Beautify Your Backyard: Flowering Trees & Shrubs

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Dawn Viburnum

Dawn-ViburnumVery early pink, fragrant flowers appear in spring. In a normal year it is in bloom by April 1st. Blooms for at least 30 days; great fall color.

Cornus mas - Cornelian Cherry

Cornus-masThis tree is actually a Dogwood variety with yellow flowers starting in late March and continuing through April. Its small, colorful red fruit are not only aesthetic but also great song bird attractors; super fall color. At maturity it gets to be about 18-25’ in height.


Mulching Landscape Beds
In general, when your landscape has been initially installed I recommend 2 ½” of shredded mulch. If you have an existing landscape that has already been mulched in the past and you want to freshen it up you then add only 1-1 ½” of shredded mulch. It is critical that the mulch is only 1” thick around the base of the trunk of your plants or your plants will suffer lack of oxygen as well as become more susceptible to disease.

Before applying fertilizer to your lawn or ornamental landscape beds, it is a good habit for any amateur or professional gardener to become accustomed with soil testing.

A soil test will provide the grower with the best recommendations for the amounts of fertilizer needed in order to promote healthy growth in turf and ornamental plants. Growers and gardeners can apply too much fertilizer when guessing the amounts needed, which in turn can cause nutrient run off in surface or ground water and in some cases change the overall chemistry properties of the soil.

When the grower has a good indication of the proper fertilization rates needed for a certain landscape, the next step is to choose the type of fertilizer he/she is going to use.

One of the more popular and economical types of fertilizer available is a granular, slow- release fertilizer. Granular fertilizers allow for a quick and easy broadcast application in turf with a rotary or drop spreader, and a top dress application to ornamental planting beds around the base of plants, usually done by hand.

Other good qualities that come with slow-release granular fertilizer application are a more uniform growth response, less chance of root burn, less leaching of nitrates into watershed systems, and they are time and labor effective. If proper planning and techniques are used when applying fertilizers, the results can be beneficial to not only the grower, but the surrounding environment as a whole.

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