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Our Blog

Use our blog as a resource of information pertaining to landscaping, hardscaping, and other topics pertinent to the care and aesthetics of your property.

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How to Protect Your Landscaping from Winter Weather

How to Protect Your Landscaping from Winter Weather

When winter weather rolls around, it can get bitterly cold in Brookfield, WI, and the surrounding areas. Plants native to our area are usually able to go dormant during the winter months, but sometimes they need extra protection to endure the freezing weather.

Here are some ways we recommend protecting your landscape plants, trees, and shrubs from the cold weather and why you need to protect them in the areas of Brookfield, Pewaukee, Wauwatosa, and surrounding Wisconsin cities.


Why You Need to Protect Plants from Freezing Weather

It’s not easy for anything living to survive in the bitter cold. Animals huddle together for warmth and plants may also need a bit of a boost to make it through the long winter months. Additionally, animals may be seeking out food sources and when deer or rabbits come into your yard to eat your plants, this can kill them. At Beautiful Blooms Landscape & Design, LLC, we have devised several ways to help your plants make it through the winter.


How We Protect Plants, Trees, & Shrubs from Snow & Ice

Snow covers a lawn and landscaping in Pewaukee, WI.

One method to protect plants from winter weather is called wilt pruf. This is an anti-desiccant that we apply to select types of evergreen plants. Wilt pruf is made from pine sap and helps to prevent winter windburn of your trees and plants.

Our professional crews may also choose to use burlap wrapping, especially if you have plants that are close to the street or other areas where winter wind or salt spray can be thrown ...

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Fabric (or plastic) has no place under your mulch!

Fabric (or plastic) has no place under your mulch!

Why landscape fabric is not necessary in your mulch beds

When using mulch in your landscape, there is no need for the use of artificial weed barrier such as plastic or landscape fabric. These materials do not work and are not weed barriers. They are only necessary under stone. That is to prevent the soil from mixing with the stone. When mulch is maintained at an even depth between two and four inches it will properly serve as a weed barrier. Also, the mulch will naturally break down and incorporate with the soil through matters such as earthworms, microorganisms, and other insects. This adds nutrients and organic material to your plants and the surrounding soil which is very important to sustaining the health of your landscape.
 
In many cases when artificial material is used under mulch you can clearly see a night and day difference between what is above the plastic and what is below. The material above the plastic is soft, rich, dark, and full of nutrients. The soil below is hard and grey with virtually no nutrients. It looks as if it is suffocated. It also provides no protection against weeds proven by the fact that we see weeds everyday growing through thick layers of concrete and blacktop on commercial property. In the event that weeds do occur in your mulch they are much easier to pick out and maintain when there is not a layer of thick plastic holding them in the ground.
 
If you have any further questions please contact Beautiful Blooms...
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Spring Cleanups-tips and tricks from pros

Spring Cleanups-tips and tricks from pros

One of the first things to do each season is to start with a good spring clean-up; an all-over clean up and review of your lawn & landscape (including plants, shrubs, trees, and their beds). Fallen branches, debris that has been blown in from the neighbor’s yard, and “gifts” the snow plow delivered (chunks of sod, anyone??) all need to be removed. It is a huge part of maintaining a clean, crisp, great looking landscape.
 
Repair snow mold on the lawn: When snow lingers on the lawn for too long, especially when the large piles of snow sat for months, the grass can become infected. The best thing to do is lightly rake the area to break up the mold and promote some air flow. The new grass growth will quickly fill in. Problem solved.
 
Pruning: As soon as the weather begins to warm up in late winter and very early spring, plants should be uncovered (if covering took place at you fall clean up) and any dead dying or broken limbs should be pruned. Roses may also be pruned at this time. The goal is to encourage new growth, and “open it up” allowing air movement and sunlight to reach the inner limbs. Shrub roses are more forgiving than hybrid roses; they can be cut back almost half way with little worry.   One thing you DON’T want to do, is prune your Lilacs, Forsythias, or anything that blooms on old wood!  They set their buds for the bloom season, in the summer prior. If you prune them in before they...
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Mulch-what's the big deal?

Mulch-what's the big deal?

Mulching is an important part to the landscaping, and one of the most beneficial and easiest steps. There are many reasons to mulch around your plants. The first is to retain moisture. Mulch helps to slowly release water into the soil as you water. This allows for greater soil infiltration. This results in even soil moisture levels and a healthier root system. The mulch also helps the soil to keep the water that it does absorb by reducing the amount of moisture evaporating into the air. All in all this makes it easier for you because it reduces the amount of water needed to be applied.

Mulching helps to regulate the temperature of the soil surrounding your plants. It keeps soil cool in the summer, as much as 30 degrees cooler than the air temperature compared to bare soil or soil covered with stone. It also acts as a natural insulator in the winter. It allows for a slower freezing and more uniform temperature to make for less drastic temperature changes and prolongs the plant life.

Mulch can come in many forms. They can be organic or inorganic materials. Organic materials are ones in which they used to be a living plant form (i.e. bark nuggets, shredded wood chips, pine needles, and hay or straw). Inorganic materials include anything that would be considered man made. The natural or organic materials are best because they naturally decompose to add nutrients to the soil beneath. These nutrients are carried deep into the root systems by earthworms. These earthworms also ...

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Salt Burn

Salt Burn

Road runoff contains dissolved salts that not only injure plants directly but also can change the structure of the soil, causing it to become compacted. This condition restricts the nutrients, water,and oxygen available to the plants, putting them under stress. Shoot tips and young leaves usually receive the most damage. One of the salt-damage-bigsymptoms of salt damage is dried, burnt leaf edges.
 
How do I fix it? Where runoff is unavoidable, flush the area around the plants in early spring by applying 2 inches of water over a two- to three-hour period, repeating three days later. This will leach much of the salt from the soil. If salt spray from the road surface is a problem, use water to rinse the foliage and branches of any affected plants when salt spray is heavy and again in early spring.
 
How do I prevent it?  Salt burn has a simple solution.  Don’t pile snow containing salt around plants or trees or put it where runoff might reach plant roots.  Ask road-maintenance workers if they can direct salty runoff away from your property.  When selecting species for a new roadside planting, minimize the potential for salt damage by planting salt-tolerant selections.  Install a low wall or hedge of salt-tolerant evergreens, which can deflect salt spray away from sensitive plants nearby.
 

Here is a few salt-tolerant plants that are hardy to our area.

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What does it take for insects to overwinter?

What does it take for insects to overwinter?

Does a warmer winter mean more pests to manage during spring and summer?  Actually, there are a few other factors to consider before concluding this theory.

  1. Insects that overwinter below ground (Japanese beetle grubs) might not be affected by a mild winter because soil temperatures tend to be more constant. If the frost layer is deep, the survival rate may be lower.  If the frost line is shallow, there may be more survivors.
     
  2. Temperature is the key to all insect development. Have you seen a slow moving fly a few weeks ago, on a warm winter day? The higher winter temperatures “wake up” and activate the insects such as the common house fly, or woolly bear (caterpillar). They are using up stored fats they depend on to survive until the spring. Without access to food, these active insects could starve to death before food becomes available.
     
  3. Most insects adapt to cold winters by slowly preparing in the fall and staying dormant until the spring. Therefore, large temperature swings can be detrimental to insects… (There was at least one day this winter, from what I remember, where the temperature dropped a total of 50 degrees within just two days!).  We could expect some insect mortality due to cold intolerance when regularly fluctuating from 0-50 degrees.
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Working Through Winter

Working Through Winter

!!! We continue to work through the winter with Corrective and Dormant !!!

Pruning deciduous plants while there are no leaves on the plant allows us to see the complete framework of the plant and do a thorough job of pruning. We will work through the winter season to do this work. The cost for pruning a shrub or ornamental tree is far less than the cost of replacing an overgrown tree or shrub in the future–pruning is a necessary task in the maintenance of an ornamental landscape and should be done every 1-5 years depending on the plant species. Corrective pruning or rejuvenation pruning is just that–it is to correct mismanaged plants or to reinvigorate them by removing a substantial amount of growth. This drastic measure may be needed initially, but not as an ongoing part of a sustainable landscape management program. Contact us for a full property review (free)– Be aware of anything that needs attention!

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Fall & Winter Perennial Care

Fall & Winter Perennial Care

 

Many perennials are better left standing over the winter than cutting them down. There are several reasons for this. In addition to many of the perennials having attractive foliage and/or seed heads, they offer food resources for birds. Many birds find the seeds of perennials particularly tasty. The stems of perennials also offer a place for some birds to hide during the winter. With some marginally hardy perennials, leaving the stems up for the winter aids in overwintering. The foliage helps to insulate the crowns. Mums seem to benefit a great deal from this practice. Another reason to leave stems stand is that if the perennial is a late riser in the spring, the stems will help to mark the spot and prevent any accidental digging in the area that might harm the underground portions of the plant.

Cutting back perennials in the fall may be something you would want to do especially if you were bothered by foliage diseases. Removing the old foliage would be a positive in this case as it helps to reduce the amount of innoculum present to re-infest next year’s foliage. Removing foliage can also be one of pure aesthetics. Some gardeners like to see standing perennials in the winter and others don’t. When perennials are cut down, do so after they have gone dormant. This is usually after the plants have experienced several hard frosts. Cut the plants down to within 2-3 inches of the crown. Cutting too close can result in winter injury on some perennials due ...
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Fall Tips and Planning

Fall Tips and Planning

Things to do to prepare your plantings for winter–

*  If you have a young tree, protect the trunk with a plastic sleeve or wire guard.  This will protect against deer rubbing their antlers on the trunks and shredding the bark.  
*  Plants that may be favored by deer should be wrapped with a deer net.  The most common are Yews, certain Viburnum, Oak Leaf Hydrangea, young Magnolia trees/shrubs, young Burning Bush, to name a few.
*  Anti-desiccant spray–this is a liquid spray applied to evergreens to help them preserve moisture and protect them from winter wind burn.  
*  Mulching–apply mulch at the base of first year roses and perennials.  Often, you can rake mulch from the surrounding area–new mulch is not necessarily needed.  This helps to moderate soil temperature fluctuations–especially when there is little/no snow on the ground.  
*  Repellent–we are fans of Bobbex.  This is an effective way at deterring deer, rabbits, and voles.  Reapply about every 6 weeks–take advantage of periods of “thaw” to do the reapplication.
*  Deep root fertilization–this can be done a number of ways.  We recommend applying Milorganite (also deters deer) around the base of plants in the fall (now), drenching the soil with compost tea, or having fertilizer and bio-stimulants injected into the soil.  All of these...




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watering Instructions

watering Instructions

CongratulationsYou have just made a significant investment to your yard, and to your life, by installing new plant material. To ensure that investment is productive and successful, you need to nurture it, just like any other investment, making sure you do all you can to help it pay-off.  So, now what?

Watering – not enough or too much – is the most important step in establishing new plants. Beautiful Blooms will always “water-in” all the plant material they install for you. However, once we leave the property, you become responsible for seeing that adequate moisture is supplied. Knowing when and how much to water – and conversely, when not to water – can be tricky, so we offer these guidelines.

Perennials: It is recommended that you water 3 times-a-week, for the first 3 weeks whether is rains or not. After 3 weeks, water once-a-week, unless there is at least ½ inch of rainfall during that week. If natural rainfall is not sufficient, then supplemental, regular watering is needed. Remember that plants dry out faster in windy, unprotected areas, as well as on slopes.  Also, pay close attention to plants placed under a roof overhang; they will need slightly more water since the soil in that area tends to be drier as it does not receive any rain.

Small shrubs: You should use a hose at a slow trickle for 10-20 minutes per shrub to thoroughly saturate the root zone. You will want to keep the water at the ...

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