TOPICS: What you need to know about Annual and Perennail weeds and will I ever have a weed free yard?
Most of you are aware of the definition of an annual and perennial. In case you don't, annual flowers and plants only live for one growing season. Perennial flowers and plants live for more than one season. An annual here in Tennessee might just be a perennial in Florida. Somewhere every annual is a perennial in some part of the world.
But what about weeds? Weeds fall into the same categories.
Annual weeds such as crabgrass, germinate from seeds each spring. After maturing, they *drop seeds before dying. These are the seeds that germinate the following year. This is why a crab grass preventer, key word is preventer, is put into your lawn a few times a year at specific times. A crabgrass preventer actually stops the germination process so that the crabgrass does not make it to "full term".
CAREFUL: Putting down weed preventer at the wrong times can be fatal to other plants. Weed preventer does not distinguish between weed seeds and flower seeds. Some people feel like putting a weed or seed preventer is inhumane (those people need another hobby). Read the label carefully or hire a professional.
* The process of dropping seeds can be caused by human error, too. Never pull a weed and leave it on the ground. You might just have a lot more weeds in your lawn the next season as you did this year.
Perennial weeds, such as dandelions, do not die at the end of growing season. They may lay dormant in the winter, but will become noticeable in the spring. Dandelions are one of the most prevailing perennial weeds throughout the U.S. You would think that they were native, but they came from Europe many years ago.
The best way to control perennial weeds and especially dandelions is to actually pull it out of the ground leaving no roots at all. Discard the dandelion in a bag immediately. Blowing dandelions in your yard is a blast and an American past-time but do not blow dandelions in the yard if you want a perfectly weed free yard and do not cut them with the mower or weedeater (blowing is much more fun).
WILL I EVER HAVE A WEED FREE YARD?
Probably not. If you do then we have much greater issues than as to whether our lawn looks good or not. As long as there are birds (which carry and poop weed seeds), dandelions even miles away and strong gusts of wind --- you will have weeds. If you take good care of your lawn and garden beds then you will have an easily controlled weed environment. Even the most perfect looking lawns have weeds. It's unavoidable. However, you can easily have a healthy, vibrant, weed-free looking yard with determination or with the aid of a professional. Just keep in mind that a great yard takes time.
TIP: Weeds will come when they want to and when birds poop, etc. Inbetween cracks in your driveways and patios are especially prone areas that will have unwanted weeds and grass because water runoff carries them into concentrated areas. If you use a professional service to eliminate your weeds then pour salt on these weeds/grass in between visits to help irradicate them. Salt works!
Before meeting with a garden or landscaping professional you should have some goals in mind -- even if they are basic. Or perhaps your 1st meeting will inspire questions and thoughts that will prepare you for a second meeting. If even after reading this you're still "stumped" and do not even know where to begin, don't sweat it. We'll guide you through it. But here's some reading that might help you during your first or second visit with a gardening professional.
Here are some of the basics for your meeting:
- What are your goals for your yard? We (landscapers in general) can help you with those goals, but before we tell you what we think, you should have some thoughts too. It could save you a lot of money. Are you looking to have your yard spiffed up with a few plantings or do you want a total overhaul? Your yard seems "pitiful" but is it because you no longer have a pretty grass? A nice lawn can make your whole landscape look so much better. Try to put what's wrong with your yard (turned into goals for your yard) into words for your meetings with landscapers. Do you need sod or do you need to get on a "healthy lawn program" or both? Do your garden beds need dimension to really stand out? Don't hesitate to bring pictures of plants or landscapes from magazines to your meeting either. These pictures are goals. Goals are good.
- (However) Be open minded. A good landscaper or gardener is a better listener. Sometimes you're words and expressions are giving us clues to what you want, but more importantly what you need. Sometimes your yard itself does the talking for you. Your yard situation could be an easy fix. For example, if your grass isn't growing because your tree limbs are too thick and sunlight is no longer passing through -- you need an arborist. Or perhaps a tree has been removed and now your azaleas have turned for the worst because they're getting too much sun -- in that case you need a green thumb or a landscaper/gardener. You may not know that this is the reason why, but we should. We should offer good solutions to your problems.
- Don't call someone because you don't feel like you know enough. Listen, don't let the two previous bullets worry you. We've had customers say that they've considered landscaping for years but were too embarrassed by their lack of knowledge. Just know that first and foremost --- you are why we have a job in the first place. It's okay if you don't know anything. If we make you feel uncomfortable then we're not the team for you and we have failed in customer service. However, if we can guide you and educate you along the way -- without manipulating you, then we've done the right thing. Don't be afraid to bring a knowledgeable friend to the meeting either.
- What is your budget? You really should know your budget "range" before you start a landscaping project (or at least by the 2nd meeting). If Aunt Ethyl just left you a million dollars and you want "the works" then great, let's do the works. But you shouldn't engage in a $10,000.00 conversation with a landscaper when you know you only have $2,000 to spend. When you buy a car, you generally know what your budget range is. Same thing for a new refrigerator, stove or even a house. So you should know how much you are willing to spend and to save on your landscaping needs. Now, this does not mean you have to spend that much money, but be prepared after meeting with a professional to come back and tell them what you have available to spend and for what projects. Don't hesitate to prioritize your lawn goals. I often have people come to me and say, "I have $2,000 to spend, what can we do?". I say, we can do lots for you -- and we do. Sometimes a client will say, "I only have $500.00 so I know I can't get but a plant or two". That's crazy. You can or should get a lot for $500.00. The plants may be smaller, but they'll grow and in a few years you'll never know the difference. Who knows, maybe one day, heaven forbid, Aunt Ethyl will leave you with a lot of extra money. Hopefully you'll call us again because you were pleased the first time.
- THIS INDUSTRY GOES THROUGH PHASES (PART 1): There are two times a year that we get really busy (the biggest is between May 1st and April 1st). During those times it will seem that we are moving really slow and don't want your business. That's simply not the case. You should realize that we are fully taking care of our clients (some are ongoing clients) to the best of our ability. This is a service that you, too, will appreciate in your yard even if it's a few weeks later than you wanted. If we say we'll get to you in a week tack on an extra few days to a week for good measure. We want your business, but we want to keep our regular clients even more. Hopefully you'll soon be a regular client.
- THIS INDUSTRY GOES THROUGH PHASES (PART 2): I'm going to get in trouble for saying this but it's the truth. Right now the landscaping industry is going through a terrible price gouging on several fronts, but specifically lighting. You have to be rich to have professional lighting installed. It has an amazingly high profit margin so every "landscaper" should be doing it if they can go home with themselves at night. But what happens is that the "high-end" well runs out and people stop doing lighting. The reputation that lighting is expensive takes it's course (and potential clients) until some brilliant young company comes in an underprices everyone. Eventually, lighting, or whatever, becomes popular again but some formerly potential clients will be forever burned. Overall, the lawn and garden industry is overpriced right now. Prices from wholesalers are way down because of the quantity of purchases, but the prices that landscapers are charging are going up (it should be going down). Being a small company allows us to right that wrong and try and readjust the baseline for landscaping so that more people can afford it. It costs me less in 2007 to landscape than it did in 2004 --- my prices should reflect that.
Landscaping your yard is supposed to create a relaxing atmosphere, not one in which you cringe everytime you walk outside because you think of how much it cost you.
Hey, the new year is a great time to make new resolutions but it's better for watching Dick Clark in Times Square and cuddling up to a roaring fire. Let's be honest. You haven't kept very many of your new year's resolutions have you? None of them? Well, perhaps you've never tried making your resolutions at the right time of year... spring. Yep, that's right. Right now -- spring is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year for making resolutions. Spring is about rebirth, newness and a healthy change for the good. Nature is leading by example. You feel it, it's that natural lift in your heel that comes around this time of year -- so it's only natural to make your resolutions now.
Last December, during that short time between Christmas and January 1st you panicked to come up with your resolutions. Here are a few common ones:
- Start running/walking (yeah, right. It's 30 fricking degrees outside and you're going to go walking everyday? Now make that resolution on the first day of spring while the trees are blooming, a blanket of mild air surrounds you and... wallah! A resolution you can keep!)
- Start eating healthier (I'm a gardner, not a doctor, but it makes sense to me that January and winter in general is not a good time to start a healthy diet for those you who find this time of year a struggle. Your body naturally wants more fat to keep itself warm. It's a wayward fight. Your weight loss goal is more effective in spring, while you're actually out walking and increasing your metabolism, your body has a natural tendency to shed some excessive pounds as warmer weather approaches --- work with the curve, not against it)
- Talk to mother more (can't help you with this one unless mom is actually out walking with you)
- Relax More while spending quality time with friends and family (see below).
This last resolution is right up my alley. While gardening is growing across the U.S., it is still trailing behind parts of Europe, many Americans are finding that the lost art of gardening is extremely relaxing. The benefits of gardening include good health, higher property value to a prospective buyer and having a great place to congregate with friends and family. So get out of the house and garden more -- in the spring. You'll find that many of your old resolutions can be met with this one simple chore.
But getting started on a garden can be daunting. That's where we come in. Professional gardeners can help design your landscape and garden beds in a way that is manageable. If that's still too overwhelming for you then we can help you actually take care of your yard. It's not expensive (and yes, we even pull weeds). We have many maintenance plans to help you with your gardens with the most common one being our monthly care program designed to get your yard under control, healthy and a great place to hang out. It also leaves a little room for you to get out and work too, without feeling overwhelmed.
Our clients range from busy professionals who love to garden, but don't have the time they used to have so they need a hand from time to time, all the way to the stay at home mom who wants a beautiful and safe yard for the children to explore.
Read our other posts to learn more about gardening (and some other random thoughts too).
Here are some other reasons:
- Gardeners actually pull weeds out of garden beds
- A sharp increase in back injury and back pain has been attributed to d0-it-yourself gardeners
- Your lawn is speaking and gardeners know how to listen to it. There are signs that your grass, trees, shrubs and flowers give you as to what kind of health they are in and what they need to get better.
- specific plants, trees and shrubs need to be trimmed at specific times of the year --- not EVERY time.
- Specific plants, trees and shrubs need to be fed at specific times of the year.
- Aeration can be good for a lawn, but it's not always good for a lawn to be aerated every year. Can you tell the difference?
- Unless you are creating new beds or your current beds require a complete overhaul, garden beds should be mulched at specific times of the year. Established beds need and should get much less mulch than new non-established beds.
- Some mulches are detrimental to animals. Do you know which ones?
- Having a gardener does not have to be expensive. If yours is, then shop around.
- Gardening is a pleasure. If it's not for you, then you need a gardener
Gardeners don't have to be full-time. They can be part-time and help you to keep things in your garden under control so that you're not overwhelmed with your yard, but you fall in love with it. Our goal is to get you out into your yard and enjoy the experience.