Secrets To Landscape Success: Day 19


Creating your own space and not keeping up with the Jones’.


Get inspiration from your neighbors and landscape ideas you like. Do not copy or make your garden and oasis the same as someone else’s. A landscape and garden is just as person as the finishing touches you chose in your home. You do not have to keep up with the Jones’ as the expression goes.


Everyone’s landscape site, soil conditions, and overall aesthetically pleasing taste will be different. You should personalize your landscape. Put your personal touches into your garden. After all, it is yours. You will enjoy your landscape more if you are involved with making it yours rather than just letting your landscape designer create a design to ‘fill’ your space. You never want to ‘fill’ your space. Create a living extension of your home.



Lawn Renovation: 12 Steps to Success


Fall is an excellent time to improve your lawn and Roanoke Landscapes would like to help you with this process. First you must decide if you are going to renovate your entire lawn or just sections. If your lawn is at least 50% grass then renovating the existing lawn would be the way to go. If, however, your lawn is overrun with weeds and/or pests, those will have to be addressed first and depending on the type of damage you may need to renovate the entire lawn.

The lower temperatures and increased moisture of late summer and fall are perfect for growing anything- including a better lawn!



  1. Getting rid of the weeds: this keeps other species competing with your new grass.

The best or most effective way of eliminating the grass and/or existing weeds and turf is by using a non-selective herbicide. The products you want to use contain glyphosate and they are the most effective. Do not walk on the grass until the chosen product used has dried on the turf and leaves of the weeds.


Make sure you check the product as to the time-frame of when you can seed the lawn. Most of these products allow you to seed in 7 days.

Make sure you have not a selective weed killer which will not allow you to seed the yard for 3-6 weeks.

Always read and follow label instructions.


  1. Level the yard, fill in any holes or low spots. You have to take care of any holes or any drainage issues before reseeding the lawn.
  1. Have your landscaping expert check the pH in your soil and adjust it if needed. For best grass growth, soil pH should be between slightly acidic-6.5 to 6.8. To raise the pH you can use lime or Solu-cal. You can also use Gypsum or Solu-cal S to help condition clay soils.

If you have sandy soils you can and need to amend the soil by incorporating small amounts of clay or organic material to enhance water-and nutrient-holding capacity. By adding high phosphorus starter fertilizer with around 1 pound N/1,000 square feet and/or pH like lime or Solu-cal solely based on the results of your test.

  1. You have to make sure you choose the right grass! This decision will depend on several things:

-The quality of the sod you are expecting to grow.

-How much work you are willing to put into the maintenance of the turf.

-What you are using the turf for.

-How much sun or shade your turf gets.

-Is there a need to worry about high drought tolerances?

-Lastly, the kind of insects and diseases found frequently in your area, and picking resistance turf.

You get what you pay for. A bargain is not always a bargain. Stay away from cheap seed blends. It will not be the outcome you are looking for. A general rule is to stay away from any mixes with the words, fast, quick, and for contractors. These are usually the low-end types of materials.


  1. The most important thing is to prepare your soil. You can use an aerator or a slice seeder. If you are attempting to do this without a landscape expert you can rent the aerator or seeder.


When using the aerator make sure you really open the turn area up. Go in several directions when pulling the plugs. You really can’t beat the area up too much. If you are using the seeder you can go a half rate in a couple of directions and go over very bare areas in order for a cohesive look.


Very important to note that you seed at the right rate. Seeding at the correct rate of slightly below that will encourage tillering-which is the growth of new grass-roots and lateral spreading of the grass plants. Due to certain circumstances higher seeding rates may be required this is really best left to your landscape expert to determine.

Applying the seeds at half the rate in two different directions at right angles will insure a more uniform coverage. This will also make sure you do not run out of seed, it is always better to do less and go back over it then do too much and run out before your job is completed.

Overseeding after aerating your lawn

Overseeding after aerating your lawn.

6.Raking in the seed lightly. If you have bare spots you can mix the seed and soil so that the seed is covered no more than 1/16.

  1. Lightly rolling your soil insures very good seed-to-soil contact which is good for he seeds to take in the most water and germinate-begin to grow and put out shoots after a period of dormancy.
  1. If you have large bare spots you should mulch them. Use straw that is weed-free or you can also use a marsh hay to help hold in and conserve moisture to help prevent seed and soil erosion. You should avoid hay from a pasture as it is usually heavy laden with weed seeds.


You can use several other types of materials to mulch with: wood fibers, paper pellets, and erosion-control blankets. PennMulch doesn’t require raking and is very effective at holding water and even has a starter fertilizer in it. Erosion blankets are great here in the Virginia area with all of our sloped yards. Once you seed the erosion blanket is rolled out and stapled down. It is very convenient and nice because the new seedlings will grow right up through the blanket and decompose. You have probably seen these before on slopes as most are green.

9. We cannot express the importance of this next step. Water! Water!


The seeds and young seedling will die very quickly if you let them dry out. You need to make sure you keep the seeded areas moist at all times. Use enough water to moisten the surface but do not use too much water and cause run off because this can wash away the seeds.

After the seedlings appear through the mulch reduce the water gradually to encourage deep rooting of the seedlings. Once you have about 50% grass coverage over the ground let the surface dry.

  1. After about 4-5 weeks after seeding occurs you should fertilize.

Apply about 1 pound N/1,000 square feet. This is the standard on most of fertilization products. When you fertilize it increases the root density, the color, and the seedlings and makes the seedlings stronger and more resistant to diseases.


  1. After you have about 60% growth and the grass has reached a height of 2-3 inches you should mow it. Mowing stimulates lateral shoot development, will increase the density, and helps to keep weeds at bay. You must make sure you blade is sharp because dull blades will tear the seedlings from the soil.
  1. This last step is the most rewarding and fun. You have put in a lot of work, ENJOY YOUR NEW TURF.





In remembrance of Alison and Adam of WDBJ. Condolences & Prayers from all of us at Roanoke Landscapes to all the families, friends, and colleagues involved.


#roanokestrong #prayersforwdbj


“Although it is difficult today to see beyond the sorrow,
may looking back in memory help comfort you tomorrow.” -author unknown


Secrets To Landscape Success: Day 18


Problems with your plants.

Wheat seedlings infected with the Ug99 race of stem rust in a screenhouse at the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute's (KARI) Njoro research station. CIMMYT works in close collaboration with KARI scientists on large-scale trials screening wheat lines for resistance to Ug99, the new and virulent strain of stem rust that emerged in Uganda in 1999. It is already endemic in the Njoro area, making it possible to use the station as a testing ground for wheats from all over the world; thousands are planted annually as part of an ongoing screening and breeding effort. Photo credit: M. DeFreese/CIMMYT. For more on CIMMYT's ongoing work on Ug99, see the following e-news stories: 2010, "Planting for the future: New rust resistant wheat seed on its way to farmers": October 2009, "From Cairo to Kabul: Rust resistant wheat seed just in time": December 2008, "Report from the field: Wheat stem rust resistance screening at Njoro, Kenya": December 2006, "Threat level rising": September 2005, "The World’s Wheat Crop is Under Threat from New Disease":

Checking for disease in seedlings.

Diagnose any problems quickly with your plants. If your turf or plants suddenly start to brown, have spots, holes, and discolorations. Find out what the cause could be, It could be not enough water or too much. Identify quickly what the culprit is because if it is disease it can spread quite fast.


Some things to look for are soil conditions, watering, sunlight, mowing, pests (such as beetles), fertilization, and disease. If you are unsure of the problem call your local landscaper for help diagnosing the problems. Sometimes you can receive help from a garden center or nursery.


This quick identification can help save your turf or landscape and to help it not to spread to other areas of your turf and landscape.


Secrets To Landscape Success: Day 17


Make sure your plants are getting the right kind of care.

It is very important to know what kind of care and special instructions your plants may have and need. Many plants in the first few years require more attention or special kind of care. These plants can typically thrive in the future if taken care of in the beginning even with a bit of neglect after that.


Avoid watering your plants too much or too little. Know the kind of watering conditions you need for each of your plants. Your landscape professional will know but they will not be there everyday in the future and you must be aware of this as you are choosing plants. Make sure you can take care of all the plants you are picking if you are not paying your landscape professional for property management.


You will also not want to overfertilize your plants. There are certain plants that require specific kinds and times of fertilizers to thrive at their best. If you over fertilize it can kill the plants.


Secrets To Landscape Success: Day 16


Autumn is in the air!!


My personal favorite time of year is just around the corner! The smell of fall rolling in is like no other! Pumpkin flavored everything comes out, time for hoodies and bonfires! It kicks off my favorite time of year: Halloween through Christmas!


We can also intricately plan your landscape to include the optimal looks for fall. You should include plants with variegated and colorful foliage.  This will give you colors and contrast all season long even going into the winter season. You will be able to enjoy your landscape from early spring to late fall!

Cornus alba var. sibirica underplanted with carex morrowii - Sir Harold Hilliers gardens, Hampshire

Cornus alba var. sibirica underplanted with carex morrowii – Sir Harold Hilliers gardens, Hampshire

Burgundy-tinted leaves do not fade, they fit well with spring blossoms that will fade as fall approaches as well as the tints of fall; orange, yellow, red, and that fantastic rusty color. There are some plants that provide visual interest even through a long winter.



Secrets To Landscape Success: Day 15


Contrast: a key component.


Our eyes are naturally drawn to contrasting colors. The way our mind and body work is how we create flow and line in our elements of design. A successful garden has an intricate fluidity that runs through it. To the outsider it just looks beautiful and they notice it flows so well. This, however, is created with careful thought by your landscape designer through texture, color, and shapes. These all provide contrast in your garden.


This is also another reason to hired a season landscape designer and specialist.  They will use their vast knowledge of the elements of design and also their expertise in the plants to create the perfect contrast in your garden to create a timeless and seamless oasis for you to enjoy.


Secrets To Landscape Success: Day 14


Colors Colors Colors


Plenty of color, vibrant or pastel, whichever you prefer makes any garden and landscaping just pop! When you cluster many of the same plant variety for bigger clusters that add more color clout. Make sure you are checking with your landscape designer on all the plants and their bloom times. You want to make sure you are planting things that when they bloom together will complement one another in color and size. Staggering plants will make sure you have very good flow and lines throughout your garden space.  Layer your garden like you do clothes. One layer at a time, each complimenting the layer before. Until you have one uniformed and luxurious garden. You landscape designer will have a lot of experience with plants and what is complimentary in size, shape, and color. Contact Roanoke Landscapes today to start planning the garden of your dreams.



State Arboretum of Virginia: Deer Resistant Plants


Murden Boxwood

Planting season is coming up soon and we are ask continuously what plants can we plant that are deer resistant. A lot of destruction done to plants is caused by White-tail deer. No plant is ever completely deer resistant and the plants deer eat vary from season to season and region to region. In times of limited food or drought deer will eat just about anything. They prefer soft luscious plants full of moisture.


The following is a list from the State Arboretum in Virginia deer feeding preferences are classified as follows:

Frequently Damaged-These plants are favored by deer.  They may require physical or chemical protection.

Occasionally Damaged-These plants are most likely eaten after the favorites are gone.

Rarely Damaged-These are rarely eaten when other options exist. 

Plants in bold tend to be extremely resistant to deer feeding.

+Observed deer damage on the arboretum grounds.

*Virginia natives.

+Some species in the group are Virginia natives.


Rarely Damaged Trees

Aesculus parviflora Bottlebrush buckeye
Aesculus parvia Red buckeye
Betula spp. Birch species+
Cedrus deodora Deodar cedar
Crataegus spp. Hawthorn species*
Cryptomeria japonica Japanese cedar
Ginkgo biloba Ginkgo
Gleditsia triacanthos Honey Locust*
Ilex opaca American holly*
Juniperus virginiana Eastern red cedar*
Lagerstroemia hybrids Crepe myrtle
Liquidambar styraciflua Sweet gum*
Magnolia grandiflora Southern Magnolia*
Magnolia virginica Sweetbay Magnolia*
Nyssa sylvatica Black gum*
Picea pungens glauca Colorado blue spruce
Pinus sylvestris Scotch pine
Platanus occidentalis Sycamore*
Prunus serrulata Japanese flowering cherry
Sassafras albidum Sassafras*
Taxodium distichum Bald Cypress*

Occasionally Damaged Trees
Abies concolor                             White (Concolor) fir
Acer spp.                                     Maple species+
Aesculus hippocastanum            Horsechestnut
Amelanchier arborea                   Downy serviceberry*
Amelanchier canadensis             Shadbush*
Amelanchier laevis                      Allegheny serviceberry*
Cedrus atlantica                          Atlas cedar
Cercis canadensis                       Redbud*
Chionanthus virginicus                 Fringe tree*
Cornus florida                               Flowering dogwood*
Cornus kousa                               Kousa dogwood
Hamamelis species                      Witch hazel species+
Ilex x attenuata hybrids                ‘Foster’s’ holly
Ilex x ‘Nellie Stevens’                   ‘Nellie Steven’s’ holly
Magnolia soulangiana                   Saucer Magnolia
Metasequoia glyptostroboides       Dawn redwood
Pinus spp.                                     Pine species+
Philadelphus coronarius               Sweet mock orange
Quercus spp.                                Oak species+
Salix spp.                                       Willow species+
Syringa reticulata                          Japanese tree lilac
Tilia spp.                                       Linden species+
Tsuga spp.                                    Hemlock species+
Frequently Damaged Trees
Chamaecyparis species                 False cypress+
Cornus mas                                    Cornelian dogwood
Cupressocyparis leylandii            Leyland cypress
Malus spp.                                       Apples, crabapples
Prunus spp.                                     Cherries, plums
Thuja spp.                                        Arborvitae species+
Rarely Damaged Shrubs
Abelia x grandiflora                   Abelia
Buxus spp.                                Boxwood species
Callicarpa americana                American beautyberry*
Calycanthus floridus                  Sweet shrub*
Caryopteris x clandonensis       Bluebeard
Cephalanthus occidentalis        Button bush*
Cornus sericea                          Red Osier Dogwood*
Cephalotaxus harringtonia        Japanese plum yew
    var. horeana
Deutzia gracilis                          Deutzia
Forstythia spp.                           Forsythia species
Fothergilla gardenia                  Fothergila
Kalmia latifolia                           Mountain laurel*
Kolkwitzia amabilis                    Beautybush
Ilex cornuta                                Chinese holly
Ilex glabra                                  Inkberry*
Juniperus chinensis                   Chinese juniper
Leucothoe spp.                          Leucothoe species
Mahonia spp.                             Grapeholly species
Pinus mugo                               Mugo pine
Pieris japonica                           Andromeda
Pyracantha spp.                        Pyracantha species
Sambucus canadensis              American elderberry*
Sarcoccoca hookeriana             Dwarf sweet box
    var. humilis
Syringa vulgaris                        Common Lilac
Viburnum trilobum                     American cranberry bush*
Viburnum dentatum                   Arrowwood*
Occasionally Damaged Shrubs
Camellias spp.                         Camellia species
Chaenomeles speciosa           Japanese flowering quince
Cornus racemosa                    Gray dogwood*
Cotinus coggygira                    Smokebush
Cotoneaster spp.                     Cotoneaster species
Forsythia x intermedia             Border forsythia
Hydrangeaarborescens          Smooth hydrangea*
Hydrangea paniculata              Panicle hydrangea
Ilex crenata                              Japanese holly
Ilex x merserveae                    China and blue hollies
Ilex verticillata                          Winterberry holly*
Itea virginica                             Virginia sweetspire*
Potentilla fruticosa                    Bush cinquefoil
Rhododendron caroliniaum      Carolina rhododendron
Rhus typhina                            Staghorn sumac*
Rosa rugosa                             Rugosa rose
Syringa x persica                      Persian lilac
Viburnum x juddii                      Judd viburnum
Viburnum rhytidophyllum           Leatherleaf viburnum
Viburnum plicatum var.             Doublefile viburnum
Viburnum carlessi                     Koreanspice viburnum
Weigela florida                          Old fashioned weigela
Frequently Damaged Shrubs
Cornus amomum                       Silky dogwood*
Euonymus americana                Hearts-a-burstin*
Hydrangea macrophylla             Bigleaf hydrangea
Rhododendron spp.                    Deciduous azaleas*
Rhododendron spp.                    Evergreen azaleas
Rhododendron catawbiense      Catawba rhododendrons*
Rhododendron periclymenoides Pinxterbloom azalea*
Rosa hybrids                               Hybrid tea roses
Syringa patula                             Manchurain lilac
Taxus spp.                                   Yew species