Alive and Thriving
A regular, well-thought-out landscape maintenance plan is the best way to protect your outdoor investment
A beautiful yard says something about the homeowners. Whether subtle or dramatic, a well-kept, well-loved yard sends a special message. Just as important—from the street, a lovely landscape can make a house stand out, which is important when it comes time to sell it.
After spending a lot of money on your residential landscape installation, it only makes sense to protect it and make sure it develops as designed. And that’s where a landscape maintenance program comes in.
Landscaping Maintenance begins with the Green, Green Grass of Home
Landscape maintenance begins with the lawn service. In Houston, lawns typically need trimming weekly through the summer and bi-weekly in the winter months. Additionally, most Houston lawns need aeration twice per year, but since you really can’t aerate enough, the more often the better.
Winter rye is a great addition to a landscaping maintenance plan by keeping your lawn beautiful throughout the winter. The local temperature range normally dictates that winter rye seed can be spread in early to late October. It is important to know, however, that rye grass has some real disadvantages. For example, the rye grass can compete with the St. Augustine grass (typically planted in Houston) for space and nutrition, which makes it very difficult on the St. Augustine in the spring. This struggle is particularly apparent in shaded area where grass already has a hard time growing.
Other Key Components of a Residential Landscape Maintenance Program
- Shrubs, Ground Cover and Vines. As part of a thorough landscape maintenance program, hedges as well as other shrubs and bushes should be trimmed regularly to maintain the desired contours. Ground cover and vines should be edged to maintain a neat appearance. This regularly-scheduled attention will ensure that all elements conform to the overall plan of the landscape design.
- Tree Maintenance. All small trees should be pruned as necessary. It is also a good practice in your landscape maintenance scheduling to do a deep root fertilization of these trees annually.
- Flower Bed Maintenance. Flower beds need to be weeded weekly. It is also a good idea to turn the mulch every two weeks so that you keep the exchange of air and water flowing into and out of the soil. To optimize the growth and bloom cycles of seasonal flowers, they need to be regularly pruned and fertilized.
Feeding and Protecting
Fertilization and chemical treatments are the next important step in a residential landscape maintenance program as they provide a boost to healthy plants and prevent diseases and infestations common to the Houston landscape.
Optimally, lawns need to be fertilized four times per year. All shrubs, ground covers and vines should be on a similar schedule. Azaleas and gardenias need to be fertilized in April and May, and acidified in February. Roses require fertilization in the spring, which needs to be continued every four to six weeks during the growing season.
One of the most common diseases for lawns in the Houston area is brown patch, or “Rhizoctonia solani,” which a basic landscape maintenance program needs to address. Routine fungicide treatment is the usual solution. Of particular note regarding rose maintenance; roses need to be sprayed for black spot disease, the major enemy of Houston roses. Finally, your plants need to be treated chemically to protect against various insect infestations.
Jack Frost Can Do Harm
Even in Houston, Texas, it can get cold enough to require covering your outdoor plants. Jeff Halper with Exterior World encourages his clients to be proactive when the thermometer starts dropping. “When the temperatures get below 32 degrees for an extended period of time, you need to cover your delicate plants and tropicals,” he says. “Remember not to use plastic. Instead use proper freeze cloth, which allows light, oxygen and water to pass through so that you can leave the plants covered for a few days without suffocating them.”
How Does Your Residential Landscape Maintenance Program Stack Up?
The services listed above are part of a good landscape maintenance service contract. But in addition to these basics, the really professional outfits provide extras, which include everything from identifying unexpected diseases and providing an estimate for treatment to treating all landscape elements, such as sculptures and statues, irrigation systems or landscape lighting, with particular respect.
They will also be mindful of surface maintenance: walkways, driveways, patios and outdoor kitchens should be blown or raked free of debris during the landscape maintenance service. Swimming pools, ponds or outdoor water fountains that accumulate debris during trimming of shrubs or lawn should be cleaned as well.
Since 1987, Exterior Worlds has been successfully maintaining residential landscape projects in the Memorial, Piney Point Village, Bunker Hill Village, Hunter Creek Village, Tanglewood, River Oaks, West University, Bellaire and the greater Houston area. Call Exterior Worlds at 713-827-2255 to request an estimate.
For more the 20 years Exterior Worlds has specialized in servicing many of Houston’s fine neighborhoods.