Spring Landscaping in Lincoln, NE
The temperatures are climbing, the grass is returning to green, the trees are budding, the flowers are blooming – must be spring! What does that mean for anyone responsible for the landscaping of their home or business? Well, that depends – there are many rules of thumb, and about just as many things that will vary based on the property and its owner’s preferences. We’ve consulted the experts to brush you up on all of the basics so that you don’t miss any of the important steps!
“A thorough spring cleaning of the property will be the first step for anyone, regardless of their goals for their lawn and landscape this year,” says Ken Svoboda of Ray’s Lawn & Landscape. “Clear your lawn of all leaves and debris by raking heavy and matted grass areas. A light spring rake is best for this chore. It may cause a few sore muscles but it will be well worth it in the long run, and your lawn will love it. Once you’ve cleaned the lawn, it’s time for the first mowing of the season. Set your lawn mower to approximately 2”, which is generally the second lowest setting on the wheels. It’s always best to bag the first couple mowings of the season to pick up any leftover debris. Now do the same in your landscaped areas, clearing all leaves and winter debris. Be careful of any perennials and bulbs that are hiding below the leaves; this being a somewhat early spring, many plants are already making their appearance. Aerification of your lawn is also highly recommended in the spring, which allows fertilizers and moisture to reach the lawn’s root system. Finally, apply a spring fertilizer with a pre-emergent herbicide to best control crabgrass. Then, water your lawn, as this has been an unusually dry winter and there’s little moisture in the soil to feed your lawn and plants. As they are waking up from winter dormancy, they’ll need moisture to begin growing, turning green, activating fertilizer, and absorbing other natural nutrients and foods. Now, enjoy – after all your hard work, don’t forget to take some time for yourself and your family to reap the rewards of the great outdoors.”
As far as the possibilities for landscaping projects, Svoboda also notes, “The most recent trend has been the ever-increasing use of indoor appliances adapted for outdoor use – pizza ovens, grills, extra burners, granite countertops, refrigerators, wine chillers and flat panel TVs. Also, with the increased availability of LED lighting choices the sky, and of course budget, are the limits when highlighting your landscape. With over 50 years of design and installation experience, Ray’s Lawn & Landscape is one of Lincoln’s finest and most innovative landscape design specialists.” He concludes, “Be sure to plan and schedule work early if you’re needing the help of professionals. If not, take advantage of the short window of time with mild temperatures and do your spring cleaning!”
While we’re on the topic of the latest and greatest in outdoor living and entertaining spaces, you’ll want fashion as well as function. Overall, it should be a comfortable space where you can relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor. “At Nebraska Outdoor Living Center, our specialty is all of the things that help transform your space into a comfortable outdoor living oasis,” says Bill Budler of Nebraska Outdoor Living Center. This might include proper shading or a pergola, extremely comfortable furniture, or a warm and charming fire pit, all of which will add that special touch to your backyard. No matter the product, quality always matters. When spring slips by and summer is just around the corner, it’s easy to get anxious and run down to one of those big discount box stores to buy furniture or other outdoor living products. As a wise old wine vendor once told me, ‘Cheap wine is seldom good, and good wine is never cheap.’ For example, our outdoor gas firepits are made in the USA. They feature stainless steel burners with a lifetime warranty, electronic ignition, and are designed to hide a propane tank inside the base or can be plumbed into the natural gas supply. Just with this one item, there are dozens of designs and a wide range of options that allow you to customize it. Since it’s likely to be a central part of your outdoor living area, it should be suited to your exact taste. And unlike messy wood burners, when you’re done, simply turn it off. With anything that’s an important component of your outdoor living space, you will want it to be a quality product.”
Going back to lawn care essentials, and specifically aeration, Lee Schumacher of TDK Lawn Care adds, “Aerating your lawn is a great way to help loosen compacted soils, allowing for adequate penetration of water, sun, nutrients, fertilizer – all of the things your lawn will need to grow and thrive. Particularly with the herd of contractors many property owners had all over their lawn for siding and roof repair due to the hail storm last year, lawn aeration will do wonders to help it come back to life as healthy as it was before the onset of winter. Along the same lines, if you find there are bare spots or your lawn looks thinner than usual, after aerating it’s a good idea to overseed your lawn with drought- and fungus-resistant seed. You will need about 5-8lbs.per 1000 sq. ft., which can be purchased for around $3.00 per lb. If you are doing this, you’ll need to use starter fertilizer and wait on crabgrass preventer until the new grass has emerged and been mowed at least two times. With that in mind, at TDK we usually like to start our fertilizer schedule on or around April 1st with a crabgrass preventer included. For the most part, timing of application is where the majority of homeowners meet most of their challenges. By utilizing a professional for these treatments, since all lawn care specialists applying fertilizer must be state certified, you’ll benefit from the knowledge of what works best in our climate and a program specifically tailored to meet your lawn’s needs. Count on our team at TDK Lawn Care to help you create the best lawn possible.”
This will go hand in hand with establishing a watering schedule, but first thing’s first – required seasonal maintenance of your sprinkler system if applicable. “There is no better time than springtime to make sure your automatic sprinkler system is ready for another season of efficient lawn and garden watering,” says Jeremy Hunt of Hunt Irrigation. “Just a few simple steps will go a long way towards saving water, money, and preventing a mid-summer landscape catastrophe at home. Get the warm watering season off to a great start with the following tips: *Inspect your backflow device for any possible damage, prior to pressurizing the system. *Slowly begin to fill the system with water and make sure to never open the water too quickly as this may damage the mainline or valves. *Turn each individual zone on and inspect for damage and normal wear and tear. *Inspect each fixed spray nozzle for obstructions and clear with a small screwdriver or if obstruction is severe enough, replace the nozzle. *Inspect each rotary head to make sure that they are not only oscillating, but that they are not over rotating or watering sidewalks and driveways. *If you have a drip system, be sure to clean the filter and inspect the landscape beds for leaks. *Lastly, check the programming in the controller and make sure that you are watering at the proper times of the day and that the run times for each zone do not exceed the absorption rate of the soil. Of course, the staff at Hunt Irrigation is always here to lend you a hand; we offer trained irrigation techs that can perform this service for you. Feel free to call the office at (402) 438-8151 to get a spot on the books yet this month.”
With the turbulent weather and strange storm patterns we’ve been experiencing, there have been sightings of tree casualties all across town. While removal of the fallen tree happens right away, the stump usually remains indefinitely, or at least until the ground thaws. Now that this has happened, it’s advised to get the stump removed professionally (aka “stump grinding”) so you can go about the business of lawn care and landscaping. Why not just leave it, you might ask yourself? “The tree stump needs to be ground down using special machinery that homeowners don’t have sitting around in their garage or shed, so it tends to get put off,” explains Bill Frazee of Frazee’s Stump Grinding. “Aside from aesthetics, which is important if you’re considering selling your home or if it’s in a prominent place, it can be a hazard if you have children running around in the yard and it could end up being a haven for harmful insect infestation, which could eventually spread to your home depending on its proximity. It’s best to just get it taken care of, and we’re happy to help.”
Once that’s out of the way, if you’ll be planting a new one in its place, make sure to consult a professional to get the green light before doing anything you might regret. Speaking of planting, it’s definitely that time of year too! “In spring you will find the best selection of trees, shrubs, and perennial flowers to add to your existing flower beds or to create new beds,” says Jessica Jasnoch of Earl May Seed & Nursery. “With plant deliveries almost daily here at Earl May, there are always fresh plants to choose from. Now is a good time to freshen up mulch areas and to apply a preemergence to keep weed seeds from growing. Don’t forget to fertilize all plants to help give them a boost this spring while you’re at it. It’s also a good time to apply Annual Tree and Shrub Care to your trees and shrubs. This is a 12-month control insecticide that keeps bores and other insects from harming your trees and shrubs. Particularly with respect to shrubs, we’re commonly asked about when the right time is to cut them back. A good rule of thumb to follow is if it blooms in the spring, cut it back as soon as it is done blooming. If blooms in the fall, cut it back in the spring.”
She also notes, “Container gardening seems to be a growing trend, whether it is adding colorful pottery full of annual flowers to the landscape or growing vegetables in containers for ease of maintenance. Ask an Earl May associate for advice on the right plant for the right container.”
“With respect to current or future maintenance, one needs to know the proper time and technique to prune or trim planted items so they’ll be able to continue performing their main functions,” agrees Dave Hastreiter of Pro-Scapes Landscape Development & Maintenance. “Here are a few examples spanning the wide variety of instances when this is necessary. One should trim a lilac after it blooms to avoid cutting off the flowing buds, which results in reduction or elimination of fragrant blossoms to enjoy. Trimming evergreens should occur during the growing season, which is generally May through August, to avoid fall growth spurts and desiccation burn. Some perennial plants will rebloom with the removal of old flowers (deadheading), but in most cases (99%), the practice of shearing plants is a not recommended. Above all, when planning for your plantings, consider the plant’s mature size and the intent or function, which results in the level of maintenance needed.”
Even with a well-established landscape and areas of interest already in place, any property owner will find that there’s work to do once spring rolls around. There’s always room for improvement, and each new year provides a fresh, new start with plenty of possibilities to explore. With the help of the professionals, your property will be the envy of the neighborhood, but most importantly, the place you’re proud to call your own where you can simply enjoy life outdoors.