Maybe its wishful thinking, but Spring must be just around the corner. With Spring, comes flowers— for all of our followers who like to spend time enjoying the Muskoka outdoors, we’ve gathered some tips on home Landscaping and Gardening. Did you know, good landscaping can add up to 28% to overall home value (says landscape economist John Harris)? Not only that, but for many, it is an enjoyable hobby. As we begin to see warmer temperatures week by week, now is a good time to start planning your gardening for this season, to ensure your yard will be green and beautiful by the time the season reaches it’s peak!
1. Trees: Planting trees is not only a smart decision for the planet, but is actually beneficial in many other ways:
• Just three properly placed trees could save you between $100 and $250 a year in energy costs, says the U.S. Department of Energy.
• Planting windbreaks and shade trees can reduce winter heating bills by 15% and air conditioning needs by 75%.
• Just looking at trees produces “significant recovery from stress” within five minutes, according to a Texas A&M University study.
In fact, there is actually a online resource, “The National Tree Benefit Calculator” that calculates how a tree species in your particular Postal Code affects:
- Property Values
- Storm Water Runoff. Trees block and suck up water running off your property, preventing pollutants from entering community waterways.
- Carbon dioxide reduction- CO2 contributes to climate change
- Energy Savings- Shade trees cooling homes in summer, breaking winds in winter.
If you’d like to calculate how native tree species can benefit you and your property, check out the National Tree Benefit Calculator for yourself! http://www.treebenefits.com/calculator/
2. Clean out your garden: It is important, before you break earth and start planting, to clean out unwanted remnants of the past year from your garden beds. Remove all the debris (leaves, leftover snow, etc.). Get rid of weeds, making sure you also extract the roots so they won’t grow back. Extra tip: This is also a good time to sharpen your garden tools, if needed.
3. Revitalize the soil: Because your soil is likely dried out and packed after winter, it’s time to add moisture. Add organic material like compost or manure. You might need to test the soil to see what nutrients it needs, so you give it the right mixture. You might also need to add more fertilizer to increase the health of the soil and increase the life of your plants.
4. Add Mulch to your garden beds: In addition to fertilizers and organic materials, you should think about adding mulch to your flower beds and garden. One to three inches of mulch helps to prevent weeds and diseases. It also keeps the moisture in the garden and maintains the temperature. The rule of thumb is to keep the mulch a few inches from the plant stems to prevent roots from rotting.
5. Plant flowers for Honey Bees: There are many options of North American-Native plants that will look beautiful in your yard, as well as benefit the honey bees. Here are a few:
Early Summer: Pale Purple Coneflower, Common Yarrow
Summer Bee Flowers: Sunflowers, Blue Giant Hyssop, Horsemint, Purple Corneflower, Black-Eyed Susan
Late Summer and Fall: Asters, Joe-Pye Weeds, Goldenrods
Feeling more prepared for this gardening season? Let’s hope it comes soon!
Happy (almost) Spring,