Posted by & filed under Outdoor Kitchens.

If you’ve invested the time and money into an outdoor kitchen, you already have a love of the outdoors along with the love of cooking. Don’t let the frigid temperatures of a southern Ontario winter, dampen your enthusiasm for outdoor cooking.

 

You may choose to cook outside during the winter because it’s still worth the trouble of shoveling off the barbecue. Or, you may choose to take your culinary skills outside because you aren’t going to let the winter beat you. Whichever rings true to you, there are things you can do that will make it an easier to get out there during the winter months and express your inner chef.

 

Outdoor Patio Kitchen

 

Winterizing your outdoor kitchen

 

Before you even consider cedar plank salmon on the barbie this winter, it is important to first consider winterizing parts of your outdoor kitchen. With temperatures that are guaranteed to drop below zero, bursting pipes are a real risk with any plumbing that is not insulated. An outdoor kitchen with running water falls into this category. Be sure to drain all pipes and close down the water supply. Any water left in your pipes is likely to expand and could, in turn, burst a pipe. While there is no reason why you can’t take your culinary skills outside during the winter, you won’t likely be using the fridge, the ice maker or wine cooler. It is safest to turn these off and unplug them. Remember, in the dead of winter, cooling of your food and wine will come naturally and an unplugged refrigerator can still be used to temporarily store food.

 

Create a functional work-space and be organized

 

You wouldn’t want to cook in a dirty kitchen, and cooking outside is not different. As the warmer months wane, give your grill and other outdoor kitchen elements a good cleaning. Keep snow clear of your grill and maintain a clear path to your outdoor kitchen. Despite the cold, an inviting kitchen is one that gets used, and outdoor cooking is no different. With the heat of an outdoor grill or fireplace, cooking outdoors isn’t as cold as you’d think it is. Dress appropriately but remember that good cooking can warm more than the soul. Gather all that you’ll need before donning your parka and mitts. Pull everything from the refrigerator and cupboards and do all your prep beforehand. Be sure to have the cooking surface preheated. Proper lighting will also make the job a whole lot easier.

 

Open your mind to new tastes

 

During long summer nights, hot dogs and marshmallows with a smores chaser may constitute a three-course meal. During the winter, consider meals that can be placed on the open fire or grill and that are slow cooking and don’t need constant attention. Soups, chili, stews or a slow cooking rotisserie chicken. Cooking outdoors, no matter how cold it is, can be satisfying, but cooking outdoors while you watch out the window from inside the kitchen, is better. Having to run in and out 134 000 times while you cook up a couple of burgers, can dampen the outdoor cooking experience. Unlike the summer months, standing outside in the winter with a beer in hand while you grill isn’t as common and with the less inviting temperatures, can be a lonely experience. Let the food cook outdoors while you enjoy your family and friends inside.

 

While many elements of your outdoor space are off limits during the winter, there is very little reason to close the kitchen. Though trudging through two feet of snow in the middle of a Canadian February may pose more of a challenge than you anticipated, the outcome can leave you proud and impressed with yourself. You are hearty and so is your outdoor kitchen.

 

Call Evergreen Landscapes to have your dream outdoor kitchen built for you in Burlington, Ancaster, Dundas, or the surrounding areas like Aldershot. We can work with you to build an ideal kitchen that works with your landscape, and the Canadian climate.

Posted by & filed under Gardens, Landscaping Design.

Many homeowners simply don’t have the time or desire to invest a lot of hours in keeping up with an extensive landscaping regimen. For those people who want to spend less time away from the tedious chore of maintaining their properties, a low maintenance landscape is an ideal solution. With the correct plan in place and a bit of preparation ahead of time, you can have a beautifully landscaped yard without the hours of upkeep. You can get back to doing the things that you truly enjoy in life instead of spending countless hours tending your yard.

Low-Maintenance Landscaping

 

The biggest mistake many homeowners make is that they piece their yard together sporadically and without much thought given to how it needs to ultimately come together. Unfortunately, this type of practice typically creates a landscape that requires more time and money to maintain. Obviously, the best way to get around this problem is to hire a professional landscape designer or architect like Evergreen Landscapes to help you plan out your gardens with reduced maintenance in mind. If hiring a designer is more than your budget can manage, there are some simple rules that you can follow to achieve a beautiful low maintenance yard that you will be proud to call your own.

 

Start with a Plan

 

Before you can begin to dream about a yard with minimal care, you need to have a plan set in place to achieve this envisioning goal. You can start by taking photos of the various parts of your yard during the different times of the day. Pictures will help you identify the assets and problem areas of the property. You can then draw a rough sketch of your yard, including any features that are particularly troublesome like an overgrowing and fully blooming garden bed. This preparation will help you to establish an overall view of the yard and help you with the problem solving details to resolve them.

 

Simplicity of Design

 

Any landscape expert will tell you that simplicity of design is the key factor in having a low maintenance landscape. According to Christopher Starbuck, an Associate Professor of the Division of Plant Sciences at the University of Missouri Extension says, “Simplicity is characteristic both of good design and low-maintenance landscapes. Eliminate frills such as statues and water features or design them for easy care and maintenance.” If you do decide to go with a landscaping company, inform them up-front that a simple, low-maintenance landscape is what you are after so they can plan their design accordingly.

 

Proper Plantings

 

A good low-maintenance landscape should have the correct size of plants in the most suitable locations. When you have the proper plant size for the various locations in the yard, you will substantially reduce the amount of pruning required to keep everything in check. Another trick to low-maintenance plantings is to plant in mass groups because they are easier to care for in groupings and easier to mow around. For best results, you should also select mass plants with similar light and water requirements. You should also plant plenty of perennials and sparingly plant annuals because it won’t only save you money over the long run, it will cut down on the time required for planting each season.

 

Mulch

 

One of the most beneficial substances that you can use for low-maintenance landscaping is the generous use of mulch as a way to reduce landscape maintenance needs. The benefits of an abundance of mulch on the property are many, such as:

 

  • Acts as a weed barrier
  • Holds in moisture, which reduces the amount of watering required.
  • Helps to release nutrients into the soil
  • Improves the appearance of garden beds

Having a low-maintenance property can be easily achieved if you have a plan and carry out that plan with thoughtful diligence.

 

If you feel that this might be a job for a professional to do or still have questions regarding this topic, contact our team of experts today and we’ll be ready to help.

Posted by & filed under Landscaping Design.

For many homeowners, owning a piece of property that they can landscape is truly a dream come true. Even though the work involved can be difficult at times, the planning and execution can truly be a fun project. Spending time outdoors in the fresh air, digging your hands into the soil while getting hot and sweaty can seem like heaven to many people. You get to soak up the sun, feel healthy, plus get the pleasure of creating a beautiful environment that is personalized, and you can call your own.

a man pushing a lawnmower across a garden

 

For many homeowners, it just doesn’t get any better than this and people look forward to this time of the year more than any other. However, as enjoyable as all of these wonderful attributes sound, there are common mistakes and pitfalls that every homeowner faces unless a little planning and research is done before talking on or executing any project. While some homeowners simply make unattractive choices in their landscaping design or choices of products, others may make decisions that are unsightly, downright dangerous and perhaps even unlawful. So, what are the most common landscaping mistakes?

 

Selecting the Wrong Plants

The first of thumb is to go to a reputable garden centre for your plant selection instead of relying on the Internet for online shopping. Although you might see something inspirational for your landscape, it might be completely wrong for your region, location and climate. Many online retail stores will organize their plants by region, but you cannot be sure that this is the case. You will end up very disappointed when the plants fail to grow and thrive on your property. When you buy from a local retailer, at least you are sure that you are buying the appropriate plants for your region. It may not be the right plant for your properties conditions, but the climate conditions are reliable.

 

The next rule is to select plants that are appropriate for your properties particular conditions and we all have them. Many different conditions can coexist on the same property, such as one part may receive sun all day while other parts are primarily shaded areas. You may have clay in one section and richer soil in another where most plants grow to their optimum best. Your best solution to these inconsistencies is to observe your property carefully before you start digging to find out what will best suit you.

 

Forgetting to Research the Growth Rate

You may have never thought of this, but different plants grow at different growth rates. This is a huge mistake made by many homeowners and one of the major landscaping mistakes. If you have a property where you want a privacy hedge, you have to look for fast-growing evergreens that ideally grow at a three feet per season rate. Slower growing evergreens in the same space will not give you the desired effect and you will be waiting a long time for that view-block effect to occur.

 

The opposite can happen as well when you take home a lovely looking tree for an accent effect and sadly watch it grow well beyond what you had in mind in the first place. Instead of an accent effect, you have a monster out of control on your hand. It can spread into your foundation and crack it or wreak havoc on your underground pipes resulting in a very costly repair. Resolving this potential hazard is easily solved by simply checking beforehand the growth rate of your selections before you plant.

 

Ignoring the Harmony of Nature

Many homeowners make the mistake of ignoring the harmony of nature by disregarding the local wildlife when landscaping. Even city dwellers have wildlife, like squirrels, skunks, and raccoons. Learn what animals eat certain foods, such as those producing sweet berries and opt for bitter flavors to discourage unwanted visitors. On the other hand, if you love having birds visit your property, select trees that provide them shelter from the elements and select plants or shrubs that will produce their favorite delicacies.

 

Bypassing Local Regulations

Many inner city or suburb municipalities have certain restrictions on landscaping designs. They are put in place to protect citizens and ensure neighborhood harmony. In particular are sidewalks that may run the length of the property where low hanging branches would be considered an obstruction. It’s wise to check with your local bylaws before you plant. In the same vein, some residential areas prohibit tall trees or fences that obstruct a neighbor’s view.

 

Local regulations also strongly recommend that you know the location of utility lines before you dig. Power lines, water mains, cable and gas lines are often buried beneath a residential property out of view. Hitting these lines can be catastrophic both for you and your neighbors, so before you dig have the utilities come out to your property and run a check for location.

 

Landscaping errors can be avoided with a little planning ahead and a bit of research so that you can truly enjoy the fruits of your labor.

 

Call Evergreen Landscapes for help with your landscaping design.

Posted by & filed under Landscaping Design.

Now that the Christmas season is upon us, nothing brings out the magic of the holidays around your home like a dazzling display of holiday lights. It’s the time of the year that homeowners try to create an enchanted winter wonderland that’s inviting and decked out for the season. Whether you want an elaborate display of lights, like icicles drizzling off the rooftop, or a simple accent of lights on the front of your house and door, the right lighting is essential for a festive look.

 

landscape lightingWhile traditional incandescent holiday lights are still a favorite among consumers, there have been tremendous advances in LED technology over the past few years. Today’s LED lights offer many advantages over the traditional incandescent lights, including:

 

  • Energy savings of up to 80%
  • A lifespan up to 20 times longer
  • More durable and cool to the touch
  • More strands can be connected together on one outlet or extension cord

 

Some of the most popular locations for holiday lighting include:

 

  • rooflines or eaves
  • bushes, hedges and trees
  • pillars, posts or deck railings
  • windows and door frames
  • driveways and pathways
  • window boxes and planters

 

With all of this talk about holiday lights creating a magical sparkle for the Christmas season, it’s important to remember that this dazzling illumination only last about six weeks. Once it’s over the spark is gone, but if you have premium year-round landscape lighting, it lasts for every season and brings a bit of pizazz to your property daily.

 

Premium Landscape Lighting

 

Most homeowners work hard to make their homes and yards look top-notch and beautiful, but all of that effort is lost when night falls and the beauty fades away into the shadows. However, with a good transformer, timer and some landscape lights placed in strategic places, you can take your yard out of the darkness and put all of its beauty on display.

 

When landscape lighting is thoughtfully planned out and done right, landscape lighting brings out the best of your home’s environment by highlighting its architectural features while drawing attention to plantings, gardens, bushes, shrubs and trees. Best of all, landscape lighting enhances your property 24/7, 365 days a year for a breathtaking illumination of your home’s finest qualities.

 

Most of today’s landscape lighting is low voltage and can be expanded to as many lights as the power of the transformer that you buy. Some come in kits already to go and range in the number of lights or spots so you can make an interesting mixture of lighting. Although low-voltage lights receive only one-tenth the power of the old 120-volt systems because of a step-down transformer, there’s no limit to the dramatic look that they can achieve. You can enjoy the feel of moonlight beaming down from a tree’s canopy to a subtle glow that cascades over a garden because this creation is more than just picking the right hardware. It’s an attractive lighting scheme that is all about design and artistry.

 

Premium year-round landscape lighting does more than simply illuminate the exterior of a structure, plantings or property. One of its great attributes is to actually extend living space physically as well as visually since landscape lighting pushes the boundaries of a house. By going beyond the boundaries, your home takes on a visually striking look from the outside of the house, especially when the interior lights are turned off. You can extend the practice of boundary lighting even further with a fence or shrub line that represents your property line. With a small output wall wash illumination fixture, one light can be overlapped to create a continuous wall of light that will subtly show the edges of a yard.

 

So, which is better? Holiday lighting is a sparkly seasonal event that creates a magical place for all to see during the holiday season, but premium landscape lighting creates a visually appealing environment that people can enjoy year-round.

Posted by & filed under Gardens.

Even though winter is upon us, there is no better time to think about giving a touch of spring as a Christmas gift to your gardening enthusiast. Receiving gardening tools as a Christmas gift will get your gardener excited about the upcoming months leading to spring and summer.

While gardens and gardeners come in all shapes, sizes and needs, there are some garden tools every gardener should own because the right tools make the job easier. A handful of inexpensive tools will do the trick to handle the most common lawn and garden maintenance issues.

 

gardening tools

 

And, just like us, garden tools come in all shapes, sizes and ways we can use them, but one thing gardeners all agree upon is that we want the garden tools to last and to work as hard as we do. The right tools help to avoid strained back muscles, scratched hands, and other backyard annoyances, so having the right tool to do the job is a priority.

 

Gardening Tools that are a Must

 

Shovel – Any gardener will tell you that a shovel is a necessity for any garden or landscape work. It is best used for planting or digging out trees and shrubs, mixing large quantities of dirt, creating a dugout for an annual or perennial garden, composting and so much more. You should look for a sturdy tempered-steel round-point shovel that is 44 to 48 inches long in the shaft that you can grip comfortably and lift with as little effort on your back as possible.

 

Hand Pruner – Hand pruners are a versatile tool that can be used for many purposes in the garden, but they are best used for snipping and removing dead and unwanted branches from trees and shrubs in an easy stroke motion. They come in many sizes and blades such as hand-held bypass pruners that have a smooth operating blade and comfortable grip for your hand.

 

Hand Trowel – A hand trowel is designed for digging small holes, transplanting seedlings, planting flowers and bulbs in garden beds or performing similar tasks. Many gardeners find hand trowels immensely useful and indispensable. Look for a hand trowel with a comfortable grip and a narrow, sturdy blade that will pierce the soil more easily.

 

Garden Utility Bucket or Caddy – A utility bucket or caddy is ideal for carrying your hand tools around the property, freeing up your hands while gathering clippings and weeds. Some caddy type models let you carry a beverage or cell phone in designated pockets. The standard utility bucket lets you carry your tools and toss a lot of debris in it as well. Look for easy to clean canvas construction in caddy models or go for a basic 5 gallon plastic bucket with handles.

 

Leaf Rake – The most basic of tool for any property is a leaf rake. It is best used for gathering leaves, lawn clippings, spreading mulch around the gardens and other ground-covering materials around planting beds. You want to look for a rake that has a medium size head width in either metal or plastic tines because super-sized leaf rakes can be difficult to maneuver.

 

Garden Rake – These rakes are best used for working the soil in planting beds, pressing sown seeds into the soil and removing dead grass from the lawn. A flat head rake is useful for leveling soil, while a bow-head garden rake is often easier to maneuver.

 

Watering Can – A medium sized watering can is ideal for transporting small quantities of water from an outdoor tap to thirsty plants that are potted or in the garden. Look for a 1.5 or 2 gallon plastic or metal watering can with a sturdy handle for a comfortable grip and ease of transportation.

 

Garden and Work Gloves – Gardeners will tell you how important a good pair of garden gloves is for working in the outdoors. They protect your hands from being stabbed by thorns and branches and shield them against chemicals and poisonous plants. You can buy cotton gloves with rubberized grips, which are inexpensive, but they soak up water and wear out quickly. The best type is a pair of leather or synthetic gloves for greater protection and durability.

Posted by & filed under Lawn.

With the temperature plunging and the days getting shorter, it’s never too soon for homeowners to consider the numerous tasks that need to be done to prepare your home for winter. Getting the interior and exterior of your house prepared for the frigid winds, snow, sleet and ice is critical for keeping your home in tip-top shape so that you stay safe, warm and toasty inside.

Snow on House
 

Windows

Having windows cleaned in the fall is very beneficial because leaves and debris falling from the trees cause the screens and windows to become very dirty. This grunge reduces the amount of sunlight that can come in the house to warm it during the chilling days of winter. When sunlight is reduced from entering your home, you will have to compensate by using more heat, which will increase your utility bills.
 
Sealing windows is equally important to cleaning your windows before the snow flies in order to keep your house warm and reduce energy costs. Using caulking to seal up the cracks is a simple way to prevent drafts from leaking into your home. Alternatively, covering your windows in a thin plastic film helps to waterproof your home due to severe winter weather conditions.
 

Gutters

Your gutters are designed to help move water, melting snow and debris away from your roof and home, but when they overflow with leaves they get clogged, create water damage, ice damage to the roof, freeze and crack the pipes. This can ruin the inside of your home and cause mold, mildew and decay on the ceilings or walls and it can weaken your home’s foundation. Consumer reports suggest that leader pipes should extend at least five feet from the home. Overflowing gutters can cause your windows, siding, wood or brick exterior to become muddy and a broken or clogged gutter can result in backed up stagnant water resulting in unwanted animals and insects. Clogged gutters can result in damage to your landscape in close proximity to your house due to falling ice accumulations.
 

Chimney

Cleaning your chimney each year before winter arrives is something every responsible homeowner should get done. If you didn’t get around to doing it last year, be sure to have a certified chimney inspector come in during the fall before the hearth starts running regularly again this year. A clean fireplace improves air quality because it prevents smoke from blowing back into the house. This ensures that your family remains safe while using the fireplace, especially during winter months when doors and windows are shut.
 
By cleaning your chimney ahead of it being consistently used, it will help to keep your home running better because the air motion in your home will flow better and be cleaner. It’s important to keep your damper closed since an open damper will allow warm air to escape when the fireplace is not in use and that’s likely to be costly in energy bills over time.
 

Tools for Winter

Shovels are a necessity for the winter months to clear your driveway and outside stairs. You may think that the larger the scoop, the quicker the work will be done, but snow is particularly heavy which puts a strain on your neck, shoulders, and back. Here are some choices for you to consider to get the job done with the least physical effort.
 

  • Keep the dimensions moderate. A good size shovel is 18 to 22 inches wide.
  • High-strength plastic shovels are strong, lightweight, and easy to use because they’re less prone to freezing and release snow better than metal shovels. However scraping against concrete walks and driveways can wear out the edge more quickly and they’re not good for removing ice.
  • Steel shovels are hard to beat for durability, but they’re the heaviest, require more energy to use and more expensive; however, they’re great at removing both snow and ice.
  • Aluminum shovels are more durable than plastic, lighter and less expensive than steel, but they bend when it comes in contact with a stubborn ice chunk or cracks in the driveway. Once bent, you might as well toss them away.

It’s on its way

With winter fast approaching, fall is the perfect time to get your home ready for the onslaught of Old Man Winter. Fortunately, if you take a few simple steps now before the big freeze, your home inside and outside will be more energy efficient, safer and warm until the spring thaw occurs.
 
Once your home is prepared for winter, the next step is to have your lawn prepared to ensure a beautiful lawn for summer. Contact us and our team will assist you with all your lawn care needs for any season.

Posted by & filed under Driveways.

Depending on how you cared for your snowblower at the end of the season last year, it may need some TLC before you hit the snowdrifts this winter.

While maintenance on your snowblower can happen on either end of the season, it’s imperative that it gets done. Finding out you have a dead snowblower during the first snowfall isn’t ideal.

 
Getting the opportunity to use your snowblower for the first time this year might get you fired up. Make sure your beloved machine gets fired up too.

 
a red snowblower
 

Oil Change

If you haven’t already, change the oil in your snow blower. Even if you only used your machine a hand full of times last season, oil needs to be changed after a year of storage.

 

Check all maintenance parts

Inspect belts for fraying or cracking and replace as needed. Same goes for the air filter. Be sure to check the spark plug as well. A bad plug will certainly derail your snow removal efforts. Inspect the plug for any wear or damage. It’s a good idea to remove the wire from the spark plug while you work on your snowblower in case it starts up by accident. If the electrodes are not corroded, and the shaft has no cracks, it will not need to be replaced. Also, lubricate all seals and bearings.

 

New gas

Siphon off any gas that has been left in your snowblower. The types of gasoline today do not stand the test of time and will break down if not used. Add methanol to your snowblower gas once a year to prevent condensation in the gas tank. Be sure to mark your snowblower gas so that it is not confused with the chainsaw, lawnmower or leaf blower gas.

 

Inspect

Inspect all moving parts such as the scraper and auger. Some augers need to be lubricated, and others do not. Check your manual to find out which what kind of auger you have. If it does need to be lubricated, this should be done at least once a season. Use the recommended oil or grease for your snowblower. Check and tighten any bolts.

 

Tires

Check the tread or the air pressure in your tires. Tires can go soft during the off seasons. If your tires have treads, ensure the tracks are aligned and move freely.

 
Now you’re ready to start your engine. Be sure to prime the engine before starting so that the new oil will have the chance to coat the engine. Turn the snowblower to slow and put the choke on. Now you’re ready to give it a go.

 
If all of this prep is taking the fun out of snow removal for you, take it to the professionals. You may have the confidence of a snow blowing superhero but no confidence when it comes to maintaining the tools of your trade. The professionals will ensure your snowblower is in top shape for the long winter ahead.

 
Contact Evergreen Landscapes for your landscaping needs.

Posted by & filed under Lawn.

With the season of fall upon us, many homeowners feel the heavy work of lawn care is done. But actually there is something that you can do now in the fall that will help your lawn become golf course worthy in the summer, and that is top dressing. Top dressing is simply the process of applying a layer of soil, compost or sand over the top surface of your lawn.

Well Maintained Lawn

 

The Benefits of Top Dressing

 

There are many benefits to top dressing your lawn. Top dressing will improve the overall quality of the lawns’ soil over time and this will promote new growth. Adding sandy soils improves the lawns’ ability to retain moisture making it more resistant to drought. If you have clay soil, it will be able to drain better thereby improving the root development.

 

An additional benefit of top dressing is that it will help to level out lumpy and bumpy areas that are often present on residential lawns. Top dressing your lawn will also stimulate the grass to develop new shoots resulting in a denser grass cover, which in turn will help to deter weed growth and possible moss infestation.

 

The Process of Top Dressing

 

When top dressing your lawn, begin by making a mixture of sand, loam and peat. Depending on your soil type, the proportions of these 3 ingredients will vary. For a loamy soil type, mix 3 parts loam to 3 parts sand to 1 part peat. Ensure these ingredients are dry before you begin mixing them so that they will mix easily.

 

Always use a good quality peat rather than garden compost. Garden compost can often contain weed seeds which can germinate in the lawn and cause problems later. You should also ensure that the sand is lime free, therefore sea sand is not recommended. If you have a heavy clay soil, increase the amount of sand while reducing the amount of loam in the top dressing mix. Adversely, for sandy soils, reduce the amount of sand in your mix.

 

The texture of the top dressing mixture should be very fine. This allows the top dressing to easily penetrate the surface of the grass reaching the existing soil. Running the mixture through a soil sieve (1/4” holes) before applying will help to achieve a fine mix.

 

It is often recommended to aerate your lawn a few days prior to applying a top dressing. Use a spade to apply a thin, even layer of the top dressing over your lawn. You can use the back side of a rake to evenly spread the top dressing. The layer should be no more than 1/2” deep. Work the mixture into the grass until the grass peeks through and the depth is relatively even.

 

Once the top dressing is applied you can give your lawn a light watering to help settle the new soil into the lawn.

 

Top dressing should be done annually, especially for lawns that have poor soil quality. Performing this simple process will improve the health of your lawn and help you achieve that golf-course quality look.

 

If you would like Evergreen Landscapes to help, Contact us and we’ll take care of the rest. Our team of professionals are ready to help you with all your landscaping needs, regardless of the season.

Posted by & filed under Gardens.

Canadians love to garden. We spend hours planting and pruning, weeding and feeding so that our garden will be a source of pride and joy for us during our short growing season.

We invest a lot of time and money into our gardens and like any good investment, it’s important to know how to protect it. During winter’s cold and wet season our garden needs that extra protection to help it stay healthy and vibrant during the warmer seasons. So what plants need protection and how do we protect them?

 

family raking leaves

 

 

Tender Plants and Frost

 

Tender plants need protection in the winter. But what exactly are tender plants? These are perennials that are usually noted as half-hardy perennials, tropical and subtropical. The categories are determined by the plant’s ability to tolerate particular temperatures. Plants that can tolerate extended periods of cold temperatures, but will not survive frost are known as half-hardy perennials. Then there are subtropical plants which can tolerate freezing temperatures. However they won’t survive temperatures that are below 0 degrees Fahrenheit for any period of time. It’s important to know the plants in your garden and which ones will need to be protected during the winter.

 

Once you have determined which plants require protection you are then ready to begin. Fall is the best time of year to apply the protection to your plants. A very easy and effective way to protect plants is mulching. Using an organic material for your mulch will also enhance the soil and as the mulch decomposes it releases nutrients into the earth. In the fall, pull away the old mulch from the base of the plant and apply a new 3” layer around the plant, out to the drip line. Leave at least a ½” space around the stem of the plant. This will allow air circulation and prevent rot.

 

Trees, Shrubs and Rose Bushes

 

For trees, wrap the tender tree trunks with sections of burlap or you can white wash them to help prevent winter sunscald. Sunscald occurs when tender plant areas are exposed to excessive amounts of very strong sunlight resulting in damage which will appear as withered brown spots on leaves, trunks and stems.

 

For roses, rake a mound of soil around the base to a depth of 12” to 18” to protect the crown.

 

On new foliage on shrubs and bushes, apply an anti-desiccant. This will shield it from damage from the wind and winter sun.

 

Perennials and Winter

 

For your perennials you can place a 6” to 8” layer of wood chips or straw over the beds. Dry leaves or peat moss can also be used. Hold this insulation in place by placing an overturned bushel basket, fabric, netting or even some evergreen branches. Some extra tender perennials such as hydrangea can benefit from being wrapped with burlap to protect them from winter’s harsh temperatures.

 

For plants that don’t like winter, cover the crowns with straw or leaves under a plastic or glass cover. You can then cover with conifer branches or even burlap. This will prevent overheating from the sun.

 

With a little bit of effort and care, the hard work and money you put into your garden all spring and summer can be protected over the winter. This will ensure that your garden will reappear next spring as beautiful as it was the previous year. If you feel like you need a helping hand getting your property ready for the winter, contact Evergreen Landscapes. Each Evergreen maintenance crew is supervised by a hands-on foreman that is certified with a horticulturist diploma, so all the plants you love will get the proper care.

Posted by & filed under Gardens, Landscape Construction.

Prior to the European settlement, plants native to Southern Ontario have existed in this region for thousands of years. The multitude of diverse plants that were indigenous to this region evolved as a group in conjunction with the local habitat of wildlife in the region. Together, they adapted to the local climate and soil conditions; thereby, creating a stable natural community that we currently call a balanced eco-system.

Invasive plant species

 

In contrast, the introduction of invasive plants originated from outside this particular region and resulted in a counterbalance to an established eco-balance. These non-native plants have the potential to root and reproduce quickly, causing a disruption of the native plants by crowding them out of their long-established habitat. This disruption results in fewer native plants which in turn creates a decreased biodiversity. Invasive plants have common characteristics such as:

 

• High annual seed production and quick establishment of dense colonies

• Tolerance to a wide range of growing conditions

• Ability to spread by underground roots and re-grow quickly when disturbed by pulling, cutting or fire

• A lack of natural predators to keep their population under control in their new environment

 

The Ripple Effect:

 

The imbalance created by invasive plants has a ripple effect because it means less food and shelter for wildlife that are dependent on plants that have been long established to the region. It affects and threatens the entire eco-system in addition to having an impact on the economic, ecological and social implications for the province.

 

Invasive plants can be represented by a tree, shrub or herbaceous plant and often introduced or spread by infested packaging material, seed dispersal by both environmental and human sources or by escaping from gardens. A herbaceous is a plant that leaves and stems die down annually, but whose roots survive. They can be annuals, biennials, or perennials. However, not all outside plant introductions are considered invasive. Take for example the pesky dandelion. Although this outsider is common to the region and regarded more of nuisance than anything else, it doesn’t pose a significant threat to native plants or their ecosystems. Like the annoying but harmless dandelion, many common garden plants are benign in nature and do not pose a displacement. They do not aggressively force out native vegetation.

 

To learn how to properly identify, manage and remove invasive plants on your property, you can contact:

 

Prevention:

 

You can reduce or eliminate the threat of invasive plants by selecting native plants for your garden from reputable suppliers. Native plants will provide, not only beauty to your surroundings, they will benefit the insects and wildlife. You should also remember to dispose of yard waste at the depots provided to residents in their local municipality or even in your backyard composter. Yard waste should never be disposed of in any natural environments because they may contain invasive plant seeds.

 

Whenever you go walking or hiking in natural areas in your community or anywhere in the province, you should remain on designated trails. Your pets should be kept on a leash to avoid disturbing natural vegetation so that invasive seeds are not transferred to another area or back to your property. If you’ve been biking through nature trails, always wipe down you bike and brush down your clothes and boots to avoid accidentally spreading seeds. Finally, talk to people about this problem so that they become aware and help to prevent the spread of invasive plants that cause such havoc to our region, its economy and the finely tuned ecosystem that has been around for thousands of years.

 

From all of us here at Evergreen Landscapes we thank you for taking the time to read this blog and for taking action against the spread of invasive plant species in Southern Ontario. If you’re looking for a lawn maintenance company that takes action against invasive plant species then Contact Evergreen Landscapes.