Put the finishing touch on your landscape with rocks and boulders

landscape bouldersTraditional items like flowers and shrubs are typically first considered in landscaping. However, did you know that boulders and rocks are also a great choice? Landscaping experts suggest the idea of homeowners using rock gardens to give their yards a unique, relaxing feel. Finding boulders and rocks isn’t difficult and doesn’t cost as much as you may think.

Low Maintenance

One of the benefits of creating a rock garden with boulders and rocks is that you once it’s done, there’s not much to do to keep it up. Rock and boulder gardens are very low maintenance. Most of the time, these gardens look better when they have other greenery and moss growing on them. They’re created to be outside so that they can handle the elements. You can set your garden where you want and leave it to enjoy whenever you want.

Filling in Space

Not all homes are blessed with perfect soil. Sometimes, it can be  tough to get plants to grow. That’s where rocks boulders and rocks come in. Areas of your landscape that have a difficult time growing plants can quickly be covered with rocks and boulders. This gives your landscape some actual texture and saves you from staring at boring, open areas.

Rocks as Art

Did you know that rocks and boulders are aesthetically pleasing? That’s why so many home improvement experts recommend that they are used in landscaping. The best part is that you can enjoy the natural beauty of boulders and rocks without breaking the bank. Also, no two rocks or boulders are never the same, so there’s no concern about the rocks and boulders in your landscaping looking just like the rocks in your neighbor’s yard.

5 Things to consider when picking out palm trees

pick palm treesThere are five factors that you should consider when picking out palm trees. These factors are soil, size, temperature, sunlight, and water.

  1. The soil is by far the most important factor for growing healthy palm trees. When purchasing palm trees, ask how much nutrients and water the specific palm tree needs to receive to stay healthy. This determines what type of soil these particular palm trees will grow in best. Proper fertilization is an important component of proper palm tree care. Various types of palm trees require specially formulated fertilizers that address specific conditions. If your soil is not properly nutrient, organic or inorganic fertilizers can strengthen it.
  2. Size at maturity is the second factor. Keep in mind that what began as a little palm for sale at your local nursery may reach a height of 50 feet or more as an adult tree. This increase results in the overpowering over trees on your property and interferes with overhead lines and underground conduits. Be sure that the size of your specific palm at maturity lines up with your needs and overall landscape design.
  3. The next factor is temperature. Most palm trees won’t tolerate freezing weather and even a short bout of frost weakens some trees and leave them vulnerable to insects and disease. Check with your tree expert for specific advice if you're unsure about the growing conditions in your area.
  4. The fourth factor is sunlight. Not all types of palm tree are equally tolerant to the sun. In fact, some varieties of palms prefer shady conditions over full sun exposure. Keep these facts in mind when considering the kind of palm tree that would suit your needs best.
  5. The final factor is water. Although Palm trees have long been associated with tropical or desert conditions, in the wild, they areactually only found near abundant and continuous water supplies. If you are choosing a palm tree for your property, make sure that it will receive adequate water. Be prepared to water your newly transplanted palm tree frequently while it acclimatizes.

How to prevent dog urine burns on grass

dog urine floridaWhile we love our dogs like family members, no one is a fan of brown “burn” spots our dog’s urine leaves on the lawn. Urine burns leave the yard unsightly and seem nearly impossible to prevent or eliminate.  In families with multiple dogs, a dead lawn can occur quicker than you may realize. There is hope, however, and here, we will explore some solutions:

First, understanding why our dog’s urine burns the grass is important. Denise Petryk, DVM, Trupanion’s Director of Veterinary Services explains, “The lawn turns brown primarily because of the nitrogen content in a dog’s urine.” According to Dr. Petryk, “The safest approach to stopping those brown spots, is to focus on the lawn and give it all the TLC it needs to be resistant to the urine. Focus on the soil pH levels, a watering schedule, aeration, fertilizers, and the type of grass you have.” Dr. Petryk also suggests that you:

  • Use a leash to control where your dog urinates
  • Water the lawn right after your dog urinates to dilute the nitrogen on the grass
  • Dilute your dog’s urine by encouraging them to drink more water. You can use ice cubes, very dilute juices, diluted coconut water, or watered down food. However, the more your dog drinks, the more it will have to urinate, so beware of accidents in the house!
  • Try a different high-quality dog food. Sometimes this helps, as it might alter the pH or nitrogen content of the dog’s urine. Talk to your veterinarian about which diet could be best for your dog.
  • As far as removing the unsightly brown spots from your lawn goes, it is best to wait until the grass grows back on it’s own while avoiding letting your dog go in the same place. Trying to use  fertilizer to get your grass to grow back actually makes it worse since fertilizer contains, even more, nitrogen.
  • One idea is to train your dog to urinate somewhere else.  You can create a patch of an area with gravel or mulch in your backyard that serves as a spot to train your dog to go on. This prevents any future dog spot issues in the lawn. 
  • There are products available on the market that go into your dog’s water bowl, contain no chemicals and prevent urine burns. Carina Evans, CEO of Dog Rocks, explains how this naturally occurring rock works

Originally discovered by an Aboriginal gardener, Dog Rocks®are 100 percent natural rocks mined from a deep Australian quarry. To use this one-of-a-kind product, just drop a few rocks in your dog’s drinking bowl, and it filters out impurities such as nitrates, which is the cause of lawn burns. Laboratory testing proves this product is safe for dogs. While Dog Rocks can’t reverse the damage already done to the lawn, one bag will safely prevent new urine burn patches from appearing for two months.

What do I need to do to prep my Florida lawn this spring?

florida lawnsIf you’ve prepped your lawn properly in autumn, getting it ready for spring should be simple. Fall is when most of the work should be done. However, there are few things to keep in mind during springtime for a gorgeous lawn.

You’ll want to remove any debris that has accumulated. This is a perfect time to also rake up any matted areas of the lawn. Check to see if there are any fungus spots and treat those areas. 

Centipede and St. Augustine lawns, two of our most popular breeds of grass, are very susceptible to large patch fungus disease. Avoid excess nitrogen fertilizer and water early in the day to avoid long periods of leaf wetness. Apply fungicides if you’ve had repeated problems with this disease. 

Note: St. Augustine lawns shouldn’t be mowed more than one-third of the height. For example, if your grass is three inches tall, the maximum you should cut is one inch.

Test for Soil Acidity

Most home improvement stores and garden centers sell do-it-yourself soil pH tests. These tests are a valuable tool as you prepare your lawn for the summer. Harsh, long winters can cause the pH levels in your soil to become very acidic, which makes it difficult for most grasses to thrive.

If you find that your soil has a high acid level, you can spread a thin layer of lime over your lawn. The lime neutralizes the acid and makes the soil better able to support new grass growth.

Fertilizing 

You probably don’t need to fertilize if you included that when you prepared your lawn in the fall. Cool season grasses, in particular, are good at holding on to fertilizer from autumn and using it all winter.

There is a good chance that your cool season grass is still utilizing the fertilizer from the fall throughout the spring and into the summer. Warm season grasses may need a fresh layer of fertilizer during the spring because they begin to soak up the nutrients as soon as the weather gets warmer.

Weeds

When selecting a post-emergence herbicide, make sure you follow label directions and that the product is approved for your particular grass type. Otherwise, you may injure or kill it. If you know that your lawn is prone to weeds, early spring can be a good time to apply herbicides to prevent weeds from developing. It’s easier to get rid of persistent weeds before they have a chance to form than to deal with them once they have fully matured. Getting rid of weeds is another aspect of lawn care that is more efficient if it is done in the fall.

Winter weeds are evident in dormant warm-season turf now. Apply spot applications of post-emergence herbicides or hand pull to control. 

 

The best way to take care of your landscaping during an overnight freeze

florida landscape freezeFreezing and Frost can occur even in areas that are typically “frost-free.” If frost is predicted for your area, you need to protect your vulnerable plants such as:

  • Houseplants and tropical plants.
  • Spring-blooming shrubs and trees like azalea, rhododendron, and cherry.
  • Citrus trees.
  • Tender bulbs like Dahlia and elephant ear.
  • Warm-season vegetables like tomato, corn, and peppers.
  • Warm-season annuals like impatiens, petunia, and geranium.

The steps you will want to take when frost or freeze threaten tender plants include:

Bring Indoors:  Bring your frost-tender plants in containers inside during cold weather. Dig up tender bulbs from the ground and store them in a cool, dry place.

Water Your Plants: Water all of your plants thoroughly before a freeze to prevent desiccation from occurring and to the soil and plant cells with insulating water.

Protect Tender Sprouts:

Cover your tender plants overnight with either an inverted bucket, flower pot or with a protective layer of mulch. Remember to uncover them in the morning when temperatures rise above freezing.

Cover Your Shrubs and Trees: Cover larger plants with fabrics like old bed sheets, burlap, or commercial frost cloths. You will want to avoid using plastic, so the plants are not deprived of oxygen. For best results, drape your cover over a frame to prevent it from touching the foliage. Fabric covers help trap heat from the soil, so you want your cover to hang to the ground. Uncover them in the morning after the temperatures rise above freezing.

Assess Your Losses: Sturdy perennials, trees, and shrubs may recover from a late spring freeze, even if the damage is visible. Their blooms or fruit may be lost for the year, but once they begin actively growing, remove permanent damage from stems and branches. Frost-tender plants will not recover, so avoid planting them until you are confident that freezing weather has passed.

Practice Prevention: Choose plants that are appropriately hardy for your particular climate zone, or plant tender plants in portable containers that you bring indoors. Avoid applying fertilizer until after the last frost, to prevent a flush of tender growth that cold will damage.

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What Your Neighbors Are Saying About Mansfield Landscaping

My husband & I are very pleased with both the staff and the work done by Mansfield Landscaping. They are very hard working and knowledgeable people who have given us a wonderful, relaxing new water feature and yard. Their work ethic is second to none and our job was completed in a very timely fashion - from our first visit to the nursery to the estimate and the eventually completion of the job! We want to thank Steve, Ron, John and all of their employees for creating our new look! We love it!

Wendy Nicol (The Villages)

Steve did a fantastic job. I enjoyed the relationship with Steve. I spent two or three hours at his nursery talking to him.

My home is for sale and Steve has certainly improved it's curb appeal both front and back. He's very innovative. His suggestions have worked wonders!

Alfie (www.talkofthevillages.com)

Just completed our landscaping design by Mansfield Landscaping and they have exceeded our expectations by far!!! Steve and Ron and the whole crew are very professional and accommodating. They showed us patience in selecting a design, palm trees & plants. Their expertise and talent was proven to us by giving us the 'Wow' factor we were hoping for. We could not be more pleased. Our home is complete now, we can sit back and enjoy the beautiful view! Thank you Mansfield Landscaping.

Patty & Rick Nowicki

I have moved 8 times all in FL and have put in a lot of landscaping. The landscaping Steve Mansfield did at my present home is the best ever. On a scale of 1 to 10, Steve and his employees are a good 10.

Jan and Drew Harris (The Villages, Keystone Villas)

Being in one of the new neighborhoods we were seeing a large number of landscape companies doing work in the area. After talking with several people Mansfield was clearly the company that offered the best combination of quality, price and service. In meeting with Steve he not only offered excellent ideas for a design, but personally walked us through the nursery, pointing out plants and trees that would be good for our project, even to the point of allowing us to select the exact trees to be planted. We especially like Mansfield's practice of bringing a large number and variety of smaller plants to our house so that we could see how they looked with existing plants. The workers were very patient and moved plants around where ever we asked and pointed out ones that would be good or not good together. The finished product far exceeded our expectation and we would highly recommend Mansfield Landscaping.

Tom McCulloch (The Villages)

Recently had Mansfield Landscaping add some shrubs, rock etc., and must say they did an excellent job. The crew was very polite and professional. We would recommend Mansfield for any landscaping project regardless of the size. Will definitely use Mansfield for any future landscaping projects. Thanks,Steve!

John & Linda Smith

Our property was starting to look somewhat dated and needed a landscaping facelift. Cannot tell you how pleased we are with the job done by Mansfield Landscaping. These are some of the hardest working individuals we have seen here in The Villages. Since the completion of our property, several neighbors have stopped by and commented to us on how nice it looks and what a change. We couldn’t be happier with the outcome and will highly recommend Mansfield Landscaping to others, which we already have.

Mike & Cathy Lafferty (The Villages)