RAIN GARDENS- Maintenance

As with the establishment of any garden, watering frequency and amount is vital to plant health. Most young, establishing plants need one inch of water per week after the initial establishment period of 4-6 weeks. Keep a rain gauge in your garden to measure rain events and determine supplemental watering if needed. In subsequent years you will only need to water in dry periods.

One of the other keys is keeping the planting weeded. Mulching and use of pre-emergent herbicide such as Preen greatly reduces the chance of weed establishment in the early days of the planting. Spring and fall are usually the most critical times to stay on top of this gardening chore. Work with a perennial professional if you need help identifying a plant vs weed.

Caring for the plants involves pruning, deadheading and pinching. These three activities keep your planting looking fresh and beautiful. When you perform these takes it also gives opportunity to examine plant health and if there are any insect or disease problems present. Always use a nontoxic and natural control to insure beneficial insects are not harmed. Again seek the advice of a gardening specialist if you are unsure about what to do! After a few years you may need to divide and remove plants to continue a healthy ecosystem that remains aesthetically pleasing. This task is best completed in the spring when plants are 4” high.

Lastly, do not forget to appreciate and enjoy the fruit of your labor- a beautiful, sustainable and important habitat for ecological health.

Call on us for your spring landscape maintenance needs. We can get you started on the right path for a beautiful landscape that will bring you joy all season. Visit www.ateamlandscape.com Email aTeam@vhiinc.com or CALL Amy 507-581-6886 to setup your groundskeeping consultation today.

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Spring Perennial Maintenance

With warmer Temps and longer sunlight hours comes the spring cleaning duties. Roll up the sleeves, sharpen the pruner and head outside to tidy up your landscape and get those spring cleaning chores done.


With the snow melted and gone and the soil temperature above freezing, now is a good time to cut down perennials left for winter interest. Ornamental grasses should be cut down to 3” or so before the new green growth starts to appear as it gets warmer. If your clumps have been planted for 3-5 years it may be time for division. A good sign of this need is a ‘balding’ center of plant. The best process to accomplish division is to first dig out the entire root area and divide into sections using a soil knife or sharp spade. Reinstall one of the divisions back in the original hole and plant the rest of the divisions in a new area or give away to friends!


Pull off or cut away any remaining leaves left on these plants. Division may be necessary for plants to remain healthy. While division can happen at almost anytime with these two spring is the best time.


Be careful not to uncover these sensitive type plants too early and expose them to freezing Temps if winter decides to revisit few times. Carefully pull away any leftover leaves to tidy them up.

Cleanup all other sticks and stalks and lightly rake your garden areas if there is an abundance of leaves or other debris. Don’t worry about getting every last little thing to allow natural composting to happen .

Call on us for your spring landscape maintenance needs. We can get you started on the right path for a beautiful landscape that will bring you joy all season. Visit www.ateamlandscape.com Email aTeam@vhiinc.com or CALL Amy 507-581-6886 to setup your groundskeeping consultation today.

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Early Spring Gardening in MN- February to April

Seed Starting Helpful Tools and Equipment: egg cartons, milk jugs, seed starting tray systems, clear bags, shop lights, metal shelving unit, seedling fertilizer, small watering can, wood label sticks or clothespins

Seed Starting- Indoors- Celery is first at the end of February followed by Brussel sprouts and onions a couple weeks later. Eggplants and peppers are started in mid March and Brassica family (Cabbage, broccoli etc.) toward the end of March. The beginning of April means 6 weeks until our last frost date (mid May) Tomatoes are started now followed up by squash, cucumbers and pumpkins on late April if you want to give them a head start.

Seed Starting- Outdoor- using milk jugs as mini greenhouse planters you can successfully start seed for cool weather vegetables or prairie type flowers. This year I’m trying this method with: Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Parsley and Kale around Mid/Late-March. Towards the end of April spinach and lettuces could be started in the garden but may need night protection. If the soil isn’t too cold and wet Potatoes can be planted.

Groundskeeping Helpful Tools and Equipment: Felco hand pruners, hedge trimmer (manual or battery powered), Loppers, Pruning Saw, tarp to pile clippings on.

Groundskeeping- cut ornamental grasses and other perennials left for winter interest to 3” high. Pull away any leaves or other organic debris from planting beds once snow has melted and overnight temps are above freezing most nights.

Groundskeeping- Pruning – cut spireas, potentilla and weigela to 6” high every 3 years for fresh growth. The general rule is cut back no more then 1/3rd back and 1/3rd thining out for shrubs. Prune spring bloomers (like lilacs and azalea) right after bloom is finished. Most trees should be pruned by the end of March but birch and maple will drip sap at this time of the year.

Homemaking- Maple Syrup is dependent on weather for sap flow. Time to order chicks for meat or eggs.

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Lamium Purple Dragon- Long-lasting blooms Height: 6 in. Spread: 12 in. Dusty silver-white leaves that are outlined with blue-green. This groundcover perennial boasts purple snapdragon-like flowers that appear from April to June.

Winterglow Bergenia- H 12-15″ W 18″ Evergreen leaves are glossy green setting off the red flowers in April-June. Likes Partial Shade.

Bleeding Heart! -Aren’t these flowers sweet?! These perennials generally grown 24-30” x 18-30”, depending on the variety, and bloom in the spring-early summer. This is a low-maintenance, partial sun or shade shrub that is considered a cottage garden classic! FUN FACT: Depending on where you’re from, this shrub known as either a Bleeding Heart or Lady in the Bath! Lady in the Bath?! Yes!! Because if you turn the flowers upside down, that’s just what they look like

Bloodroot- These early spring bloomers cover the woodland floor with their shining white petals. The stems ‘bleed’ red when broken or crushed hence the name! Native to eastern united states and Canada they form large colonies with their spreading rhizomes. Ants, bees and deer are just a few benefited by this plant. Native Americans used it to induce vomiting so don’t try eating it!

Daffodils- You’ll have to plan ahead for these cheery flowers that require fall planting for spring blooms but they will provide years of enjoyment once you do. Deer and squirrel resistance are a bonus. These plants are perfect companions with summer blooming perennials and ornamental grasses.

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EARLY SPRING BLOOMERS for MN: Shrubs and Trees

After a long winter of grey days with piles of white snow our eyes long to see some signs of life in the bleak landscape. The following plants are some of the first to usher in Spring with glorious shades of pink, purple, yellow, orange and white.

Redbud Flower

MN Strain Redbud Tree- This lovely one is a Redbud Tree. The rose-pink flowers emerge in the spring and last for 2-3 weeks before the green leaves appear. Then in the fall, the leaves turn to yellow, making this a great tree choice for any area you’re looking to add a little color to!

FUN FACT: Those flowers aren’t only beautiful, but edible! They can be added to a salad for a burst of crisp sweetness! How sweet is that!

 ‘Leonard Messel’ Magnolia! Well-suited for colder climates, this stunning flowering tree adds an oriental flair to any landscape. It thrives in sunny areas with plenty of water.
8′-40″ x 10′-30″
FUN FACT: Magnolia flowers are typically pollinated by beetles, rather than bees or butterflies! Magnolias flowers do not produce nectar, but they do produce large quantities of high-protein pollen which the beetles use for food.

Royal Star Magnolia

‘Royal Star’ Magnolia H 8-10′ W 8-10′
Beautiful white double star shaped flowers appear in early spring before the strappy green leaves emerge. Protect from southern winds to prevent flower buds from freezing off.

‘Ann’ Magnolia Small upright-growing magnolia with red pink lily-shaped flowers in early May. H10’xW6’

First to flower- Forsythia

Show off Forsythia  First Bloomer in Spring Height 4-5 ft. Spread 4-5 ft. Golden flowers appear before the leaves emerge, and the green leaves turn burgundy in the Fall.

Northern lights azalea- These are Azaleas! Azaleas grow from 3-7’ tall with flowers that bloom in spring, coming in a multitude of colors, so you would be sure to find one that would work in your landscape! These shrubs look especially lovely when planted alone or near conifers, but can work in just about any garden with partial to full sun and acidic soil(ph4-5.5 ideal)! FUN FACT: Festivals celebrating the bloom of Azaleas are held around the world, including Japan, Korea, and the US

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Five Groundskeeping Tips

aMY TOP FIVE Groundskeeping Tips

  1. Weeding: set aside a time twice a week to spend walking over your landscape and remove those pesky little plants by hand. A dandelion digger, soil knife or small trowel are excellent tools to help with this task. If undesirable plants are allowed to get bigger you may have to use a tree puller or large shovel! Use of pre-emergent herbicides are helpful but are commonly applied several times during growing season and can have chemicals that runoff into waterways polluting the water.
  2. Pruning: there is a right and a wrong time of the year to complete pruning for many plant varieties. One general rule is spring bloomers need to be cut right after they finish blooming. Shrubs also should be managed in a timely fashion so that extra energy wouldn’t be required for trimming as is the case when they are overgrown. Using a hand powered hedge clippers, Felco pruners or loppers can be a great workout with no fuel emissions involved. Dispose of the debris at a compost site or use in your firepit!
  3. Mulching: when a locally sourced product is used at a proper depth (3-6” for wood mulch and 2-3” for landscape rock) it conserves moisture and greatly reduces weed growth in the landscape. Varying product types also provides great textural interest. Often mulch needs topdressing every couple of years or so to maintain a fresh look and maximum weed suppression. A leaf blower is highly recommended for rock areas to keep out debris and plant litter over the season so that a layer of compost (dirt) is likely to begin to form in the rock.
  4. Fertilizing: proper soil preparation and plant selection will ultimately lead to a decreased need to supplement fertilizer for plant health. Many available fertilizer products add too much of one type of nutrient and not enough of another and are developed for a ‘quick shot’ approach to plant health. The ‘unused’ nutrients can runoff into the water system and negatively affect areas downstream. Native plant material is a good place to start for selection in a landscape design that won’t need special treatments.
  5. Watering: similar to fertilizing, the proper plant in the proper place will just about eliminate the need for supplemental watering once established. Also properly designing a landscape with swales and depressions for water collection or directing can be helpful to replenish ground water.

Learn more tips and tricks by scheduling a Landscape Coaching appointment with us today!

Email: amy@ateamlandscape.com    Phone: 507-581-6886   

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