Thursday, April 19, 2012


As a pet owner myself, I know how frustrating it can be to have a dog “going” on the lawn, excavating, muddy paws and no place for them to really enjoy.

First things first, figure out what kind of dog you have. A herder, hunter, sporting, non sporting working or toy. Herding breeds, which includes the Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Old English Sheepdog, Shetland Sheepdog and Welsh Corgis, consist of high energy dogs that were bred to round up farm animals. In the absence of farm life these dogs tend to herd their owners and small children. These breeds will typically make ruts in the yard and along fences where they can see people and animals. Also very easy to train and need plenty of room to run, play fetch, catch Frisbee and decoys. Accommodating these breeds with your back yard landscape can make a great place for you and your four legged friend.

The Hunters include the Foxhound, Basset Hound, Beagle-Blood hound and Greyhound. These breeds are usually sniffing out rabbits, moles, foxes and other small animals, leaving you with the excavator. As a household pet these breeds are usually chosen for their energy, stamina and friendliness. When creating a outdoor space for these dogs, consider adding things so they can use their natural ability to hunt. For the safety of your hunter, a fence is necessary to prevent wondering. When these breeds pick up a scent in the air or ground, their is no stopping them, keep in mind the hunter may dig under the fence to get a bird or squirrel. With some extra planning you can prevent your hunter from doing just that.

The Non-Sporting is wide variety of breeds, including Bulldog, Boston Terrier, Chow and Poodle to name a few. These breeds are usually considered for their gentle, loyal, loving, courageous nature, also very smart dogs and groom well. These breeds will rub ruts in the yard and may dig a bit. Fencing is great for these breeds, allowing them to see there surroundings in the neighborhood and will be the first to worn you strangers are approaching.

The Sporting dog was developed for hunting waterfowl and other birds. Sought out for their high energy and eagerness to please, these breeds include retriever, spaniel, pointers and will spring into action at a moments notice. Your yard is the sanctuary where these dogs will need to run, play and retrieve toys or decoys. Get ready for plenty of ruts in the yard when you have Sporting dogs. Adding turf or a high traffic plant in the areas where you see ruts is a must. Due to there need to release energy, they will quickly destroy grass shrubs and plants. Keeping these dogs high energy needs in mind when creating your landscape will save you time and money.

The Working dog including the Bullmastiff, Rottweiler, Boxer, Alaskan Malamute, Doberman Pincher, Newfoundland and St. Bernard was bread for pulling sleighs, rescuing stranded people and guarding expensive estates. Due to the power and weight of the working dog, a well built fence, turf or high traffic plants are a must. These dogs are known as the gentle giants, unless provoked. As a very powerful but genital, loyal and loving dog, they can make a mess of the yard with there large feces, that can become harmful if not picked up daily.

The Toy Breeds describe the smaller dogs from the most popular Chihuahua, Pug, Shih Tzu, Yorkshire Terrier and not far behind the Maltese, Pekingese, Pomeranian, and many others make up this breed. The smaller breeds are considered the lap dog their companionship and appearance win most owners over. Due to the small nature of these dogs, cleaning up is easy, however, make them more susceptible to toxic plants and pesticides. Organic gardening is more suitable for the toy breed. Their quick movements also lead to greater risk, they can snatch something so quickly, you wont even know they have it. Designing with these smaller breeds in mind can be difficult.

A Little Insight

The best way to fix the back yard landscape with your dog in mind is to observe him for days even weeks. Figure out where he eliminates, what paths he likes to take, where he patrols, where he likes to fetch, retrieve toys or decoys and how he uses your yard. Draw a picture of the existing things in your yard. When studding your dog you can add things that will make your yard safer and more pleasant everyone. Just like people, dogs have a daily routine they follow and don't like when it is interrupted. They will mark the same trees, sun in the same spots and patrol the same areas. Dogs like the outdoors for different reasons than people do, they do not understand the need for grass and beautiful flowers or shrubs. Keeping this and your dogs breed in mind when designing your landscape will save you time and money.

If you have a dog that likes to dig everything up and “goes” all over your shrubs, but your a plant lover. Adding some shepherds hooks for hanging baskets or window boxes for flowers can help. Also, having the right kind of plants in your yard could solve the “going” problem. Contrary to belief, dogs urine and feces does not damage by the pH or acidity, it harms plants and grass by over fertilizing them with Nitrogen (see article Why do I Fertilize on our blog for more information). When nitrogen levels are to high, you will see dry, brittle yellow to brown foliage on one side or both sides, this also turns the grass yellow. Annuals and non woody plants are usually most effected by frequent urination. There are some very popular plants for your garden that not only tolerate high nitrogen, they thrive in it. In fact, most woody flowering shrubs need high nitrogen levels and will be better for frequent urination and feces. You may consider planting these where your dog does his “business”. Some suggested popular plants include Rose of Sharron, Weigela, Viburnum, Spirea and Shrub rose (rugosa) Although there are many more plants to choose from, this should get you started.
Common Name Light Zone Bloom Time
Rose of Sharron Sun to shade 4-9 August
Weigela Full sun to part shade 4-9 June
Viburnum Sun to shade 3-9 May
Spirea Sun to shade 3-8 April
Shrub Rose (rugosa) Sun to shade 2-7 June

Mulch and Pest

Beware of two different types of mulch that can be harmful to your pet. Cocoa Mulch has become very popular for its sweet smell, texture and lasting color. However, it consist the same toxic compounds found in processed chocolate, which can be deadly if consumed. Coconut Husk Mulch, is very popular also, this mulch is known to soak up and retain water, in return, is used for thirsty plants. If eaten this mulch will quickly swell in the digestive track of any dog and potentially cause a blockage.

With the outdoors comes insects, that can be an annoyance or harmful to plants and animals. Plants do exist to repel the most common bugs and should be used instead of insecticides when around animals.

Common Pest Plants to Repel them
Ants Mints ( apple mint, catmint, peppermint, spearmint)
Aphids Catnip,chive, cilantro, fennel, garlic, peppermint, rosemary, sage, spearmint and thyme
Corn Earthworms Cosmos, geranium, marigold and thyme
Cutworms Amaranth
Flies, Mosquito's Basil
Japanese Beetles Chive, garlic, geranium and nasturtium
Grass Hopper Geranium and petunia
Rabbit Garlic, marigold and onion
Slugs and snails Fennel, garlic and rosemary
White flies Basil, nasturtium, peppermint and thyme

Crape Myrtles

Crape Myrtle
Crape Myrtles are often mistaken as being dead in the spring and are one of the last trees to produce their foliage, usually in late April or early March. Because Crape Myrtles bloom on there “new growth” and produce their foliage so late in the season, trimming in late winter or early spring is best. However,, some light trimming after blooming may be required.  Crape Myrtles tend to grow on several stems, making them a unique semi dwarf tree or shrub, which has a variety of colors and long lasting blooms. It is up to you as the plants owner to prune it how you want it. Trimming all of the lower branches and  “suckers”, located at the base of the tree near the soil off close to the trunk and shaping the top yearly will allow the Crape Myrtle to grow as an upright tree.
Trimming the weak or brittle inside branches will provide a neater look and more blooms. Leaving all of the lower branches except “suckers” and  only pruning lightly throughout the season will allow the Crape Myrtle to grow more dense and shrub like. Trimming the entire tree down 12in to18in from the ground each year works too, the plant will flush itself with all new growth and more blooms. When planting in a row, you are wanting the trees to maintain the same overall height, take a pair of hedge trimmers or a chain saw and cut the tree down to the height you are wanting them to be. There are a few things to remember when purchasing Crape Myrtles, determine where to plant, what color, if you need a tree, at maturity growing 10ft to20ft tall or a dwarf, growing 3ft to 6ft and how many stems you are wanting at maturity. Crape Myrtles are very hardy, like moist soil, medium to high light,  lots of fertilizer to promote more blooms, and will adapt to most areas. Remember, for any plant. dig the hole about twice the size of the container, add a soil conditioner, fertilizer, mulch and keep watered.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I often have customers ask "When do I trim my Shrubs, Day Lilly, Monkey Grass, etc?" I have a few tips that will hopefully help you out. During the growing season, trimming evergreen shrubs every three to four months to remove the dead or unwanted growth is healthy. You do not want to trim any shrub in the winter, this can cause unwanted damage to your plant. After finishing your trimming always take a leaf rake or your hand and gently remove all the cut foliage off the top of the plant. Doing this will keep your home looking good and unwanted damage at bay.
Trimming plants that bloom like Day Lilly's, Crape Myrtles, Azaleas and Roses are a little different. These plants all bloom on the new growth, meaning they will need to be cut back after they bloom. Day Lilly's usually bloom in the spring and summer months (depending on the variety). Once bloomed, they can be cut back, However their foliage is beautiful, so waiting until fall (just before the first frost) cut them back and mulch around them. Crape Myrtles should be cut back in late winter or early spring. To learn more visit my web site Azaleas should be cut back each time they bloom. Azaleas can be trimed with electric or hand healed sheers. Roses can be pruned or "deadheaded" after each bloom has started withering. This will help promote new blooms during the blooming season.
Monkey grass, Pampas Grass or Rooster Grass can be cut back four to six inches from the ground either in late fall or early spring and mulched around. Grasses usually have a beautiful fall color, which some people like. If you do not like the look of grasses in the winter cut them back in late fall. For more information visit my website

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Spring is coming.

Spring will be here before you know it. Are you ready? It may seem a bit early to be thinking about your spring planting, mulching, weeding or trimming. Most nursery and landscape company's have already got their spring plants ordered and soon to be on their way. It is good to get an idea of what you are wanting in your flower and shrub beds now, so you can get an early start on the spring plants before they are all sold. First things first, find out what is available and if you are wanting, a seasonal blooming plant (only blooming 2 to 4 weeks), annual (die in the winter and do not come back), perannual (die back in the winter and will come back), bulbs or all season blooming plants (usually lasting through the growing season). There are many types and colors to choose, making it difficult at times to pick the right plant for you, one suggestion is seeking a landscape specialist or local nursery to give you some help, if you have no idea where to start. Some landscape company's offer free estimates, can design a color theme, help you pick the right plant for your beds, can help you to determine what type of soil you have and if you will need a soil aminment. Be sure to clean your beds out before planting any new plants, meaning pulling all the weeds, trimming shrubs if needed, raking any leftover leaves, tilling or prepping the ground for the new plants and picking up any tree branches that have fallen over the winter. Doing this will make your yard look its best in them up coming spring. If you don't have time or the tools to do all yourself, seeking a landscape company may be best choice. If you would like more information seek a landscape professional like Roses Landscapes.

Why do I fertilize?

In order for a plant to grow and thrive, it needs many different chemical elements, carbon, hydrogen and oxygen are vital to a plants survival. Sulfur, calcium and magnesium are secondary nutrients plants need to thrive. Plants also need boron, cobalt, copper, iron, manganese, and zinc. Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, are three of the most important elements a plant needs and are generally found in most packaged fertilizers. Without nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium a plant can not live. Nitrogen is vital to the Earth and everything in it therefor, nothing can survive without it. Phosphorus is a very important mineral found in most living organisms. To much phosphorus can cause many problems with plants and other living organisms. Phosphorus is used in many other things like when lighting a match, fertilizer for plants and most electronics. Potassium is essential in maintaining proper health for any living organisms. Potassium is highly reactive and usually mixed with other minerals when used. A lack of potassium can cause many sever problems in living organisms, even death, therefor, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are three vital minerals to the Earth and all living organisms in it.

What is Fertilizer ?

The numbers on all fertilizer packages tell you a percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium found in each bag. For example 12-6-12 fertilizer has 12 percent nitrogen 6 percent phosphorus and 12 percent potassium in each bag. These days there are many different types of fertilizers and it is easy to over fertilize, therefor, selecting the right type of fertilizer for your plants can be difficult. Some fertilizers like Osmocote, Miracle Grow or Scotts have been around for years and are trusted by most home owners and nursery growers. Often times the fertilizers are made for the specific type of plants like fruits, vegetables, evergreens, blooming plants and lawns just to name a few. Always seeking a nursery or landscape specialist is a good idea if you are unsure what type of fertilizer to use on your gardens.

So Why Fertilize?

Plant survival is vital to the earth, every living thing feeds off another. As people we eat meat from animals and animals eat plants, insects, pollen and many other things, therefor, we need to do our part to insure plants grow and thrive. By planting new trees when they are cut down, planting vegetables, fruit, shrubs and flowers to give beauty to your home, oxygen to the air and food for our wildlife is another thing we can do to help mother nature.

Article By Rose Harrington

Why Landscape?

Do you ever wonder why some subdivisions have a greater home value than others? It is not only the quality of the homes or the location. Well landscaped homes have a higher resale value. When you drive up to a house and see old rotting landscape timbers or over grown plants you are automatically turned off. Landscaping can beautify any home, no matter how big or small and can increase the value of your home. The neater the landscape the higher the value. Landscaping also helps the environment, prevent soil erosion, feeds wildlife and provides oxygen. Many homeowners tend to put their landscaping off until the last minute, which can be understandable. Landscaping can be expensive depending on the area you live in, size of landscape beds you are wanting, plants size and species . Remember, you don’t have to get the most expensive plants, the largest flower beds or even do it all at one time. Some landscapers like myself offer many different options. Let me share a few with you. We offer a stages/phases program. For example if you are wanting the front and back landscape beds done, maybe a few trees, but can’t afford to do it all at the same time, this is where we can do just one at a time to better fit your budget. We also offer a monthly maintenance program. This is where we come once a month every month to pull weeds, trim shrubs when needed, fertilize when needed and deadhead blooming flowers at a reasonable monthly rate. This service is offered in three months and six months programs. If you would like to learn more about these services and many other services we offer go to

Article Written By Rose Harrington