Less than a week after a Valentine’s Day, Maryland residents received an impromptu taste of summer, with back-to-back 78 degree days.
Skies were blue, the sun was shining, and many high-end homeowners were abruptly reminded they had lawns and gardens that would soon require attention.
But seasonal landscape maintenance is meant to be an ongoing process. In fact, at McHale Landscape Design, our horticulturists recommend our clients purchase a year-long landscape maintenance package. This allows property owners to establish a schedule and forget about it, confident in the knowledge that their landscape is in good hands.
It’s important to kick start each year with a spring cleanup. This sets the stage for success throughout the remaining months.
Approximately 98 percent of McHale’s clients sign up for our spring cleanup services, at a bare minimum.
Spring cleanup typically includes:
• Removal of fall and winter debris
• Tree and shrub pruning
• Re-edging of flower beds
• Fertilizing lawns and gardens
• Mulch application
As March approaches, turf care is also an integral step in protecting a lawn. The first application is, by far, the most important to protect and control against intrusive weeds like crabgrass. This must be carried out prior to the soil reaching a temperature of 64 degrees, however.
Because state law will not allow maintenance crews to apply fertilizer before the first of March, customers have approximately six weeks – from March through mid-April – to arrange for adequate coverage.
Some homeowners also request fungicide treatments, which combat humidity-related diseases affecting Maryland lawns. These applications should be carried out in May, and continue every 14-21 days until September. (Get too late of a start, however, and such curative methods could do more harm than good. In these cases, maintenance crews may suggest you hold off, and start fresh the following year.)
Detail visits should begin following spring cleanup. These tasks involve the routine pruning and shaping of hedges and trees, and the hand-watering of plants. Many homeowners also opt to begin planting annuals (begonias, impatiens, etc.) as early as May.
As spring segues into the summer months, attention will begin to shift to getting customers – and their lawns – through the season’s dry spells, particularly the sweltering dog days in July, August, and early September.
Monitoring irrigation schedules takes center stage during the summer, along with weeding and pruning tasks. Mower blades get a vigorous workout – as their heights are constantly adjusted to reduce stress on lawns.
With autumn’s crisp and crunchy arrival in late September, maintenance crews often make a push for the aeration and seeding of lawns. The former helps to break up the soil and helps foster the growth of grass roots, and is one of the most important seasonal landscape maintenance tasks that homeowners can do for their lawn every year.
Leaf removal is also essential during this time, while annuals, like pansies, can be planted. Fall is a phenomenal time to consider planting and/or transplanting trees, as the cooler air and warmer soil temps are more conducive to root growth.
While the deep chill of winter results in a relatively dormant time for maintenance crews, it is not without its respective chores.
December through February offer an ideal time to prune, once trees have completely shed their leaves and all limbs and potential problem areas are visible. Seasonal landscape maintenance is a critical component of keeping your property healthy and aesthetically pleasing throughout the year. Professional assistance, however, is strongly recommended.
For instance, mulching is one of the biggest DIY mistakes the McHale maintenance team has seen homeowners make. Too much mulch suffocates your plants, but insufficient beds can result in losses, too.
Interestingly, February through early April is the quintessential time to apply mulch to flower beds, as it provides ample weed resistance before battling perennials – like hostas – becomes an issue in May.
The most important thing is to simply get the ball rolling. The sooner you develop a seasonal landscape maintenance plan, the better.
At McHale Landscape Design, we urge our clients to sign up no later than early March. Getting started is easy – simply call the office and speak to schedule a consultation with one of our account managers.