Holiday Lighting Is Upon US


The fall weather rolls in, the trees start to change the variegated colors that fill the Blue Ridge Mountains and countryside. This is a magical time of year when the businesses and homes start to put out their holiday lighting. Where the streets of residential neighborhoods are lit up one by one. The briskness in the air makes you want to bundle up and go for a drive and look at everything lit up like a Christmas tree. Roanoke Landscapes is happy to do our part in bringing many businesses and residential homes some of this Holiday magic.

Here are some trends, tips, and installation guidelines.

Most people are unaware just how many lights it takes to light the different facets of the outside of your home. That is why it is important to hire a credible company to do your outdoor lighting for you.


Here at Roanoke Landscapes we not only do residential lighting but we also do commercial lighting. Many of the hospitals in Lynchburg, Virginia are done by Roanoke Landscapes. We do many residential homes throughout the Roanoke Valley area.  We have the Holiday Spirit!

Some things to remember are just how many lights it really takes to light a tree outdoors. Generally, many studies have shown, that trees are the largest request to light. This is more than bushes, wreathes, and ground lighting. For a normal 9′ tall tree it generally takes between 500-800 feet of lights to light it. If you think about the Christmas Tree in Times Square it generally takes 150,000 lights to light it properly.


A good rule of thumb for lighting trees is that it takes 80 linear feet per foot of the tree to light it well. So a tree that is 10′ tall will generally take 800 feet of lights. Now, this number could go up or down depending on the trees girth. Your Holiday Lighting company can let you know how many feet you will need for your trees.

Having more lights is always better than having a bush or tree with sparse lights on it. If you think a bush will need 4 strands of lights do 8 strands. You will insure it is covered thoroughly and it also eliminates having to redo the spacing and the tree or bush which can be very time-consuming.


It is a good idea to make sure the company you hire has a guarantee on the lighting in your contract. Also make sure you hire a company that is licensed and has experience. Roanoke Landscapes has been doing Holiday Lighting for 12 years.

Call us today to schedule an appointment for Holiday Lighting: 540-992-4845



The Usual Suspects On Turf: Fall Updates

Summer has faded and as the fall weather sets in it is important to think about you turf and preparing it for a good come back in the spring time. There isn’t a great expectation of an enormous weed problem or diseases however, in some places, the dry and hot summer months have left many lawns weak.


Jim Kerns, turfgrass pathologist at North Carolina State University, says that there aren’t any major disease pressure.  However, professionals should work diligently to recover wear areas. The moist weak areas are an opportunity for a pathogen to be opportunistic.

Warm season grasses should bounce back quite nicely once they get irrigation and rain. Cool season grasses need to be watched carefully and they are more at risk for the cold weather months.

The usual annual broadleaf and grassy weeds will make an appearance again this year. Due to the wet September and October the region has had we have seen that these little pesky buggers have come early in some places. It is important to watch throughout the winter months in order to properly anticipate the pressure spring weeds are going to have on the landscape.


The harsh winter from last year and very rainy spring let to early weed germination in late March and early April of this year. But as always the germination depends on how much your area gets in precipitation. This is why aerating and overseeding is so important. This allows your grass to get good and healthy going into the cold weather months which will help protect them from the weeds and disease.

Call us today to book an appointment for our turf specialist to look at your lawn.



It’s TIME: Peonies

The general information about Peonies:


Sun Exposure:
-Full Sun Part Sun
Flower Color:
Bloom Time:
Botanical Name:
Plant Type:
Hardiness Zone:
-3 4 5 6 7 8
Soil pH:
Peonies can live and thrive for decades and decades, with very little care. Peonies bloom in late spring, but it is best when planted or transplanted in the fall. The time to plant them or transplant them is NOW!
Planting peonies is pretty straight forward and easy. Subsequently, there are a few special needs peonies have, that are should be accommodated at planting time. In particular, the choice of where to plant peonies and how deep to plant them.
Peonies can be transplanted as plants, but just as often you’ll be planting tuberous roots. The peony root should contain at least 3 eyes, small reddish buds. They are similar to the eyes of potatoes, that will eventually become stems.

The reason for the rule of thumb of 3 eyes on each transplant is so that the tuber is large and strong enough to survive and bloom within a couple of years. The plants with one or two eyes will still grow but take much longer to produce the flowers.


Peonies are very adaptable, but ideally they like a well-drained, slightly acidic soil(6.5 to 7.0 pH). If you are planting in heavy, clay type soil, amending with compost or some soil mix, the bag can say labeled for azaleas and rhododendrons, before planting, will make it easier for your peony plant to settle in. Since peonies can remain in the same spot for upwards of 70 years, you must take the time to prepare the soil. This is an important step not to skip.

Peonies like a good chill in the winter which is perfect for our VIRGINIA weather. In order to set their flower buds, peony roots should be planted relatively close to the soil surface; only about 2-3 inches deep. It may feel odd to leave roots so exposed, but peonies actually need this chilling to attain dormancy and set buds.

The full peony plant will be 3-4′ in diameter and planting space should be accommodated as such. They are prone to grey mold, botrytis, if planted too closely. They need at least 6 hours of sunlight, so you need to keep in mind the area you are wanting to plant them.

They are a hearty plant that takes some prep time. We are designing and planting the peonies now. Call us to design your garden peonies! Don’t wait too long.



October: Chore Time In The Garden

Fall has arrived!

I have mentioned many times that this is my favorite time of the year. Pumpkin recipes for everything, the beautiful and majestic colors of fall, hot apple cider, hay rides, bon fires, and smores! I feel October officially kicks off the holiday season. It is also the time to start your garden chores before the onset of bad weather.


Overseeding after aerating your lawn

Overseeding after aerating your lawn

Starting in about mid-late August through about the beginning of November is when we do our lawn renovations. This is where we can do a full overhaul or aeration and overseeding. A lot of people do not understand the importance of this process. There are a couple blogs in our archives you can read to get more information. Find a link to a couple of the blogs below:

Lawn Renovation

Aeration & Overseeding Follow-Up

October…It’s the perfect time to …

  • plant spring bulbs
  • plant trees, shrubs, and perennials
  • divide peonies and iris
  • tidy your flower beds
  • decorate for the season

bulbs1 bulbs2

Most people do not think about winterizing their garden and doing maintenance on their tools. This is very important in the fall to do both.

Water Your Lawn & Garden Deeply

One of the single most important things you can to winterize your lawn and flower beds is to give them a very thorough and deep watering before the ground freezes. By doing so this provides an abundance of water needs for your plants to survive the winter months.


Also Remember, unless there is snow cover, it is important to water your plants during prolonged dry spells in the winter, typically longer than 2 weeks, to avoid damage to roots and evergreen foliage due to dehydration and desiccating winds. The best time to water in the winter is in the middle of the day and when temperatures are above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fertilizing is important. Using an organic slow-release fertilizer in your beds. They typically promote the right growth at the right time. Inorganic fertilizers can at times promote early growth because they work faster and this can cause problems when it puts your plants at risk for growing and blooming too early when we are still at risk for freezes.

Overseeding after aerating your lawn

Overseeding after aerating your lawn

Cutting Back Perennials:

When your perennials have finished blooming for the year, you can cut them back and compost the foliage. It is not necessary to do this in the fall but many gardeners enjoy cleaning the garden at this time to make it look more tidy through the fall and winter months.


Some perennials SHOULD be cut back in the fall:

Cut back plants with obvious disease problems.
  • Any plant foliage that looks diseased, has powdery mildew, or insect damage should be cut back and the foliage should be bagged up and placed in the trash. This plant material should never be composted because it could contaminate your garden next year.
  • It is especially important to cut back and throw out peony foliage as peonies are prone to fungal diseases.

Some plants SHOULD NOT be cut back in the fall:

  • Do not cut back ornamental grasses, Buddleia, crape myrtle, Callicarpa, or Caryopteris until spring.
    • Ornamental grasses should be cut close to the ground in early spring before growth begins.
Cut Buddleia back in the spring
    • After the threat of cold weather in the spring, prune the above listed shrubs back to live green wood or down to about 12″-18″.
    • Prune crape myrtle later in the spring after new growth begins so you can identify and remove any winter killed branches before you do any pruning of live wood.
  • If you want, leave the stems of taller sedums, ornamental grasses, and the seed pods of Yucca, poppies, and Siberian Iris because they look nice throughout winter even after their flowers are gone.

Weed and Mulch your beds:

weedingWeeds act as a host for insects and plant diseases which can and will spread to your plants. A bonus for weeding in the fall is that you get a jump start to spring weeding and can a lot of time eliminate weeds from seeding and more growing in the spring.


mulch1Mulching is very important as it can keep plants from heaving, where roots can break off, and keep the crowns of tender plants protected. Mulching keeps down weeds and helps to keep the soil evenly moist throughout the winter months. A layer of mulch can also insulate the plants and keep the process of heaving from happening.

Protect your Evergreens:

Evergreen are very susceptible from wind burn by spraying anti-desiccant onto the leaves which will help the leaves from becoming wind burnt.


It is too early to do this now but put it on your gardening calendar for later this fall. Read the label and apply according to the label directions.

In Your Tool Shed

It is important to take some time to organize your tool shed.

  • Inventory your supply of herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides. Make sure they are well sealed in their original containers and locked in an area protected from freezing temperatures and away from curious children and pets.
  • gardentoolsClean dirt off tools to prevent them from rusting. Sharpen any tools that need it. Tools with wooden handles should be rubbed down with a mixture of two parts boiled linseed oil to one part paint thinner or turpentine to keep them from cracking.

Drain the gas from all machines.  Interestingly enough, winter is the best time to service your lawn mower and tiller. There is typically a much quicker turn around time in winter and since you won’t need them, it’s much more convenient for you.

At Roanoke Landscapes we take care of all of these aspects of property management. We can do it all or help you come up with a plan to take care of certain aspects of your property.Call us today! 540-992-4845


Some information from Viette Nurseries was used in this article.

Fall Is A Color

fall6Fall colors are different for different regions. Here in Virginia we experience the picturesque fall foliage. The rusts and reds, oranges, browns, and deep yellows. They cover our area of the Shenandoah Valley and Blue Ridge Mountains like a multi-colored quilt.

Some trees and shrubs you can plant to optimize these fall colors are:

-Sugar Maple










-Amur Maple








-Bald Cypress


-Sweet Gum




-Virginia Sweetspire


-Oakleaf Hydrangea


-Witch Hazel


-Japanese Maple


-Sweet Birch


-Burning Bush




There are many flowers you can add and ornamental grasses of all shapes and sizes and colors to merge the colors of your landscape when your colors of fall start to become pronounced.

Schedule an appointment today to revamp your landscape, we can add seasonal color and create a master plan to change things up to take advantage of the colors of fall throughout your landscapes.



IMPORTANT: Boxwood Blight

Here is an important update to our area because of the rain from Robert at Saunders Brothers.

Update 10/2/15


Boxwood, Murden Family.

The past 8 days have included 6 days of rain, one cloudy day, and one sunny day. In that period, we had nearly 6 inches of rain. Our forecast is for 3 more days of possible heavy rain.   The temperature has been hanging between 60 and 80 every day. This is the perfect storm for a boxwood blight outbreak (prolonged periods of rain and cool temps). With all of this on my mind, I thought it was time to update you on what we have learned recently with regard to boxwood blight.

Over the past several months, I have had the unfortunate opportunity to talk to about a half dozen people who have witnessed the blight first hand either in landscapes or garden centers.  I actually appreciate the discussions that I get to have. With each encounter I feel I learn more about the disease. Here are some of my thoughts:

  • The disease had been introduced to the landscape or plants and didn’t just spontaneously appear. Some of those trails were much clearer than others.
  • Everyone needs to be careful about cleaning tools if they are used in multiple landscapes especially around boxwood.
  • In all cases, sempervirens cultivars have been infected. Most commonly ‘Suffruticosa’ (English Boxwood).
  • Yellowing and browning on leaves and sections of English boxwood is, much more often than not, in no way related to boxwood blight. I get calls and emails regularly from individuals who panic and assume the sick plant has ‘the blight’.
  • One researcher is using an infected landscape to test and observe infected mature plants.

It is very encouraging to hear that the USDA has put a significant emphasis on boxwood blight and they have several labs doing work on it. DNA is being mapped on many varieties of boxwood and that information is being used to predict varietal tolerance in existing varieties as well as assist in identifying beneficial traits for boxwood breeding programs.   An interesting thing that seems to be coming out of the DNA is the fact that the variety ‘Justin Brouwers’ is most likely going to be switched into the sempervirens family. A researcher in Europe told us this a while back and now the US labs are agreeing.

At our nursery, we are considering implementing additional protocol to delay the introduction of the disease as well as minimize the movement of the disease. We will continue to limit non-staff access to production areas. We have installed foot baths at the entrances to our office. (Please use them when you stop by.) We are discussing ways to minimize the number of times our staff enter boxwood production areas. We are looking at ways to economically and efficiently clean our equipment more often. While we realize some of the protocol we have enacted can be slightly bothersome when visiting or purchasing, we are thankful for the understanding that nearly every customer or visitor has had when visiting the nursery. As I have mentioned before, we don’t doubt that one day we will see the disease, however the further we are down the road from that time the smarter and more prepared we will be.

Someone asked me the other day how I felt about boxwood blight. I remember getting the call in October of 2011 from a nurseryman telling me about seeing the disease firsthand and its destruction. I (and the rest of Saunders Brothers) went into freak out mode thinking near ‘end of the world’ scenarios. Nearly 4 years have passed since that call and we have moved from freak out mode to a mode of deep respect. We (the nursery industry) will learn to manage this disease by using tolerant varieties and better management practices both in the landscape and in production.

Happy fall gardening and I hope we see the sun very soon.