Landscaping in Charlotte, NC is soon to be filled with scarecrows, acorns, bright leaves and Fall flowers! Your backyard has survived another scorching hot summer and we’re excited that cool weather is just around the corner! Don’t get caught off guard, there’s lots to do to prepare your yard’s landscaping for the nippy nights and falling leaves.
IT’S FALL AND IT’S TIME TO ADD PLANTS TO YOUR LANDSCAPE!
Everyone assumes Spring is the best time to replace or add plants to their landscape but Fall is just as great if not better. Here’s why:
The mild Fall weather is exactly what newly planted botanicals need as they get rooted in. Studies show the average rainfall for Charlotte for the months of September, October, November and December is 3.83,3.66, 3.36, and 3.18 respectively. That’s a wonderful amount of rain for new plants growing delicate new roots. The average outdoor temperature for Charlotte for the same months is 81,72, 62 and 53 for the months of September, October, November and December. This is an average temperature of 67 degrees for these months which is perfect growing conditions for both plant foliage and roots.
Before you start adding plants to your landscape, make sure you buy your landscaping plants from a reputable local or mail-order nursery, or you could even start them yourself. The decision depends mainly on the size of plants you want to start with. When selecting container plants, pick ones with good foliage color. If the choice is between present blooms and basic shape, choose the best branch structure you’ll get more blooms in the long run.
Balled-and-burlapped or potted trees and shrubs can be planted any time of the year, but spring and early fall are the best times. The worst is late fall before a hard winter or in a hot summer without proper follow-up care. Consider both heirloom and new varieties of plants. The tried-and-true and the latest developments have much to offer, especially in terms of disease resistance, hardiness, color and form.
AUTUMN IS PERFECT TIME TO MAINTAIN YOUR HARDSCAPES
It’s still too soon to do some things like draining and putting the hoses away but there’s still a lot of maintenance that your backyard landscape needs. The most important things are maintaining your deck and your masonry components (patio, driveway and sidewalk).
Wood rot is wood’s worst enemy, so closely scrutinize decks, (sheds, fences, and other wooden structures too) every fall, paying special attention to wood at or near ground level or anywhere else moisture might collect. It doesn’t take long for dirt and debris to collect between the boards. Eventually it holds moisture and begins to affect the deck. If you detect any signs of rot (poke with a screwdriver if you’re not sure), take immediate steps to remedy the problem before it gets worse.
If you catch rot early and you may be able to arrest it by saturating the area with wood preservative. For more severe damage, you’ll need to cut away the affected element and replace it. Use only redwood, cedar, or pressure-treated lumber for repairs. During your inspection, also keep an eye out for decking boards, railings, or other items that might be pulling loose. These pose a safety hazard and should be hammered or screwed back in place right away.
Another big threat to wood decking is pest infestation, most commonly, termites. Termites fall into two groups: Subterranean ones eat wood but live underground, usually commuting back and forth via mud shelter tubes; non subterranean types live in the wood itself. Non Subterranean wood-boring insects—which include powder post beetles and carpenter ants as well as several termite species—dig across the grain of the wood and sometimes break through the surface, leaving telltale piles of sawdust pellets. Subterranean termites bore along the grain of the wood and often leave nothing but a shell behind. If you suspect termites, call a licensed exterminator. To eliminate subterranean termites, exterminators inject chemicals into the soil. For non subterranean termites, extermination consists of boring holes into the wood and injecting a liquid or powdered chemical.
CLEAN AND REPAIR PATIOS, SIDEWALKS AND DRIVEWAYS
Concrete and masonry promise permanence, but even the best-built walls, patios, walkways, steps, and driveways require attention from time to time. Fortunately, most repairs can be accomplished in an hour or two with no special skills and just a few hand tools.
Before you set out to make concrete and masonry repairs, try to diagnose what caused the damage. Water, especially ice, is usually the culprit. Frost in the ground can cause heaving and settlement; water coursing down a wall or standing in low spots on a patio can leach away mortar and concrete, seep into joints, and wreck masonry units. If the deterioration is chronic or extensive, you may need to solve an underlying drainage problem first.
Repairing concrete is a lot like dentistry: You clean the cavity, then fill it. To fill shallow cracks and chips, use a commercial latex, vinyl, or epoxy patching compound mixed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Patching compounds hold better than conventional cement-and-sand mixtures and require you to do less preparatory work to the old surface. For deeper cavities, apply patching compound in several thin layers. Or use a conventional cement-and-sand mixture, making sure to apply a bonding agent (available at building centers) first. If you use concrete to fill a deep cavity, undercut the edges around the perimeter of the damaged area so that the crack or hole is somewhat wider at the bottom than at the surface. After you pack in the new concrete, the existing concrete helps hold it in place.
FALL IS THE BEST TIME TO EXTEND YOUR LAWN
What good is a backyard if there’s not enough space to enjoy it? Now’s the perfect time to transform unusable space into lush grassy areas. The ideal time for planting seed Is early September, with very early spring second best. Make sure you follow directions (too much seed can cause the tiny grass plants to choke out one another). Rake lightly so that the seed is covered with no more than 1/2 inch of soil, if seeding. Roll the area after planting. When you choose sod, look for well-rooted, moist rolls that are healthy. You can plant sod, sprigs, and plugs almost anytime. If you rent a drum roller with a surface of mesh fabric, you can roll the ground and apply a thin mulch of peat moss at the same time. Or spread straw about 1/2 inch thick, so that you can see soil through it. If you use burlap to retain moisture, remove it as soon as germination begins. A mesh material that allows grass to grow through is available though more expensive. Save it for steep slopes or difficult spots.
The main cause of new lawn failures is lack of moisture. Water newly planted lawns with a fine mist from two to several times a day for the first week; the next week, water at least once a day. Water less frequently but more deeply as grass grows. Weeds also may germinate, but your new grass soon will crowd them out. Keep traffic off the lawn until it is well established. Mow the grass with sharp blades set at about 11/2 inches when the new growth is 2 inches tall. Once hot weather arrives, set the blade to 21/2 inches.