Vinca, aka periwinkle, is a super popular plant during Louisiana summers. The flower is everywhere you look and for good reason. The flower looks fantastic in Louisiana landscapes. It does well in hot weather and in drier conditions. Unfortunately wet weather and cool temperatures become the perfect environment for Phytophthora blight, the vinca killer. This disease is always present in the soil, but can affect vinca when conditions favor it for too long. It spreads easily by rain splashing onto neighboring vinca, causing crown and root rot. It can wipe out an entire planting in no time.
Here are some best practices for planting vinca:
As we all know, when it rains, it pours in Louisiana. The extra water can cause erosion, fungus, or just sit and kill areas of grass. Bugs like the extra water as well. If you have problems with too much water, then you need a proper way to drain it from your yard.
If you have gutters on your roof, the water needs somewhere to go. Most gutters take all of the water from your roof and spill it out on one spot that is usually really wet all the time. The rain from the entire square footage of your roof funneled to a few spots. The correct drainage solution is to use an underground piping system that removes the water from your property. Another environmentally friendly option is to use a store it in a rain barrel which you can use to water your lawn and landscape later during a drought.
Areas on your property that hold water can be a pain. They make it too wet to cut the grass and a mess to walk through. These wet areas cause grass and shrubs to die if the water sits for too long. An excellent solution is to install a French drain. This is done by digging a trench, installing a pipe with holes in it, then backfilling the trench with crushed stone. This provides a solid, even surface and a path for the water to leave. You have probably seen these without even knowing it since they blend in so well with their surroundings. French drains are one of your best choices for drainage.
If you have a hard surface that holds water, installing a drain and pipe is your best choice. When hard surface are put down, they are angles toward the area you want the water to runoff toward. Over time, concrete and tile tend to settle and change the angle they drain. Installing a few drains that pipe the water away from the area underground will get your hardscapes drier, quicker.
The lay of your property should have been graded when your home was built. There should be a smooth and gentle slope from your home toward the area you want the water to move toward when it rains. If the water pools toward your home’s foundation, then you have either a grading or swale issue. Adding a swale can direct the water to one area more quickly. Think of a swale as a very small ditch in your grass. Swales are better used in large fields or in places where you would not mind the ground being uneven. A good grade will move the water where you want, without sacrificing the ground's evenness. Correctly grading your land is hard and is best done with heavy equipment by a professional. If you need have a drainage problem that needs a drainage solution, contact GreenSeasons.
Ladybugs are a natural way to keep plant pests in check... sorta. There is an organic gardening push to purchase ladybugs and release them in your garden as a natural way to eliminate pests like aphids. There is a problem. When you release them, they fly away. They go many miles away because ladybugs naturally spread out so they don’t overcrowd one another's territory so there is enough food to survive.
An alternative is green lacewings, but they can become a problem if their population grows too much. If you have to buy a helpful bug, get green lacewings. An okay solution if you are trying to do organic gardening is to make a ladybug friendly environment. They will come to you. Grow a large variety of plants. Let some aphids live. It will attract ladybugs to your garden. Use manual removal on your plants if things start to bug out too much.
If you are trying to grow an organic garden, the best advice is to grow plants that do the best in your environment. I know this sounds pretty simple, but a lot of people do not follow this advice. Trying to grow your favorite variety of tomato may taste the best to you, but will be near impossible to grow if it is swarmed by insects daily. Choose the easiest variety of what you want grown and you will be much more successful as an organic backyard farmer.
Once the temperature begins to warm up and there is no longer a chance of freezing temperatures, you can start up you sprinkler system. De-winterizing your irrigation system in spring is not that difficult. You will need at least a flat head screw driver and some pliers.
You should use infrequent, deep watering cycles when programming your irrigation controller. This promotes better root development and lowers the chance of developing root rot. Allowing your yard a chance to dry out between watering periods also makes weeds less likely to propagate. Following this advice will get you greener and healthier grass that will perform better in the heat of summer.
If you have to urge to do some gardening in the cold, think hard. Gravel pathways, wood decks, concrete patios, and outdoor kitchens are perfect projects for cold weather.
If you start one of these projects now, you will probably have it finished in time for spring when you will want to actually use it. These type of projects can be hard work and costly, so follow some basic tips:
Now is when you should treat your lawn to remedy soil nutrient inefficiencies. Get a soil test for your lawn first. This will tell you where you stand instead of blindly applying unnecessary fertilizers.
The pH is off very often and affects how well plants uptake nutrients in the soil. The wrong pH could cause a lockout of vital nutrition and leave you scratching your head as to why your plants are worsening.
Use sulfur amended fertilizer products to bring your soil pH down. Use lime amended fertilizer to bring your pH up. It is a lot quicker and easier to bring your soil pH up than it is to bring it down. Keep that in mind when altering it and be sure to read your soil test before starting this process.
Winter is a great time to get your weed problem under control. Once your grass goes dormant, the lawn weeds stick out, as they are the only green left. White clover and sow thistle are common weed problems found in the winter and are fairly easy to treat by readily available broad spectrum selective herbicides.
Poa annua, annual bluegrass, is a grassy annual winter weed. This weed dies off each year, but leaves hundreds of seeds per weed to grow back the following year. The solution for this weed is to use a good pre-emergent before it starts growing. Most treatments after this weed has started growing are effective at warmer temperatures when it would be close to dying off on its own anyway.
We are re-branding a few of our services as new companies. GreenSeasons will still take care of your landscape and mowing services. Future tree services will be performed by Big Bark Tree Care. Pest Control and Mosquito services will be taken care of by Bug Ninja Pest Control. Handyman work, fence and decking will be serviced by Great With Tools.
The management and team members are still the same people who have always helped you. They will have new uniforms and vehicles. Phone calls and payments are still taken care of at the same location. The name change is to help new people find out about the great service we offer and to give us a chance to show them.
Thanks for choosing to work with us! We appreciate your choice.