Monthly Archives: November 2021

What Happens to Your Lawn During Cold Weather?

If you live in the northern United States or Canada, the odds of experiencing cold or freezing temperatures are extremely high. In fact, it’s common for the ground to freeze in during the winter weather conditions in these northern regions. Unfortunately, cold temperatures and other winter weather conditions can be bad news for your lawn, especially if the snow and freezing temperatures hang around for several months. To get a better idea of how to protect your lawn, take a look at what happens to it during cold weather and how each season can have a different impact. The information below can help you prepare for this inevitable shift in condition and temperatures and find out what you can do to save your lawn.  

Fall  

Why It's Good to Leave the Leaves • Preen

Think of fall as your preparation time to get your lawn ready for winter. Raking the leaves in your yard and making sure your soil is fertilized for winter is crucial during this time. Fall is also one of the best times of year to aerate your lawn. Start as soon as the weather starts turning cooler because, depending on where you live, you might start seeing freezing temperatures as early as October and November.  

Fall maintenance is crucial to ensuring the survival of your grass through the winter and into next spring. Forgetting to do things like removing leaves, fertilizing, and watering your lawn during the autumn months is a recipe for disaster for your yard. Luckily, well-established grass is strong and resilient so, with a little love and care, it will stay healthy through the fall and winter until it’s ready to roll in the spring.  

Winter

Snow, Ice and your Lawn - Good's Tree and Lawn Care

Winter lawn care can be challenging, especially when dealing with extended periods of snow and ice. Freezing temperatures have a detrimental effect on grass and if you didn’t complete your fall preparation, your lawn is more likely to be damaged during the tough winter months. Winter is definitely the most dangerous time to be a blade of grass in a lawn. Cold weather can have the following effects on your lawn.  

  • Grass looks brown and dead during the winter.  When the frost and snow set in, your grass will turn brown and may look dead. It’s actually gone dormant, turning brown in order to conserve water and nutrients. Even if it gets covered with snow or ice, most of your grass will stay alive if you properly prepared it for winter.  
  • Some grass death and desiccation.  No matter how well you prepared you are for winter, there will ultimately be some casualties. Extreme cold can cause your grass to not get enough moisture, even when it’s covered in frost and snow. This “desiccation” of your grass can cause some of it to die off, but usually not enough to be a serious problem. 
  • Some continued growth by resilient grass.  Not all types of grass go into hibernation. Some “winter grasses” like ryegrass or fescue will continue to blossom and grow even through harsh winter conditions. You can even purchase winter grass seed that’s specifically designed to keep your lawn green during winter months. 
  • The risk of mold damage.  A common grass disease during the winter months is snow mold. While preventative measures can be taken to greatly reduce this risk, there’s still a possibility in can develop on your lawn. However, don’t let the risk of mold prevent you from fertilizing your lawn in the winter. Go ahead and apply a winter fertilizer after the grass has stopped growing in the fall, but is still green on top and has an active root system. In many parts of the Northern U.S., this usually means sometime in mid-late November or early December.  

Spring

Spring is when you’ll finally get to see if your fall preparations paid off and your lawn survived the winter. However, patience is a virtue—especially if the winter has been particularly harsh. Don’t get carried away and try to do too much, too early in the year. As your grass recovers, you can begin to: 

  1. pick up large twigs and branches that are covering your lawn.  
  2. fertilize and overseed your lawn.  
  3. repair any large, bare patches.  
  4. stay ahead of the weeds.  

The Difference Between Annual and Perennial Plants

Perennial Plant Information - What Is Definition Of Perennial Plant

All flowering plants follow the same basic steps in their life cycle. Annuals complete that cycle in one growing season, whereas perennials live on for three years or longer. But, if you begin studying the labels on your new plant or seed packet purchases, you’ll discover many twists on this basic definition. You’ll come across terms such as “hardy” and “half-hardy” annual, or tender perennial. Plus there’s a third plant category, biennials, that combines some of the characteristics of both plant types.

What is clear when comparing annuals and perennials is that neither is superior to the other. Integrating both types into your garden designs (along with shrubs and trees) gives you the best of both worlds and unlimited options in color, texture, form, and bloom time.

WHAT IS AN ANNUAL?

True annuals are plants that germinate, flower, set seed, and die all in one season. Their ultimate goal is to reproduce themselves (set seed), which is good news for gardeners because most annuals will flower like mad until their mission is accomplished. And, if you use methods such as deadheading to prevent seed formation, many annuals will amp up their flower production and continue to bloom profusely until the first frost arrives. Although you’ll need to replant most annuals the following spring to get a repeat performance, some will readily self-sow and return for an encore, such as sweet alyssum, bachelor’s button, and forget-me-nots.

Top Red Annual Flowers for Your Garden | HGTV

Types of Annuals


Not all annuals are equal. They are typically subdivided into three groups:

  • Hardy or cool-season annuals, such as forget-me-not and larkspur, thrive in the cool to moderate temperatures of early spring and fall and can tolerate exposure to light frost without being protected.
  • Tender or warm-season annuals, such as marigolds and petunias, are native to tropical or subtropical climates and require heat to grow and thrive, often growing poorly during cold weather. To ensure their survival, it’s best to wait until late spring to add these plants to your garden beds or containers.
  • Half-hardy annuals are most common and fall in the middle-of-the-road. They tolerate a wide range of temperatures, including periods of cooler weather near the beginning or end of the gardening season.

Why choose annuals?

  • Growing annuals can be a great way to take gardening one year at a time; experiment with new plants and color schemes without making a long-term commitment.
  • Annuals are perfect for temporarily filling in bare spots in established gardens or refreshing containers through the season.
  • Add annuals to a vegetable garden for a splash of color, to fill in gaps when early-season crops are harvested, and attract pollinators to increase production of edible crops.
  • Annuals provide nearly instant gratification, maturing faster than perennials or biennials, and often bloom from planting time until frost, and in some cases beyond.
  • If you want a lot of blooms, annuals are the answer. They put all of their energy into developing flowers.

WHAT IS A PERENNIAL?

Unlike their short-lived counterparts, perennials are typically cold-hardy plants that will return again in the spring. They usually bloom for only one season each year (either spring, summer, or fall), but there are also reblooming and long-blooming perennials, such as fern-leaved bleeding heart.

When grown in favorable conditions, perennials often live a long time, but don’t assume they will last forever. Their life span is variable, and some may live for only three to five years. Perennials also vary greatly in terms of their care and maintenance. Some may need to be pruned and divided regularly to maintain their vigor and keep them tidy, while others are tough and undemanding, seeming to thrive on neglect.

20 Best Perennial Flowers - Easy Perennial Plants to Grow

Why choose perennials?

  • Although perennials tend to cost more initially, they are a good long-term investment because they return year after year.
  • Even perennials that don’t have a long life span can often be propagated by division* or reseeding to perpetuate their population.
  • Most perennials require less water once established, which can be especially advantageous for those who garden in drought-prone areas and want to reduce their water consumption.
  • Planting perennials that are native to your region offers the additional benefit of creating a welcome habitat for pollinators and local wildlife.
Tulip Pink Impression | White Flower Farm

PLANTS THAT BREAK THE RULES

Not all flowering plants fall neatly into the categories of annual, perennial, or biennial. Here are a few that break the rules.

Tulips: Although most bulbs are considered to be perennials, tulips are often an exception. Native to Central Asia, they require cold winters and hot, dry summers to return each year. But in climates that don’t offer these conditions, they don’t rebloom reliably and are often treated as annuals.

Tender perennials: You may be surprised to discover that some of the most popular annuals may actually perform as perennials in certain regions of the country. These tender perennials, sometimes called “temperennials,” are winter hardy in warmer growing zones but not in northern gardens, where they are typically grown as annuals or even houseplants. Many succulents and tropical plants fit into this category, such as begonias, Alternanthera, elephant ears, and agave.

Where To Place Landscape Lighting

Lite the Nite

Landscape lighting placement varies depending on the techniques utilized.

  • Highlighting – at the base of an outdoor feature
  • Silhouetting – behind the feature, towards a close wall
  • Shadowing – at the base of feature towards a wall
  • Washing – a few feet away at an indirect angle to a wall or shrubs
  • Up-lighting – low at the base light like washing, but more direct
  • Down-lighting – bright and fixed in an eave, trellis, or hardscape
  • Moonlighting – soft large fixture(s) high in tree angled down
  • Accenting – angled up or down with a narrow beam from a hidden position
  • Path-lighting – often staggered, illuminate the entire path, especially steps and obstacles
  • In-grade – installed in surface, often at the base of stone wall or hardscape for shadow
  • Pool/shoreline – less than 12” submerged near steps, or above, utilizing end or spaced placement

Let’s explore each technique a little bit more.


HIGHLIGHTING

Provide shape, color, and form using this style of landscape lighting. Start by placing your spotlight(s) at the base of what you would like to feature – a garden trellis, statue, a portion of your house or water feature are a few examples. Vary the distance and angle to achieve the desired highlight effect. The closer the light is, the more precise the area highlighted. Change the colors of the bulbs for a festive or seasonal look of your home, retaining wall, fence or garden.


SILHOUETTING

Create a dramatic effect at night in your landscape with silhouette lighting. Begin by placing a spotlight behind the landscape feature, aiming it at a wall or fence behind the feature. The object will be silhouetted against a soft light background. Multiple fixtures may be necessary, depending on the amount of lighted surface area needed to effectively silhouette the landscape feature. Some of the most striking execution of silhouetting uses dense subjects like planters, well-manicured evergreen shrubs, and arbored trees with dense foliage.


SHADOWING

Washing a feature with soft light, and illuminating the background surface casts an often magical set of shadows to appear on walls or the facade of a building. Low lighting angled up creates a grand shadow bigger than the original.

Consider playing with the distances and angles, as well as incorporating plants that provide movement in the breeze, like ornamental grasses.


WASHING

Washing is a technique that is most commonly applied to walls and rows of shrubs. This technique utilizes an indirect angle of light that creates a soft, almost ambient glow.

For best results, a wide-angle flood light with low wattage is preferred over a spotlight. Experimenting with height and angle is also recommended to find the perfect light.


UP-LIGHTING

A variety of fixtures are appropriate for up-lighting depending on the subject being lit. Essentially, this is light from below that can shadow, wash or silhouette.

This technique is great for featuring objects, or creating a contrast of shadow and light for varying depths of a structure’s wall, creating a stately and majestic appearance.


DOWN-LIGHTING

Attach lighting to a tree or a structure like a wall or building and aim the light down. Depending on what the light is attached to, the results may vary. While With fixtures that are attached to a home, under the eaves, for example, tend to highlight the structure of the house.

Down-lighting creates a directly illuminated area at the base of the structure the fixture is attached to.


MOONLIGHTING

True to its name, moonlighting creates a glow similar to moonlight. Moonlighting is created by placing light fixtures high inside the foliage of a tree, angled down.

The lighting within a tree’s branches and foliage make interesting shadows on the ground, as well as a soft glow from within.


ACCENTING

Use this technique to draw attention to a featured object such as a statue. Accenting uses up-lighting or down-lighting to emphasize the object, creating a unique contrast of shadows.

One key to this technique is to utilize a narrow beam of light from a hidden fixture, keeping all of the focus on the object itself.


PATH-LIGHTING

Just because you want your paths safely navigable, doesn’t mean you can’t guide them with a sense of romance or intriguing adventure.

When placing fixtures along a walkway or path, consider risks like being kicked or struck by a mower, and be sure they are angled down to avoid glare. A variety of down-lighting techniques can be used when lighting a path.


IN-GRADE

In-grade lighting is often installed at the base of a stone wall or other hardscape feature.

These fixtures (usually well lights) are often installed flush with the surface. This technique is best applied where other fixtures might create a tripping hazard or unwanted obstacle.


POOLS, SPAS, SHORELINE, FOUNTAINS, AND PONDS

Water lighting can be installed both above and below the surface. To properly illuminate underwater stairs in a spa or pool, fixtures in that area should be no more than 12 inches below the surface.

In general, fixtures placed at either end or spaced along the side wall are the most practical location – taking into consideration coverage for curves. Moving water can be especially striking when it is illuminated from below, showcasing the movement of the water on the surface. This style of lighting should be done by a licensed professional for safety