What’s in a Zone?

What’s in a Zone?

What’s in a Zone?  A landscape Zone that is …  Understanding what zoning when it comes to choosing plants or trees for your landscaping can be key. The USDA divided North America into areas, or zones, where specific plants would most likely thrive. The idea was to help gardeners compare the climate of their garden with climates where a plant grows well.  The map is based on the average minimum temperature, divided into 10°F zones. Hardiness zones are particularly informative about the extremes of winter cold.   We (Northern Illinois) are in Zone 5.

Other things to consider.

Planting based on the USDA’s hardiness map isn’t enough for a thriving garden. You must also think about things like having the right amount of sunlight or shade for a certain plant to grow, maintaining the moisture level of soil without overwatering it, giving it the right nutrients, and pruning when necessary.

If you want your plantings to flourish every year, they must be able to tolerate year-round conditions in your area, whether they’re high or low temperatures.

Working with a professional landscaper can be helpful when devising a plan that meets your needs for your home or business landscape.

 

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What is the difference between annuals and perennial?

What is the difference between annuals and perennial?

What is the difference between annuals and perennial?  The short answer is that annuals don’t come back, but perennials do.

Perennials are plants that can survive in the garden for at least two growing seasons. They die back in the winter and then, as if by magic, they return lush and renewed, ready for another go at life. These plants manage to survive because their roots can weather the winter climate in their growing zones. A garden filled with perennial plants is a lot less work than one that’s mostly annuals. While there’s still work to be done in a perennial garden—pruning and weeding, for example—there’s no need to replant everything each year.

The secret to a stunning perennial garden is to choose varieties that bloom at different times, which ensures that your yard will pop with color in different season.

While annuals live for only one season, they tend to have a long bloom season. They are usually bright and showy, used by gardeners to add burst of bright color to their flower beds and container gardens. A good example of an annual flower are chrysanthemums.

 

Information provided by: Source

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Learn About Hostas

Learn About Hostas

Botanical Names: Hosta, astilbe, golden hakone grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aurea’), lungwort (Pulmonaria), Siberian bugloss (Brunner macrophylla)

Splash some color into your yard’s shady corners by planting hostas. These leafy plants are perennial favorites, and growing hostas isn’t reserved for experienced gardeners. Learning how to grow hostas isn’t difficult — it’s actually one of the easiest perennials to tend. Glean some tips on when to plant hostas, how to plant hostas and what to plant with hostas.

Not sure when to plant hostas? The good news is that timing isn’t too critical. Most gardeners tackle planting hostas in the spring or fall. In spring, you can plant bareroot or potted hosta plants. Be sure soak bareroot hostas in water for a few hours before planting. For fall planting, you’ll probably use potted hostas. You can often find potted hostas on discount at garden centers in early fall. The trick with fall-planted hostas is timing. Aim to be planting hostas several weeks before the soil freezes. This gives plants plenty of time to sink roots before harsh weather arrives.

It’s not challenging to learn how to plant hostas. Start by determining where to plant hostas. Most hostas like shady conditions, but newer sun tolerant hostas can withstand morning or, with some varieties, all day sun. Start planting hostas by digging a hole and adding organic matter. Compost, composted manure, ground tree bark or other locally available materials provide ideal sources of organic matter, which helps soil retain water so it’s readily available to plant roots.

Dig planting holes that are wider than deep. Hostas aren’t especially deep-rooted but do tend to extend roots out to the edges of leaves. Make your hole wide enough so that roots fit without being folded. Tuck the hosta into the hole so that it sits at the same depth it did in the pot. Backfill the hole, and cover the bare soil with mulch.

One common problem gardeners find when growing hostas is that small critters like voles can cause serious damage to plants over winter. When adding mulch to cover soil, don’t pile it against hosta plant stems because this can trigger fungus diseases to attack leaf stems. You also don’t want to add a thick layer of mulch, which gives voles a place to tunnel and hide. Instead, add a 1- to 2-inch-thick layer, keeping it pulled back from the crown of the plant.

As you choose what to plant with hostas, you might consider traditional partners, like lacy ferns, astilbe and golden hakone grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aurea’). These plants unfurl leaves that provide a feathery, lacy textural contrast to the broad leaves of hosta plants. Other perennials that pair well with hosta include variegated cultivars of plants like lungwort (Pulmonaria) and Siberian bugloss (Brunnera macrophylla).

How often you need to transplant hostas varies. As a rule, hostas tend to grow bigger the longer they stay in one spot, so if you’re wanting a substantially sized plant, avoid frequent transplanting. If a plant has outgrown its place, then you should consider transplanting.
Some hosta varieties perform like many clump-forming perennials, with older plants dying out in the center of the clump. In this situation, new growth occurs along clump edges. This new growth is often individual small plants ideal for transplanting.
Usually transplanting hostas is easy and relatively quick. Take time to prepare the soil in the new planting area. Mix in plenty of organic matter to create a soil base that’s rich and drains well. For organic matter, use compost, ground tree bark, composted manure or any other material that’s locally available to you.
When transplanting hostas, you want to get as much of the root ball as you can. This is especially important with larger plants. Start digging the plant by inserting your shovel into soil just outside the edge of the leaves. Roots typically extend this far. Insert the shovel all the way around the hosta, forming a circle. Pry the plant out of the ground. With really large plants, roots may extend up to 18 inches deep.

 

All data herein is for information purposes and gathered from an outside source.

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Advantages of Rainwater Collection

Advantages of Rainwater Collection

Advantages of Rainwater Collection:

Whether you have an interest in water conservation or simply want to save a few dollars on your water bill, collecting rainwater for gardening may be the answer for you.

Unchlorinated rainwater is better for plants and gardens. Rainwater is the plants’ preferred source of hydration. It is free of chemicals and salts that are typical of any treated water. These chemicals alter the chemical composition of the soil which has a direct effect on plants.

Reducing Water Bills: Water is required for a lot of non-drinking functions. When harvested rainwater is used for all these functions, it reduces the load on the water supply. This may help to reduce utility bills.

Apart from aiding in nature’s cycle, you’ll be reducing flooding by runoff water, saving on energy, protecting the environment by reducing carbon emissions as well as growing healthy plants.

 

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Learn About Ornamental Grasses

Learn About Ornamental Grasses

             Ornamental grasses add color, texture, and movement to your landscape all year long, and they do that with little effort from you. Once established, water them during a drought, maybe cut them back in the spring. The following are some of the most popular grasses (provided by Midwest Living) used for adding color to an autumn landscape and often throughout the winter.

Because of their color, texture and movement, ornamental grasses are wonderful additions to our landscapes. Even better, you get all this beauty for little work–once established, just water during drought and cut them back in early spring. And they withstand pests (even deer avoid them). There are many varieties available, so find one to suit your garden style and growing by discussing with our landscape designer for your next project.

Feather Reedgrass
One of the most popular ornamental grasses. Plants have dark green leaves and narrow, tan plumes in early summer. This variety tends to grow straight and upright, giving an architectural element to landscapes even in winter. They have tiny flowers in early summer; seed heads mature to golden tan by midsummer and remain attractive into fall.

Fountaingrass
A mounding plant with a lovely shape, its name refers to its graceful spray of foliage and late-summer plumes of fuzzy flowers. The white, pink or red plumes (according to variety) continue into fall and bring an informal look to gardens. Some Pennisetum self seed freely, which means they can become invasive. Although some species will reach 5 feet in height, the dwarf types like ‘Hameln’ generally stay below 3 feet. ‘Purpureum’ is grown as an annual in cool climates but has lovely purple leaves and crimson flowers.

Blue fescue
One of the smallest of the ornamental grasses (under 1 foot tall), which makes them perfect for many different uses in the garden. Plant them at the base of leggy shrubs, in masses as a groundcover, in rows as edging, as accents or in containers. Evergreen in all buts its northernmost range, the bluish foliage looks best in early summer. Seed heads turn tan when mature; cut them off to keep plants looking neat. ‘Elijah Blue’ has powder-blue leaves.

Blue Oat Grass
Refined and elegant, this grass has beautiful blue-gray, fine-textured leaf blades that grow in a mound. It is stunning throughout most of the season and combines well with most perennials. In fall, brownish spikelets reach for the sky.

Maiden Grass
Miscanthus cultivars are go-to choices in the ornamental grass market because of their sky-high, easy growth. Narrow, arching foliage makes a perfect backdrop to showcase other perennials. Silvery plumes look enchanting when the sun shines through them. This perennial’s dramatic plumes of spikelets rise above the foliage and last well into winter. Leaves range from green-and-white striped, yellow striped, dark green and greenish white depending on cultivar. Plumes emerge at different times.

Ravennagrass
Often called hardy pampas grass, this massive, fast-growing perennial commands attention when in flower in late summer because of its great height. It is a wonderful grass to add drama in the landscape or to hide an unsightly view. Just be sure to plant it where it can take center stage–not much else will stand up to this tower of beauty.

Hairgrass
Evergreen depending on climate, tufted hairgrass gets its name from the hairlike flowers that rise above the leaves. Its needlelike leaves form mounds, then this perennial sends out airy plumes in shades of golden, silver, purple and green.

Purple Moorgrass
Chose a variety based on your garden size, then plant in masses for impact. It has delightful mounding foliage that turns brilliant gold in fall. The tall, delicate panicles are beautiful. Dense tufts of arching leaves are handsome spring through summer and offer good fall color.

Japanese Forestgrass
This low-growing, mounding plant has bright yellow, green-striped leaves, making them perfect for brightening shady spots in gardens. From late summer to mid-autumn, it bears needlelike, pale green spikelets.

Cordgrass
A spreading prairie grass that thrives in moist or wet soils, it’s a good choice to plant along a pond or stream. Pale green spikelets top the arching green leaves by autumn.

All of the information herein is provided by Midwest Living for your convenience and not a recommendation of usage.

 

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© 2021 Aztech Landscaping of Sandwich, IL provides landscaping services and decorative stone patios.
Popular service areas include: Lake Holiday, Oswego, Sandwich, Sugar Grove, and Yorkville. (see more areas)

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