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Spring 2005

Start Thinking Design
Keystone Horticulturists, LLC Design Program

Spring is here and as the snow melts away you begin to see the same lifeless landscape as the year before. The overgrown shrubs massing together, the thin , patchy lawn, cracked walkways and colorless plants.

Perhaps it is time for a new landscape. A fresh, maintained landscape with colorful gardens and flowering shrubs. A place where you can escape the world, or a place where you can entertain guests on a warm summer afternoon.

A new design from Keystone Horticulturists, LLC will add a new enjoyment of your property and increase the value of your home.

We view your landscape as an extension of your home, a place that you can enjoy outside, just as you can enjoy an interior room. Our design process is very simple and painless. We offer our professional attitudes and practices to work with you in coming up with a dream landscape. The following are the basic steps in design.

Step 1: We will visit with you at your home and determine exactly what you envision your property to look like. We can discuss plants or colors that you like, and more importantly, things that you dislike.

Step 2: Here we will take a site inventory and look at the environmental conditions, taking note of shady areas, wet areas, existing plants elevation etc. All of this information will assist in selecting the correct plant material. We will also measure out the property.

Step 3: A concept, or preliminary plan is drafted. Here major focal points are laid out, as well as circulation and planting beds. Your property is analyzed and items are laid out based on the principles of balance and space. These plans will be given to you for review and appropriate changes can be made.

Step 4: All of the information is brought together and compiled to make a final plan. After all of the previous planning, it is now time to pick out plants. We select them based on colors, textures, and appropriate conditions for your property. We use many different plants and materials to ensure a diverse and beautiful landscape.

We hope this paints a picture of what we can offer you to begin creating your dream landscape.

Late Season Storms

Although winter is hanging around much longer than we would like, we are still thinking about the sunny spring weather. However, there is hope in sight. Nice temperatures are on there way and soon the snow will be gone, and we will be ready to offer all of our services to you. We are chomping at the bit to get Outside and begin designing , installing and maintaining our customer’s landscapes. Our offices are open so please feel free to contact us and we will be glad to get started on a plan for your yard.

Keep Your Landscape Tip-Top All Season Long

If you are planning on keeping your landscape looking great all season long, then a management plan is something you need to consider.

A management plan is exactly what you would expect. It is an in-depth “to-do” list for your landscape. It can be very simple, or very in-depth depending upon your plant material and extent of upkeep.

As you may already know, plants are very unique and require different methods for care, at different times of the year. A well thought out management plan will keep track of all of your plants and how to care for them at certain points of the year. A complete plan will include your lawn, plants, trees and shrubs.

Setting Up a Plan

The first step in creating a plan, is to decide which areas you want to care for and how much you want to care for them. Next you want to take a complete inventory of the selected areas, including plant name (common and scientific name) as well as any cultivar names.

Then you want to research each plant and find out it’s preferred growing conditions, flowering times, any pests and time of year they would be a problem. You can also include any other pertinent information of the plant.

You will want to take this information and set up a calendar, with each task required for each plant listed at the proper time of year. Be sure to include the times of year when pests attack, or when pests are most vulnerable for control. This will save you the headache of seeing a pest outbreak, when most often times it is too late for control.

Pruning times are also very important. If you prune a plant at the wrong time of the year you may be pruning off desirable characteristics such as flower buds, or ornamental bark.

A well thought-out plan will keep your landscape looking great and healthy all season long. Please feel free to contact us if you want help in setting up a plan for your home.

Mowing Your Lawn
Tips for simple lawn care

As the grass begins to grow in your yard, it becomes time for that weekly chore of mowing your lawn. Although this may seem like a simple task, there is much that can be done to ensure a healthy green lawn.

One of the first things you can do is to make sure that your mowing blades have been sharpened and are routinely kept sharp. A dull blade will tend to rip, or tear the grass rather than make a nice clean cut. This tear will leave the grass open for disease infestation that can take over your lawn. Next, you want to mow your lawn only when it is dry. Mowing while wet will also cause the grass to tear as well as clumping of the clippings which can also lead to disease outbreaks. Speaking of clippings, there is some argument about whether to leave or take them away.

It has been proven that leaving the clippings is beneficial to the grass. The clippings are a great source of nitrogen that is returned to the soil as it decomposes and can help water retention and weed suppression.
Also, you want to make sure that you are mowing at the correct height. In Maine, it is likely that you have a lawn with a variety of cool season grasses in it. Ideally your lawn should be kept at 2.5-3 inches in height during the season and perhaps a bit longer during the hot and dry periods of the year.

Each time you mow, be sure to mow in a different direction. For example, if you mow east to west one week, the next week you should mow north to south and then perhaps mow in a diagonal direction the next. If you constantly mow in the same direction, the grass will tend to follow this pattern. Changing directions is going to encourage the grass to grow with a more upright habit.

All of these tips will help keep your lawn looking great through the season. You may also want to incorporate a routine fertilization program to help your grass grow vigorously and with a deeper green color.

SpringTime Turf Concerns
What Your Lawn Is Saying

If your lawn could talk, there are a few things it would probably say to you in the spring time. The biggest concerns of a home lawn are fertilization and weed control.

Once you decide whether you want organic or synthetic fertilizer, you must decide when to apply them. Ideally, fertilizer should be applied after the grass been actively growing for a few weeks. If you apply sooner than this, you will be helping the weeds grow rather than the grass. A low nitrogen fertilizer should be applied to help the grass start off on the right foot for the upcoming season. Three more treatments are usually required throughout the growing season with the last application in the fall to give the grass one last boost before the winter months come.

Weeds are also a major concern as the growing season begins. Weeds can be very unsightly and will also harm your lawn by using up the available nutrients. In the springtime, you want to try and control the weeds before they emerge from the soil. For example, it is much easier to prevent crabgrass before it begins to grow, rather than when it becomes established due to its hairy leaves that make it tough for herbicides to be effective. The “pre-emergent” herbicide, as it is called, will eliminate the tender young weed when it germinates from seed.

We strive to provide our lawn care service to promote a healthy lawn that will be able to sustain itself and out-compete weeds, reducing need for chemicals.

If you would like a lawn care service from us, please contact us for more information on how we may serve your needs.

Integrated Pest Management
Environmentally Conscious Pest Control

Integrated Pest Management(IPM) is a movement to reduce the use of chemical pesticides to control insects, disease or weeds. Many years ago, a common trend to control pests was to use chemicals only. This led to many problems such as pests becoming resistant to chemical controls. The basis of IPM is to use many different methods to control a pest without the reliance of chemicals. Things such as cultural controls (correct planting locations), mechanical controls (pruning) and biological control (beneficial insects) are a few of may tools used. An IPM program consists of scouting, or monitoring an area for pest activity. Here a technician can see if a pest is present, and more importantly determine if the pest will cause enough damage for control action to be taken. In most cases one or two pests causes no reason for concern. The information is simply recorded and then rechecked periodically to see if there has been any change.

However, if there is a cause for concern, chemicals are not necessarily the only control method. For instance, a diseased branch on a tree can simply be pruned off, or introducing a beneficial insect to feed on the harmful ones, or increasing the health of a plant so it is better able to withstand an attack. There are many ways to keep your landscape healthy without reliance on harmful chemicals. IPM is just a sequence of monitoring, recording and taking control measures only when necessary. This will reduce the use of pesticides and will lead to less chemical related problems.

 

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