Landscaping warnings for Summer - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Landscaping warnings for Summer


A harsh winter and soggy spring, are leaving interesting conditions for your landscaping. We asked the experts for some pro tips about how to spruce up the yard, and what to watch out for.

Some evergreen trees are showing signs of winter wear and tear, and may need some pruning. 

"They really took a beating," said Mike Likins, with Chesterfield's extension office. "With the harsh winds, cold temperatures, frozen ground there was not enough water being pumped up to take care of them, so we get into this desiccation and death of the tissue." 

It's ok to cut the dead stuff off, but try to save as much green as you can. 

So far, there haven't been any new Boxwood blight scares in our area, but your boxwoods still might not look good. 

"Most of them show a significant insult, if you will, from spider mites last fall," said Likins "And then they went into the harsh winter so it was kind of like a double whammy." 

Still, pros say to let the plant tell you what needs to be trimmed. Don't go overboard trying to make it look "neat". 

And when it comes to mulching your plants, avoid mulch volcanoes, or a piling of mulch around the base of the tree. 

"Mulch volcanoes!" said Likins. "Again, this is another one of those horticultural abominations.  It will not go away. We don't know how it got started, but it will not go away."

Professionals say the high mulch around the trees can kill them. 

"When you pile that all up, up against the bark of the tree, that's asking for trouble," said Likins. "It's a stress and it can actually lead to the cambian rotting. Then you lose your plant."

And when you see storms like the ones we've seen lately, storms with strong winds, that collapse roofs and knock over power lines- it can actually be very dangerous. 

Over-mulched trees, stuffed in much volcanoes, can fall. 
"I've certainly seen post storm damage where people talk about the terrific winds doing all this damage, when in fact you could trace it back to a bad installation," said Likins. "And then it blows over in a storm. The storm gets blamed, not the person who installed it."

That's why experts say stick to that 2-3 even mulch rule. That amount of mulch is good for your landscaping- and ultimately much safer.

Those pesky green inch worms are finally almost gone- but some of the lasting effects of more extreme weather, are still out there. 

And here's another landscaping tip, avoid "Crape Murder". That's a name the extension office uses for Crape myrtles cut all the way across the tree, to cut the tree back. Instead, the pros say...just let them be.   

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