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Caring for Your Plants

 

by: Janeth Duque

One of the best things you can do to save money on your landscape is to properly care for your plants. This is very important to keeping a healthy yard and an attractive landscape. If you properly care for your plants, you will save money in maintenance costs, and you will save money in having to replace plants that succumb to disease or other problems associated with poor care. Caring for your plants is not only good for the plants, but it is also good for you. You can get good exercise, escape from the stale air of your home, and get a little bit closer to nature. Not only do these things have positive physical benefits, but they have mental and emotional benefits as well. When you care for your plants you are saving money, helping your over all well being, and preserving a beautiful landscape.

Keeping your soil in good condition is essential for the care of your plants, whether the plants are part of the lawn, or whether they are trees or flowers. Having good soil is essential, as good soil provides nutrients to the plants and also offers moisture, as good soil preserves water and can act as a reservoir of moisture. Keeping your soil healthy is the beginning of caring for your plants. You can keep the soil healthy in a number of ways. Check the acid and alkali contents and make sure that they remain at levels that are good for your plants.

Also, it is a good idea to add organic material to your soil at least once a year. Using organic mulch is a good way to keep your soil in good shape. In shrub and flowerbeds, and around trees, wood chips can help the soil retain moisture and they will break own and provide nutrients as well. Reducing compaction is also important, as it allows air down into the soil and frees up room for beneficial organisms like earthworms. There is also more room for the roots to grow (any kind of
roots grass, tree, flower, etc.), giving them a firmer foundation and better health. Annual aeration will help your grass and the trees and shrubs that you have planted on your lawn. Turning the soil each year and adding special potting soil to the garden and flowerbeds at fall planting can also help.

Efficient watering techniques are also very helpful with plant care. These techniques include things like watering deeply and not terribly often. For the most part, people water their lawns too frequently.
This keeps the roots shallow (shallow roots mean less healthy grass) and much of the water either runs off or evaporates. Watering in the early morning (before 10) and in the evening (after 6) can reduce losses to evaporation and increase the amount of water that is actually absorbed into the soil. When watering flowerbeds and trees and shrubs, make sure that rather than simply letting a sprinkler run, you take care to use the hose to water deeply. For established plants, there is no need to water more than once a week. Even the lawn does not need to be watered more than once or twice a week. This type of watering schedule forces the roots to go deeper into the soil, looking
for moisture and creating healthier plants that are more tolerant of drought conditions.

Other good care practices include pruning woody plants and inspecting for pests and diseases. Not only does this help with the health of the plants, but it also contributes to their attractiveness. You can help your plants look fuller (especially evergreen shrubs) by pruning yearly. Blossoming plants also benefit from such care, as they will have more blooms when properly pruned. Additionally, when you inspect regularly for pests and diseases, you can catch problems before they get out of hand. You can properly treat the issue as needed, and save time and money in replacing the plants later.

While many people make use of fertilizers, pesticides, and weed killers, these are not necessarily essential for good plant care. It is true that these chemicals can contribute to the health and the look
of your landscape, but if they are used improperly they can also cause damage. Make sure that you carefully read the instructions in full before applying any such product. Then, make sure you fallow the directions exactly. Too much of these chemicals can actually harm your plants.

 

 

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