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Top Ten Things To Request of Your Landscaper

We’re very happy to welcome back C.L. Fornari to MostMost with another great MostPost!  With spring around the corner C.L., aka “The Garden Lady” is here to share with us here to share with us the Top Ten MOST important things to Request of your landscaper.

At this time of year people start to focus more on the outdoors, and getting their yard into shape. Many don’t have the time or interest to do the work themselves, but they do want to have their landscape managed in an ecologically friendly manner. So here’s a list of the top ten things to ask your landscaper.

1.  When cleaning up any leaves that have fallen over the winter, request that they be chopped with a lawnmower or chipper and placed around shrubs and trees. Leaves are higher in mineral content than manure, and Mother Nature intended them to keep soil organically amended. Instead of bagging them and throwing them away, use them to keep your trees and shrubs healthy.

2.  Request that an inch of compost or manure be applied to all beds before any mulch is put down. This inch, topped with another inch of mulch, will keep soil amended. (Any areas that got the chopped leaves don’t need the compost or manure. The leaves can either be used as both amendment and mulch, or mulch can be applied on top.) The ideal would be to make your own compost (see #9) but baring that, ask your landscaper if he/she can find a local source.

3.  When mulch is applied, an inch or two will do the job, and it should not be piled up against the stems of plants or the trunks of trees.

4.  Ask your crew to take soil samples and have them tested every other year. This will show if you need to fertilize or not. Don’t let your landscapers automatically apply any fertilizer or lime unless a soil test shows that you need this done.

5.  Spring is a good time to fertilize, but if you have good soil (not sand) and you follow the two steps above, you may not need to feed your gardens every year. If the soil test shows that you do, request that your landscaper use an organic fertilizer that supplies what the tests showed you are lacking.

6.   Unless you like the look of round green meatball shrubs, request that most shrubs be hand-pruned, not sheared. This is especially important for most deciduous plants such as forsythia, lilacs, and viburnum. Hand pruning takes more time and skill, but many plants look better when allowed to grow into their natural shape.

7.  Request that the lawn be mowed no shorter than two and a half inches. This keeps the turf healthier and helps shade out weeds.

8.  Ask your landscapers to be on the lookout for developing problems, but not to use any insecticides or fungicides prophylactically. If insect damage or disease is noted, an accurate diagnosis should precede treatment, and least-toxic products such as horticultural oil should be used.

9.  If you don’t have a compost pile, have your landscaper create one if you have enough space. Too many fossil fuels are used to transport yard waste! Even if you don’t end up using the compost for your flowerbeds, keeping it on the property is the right thing to do.

10.  Request that a variety of plants be used when new gardens are created, and that some of them be native to your region.

If you like this list I’d also strongly suggest that in addition to visiting the Garden Lady at her site  you also check out the previous MostPost C.L. submitted:  The MOST Important Vegetable Gardening Advice.

More from The Garden Lady at: www.gardenlady.com & www.wholelifegardening.com I’d highly recommend checking out these sites – Whole Life Gardening in particular is filled with tons a great garden pictures.  You can also follow C.L. on Twitter @TheGardenLady.

Posted on Monday, March 1st, 2010 Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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