Ah, spring. It comes in with tulips and dandelions and leaves us with snapdragons and lilies. With the fresh smell of flowers in the air, springtime is a gardener’s favorite time of year. But, although we all like to remember the beautiful bursts of color that flowers bring, there are also uninvited guests lurking beneath the surface, just waiting to bust through the soil. Among the unwelcome are various critters and a seemingly endless supply of weeds. The retaining wall is up and you’ve already planted your garden – now you just need to handle the landscape maintenance. Should you do it yourself? If you’re considering it, first look at the opponents you’ll most likely encounter, and then decide whether you’re up for the challenge.
- Dandelions – You might enjoy some dandelion greens in your salad, but you probably don’t want a dandelion farm growing in your front lawn. What would the neighbors think? There are various herbicides that are designed to kill dandelions, but it is a very hearty weed and can take many seasons to completely free your lawn of this pest. Although hiring someone will make your life easier, even the most professional landscape maintenance company can’t promise to rid your yard of dandelions in one season.
- Large crabgrass – This is another lawn weed that must be pulled from its root. To prevent it from growing again, you can spread corn gluten in early spring. Or, you can just hire someone to do the landscape maintenance for you.
- Poison ivy – This is one of the most dreaded weeds in the whole garden. Just a slight brush with poison ivy can have you itching for days. The entire plant is toxic. To rid your garden of this weed, you need to cut the plant at its base, allow it to dry and toss it in the trash. Never burn poison ivy; inhaling the fumes could be fatal. A landscape maintenance plan is sounding pretty good now, isn’t it?
- Prickly lettuce – This weed sounds like something you would eat, but it’s far from the lettuce you use in salads. It grows very tall (up to 5 feet) and is very prickly to the touch. Wear gloves and pull this one from the root.
- Cutworms – Cutworms do their damage at night when they cut off seedling stems and young plants near the soil’s surface – so, they kill your plants long before they even have a chance to flower. Scatter bran or corn meal and molasses at the soil surface to kill caterpillars. Are you ready for professional landscape maintenance yet?
- Common ragweed – This weed may be common in everyone else’s yard, but that doesn’t mean it’s welcome in yours. This tall weed can grow up to three feet and flowers in July, but let’s hope you will have pulled them all by then.
- Wireworm – These pests are hard to fight because they’re also very hard to see. They live beneath the surface of the soil, and that’s also where they feed. The attack seeds and roots, so you can’t even see the cause of damage. You’ll just see dying plants (or no plants at all, if the seeds have been eaten). You can trap them with this trick: Cut a potato in half and plunge a stick through its middle. Bury the potato in the soil with the stick poking out of the ground. After a day or two, pull the potato out of the ground by its stick, and throw it in the trash (wireworms and all). Or, you could avoid the “potato trick” altogether and hire a pro for your landscape maintenance.
Some people enjoy every aspect of gardening, while others just have fun planting the pretty stuff. If you’re not looking forward to waging war on the above-mentioned critters, maybe you should hire someone to do your landscape maintenance.