There are a variety of gardening techniques and methods that will keep your garden looking clean and lush. All gardens will require maintenance to some degree, depending on the plant species in question. While landscape fabric does help limit weed growth from below, it cannot prevent sediment from being deposited on top. This post will provide you with some tips for general garden maintenance.
Watering – All plants require water to sustain life. Consistent watering of your plants, whether through a sprinkler system or manual watering, will produce optimal plant growth and health. However, watering frequency depends on many factors such as local precipitation, temperature, and season. You can determine if your plants need more or less water through simple observation. Plants that have been over-watered will start to droop while their leaves will turn yellow. Plants that have been given too little water will also droop, but their leaves begin to brown or fall off.
A soaker hose tool is the most effective method for delivering water slowly with light pressure, and ensuring that enough water gets to the roots of the plants. It is important to focus on watering the base of the plant, as too much water on the leaves may promote disease. The best time to water is early in the morning so that the daytime sun dries any excess moisture.
Rock Gardens – Rock gardens also require little maintenance. It is important to remove leaves that have fallen into the garden, as they will decompose and provide nutrients for weeds. This can easily be accomplished with a leaf blower, which minimizes disturbance of the rock cover. Weeds may develop from the detritus that has accumulated between the rocks. Although sparse, one should remove these weeds immediately, lest they have a chance to reproduce. Rocks tend to absorb heat from sunlight, and the dissipation of warm air may affect certain plants. To clean the dust from your rock garden and bring out more color, the rocks can be gently watered down. For even less maintenance, we recommend substituting rocks with mulch.
Mulch Gardens – Mulch is an excellent choice for ground cover in any garden, as it reduces surface runoff and slows evaporation from the soil. From our experience, plants tend to thrive more with mulch. Additionally, mulch helps to regulate soil temperature, prevents soil erosion, and reduces diseases that can start developing from too much moisture. Combined with a layer of landscape fabric, mulch greatly helps reduce weed growth. Due to the lightweight nature of the material, there is a chance for mulch pieces to be blown around by the wind, requiring some maintenance in the form of raking or a mulch top up. Another way to reduce mulch garden maintenance is to use plants that grow aggressively; the more robust root growth will inhibit weed development.
End of Season Plant Care – Many of the plants we propose in our designs fall within Winnipeg’s hardiness zone spectrum, and are therefore are able to survive our cold, harsh winters. Perennials can be cut back after the tops die off in the autumn, or can be left on during the winter for additional protection. In the spring, cut the tops off the perennials to allow for new growth. New evergreen shrubs require more attention to ensure optimal growth and survival. Pines, cedars, and juniper shrubs that are newly planted should be covered with burlap for the first few winters.