Landscapes can be designed to be low-maintenance, but they are never completely maintenance-free. If left alone, the natural elements of a landscape can damage the overall look over time.
While large-scale, more finicky landscape maintenance is best left to the experts, there are a few simple ways to keep your landscape looking beautiful. In this post, I’ll break up some of the more routine maintenance for Texas landscapes into five different categories. You can use them as guidelines for your property. However, if you need help, we’re only a phone call away.
1. Turf care
- Core aeration — Aeration is a lawn enhancement treatment that involves mechanically removing small cores of soil from turf using an aeration machine. These cores are about two to three inches in depth. Core aeration encourages robust root systems in turf, stimulates new growth, helps eliminate drought stress, increases fertilizer uptake and reduces soil compaction and weed infestation.
- Fire ant control — Fire ants are a known nuisance in Texas, but they can be easily controlled. At Maven, we use two different methods of fire ant baiting — mound-to-mound with liquid insecticide every two months or so, and “broadcast” baiting with granular insecticide throughout the month of November.
- Mowing — A crucial aspect of lawn care that should be done weekly. I recommend never cutting more than two-thirds of each grass blade.
2. Weed control
When it comes to weed control, a couple different words should be cleared up. There are two major types of weeds:
- Grassy weeds resemble grass. Some of the most common grassy weeds in Texas are bermudagrass, bluegrass and crabgrass.
- Broadleaf weeds are any weeds that don’t resemble grass. Some of the most common in Texas include henbit, dandelion and thistle.
To control these weeds, two main types of weed control sprays are used:
- Pre-emergent weed control — Targets weeds that haven’t yet germinated or emerged from the ground. These are often sprayed in mid- to late summer and in early fall.
- Post-emergent weed control — Targets weeds that have already germinated or emerged from the ground. These tend to be best sprayed in the wintertime, between December and February.
Fertilizing your turf, shrubs and annuals can do wonders for them. A top-dressing of compost or organic fertilizer can reduce thatch buildup on lawns and improve soil nutrients. You’re best off starting with fertilization at the very end of March. Continue on through the spring and you’ll start seeing results by the time May rolls around!
4. Pruning & cutting back
If you want them to keep looking nice, all plants need to either be pruned or cut back at some point. Cutting back involves removing or pruning old flowers, leaves and stems from perennial flowers, ornamental grasses and shrubs with a pruning clipper. This prevents overgrowth and encourages new growth. Cutbacks can also help shape a plant to an ideal shape or size.
Ideally, all pruning is done in the later fall or winter while plants are dormant.
5. Garden care
Plan and plant your annuals in late March and into April, applying fertilizer to the soil as you go.
I also recommend mulch to everyone. Mulch is like sunblock for plant roots. Two to four inches of mulch can radically affect the amount of moisture in the soil by slowing evaporation and protect it from overheating. Mulch also reduces and often completely eliminates certain weeds that compete with your plants for moisture, nutrients and sun. At Maven, we install mulch at the end of February and into March as well as in September.
If you’re interested in learning more about landscape maintenance, you can always download our “Texas Commercial Landscape Maintenance Playbook,” which offers a much more in-depth look at commercial landscape maintenance. If you’d to request an estimate for your property, you can always get in touch with us too!