How to Prevent and Treat Common Landscaping Plant Diseases

We spend a lot of money and time to keep our yards looking good.  This is why it’s so disappointing when our plants succumb to discolouration and disease.  However, with a little bit of education you can learn how to prevent and treat common landscaping plant diseases.  In this article we’ll go over a few of these conditions and tell you how to take care of them.

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is an affliction of a plant’s leaves, stems and other parts.  It’s caused by a fungus and appears as a white powder that covers the foliage and other parts of the plant.  It’s common among rose bushes, rhododendrons, blackcurrant bushes and many other types of plants. It can cause leaves to discolour and ultimately fall off.  To prevent powdery mildew from growing in the first place it’s best to promote air circulation around the plants and ensure proper drainage of the soil. A topical fungicide can be applied if you’re dealing with non-edible plants, although there are some fungicides that are non-toxic as well.

Leaf Spot

Leaf spot can also caused by fungi, but also bacteria or plant viruses.  It causes brown spots or dead patches of varying sizes on the surface of the leaves and can result in the leaves falling off completely.  Non chemical treatments include avoiding watering the entire plant by sticking to the base and keeping the soil properly fertilized. Improving air circulation and reducing excess moisture will also lower the chances of leaf spot taking hold.  Try spraying the leaves with a solution of a half teaspoon of baking soda in four litres of water. If this doesn’t work you may need to use fungicides containing sulfur or copper octonate.

Root Rot

If your plants aren’t looking healthy above ground it may actually be what’s happening below the soil surface that’s causing the problems.  If your plants are grown in clay or other poorly draining soils root rot can definitely be a problem. Root rot is also caused by fungi that grows easily in moist conditions.  Ensuring the plants get proper drainage should clear up the problem. If this is easier said than done you might need to resort to a specifically chosen fungicide.

 

Can Artificial Grass be Damaged in the Winter?

artificial grass Artificial grass is a great substitute for real grass in a wide variety of situations.  It can work as a decorative accompaniment, a low maintenance alternative or a patch of deep green in a low water environment.  But how well does it work in the cold? Can artificial grass be damaged in the winter? The fact is that artificial grass is a strong and durable material that can withstand the cold weather as good as, or better, than a natural grass lawn.  In this article we’ll go over some of the scenarios you might experience in the winter and what you should do to keep your artificial grass in the best condition.

Frost

Frost won’t usually cause any damage to artificial turf.  It may become slippery and your pets might not like walking on it because the plastic blades will get stiff, but you won’t have to worry about it dying off.  That said, artificial grass isn’t indestructible. So if it becomes completely frozen, walking on it might cause some of the blades to break. If you can allow the frost or ice to melt and drain away before treading upon it, you’ll ensure no damage is done.

Snow

If your artificial turf gets covered with snow there shouldn’t be much of a problem.  Walking or playing on it shouldn’t have much of an impact. The fibres may get compressed, but they should also spring back to form once the snow melts.  If they don’t, brushing them with a stiff broom should get them back into shape. If you feel you need to shovel the snow off, it’s best to use a plastic snow shovel rather than a metal one.

Artificial Turf Protection

If you become worried about your artificial grass due to expected extreme weather, you can always cover it with a tarp until the weather passes.  Using salt to melt away snow isn’t recommended as it can plug up the permeable holes that allows water to drain away. Keeping a regular maintenance regime will ensure it lasts for decades without any problems.

 

Four Shrubs That Thrive in Fall Sun

fall shrubs When most people attribute a season to plants and shrubs, they normally think of spring or summer.  But autumn is also a very important season in the life cycle of plants. This is the season when rich, deep colours come to the forefront with the final blast of growing energy.  Planning your garden and backyard to make the most of this third season can lead to remarkable results. To help your backyard fill you with pleasure right up until winter arrives, we’ve come up with a list of four shrubs that thrive in fall sun.

Sumac

Sumac is known for being one of the first plants with leaves that change colours upon arrival of the fall.  As a matter of fact, the leaves will start to turn a bright red when it’s still considered summer. There are wild and poisonous varieties of sumac, but the Tiger Eyes varietal is easily grown in your backyard and also produces ornamental tufts of seed along with the bright red leaves.

Purple Beautyberry

Beautyberry is an aptly named and quite striking shrub mainly because of its brightly coloured purple berries.  The rest of the plant may not look all that exciting, but there’s no doubt that its berries more than make up for it.  These berries make their appearance once the weather starts changing and endure well into the winter. Their natural resistance to disease and pests also make them easy to grow.

Tatarian Dogwood

Tatarian dogwood is most well known for the deep red twigs and stems that are produced once the temperatures start dropping.  The brightly coloured bark lasts well into the winter and provides a great shot of contrasting colour once the snow falls. This shrub’s beauty isn’t confined to the colder months either.  It produces multitudes of small white flowers in spring, attractive white and green leaves throughout the summer and white with blue tinged berry clusters during the hottest part of the year.

Diablo Ninebark

Diablo ninebark loves the sun and will produce interesting foliage from spring all the way through autumn.  Spring and summer allows the leaves to produce a deep green that works well as a contrast to brightly coloured plants and flowers.  As fall approaches, the leaves become bright red to help usher in the changing of the seasons.

Planting Trees to Help Save the Planet

planting treesDid you know that each year, approximately 15 billion trees are cut down globally, often to make space for agriculture, urban development, and other uses? Today it is estimated that only half of the number of trees that were on earth before the rise of human civilization remain and that the lack of trees is contributing towards our planet’s growing climate concerns. 

Recently, a report released by the United Nations revealed that if we have even the smallest chance at combating our current climate crisis, fewer trees need to be cut down. It also determined that by planting more trees, especially in urban areas, we can help in a small way to offset major deforestation destruction. 

Deforestation across the planet is a significant source of greenhouse gas and carbon dioxide emissions. Cutting down trees as well as what we farm and eat are the major culprits of our climate problem. If there are no changes in land management, such as improving soil’s carbon capture through native plants and crops as well as growing new forests, human-caused greenhouse gas emissions will rapidly continue to increase. 

How Trees Help 

During its lifespan, a typical tree will absorb approximately one ton of carbon dioxide. For many North Americans, that is still just a fraction of what our annual carbon footprint is at around 5%. So while a single tree may only store just a small amount of carbon dioxide from your daily actions, strategically planting trees throughout communities can cause a ripple effect and in turn help with energy savings. 

The energy savings from planting the right trees in the right places around your home can even help you save up to 40%, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. To maximize your savings, the best spots to plant shade trees are the western and southern windows of your home to block sunlight as well as planting around air-conditioning units. Plus, having trees around your home has even been reported to increase the overall value of your home by up to 15%. 

Planting with Pyramid 

If helping your local environment and doing good for the planet is appealing to you, consider planting some trees and enjoy the benefits they provide like producing oxygen, removing contaminants from the air and helping with energy savings. To get started, contact us today. Pyramid Contracting can plant trees, shrubs, and plants to lighten your carbon footprint and contribute to ours and next generations in fighting to global warming. 

 

Four Ways to Incorporate Rocks into Your Landscaping

rock gardenThere are many different elements you can add to your yard for both function and form.  Often, when people think of landscaping, they think of plants, garden beds and lawns.. But another affordable, durable and easily adaptable feature you can add to your yard with great effect are stones and rocks.  In this article we’ve listed four ways to incorporate rocks into your landscaping.

Borders

Rocks and stones make excellent borders around your flower beds, pathways and garden.  The use of stones allows you to outline irregular shapes much easier than fencing or other border materials.  It’s also easy to add or remove stones if the vision for your yard changes. Use rocks and stones to physically separate sections of your yard where you’d rather people and animals not tread.

Drainage

Although absolutely necessary, drainage systems aren’t normally the most attractive part of your landscaping scheme.  By using stones to guide water runoff, or even hide the existing drainage components, you can end up with an attractive and durable solution to your excess water problems.  Their natural good looks and ability to resist the adverse effects of running water make them an ideal material for channeling runoff.

Ground Cover

As more people are affected by drought and become more aware of the amount of water that’s wasted on landscaping, alternatives to grass lawns have become very popular.  Some people simply pave over their lawns or cover them with concrete slabs. Although this might be an effective way to do away with water thirsty grasses, it doesn’t look very nice and causes water to runoff into the sewer system rather than soak into the ground.  Stones can make an excellent ground cover that’s both attractive and still allows water to be absorbed naturally by the soil.

Plant Aid

Rocks can actually help many of your plants grow better.  Placing rocks in your plants beds can help the soil retain moisture and aid in the distribution of rainwater.  As an added bonus, the addition of rocks to your plant beds can make the plants stand out even more.

Four Care Tips for Artificial Grass

artificial grass Those who have decided to install artificial grass will have freed themselves from the constant mowing, weeding and fertilizing that real grass demands.  But just because you have artificial grass doesn’t mean it’s completely maintenance free. Sure, you won’t have to deal with grass stains on your clothes, allergies and grass die-offs anymore, but artificial grass requires a different set of maintenance techniques.  To give you an idea of what you might be in for if you install it, we’ve come up with four care tips for artificial grass.

Keep It Free Of Debris

Although you won’t have to water your new turf to keep it growing, you’ll want to spray it down on a regular basis to keep it clean.  You might be spared this chore if you receive a lot of rain, but you’ll want to keep debris from settling on your artificial lawn for extended periods of time.  This can lead to staining and soiling of the turf. In the fall you’ll still want to rake up or blow off any leaves that fall to prevent them from becoming ground into the turf.  

Pick Up After Your Pets

It’s not recommended to let pet droppings accumulate on fresh grass and the same goes for artificial turf.  Allowing droppings to sit for too long will result in unsightly staining. Try and clean up after your pets as soon as possible.  If staining does occur, rinse with a garden hose and then apply a solution of water and dishwashing liquid. If the stains don’t rinse away you might want to try a weak ammonia solution.

Remove Sticky Substances

If sticky substances such as chewing gum or pine tar end up on your turf, you can get these out by freezing the offending particles and scraping them away.  Use ice, dry ice or an aerosol freezing spray.

Cross Brushing For Longevity

Artificial turf can become compacted in areas of heavy use, so giving these spots a good brushing can lengthen their lifespan.  Use a plastic rake (metal can cause damage) to brush the artificial turf bristles against the grain. This will prevent matting and compression.  Well tended artificial turf can last 20 to 25 years.

 

Top Low Maintenance Landscaping Plants

plantsEveryone loves a beautiful garden, but not everyone has the time to create and maintain one.  But there is a solution for people who already have too much on the go with jobs, families and extracurricular activities.  The answer is low maintenance gardening. By utilizing some of the top low maintenance landscaping plants it can be easy to have a great looking garden and not have to spend hours keeping it maintained.  This article will give some tips on how you can have a beautiful garden that doesn’t require a whole lot of extra work.

Gardening Chores

The main chores when it comes to gardening are planting, watering, weeding and pruning.  By being strategic in what type of plants you’re using, you can minimize the amount of time necessary to complete these chores.

Planting

When it comes to minimizing the amount of planting that needs to be done, it makes sense to stay away from annuals and stick with long lasting perennials.  You’ll only need to plant a perennial once and you’ll get years of enjoyment out of it.  

Watering And Weeding

To cut back on your watering and weeding duties it’s a good idea to cover your garden beds in a thick layer of mulch.  The mulch will prevent water from evaporating too quickly while preventing weeds from getting a start. You might also want to invest in a timed irrigation system that will ensure your plants are always watered even if you’re not around to do it yourself.

Pruning

To reduce the amount of pruning you need to do, choose plants that keep their flowers and leaves for long periods of time.  Evergreen shrubs will look good all year round and won’t require a lot of maintenance. Ornamental grasses will last throughout the summer and always look great.

Low Maintenance Plants

As well as the aforementioned ornamental grasses and evergreen shrubs, there are a host of other low maintenance plants that will look great but not require a lot of work.  Check out perennials such as peonies, agastache or coreopsis for beautiful long lasting flowers. Choose some shade loving shrubs for low lit areas. You might even try herbs, such as rosemary, which is quite hardy, doesn’t need much attention and can be used for cooking as well!

Five Ideas for Landscaping Your Driveway

landscaping driveway A driveway can be much more than simply a place to park your car.  With a little bit of creativity and some landscaping skills you can make your driveway the attractive entrance to your property that it deserves to be.  The fact is that it’s one of the largest features at the front of your house. To that end we’ve come up with an article that provides five ideas for landscaping your driveway.

Curbed Borders

Placing a rounded curb on the edge of your driveway keeps it separate from your lawn and flower beds.  This simple border makes things look smart while giving drivers a warning if they start to get too close to the greenery when parking.  It’ll also help prevent your plants from taking over the driveway.

Large Planters

Another way to create a border around your driveway is to place some large planters in strategic locations.  As long as they’re big enough they’ll be easily spotted by drivers they’ll function properly. Too small and they may simply get run over.  Fill your planters with perennial shrubs or small trees and your driveway will look fresh all year round.

Asymmetrical Landscaping

By keeping your landscaping efforts to the side of the driveway closest to your lawn, you leave the other side open to be used as an overflow for parking.  Bordering both sides of your driveway with plants or delicate ornamentation limits the full parking potential of the space. By leaving one side open your parking situation will be much more flexible.

Annual Bordering

An interesting and ever changing way to border your driveway is with annuals.  This means you’ll be able to change out the flowers or plants on a regular basis.  The front of your property will never feel boring or stale.

Room For Runoff

If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow you should landscape your driveway accordingly.  When you shovel or blow the snow off your driveway it has to go somewhere. Keep this in mind when choosing the layout of landscaping.  You don’t want to be dumping snow on top of delicate or valuable plants. You should also consider any drainage issues that could affect your yard.

Top Money Saving Landscaping Tips

When some people think of landscaping they might be thinking of large scale operations that involve heavy machinery, tonnes of soil and thousands of dollars worth of plants and other materials.  But the fact is that landscaping doesn’t need to cost a whole lot of money to be effective. There are some simple tricks of the trade that offer big results for little money. In this article we’ll go over some top money saving landscaping tips.

Declutter

Decluttering isn’t necessarily limited to hoarders, obsessive collectors, attics and garages.  Decluttering your backyard can be a great way to improve its appearance without costing you any money whatsoever.  Take a walk around your yard and gather up any unnecessary equipment, dead foliage and worn out looking decorative pieces.  This quick and simple process can give your yard a whole new look without a whole lot of effort or the expenditure of a whole lot of hard earned dollars.  

Add Fencing

Although most fences are used to delineate your property from the surrounding areas, you can also use fencing within your yard as an attractive method of sectioning.  You obviously won’t want to be installing a five foot fence down the centre of your lawn, but adding small border fences to the garden, around flower beds and along any pathways is a cheap and easy way to create a sense of order while drawing the eye to the most attractive areas of your lawn.  

Add Lighting

Adding some simple lighting to your backyard will create a sense of ambience once the sun goes down.  You don’t necessarily need to put on your electrician’s work belt to install these elements either. There are plenty of inexpensive solar powered lanterns on the market that spend their days charging in the sunlight and their nights illuminating the surroundings.  

Create Pathways

Pathways are a good way to draw the eye to the more attractive parts of your yard.  They can also be very practical by giving you to access your flower beds and vegetables and allowing you to weed and tend to the soil without worrying about stepping on delicate plants.  The materials you choose to use to create the pathways will add to the aesthetics as well.

Top Low Maintenance Landscape Plants

Although many people find gardening a relaxing and meditative work, you also want to have some time to spend simply enjoying the fruits of your labour.  You don’t want to have to spend the entire season tending to your plants.  For this reason low maintenance plants are a great ally for giving you some spare time.  In this article we’ll go over some top low maintenance landscape plants that will almost take care of themselves.

Peonies

Peonies are perennials that exhibit large, brightly coloured flowers without requiring much work.  You can plant either in the spring or the fall in well-draining soil and let them do their magic.  They can withstand full sun, but also do well in morning sun and shadier afternoons.  When they die off come fall, simply remove the existing plant material and compost it for later use.  A bit of fertilizer and a yearly top dressing of compost is all that you really need.

Tulips

Tulips are another flowering perennial that once planted can give you years of enjoyment.  Plant tulip bulbs in the fall before the ground freezes.  You can use different varieties with different flowering cycles to enjoy their blooms throughout the spring.  You’ll only need to water them if you get unusually dry conditions.  Tulips do not like to be overwatered.  Once the petals have fallen off the flowers, remove the stems, but leave the leaves.  Add some compost to prepare them for the following year.

Barberry

Barberry is a thorny, deciduous shrub that can withstand drought.  You can get some fantastic colours out of the leaves as the weather changes.  When planted in sunny or partially sunny conditions you’ll get compact and dense growth and great colouring.  You’ll only need to fertilize in the spring and surround with mulch in the fall.

Ornamental Fescue

Fescue is a nice looking, flowering grass that works well at preventing erosion.  It’s a perennial that thrives in full sun and only needs watering in extreme heat.  You probably won’t need to fertilize, although mulching in the fall is recommended.  This clump growing grass is both hardy and attractive.