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Annual Maintenance Schedules

There is more than just watering, mowing and weeding involved in maintaining a garden. It has been said that, on average, you should expect to spend 5-10% of your total landscape costs (at the time of installation) on annual maintenance. Remember your garden can be very expensive and is certainly an investment in your property value. It pays to take care of it! A well landscaped and maintained property will not only provide enjoyment and pride, but will also sell your home very quickly if you decide to move. Additionally, a poorly maintained property will attract and promote a number of diseases and insects that can wipe out expensive plants and trees. If you lose a mature plant in your garden, it will knock a very large hole in your landscape design and trying to fill that hole with a small plant will look out of place and trying to fill that hole with a tree of comparable size could be extremely costly. It can also be very expensive to have large mature trees and shrubs removed.

ExperTrees encourages that you have your garden professionally maintained to minimize these risks, and maximize your enjoyment and the benefits of owning a well designed and well maintained garden.

Here is a thorough maintenance schedule for you to follow. If you have a lawn maintenance company maintaining your property, often they may not include these tasks as part of their program. It may be worth investing in a careful, considerate and purposeful horticultural program to meet the needs of your particular property.

Spring (around Victoria Day long weekend)

  • remove burlap from last falls winterization
  • clean up and remove winter debris
  • lightly cultivate garden beds
  • edge garden beds
  • plant annuals
  • prepare and plant in planter pots and containers
  • check garden hoses for leaks or defects
  • sharpen lawn mower blades
  • prune off winter damage
  • fertilize gardens with plant starter 5-15-5 for new plants
  • fertilize garden beds with bone meal or all-purpose fertilizer 20-20-20
  • apply compost to garden beds
  • lightly rake lawn
  • apply grass seed and top dresser where needed
  • have lawn aerated
  • apply weed n’ feed fertilizer (24-3-6) to lawn
  • apply mulch to garden beds (if desired)
  • check for insects and diseases and react as necessary
  • clean and prepare and install pumps in garden ponds and waterfalls (if applicable)
  • put concrete birdbaths, statues, benches and patio furniture out (if applicable)
  • inspect garden lighting system (if applicable)
  • turn on and inspect irrigation system (if applicable)

Early Summer (around first day of summer)

  • apply flowering plant fertilizer 15-30-15 to promote flowering
  • prune early spring-flowering shrubs by removing dead flowers
  • check for insects and diseases and react as necessary
  • use your composter

Late Summer (around third weekend in August)

  • prune new growth from evergreens
  • prune cedar hedge
  • prune off lower branches of mature trees to elevate the canopy
  • prune and thin out larger shade trees to add more sunlight to garden and improve air circulation
  • prune and deadhead flowering shrubs after they have flowered
  • water more regularly in warm weather
  • check for insects and diseases and react as necessary
  • stop fertilizing all plants in the garden

Late Fall (mid-October)

  • apply fall lawn fertilizer with weed control 12-3-18
  • cut back perennials and ornamental grasses
  • prune back larger shrubs to reduce size
  • prune fruit trees and apply dormant oil / lime sulphur
  • cultivate and edge garden beds
  • apply compost
  • check for insects and diseases and react as necessary
  • apply dormant oil to select trees and shrubs
  • apply anti-desiccant to broadleaf evergreens for winter protection
  • winterize and burlap select trees, shrubs and roses
  • clean out pots and planters and store in dry place for winter
  • put away lawn and garden ornaments and patio furniture
  • remove fuel from lawn mower
  • store garden hose in dry place
  • have irrigation system blown dry
  • apply mulch to tender plants
  • rake thatch from lawn