Vande Hey Design Center

Friday, April 18, 2014

Pruning for Dummies

Proper pruning of your trees and shrubs isn't necessarily complicated, but often strikes fear into the hearts of many first-time owners of a new landscape.  Here are a few "rules of thumb" to help you during your learning curve associated with a new landscape.

- Try to limit pruning the first year or two.  This keeps the maximum amount of foliage on the plant producting the maximum amount of nutrients as the shrub works to adapt to its new home.
- Spring blooming plants are best prunes immediately after they flower.  This spring pruning will not only remove any spent blossoms but it will also keep your shrub in shape for the summer ahead.
REMEMBER that spring blooming plants set their flower buds in the late summer of fall.  Pruning too late in the year will actually remove the flower buds for the following spring.  Examples of spring bloomers are forsythia, lilca, rose tree of China, bridal wreath, and mockorange.
- Summer blooming plants are best prunes when the plant is dormant.  This includes late fall and early spring.  Examples of summer bloomers would be potentilla, spirea, and Annabelle hydrangea.
REMEMBER that summer blooming plants set their buds in the spring.  Pruning once the growth has started each spring will remove the flower buds for the summer ahead.
- Trees that bleed readily in the spring are best pruned during the summer.  This allows abundant time for pruning wounds to heal.  Examples of trees susceptible to bleeding are maple, birch, and elm.
- Finally, put away your pruning tools for the months of September and October.  The result of pruning is often new growth.  New growth at this time of year can be damaged by the onset of cold weather.  Why temp fate?

Hopefully these general rules will make your more comfortable with the process of pruning your landscape plants.  Look for future articles providing specific information on how to revitalize your existing plantings through pruning.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

What Will Winter Leave Behind?

Now that spring is here, what will the winter leave behind?  That's a legitimate question, given that we have not seen most of our landscapes since prior to Thanksgiving.  The answer will depend on our individual situations, but here is what has already become visible with the snow's retreat.

Rabbit damage: Pesky rabbits have damaged many landscape plants through the winter.  Damage has even been seen on many plant types often listed as not susceptible to winter foraging.  The deep snow banks have allowed the damage to extend well up into the branches as well.  For now, all you can do is prune out the damaged areas and make a note to protect these plants from damage next November.

Vole damage: The deep and persistent snow gave both moles and voles a layer of safety as they ate through our lawns.  The retreating snow has left large areas marked by the "race track" like paths of these critters.  The damage is rarely permanent, growing back in a few weeks with a stuff raking and fertilization.

Snow removal damage: A quick look around shows the damage a shovel or plow blade can do as it scrapes across the lawn.  De-icing salts can also leave areas of brown, unsightly grass along heavily-salted walks, drives, and roadways.  If this is occurring in your yard, try using less hazardous salts such as calcium chloride or potassium chloride.  There is not much you can do to prevent damage caused by plow blades and shovels, especially when the damage most likely occurs during the hear of battle as snow piles increase and our patience with removing the snow decreases.

Winter burn on evergreens and broadleaf evergreens: Not only did the winter produce abundant snow but also periods of sub-zero temperatures accompanied by wind.  The result of this weather condition is the browning which is visible on our white pines and broadleaf evergreens like boxwood.  Once again the damage is inflicted and not much can be done after the fact.  Next winter, consider applying anti-desiccants to susceptible evergreens in October.  Also, make sure all your evergreens are well watered at the time of ground freeze.

Who knows what next winter will bring, but if we learn the lessons from this winter, we just might be able to avoid the problems next year.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Protecting Your Garden from Wisconsin Winters

Here is a second installment of our articles on preparing your yard for Wisconsin winters. To assure that you will have fabulous color welcoming the spring to your garden, here are some tips on putting your flower gardens “to bed”.

  • Prune – Though it is usually appealing to tidy your garden in the fall, pruning most plants is not necessary this time of year. In fact, left-over foliage can usually provide some winter protection for your flower bed. Most perennials can be pruned in the fall or spring depending on your preference. However, if they need to be cut back to promote healthy growth, they should be removed once done blooming and browning. Also, if any of your plants showed signs of disease or insects, those should definitely be cut far back and composted.

  • Mulch – Mulching your beds is best done with shredded leaves, evergreen needles, or straw as these options will create a breathable covering for your plants and still protect them from winter conditions and limit predators. Oftentimes the type of mulch you use can also enrich your soil once decomposed. Feel free to add a layer of shredded bark if you already have that spread in your plant bed. However, limit this mulch at the base of your perennials and shrubs as too much covering could cause root rot in your plant.

Monday, November 12, 2012

It's a Wrap!

As Wisconsin weather is repeatedly unpredictable, who can guess what the upcoming winter could bring? However, whether a torrent of snow or unexpectedly mild temperatures, you can prepare your yard for this season. For the next couple of weeks this blog will outline winter-prep tips starting with wrapping your young trees.

The most recommended and common type of tree wrap is kraft paper as it is a biodegradable material and will not girdle the trunk if left on too long. Secondly, it can be found at a reasonable price in comparison with certain plastics or burlaps used to wrap trunks. When covered with this protective layering, trees are shielded from sun scald and rodents throughout the winter. Currently available at our design center, for only $9.99 you can get a 3"x 50' roll of Clark's Tree Wrap. This is definitely an investment worth making. We hope to see you soon!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Help the Environment, Help Yourself

While the environmental impact of tree planting has been well-publicized to Americans, we can't forget how it can personally help a home-owner as well. A tree's natural beauty alone cultivates a neighborhood's atmosphere and creates a peaceful environment. It also provides delicate privacy without the sense of a deliberate barricade. But having a tree in your yard goes beyond being beautiful by also being economically profitable.

The shade and transpiration of a tree provides natural air cooling, while its expansive size provides a wind-break in the winter. With proper placement it can reduce a property's utility bills by as much as 30%. Also, considering the increased real estate value presented in your home, investing in a tree is a positive and powerful impact in several ways.

There is not better time than now to stop in our Design Center with our current sale:

50% off select Maple, Redbud, Honeylocust, Oak, Spruce, Magnolia, Crabapple, and Fruit Trees!!

40% off select Arbovitae, Juniper, and Serviceberry Trees!!

Feel free to contact us with any questions, and we look forward to seeing you soon!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Spring is here!

It looks like spring came early this year. That means it's time to get a jump on your landscaping projects. Also, don't miss the big news! The biggest announcement from Vande Heys this year is the introduction of our new line, VHC Pools. That's right, we're now installing, repairing, and maintaining pools. Check out our new site to find out more.

Also, stop in our retail center which is back up and running for the year. You can pop in ask questions, get advice, and pick up everything you need to make your yard spectacular this season.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

October Maintenance Tips & Tricks

• Finish planting Spring flowering bulbs.
*Stop in to our nursery to see what bulbs we have in!
• Start winterization of plants materials.
• Aeration of lawn to promote root growth.
• Start lowering the mowing height, continue to mow lawn until it stops growing.
• Wrap trunks of young or thin barked trees such as Ash, Honeylocust, Maple, and Linden with tree wrap.
• Continue to collect/mulch leaves from lawn areas.
• Remove debris and leaves from planting beds.
• Cut back all perennials except ones with some winter interest (grasses, sedum)
• Take snow removal equipment into repair center for tune up, so equipment is ready for the first snowfall.
• Spray crab trees with dormant oil to help control apple scab next summer.