For the untrained landscaper, simple mistakes can be made when maintaining your current landscaping aesthetic. Most mistakes can be found in the way plants are cared for on your property, your ground covering for your landscaping beds, and irregular fertilization and weed control.

Unfortunately, many homeowners are unaware of the proper techniques used to maintain a healthy and thriving yard. Avoid making these mistakes when you are caring for your landscaping or consider hiring a professional, such as A+ Lawn & Landscape, to handle your grounds upkeep for you in and around Des Moines, West Des Moines, and Ankeny.

Mistake #1: Improper Pruning/Trimming

Improperly trimmed plants in West Des Moines look unruly.

Plant health is extremely important, however, it is very fragile. Trimming or pruning at the wrong time or in the wrong way can result in a plant that is quickly and easily susceptible to disease, insect infestation, and decay. 

Failing to Prune a Flowering Shrub

Failing to prune flowering shrubs or trees at the right time can cause you to remove the buds that produce the blooms. Pruning a spring flowering shrub or tree should be done immediately following the bloom, however, summer flower and fruit-bearing plants and trees should be pruned in early fall.

Topping and Lion's Tailing

Chopping off the top of the plant (topping) or removing too many lower branches (Lion's tailing) create an aesthetically unpleasing look while also leaving the tree or shrub vulnerable with a weakened branch structure.

Improper Trimming Cuts

It is a common mistake to cut the branches off too close to the main trunk. Cutting too close to the trunk can open a wound on the plant that allows it to be susceptible to disease and pest infestations. Additionally, the wrong cuts in the wrong order can be a recipe for disaster on your plant. This can cause branches to fall, tear, or split off the main trunk.

Pruning at the Wrong Time

The right or wrong time to prune will always depend on the species of the plant and the condition it is in. Most plants can be pruned during winter dormancy, but some species are more particular and careful consideration needs to be taken on when to prune them. A stressed tree should be minimally pruned. Pruning trees in direct sunlight could have detrimental effects on them as well. 

Avoid these common trimming and pruning mistakes by consulting with the pros at A+ Lawn & Landscape.

Mistake #2: Improper Mulch Installation

Improper mulch installation is a common mistake made by homeowners. A few mistakes need to be avoided when maintaining your beds when it comes to mulch installation.

First, avoid mulch volcanoes. This happens when too much mulch is piled high around the roots of a plant. When this happens, it starves the roots of the plant of oxygen and hydration. Keep mulch spread out in a 2-3" thick layer evenly, or have a professional company come to handle your mulching annually.

Next, mulching too early in the season can be devastating for your plants and soil. It can prevent the natural soil freezing and heating process. To avoid this, make sure you are mulching after the last hard frost in the spring.

Lastly, using the same mulch year after year can be detrimental. This negatively affects your soil's pH levels and nutrient composition. Try altering your mulch annually or bi-annually to avoid ruining your soil's pH levels.

When you are not careful on your mulching, your landscaping plants suffer. Ultimately, improper mulching leads to moisture and oxygen barriers, overly heated soil/roots, and root rot.

Mistake #3: Irregular Fertilization & Weed Control Schedule

Grass that did not receive correct fertilization in Ankeny, IA.

Consistency is the key to retaining a lush, green, weed-free lawn. When your fertilization and weed control is done inconsistently and without a properly regimented schedule, your lawn will have detrimental effects. Lawns require high-quality fertilizers and weed control products to maintain their health. Using poor products in an untimely manner will result in patchy, dead, or diseased lawns.

Weed control comes naturally with a fertilization schedule. The healthier you keep your lawn with well-maintained fertilization applications and spot weed control, the fewer weeds your lawn will have because your lawn will become more resistant to weed growth. Applying your fertilizer at the wrong time or applying too much of it can seriously ruin your lawn. 

Your lawn can be critically damaged from overuse of fertilizer or weed control, especially in the summer. These chemicals can easily burn your grass, which makes it hard to re-grow.

When you need landscape maintenance done, call on the pros at A+ Lawn & Landscape.

Proper maintenance of your landscaping beds and lawn will save you time, money, and many headaches. It is easy to slip up and make mistakes when so much is required in caring for your property.

Contact A+ Lawn & Landscape if you are in or around the areas of Des Moines, West Des Moines, or Ankeny to handle your ongoing maintenance so you can avoid making any of the aforementioned mistakes. You can reach out to us and set up a consultation or receive a maintenance quote at (515) 289-2020.