Get Green this Spring: A 3-Month Apartment Landscape Plan

Apartment Landscape

 

A beautiful apartment landscape is a work in progress that requires a solid plan, good timing, and some patience.

It’s no secret that a great looking apartment landscape has the kind of curb appeal that will catch the eyes of not only existing residents but prospects. With spring around the corner, now is the time to start thinking about the peak season when properties have an opportunity to look their best.

In the cold, blustery Northeast, freezing temperatures and icy conditions are making the coming of spring seem like an eternity. But it will be here soon enough.

Over the next three months, apartments in southern climates should be tasked to get their landscapes spring-ready so that winter’s brown will become spring’s lush green. February through April is a time to get beds cleaned, lawns treated, bushes pruned and beds cleaned, culled and mulched. Farther north, that timetable will be pushed back a few weeks, but the processes will be much the same.

Certainly, it’s important to keep a close watch on the skies and time the planting of tender vegetation after that last hard freeze, no matter the location. In the meantime, there is much to be done.

Here’s a month-by-month to-do list that will help apartments get their landscapes ready for the splendor of spring:

February

February is a great time to finish general cleanup about the landscape and begin making plans for how the property should look when things begin to bloom in the next two-three months.

  1. Make a master plan. Determine what needs to be removed, planted and reshaped or redesigned. Walkways, windows and entry ways that are overcome by trees, bushes and shrubs will need to be addressed.
  2. Apply pre-emergents. Towards the end of the month, apply a compatible pre-emergent fertilizer which time-releases nutrients and weed-control dosages as the ground warms. An effective pre-emergent will make the lawn more healthy and weed resistant.
  3. It’s a great time to prune crape myrtles and ornamental trees, plus cull larger grasses. What winter damage that will be done has already been done. So, get rid of the dead grass and get crapes and ornamentals ready for the growing season.
  4. Start planting spring color in high visibility areas of the property. Get creative with color. Plant annuals that are bright yellows, oranges and reds to catch your residents’ attention.

March

Cutbacks and pruning that are better suited for warmer temperatures and without threat of freeze should be made in March.

  1. Cut back ground cover and monkey grass. Mow to two-inch height and remove all the brown and dead grass. Failing to cut these plants back will result in plants that don’t look healthy when they should be lush and green.
  2. Prune roses. March is the best time of year to prune roses, which begin to thrive when temperatures get warmer. Cutting back later will hinder the bush’s ability to fill out.
  3. Reduce large shrubs that are overgrown. Trimming back now will help shrubs grow vigorously as spring progresses. Make sure they are cut back before budding starts.
  4. Check the irrigation system. Sprinkler systems that have been drained should be filled and tested for leaks or problems. It’s not unusual for irrigation lines to break during the winter, so repair now before peak watering season begins. Also, check rain sensors.
  5. Fertilize grass areas. Fertilization strengthens roots and promotes greening. It’s best to fertilize with a higher nitrogen content fertilizer three or four weeks before lawns typically start to green.

April

April in southern climates is generally the last month before hotter – and sometimes extreme – temperatures start. This is a time to get the landscape strong and healthy before it enters survival mode for some summer climates.

  1. Plant shrubs, grasses and other new plant life. Do it early so that new plants have enough time to get established before summer arrives. Want a bit of color? Add perennials to your landscape.
  2. Trim trees. Most trees will have leafed out by now and you should be able to tell which limbs may be overly weighted and in need of trimming or cutting.
  3. Apply pesticides. As temperatures warm, fire ants and aphids start to emerge and should be treated to avoid damage to new and existing growth.
  4. Mulch beds and other areas. About mid-month, mulching should be under way and even finished. However, make sure the rainy season is mostly finished to avoid washing out of fresh-mulched beds.

Give your landscape ample time and resources to have a beautiful spring. A little work over the next three months will help your property look its best.

(Photo source: Shutterstock)

 


President, Earthworks

author photo two

Chris Lee is President of Dallas, Texas-based Earthworks, which specializes in multifamily housing landscaping. He is a contributing author to Landscape Management magazine, licensed irrigation specialist and a Toro Intellisense certified technician. Chris studied business at the University of Arkansas from 1990-94 and horticulture and landscape design at Tarrant County College from 1999-01. He has been employed at Earthworks since 1998.

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