers, shrubs, and vegetables on frosty nights, and you may be able to enjoy extra weeks of gardening.

 

Maintain A Healthy Garden

Keeping a healthy and lush garden isn’t just built for a day, you have to continuously work hard for it. Of course, all your hard work will just go to waste if your garden only lives for one season, and for sure, you wouldn’t want that to happen, right? Well then, you have to maintain your garden to make it reach its full potential. Here’s how:

  • Watch Out For Pests And Diseases

Never ignore any symptoms of pest problems or disease by checking your garden plants regularly.  Infected plants should be dealt with or treated right away in order to prevent the spread of disease to healthy plants.

 

For pest infestation, you can set out traps or use natural methods to get rid of those critters. Snails, slugs, aphids and Japanese beetles are just a few of the many pests that may invade your garden, so, get rid of them as soon as you spot them creeping in. Commercial insecticides or pesticides can be used too, as long as its content won’t harm your plants.

 

  • Keep It Clean

In case you have planted crops or fruit-bearing shrubs, get rid of rotting or dead vegetation such as leaves, pulled weeds and plant stalks. Aside from that, remove the old spent flowers to improve the garden’s appearance and encourage further blossoms. Pruning your plants is also important to promote your plants’ growth and health.

 

Take the time to clean, sharpen, and disinfect your garden tools. This will help you avoid any disease or infection from spreading and stunted growth.

 

  • Provide Support

Plant support can be in the form of trellises, stakes, tepees and A-frames. All of these support systems are relevant in increasing garden space, allowing increased sunlight exposure, promoting better air circulation, and pruning made easy.

 

It’s best to install the stakes or trellises at planting time to avoid the risk of injuring the plant roots. These support systems also allow plants to fully grow to increase yield potential. It could also ward off unwanted pests or critters.

 

 

Way To Sum It Up

Keeping your garden healthy with proper care and maintenance can be quite a handful but as what they say, nothing worth having comes easy. Meaning, you have to give it your all – sweat, determination, hard work, patience, and optimism. In the end, you’ll bask in the glory of your own persuasion when you see your own garden blossom.

Waking up each morning with a cup of coffee in your hand as you sit on the porch and welcome the new day with a positive outlook, is probably one of the best feelings in the world. When you keep these things we’ve mentioned above, you’ll certainly be on the right track and your garden will surprise you.

04 Jan 2017
landscaping and gardening

Debunking Familiar Gardening and Landscaping Misconceptions in Fayetteville

Can you still remember the last time your mom or dad, even your grandparents told you to wait thirty minutes or an hour after eating before you go swimming? Oh well, a lot of us have experienced this countless times. It is a common belief that swimming after a big meal will divert blood away from your arms and legs towards the digestive tract which can cause drowning due to insufficient blood supply on the limbs.

 

Although it may seem like a reliable explanation, this is probably one of the biggest misconceptions in the entire global population. According to experts, swimming a few minutes after eating is not bad at all. In fact, American Academy of Pediatrics nor the American Red Cross didn’t state any specific recommendations regarding the ideal time to wait in order to go swimming after a meal. It is just a myth – a common misconception believed by many.

 

What Is A Landscaping/Gardening Misconception?

A landscaping/gardening misconception is an idea that is not true or lacks supporting claims to prove its certainty. It’s a belief that was developed by our ancestors and has resulted in faulty thinking or understanding on certain things in terms of landscaping/gardening. What we mentioned above is only an example of a popular misconception in general life, but, there are thousands of it in all aspects of life, commercial or residential landscaping, home care, etc.

 

Even in gardening and landscaping, there are also myths that have been present since time immemorial. In this time and age, a lot of facts have risen on the occasion to further separate the truth from the misconceptions. Of course, when you start planning for your landscaping project or garden, you’d want to follow the most efficient approaches that are have been proven to be true. Expert gardeners and landscapers in Fayetteville suggests to debunk old myths in order to achieve your dream landscaping project, but first, you have to be aware of the most familiar misconceptions.

 

Landscaping In Winter

Winter is known to be the dormant season for landscaping and gardening. In connection with this, there are several misbeliefs that arise during winter and it is one of the biggest sources of landscaping myths. Before you make any false assumptions, you have to be fully knowledgeable and logical in terms of landscaping practices which are counterintuitive.

 

Wintertime Myths:

  • Watering Is Unnecessary

When the weather turns cold, it doesn’t automatically mean that your landscape plants will no longer require watering. As the temperature drops, your plants still need to be hydrated and you have to provide them the moisture (being absorbed from the soil) they required to thrive in the cold season. In Fayetteville, you should continue to water every two to three weeks for approximately fifteen minutes each session. This will allow the roots to absorb Just be mindful about the precipitation levels in your area, though, as to not overwater your plants.

 

  • You Can’t Plant Anything In This Season

Planting is best done in fall and spring, but it doesn’t make it impossible to plant in winter. There are certain types of trees, shrubs or bulbs that can be planted in this cool season such as garlic, strawberries, and turnips. You just have to follow the planting dates and guide to ensure that your plants will flourish all year round.

 

  • Disregarding Pest Control

Yes, it’s cold during winter but the freezing temperature can’t stop pests from ruining your landscaping or garden. Still, despite the cold weather, damaging insects, mites, and other non-insect critters linger on your landscape, so don’t ever make that mistake to disregard pest control. You can opt for the organic pest control methods or go for chemical pesticides, however, the former is more preferable.

 

Cutting Grass Shorter Can Reduce Mowing Frequency

Mowing your lawn is a must-do chore to properly maintain your landscaping. Some people believe that when you cut your grass shorter, it will reduce the number of times you mow your lawn – this is so not true!

 

Mowing your lawn to the right height (2 ½ – 3 inches) should be observed in order to retain soil moisture, to promote root growth as well as to control emerging weeds. If you cut it any shorter, you’ll get rid of many of the photosynthesizing cells needed for active growth. Aside from that, allowing the grass to grow long, then cutting it short can shock your lawn system and disturb its development. Hence, you have to pay attention to details especially on how often you should mow your lawn which highly depends on your grass type as well as how fast it grows.

 

Take Note: In mowing your lawn, keep your blades sharp. Otherwise, dull blades can cause brown, frayed grass tips that are more prone to disease. Leave grass clipping on your lawn as to add organic matter which can increase nutrients to the soil or you can collect it and pile it up on your compost bin.

 

All Residential Landscapes Need a Lawn

Do you have a small landscaping area or space and want to achieve a low-maintenance lawn? If so, then you have the option to consider grassless landscape. Remember, not all residential landscapes require a lawn, especially in Fayetteville. Instead of having a grass or artificial turf, ornamental grasses or perennial plants, rocks, natural or rubber mulch, trees, shrubs, and ground covers can also be a good choice.

 

Going grassless can definitely save you the maintenance costs and doesn’t require too much time, commitment and effort. In case you desire to have this type of landscaping, just request your landscaping company or contractor and they’ll do the job for you. In case you prefer DIY, don’t hesitate to ask assistance or help from the local experts.

 

Native Plants In Landscape

Professional gardeners and landscapers recommend the usage of native plants on every landscaping project in order to add appeal, color, and function. Plus, native plants are commonly recognized as low-maintenance plants. Now, in planting natives, there are a lot of misconceptions such as:

 

  • When Planting Natives, Landscape Gets Messy

Using natives for your landscaping does not result in a messy space or area. The secret here lies in your planning and which plant you choose to sow. It’s paramount that you search for relevant information regarding your plants’ mature size and include it in your plan. It will only get messy without proper planning and organizing – otherwise, native plants are a good choice.

 

  • No Longer Require Watering

By low-maintenance, it means that it only require a little attention or effort and minimal watering, not a total disregard for water. Although most natives are drought-tolerant, they still need regular watering to become established especially when the weather is hot and dry. An efficient irrigation system is the best way to ensure that plants keep them hydrated.

 

  • Can’t Achieve A Natural Looking Landscape

In most cases, the look of the landscape depends on your design or what you envision. With the use of the natives, a natural looking landscape can be accomplished as long as you have a well-designed plan. Group the plants accordingly and take note of the natural settings for ideas or inspirations.

 

Watering Plants More Is Better

We usually say, “The more, the better” – this is not applicable in everything, though. To keep your grass growing thick and healthy, watering on a regular basis is imperative. However, you have to observe the appropriate amount of water required by your plants or your lawn. Overwatering can lead to a shallow root system, which can hinder future growth and it could also allow lawn fungus and disease to germinate.

 

Needless to say, watering plants more won’t even help you conserve water or save from utility bills. Now is the perfect time to ditch this idea and go for a water-wise landscape and implement proper watering techniques and choose the best irrigation system fit for your project. Watering your plants in the morning is highly recommended so that water can seep into the root system and the turf before the temperature drops at night.

 

You Don’t Need To Maintain Your Lawn

There are no such thins a “No Maintenance Landscape” – keep that in mind. Although you have a low-maintenance landscape, every landscape requires upkeep from time to time. Checking your irrigation system (sprinkler or drip) is a must in order to ensure that sprinkler heads are working, and adjusted to compensate for rainy or hot weather.

 

Furthermore, other maintenance tasks must be done to guarantee a healthy, lush, and green lawn, such as:

  • Adding fertilizer (must be done in fall or spring) to supplement nutrients to the soil.
  • Spreading mulch to help control weed growth and help retain moisture.
  • Mowing your lawn to the right height for a stimulated growth.
  • Aerating soil to allow air, water, and nutrients to penetrate the grass roots.

 

Planting Anything Anywhere You Want

If there’s one thing you have to remember in landscaping or gardening, that’s the fact that you can’t just plant anything wherever you want. This is a misconception that’s most common to beginners. Put simply, you have to follow the principles and fundamentals of landscaping whenever you decide to start planting. So, even before you start digging, the placement of your plants and the types of plant you want to grow in your yard should already be part of the plan.

 

Moreover, you have to consider your soil type in choosing your plants. A soil test is imperative and plays a crucial role in determining the success of your landscaping project. In Fayetteville, you can have your soil tested for free. All you have to do is bring the soil samples to the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. The result of the soil test will help you determine what type of soil you have, the plants that flourish in your soil and the amendments required to improve soil quality.

 

In choosing the location for planting, consider the area with great sunlight exposure. Then, group your plants according to their requirements such as sun exposure (place the plants that require at least 6 hours of exposure in an area where the sun sheds the brightest light), nutrients and watering needs.

 

 

Conclusion

Misconceptions are centuries old and it has been part of our everyday living since then. However, this 21st century, we all should change our mindsets and debunk these common landscaping and gardening myths. Another thing is that you shouldn’t think that you don’t need any professional help from landscaping companies, because, in reality, you do, especially if this is your first time to start your project.

These companies work with your allotted budget which means that it’s not always expensive (this is another common misbelief). In fact, contrary to many property owners’ perceptions, professional landscaping is one of the most common, moderately-sized home improvements out there. In asking professional help, always consider asking for recommendations from local suppliers or office in Fayetteville, family or neighbors who have experienced excellent service before from their chosen companies.

31 Dec 2016
pruning-in-fayetteville

Useful Fayetteville Landscaping Reminders: Jump Start In Early Spring With These Must-Do Chores

Winter is here – and we’re already in the middle of it! We could all feel the chill in the air as the breeze kisses our cheeks and as the snow touches our skin. It’s the coldest season of the year but it brings about a lot of delightful celebrations especially Christmas which is the most anticipated holiday in the city of Fayetteville, Arkansas, and the whole world. There are a lot of family gatherings, parties, events, and occasions that are being celebrated during this time of year, not to mention – presents!

Children singing carols as well as the sparkling lights in the streets and houses are just too adorable for words to describe. Every person just loves the feels that the season brings. Indeed, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year and the season to be jolly!

Now, after the cold winter months and the holidays, the ice will start to thaw and you know that that means – it’s spring time! Spring brings new hope and new beginnings, not only in life but also in terms of gardening and landscaping. After its dormant season, it’s the perfect time to tend to your lawn and have it ready for another season of planting for gardens and landscapes. Certainly, you’d want to give your lawn or yard a fresh new look to welcome the new season, right? I bet, you most certainly do.

 

Planting In Spring

Spring entails a lot of things for all of us – new beginnings, hope, and utmost feeling of joy. It also means a brand new start for the planting season, whether for gardening or landscaping. Moreover, aside from fall, early spring is also a good time for planting and prepping up your lawn.

Of course, winter can bring a lot of challenges to your lawn and leave a handful of clutter that will require your attention. When the dormant season ends, you’ll have to start taking care of your garden or landscape. So, before you start grabbing tools and digging your lawn or yard, you need to get rid of the clutter first and do necessary spring garden & yard tasks to guarantee a successful landscaping or gardening.

As what they say, it’s never too early whenever you get that urge to go out and do something in the garden or landscape. Here’s a list of the must-do chores to jump start your landscaping in Fayetteville this spring.

 

Spring Clean Up

Rake the lawn to remove dead growth and winter debris. You will also need to rake bald spots before you reseed your lawn after the dormant season. Cleaning up the clutter helps the soil to absorb light and air which is essential in promoting grass growth.

Moreover, aerate your soil to allow greater movement of water, fertilizer, and air which encourages the growth of healthy turf.  Loosening soil also increases the speed of decomposition of the grass clippings and enhances deep root growth.

In spring cleaning your landscape or garden, you should check your plants for winter damage and keenly search for other types of damage such as woodland creatures munching on the plants. Remove the damaged or dead plants and ensure that unwanted yard debris is also cleaned out of the beds.

 

Touch Up Mulch

Early spring is the ideal time to touch up the mulch in your landscape. Once you’ve removed the clutter from your lawn, apply a fresh layer of organic mulch, around 2-3 inches thick. Adding mulch to your landscape can improve the entire soil structure and it helps keep your soil moist when summer comes, which greatly helps in avoiding a runoff, water needs, and stimulating drought-tolerance.

 

In applying mulch, be sure not to stack it all over and smother your plants to death. Cover bare spots with mulch to minimize weed growth and you might also need to spread mulch around the base of fruit trees. In doing this, remind yourself to spread mulch a few inches away from tree trunks and the crowns and stems of plants.

 

Lime It Up

Most native soils in Arkansas are acidic, including Fayetteville. Given this, soil requires being amended with lime to increase its soil pH. Although the ideal time to do this is in fall, it’s still a must-do task for you because adding lime to the soil in early spring is highly beneficial. One of the highly recommended lime by experts is Dolomite and it should be added several weeks before the planting schedule.

 

To help you determine the amount of lime to be used, you must test your soil first. In the entire state of Arkansas, soil testing is a free service provided by the Cooperative Extension Service and the Soil Testing Laboratory. If you prefer, though, you can use a soil pH test kit.

 

Clean Gutters

Winter debris, especially fallen leaves pile up in gutters and drainage areas. Hence, it is best to clean gutters in the spring and fall to allow for proper drainage. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself dealing with annoying problems like cracked foundations, rotten wood, wood destroying insects, and washed out landscaping.

 

To make use of the dead leaves and branches, or any organic materials you’ve cleared out from the gutters, you can place them into the compost. According to experts, compost made in spring usually fall short of carbon-rich substances, so, the more your clear out and add to the bin, the better.

 

Pruning

Deadwood (dead or overgrown branches or stems) or unwanted branches of trees and shrubs should be subjected for pruning. In landscaping, a plant’s natural form is best, hence, it’s important that you prune shrubs properly by following its natural geometrical forms. This will promote your plants’ growth as well as encourage flower and fruit development and maintain its purpose in your landscape.

Keep in mind that in pruning, you have to remove unwanted branches, waterspouts, suckers, and undesirable fruiting structures that detract from plant appearance. Also, don’t forget to prune large established trees, if you have any, and consider its natural form whenever possible. You can shorten its branches or twigs if it overhang homes, parking areas, and sidewalks.

 

Edge Beds

Edge the borders of the beds in order to help define the division between landscape and lawn. Doing this will also prevent perennial groundcovers from getting into the lawn and keep the lawn weeds from creeping into your flower beds. If you see any bowed or leaning sides on your beds, you have to fix it right away by digging back the soil behind the bowed side. Then, drive in new stakes on the inside of the sideboards with a slight inward lean.

Furthermore, to make it easier to edge beds, don’t forget to remove unwanted yard debris out of it. Edging beds is also one way to avoid soil erosion.

 

Weed Out

Winter has its way on a lot of things including in your lawn or landscape and one of which is weed growth. During spring, the roots of these pesky weeds are shallow which makes it easier to pull them out. In addition, bald spots should be covered with mulch or perennial ground covers in order to minimize the emergence of new weeds.

There are organic ways to control weed growth, such as using salt and vinegar solution and manually pulling them off. However, you could also opt for commercial ways to control weeds. The use of black plastic sheeting to cover the beds before planting is also one way to suppress developing weeds.

 

Install New Lawns

Spring and fall are the best times to install new lawns with seed or sod. For this, you have to get your planting soil absolutely right before you start. In choosing the right grass seed, you can ask the local suppliers for the best ones. Bermuda Grass, Rye Grass, Tall Fescue and Zoysia Grass are the grass types that flourish in Fayetteville soil.

Seeding is less expensive and requires less work than laying sod which makes it more preferable. It may require proper maintenance, though. If you want to replant a large lawn, you may want to tackle it in sections or start with the bald spots first. Smaller lawns are easier to manage when installing new lawns.

 

Clean And Maintain Tools

Alright, in early spring you’ll have to rake out leaves, aerate the soil as well as mow your lawn. Given this, you have to take the time and clean your tools and sharpen mower blades. Now, in cleaning blades or tools, use castile soap and water. This is a good way to clean garden or landscaping tools and will help prevent spreading disease in your garden too.

In case you see any rust, use a wire brush or steel brush to scrub it off and apply a thin layer of linseed oil to prevent rust formation in the future. Linseed all or Tung oil can also be used to wipe down your tools once you’re done cleaning them. It protects tools from moisture, hence, avoiding rust from settling in.

 

 

Note:

Adding fertilizer to your lawn is best done in spring and in fall. Fertilizing in early spring can promote lush top growth at the expense of root growth. However, according to experts, your lawn will not yet require a full fertilizer application until the grass start to actively grow and if nutrients stored in the root zone are already running low. You have to pay attention to it because, in early spring, most lawns still have carbohydrate reserves in the root zone.

Remember, when and how often you should apply fertilizer to your lawn depends on the type of grass you grow. Adding fertilizer before the above mentioned

 

Way To Sum It up

Spring cleanup and doing the landscaping or gardening tasks in early springs has become a tradition among gardeners and landscapers. It is more than just an excuse to get outside after the long winter months, but the desire to freshen up the landscape as it springs to life. Indeed, spring means a lot of things for all of us and it can also be the start of a successful landscaping all year round. These tasks may be a handful for you, but it will be all worth it in the end. Besides, you still have a choice whether to do it yourself or hire a professional and credible landscaping company in Fayetteville – think about it.

22 Dec 2016
improving-soil-in-fayetteville

Learn The Eight Fundamental Approaches To Improve Your Garden Soil In Fayetteville Today

Some people believe that gardening is as simple as digging soil and planting seeds to grow fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Or, watering plants and removing weeds is all it takes for a garden to be successful. That’s not totally correct, though. Gardening is a challenging task and it requires not only your time, effort and attention, but it also demands a lot of patience. There’s more to gardening than what some people perceive it to be, even experts underwent a lot of obstacles before they accomplished a high-yielding one. Also, beginners can attest to the struggles that arise to the occasion when they decided to make use of their backyard spaces.

 

Fayetteville, Arkansas is one of the cities in the US which is recognized for having a warm humid temperate climate. The climate is one of the many considerations in gardening which plays a crucial role in terms of plant growth and soil health. Of course, when you start your own garden, you should consider a lot of stuff to ensure that everything will be according to your plan and that it will turn out to be prolific. Aside from the climate, you have to pay attention to your soil. You know why? It is because a healthy soil is the basis of healthy plants, a healthy environment, and a productive garden.

 

Now, do you know how to keep a healthy soil? What should be determined to guarantee soil health?

 

What Makes A Soil Healthy?

In any landscape or gardening projects, a healthy soil is the most important component not only to be considered but to be implemented as well. Keeping your soil healthy can secure a thriving and bountiful garden. Plus, it can make your lawn maintenance easier for you. Hence, before you start digging and planting, it is best that you invest time and effort on this first. In other words, without a healthy soil, your plants will be unable to put down solid roots and absorb any of the sun, water, or nutrients you help provide.

Moreover, a healthy soil is composed of essential nutrients which promote plant growth like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (which are the most important among the rest). In addition, the soil must have other supplementary macronutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and sulfur. If combined with acid-alkaline balance or pH level and proper texture – you’ll achieve a healthy soil.

In determining soil health, according to experts it can’t be measured directly or determined by crop yield, water quality, or any other single outcome. It is determined by a number of significant indicators such as chemical, biological, and physical properties, and more.

 

Soil Testing: Why Is It Important?

 

A soil test is imperative before you start any landscaping or gardening projects. It is one way to determine what minerals are deficient or rich in your soil. It also helps measure the level of soil pH, as well as the soil’s micro and macronutrients and other components. By determining these, the soil testing labs (you can opt for Local Cooperative Extension Services since they offer tests at a lower cost), can provide you information regarding the necessary soil amendments to apply.

In Fayetteville, as well as the rest of the cities in the US, the ideal time to get the soil tested is in the spring or fall when it is most stable. It’s also the same season to administer the required amendments to your soil.

 

Prepare and Improve Your Garden Soil Now

Yes, you’ve discovered the importance of a healthy soil to your garden and for sure, you might be asking yourself, HOW? You might have heard a thing or two about soil preparation and improvement before gardening, but, you have to know what’s right and what’s not. Improving your soil is the most important thing you have to do in preparing your garden for planting. Learn the eight fundamental approaches to improving your soil below and start preparing your garden soil today.

 

  • Add Organic Matter

In gardening, the more organic matter you add the better. Organic matter can be in many forms such as compost and aged manure. By doing so, it will improve almost any soil and expert gardeners highly recommend it.

What makes organic substance relevant in soil preparation and improvement is its ability to help hold soil particles together in aggregates and help to retain moisture. It also allows plants to absorb more nutrients because it helps store the essential nutrients required. Organic matter or compost also promotes beneficial microorganisms.

For this, you can make your own compost at home using kitchen scraps as well as dried straw or leaves and grass clippings and livestock manure. The secrets in making a compost bin successful are: keeping it moist, consistent turning and avoiding a messy pile. Another option for you with regards to organic compost is by purchasing them in local suppliers.

 

  • Let It Breathe

Humans can’t live without air – the same goes with plants. Lack of air supply can cause damage to your soil and your entire garden. Remember, a good garden soil is loose, not compacted – meaning you have to let the soil breathe and absorb air. The air in the soil is important in holding atmospheric nitrogen that can be converted into a usable form for plants. Plus, the amount of oxygen your soil gets is beneficial for the organisms that stimulate soil health.

The soil type of your area has something to do with the air supply because each soil type has its own distinct space between particles. Most of the soil in Arkansas, including Fayetteville, is clay (small particles that are close together), it only has a little amount of air. Hence, it’s important that you amend your soil, aerate it, dig deep and add organic matter to help balance the air supply.

 

  • Proper Watering

A healthy soil requires just the right amount of water – nothing more, nothing less. Too much water is actually one of the top reasons why plants die due to suffocation. Clay soil drains the water slowly compared to sandy soil. Hence, adding organic matter is one of the best ways to help your soil’s water handling. Again, organic matter is the key, because it encourages the formation of aggregate, or crumbs, or soil. Watering the garden soil well ahead of your planting date is one of the techniques to keep your soil moist before planting.

In between watering schedules, make sure that the soil is dry. Use a water-efficient irrigation system to ensure that your soil, as well as your plants, will receive the required amount of water and this may vary depending on the season.

 

  • Consider Soil Life

The success rate of your garden also depends on other beneficial organisms such as worms, nematodes, springtails, and many others. These organisms help promote plant growth and vitality. Aside from that, they help break down organic matter and soil minerals into the vitamins, hormones, disease-suppressing compounds and nutrients that plants require to grow. Their defecation allows soil particles to bind into the small aggregates which greatly aids in making soil loose.

To attract wildlife to your garden, you must create ideal conditions for them to live. Organic substances once again play a crucial role in providing a living space for beneficial organisms. It is considered to be a great source of food for them, as well as oxygen and water.

 

  • Spread Mulch

Spreading mulch is not just an essential task for landscaping, but also for gardening. Mulch helps avoid water loss through evaporation and suppresses weed growth. It also insulates soil from winter cold and summer heat, minimizes erosion and compaction. There are two types of mulches: organic and inorganic. Organic mulches are derived from plant matter such as hardwood and softwood barks, compost, hay, lawn clippings, leaf mold, pine needles, sawdust, straw, wood chips, and the hulls of plants. Inorganic mulches are plastic sheeting, rocks, rubber chips or non-woven geotextiles.

A preferable choice among these two is the organic mulch. For Fayetteville soil, you can work 2 to 3 inches of organic matter or mulch into the surface of the soil. Then add at least 1 inch more each year after that, if possible in fall.

 

  • Fertilizer Is A Must

In as much as food is important for humans, fertilizers are equally paramount for soil. You can choose between organic or chemical fertilizers. Yes, organic fertilizers are safe and they work slower and releases nutrients over a longer period compared to the synthetic ones. If the results of your soil test indicate a lack of certain nutrients, you should follow the recommendations made by the testing company for supplementing the soil. Otherwise, if required nutrients are minimal, organic fertilizers are a perfect choice.

Organic fertilizers can either be dry or in liquid form. Organic dry fertilizers are mixed into the soil according to the directions on the label and then watered while the liquid ones are sprayed directly on the plant foliage or onto the soil.

Chemical fertilizers are usually composed of the three most important nutrients you soil needs: nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. Take note, the numbers included in each bag represent the percentage of each of these nutrients in the mix. The percentage will be based on your soil test and you can consult the local cooperative extension office for nutrient deficiency concerns or questions.

 

  • Cover Crops

As much as possible, don’t your ever leave you space or soil bare. Fill it up with cover crops – these are low maintenance plants and it adds valuable nutrients to the soil. Aside from that, it protects the soil from wind and erosion and adds valuable organic material. In Fayetteville, planting cover crops has been a task done by gardeners at the end of the season, before the dormant season. Cold-hardy crops such as vetch and winter rye are best for overwintering. Expert gardeners in Arkansas highlight the benefits of crop covers for overall soil health.

Grains, grasses or legumes can help ensure healthy, productive soil for the next growing season. So, make sure not to ignore this approach. However, when spring comes, you must avoid these crop covers to invade your garden. To do this, till the crop into the soil 2-3 weeks before planting.

 

  • Soil pH

In Arkansas, including Fayetteville, the soil is mostly acidic, or the pH value is less than 6.5 (acidic for most garden plants). Given this, it’s important to raise the pH value of the soil to make sure that plants will thrive. One of the most effective ways to raise soil pH is adding powdered limestone or some use Dolomitic limestone to add manganese to the soil. The ideal time of the year to apply it will be in fall because it takes several months to alter the pH.

As an alternative to limestone, wood ash can be used. Although, you have to make sure that the amount is just right in order to avoid nutrient imbalance and drastic change in soil pH. According to experts, when using wood ash, you should do it during winter. The amount also differs according to soil type, for example, in heavy clay soil, it is required to add 8 to 10 pounds (per 100 square feet). Sandy soil is 3 to 4 pounds (per 100 square feet) and loam soil 7 to 8 pounds (per 100 square feet).

 

Conclusion

Having said all these, improving your garden soil is the key to a successful and high-yielding garden in Fayetteville. It may take time and demand a lot of effort and patience, still, it will be all worth it in the end. Once you’ve done that, you’re set on the right track. Soon, you’ll be able to marvel at the abundance of your own garden.