Spring Pest Management – Grasshoppers

In the spring, you will find many beautiful blooming trees, shrubs and flowers. However, along with these come the bugs. Insects, such as grasshoppers, lay their eggs in late summer or early fall. And if they survive the winter, they will begin hatching in mid to late spring of the following year. One female grasshopper can lay up to 40 eggs. So, what does this mean for you?  Hundreds of hungry, tiny grasshopper nymphs in your yard that will eventually turn into adult-sized grasshoppers over the course of the next several months.

How Do Grasshoppers Impact Your Yard?

Grasshoppers will feed on just about anything, flowers, grass, fruits, vegetables, and even weeds. And they are transitory. So, they will move from location to location in search of foods that they like. This can be a source of frustration because you may get rid of one group of grasshoppers, then another comes along.

They make holes in plant tissues and leaves, and leave behind droppings on plants. Grasshoppers prefer to feed on flowers and garden vegetables, however, if the population is high, they will also feed on shrubs trees, and grass. Large trees generally recover from this defoliation; however, grasshoppers can have a detrimental impact on small trees and shrubs.

What Can Be Done About Them?

It is best to treat a grasshopper infestation in its early stages (when they are less than one-inch long) because they tend to stay concentrated in the areas where they hatched. During this time, it is possible to wipe out more of them. Some common hatching areas include ditches and tall, grassy or weedy areas along the perimeter of the landscape.

As summer nears and grasshoppers continue to grow, they will disperse. While it is still possible to treat them, the more mature the get, the more difficult treatment is. At Shorb Landscaping, our team of expert landscapers can help you manage grasshoppers and other unwanted lawn and garden pests. Give us a call at 301-897-3503.


Garden Design – Creating a Main Focus in a Garden

A focal point is what your eye sees first.  It catches your attention.  This could be the largest, brightest object in your yard, or it could even be something subtle.   Just remember, less is often more.  Don’t overcrowd an area with plants or objects you want to feature.  Choose one thing and make everything else the “supporting cast”.  The options for a focal point are endless.  However, remember that the purpose is the control the view and create a sense of order in your yard.  Garden design allows you to create specific focuses in your garden.

Object Focal Points

These can include structures, objects, or even pathways.  An architectural element such as a pergola, arch, or gateway can serve as a focal point.   A statue, garden art or a water feature also make effective focal points.  Just choose objects that are harmonious with the style and size of the garden.  Walkways can serve not only as a path of direction; they can draw attention to a focal point such as a resting spot or bench that marks the end of the path.

Plant Focal Points

To create a focal point using plants, add one dramatic plant or group of plants to the focal point area.  It is best to choose plants that look good throughout the season, or all year if possible.  Perennials and annuals grouped together can make a nice seasonal focal point, but a large, flowering tree in the center of a flower bed can provide visual interest all through the year.  In fact, a tall plant naturally draws the eye because of its size compared to the surrounding plants.

Keep in mind when creating a focal point that it should follow the natural lines in your yard.  At Shorb Landscaping, our professional landscapers and designers can help you with focal points or with any other garden design needs.  You can call us at 301-897-3503.

Landscaping Spring Checklist

With spring around the corner, you may be looking forward to planting new greenery and flowers. However, it is important that your yard is in good shape before you begin. Why? Because it will improve the conditions for planting. Plus, you will enjoy it much more.  As we approach spring, here’s your checklist of things to consider over the coming month to get your yard in shape:

  1. Prune flowers, shrubs, and trees.

If your trees or shrubs experienced cold damage, they will need to be trimmed back to the live part of the stems.  Shrubs that bloom in the spring should not be pruned until after they flower. However, summer-blooming shrubs can be pruned in the spring.  And flowering perennials should be cut back to four or five inches in height.

  1. Clear and edge garden and flower beds.

If flower beds still contain leaves and debris from winter, they need to be cleaned out. Also, pull up any dead plants and remaining mulch from the previous year. Fertilize the garden and flower beds and edge them before planting new plants or laying fresh mulch.

  1. Grass and lawn maintenance.

Sometime in early spring, the sod’s pH level should be tested. Also, any damaged turf should be removed. The yard may need to be reseeded in some areas. Spring is also a good time to fertilize the yard and treat it for crabgrass. And while you may not have had to cut the grass much over the winter, it will soon grow rapidly (if it hasn’t already done so). So, it will need to be cut more frequently again.

  1. Clean and refresh hardscapes and outdoor living spaces.

This is also the time of year that people begin utilizing outdoor spaces more. Are yours in good shape? If they still look tired from winter, spruce them up. Clean dirt and debris from hardscapes. Wipe off tables, chairs, and outdoor kitchen surfaces. And set out fresh, bright seat cushions and pillows for a new spring look.

At Shorb Landscaping, we can help you get your yard back in shape for spring. Give us a call at 301-897-3503.


Perennials – Some Fun Facts!

Did you know that many of the plants in your yard are considered perennials? A perennial includes plants, flowers, shrubs, and trees that live for two years or longer. As you can imagine, perennials come in many shapes and sizes. Here are some fun facts about these plants.

General Facts About Perennials:

  • These flowers don’t always bloom the first year that they are planted, but with proper care, they will bloom the next year and each year after that for the duration of their lifespan.
  • Since they live a long time, they do not need to produce many seeds to survive. In fact, once they are planted and well established, they will need minimal upkeep with watering and fertilizing.
  • They often have a rest period at some point in their life cycle where the plant will remain dormant.
  • These plants include a wide variety of flowers, fruits, herbs, and vegetables.

Gardening Facts:

  • To increase the number of perennials in your garden, take cuttings from existing ones and plant them in the ground.
  • Perennials bloom time is about 3-4 weeks, so fill beds with a variety of plants for continuous blooming throughout the season.
  • When they stop blooming, dig them up during the spring, divide them, and then replant them.
  • Remove dead flowers from the plants to increase blooming.
  • Herbaceous perennials die back during cold weather seasons but will return in the spring from the same roots whereas evergreen ones keep their leaves throughout the year.
  • Perennial flowers that are from a cooler region, such as asters, irises, wallflowers, and peonies, do best when they experience a cold winter.

There are many types of perennials to choose from when designing your home’s landscape. At Shorb Landscaping, our team of landscapers and designers can help you make the best choices of plants for your yard. Call us at 301-897-3503.

Proper Mulch Application

Too Much Mulch?

Do you have too much mulch in beds or around trees? When properly applied, mulch can be beneficial to your landscape to retain moisture and reduce weed growth. However, a build-up of excessive mulch or an over-application can cause problems for plants. The experts at Shorb can help ensure that the mulch in your landscape is properly applied, and in some cases, reduced or removed.

Why might I need to remove mulch in my garden?

While mulch is very beneficial for the plants to thrive in our gardens, too much will have a detrimental effect on the plants.

Excessive mulch can suffocate the plant roots which inhibits their ability to “breath”.

Mulch holds in moisture which is good for tree roots, but not for the trunk. Never let mulch build up against the trunk of a tree.

Do I have too much mulch?

Some types of mulch, like shredded hardwood, does not break down.

Unless old mulch us removed, repeated applications may have accumulated over the years.

Sometimes mulch is simply over applied.

What happens if I do nothing?

Too much mulch will stress the tree which may cause secondary issues, such as insect and disease infestations. Just like people, if we don’t have a balanced diet, enough sleep, etc., which makes us more susceptible to getting sick. These are correlations, not causation. Be aware, but not alarmed.

How is excess mulch removed?

Hand shovels to gently scrape the excess away, while being careful not to damage the roots.

A high pressure air spade can blow away the excess mulch without damaging the roots.This is the preferred method for beds planted with shrubs and bushes.

How do I prevent this from happening in the future?

Apply at the proper thickness: If using shredded hardwood mulch, first application should be 2”. After that, a very light re-mulching ( ½ to 1”) is all that is needed to make it look fresh.

Remove old mulch: If using shredded hardwood mulch exclusively, remove some of the old mulch before applying new mulch.

Use Shredded Leaf Mulch: It breaks down within 6 months. It also acts like the natural forest litter that plants have evolved to thrive in. You may notice an increase in bird activity, as they are going for the earthworms.

Contact Shorb for more Information

Still have questions, or need an expert to inspect your landscape? Contact Shorb today to schedule a consultation!

Spring Pruning is All About Timing

While it is beneficial to prune your flowering shrubs and trees on a yearly basis, the time of year that you prune them can have a big impact on how well they flower. So, it may be tempting to cut them back as part of your spring maintenance routine, however, you should know which ones to prune early in the season, and which ones are better left alone until the end of the season.

Early Spring Pruning

The best time to prune plants is dependent upon when they set their flower buds. Trees and shrubs that are still dormant are okay to prune in early spring because do not set their flower buds until after they have begun their new spring growth.

Some popular flowering shrubs and plants you can prune in early spring include the Butterfly Bush, Honeysuckle, Hydrangeas, and Potentilla.

Flowering trees that you can prune in early spring are the Bradford Pear, Crepe Myrtle, Dogwood, and the Flowering Plum.

Late Spring Pruning

For some flowering trees, shrubs, and plants, it is best to wait until after they have flowered for the season. Once their flowers begin to fade, you can proceed with late spring pruning, but make sure to do it before they begin to set buds for the next season.

Shrubs that should be pruned towards the end of spring (or even early summer) include Azaleas, Beautybush, Lilacs, and Rhododendron.

Some flowering trees that benefit from late-season pruning include the Magnolia, Mountain Laurel, Serviceberry, and Hawthorne tree.

If you need help determining what to prune, or would like to leave it to a professional, contact your local landscaping company. At Shorb Landscaping, we can take care of all your pruning and gardening needs this spring. Give us a call at 301-897-3503.

Watering newly installed plants

Watering Tips for Newly Installed Plants


Lauren here with Shorb Landscaping. Your newly installed plants will need to be properly watered. Please don’t let them dry out, and don’t drown them by overwatering. When your plants were harvested from the nursery, many of their roots were removed, and that’s why new trees are more susceptible to drying out than those that are well established.

Now, let’s review a few watering guidelines for your new plants. Remember, every situation is different, and some sites may require adjustments. Please call your Account Manager at Shorb Landscaping to discuss site-specific details. The goal is to add enough water to soak through the top 8” of the soil. This is where all the roots are. Remember, It is better to give your plants water BEFORE they show symptoms of drought stress.

  • Soak soil and roots, so that the top 8” of soil is moist. No need to spray foliage
  • For most trees, 5 gallons of water should be enough, and 5 gallons should be good for 2 or 3 shrubs.
  • For larger areas, it is ok to use a sprinkler. If you apply one inch of water, that should be enough to soak into the soil 6 to 8 inches deep
  • In the spring and fall, water your new plants twice a week
  • In the Summer, water them 3 times a week, allow a day or 2 to between waterings. This allows the roots to breath.
  • If you’re not sure if it is time to water again, simply check to see if the soil is too wet or too dry
  • Do not water the plants every day. Allow some time for the water to percolate through the soil, so that the roots can breathe.
  • Most plants will become established in 1 year. Trees may take 2 or 3 years. Afterwards, supplemental water is needed only during drought conditions.

We hope that you will enjoy your new plants and that they will grow and thrive in your landscape. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us. We are here to help!

Front door entryway with holiday decorations by Shorb Landscaping.

Welcome the Season with Festive Front Entryway Decor for the Holidays!

The holiday season is upon us, and what better way to spread joy and warmth than by transforming your front entryway into a festive wonderland? Whether you’re a seasoned decorator or a newcomer to holiday embellishments, Shorb’s expert designers will help you create a welcoming and spirited entrance that sets the tone for a season of celebration.

  1. Start with a Clean Slate: Before diving into the holiday decorations, take a moment to clean and tidy up your front entryway. Sweep away any fallen leaves, clear clutter, and give your front door a fresh coat of paint if needed. A clean and well-maintained entry sets the stage for a stunning holiday display.
  2. Choose a Theme: Selecting a theme can help streamline your decorating process and create a cohesive look. Classic themes like “Winter Wonderland,” “Rustic Charm,” or “Traditional Red and Green” are popular choices. Once you’ve chosen a theme, you can tailor your decorations accordingly.
  3. Festive Door Wreath: A door wreath is a timeless and inviting way to greet guests. Consider using traditional evergreen branches, pinecones, and festive ribbons. For a personalized touch, add ornaments, berries, or even small twinkling lights. Hang the wreath at eye level for maximum impact.
  4. Garlands and Swags: Dress up your entryway with garlands and swags along the railing or porch banisters. Adorn them with lights, bows, and ornaments to create a magical atmosphere. If you have pillars or columns, wrap them with garlands for an elegant touch.
  5. Twinkling Lights: Nothing says “holiday magic” like the warm glow of twinkling lights. String them along the roofline, wrap them around porch railings, or drape them through shrubbery. LED lights are energy-efficient and come in a variety of colors and styles, allowing you to customize your display.
  6. Seasonal Planters: Replace your usual potted plants with festive arrangements for the holiday season. Fill planters with evergreen branches, holly, and pinecones. Add pops of color with red or gold accents, and consider placing small ornaments or fairy lights for an extra touch of whimsy.
  7. Create a Cozy Nook: If space allows, consider adding a cozy seating area to your front entryway. Arrange outdoor furniture with festive cushions and blankets. This creates a welcoming spot for guests to linger and enjoy the holiday ambiance.
  8. Personalized Signage: Incorporate personalized signs or chalkboards with cheerful holiday messages. This adds a warm and inviting touch, and you can customize the message to reflect your family’s unique holiday traditions.

With these tips, you’re well on your way to creating a front entryway that radiates holiday cheer. Whether you prefer a traditional look or want to try something more contemporary, let your creativity shine. Remember, the key is to infuse your unique style into the decorations, creating a warm and festive atmosphere for all who pass through your front door.

Let Shorb do it for you!

Too busy to do it yourself, or just need some extra help? The team at Shorb can design, install, and remove your holiday display when the holidays are over. This service is a convenient and hassle-free way to get into the holiday spirit!

Click here fill out our order form, and we’ll take care of the rest!

What Should You Do With All Those Fall Leaves?

Fall is a beautiful time of year in the D.C. area.  The temperatures drop and the air feels cool and crisp.  Soon we can expect beautiful fall foliage.  But along with the vibrant hues of orange, red, and yellow, comes an inevitable day when the leaves begin to fall from the trees and into our yards.  So what do you do with all those leaves?  While a very common way to manage is to bag and have them hauled away, did you know that fallen foliage contain anywhere from 50 to 80 percent of the nutrients that plants need from the soil?  They can actually be a great natural resource.  Consider these eco-friendly ways to utilize your excess this fall.

Shred Using a Mower

The easiest way to manage leaves is to simply shred them and create a layer in the grass.  This method works best on a light layer of leaves using a mulching mower.  The benefit to shredding them is the valuable nutrients they impart into your grass.

Add Leaves Your Garden Beds

Leaves can serve two purposes in your garden beds.  Tilling into heavy soil helps with aeration and drainage.  And working into light soil improves its ability to retain nutrients and water.  They can also be placed on top of the soil and used as a layer of mulch.


Composting is another option.  The benefit of composting is that it adds a natural source of nutrients to your flowerbeds and potted plants. Additionally, you can add grass clippings, pine needles, and spent plants to the compost pile.

At Shorb Landscaping, our team of landscapers and designers can help you maintain your flowerbeds and yard throughout the fall season.  Call us at 301-897-3503.

Flower Bulbs

Fall is the Best Time to Plant Bulbs for Spring Blooms

Even though the weather is beginning to cool down, this does not mean it is time to give up on gardening.  In fact, fall is actually the best time to plant bulbs for spring blooming.   For beautiful spring flowers make sure to plant bulbs prior to the first freeze.

Tips on How to Plant Bulbs

Some bulbs will bloom one season, while others will continue to bloom year after year.  Either way, they are a beautiful site and well worth it.  Here are some tips on how to plant them:

  • Plant in an area with well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight.
  • Incorporate compost into the soil.
  • The depth of each hole should be three times the width of the bulb.
  • There is always a chance that some may not grow, so make sure to plant plenty.
  • For a natural look, plant and space them randomly.
  • Use a low nitrogen fertilizer and water well after planting.
  • Apply a layer of mulch to deter weeds and retain moisture.

Types of Bulbs to Plant

The types of bulbs that are available to plant are numerous so it is best to choose ones that work well in your climate.  In the DC area, for flowers that bloom towards the end of winter, plant Grape Hyacinth and Winter Aconite. For early spring blooms include Crocus and Daffodils into your garden beds.  Tulips will also bloom in early spring and continue on to the end of the season.  Bearded Iris and Siberian Iris will both bloom from early spring on into the summer.

While some may believe that fall is a time to wind down the gardening, it is actually the best time to start preparing for next spring. At Shorb Landscaping, our team of landscapers and designers can help ready your lawn and gardens for every season.  Call us at 301-897-3503.