Bagworms in the Residential Landscape

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Coniferous, or evergreen, plant material in the residential landscape are often renowned for attracting bagworms to their needles or stems.  While evergreen species are popular choices for these unattractive insects, bagworms are showing to be less and less picky, attaching themselves to deciduous species of all kinds, including Honeylocust trees, Crabapples, ornamental shrubs, perennial flowers, etc.  Regardless, the insect can be destructive and if not properly managed can be fatal to the infected plant.

It is imperative to check your landscape plants throughout the growing season for bagworm infestation.  Adult bagworms are tiny, one to two inches in length, with brown bags made from dead plant material covering their bodies as they attach securely to the stem of the host plant.  If the bagworm is already present in the bag on the host plant and numbers are realistic to remove mechanically, picking them off the plant and dropping them in water and soap solution is the easiest form of control.  For chemical control, the only successful means to manage the insect is to target the young larvae in mid to late June.  The adult insects tend to feast on plant materials through the summer, which slows in August, so chemical control after the June time frame is less effective.

Chemicals such as Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), commonly known as Dipel or Thuricide, is available at most garden centers for chemical application to control bagworms in the landscape.  The affected plant material should be drenched in the insecticidal chemical in June to ensure that the insect consumes the product while they are feeding.  As always, thoroughly read and abide by all chemical label directions.  To inquire further about how All American handles bagworms in the landscape, call the office at 402-408-0000.

Flowering Perennials

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A well-designed landscape space offers fascination from early spring through late autumn, and after if you choose plants with winter interest. For the chief growing period, much of that benefit stems from flowering and foliage plant varieties. Homeowners who wish for a lesser maintenance landscape would be sensible to search out perennials that are both easy-to-grow and propose a lengthy blooming time. Many perennials bloom for two to four weeks, however, the lengthiest flowering perennials, like coneflowers and salvia, gauge their flowering time in months, not weeks.

When designing a landscape space with perennials that have flower longevity, the same essential guidelines of design pertain; select a blend of early, mid-season, and late-flowering specimens. You can also alter both the bloom period and duration of the flowering cycle with pruning methods; pinching, deadheading, and shearing.

It is not easy to find a long-blooming perennial for shady spaces, but Luxuriant Bleeding Heart does the job.  Extending up to knee-high, this resilient variety generates clusters of reddish-pink flowers throughout late spring and summer. Establish this shade-tolerant perennial in a woodland garden or shady border. Removing spent blooms will guarantee months of color.

Full Moon Coreopsis is a striking plant and among the longest flowering perennials with a season that extends from early summer to early autumn. Coreopsis has outstanding drought tolerance and is popular with the pollinators. With most Coreopsis cultivars, deadhead blooms as they are spent to promote new color.

Goldsturm Black-eyed Susan is extensively thought to be among the best perennials of all time. Goldsturm strikes the late summer landscape with weeks and weeks of audacious color that continues into October. The drought-tolerant plants cultivate to about two-feet tall and present the best visual effect when cultivated in masses. Deadhead blooms as they are spent to promote new color.

Fertilizing Landscape Plants

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Ah, the exciting topic of plant fertilization!  However, we do need to address the questions of what kind and how much?  There are three critical elements that all plants need: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium—or N-P-K, the quantities of which are identified as numbers on the package. For example, a general-purpose fertilizer branded 20-20-20 signifies that each chemical element—N, P, and K—offers 20 percent by weight to the total. The element percentages are presented in differing proportions to suit various fertil­izer needs. If you are considering an increase in flower production, you want a mix ratio around 15-30-15, which is high in flower-forming phosphorus. Be sure to examine the label for the N-P-K ratio, as you may be able to apply a general fertilizer with close to the same nutrient percentages but at a more cost effective price.

In addition to N-P-K, fertilizers generally include traces of other elements essential to plant health. Some trace elements are more vital than others, but each nourishes a plant in its own way. The most important trace elements in fertilizers are calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, zinc, molybdenum, boron, and sulfur. If any of these elements are deficient, a plant may indicate characteristic deficiency indicators. An iron deficiency, for instance, causes chlorosis, or yellow leaves with green veins, which is simply remedied with a dose of chelated iron.

There are two types of fertilizers accessible to a homeowner: granular and water soluble. Each form has advantages and disadvantages. Granular fertilizers provide food to a plant gradually but have the benefit of longevity. Since they must be broken down by water before a plant can use them, granular fertilizers do not leach out of the soil as promptly as water-soluble types. Water-soluble fertilizers are quicker acting but more fleeting, which means they must be used more often than the granular type.

To have your landscape plants fertilized by a landscape professional or to schedule your spring clean-up, call the All American office today at 402-408-0000.

Plant Spotlight – Taylor Juniper

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The Taylor Juniper is a Nebraska Statewide Arboretum introduction, making it ideal for any landscape bed, screen or accent plant.  With its semi-soft blue-green foliage and columnar habit, this tree is fantastic for tight spaces, as an entryway accent or to add a vertical element to any landscape space.  Taylor Juniper is a moderate growing tree that reaches 30 feet tall and 3 feet wide and performs best in a full sun landscape.  This juniper is hardy in zones 3-9 and does not require much water once established.

Taylor Juniper is a bird friendly specimen that is easy to care for and offers year-round interest.  To inquire further about how All American can incorporate this trendy specimen into your landscape, call the office at 402-408-0000.

Benefits of Mulching Landscape Beds

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Mulch not only enhances landscape beds with an eye-catching cover of material on barren soil, it has several benefits, such as making bed upkeep simpler while bettering the health of landscape plants.  All American offers professional mulch installation in a variety of colors to suit preference and aesthetics.

Most vegetation requires frequent moisture for appropriate development. A mulch layer in landscape beds retains soil moisture longer than bare soil.  Mulch also works as a protective cover for the soil, so its temperature shifts more gradually. Mulch that is laid in the spring or initial summer months keeps the ground cooler for extended periods of time.  As temperatures decline in autumn and winter months, the mulch layer permits the ground to hold heat.  Mulch also serves as a weed barrier.  Although vigorous plant growth can reduce some weed development, a layer of mulch stifles even more undesirable weed growth in the landscape beds. Mulch inhibits sunlight from getting to germinating weeds, so they do not grow.  Organic mulch, such as wood chips, decompose over time. The decomposing mulch contributes nutrient-rich organic matter to the soil, enriching the soil for enhanced plant growth.

To further inquire about how All American can benefit your landscape beds by adding or updating your landscape bed mulch content, call the office at 402-408-0000.

Plant Spotlight – Kodiak Black Bush Honeysuckle

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Kodiak Black Bush Honeysuckle With Its Yellow Blooms!

The Kodiak Black Bush Honeysuckle is a shrub that is deer-resistant, drought tolerant and colorful!  Seriously?  Unlike some other shrubs, this versatile plant has year-round interest with spring blooms, dramatic, black purple foliage, and vibrant fall color.  The honeysuckle is a fairly petite shrub, growing 3-4’ tall with a 3-4‘ spread and a mounding growth habit.  Honeysuckle is never without clusters of yellow flowers in the summer months.  Kodiak Black Bush Honeysuckle thrives is full sun to full shade and does well in zones 5 – 7.  Kodiak Black has proven to be adaptable to most soils, including dry ones.  Though it is often called “Bush Honeysuckle”, this plant is not invasive.

This native shrub, often used in mass plantings in a landscape bed or as a specimen, is one of the best shade tolerant shrubs, however, its color is more intense in full sun to part shade.  To inquire further about how All American can incorporate this versatile specimen into your landscape, call the office at 402-408-0000.

Winter Interest in the Landscape

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It is not a secret that the Nebraska winters can be lengthy and bitter.  The landscape garden can help alleviate some of the winter blues by showcasing winter interest through textures, colors and fruits, all which can be showy in the cold when selecting the right plants to do the job!  Here are some examples of how to incorporate plants with winter interest into the landscape as well as some varieties to make it happen.

Attractive bark is an important element in the winter landscape.  Once leaves have fallen and the bark’s surface is exposed, it can be seen in all its wonder.  Some bark is fissured, and some bark is unique for its peeling effect, regardless, bark can offer texture and color to the landscape beds during the winter months.  A few favorite varieties known for their attribute of outstanding bark in the landscape would include the paperbark maple, river birch, and the seven-son flower shrub.

Another key component of winter interest in the landscape beds includes color.  Several plant varieties offer color during the summer with their intense blooms, but it is important to incorporate the plants that offer powerful color during the winter months as well.  Whether it be through stem color or brightly colored persistent fruit, year-round color brightens the landscape beds.  The redosier dogwood, scarlet curls curly willow, beautyberry, holly, and snowberry shrubs all offer either brightly colored stems or a collage of colorful berries for landscape winter interest.

To inquire further about how to incorporate some winter interest into your landscape, contact the All American office at 402-408-0000.

Plant Spotlight – Annual Lantana

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Annual Lantana is a flower that is lavishly swathed through the summer months with vibrantly stained blooms. This shrubby species is available in several garden varieties bearing white, yellow, gold, orange, pink and red flowers; typically the mature blooms in each cluster are a separate color than the newer ones.  Annual Lantana crave full sun and heat to offer their finest show.  Lantana prefer poor soil to deliver strong and colorful blooms.  They are frost-vulnerable, so establish outdoors after the ground has warmed completely and distance the plants about 18 inches apart for maximum results.  To inquire further about how All American can incorporate this bright, fun annual into your landscape beds or containers, call the office at 402-408-0000.

Benefits of a Spring Lawn Aeration

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Your lawn needs a lot of consideration and care in the spring season. It is a challenging moment for your turf as it is in the healing phase for the earth and grass to try to rebound after a long, cold season of compressed dirt and trampled blades and roots. One of the most advantageous steps of lawn care during the spring season is aeration.  Thank goodness for All American’s grounds maintenance services, as lawn aeration, whether spring or fall, is a service offered annually to all of our customers!

Aeration in residential turfgrass areas is a procedure that allows your lawn to exhale. The lawn develops a layer of thatch which is essentially an obsolete layer of dead root mass, leaves and other lawn rubbish built up and blocking the ability of your lawn to breathe. Aerating your lawn involves a process where your lawn will be penetrated with spikes, letting air move through the soil, or little cores of soil will be removed and placed on top of the lawn to let your lawn behave as it should.

Spring aeration is critical to the wellbeing of your lawn and valuable in countless ways. As soon as winter subsides and everything fades and starts to dry, your lawn wants some relief to allow it to decompress and receive nutrients appropriately. Aeration facilitates the relief of the pressure on the soil and soaks up what it needs from both the nutrients you give it and water it gets.  To inquire further about scheduling an All American spring lawn aeration, call the office at 402-408-0000.

Plant Spotlight – Shawnee Brave Bald Cypress

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The Shawnee Brave Bald Cypress is a stately deciduous conifer but watch out!  Unlike other conifers, it loses its needles every fall and grows a new set in the spring.  This bald cypress is a large specimen tree, growing 50-70’ tall with a 20-30‘ spread and a pyramidal growth habit.  Soft, feathery needles turn russet-red in the autumn months before falling to the ground.  Shawnee Brave thrives best in full sun environments and does well in zones 4 – 11.  Shawnee Brave Bald Cypress has proven to be one of the best trees for both wet and dry soils alike.  The specimen prefers acidic soils and may demonstrate chlorotic symptoms in higher pH (alkaline) soils.

This regal conifer, native to the Midwest, is often found in groupings in parks and larger spaces, along streets, and bodies of water, however it makes a magnificent landscape specimen, attracting birds and small wildlife as well as being showy in winter months with its fissured, peeling bark.

To inquire further about how All American can incorporate this beautiful specimen into your landscape, call the office at 402-408-0000.

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