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Top 10 Landscape Maintenance Mistakes

Top 10 Landscape Maintenance Mistakes

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Top 10 Landscape Maintenance Mistakes

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  1. Top 10 Landscape Maintenance Mistakes Phil Sell K-State Research and Extension Horticulture Agent Shawnee County

  2. “Unless we confront and acknowledge mistakes of the past, we are destined to repeat them in the future.”

  3. Inadequate Soil Preparation • DO NOT work soil when wet (squeeze test). • DO NOT add sand to clay soil. • DO NOT excessively till (pulverize) soil. • DO till the soil to a depth of 6-8 inches. • DO incorporate organic amendments prior to planting. • DO blend off-site topsoil with the sub-grade soil (avoid layering).

  4. Improper Planting Procedures - Lawns • DO NOT seed too heavily (especially small, irregular areas). • DO plant at the recommended time. • DO adequately prepare the seed bed (sod bed). • Do water adequately. • DO consider shade tolerant ground covers as an alternative to turf in shade.

  5. Improper Planting Procedures – Trees and Shrubs • DO NOT plant a ring of flowers around the base of trees. • DO NOT plant drought stressed plants. • DO cover nursery stock while in transit. • DO consider mature plant size (space accordingly). • DO plant at the proper depth - according to root flare. • DO cut and/or spread encircling roots. • DO remove wire baskets and nylon cords. • DO consider location of utilities (Call Dig-Safe).

  6. Improper Use of Mulch • DO NOT apply mulch too deep. • DO NOT create mulch volcanoes. • DO NOT apply black plastic or weed mat fabric around landscape plants. • DO keep mulch a few inches away from the base of trees.

  7. Construction Damage to Trees • DO NOT change (raise or lower) the grade around trees. • DO NOT cut roots inside of the Critical Root Radius (apply formula). • DO NOT compact the soil over the root-zone of trees. • DO NOT damage bark surfaces with heavy equipment.

  8. Improper Pruning Practices • DO NOT shear shrubs into geometric shapes. • DO NOT top trees. • DO NOT prune early spring flowering shrubs before they bloom. • DO NOT prematurely cut the leaves off of spring flowering bulbs (Don’t tie or braid). • DO eliminate competing multiple leaders in young trees.

  9. Improper Mowing Practices • DO NOT mow bluegrass and tall fescue lawns too low. • DO NOT cut off more than 1/3 of the height of the grass at one time. • DO NOT cause damage to trees with mowers or trimmers. • DO NOT collect clippings – but follow 1/3 rule and adjust maintenance accordingly • DO keep mower blades sharp.

  10. Irrigation Mismanagement • DO NOT over water • DO NOT set irrigation systems on a timer to cycle too frequently. • DO NOT allow irrigation systems to water hard surfaces (esp. street). • DO water when needed • DO water lawns separately from landscape beds. • DO become familiar with sprinkler output – tin cans

  11. Inappropriate Fertilization • DO NOT fertilize cool-season lawns in both late fall and early spring (follow fall emphasis schedule). • DO NOT fertilize cool season grasses in late spring (May) if not planning to water throughout summer. • DO NOT fertilize warm season grasses on the same schedule as cool season species. • DO NOT make indiscriminate limestone applications. • DO test the soil and use results as a guide for fertilization and pH adjustment.

  12. Pesticide Misuse • DO NOT apply insecticides on an arbitrary, indiscriminate, predetermined schedule. • DO NOT get pesticide or fertilizer granules in the street (or clean them up afterwards). • DO avoid off target drift of pesticides. • DO read, understand and follow label instructions, precautions, and restrictions.