Tips and Tasks  

Sign up tips

We’re in the midst of the “Dog Days of Summer” here in Western North Carolina. That’s right, the hottest time of year is upon us, so what does that mean for your garden? The sun is a constant threat, although we’ve been experiencing quite a bit of rain the last few weeks. The best times to garden are in the early morning or the late afternoon before the sun rises the temperature, meaning that for many of us that really leaves only the weekend to tend to our gardens. We’ve got a few tips for you to consider for your gardens during August to help them continue to flourish even in the heat!

We talked a little bit about the importance of lawn preparation. Preparing your lawn for next summer might seem premature, but healthy aerating and seeding now can make all the difference come summer 2018. So to reinforce, prepare your grass for fall seeding and planting by removing weeds and ordering seeds now if necessary, aerate your lawn and turn your mower blade on the highest setting. Parts of your lawn might turn brown this type of year, don’t sweat it.

If you have specialized in growing various herbs this summer such as rosemary, basil or mint now is the time to cut them and freeze them to store during the winter. You might have seen the frozen blocks of basil at grocery stores such as Trader Joes, but there is no reason to pay for it if you’ve got it flourishing in your backyard!

Now is the time to place orders for trees or shrubs you want to plant in the fall. Don’t procrastinate. And if you want some seasonal color but don’t want to deal with the hassle of planning your landscape, give TPS Landscaping a call. We are always willing to set up an appointment and help to design your perfect planter. Leave the job to us!

When it comes to lawncare, you always have to be thinking ahead. Even though we are still enjoying this summer, there are fall services that will help prepare your lawn for next year. Now is the time to plan ahead for fall preparational lawn care.  At TPS Landscaping, taking care of your yard is our speciality, just ask our customers. We've listed some of the services that we recommend and provide below, so that you can begin to think about how you want to prepare your lawn in the fall. 

Aeration


An aerator pulls plugs out of your soil. This helps loosen compacted soil and allows air and water to reach the roots. This helps your roots grow more deeply and produce a stronger, more vigorous lawn for next spring. In turn, that better prepares the grass for the heat and stress of the summer months. By aerating in the late summer, you give your lawn a fall growing season and a spring growing season to deepen roots a prepare for next summer.


Fall Seeding


When aeration is combined with a late summer or early fall reseeding, you double your benefit. Not only does the aeration help your existing grass, but disturbing the topsoil also gives your new seeds a great way to make contact with the earth to ensure better germination rates and a thicker more healthy lawn. By giving these seedlings a typically cooler fall and moist growing season, they will be well prepared for winter and a great spring to come.

 

Fall Fertilization

The final step is giving your existing grass and new seedlings enough food to hibernate for the winter. Although our cool season grasses that stay green all year technically don't hibernate, they do nearly stop their growth process. Think of fall fertilization as the way you prepare your lawn with proper nutrients to build it up for a long winter's nap. Once the warm rays of spring hit it, your lawn will be in a much better position and get jumpstart on the spring growing season.

There you have it! Our three-step process for the fall to help you have your best lawn yet next summer. We are booking quickly, so don't wait too long to call so that your lawn has as much opportunity as possible to prepare for winter.

 

 

Although the concept of watering our gardens seems intuitive, it can be hard to tell if you’ve effectively gotten your plants watered. A good way to check to see if you have given your plants enough water to their roots is to dig a hole about four inches deep into the ground beside your plant to see if the soil that deep is still moist. We night think that the leaves at the top of the plant are looking a little dry, but spraying water on the actual leaves is not an effective way to get moisture to your plants.

The first key with watering your plants is that you don't necessarily want to water them every day. If you water your plants every day then the roots of your plants have no need to grow deep because they are getting water on the surface of the soil. The goal of any gardener is to establish deeply rooted plants, so you can see why this would be a problem! A good method to practice during this time of heightened heat is deep watering. The concept of deep watering is this: water as much as reasonable, as seldom as reasonable. When the top soil begins to dry out, the roots of your plants will grow downward looking for moisture. If you have deep watered, the soil underneath the surface will retain that moisture and it will help your plants to become more deeply rooted in your garden. One practice that we recommend is watering about three times a day for 3-4 minutes each time as opposed to one singular 10-minute watering. The goal is to train your plants, so take care!

The days are long and hot, but the nights are the perfect balmy temperature to sit outside, possibly by your newly finished firepit, and relax in the company of the ones you love. Every other time of the year, when the sun goes down, the temperature drops and enjoying the nighttime is better done indoors. The summer is a great opportunity to throw a barbeque, or spend some much needed time in the great outdoors, even if the outdoors is right outside your house. A great way to further enjoy your landscape is with landscape lighting. 

At TPS Landscaping we have a full range of specialites. We can help design your new patio, firepit, or even driveway as well as help you choose the flora to perfectly accent. What better way to enjoy that flora than with lights illuminating it when the sun can't? These landscape lights not only show off your perfectly manicured flower bed, but also provide for a way to set the mood for your outdoor gathering. Instead of having to move inside due to the lack of light, these lights help you navigate around your patio and provide just enough light to keep the good times rolling, while not overpowering your gathering with spotlight-like illumination. Give us a call today to set up an appointment to have your landscape lighting installed!

Many people struggle with the common problem of lawn pests. Some of the most common pests include moles and voles. These pests both live underground, but inflict different types of damages to your lawn and plants. Moles mostly eat insects or grubs living underground. The majority of the problems that they cause is due to the loosened dirt their tunneling creates in your lawn. This loosened dirt, however, when mixed with the excess rain that Western North Carolina experiences during the summer can make for a ruined and uneven landscape.

Voles are a little bit more dangerous to your lawn and plants because unlike Moles, they are plant-eaters. They enjoy grass and flower roots and will eat seeds and bulbs.

There are different ways to control Moles and Voles that range from relocation to killing. To identify where exactly the Mole or Vole is living, tramp down on some of the visible tunnels and wait a couple days to see where the ground raises again, that way you know where the active tunnel is. There are a variety of traps and techniques you can use to kill or trap a Mole ranging from homemade traps to traps installed and executed by a professional.

Controlling Voles is best done with an animal such as a cat, but if you don't have a pet cat, we’ve got extra tips in our arsenal! Voles are smaller than Moles in size, so traps made for rodents such as mice will work to catch a Vole. We also might suggest digging sharp materials such as Permatill and Soil Perfector into your soil, or even mixing some gravel into your soil to make it uncomfortable for the Vole to tunnel.

Soil pests can be the death of a perfectly good garden, but with our tips and a call to a specialist, you might be able to salvage your hard earned lawn and garden. These pests are not only summer nuisances, so make sure that whatever work you do to rid yourself of them, you keep an eye out for them to reemerge!