Mrs. GreenThumb's
Personalized Landscape Owner's Manual

Sample Pages

Front Lawn - Hybrid Bermudagrass

This should be kept mowed at a height of one-half to one and a half inches. A reel-type mower is best, but a rotary mower is satisfactory at the higher mowing height. Mow often enough so that no more than one-third of the blade is removed at each mowing. Clippings can then be left on the lawn and will save one application of fertilizer per season. Mower height can be dropped one notch in early to mid April to remove old, dead tissue. It should be raised one notch in the event of severe drought, and for the last mowing of the season.

Watering - Your lawn should be watered when footprints are left as you walk across the lawn, or when the grass has a blue cast. Then water so that it wets the soil to a depth of 6-8 inches. This may take an inch to an inch and a half to wet the soil to this depth.

Adding a moisture sensor to your irrigation system would be helpful, but is not necessary if you purchase a rain gauge and manually adjust the system.

Do not leave the system on the current every-other-day timing. This not only wastes water, but is bad for the grass.

Fertilizer should first be applied in the spring when turf is more than 50 percent green. This will probably be in Late April in a normal spring. Your soil test results indicate a need for 60 pounds of lime per 1,000 square feet. This should be applied now. Your soil test indicates average levels of nutrients, so a slow-release balanced fertilizer applied per label directions is fine for your lawn. Soil testing should be repeated in 2-3 years. Apply fertilizer only when the foliage is dry, and follow all label directions. A winterizer fertilizer may be used in early September, but do not fertilizer after that.

Weed control: Your lawn has annual bluegrass and chickweed, which can be controlled by using a pre-emergent herbicide such as xxxx that is labeled for these weeds in September. Read and follow all label directions. For now, pull where possible, and be sure to mow your lawn and bag the clippings when these set seed late this month.

Your lawn also shows evidence of dandelions and crabgrass, which can be controlled by an application of the same pre-emergent herbicide in mid-March. Chemical control will probably only be needed for a year or so. After that, proper maintenance will minimize your weed problem.

Low areas in your lawn may be filled in by applying a mixture of one-half good topsoil plus one-half sand at the rate of one-half inch every 6 weeks in the summer when turf is actively growing. Allow the turf to become established over this application before adding more.


Azaleas - Your Azaleas show signs of Azalea Lace Bug damage from last year. Begin scouting in March for these small bugs. Tap a branch or two over white paper (Junk mail is great for this!). The insects are very small, with flat, clear wings with a few dark spots. As soon as you see them, treat with an insecticidal soap, ultrafine horticultural oil spray or other insecticide applied to the underside of the leaves. Repeat in 5-7 days or according to label directions. This will take care of the population before it has a chance to reproduce.

Severe pruning of your Azaleas can be done before new growth starts, but you'll lose this year's blooms. Better to wait until just after bloom, and remove no more than one third of the branches each year until the plants are more manageable in size. Remember to always cut just below a node (where leaves emerge) . Dead wood can be removed at any time.

Pull back the mulch several inches from around your trees and shrubs as well as your Azaleas. Mulch around the stems encourages rooting into the mulch, may promote fungus disease, and is a haven for voles and insects.

Burford Hollies - consider replacing these with a shorter shrub such as Cleyeras. The Hollies can also be renewal pruned in mid-March by cutting to 6-8 inches and will regrow strongly.

Trees- Your Pin Oak is doing well, except for the tag which was left on and imbedded into a branch. I have removed the tag, and the tree should seal off the wound, but keep an eye on it. Also, remove the mulch from the trunk area and spread it out nearer the drip line. There is some bark damage from the mulch but it doesn't appear to be severe.

Pampas Grass - This can be cut to within 6 inches of ground level now, since the plumes are ratty. You can delay a bit, but do it before the new growth starts in a few weeks. Wear protective eyewear, gloves and heavy clothes. Pampas grass is very sharp. You can tie a rope around the clump for easier cutting. Your grass doesn't need dividing this year, but will need it in another year or so as the center dies out.

Fertilizing Trees, Shrubs and Ornamental Grasses - Your plants have matured. Breakdown of your organic mulch is providing all of the nutrients these plants need. No additional fertilizer is necessary.

Annual Beds

The Pansies should be replaced by summer annuals such as Begonias, Lantana, Pentas, Petunias, Melampodium, etc. by May 1-15th.

Pansies, ornamental cabbage or mustard, Snapdragons, Dianthus, etc, can go in between September 15th and October 1st. After October 1, use big landscaper size pots only. Winter fertilizer for Pansies should be high in Nitrate, rather than Ammoniacal Nitrogen. This is listed on the label.

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