Bountiful Landscapes & Consulting
Transforming People & Places to Create Vibrant Health & Beautiful Outdoor Spaces
This has got to be my BIGGEST pet peeve in gardening.....
And you wonder why grass plants die.
Think of grass plants like hair
It grows from the roots, but people always cut it like it grows from the ends!!! UGH
Many want to trim their wildly growing grasses during the "clean-up" time in the fall. You can - but not like this!
If you can wait, prune in February, just before spring growth. But, if you must do it in the fall, follow these tips!
I like late fall pruning of my grassy plants because it gives them time for new growth before the heavy rains come. AND, it tames the wild!
August 1st - BEFORE
Yes, cut all the way to the ground!
If the weather is still hot, give them some water. They will start regrowing right away!
September 12th - AFTER
To trim during the fall "clean-up"
Use: Sharp, Clean Tools!!! Thick gloves and a bungee cord or string to tie the plant up for easier cutting.
1. Use loppers first for larger cuts, then use pruners for shaping or smaller cuts.
2. Prune as close to the ground as possible. The lower to the ground, the sooner the new growth will appear.
3. To clean up smaller or evergreen grassy plants (fescue or oatgrass), Run your gloved hand through the plant, combing to remove dead leaves. Trim away dead undergrowth. Use this method for sedges as well. You can prune these plants the same as grasses, but they only need it about every 3 years.
I find that when I trim & divide in the late summer or early fall, the plants have time to start regrowing before the dormancy period. Then, in the spring, it comes back at just the right size to start the growing season!
If your grass plant or sedge has gotten too big, first, trim as above. Then divide it either in half or in quarters with a shovel. Just dig right into it, you won't kill it. They are hardy!!!!! Replant the sections to expand your gardens!
Are they Dead??
I see lots of plants that look like this! Either they are dead or they will come back unhealthy! This is beacuse the new growth that wants to come up from the root isn't getting enough light.
Trim in late winter
1. Cut back early enough before they start growing in the spring - before you see any green from the root.
2. Cut off as much dead growth as possible - to have a nice clean appearance during the summer.
Taming the Blackberries
My vision was to cover the "weeds" with cardboard, then add wood chips. This is what I tell people to do.
I have done it a hundred times on large and small properties.
We worked hard to put in some logs for terracing and planted a few shrubs.
And then the rains came,
And the blackberries got a BIG boost.
Year 3 One (popular) idea is to use a dark plastic tarp, to prevent photosynthesis which kills the weeds. SO, in the fall we put a giant tarp at the bottom of the slope and it stayed on from October until the next June.
My father built greenhouses for a living, so I was skeptical of the tarp idea, (plastic with heat=greenhouse). So, I kept up with the cardboard on the top part of the slope. Then the leaves fell and the winter came.
Then early in the year cardboard again, then wood chips to hold the cardboard down.
And now to check on the weed suppression tarp method!
Still fighting all the invasives, but we are also implementing more trees & shrubs. Progress!
Year 4 Every year we start in the early spring with more cardboard - a truckload of it!! Otherwise, all the work from the previous seasons gets nullified, and all the plants & shrubs will get overtaken. LOOK how it's thriving in year 4!!
I really love to use ferns in the landscape! They're versatile, abundant, inexpensive, and quite beautiful with their spikes of bright green, grayish-purple and orange. They can grow BIG or small, as with all plants, depending on how much they like their environment! These are a few of my favs! And here's a few pruning tips!
1. Healthy patch of our native Sword Fern. It's clearly 'picture perfect' and all the dead fronds have been clipped away.
2. Here's how mine look in the spring!
3. First, I look deep inside to the middle of the plant to see if the new fiddleheads are emerging, and I'm careful not to cut them off when I prune.
4. Then, I pull back all the OLD fronds even if they are still a little green AND I cut them off all the way to the center. Yes, all of them!
5. This allows light for all the emerging fiddleheads to unfurl!
6. It is such a lovely sight to see the tiny little pruned fern transform into a bright green lush plant in the early spring!
DO Experiment with different ferns in your landscape! Some are more sun-tolerant than others, but a good filler plant nonetheless!!
**As always, if you want guidance, Please contact me**