Stone Creek Landscaping

If you are a fan of watching The Masters, you might view partially for the golfing, but also for the blooming azaleas. The glorious shrubs might possibly be some of the most amazing in the South. And it might come as no surprise, that Southern Living, calls azaleas, the “number one must-have plant in the South!”

According to Southern Living: “Rhododendrons and azaleas are arguably the South’s favorite shrubs. Many people think of them as entirely different plants, but they both belong to the genus Rhododendron, which comprises more than 800 species and 10,000 named selections. Even to the untrained eye, one difference between the two groups is obvious: rhododendrons generally have much larger leaves. From a technical standpoint, rhododendron flowers are bell-shaped and have ten or more stamens, while azalea blooms are typically funnel-shaped and have five stamens.”

With the right attention to light, soil and the correct selection, azaleas can be grown throughout the South.

Planting Tips:

“Plant azaleas with the top of the root ball slightly above soil level. Don’t cultivate around these plants, as they have shallow roots. Because they absorb water through their foliage, wet both the leaves and root zone when you water. Overhead watering with sprinklers works well, but to prevent fungal diseases do this in morning so that leaves dry by afternoon. Avoid drip irrigation―it doesn’t wet the root system uniformly.”

Sun:

“The sun tolerance of azaleas varies by species and selection. In general, most types prefer the partial sun or filtered shade beneath tall trees. The east and north sides of the house are better locations than the west and south. Too much sun bleaches or burns the leaves; too little results in lanky plants that don’t bloom.”

Issues:

“Don’t worry when a few leaves turn yellow and drop off, especially in the fall. All evergreens drop some leaves during the year. If autumn is mild, azaleas will often bloom. There is nothing you can do to prevent this. Enjoy the fall blooms, because flowering could be sparse the following spring.”

For more personal gardening tips, turn to the experts at Stone Creek Landscaping. And for a free estimate call 404-647-4297.

*Source SouthernLiving.com

 

Roses are a beautiful addition to any flower garden, however many are afraid the upkeep will be too hard to maintain gorgeous blooms. This actually not true, and pretty much anyone can grow roses.

According to GardenDesign.com, you should “plant your roses in a sunny location with good drainage. Fertilize them regularly for impressive flowers. Water them evenly to keep the soil moist. Prune established rose bushes in early spring. And watch for diseases like powdery mildew or black spot.”

Not sure what type of rose to plant? Almanac.com has made it easier to learn about all types of rose bushes.

“Rose bushes come in a variety of forms, from climbing roses to miniature rose plants, blooming mainly in early summer and fall. One way to group roses into classes is according to their date of introduction:

  • Old roses—also called “old-fashioned roses” and “heirloom roses”—are those introduced prior to 1867. These are the lush, invariably fragrant roses found in old masters’ paintings. There are hundreds of old rose varieties—whose hardiness varies—providing choices for both warm and mild climates.
  • Modern hybrid roses, introduced after 1867, are sturdy, long-blooming, extremely hardy and disease-resistant, and bred for color, shape, size, and fragrance. The hybrid tea roses, with one large flower on a long cutting stem,are one of the most popular hybrids.
  • Species, or wild roses, are those that have been growing wild for many thousands of years. These wild roses have been adapted to modern gardens and usually bloom from spring to early summer. Most species roses have single blossoms.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac also gave these great tips on planting roses.

PLANTING ROSES

  • Wear sturdy gloves to protect your hands from prickly thorns. Have a hose or bucket of water and all your planting tools nearby.
  • Soak bare-root roses in a bucket of water for 8-12 hours before planting.
  • Prune each cane back to 3-5 buds per cane. Any cane thinner than a pencil should be removed.
  • If planting container grown roses, loosen the roots before planting.
  • When you plant the rose, be sure to dig a much bigger hole than you think you need (for most types, the planting hole should be about 15 to 18 inches wide) and add plenty of organic matter such as compost or aged manure.
  • Soak the newly planted rose with water.
  • Mound up loose soil around the canes to protect the rose while it acclimates to its new site.
  • Some old-timers recommend placing a 4-inch square of gypsum wallboard and a 16-penny nail in the hole to provide calcium and iron, both appreciated by roses.
  • Don’t crowd the roses if you plan to plant more than one rose bush. Roses should be planted about two-thirds of the expected height apart. Old garden roses will need more space, while miniature roses can be planted closer. Space between plants allows for good air circulation.

 Source: The Old Farmer’s Almanac

If you are having issues with your flower garden, call the experts at Stone Creek Landscaping at 404-647-4297. Their experts can help maintain your current flower gardens and provide landscaping ideas for future gardens.

Lawn maintenance can be an overwhelming project to some. If you are one of those our first tip is call us! However, if you are looking for preventative measures you can take on your own, here are some tips from the University of Georgia’s Extension Office.

First, you want to make sure you properly prepare the soil for successful turf grass establishment. It is recommended that you take soil samples to determine proper lime and nutrient requirements.

Next, make sure you are planting a turf grass that is good for your climate. For advice, visit www.GeorgiaTurf.com, the University of Georgia’s turfgrass website.

It is highly recommended that you purchase your sod or sprigs from a reputable producer.

Purchasing tip:

“Before planting, consider the time of year and the remaining length of the growing season. With adequate moisture and time, most turfgrasses will recover from the shock of harvest, transport and planting.”

Always maintain the recommended mowing height and be sure to follow proper irrigation practices.

Mowing tip:

“Mow turfgrasses often enough so that not more than 30 percent (1/3) of the leaf blade is removed in a single mowing. If more plant material is removed, the grass can become stressed and more susceptible to disease causing organisms and insects.”

These are only a few tips that can be found on the UGA website. And for a complete lawn care service, call us at Stone Creek Landscaping at 404-647-4297.

Stone Creek is your complete landscape solution regardless of your property’s current condition.  Whether you’re looking for maintenance, design and install, or just a splash of seasonal color, our skilled and professional crews are here to help.

We offer a full service maintenance program that will protect and keep your property looking its best.  From deadheading flowers, trimming shrubs, removing debris, and keeping grass well manicured, we are clearly committed to you and your investment.

The sun is out, at least for today, and it has everyone thinking of Spring! With those thoughts might come the question of what flowers should I plant in March? While there are many out there to choose from, here are two of our favorites we found in gardenguides.com.

Dahlia

“Dahlias (Dahlia) can be planted in March once the chance of frost has passed and the ground has begun to warm up. Dahlias grow best in sunny conditions with moist, well-drained soil. Excessive moisture should be avoided since this can result in root rot. Once established, dahlias grow easily with a minimum amount of care, reaching between 20 and 30 inches in height. Dahlias begin to bloom at the end of July and continue to produce flowers until the first frost. Along with white, dahlias bloom in a variety of warm-colored flowers, including red, yellow, pink and orange. To promote larger flowers, all side buds should be removed during the plant’s flowering season. Dahlias will bloom continuously if all dead flowers are promptly detached.”

Zinnia

“Zinnias (Zinnia elegans) can be planted in March once the air has warmed and all danger of frost has ended. Blooming begins in the summer and continues into the fall until the arrival of the first frost. Zinnias produce a varied selection of brightly colored flowers, including yellow, orange, red, rose, pink and purple. Zinnias flourish in at least six full hours of sun per day, although in extremely hot areas, a few hours of shade in the afternoon is preferable. While zinnias are relatively hardy and can tolerate most soil conditions, they grow best in moist, well-drained soil, according to the website National Garden Bureau. When watering, it is best to wet only the roots and keep the foliage as dry as possible, as zinnias are susceptible to fungal diseases. Zinnias live up to a week once cut, and their longevity, as well as attractive stems, makes them an ideal fresh flower choice.”

Time to Clean up the Roses

March is also a great time to clean up your garden, including your roses. according to Better Homes & Gardens. Clean up rose beds, removing any fallen leaves from last season. Refresh mulch around roses. Feed plants with a slow-release rose fertilizer. As new leaves emerge, start weekly sprays for black spot. Double-check irrigation systems to ensure all is working fine.

And if you need help deciding which flowers are right for your yard, call the experts at Stone Creek Landscaping. Stone Creek is your complete landscape solution regardless of your property’s current condition.  Whether you’re looking for maintenance, design and install, or just a splash of seasonal color, our skilled and professional crews are here to help.

 

Rain, rain and more rain! It seems as if it might never stop here in Georgia. And while we know it can cause nightmares on our commutes, it can also wreak havoc on our yards!

According to FarmandDairy.com, “the soil can only take so much water. After it’s maxed out, the water can pool, flooding your plants and washing seeds away. Weeds can grow rampant. It’s even impossible to get into your garden to tend to your plants without sinking several inches in the mud. You may end up with stunted plants and poor production after too much rain.”

The site also provides these helpful tips. With all the rain we have had in Georgia, these are quite timely!

What to do if your garden receives too much rain

Turn off your irrigation system. Stop watering your garden when rain is in the forecast. Even though soil moisture levels may be high, excess rain can remove oxygen from the soil and drown roots.

After the rain, check your plants to see if they are wilting or have leaf scorch. This is common in hot weather.

Stay out of the mud. Avoid walking in your garden if it’s muddy. Consider putting down mulch between rows of plants. Or, walk on boards or similar materials in your garden when the dirt is soaked instead of traipsing through the mud and adding to soil compaction.

Also, avoid digging in wet soil. Wait until it has dried out before working in your garden.

Combat soil compaction. Try applying mulch or groundcovers to soil to reduce compaction. You could also aerate the soil by using a core aerator. A wooden dowel rod or metal rod can be used to make the holes, too.

Take care of your plants. Wet weather brings out an abundance of slugs that will feed on both living and decaying plants. You can handpick slugs or set up traps to get rid of them. You can drown slugs in soapy water, smash them, spray them with 5 or 10 percent diluted ammonia or even pour fermented food into a container that will lure and kill them.

For more lawn or gardening questions, feel free to call Stone Creek Landscaping at 404-647-4297

 

With the frigid temperatures outside, the last thing on your mind might be gardening. However, there are actually some things you can do this month to prepare your garden for the spring.

Start Spring Planting*

Roses. Get roses in the ground now so they’ll be established before hot weather arrives. Choose bare-root roses for all but the warmest parts of the South. In the warmest areas, select container-grown plants.

Veggies. Plant potatoes, onions, lettuce, and spinach in all but northernmost areas. In northern areas of the South, wait a few weeks.

Trees. Add trees to your landscape this month. Select trees that are compatible with your soil type. Consult your extension service or a knowledgeable local garden retailer. Plant bare-root trees unless you garden in the warmer reaches of the region. Container-grown trees are a better option for the warmer areas.

Bedding plants. Set out cool-season annuals in cooler areas. Because cool-season annuals tolerate frost, they can be planted in areas where temperatures may drop. Lobelia, pansy, dianthus, and snapdragon are all good options.

Perennials. Create pots of spring-blooming perennials to stage an instant show in your garden. Candidates include Louisiana phlox, daylily, columbine, or purple coneflower.

Choose What to Prune*

Roses. When all danger of frost is past, prune roses. Cut any canes that are diseased, damaged, or dead. Remember to place cuts about one-quarter inch above an outward-facing bud.

Trees. Many trees can be pruned now. Wait to prune spring-flowering trees until after they flower. For fruit trees, contact the cooperative extension office to learn how to prune to enhance fruit yield. Choose early summer to prune maples or birches; if pruned now, these trees bleed sap profusely. Also hold off on pruning oaks and walnuts until early summer to avoid wilt disease.

Shrubs. Give shrubs a late winter shape-up. Prune branches to reduce height or direct growth. Thin the twiggy growth from the interior of shrubs. Prune spring-blooming shrubs after flowering. This includes Peegee hydrangea, kerria, rhododendron, Clethra, and weigela.

*Source for tips: Better Homes & Gardens

Whether you live in the north or the south, maintaining a nice yard in the winter months is still a priority. Here are a few tips we found from Better Homes & Gardens that will help you enjoy your yard throughout the coldest of seasons.

Bark

Yes, deciduous trees lose their leaves in wintertime, leaving their branches and trunks in view. However, that can be a good thing, Barbara Pierson, nursery manager at White Flower Farm in Litchfield, Connecticut, says, “if you have any interesting ornamental trees that have really visually distinctive bark, which will end up adding winter interest.”

Berries

Many trees and shrubs have berries they maintain during fall and winter, and those can provide food for birds throughout the winter. Holly with berries is also a lovely addition to any yard in the winter.

Evergreens

Evergreens are great in a winter landscape for many reasons, including color. Evergreens are not just green; they’re available in yellow, such as Gold Thread false cypress, and blues, including dwarf blue spruce, and all colors in between.

Use Summertime Containers

Window boxes, hanging baskets, winter-hardy containers: All are indispensable for winter landscaping. Miniature dwarf Alberta spruce and broadleaf evergreens, such as Japanese Andromeda, holly and rhododendron, are perfect for wintertime, but they all have to be watered during dry periods. You don’t have to spend money on plants, Pierson says. “Fill containers with evergreen boughs of different textures and colors and interesting twigs,” she says, “anything with color in it.”

Not a fan of working in the cold? Let Stone Creek Landscaping maintain your yard even during the winter months.

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree … what do we do with you now?

Yes, many of us are currently taking down the decorations and would like to do something with our live tree rather than throw it to the curb for the garbage pickup. If you are one of those individuals here are some great ideas from the Arbor Day Foundation:

Mulch

The most common use for your tree is to make mulch or compost out of it. Whether it’s with the woodchips or needles, mulch is a great way to keep your yard trees healthy and moist during the cold winter season. Pine needles are full of nutrients that enhance the PH of your soil if its more alkaline and allow your soil to breathe without becoming dense and compacted.

Fish Feeder

When trees are submerged in water they become a thriving reserve for fish to congregate in. The weight of the tree acts as an anchor, and as time passes algae starts to form on the tree, feeding fish while protecting them from predators. Check with local officials and see if you can drop your tree in a nearby lake or pond.

Ash Your Garden

After you’ve burned the wood from your tree, gather the ashes and spread them on your garden. Wood ash contains potassium and lime (among other nutrients), which help plants thrive, or mix the ashes into a compost. The ashes are also useful in keeping insects away. Don’t confuse wood ash with coal ash, coal ash does not offer the same benefits.

Use as Freshners

If the needles on your tree are still green, strip the tree and store the needles in paper bags or sachets to use as fresheners. The needles will retain their scent and freshen your home year-round.

We love these ideas and hope you find them useful too! Happy New Year from Stone Creek Landscaping!

Many will use beautiful poinsettias for their indoor holiday decorations. Their vibrant colors and gorgeous leaves make a beautiful statement in any home. However, their care can be slightly different from other house plants. 

The Spruce.com offers some great tips on keeping your poinsettias alive and thriving throughout the holiday season. Here are some of their top recommendations:

When You First Bring Your Poinsettia Home 

Light – Place it near a sunny window. South, east or west facing windows are preferable to a north facing window. Poinsettias are tropicals and will appreciate as much direct sunlight as you can provide.

Heat – To keep the poinsettia in bloom as long as possible, maintain a temperature of 65 – 75 degrees F. during the day. Dropping the temperature to about 60 degrees F. at night will not hurt the plant. However, cold drafts or allowing the leaves to touch a cold window can injure the leaves and cause premature leaf drop. If you’ve ever seen a leggy poinsettia in bloom, with only a couple of sad looking leaves hanging on, it was probably exposed to temperatures that were too cool or to extreme shifts in temperature.

Water – Water the plant whenever the surface feels dry to the touch. Water until it drains out the bottom, but do not let the plant sit in water. Wilting is another common cause of leaf drop. A wilted plant can be revived and salvaged, but it will take another season to improve its appearance.

Humidity – Lack of humidity during dry seasons, in particular winter, is an ongoing houseplant problem. If your home tends to be dry and your poinsettia is in direct light, you will find yourself watering frequently, possibly every day.

For more great gardening tips for your indoor and outdoor plants, follow along at Stone Creek Landscaping. Stone Creek is your complete landscape solution regardless of your property’s current condition.  Whether you’re looking for maintenance, design and install, or just a splash of seasonal color, our skilled and professional crews are here to help. 

 

 

‘Tis the season for mistletoe, holly and yes, Christmas trees. And if you are a live tree lover, you know it takes more than plugging in the lights to keep your tree fresh and smelling good throughout the month. We too were interested in learning the best tips of making our tree last, so we turned to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. Check out some of their top suggestions and even witty tips passed down throughout the years:

CARING FOR YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE

  • When you bring your tree home, saw a couple of inches off the bottom of the trunk before setting in water. When trees are cut, pitch oozes out and seals the pores. By sawing off the base, you will open up the pores, and the tree will be able to absorb water.
  • Watering is critical. A freshly cut tree can consume a gallon of water in 24 hours!
  • Fill the tree stand with water and keep it filled.
  • Never let the water level go below the tree’s base.
  • Indoors, keep the tree away from heating ducts or other heat sources. In fact, the lower the temperature, the better the tree will do.
  • One old Vermonter we knew always packed his tree stand with well-watered soil and planted the tree in the mixture. The soil should be kept wet.
  • Some people add aspirin or sugar to the water; we can’t say whether either helps. Again, water is the vital element.

Not sure which tree to buy? The top-selling Christmas trees, as reported by growers across the United States, are the Scotch pine, Douglas fir, white pine, and balsam fir.

Shoppers Tip: If there are a great deal of needles around all the trees on the lot, you might want to think about shopping elsewhere.

Although we can’t take of your Christmas tree inside, we can take care of your lawn outside. For more information about how we can create your dream lawn, visit us at StoneCreekGA.com.

 

Halloween is a time to trick or treat, dress up and carve pumpkins. However, what should one do with that pumpkin once Halloween has come to an end? We found some great ideas from PumpkinPatchesandMore.org. A few of include:

 

  • Put it in the compost heap – it will make good fertilizer
  • Bury it in the garden – it will decay quickly and enrich the soil
  • Wash, dry and save the seeds to plant next year (they will grow!)
  • Wash and roast the seeds – they make good eating.
  • Dump it in the trash, if you haven’t got a garden

Being in the landscape business, we also love this idea of a pumpkin planter.

A Pumpkin Planter

This is a great use for a carved or un-carved pumpkin – anything that adds a little natural beapumpkin-planter-2uty to the yard is a win to us. Head down to your local nursery, pick up some annuals, and use your pumpkin as the planter! It will be a festive decoration for a few days, and then you can plant the whole thing right in the backyard. The pumpkin will naturally compost and provide fertilizer for your plant. If your pumpkin is un-carved, cut off the top and remove the seeds, guts and flesh from inside. Set them aside and save for later (if you have a carved pumpkin, skip this step). Simply pack some potting soil into your pumpkin until it is about one-third full. You may need to do some extra packing to keep the soil from falling out of your jack-o-lantern’s face. Place your plant into the pumpkin, and fill it out with more potting soil. You can dig a small hole and plant the whole thing right away, or leave it on the porch for a few days for decoration. Depending on where you call home, it may be a little chilly for planting. But if you haven’t seen your first frost, give this one a whirl.*

And did you also know …

“Pumpkins are great for much more than carving! Pumpkins provide 53% of our vitamin A, 20% of our vitamin C, and 564 mg. of potassium.  So if you never got around to carving that pumpkin, you might want to cook your pumpkin!

The name pumpkin originated from “pepon” – the Greek word for “large melon.” Native Americans used pumpkin seeds for food and medicine. American colonists sliced off pumpkin tips; removed seeds and filled the insides with milk, spices and honey. This was baked in hot ashes and is the origin of our  pumpkin pie, although it is recorded that they also used pumpkins as an ingredient for the crust of pies, not the filling.”**

*Source: RedRiverMiner.com

**Source PumpkinPatchesandMore.org

 

 

 

In the South the temperatures are beginning to fall, and so are the leaves.

During this time, it is really important that you remove those leaves as quickly as possible. A thick layer of leaves will suffocate your lawn, not allowing adequate amounts of air, nutrients, and sunlight to reach your grass.

According to Spruce.com, raking the foliage truly is not just for tidiness, but also for lawn health. Here are 5 reasons you have probably heard about removing leaves, and guess what? The claims are all true!

1.That lawns, too, have to “breathe.” – True

2. The lawn will be smothered in a thick layer of unshredded leaves is left on top of them over the winter. – True

3. That such a layer can invite pests and diseases and can cause serious problems like snow mold and brown patch. – True

4. That such a layer forms a barrier that blocks water, nutrients, and a healthy air flow from getting down to the root system of your grass. – True

5. That, if the leaves are matted down, they can even keep new grass blades from emerging next spring. – True

So, if you find yourself with extra time this weekend, you just might want to tackle this project. If not, you can always call us at Stone Creek Landscaping, your full service lawn maintenance and landscapers!