Each spring we schedule time for each client, big and small, commercial and residential, in our annual color program to add seasonal flower colors for our geographic area. Annual flowers planted in spring provide landscaped areas with more variety and colorful accents than most other plants. Living Expression Landscapes either works directly with customers to help in the selection of plant variety or to select the plants in rotation of seasonal color based on their own history or needs of their particular property. Usually, we emphasize key areas that make each site unique and keep up their distinctive image.
Color can have more impact on the landscaping than any other design element and managing color change outs is an important part of keeping landscapes looking their best. Spring planted annuals are usually set out in April. The key to success with annuals is to plant only those that can be adequately cared for. If you are doing this without help of a professional, here are some tips and things to remember to manage your seasonal color change:
- Probably the most important aspect in maintaining seasonal color areas
- Before turning the soil, remove all weeds and reseeded annuals from past seasons
- Till or turn the soil to a depth of 6 to keep it loose and friable
- Fertilizer and organic matter should then be added then turned into soil to get optimum aeration, drainage and water holding
- Beds should be raised about 6 inches to avoid holding too much water, especially from the rain
- Use a wetting agent to promote even water distribution in the soil in dry areas and pots
- Fertilizer can be incorporated into both established and new beds
- General rate of fertilizer application is 1 to 2 pounds per 100 square feet
- Be careful to keep the roots intact by gently squeezing the bottom of containers or turn upside down to let plants fall into your hand
- Plants in trays that do not have each individual cells can be separated gently by hand or a knife just before planting so the roots do not dry out
- Select disease resistant varieties of flowers to decrease use of fungicides
- Dig holes that are slightly larger than the root balls.
- Place plants in soil at the same level as it was growing in the pot.
- Peat pots (plantable pots that decompose) should have soil tops of the pots removed below soil level before planting.
- Keep in mind which plants like more or less moisture and plant accordingly; elevation will improve drainage and reduce chance of over-watering.
- Plants need to be watered directly after planting and frequently after to ensure growth.
- Apply fertilizer on moist soil - Fertilizing can be done to sustain proper nutrients during a growing season, most annuals are heavy feeders *** If you are using fertilizer, apply carefully according to label instructions to safeguard plants from being over-fertilized
- Top with a 2 inch layer of mulch to reduce weeds and conserve soil moisture for better growth and add a decorative finished look
- Do not use "fresh" mulch
- Plant disease prone species where air circulation is good and the foliage can stay dry; otherwise be ready to apply fungicides as necessary
- High temperatures increase insect populations and may make it necessary for insect control by using a pesticide
- Always investigate organic control for any insects you see and always use the least toxic solution for insect control
- Use extreme CAUTION with pesticides, read the label and handle properly beforehand; take care to prevent children or animals from harm
- Remove any weeds as soon as possible as they compete with the annuals for water and nutrients; be careful not to disturb the root of surrounding plants
The key to any successful plantings is proper planning, preparation, installation, technique, materials and maintenance. Managing color change is crucial for spring and requires detailed attention for best growth. Often times your county extension office or local growers will be most helpful in the plant choice and environments.
March 20th is the official first day of Spring! Seasonal color is the best way to make your landscape stand out. Here at Living Expression Landscapes we work with our clients on each color rotation to make sure all needs and expectations are met. We look forward to working with them every season to exceed those expectations. It's time to clear out what winter damaged and add some color to your day!