How and When to Prune Flowers and Plants

When you prune your plants, the goal is to remove any damaged or dead stems. The reason we do this, is because insects are attracted to dead steams and this can lead to diseases developing in our beloved garden.

  • Flowering Plants such as lilacs should be pruned once a year to promote growth that really enhances your flowering. As stated previously this includes cutting off diseased stems. Also you want to thin out the plant to give space for proper growth next year. This can be done in late winter to get them nice and ready for the spring.
  • For flowers such as roses you want to do what’s called dead-heading. This is where you pop off the tops of buds that are no longer flowering. This makes sure the energy from the sun that would have been going to those parts are now going to the flowers that are still blooming. And this goes without saying, “always be careful when dealing with roses!” thorns are not fun!
  • When it comes to common shrubs such as boxwoods, most people or landscapers will cut them into nice headge’s that form a solid wall around your property. The best thing for shrubs is to trim the top so that it is a little bit narrower than the base to prevent shading. And make sure not to cut anymore about a month to a month and a half before you think you’ll get your first frost.

For the serious prunner who also likes to keep their trees looking great from year to year, you want to trim in the wintertime when you can see the branches clearly.
This is just a small sample of how and when to prune your landscaping and trees around your home. For more extensive tips and advice please feel free to ask us at JK Designs and we’ll be more than happy to go over it with you.

The Winter Itch – Don’t Wait for Spring to Start Your Garden

By now your wondering where is spring, And I’m Sure you’ve noticed but this gloomy forecast hasn’t let up yet… the winter itch has started to set in. Yowzers! so instead of perseverating about the cold wintery mix thats going to come. Lets utilize this time to prepare for Spring.

Starting garden plants from seeds indoors can be an enjoyable project for any gardener. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to grow a wide variety of plants. Many garden favorites are found in a greater variety of colors, sizes and growth habits as seeds, rather than as started plants.

The same is true for many of our favorite annual flowers. If you start them indoors, they can spend more time in your garden flowering instead of getting mature enough to flower.


March is the perfect time to get those tomato and pepper seeds started indoors ready for an early spring planting! Also a great time to start planting those cool weather vegetables that can withstand those last frost days of March and April.

Sow beets now for a fast, early summer treat.

If you live in a warmer climate and can find a quick growing Broccoli variety you can harvest until it bolts in the hot summer sun!

Cabbage is one of the easier plants to grow in the garden. Select a variety that is right for your location (size and maturity length). Be sure to fertilize and water when cabbage head begins to form.

Planting carrots by mid-July yields a fall crop that will keep in the garden until used.

One of the most rewarding and fast growing crops to grow. Corn is delicious when cooked only minutes after being pulled off the stalk. Try a small plot of corn, working your way to a large field of several varieties.

Fast growing vine or bush cucumber plants can produce an abundance of cucumber fruits. Be careful to pick a variety for the space you have in your garden. Vine cucumbers can be the best tasting but need far more space than bush varieties.

Plant heat loving herbs like basil, oregano, thyme and sage.

Start a crop of salad mix greens that gets bright sun but not all day. Great for late summer and early fall crops.

Melons are some of the most rewarding plants to grow. Great for hot, long summers. A staple for summer picnics and family fun.

Get those onion seeds growing. Be careful to select an onion variety appropriate for your garden zone. Northern areas should plant long day onions. Southern regions should plant short day onions.

Green peas and sugar peas are good to plant in July, and will produce a moderate fall harvest.

Fresh, crisp peppers are a garden favorite. Peppers take up little space and can produce high yields when planted close together. Plant as many different varieties as possible. They come small, big, hot, mild, and an array of different colors.

Spinach is more of a cool weather vegetable and will produce until hot weather of summer. Planting in early March will ensure you have plenty of harvest before bolting.

Summer Squash
Yum! Summer squash sowing in June will lead to fresh squash and zucchini in July and August.

The most popular garden vegetable. Growing tomatoes is not only fun but treats you to some of the best tasting fruits in the world. Tomatoes come in many colors, shapes, taste, and sizes. Grow a few varieties every year to find your favorites!

Putting Green Maintenance


  • Mowing – The green should be mowed at 3/16 to 1/4 inch four or more times per week.

  • Fertilize the green with 0.5 lb nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. on May 1 and June 1.

  • Fertilization – Fertilize with 1.0 lb nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. on Sept. 15 and Nov. 15.

  • Irrigation – Water the green in the early morning (5-7 a.m.) hours. Only water when the green shows signs of drought stress.

  • Pests – Several insects and diseases are potential pests of creeping bentgrass greens. The first step in pest control is to produce a dense, actively growing stand of grass.

  • Topdressing – Topdressing is the application of a thin layer of soil on top of the putting surface. Apply a layer of topdressing approximately 1/8 inch thick of screened soil to putting surface. Use a push broom to work the topdressing down through the turf canopy. Apply topdressing in early May and late September.

All that irrigation water washes the fertilizer through the sand profile! You will be amazed how quickly after germination the tiny grass plants turn yellow from lack of nitrogen. Feed them with your favorite potion, whatever it may be, but feed them often or the new green will wither and be retarded. It is always a revelation how much more fertilizer new greens need compared to old, established putting surfaces. Availability of nutrients is radically different than the amount applied.

The first cut is made with a walking mower equipped with a solid roller, set between 3/8″ and 1/2″. Don’t wait too long, or the leaf blades will flatten out under the mower. It is sometimes a good idea to lightly roll the green the day before cutting. That gets rid of the lug marks from the trap rake and the foot prints you left from periodic inspection. As subsequent cuts are made at lower heights, care should be taken so as not to remove too much of the leaf tissue. Lower the mower between 1/16th and 1/32nd per week. This gives the plants time to get accustomed to the last cut.

Tree Watering

Tree watering is a key part of tree care and it is difficult to recommend an exact amount due to the varieties of climates. But a few rules of thumb will help guide you to water your trees properly.

  • Watering Newly Planted Trees: For new trees, water immediately after you plant a tree.

  • Watering Trees During First Two Years: During the first couple growing seasons, your newly planted tree is expending a lot of energy trying to get its roots established in the soil. Especially during the first few summers of your new trees life, it will have a difficult time dealing with heat and drought. You can make this easier by providing water and covering the soil with wood-chip mulch. Deep watering can help speed the root establishment. Deep water consists of keeping the soil moist to a depth that includes all the roots.

  • How Much Water and When: Not enough water is harmful for the tree but too much water is bad as well. Over-watering is a common tree care mistake. Please note that moist is different than soggy, and you can judge this by feel. A damp soil that dries for a short period will allow adequate oxygen to permeate the soil.

  • As a rule of thumb your soil should be moist. Usually 30 seconds with a steady stream of water from a garden hose with a diffuser nozzle per tree seedling is sufficient. Mulching is also key in retaining moisture in the soil.
    You can check soil moisture by using a garden trowel and inserting it into the ground to a depth of 2″, and then move the blade of the trowel back and forth to create a small narrow trench. Then use your finger to touch the soil. If it is moist to the touch, then they do not need water.

  • Watering Trees After the First Two Years: After your tree has been established in your yard for two years the roots will be established. This will allow your tree to withstand a wider range of water conditions including on its own because it has a proper root structure.