First Big Snow, What You Should Know!

As winter finally kicks into high gear, this is the time to cognizant of how to care for your lawn during the winter snows. Snow can act as an insulation for your new grass seedlings. It will protect it and once it starts melt slowly will also help in the germination process for the spring. A big fear for people is the snow mold that can occur on lawns. One of the primary fall lawn care practices that homeowners need to be careful of is over-fertilizing as applying too much fertilizer can lead to the snow mold, which really can be a lawn’s worst nightmare.


This fungal disease transpires in the early spring as the snow melts and appears in two ways as pink or gray, circular patches of dead and matted grass. When it comes to fertilization, less is more. Fertilizer overuse is undetectable, and once turf grass goes dormant, too much fertilization can cause it to absorb too many nutrients and grow when it doesn’t want to. It can affect all grass but Kentucky Blue Grass and Fescue seem to be the least likely to be affected by this disease.

Gray Snow Mold:


Gray snow mold (Typhula spp. or Typhula blight) is the less damaging form of snow mold. While its damage may appear widespread, it typically does little damage to the grass itself, only to the blades. Unlike most plant pathogens, it is able to survive throughout hot summer months as sclerotia under the ground or in plant debris. Typhula blight is commonly found in United States in the Great Lakes region and anywhere with cold winter temperatures and persistent snow fall.

Pink Snow Mold:


Pink snow mold (Microdochium nivale or Fusarium patch) is the more severe form of snow mold, and can destroy the roots and crowns of grass, causing more damage than gray snow mold. Like gray snow mold, it is able to survive the summer months in decayed plant debris as spores or mycelium.


As snow mold remains dormant during summer months when other forms of disease fungi are most active, steps to prevent snow mold infestations must be taken near the end of the summer months. While active lawn care such as regular mowing and raking of leaves is typically sufficient to prevent an infestation, the use of chemicals may sometimes be required. Fungicides, which should typically be applied immediately prior to the first large snowfall in an area, can be used if typical cultural methods do not work.

You should avoid walking in newly seeded areas when the snow is packed as this can cause damage to the new seedling grass.

Here is a helpful video on do’s and don’ts of winter:


Brighten The Drab Winter Landscapes

winter3Old Man Winter has finally officially arrived in the Shenandoah Valley with this blast of cold weather.  If you are like me you find the winter landscape to be a little drab and lackluster. Apart from seeing the occasional Cedar or different varieties of Pine trees the majority of what we see is the bare branches of the once full and beautifully green trees. This does not mean that we cannot add tidbits of color to spruce up our landscapes and gardens until the spring blooms. Adding these dashes of color and some lighting can brighten the surrounding ominous grey we see when we look all around. Below we have compiled a few ideas that you can use to brighten and add depth to your exterior spaces to get you through these winter months.

Keeping some nice wintery plants like evergreens and holly bushes can separate the monochromatic color palette we are accustomed to in the winter. Keep in mind only female variety holly bushes produce the red berries.winter2Hanging new bird feeders near your windows will add the joys of viewing the colorful birds. You can add color and texture by adding evergreen branches and other hearty winter plants around the base of the bird feeder just to add splashes of color and to give it a more aesthetically pleasing view from inside your home.

winter5By just adding some lighting to your entryway and/or front porch area can allow you to prolong the onset of the early dark winter days. Plus, this can add ambience with the lights, some lanterns or other lighted decorative objects.

Planters are a very easy and affordable way to brighten your landscape and garden any time of year but especially so during the winter. You can use leftover Christmas winter4trimmings, any greenery from your garden, even birch logs and pieces of evergreen branches with some lighting creates a lovely feature. The possibilities with the planters can be quite endless with a little imagination. winter6

These are just a few of the simple suggestions to help get your drab winter landscape through to the full lushness of the spring blooms. It is never too early to think about your garden and landscape. If you are thinking of updating or changing your landscape, ideas big or small, please give us a call to schedule one of our landscape designers to come meet with you.







2015 in review

We here at Roanoke Landscapes, myself especially, want to thank everyone that has visited, read our blogs, shared and left comments! We look forward to an even better 2016!! Please keep leaving comments and sharing!

Happy New Year and Thank You!

Michelle-Roanoke Landscapes

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 27 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Inman Family Before and After

I had the pleasure of meeting a client we did some recent work for this past summer 2015 when we did a testimonial interview. She was very pleased with the outcome and I do have to say I am always surprised at just how beautiful the work turns out when you put the before and after pictures side-by-side.

This was a relatively small project on her turn of the century beautiful historical home as far as projects go compared to some of our bigger ones. However, we enjoy any size project.

inman before and after.jpg

Below you will find her video testimonial about the project we completed for her.

A huge thank you to Mrs. Inman for doing this testimonial.  If any of our clients would like to do a video testimonial we would be more than happy and appreciate it greatly. We, as well as the Inman family, are more than pleased with how this project turned out.

Thank you!


If you are interested you can reach me at:


Tricky Winter Weather Woes

Many prefer a more mild winter as for me I love snow; more the merrier! However, the majority I know would much rather have warm weather. A good gauge of the weather is whether or not it is “flip-flop” weather.

To me there is nothing cozier than Autumn and Winter. Fires burning, long-patterned thick warm socks snuggled up to one another playing footsies, hot tea or cocoa, warm fuzzy blankets–what more is there??

winter blooms 3

You may ask yourself what does this have to do with landscaping? Well, as with most humans going dormant in winter is normal and so do our plants, usually. However, the warmer winter we have been having confuses them. This seems to be a consistent consensus across most of the United States. Many plants are blooming early thinking it is spring time.

This will generally not harm the plants it just makes for a much less vibrant spring time. Generally these blooms are categorized two ways: fall flowering plants which are having extended blooming periods and spring flowers that are blooming too early.

winter blooms 2

Toad lilies, chrysanthemums, asters, and some types of anemones are some of the flowers that usually bloom in the late summer and fall; many have had an extended blooming time in the winter. They generally would have had a series of cold nights in November that would have cut them short but this didn’t happen because we have had such a warm November. November here in the Shenandoah Valley seemed more like summer a few times and spring with all the showers the rest of the time.

winter blooms 4

The flowering quince, forsythia, cherry blossom trees, viburnums, jasmines, rhododendrons, azaleas, and some of the spring woody plants are starting to wake up early. These kinds of plants produce a “budget” which allows them to bloom once a year. This action typically occurs in late February or March.  However, due to the warm cycles in our climate this late fall and early winter these plants are spending their budgets early.

winter blooms 1

The plants have simply been tricked into thinking the warm weather is their next cycle. This causes the buds to open. One of the single questions we are ask most when this happens is will they bloom again in the spring? The simple answer is they will likely not bloom again in the spring. They will create their new budgets in the summer and hope for a normal winter so that they will bloom again the next spring.

Not the answer most of us want to hear, however, what an enjoyable winter we are having with the beautiful flowers.

Happy New Year!