New Year's Resolutions for Your Yard


Tis the season. The strands of lights are once again collected from the gutters and the shrubs. The ornaments and Christmas décor make their way back into the boxes and attic corners where they’ll keep company with solitude for the next eleven months. The family’s gone home and the rest of the eggnog has been poured out into the kitchen sink. There’s still a bit of clean-up and rearranging to do but, for the most part, the holiday buzz is gone and all that remains are those pesky Resolutions prodding the conscience and threatening defeat. Tis the season, indeed.


Many, or perhaps most of us begin the new year with some sort of a plan; a list of areas in life in which we’d like to see progression, and some details as to what that progression looks like. Cardio may be lacking from our exercise regimen so we buy a bike and swear to ride it thirty miles per day. Organization may be lacking in our home or office so we develop new fool-proof systems to keep the cave in check. Whatever the case, advancement begins with a plan. Without a sensible plan, that crotchety old movie critic in our head immediately takes to grumbling about the plot and past performances until we ditch the effort altogether. Advancement begins with a plan, and a plan begins with information.


So, before this post turns into a self-help book, we’ll present a little bit of information that can help with your gardening resolutions and plans for 2019.


1. Mulch

While we’ve written of the benefits of mulching your planting beds in the past and have laid out the specific qualities of the various materials used for mulching, it is a practice with benefits that can’t be overstated. Mulching directly impacts the plant’s capacity to survive and to thrive. Though mulch can be added any time of year, many prefer to have it applied in February or March in preparation for the spring season.


2. Fertilize

Particularly any blooming trees and shrubs that you have collected. The reproductive processes of trees and shrubs claim a disproportionately large percentage of a plants nutrient reserve. So much so that it’s not uncommon for the death of a plant to occur immediately after blooming – it uses every last bit of food available to it. Crabapples, azaleas, rhododendron, forsythia, dogwood, crepe myrtle, redbud, and dozens of other varieties require a yearly meal at least, but a feeding in both spring and fall will assure that your investments are healthier, fuller, and more vibrant than you’ve ever seen them.


3. Prune

A sure-fire way to grow fuller trees and shrubs that bloom more profusely and live up to and, in fact, surpass our most ambitious expectations. Perhaps your gardens have never been trimmed or pruned. This is often the case but it needn’t remain so. It’s never too late to get your plants back into shape. May this be the year.


4. Water

We’ve written extensively on watering benefits and techniques but haven’t said much with regard to watering established gardens – plantings that have been in the ground for several years. If the goal is to have landscape plants that survive and thrive for many years to come, adding a slow and deep soaking to them a few times throughout the summer is one of the best ways to bring this about. No matter their age, plants that receive supplemental waterings through the summer will outshine their unwatered counterparts in ways that are pleasingly noticable.


5. Bring it Closer

Consider bringing some of the outdoors inside this summer by taking flowering cuttings from your favorite trees and shrubs and placing them into a vase or a decorative pot as a centerpiece. Bringing the nature that we have around us a little bit closer to us can produce benefits that go beyond the splash of color that is added to the counter-top or dining room table. It can bring a little more peace, a little more pleasure, a little more connectedness.

While it’s true that adding all five of these practices to your list of outdoor resolutions will pay off in a number of noticeable ways this year, progression is all that resolutions are really about. Which of them will get you a few steps ahead this year? Which of them will stretch the value of your dollar a little more? Which of them might bring a little more joy this year? Pick that one. And if you’d like a free assessment of your landscape and recommendations for progression, send us a note.


Happy New Year!

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