Protecting Your Landscape from De-Icing Salt Damage

Snowplow spreading SaltIt’s not a big secret that winter snow can pretty much bring your yard and garden to a standstill. With heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures comes a whole new set of problems to tackle, not to mention having to shovel it all off your driveway, sidewalk and walkways. And all that, more likely than not, will lead you to find a better solution to keeping you and your snow shovel inside more often.

Until they invent snow-proof concrete you’re pretty much left with the old stand-by, de-icing salt. Now while it does work, salting can also cause its own problems. For instance, damage to your car’s paint job and overall appearance, but one thing that gets overlooked is its potential damage to your landscape.

If you pay close attention, you can probably spot where salt mixed in with the water system or was even directly applied to plants and shrubs, causing significant damage. Next time you’re out in your yard or even on the road, take a look at the foliage right next to concrete that de-icing salt has been applied to, you’re sure to see some dying plants and damage.

The problem is that all this salt can either mix into the water table your plants use or salt can begin to accumulate in the soil itself. Salt affects plant growth significantly by restricting the uptake of all those nutrients found in soil and water that are vital to growth.

So, how do you save your plants without slipping and causing yourself injury on your driveway? While there isn’t a real end-all, be-all solution, there are some things you can do to at least minimize the damage.


First and foremost, even though it is freezing outside, try to shovel as much as possible. The less salt you use, the less damage is done. Also, stay as mindful as possible about not shoveling salt-mixed snow all over your plants. Although it sounds like common sense, when you’re out there in the cold you may only be focusing on going back into your nice, toasty house.

Salt and Sand

This little trick is actually one of the simplest and easiest. Mix the salt you’re using with sand. That’s going to go a long way to reduce the salt content and the damage it causes while still providing traction on your walkways. The suggested ratio here is 50lbs of sand mixed with about 1lb of salt.

Washing Plants

If at all possible, wash off your plants as soon as they are exposed to salt. As long as you’re not absolutely drenching them you’re not going to do any more damage than rain or snow does. This alone can do quite a bit to help you reduce some of the damage that salt causes.

If none of this works or you find it to be less effective than you would like, the only other suggestion we have would be to rearrange your landscape come spring with next year’s winter in mind. If you can switch out tender plants with something a bit more salt-durable that could be your solution.

Remember finally that you can always wrap plant bases in burlap to help protect them from winter. While there isn’t much, if anything, you can do to completely negate salt damage, if you utilize some of these simple tips you just might be able to minimize damage and keep things under control.

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

Christmas TimeThere’s a lot to think about this time of year. Presents and stockings and all the food for the Christmas dinner, not to mention the lights, ribbons and eggnog. However, before all of this, you’ll have to get the staple of the holiday, the Christmas tree.

So, no problem right? Simple. Well, think again, because a decision may have to be made and after reading this, it may be a tougher one than you originally thought.

To Be Real, or Not Real – which Christmas Tree is Environmentally Friendly

Do you get a real tree or a fake tree? Do you head on over to the tree farm and get a fresh pine tree or take the easy route and grab the plastic-fantastic tree at Wal-Mart?

Well, before you start thinking that if you buy the fake tree, you will spend so much less than if you buy the real tree. Try thinking beyond dollars and cents. If you are into “going green” in any way and you consider the fake tree the better choice, consider this…

Every few years for whatever reason you may have to replace that plastic tree, which of course means throwing out the old one. Well that fiscally responsible and environmentally sound move you thought you made to help conserve natural resources is now sitting in a landfill somewhere not bio-degrading, but only adding to the immeasurably huge pile of garbage that will never go away.

Real trees are a renewable resource, almost all farms replant 1-3 new trees for each tree harvested.

Here’s something else to consider, more than 500,000 acres in the US alone are devoted to Christmas tree production. Considering that just one acre of a tree farm can provide enough oxygen for 18 people, these tree farms are actually helping the environment. Also, each and every year, an acre of Douglas Fir trees can absorb 11,308 lbs. of carbon dioxide.

Don’t forget, you can take your tree to a recycling center after the holidays where they can be turned into mulch and many other useful products.

Need I Say More?

So this year give the tree farm more than just a passing thought. And besides, getting the tree with your family can be almost as fun as unwrapping what’s underneath it.

Planting Tulips in Northern Colorado

Dutch Tulips, Keukenhof Gardens, Netherlands - 3984  POTDTulips are synonymous with spring-time. Their arrival is a welcome sight after a long, cold, Colorado winter. But you have to act now, these bulbs must be in the ground and have time to take root before the first Fort Collins frost.

Spring Bulbs – Fall Planting in Northern Colorado

Winter is an excellent time for some bulbs because while other plants are dying off, certain bulbs can thrive in a dormant state just waiting for the first warmth of spring. That’s also why a false start in the spring can be a death sentence, so it’s important to avoid planting them in a southerly exposure, in order to avoid premature blooming. Tulips are perennials, so planting them once can bring blooms every Colorado spring for years to come.

How to Plant Bulbs in Fort Collins

Tulips are an excellent choice to bring some early color to your Fort Collins garden next year and should be planted in late September through October.  Other bulbs like Daffodils, Hyacinths and Lilies are also popular choices to get that early spring color. Plant the bulbs at a depth of about 4 – 8 inches into the ground. Space your bulbs at a width two times the width of the bulb to allow for close grouping with enough space for each plant to thrive.

Choosing Your Bulbs

It is important to pick the best bulbs in order to get the most out of each plant. Bigger is better, so choose the biggest, fullest, firmest bulbs available. Definitely avoid soft bulbs because they may contain mold.

Preparing the Loveland Soil

After you have chosen the location and picked the best bulbs, you should also prepare the soil well before planting. The soil in your Loveland garden should be quick draining and well aerated. Then, plant your bulbs pointy end up! That’s, it. You don’t even need to water unless you think the ground is particularly dry.

Bulbs are a great, simple way to get a bright, burst of color you can enjoy for years to come. Call on the experts here at Manenti Lawn and Sprinkler if you need any help planning, choosing or planting your spring bulbs, getting your sprinklers blown out for the winter or need a quote on next season’s lawn mowing.

6 Tips for Planting Mums This Fall

MumAfter summer is over it easy to start viewing your garden as declining, especially towards the winter months. However, fall gardens can be just as colorful and rewarding as garden flowers in the spring and summer.

Now, when considering what to put in your fall garden in the way of flowers, if you’ll pardon the pun, mums the word. Mums have most everything you’re looking for, beauty, durability and longevity. Here’s a few helpful tips to get you started.

  1. Location. It’s of the upmost importance that the spot you choose gets at least 6 hours of sunlight every day.
  2. Soil. Mums require a fairly dry well-drained soil. If you’re dealing with a lot of heavy clay, you’re going to want to remove it and replace it with enriched topsoil or even potting soil. If you’re yard retains a lot of water after a rainfall, you should definitely consider raised beds. Also, no matter what soil you put in, make sure to use at least some topsoil to help reduce soil density. The rule of thumb is to plant your mums about an inch deeper than they would be in a nursery setting.
  3. Watering. Even though they do require dryer soil, be sure to be generous and thorough when watering. Monitor them closely as you should under no circumstances allow them to wilt. Once the wiling process starts, it can be difficult to bring them back to life.
  4. Fertilizing. In the spring time, make sure to fertilize once or twice a month until the whether starts to cool off but remember not to fertilize your mums in the fall in the same way. It suggested that you use a high-phosphorous fertilizer only once to stimulate root growth. Also be careful to follow the fall fertilizing guidelines to the letter. In you’re unsure ask a professional about the exact amounts.
  5. Winter preparation. As soon as the first hard frost hits, start preparing your mums for winter. Get some good mulch. Straw or shredded hard wood are usually the best suggestions and go up to 4 inches deep. Be sure to fill in around the entire plant. Also be sure to prune off dead blooms. Mums stand a much greater chance of survival if you prune dead growth but leave the branches intact.
  6. Arrangement. Remember that mums come in a broad assortment of colors and shapes. Place carefully for the best effect. If you don’t already keep a diagram or garden book, you should definitely start. Mums are a great flower but like anything else, they need to be arranges and planned carefully.

As always, what you put in your garden is up to you. That’s really the beauty of gardening, designing your own little world. Do some research on all the different types of mums and the time will pay off when you have a vibrant beautiful fall garden.  If you have additional fall cleanup or sprinkler blow out needs be sure to contact Manenti Lawn & Sprinkler today.

Planning Your Landscape

Star Pond,Butchart Gardens, Victoria, B.C.So, you’re staring at your blank landscape and you have a million ideas running through your head. In your mind’s eye you see the Garden of Eden, but your budget and time are narrowing your ideas down to something a bit more realistic.

Now that you’ve gotten past the inception phase and have decided to go for it, and got your budget together, it’s time for planning. One of the sure fire ways to make a disaster of your yard is to go into the project with nothing but ideas. So here are a few tips on planning everything out in advance so you can make your dream into a reality.

Use Gardening Technology

Now this is only really effective if you’re at least a bit tech savvy or if you know someone who is, (chances are that someone eats your food, sleeps in your house and calls you mom or dad). There is an abundance of programs that can help you design everything that you need to do all on a computer screen. They range in prices but some are even free, so check it out or at least put your plans to paper.

Measure Your Yard

Get your tape measure out because you’ll need it. Take measurements of your entire yard to get your square footage. Knowing your measurements will definitely help you when budgeting and buying materials. It will help also help you keep your space under control.

Plants need Water and Sun

This is huge; make sure you know what areas of your yard get the most sun, and the least sun. Every plant is going to have different requirements to survive. Secondly, plan how you’re going to get water to these plants. Will you water with just a hose or a pitcher, or are you going to have to get more ambitious and install sprinklers? This alone is half the battle.

Sitting Space

So when you finish all this, how can you get out and enjoy all the fruits of your labor? Think about whether you want a small deck or a gazebo. Start thinking about benches and chairs, or a good old fashioned picnic table may be just the thing. There’s nothing quite like being able to share a meal with friends and family while admiring your new landscape.

The professionals here at Manenti Lawn and Sprinkler are here to help you with your yard maintenance and mowing.  We can help keep that perfect backyard paradise mowed and trimmed and looking it’s best all year long.  Call us today!