Fall Pruning Tips and Information

As temperatures drop and leaves begin to fall, it may be tempting to start pruning trees, shrubs, and other plants.  However, it is important to know what plants can be pruned and how to prune them during this season.  In fact, there are some plants that if you trim to much in the fall, you could mistakenly remove their flower buds, which means no flowering the following spring!  Here are some tips on what is okay to prune and what to avoid this fall.

Plants that Are Safe to Prune

The plants that are fine to prune this fall are the ones that do not make flower buds until they have new growth in the spring.  Some of these include crepe myrtles, gardenias, hibiscus, knockout roses and most shrub roses.

This is also a good time to prune trees and shrubs by removing branches that are dead, broken, or branches that are diseased or infested with insects.  Any trees or shrubs that are overgrown can also be pruned during the fall by thinning them out.

Plants to Avoid Pruning

Some plants have already formed their spring flowering buds in the fall.  These flowers are encased in buds that are often near the tips of the branches.  While some thinning out is okay, if you heavily prune these plants in the fall you run the risk of accidentally removing their spring flowers.  Some such plants include azaleas, lilacs, viburnum, and flowering cherry, peach, and plum trees.

If you have trees, shrubs, or other plants that you are not sure about when to prune, it is best to seek the advice of a knowledgeable landscaper.  At Shorb Landscaping, our team of landscapers and designers can help you maintain and prune your trees, shrubs, and plants this fall season.  Call us at 301-897-3503.

Fall is the Perfect Time to Sod Your Lawn

While spring is often considered to be the ideal time for sodding a lawn, it can also be done successfully in the fall.  Just remember to plant the sod well before the first expected frost of the season.  This way the roots establish before it gets too cold.  The basic steps for laying sod include:

STEP 1: Remove Existing Lawn

If the lawn is large, it is best to use a sod cutter for removal of the grass.  For smaller lawns, a grape hoe will work.

STEP 2: Grading Issues

After the old grass has been removed, make sure the ground slopes away from the house in all directions.   If not, make adjustments by adding or removing soil in the problem areas.

STEP 3: Soil Testing

Testing the soil will give you a better idea as to what amendments such as nutrients, fertilizer, or organic matter need to be added before laying the new sod.

STEP 4: Prep the Area

The ground needs to be smooth and free of debris and rocks.  It should also have a firm base before new sod is put down.

STEP 5: Lay New Sod

Spread a layer of fertilizer first, then you can lay the sod over one section of the lawn at a time.  It is best to start on the outer edges and work your way in.  And make sure to water it regularly.

While it is possible to sod a lawn on your own, also consider using a professional landscaper.  Not only do landscapers have knowledge and expertise in this area, they also have the tools and equipment required.  At Shorb Landscaping, our professional landscapers and designers can help you create a beautiful lawn to enjoy for years to come.  You can call us at 301-897-3503.

Fall Frost

Is Your Yard Ready for the First Frost?

As temperatures in the DC area grow cooler and cooler, we can expect the first frost of the season soon.  According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the average date for the first frost is November 15th.  Is your yard ready?  Preparing your yard each year for the dropping temperatures can help preserve your gardens and lawn and ready them for next spring.  Use this checklist to ensure your yard is ready to make it through the winter season.

#1:  Move Houseplants Back Inside

Any houseplants that you moved outside for fresh air and growth during the summer need to be brought back in at this time.  Make sure to check for any unwanted pests such as aphids and mealybugs.  If you discover these, treat the plants before bringing them in.

#2: Winterize Lawn Irrigation Systems

Automatic irrigation systems should be shut off at the main water supply. Drain the system and open to relieve any pressure.  If you are using hoses for irrigation, make sure to drain and coil them.  You will also want to disconnect hoses from faucets and store them if possible.

#3: Take Care of Plants in Your Garden Beds

If you have annual plants in your gardens, look into which ones are frost-tolerant and which ones are not.  Make sure to cover any annuals that could not otherwise survive the colder weather.  If you have vegetables in your garden beds, till the soil to expose unwanted insects and make sure to pick any vegetables that need picking prior to the frost.  Wait until after the frost before you dig out and store any bulb plants for winter.

At Shorb Landscaping, our professional landscapers and designers can help you winterize your lawn and preserve your plants through the winter season.  You can call us at 301-897-3503.















Common Fall Pests

While the cooler temperatures of fall can provide relief from the heat of summer, there are still some pests you might encounter on your lawn and in your gardens.  Here are the most common fall pests and what to look for:

Slugs and Snails

The best way to tell if you have slugs and snails in your garden is to look for trails of slime.  These fall pests feed on the leaves of mature plants and will make young seedlings disappear overnight.  They prefer fruits, vegetables, ornamental plants and young seedlings.  Sixty percent of their eggs are laid during the fall season

Fall Webworms

If you notice caterpillars gathering at the ends of branches or webbing that surrounds the tip of the branches on your trees, then it is likely that you have webworms.  While it is unlikely for them to defoliate a large tree, small trees, and young trees can both be at risk for this.  They will feed on just about any type of tree with the exception of conifers.  Their favorites include elm, oak, mulberry, willow, and fruit trees.

Lawn Grubs

The best indication that you might have lawn grubs is if you notice brown spots on your lawn.  Grubs can also attract birds and small animals such as skunks and raccoons to your lawn.  Grubs feed on the roots of grass.  So if you do notice brown spots, pull the brown grass up.  If it comes out easily with no roots, then you probably do have grubs.

There are a number of ways to combat unwanted fall pests.  A knowledgeable landscaping business, such as Shorb Landscaping, can provide information on eco-friendly ways to get rid of them.  Or, if needed the best chemical solutions to use.  At Shorb Landscaping, our professional landscapers and designers can help keep your lawn and gardens healthy and pest-free throughout the season.  You can call us at 301-897-3503.

3 Simple Steps to Create a Yard that Reflects Your Personality

A yard is an extension of your home, and subsequently, yourself.  Do the objects and furniture inside your home reflect your unique style and personality?  Extend this same look to your property by following these simple steps:

Step 1: Have Fun with Yard Accents

Look for things to place outside your home that bring a smile to your face, whether it be immaculate and deliberate plant and flower selections, or even garden gnomes, bird houses, or a yard sign with a catchy phrase.  You can even create your own yard art.  Treat your yard as another “room” to decorate with your own unique style.

Step 2: Create a Comfortable Place to Hang Out

Extend the space of your home by creating a comfortable outdoor area that you want to spend time in. This space can be a place to sit and relax, or to dine al fresco.  Or, you may want to have both of these spaces outdoors. The key is to create an ambiance that is reflective of you and warm and inviting for your guests.  Take a look at some of our custom designed outdoor fire places, fire pits and grills and patio areas.

Step 3:  Bring in Plants that Suit Your Personality

What do your plants say about you?  Including plants that fit the personality of you and your home can add curb appeal.  Are you a person who likes a clean, modern yard?  Or do you prefer the look of a whimsical garden?  Perhaps country charm is more your speed.  Whatever your style may be, it is easy to bring it to life in your yard by adding the right plants.

At Shorb Landscaping, our professional landscapers and designers can help you create an outdoor space that reflects your personal taste and style.  You call us at 301-897-3503 for a consultation.