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As the leader in the Green Industry, we provide exceptional landscape services to quality-focused commercial property owners and managers in the Northern Colorado community. We work together as a friendly team who values integrity and provides open, honest communication in every aspect of our work. Everything we do is done to benefit our customers, employees, vendors and the community.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Got planters on your porch?

Use Containers to Brighten the Winter

Even though you can't be growing petunias and pansies this time of year, that doesn't mean all your outdoor containers have to be packed away until spring.

Filling them with different plants and other natural materials as the seasons change keeps that focal point of seasonal interest going on your porch. In the wintertime, in particular, containers bring a bright spot amidst the cold, dormant landscape.
Here are some tips for keeping porch containers working through the winter.
Less is more. During the winter, there is less competition in the outdoors to draw the eye, so use less for more impact. If you normally have three pots flanking each side of your door, for example, scale back to two filled containers. Or make two large containers and minimize the amount of materials in the other four.


Use fewer items in
secondary pots
Thriller, filler, spiller still applies. Even though the materials may be different in winter, follow the same formula used to combine plants in the growing season. Use a tall element like dogwood branches for thriller, rounded items like dried pods, cones or flowers for filler and a cascading component like evergreens for spiller.

Plan an easy transition from "holiday" to "winter" décor. Many elements like evergreens and pine cones used for holiday décor transition well into simple winter interest. By removing the red bows or glass balls that say, "Merry Christmas," the rest of the container can keep the seasonal interest going until it's time to plant pansies.

Take a sustainable look at your landscape. Many of the components for winter containers might already be in your yard. Create your own scavenger hunt and look for:
  • Berries--such as red cotoneaster, blue/green juniper and orange pyracantha
  • Cones from evergreen trees and shrubs
  • Seed pods and dried plants like yarrow, hydrangea or Echinacea
  • Colorful deciduous branches that can be cut such as red-twig dogwood or others with an interesting shape like sumac
  • Evergreen branches from trees and shrubs or the lowest branches that came off the Christmas tree when you put it in the stand
If you still need a few more items, the local garden center can supply the rest.

Take time to create your own look that says "winter" and to appreciate the scaled-back ambiance of the winterscape. Sometimes we have to look a little harder this time of year, but Mother Nature has given us much to see and enjoy outdoors.

Tip of the Week reprinted courtesy of Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado (ALCC) of which Foothills Landscape Maintenance, LLC is a member. ALCC is the only only professional organization for Colorado's landscape contracting industry statewide. Tip of the Week is copyrighted by Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado and may be forwarded or copied by its members provided proper credit is given to ALCC

Why should you just add water?


The entire landscape is thirsty!

Mother Nature has not supported her plant life well this fall. There's been little more than one inch of natural rainfall since early September and an unseasonably warm fall. This one-two punch has left both trees and lawns parched. They have been losing the moisture that needs to be replaced for the plants to remain healthy. Property owners need to step in and help.

Lawns. Drag out the hoses and run the sprinklers to water the grass. Pay special attention to lawns on south-facing and southwest facing areas and on slopes as they receive more drying sun than other areas and that makes them more prone to winter kill.

Water trees with a deep-root
watering device attached to a hose.


Trees. Next, move on to water the trees. Watering them is not as easy as watering the lawn. But remember that trees were one of the most costly investments when the landscape was installed and as they grow, trees become even more valuable. Caring for them properly is an investment in your ongoing property value.

The key to watering trees effectively involves understanding what the "drip line" is and how to water around it. To picture the drip line, envision a circle around the outer rim of the tree where rainfall will "drip" off and hit the ground. That imaginary circle is the drip line.

Next, do a little math to create another imaginary circle that is beyond the drip line. Calculate the new circle by multiplying the distance from the tree trunk to the drip line by 1.5. For example, if the drip line runs in a circle 10 feet from the tree trunk and you multiply 10 x 1.5, that outer circle will be 15 feet beyond the tree.

The donut area between the drip line circle and the outer circle is the most critical area for watering your tree. This is where the feeder roots live and grow and where you need to add the moisture.

Use a hose connected to a deep-root watering tool that you push well into the soil. This device gets water closer to the roots than watering the surface of the ground. Insert the watering tool in a zigzag pattern at regular intervals a few feet apart throughout the donut area outside the drip line. This process will take a little time and energy--but might be a good excuse to get out to enjoy the balmy weather.


Tip of the Week reprinted courtesy of Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado (ALCC) of which Foothills Landscape Maintenance, LLC is a member. ALCC is the only only professional organization for Colorado's landscape contracting industry statewide. Tip of the Week is copyrighted by Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado and may be forwarded or copied by its members provided proper credit is given to ALCC

Monday, December 6, 2010

Artificial or real--which one is the greener Christmas tree?

Cutting down a perfectly shaped, growing tree to deck it in lights for two weeks and then send it to the trash heap sounds like a desecration of nature akin to Aztec sacrifice.

Doesn't basic logic suggest that using the same tree year in and year out would be much more sustainable than cutting down a new tree and disposing of it every year? While the logic seems plausible, the reality just isn't so.

An artificial tree must be used and re-used for 20 years to have a lower carbon footprint than a real tree. Grown trees, on the other hand, support Planet Earth the whole time they are growing by absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. One acre of Christmas trees creates enough oxygen to support 18 people.

Trees grown on Christmas tree farms are also managed sustainably. For every tree that is harvested at the holidays, two to three more seedlings are planted. The cycle of life continues.

What about all those discarded trees the first week in January? Sending them to the landfill is not a sustainable option. Since most cities have tree recycling programs, however, you can extend the value of your tree through local recycling which will likely turn it into mulch for gardens, hiking trails and animal stalls.

How to select and care for a real tree:
  • Do the freshness test by pinching a needle. A rich fragrance indicates a fresh tree. Remove a needle and bend it. If it snaps like a carrot, that's another sign of a fresh tree.
  • Maintain freshness by cutting an inch off the base and setting the trunk in a stand that holds at least one gallon of water.
  • Avoid the increased fire hazard of a real tree by adding water daily and switching to LED lights. They don't heat up to become a fire hazard. LEDs also use 90% less energy than traditional lights which adds even more to the tree's sustainability factor.
Want to cut your own tree?
The U.S. Forest Service manages 17 national forests throughout the Rocky Mountain region and issues permits for residents to cut down trees within the forests. Learn more.
Consider a "greener" tree this season and enjoy what an artificial tree will never give you--the tell-tale evergreen aroma that emotes the holiday season.

Tip of the Week reprinted courtesy of Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado (ALCC) of which Foothills Landscape Maintenance, LLC is a member. ALCC is the only only professional organization for Colorado's landscape contracting industry statewide. Tip of the Week is copyrighted by Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado and may be forwarded or copied by its members provided proper credit is given to ALCC