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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 14, 2012

Easy Winter Decor

Use containers for seasonal flair  

Containers work even in 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.

Containers bring a bright spot amidst the cold, dormant landscape of winter. Fill them with plants and other natural materials as the seasons change to keep a focal point of interest going.

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 3 pots flanking each side of your door, scale back to onlyone or two. Or make two large containers and minimize the amount of materials in the other four.

Thriller, filler, spiller still applies. Even though the materials may be different in winter, use 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 in December transition well into simple winter interest for the months ahead. By removing 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:

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 winter scape. Sometimes we have to look a littler harder this time of year, but Mother Nature has truly 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

Friday, October 5, 2012

Freeze Protection Tips for your Yard

Freeze protection tips for your yard

Both plants and sprinkler systems are vulnerable to freeze damage.


With Front Range temps hitting 27 degrees tonight and even lower on Saturday/Sunday, it's critical to protect both plants and the sprinkler system.

Plants

Whether plants survive at around 27 degrees is questionable because several factors apply: the exact temp the thermometer hits in your yard, the type of plants, how well they are protected by buildings and other shelter, and the material you use to cover them. All of these factors play into a plant's survival below 32 degrees.

If you love your plants, it's worth making the effort to get them through the next two nights so you can enjoy them through Indian summer.

What you can do

Cover annuals and veggies overnight - but avoid using plastic as it does not insulate.

Use fabric - such as a towel, sheet, blanket as a covering.

Leave some air space below the cover so the plants can breathe.

To minimize losses, harvest un-ripened tomatoes, peppers, etc., and bring them indoors. Green tomatoes will continue to turn color after they are inside.

Sprinkler system


Backflow prevention device

Be strategic and protect the most expensive part in your sprinkler system: the backflow prevention device.

This part is required on all systems because it keeps the water that's in your sprinkler system from backing into the domestic water inside the house. It's also the most vulnerable part of your system if there is a freeze. Find it outside the home and usually, next to the foundation.

There are 2 small parts on this device that can freeze:

The bonnet and poppet assembly. If it freezes, it will blow apart and water will run until it's shut off. The flooding can cause serious property damage and lead to a $100 or more repair bill.

The valve. A broken valve is another problem and another $100 or so in repairs.

How to protect the backflow device from freeze damage:

Turn the valve handle at a 45 degree angle.

Wrap the device with a towel to provide insulation.

To keep moisture out, cover the whole device with a plastic bag that you secure with duct tape around the bottom.

If you have not yet scheduled having your sprinkler system winterized by blowing out the lines with compressed air, schedule your service appointment soon.

Need help getting your yard ready for winter? Find a Pro from among ALCC's members in six chapters statewide.

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

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ready to pick pumpkins

Hot summer speeds ripening    
The record-breaking days of hot summer this year have kept gardens going strong and even put harvesting of some plants ahead of schedule. 


If you aren't quite sure of which veggies can be harvested now, here is information to help you evaluate ripeness and whether the veggie is ready to pick:

• Melons - can be picked when the fruit separates easily from the vine and the skin is hard. The tendril closest to the fruit will be withered.
• Asparagus - cut the stalks at the ground when they reach 6 to 9 inches tall.
• Beans - when the inner seeds start to bulge slightly through the pod, beans are ready to pick.
• Carrots - when you pull away the soil at the top of the root, the root should be about 1 inch in diameter.
• Potatoes - can be harvested when most of the vines are dead.
• Onions - are ready to harvest when about half of the leaves have dried out and fall over. Dig onions up slightly, but leave them in the soil for about one more week.
• Summer squash - will be most flavorful if picked when the squash measure about 6 to 8 inches long. Monitor squash each day as they grow quickly.
• Tomatillos - have been ripe and pick-able already. But if you're new to this Southwestern plant, notice how a tiny fruit matures inside the thin, lantern-like husk. When the fruit is as large as the husk, it's ready to pick.

For the best flavor, harvest veggies in the cooler hours of the morning or evening.

Harvesting pumpkins and winter squash
Due to high temps this summer, many gardeners have seen pumpkins and winter squash ripening ahead of schedule. If this is the case in your garden, you might consider harvesting these veggies soon.

Mildew on the pumpkin and squash leaves is common now. It doesn't necessarily hurt the fruit, but it does diminish the quality of plant life and its ability to get more nutrients to the fruit and keep it growing. In almost every case, the mildew will kill the vines prior to frost. As the leaves die back, there will be less camouflage to keep pumpkins and squash out of the eye of hungry squirrels and other wildlife who also might like to share in your harvest.

When picking pumpkins and winter squash:

• Cut the stems at least 2 inches long (even longer is good) and avoid carrying the fruit by the stem as a broken stem can cause the fruit to deteriorate.
• If the stem does break, cover the stem scar on the fruit with melted paraffin to seal the wound and keep bacteria out.
• Keep pumpkins and squash indoors to harden off. Pumpkins should be fine through Halloween and beyond. Winter squash can last well into the winter months if kept cool and dry.




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

Friday, August 17, 2012

Losin' the love for petunias?

August is the in-between month


As we get into August, many of us are starting to lose our love of petunias and the other early annuals. We'd like to see something fresh, but it's too early for mums and fall color.
Don't despair. As we move through August, the days get noticeably shorter and the longer nights will cool down. That is why this month can also be the beginning of a second spring in many gardens. Plants that languished during the days of intense heat will rejuvenate and some spring-blooming perennials may even bloom again.

The best news is that many perennials come to their height of beauty in August. They are the solution to the in-between month. Plus, the growing conditions as August cools down are prime to get these plants established before fall.

Here are some great perennials to plant in August:

Agastaches (pronounced: ah-GAS-ta key) or hyssops:  Native to the southwest, many species and selections bloom from July to October in an array of pinks, purples, orange, red and lavender. Consider these three varieties:

• Sonoran Sunset® has bright violet flower spikes and grows 15-18" tall and 12-15" wide

• Sunset hyssop has narrow grey leaves and pink flowers with purple bracts growing 20-30" tall and 18-24" wide.

• Coronado® is an orange selection, and Coronado® Red will be covered with small red blossoms. Both grow about 2-3' tall and 2' wide.

Bridge's penstemon (Penstemon rostriflorus): While most penstemon bloom in early summer, this western native with scarlet-orange flowers is at its peak in mid -summer and perfectly timed for migrating hummingbirds.

Orange Carpet® Hummingbird trumpet (Zauschneria) is another hummingbird magnet but grows spreading and low to the ground: 5-8" tall by 1-2" wide.

Little Trudy® catmint is a small version of the traditional blue-flowering catmint, but blooms all summer long and stays under a foot tall.

Salvias are another group of plants that thrive in our hot, intensely sunny days and cool nights. Look for the Salvia greggii selections, such as Wild Thing (magenta) and Furman's Red bloom which perform best as the nights cool, continuing late into September if conditions are right. Both grow 18-24" tall and 15-18" wide.

And add the texture of native ornamental grasses to the mix. Western and southwestern native grasses require little water once established and are well-adapted to our local conditions. Try these two grasses :

• Giant Sacaton: a large (5-6' tall by 4-5' wide), architectural specimen grass for low-water and native plantings. Give it several deep drinks of water during the heat of summer you'll be rewareded with a lush, full, plant with lacy golden flowers.

• Blonde Ambition blue grama grass: an airy, unique ornamental form of our native blue grama growing 2-3' tall and 18-24" wide, the chartreuse seed heads "float" high above the grassy green foliage. Mix it in with salvias and agastaches for an informal look, as specimen plants, or in rows for even more dramatic effect.

Use the softness of silver foliaged plants to add cooling interest. During the heat of summer, plants such as silver sage, Silverheels horehound, and filigree daisy help make gardens and landscapes comfortable and soothing, even in the hottest of days.

All these Plant Select® winners grow well in a wide range of conditions, but most prefer well-drained soils and low to moderate moisture.


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

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Are you growing perennials?

Why perennials are a great and sustainable landscape bargain



Have you thought about why perennials are absolutely great for Colorado gardens? Unlike annuals such as petunias, you buy them once and plant them once, and enjoy them for many seasons to come. That's a great bargain. Planting low-water varieties, ups the sustainability factor, too.

How perennials are different from annuals

We love annuals for their instant color and because they bloom all summer long, but perennials are also stunning. Here are some things to consider:

• Most perennials bloom for only part of the growing season, though some bloom longer than others.

• To keep ongoing color in your yard, select plants with staged bloom times so that as one plant stops blooming, another one starts. Tulips bloom early in the spring, iris and peonies are soon to follow and later, daisies will bloom.

• To have the right variety of plants that will keep the color going all season long, work with a landscape designer.

• Perennials require patience their first year because they get off to a slow start while getting used to their new digs.

• It's temping to plant them close together for bigger impact--but better if you space them so they have room to grow over time.

• After two or three growing seasons, many will be big enough to divide. That's another bargain--two or three plants for the price of one!

When you think of perennials, consider using Plant Select plants that have been developed specifically for the often irritable growing conditions facing Colorado gardeners. Here are five to consider.
Fuhrman's red salvia - Grows 18-24" tall, 12-24" wide; has right red blooms from June to October. Grows well in full sun and attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.


Coronado red hyssop - Grows 15-18" tall, 12-15" wide and has spikes of tiny red blooms that are most prolific July to September. Good in full sun and attracts bees and butterflies.


Turkish Veronica - Groundcover grows 1-2" tall, 15-18" wide; has blue flowers in May and June. Grows in full sun to partial shade. Use between stepping stones or instead of lawn in small areas.


Shadow Mountain® penstemon - Grows 18-24" tall, 15-18" wide in sunny conditions. Has lavender-blue flowers that bloom from throughout summer. Adapts well to wide range of gardens.


Blonde Ambition blue grama grass - Grows 30-36" tall, 20-26" wide in full sun to partial shade. This ornamental grass has large, showy seed heads that are great in cut arrangements.


 




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

Friday, February 10, 2012

Gardening in the snow?

5 things to do now for your garden

  Seed packets
  All the Valentine flowers make us yearn for spring - but our yards are still bleak.

If the gardener in you just needs to get outside do something, here are five things you can do now to get your garden ready for spring.

1. Compost. If you didn't work compost into the soil last fall, throw fresh compost over the garden - even if it's snow covered. It will settle over the soil and you can work it in right before planting.

2. Get going on seed. You can plant cool season crops as soon as the ground can be tilled (March, April). So have your seed ready. Find a local garden center from the link at the right or order seed online or from catalogs.

3. Select your crops. Carrots, spinach, lettuce, beets, green onions, radishes, pak choi and peas are veggies to plant soon.

4. Plan what grows where. Rotating veggie placement each year is a good practice in order to avoid insects and diseases that can overwinter in the soil and attack specific veggies. They are more threatening if debris was not cleaned out of the garden last the fall. Tomatoes and corn are crops to move to a new place each year.

5. Before planting, rototill or hand till the ground to work in the compost bepore planting.

Want to really jump start the garden? After working the soil, place black plastic over it. This will warm up the soil and give 2-3 weeks head start on growing. Pinch holes in the plastic to plant seeds. The plastic can be left as mulch during the growing season.

And if your sweat heart is a gardener, tuck some seed packets into your Valentine card!



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, January 23, 2012

What's screaming in your yard?


Even in the winter, plants need TLC

In the winter landscape, we don't see a lot going on in our yards that reminds us to think about the plants.

In the summertime, long grass screams out to us when we need to mow it and in the fall, the leaves obviously need to be raked. In the winter, there's just not much that says "take care of me!" Yet, even in the dormant months, there are a few things we need to check in order to keep our plants healthy.

What's out of place?

Ornamental grasses

Ornamental grass damaged
Grass with snow damage.

Most people prefer to leave dried ornamental grasses standing in the garden for winter interest. Their shape and swaying plumes add seasonal interest. With the heavy snows this year, however, many of these grasses in unprotected locations have been smashed into unattractive mounds from the snow load.

These broken and bent grasses won't bounce back to their upright shape, so they should be cut back. For a neater look, avoid cutting grasses straight across with every stalk at the same height. Instead, cut grasses below where they are bent and broken at different heights to create a more rounded shape among the stalks.

If grasses are still standing tall, leave them until spring. Make a note to self that last year's growth will need to be removed prior to this year's fresh growth emerging.
 
Shrub care
Many herbaceous shrubs have weak wood and long, pliable branches that make them susceptible to wind and snow damage. Examples include Russian sage, golden elder, sumac, pussy willow, blue mist spirea and dark night spirea.

Any branch that has been broken by the weather - and this includes trees - should be pruned back. Those rips and breaks are an open invitation to pests and disease of all kinds. Protect these plants with timely pruning as a little maintenance now can save more work and treatment costs later.

Upright evergreens
Upright evergreens and shrub forms of arbor vitae often splay open from the snow. While it's best to bundle these shrubs before the snow flies, they can still be pulled back together after the fact.

Garden centers have netting and other materials to wrap around evergreens to keep hold them in their natural, upright position. Remember to remove the material in the summer once the plant starts to grow and re-establish its natural form. Binding materials, if not removed, can girdle the plant and eventually kill it.


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