Snow can paint a beautiful landscape in the winter, but there are award-winning, art-inspired ways to make it the most beautiful yard on your block!

When it comes to different types of foliage, consider picking species with the following characteristics:
• Contains colorful berries that attract birds for bird watching
• Readily catches snow in its branches
• Exhibits a delicate structure
• Is clad in a bark that is colorful or that has an unusual texture
• Bears evergreen foliage
• Has an interesting branching pattern

Some examples of these plants are:
1. Christmas holly shrubs
2. red twig dogwood or red osier dogwood
3. plume grass
4. bayberry
5. cranberrybush viburnum
6. winterberry holly
7. birch trees
8. yew shrubs
9. Canadian hemlocks
10. Viking black chokeberry

One popular type of plant with striking, year-round foliage with bright berries that attracts a lot of birds is the evergreen holly. Sprigs of cut holly have long been used in winter holiday decorations. Many evergreen hollies are not hardy enough for far northern climates, but two of the hardier varieties are:
• China holly (Ilex meserveae), a rounded holly, 8′ high by 8′ wide, that is also drought tolerant, and
• compact inkberry holly (Ilex glabra ‘Compacta’), which has a dark green foliage that resembles that of boxwood shrubs. Its berry is black, not the usual red that we associate with hollies. It reaches a height of 3′-6′, and spreads out 3′-5′.

The list can go on and on, including various types of grasses and birch trees. When it comes to planning out an attractive design that works for your lawn and the cooler climate, be sure to call Advance Landscape at 414-483-0299.

Ugh…So many leaves!

November 7, 2010

Autumn is a gorgeous time to be out and about, but fabulous colors mean hard work and winterization.

A few leaves here and there, particularly those you can mulch with a lawn mower, will be fine to leave through the winter. They will eventually decompose and add to the nutrients of your lawn for the spring. Too many leaves, however, and your grass will start to die with suffocation. So what do you do?

A lot depends on the laws and guidelines of your hometown. Some cities allow you to rake or blow them onto the street where a streetsweeper will take them away. Same thing with branches and other large landscaping items.

Another option is burning them. Provided they’re not wet and it’s not too windy, a fire is a great way to dispose of your leaves—and it smells great! Of course, city ordinances can be strict with outside fires. Depending on where you live or how close you are to neighbors, fires may not be the way to go.

A leaf-blower is a fantastic and easy way to get your leaves in one pile, whether they’re going on a tarp or in the street. A rake can be used to fine-tune the piles, or to put the leaves in bags (yard bags that are designed to decompose can be found at any hardware or garden store.)

The absolute easiest mode of leaf clean-up is if you are lucky enough to have a lawn mower with bag attachment. No mulching or cutting needed! Gliding over your lawn, picking up leaves in the process, will give you a nice bucket of leaves that you can dispose of easily and quickly in whichever manner your choose.

Call today if you’d like some help winterizing your property, for landscape issues, aerating, or just need help with leaves. Call Advance Landscape at 414-483-0299.

If you’re like most people, your lawn is brown and crunchy. This has been one hot summer!

Keep your lawn hydrated! Water the lawn often throughout the summer months. Very early in the morning, like around 5 a.m. allows the lawn to dry before nightfall, when fungus is most active. It’s also usually a non-peak time for most towns’ water supplies. Water early just a few times each week. Deep soaking encourages deep root growth, compared to light watering, which encourages the roots to stay close to the surface of the soil. Your lawn is then more susceptible to heat and drought.

So keep the sprinklers and water barrels armed and ready! Summer’s not quite over yet, and you want your lawn looking good as we start coming into fall!

It’s been a hot summer! With the exception of a few rainy—very rainy—days, Milwaukee hasn’t seen too many occasions where sprinklers and water cans weren’t necessary. Keep your plants, flowers and grass in healthy working order by watering on a set schedule.

If you see your leaves start to have a “burned” or “scorched” look, it’s from one of two reasons: improper watering or improper fertilization. Since both over watering and under watering can damage plant leaves, the best solution is to water deeply and infrequently. This allows oxygen in the soil, washes salts away and encourages deep rooting.

For most trees and shrubs older than three years, water deeply once every seven to 10 days (Run your drip system one to three hours to soak the root zone). Newer plants may need water twice as often until established. Add a layer of surface mulch 2- to 4-inches thick to conserve water between waterings and cool and enrich the soil.

Make sure you have the right fertilizer both for your specific plants and for the time of year. Some fertilizers release much faster in hot weather, increasing the potential for damage. Follow package directions exactly and err on the conservative side. Then, irrigate well to move nutrients to the soil.

Going green with worms.

June 24, 2010

Going organic? Try Worm Castings, Mother Nature’s all-natural fertilizer! These are nutrients brought directly from the worm. Organic matter consumed by the worm is changed by the worm’s digestive system to produce fertilizer that will not burn or harm your plants in any concentration, nor will it damage your soil. Black, rich humus and a complete NPK content make this the best additive for your garden. It’ll make your plants sing and the planet smile!

Lawn & Garden Spring 2010

January 29, 2010

The blustery winds of winter are rattling the windows and blowing around the snow outside. But you’re warm and cozy inside – browsing through the 2010 seed catalogs that just arrived! Time to make your list of what to plant once the world starts to warm up again – purchase your flower, vegetable and herb seeds now and stock up on some small pots, flats, and potting soil if you plan to start any seedlings indoors. You can also plan what updates need to be made to the outside of your home and yard – painting the shutters and flowerboxes, fixing the broken bird bath, replanting some bushes, splitting the hostas, sprucing up your retaining walls, or adding fresh mulch to the flowerbeds. Think spring and stay warm!

  • Brush or sweep heavy snow off evergreens to prevent breakage.
  • Have a pond? Use a floating pond de-icer to help your fish survive the winter.  
  • Feed birds in your landscape suet cakes because natural food sources are scarce at this time of year. Suet cakes and birdseed together  provide protein and fat for the birds that like to visit you!
  • Birds also need water. If you have a birdbath in your garden, be sure to use a de-icer to prevent the water from freezing. Advance Landscape Garden center has an extensive selection of birdseed, houses, feeders and other supplies to choose from
  • Prune fruit and shade trees if necessary.
  • January and February is a great time to apply cow manure and other organic soil conditioners to your garden. Apply 2″ deep in vegetable gardens and let the nutrients soak into the soil.
  • It is important to protect azaleas, rhododendrons, hollies and other broad-leafed evergreens to minimize moisture loss during the cold, windy winter. Apply an anti-desiccant such as Wilt-Pruf when the temperature is above 45 degrees F. These plants have more surface area of leaf tissue that is why it is important to protect these broad-leafed evergreens because they can lose moisture from the drying effects of the wind.
  • Water thoroughly on a day when the temperatures are above 40 degrees if we experience a dry or windy winter.
  • Turn over containers that have been left outside and empty. This will keep your water from freezing and cracking the container.
  • On icy sidewalks and driveways, use a good quality ice-melting product such as Mag (magnesium chloride). Do not use salt or rock salt for they may damage concrete or plant material.
  • If you have a water feature, be sure to check the pumps to make sure they are working properly. Larger pumps that move a lot of water typically will keep running throughout the winter without any problem. Smaller pumps, however, will most likely freeze and should be turned off for the winter.

Visit Advance Landscape Garden Center: http://www.advance-landscape.com/  for all of your gardening and landscape needs!