When Old Man Winter comes around, he brings plenty of challenges for your landscape along with him. Frost heave is an often overlooked but important one to be aware of because it is so easy to avoid.
WHAT IS FROST HEAVE?
When temperatures are cold enough to cause the ground to freeze, any water trapped in the soil freezes into “ice lenses” that push surrounding soil up as they expand. In south central PA and northern MD, the average winter frost depth is 18” but can be as deep as 28”. This means that depending on the extent of cold weather, any poorly drained soil in this 28” depth has the potential to freeze and cause heaving.
HOW CAN FROST HEAVE AFFECT MY LANDSCAPE?
Frost heaving can damage anything with a footer that is too shallow or poorly drained- deck, fence and mailbox posts are frequent victims. Paver patios and walkways with a shallow, poorly drained base can also be damaged by heaving. Finally, plant material that was not planted in properly sized holes or with adequately draining soils can be heaved right out of the ground. When this happens, the exposed roots will likely freeze and kill the popped-out plant.
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO AVOID FROST HEAVING?
The easiest solution is to hire a reputable landscape professional and make sure they are certified installers of plant and hardscape materials and can explain how these certifications guide their installation practices. Hively Landscapes staff includes Pennsylvania Certified Horticulturists and Interlocking Concrete Paver Institute Certified Installers. As long as the proper preparations are performed during installation, your landscape should survive all but extremely long and deep freezes without any issues. If you experience frost related problems and would like a free consultation to discuss repairs, contact Hively Landscapes and relax, we’ll do the dirty work.
Winter weather is definitely here, and it’s got the folks at Hively daydreaming about spring! One of the best things about spring is enjoying time outside on your patio or deck. But what if you don’t have a patio or deck? Now may be the time to start considering it!
The difference between a deck and a patio is fairly obvious: one is raised above ground level, and the other is flush to the ground. However, the questions raised become what are the differences between their installation, and which one is best for your home and landscape? Today, we want to put together a list of installation differences between decks and patios, as well as possible benefits and drawbacks of each.
As winter looms closer, snow removal becomes a more immediate concern – specifically, snow removal for your commercial property! Commercial snow removal can be a big expense, especially if it’s a long, cold winter.
Pest Alert: Spotted Lanternfly
Pennsylvania and parts of Maryland are under a pest alert for the spotted lanternfly (lycorma delicatula). Native to China, Bangledesh, Vietnam and introduced to Japan and Korea where is has become a major pest of grapes. The invasive spotted lanternfly has the potential to greatly impact the grape, hops and logging industries in PA and beyond. Several counties in eastern PA, including Berks, Delaware and Lancaster counties, are under quarantine. The spotted lanternfly is moving steadily westward across the southern tier of the state.
If you live outside the current quarantine area in PA and find a spotted lanterfly in any life stage, report it!
Everyone at Hively would like to wish you a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday and while our staff will be home with family, there are plenty of things you can do to prepare your landscape for a safe winter and successful spring.
Prepare for Hibernation
Even if you continue to enjoy your outdoor living spaces and fire features as the weather gets colder, now is a great time to begin covering your outdoor furniture, or if you have the space, move it into a covered storage area.
With the cold weather starting to present itself, it seems like a strange time to be thinking about spring flowers! However, fall is the ideal time to plant those flower bulbs and give them a great jump-start for next spring. The folks at Hively Landscaping wanted to bring you some tips and tricks for maximizing your beautiful flowers in the springtime by preparing right now.
Invest in Quality Bulbs
Planting high-quality bulbs in the fall is an easy way to kickstart your spring flowers. While the bargain bulbs look enticing, they are often the weaker, smaller bulbs that either won’t flower come springtime, or will look rather pitiful next to your other blooms.
When choosing bulbs, look for a large size and firm texture. Small, mushy bulbs often yield small, weak flowers, or even none at all. You’ll pay more for good quality bulbs, but they are much more likely to come up strong in the springtime and flower more than the cheaper bulbs.
Fall is officially here: time to fertilize! Wait, what? Why now? Fall is the ideal time to fertilize your lawn and garden to give it a strong, healthy start come spring. At Hively, we know the benefits of fertilizing your lawn during the cooler fall months; here are some great reasons to invest the time into your lawn now, so it looks great and requires less effort in the spring.
The Weather is Perfect
Cool mornings and evenings provide the perfect conditions for fertilizing. The fertilizer does best in cooler temperatures, and by avoiding the midday sun, your lawn will allow maximum absorption in the shortest time.
If you’re like us, you appreciate a great-looking lawn surrounding your beautiful home. Maintaining that lawn takes a lot of work, and the steps you take in the fall can help ensure you’re greeted by a lush, green lawn next year.
If you’ve already followed our advice on the benefits of aerating your lawn, the next step to fall lawn care is overseeding. Fall is the perfect time for overseeding your lawn if you’re looking to repair thin or bare areas. Overseeding in the fall is preferred for several reasons, including:
- There are shorter, milder temperature days
- Seed better retains moisture and avoids drying out
- There is less competition from weeds
One of the most beneficial treatments you can provide for your lawn is aeration. Core aeration is the process of removing small plugs of soil from the lawn, which reduces the compaction of your soil and promotes root growth. This is the preferred method among landscape professionals like Hively; the alternative, spike aeration, simply pokes holes, which is much less effective and can actually cause further soil compaction.
In the fall, when your turf switches gears from top growth to root growth, aeration provides water and nutrients better access to these roots, which helps it grow thicker and healthier. If you overseed this time of year, aeration also helps maximize soil-to-seed contact, which means you’ll be seeing more of your freshly planted seed sprouting.
Trimming and edging are two different techniques that are often improperly defined as one in the same. Today, we want to help you understand the differences between the two and share a few tips on getting the most out of each of these handy landscape maintenance tasks.
Trimming performed with a string or line trimmer (a “weed whacker” to some) is recognized as horizontal cuts made to eliminate any unnecessary grass or weeds. Most commonly, you would perform trimming on any areas of your lawn that the mower can’t easily reach, such as around mailboxes, along the home’s exterior or fences, or near delicate trees and shrubs.