Tag Archives: outdoor living

Landscaping Management 101: November

Beautiful autumn days mean comfortable working temperatures and hopefully time to continue prepping for winter. The more you do now, the easier things will be in the spring! Put things away, organize, protect, and enjoy the remaining fruits of your hard labor throughout this past year!

EARLY NOVEMBER

  • Deciduous trees, shrubs, and spring bulbs can be planted until the ground freezes.
  • Keep fallen leaves from piling up on your lawn.  This will prevent smothering this winter.
  • Outdoor planters, baskets, etc. should be emptied and washed before storing for next year.
  • Mulch in roses with 8 to 10 inches of soil or shredded bark. 
  • Water all evergreens before the ground freezes to keep them from drying out over winter.
  • Spray plants with repellents to protect them from rabbits, deer, and mice.
  • Harvest cole crops as long as possible since they are made sweeter by frost (Common cole crops include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, and kohlrabi).

MID NOVEMBER

  • Cut the lawn short (2-2.5 inches) once the leaves are off the trees to discourage snow mold and mice tunneling.
  • Protect strawberries with a 6-inch layer of clean, loose marsh hay. (We use marsh hay because it contains fewer weed seeds and stays “fluffier.”)
  • Protect tender perennials with a 2 to 3 inch layer of fresh balsam boughs.
  • Protect tree trunks from pest damage by surrounding with plastic or wire 1-2 feet higher than expected snowfall.

LATE NOVEMBER

  • Stop fertilizing houseplants since they will use less water and nutrients due to lower light levels.
  • Move pesticides and equipment to a place where they will not freeze.
  • Wash off garden tools and dry completely when storing for winter. Use a rag dipped in oil to wipe down metal parts of tools. Wipe down wooden parts with linseed oil to keep the wood from drying out.
  • Cover cole crops to prevent them from freezing solid.
  • Cut down and discard asparagus stems and leaves that have yellowed to reduce disease and insect issues next year.
  • Enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner – the fruits of your labor.

Landscaping Management 101: October

Winter is coming! Living in Wisconsin, we are accustomed to winter showing up early so, whether we like it or not, it is time to start preparing. Even light frosts can pose dangers for more tender plants like your begonias, tomatoes, and peppers. Be prepared ahead of time so you do not get caught off guard!

EARLY OCTOBER

  • Store bulbs of summer-flowering tender perennials (cannas, calla lily, begonias) if you haven’t already.
  • Spot treat broadleaf weeds. This is most effective after the first light frost or multiple nights in a row with temperatures into the 30’s.
  • Collect soil samples now for testing if desired to prepare for next year’s fertilization.
  • Protect tender vegetables if early frost is predicted by covering them just before sundown.
  • Dig up any frost-sensitive annuals and to bring them indoors for winter blooms.

MID OCTOBER

  • Finish planting tulips, daffodils, crocus, and hyacinth.
  • Begin winterization of plant material.
  • Remove and compost asparagus, peony, and rhubarb tops.
  • Individual garlic cloves can be planted and will result in full garlic bulbs next year.
  • Fertilize established trees and shrubs. Fertilization is especially recommended for more unique varieties and plants under stress.
  • Fertilize houseplants for the last time until March.

LATE OCTOBER

  • Wrap trunks of young or thin-barked trees such as green ash, honeylocust, maple, and linden with tree wrap.
  • Rake or mow leaves and make sure thick leaves are not left under the snow all winter. If leaves have fungus or disease make sure to remove them.
  • Continue mowing the lawn until it stops growing.
  • Note crabgrass areas of lawn after they are killed by hard frost and apply crabgrass preventer to prevent its return in the future.
  • Drain hoses and empty bird baths before the first hard frost.

Landscaping Management 101: September

As we enter into September, the heat of summer will finally begin to diminish as we enjoy cooler evening temperatures. The cooler temperatures create a great opportunity for some transplanting, sowing grass seed, and utilizing various herbicides as we continue to enjoy harvesting various fruits and vegetables. Let’s dive into our September Landscape Management 101.

EARLY SEPTEMBER

  • Divide spring and summer-flowering perennials.  These include peonies, daylilies, irises, oriental poppies, phlox, and many others. However, if the plant is currently blooming then it should not be divided.
  • September is a great time to plant evergreen trees!
  • Trim “Bleeder” trees such as Birch, Maple, and Elm.
  • Control broadleaf weeds in the lawn with appropriate application. Either spot treat or apply weed and feed products.
  • Seed bare spots in lawn, sow lawn seed, and/or install sod.
  • Plant spring-flowering bulbs (Tulips, Daffodils, Crocus, Hyacinth).
  • Take cuttings of shade-loving flowering annuals and herbs for growing indoors throughout the winter if desired.

MID SEPTEMBER

  • Bring house plants back indoors. Keep an eye out for insects! One way to minimize insects is to give the plant a good blast of water before bringing it inside.
  • Continue to plant spring-blooming bulbs.
  • Aerate lawn if desired to smooth out bumpy lawns, allow air and moisture to penetrate root zone, and breakdown thatch layer.
  • Harvest tender vegetables before frost.

LATE SEPTEMBER

  • Many late apple varieties can be harvested.
  • Harvest dahlias and other summer bulbs after a killing frost – when plants turn black.
  • Collect dried flowers for fall arrangements.
  • While most trees will not start losing leaves quite yet, make sure to rake up and remove any leaves affected by fungal or bacterial diseases.

As always we are here for you! Stop by with your questions or to pick up necessary fertilizers and herbicides today!

The ‘Ferrari of Grills’: What’s the Deal with the Big Green Egg?

Most people have at least heard of the Big Green Egg (BGE). The signature green color and egg shape make it unique amongst all other grills but the appearance is just the beginning of what makes the BGE the ‘Ferrari” of grills’. Simply stated, the BGE stands alone as the highest quality and most versatile outdoor cooking product on the market. Here’s why…

Versatility. The BGE is a grill, roaster, smoker, and an oven all in one that can be used year-round. Whether you are smoking at 200°F for up to 18 hours, baking at 350°F, or searing steaks at 750°F the BGE can do it all. With the BGE there is also no need for rotisserie because it cooks evenly from all four sides.

Unrivaled Results. Not only does the ceramic core make the grill incredibly efficient but it also holds moisture and flavor in your food unlike any other grill.  The BGE lump charcoal made from 100% natural oak and hickory sourced in the USA provides natural flavor without the use of harmful chemicals and lighter fluid.

Precision Temperature Control. BGE’s patented air flow systems allow precise temperature control from 150°F to 750°F. The unique shape cooks perfectly evenly while holding a constant temperature.  With EGGGenius you can also control your grill temperature and monitor your meat by degree directly from your phone.

EGGcessories. Punny, we know, but with BGE you will have an extensive line of accessories from baking stones all the way to pigtail flippers. These professional grade add-ons will enhance your cooking experience and make you look like a backyard hero while the EGG does all the real work.

Low Maintenance. BGE’s unique green glaze stands up to the elements and wipes off easily without the addition of chemical cleaners. Every few cooks EGGcessories such as the Stainless-Steel Fire Bowl and Ash Tool make it easy to clean out the small amount of soot that collects in the bottom.

Lifetime Warranty. Your investment in an EGG is protected by a successful company with a worldwide reputation for unmatched customer service. You will never need or want a new grill again (unless of course you want a second EGG).

If you are still unsure about the EGG, sign up for a grill class and experience the results yourself. You will be glad you did.

“The Ultimate Cooking Experience” is right here at Vande Hey Company. Stop by today and ask our EGGsperts about the Big Green Egg to see for yourself.

Landscaping Management 101: August

One more month of heat to go before things start cooling off! Luckily, August brings a lighter workload with a focus on continuing basic upkeep and spraying your favorite plants regularly to protect them until the feeding frenzy ends. Once the night temperatures begin to drop later in September many pests will return to the ground and your battle against pests will diminish.

EARLY AUGUST

  • Keep garden weeds from going to seed.
  • Continue to monitor aphids as they will show up all season long. Combat with a strong blast of water or insecticidal soap.
  • Continue controlling cucumber beetles that spread bacterial wilt with weekly dusts of insecticides.
  • Avoid pruning trees and shrubs because the new growth may not harden off in time for winter.
  • Enjoy harvesting your fruit and vegetables regularly to avoid attracting more pests with overripe fruit.

MID AUGUST

  • Disbud dahlias for extra-large flowers.
  • Prune out old raspberry canes to prepare for next year and avoid disease. Leave 3-4 canes per foot of row.
  • Divide Iris and check for rhizome rots. Destroy all infected plants.
  • Continue watering flower beds once a week in dry periods.
  • Harvest early apples.
  • Dig early potatoes as vines die down.

LATE AUGUST

  • Continue to maintain spray program on fruit trees.
  • Harvest pears as they become light green.
  • Divide spring flowering perennials.
  • Now is a great time to seed or sod new lawns or repair damaged areas in existing lawns.
  • Continue deadheading to prepare for a final late-season flower display.

Have questions? Not sure which insecticide to use? Call or stop by Vande Hey Company today and we can give suggestions, recommend products, and walk with you as you continue striving towards your backyard dream oasis. Call 920.788.6344 today!

A Moment to Thank Our Honeybees

Let’s take a moment to thank our hardworking honeybees (Apis mellifera) and their dedication to pollinating our flowers! 

Bees are often considered the most important pollinators, with honeybees accounting for 84% of all insect pollination.  These flying golden beauties are particularly good pollinators due to pollen-collecting structures on their bodies: the scopa (or pollen basket) which holds pollen balls on their hind legs; the corbicula, a fuzzy mat of hair that gathers pollen when traveling from flower to flower; and the crop (or honey stomach) which holds nectar as they travel from flower to flower. 

Bee species also display floral constancy, staying within the same type of flower to collect pollen. This is important in orchards, where many farmers rely on bees to pollinate their fruit trees and vegetables’ flowers. 

If you are looking to promote our favorite pollinators, consider the most attractive flower traits in the eyes of a honeybee. Of all colors, honeybees can see shades of yellows and violets the best, making yellow and blue-purple flowers a great addition to any pollinator garden. Like us, honeybees enjoy fresh, mild, and pleasant floral aromas, and flowers with plenty of nectar. Purple bee balm, coneflower, and New England asters are common honeybee favorites.

Pollinator decline is a major concern for all species of insects, bats, and birds which pollinate our flowers. The causes of Colony Collapse Disorder in honeybees is a combination of pests and pathogens introduced to the hive, poor nutrition, pesticide use, and habitat fragmentation. The best way that homeowners and businesses can help honeybee populations is to plant more flowers and reduce pesticide use on your property. 

Luckily, the Vande Hey Company has plenty of perennials, annuals, and even flowering trees that your local honeybees will adore!

Landscaping Management 101: July

Things are heating up and summer is moving full force ahead. Along with the heat, keeping things hydrated and battling disease will be our biggest challenge. Don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated as well as you move forward with your July Landscape Management 101!

EARLY JULY

  • Stop harvesting asparagus and rhubarb.
  • Don’t neglect vegetable garden; continue weed control and watch leaves for signs of disease.
  • Water flower border once a week during dry periods.
  • Spray or dust tomatoes for blight control.
  • Spray or dust squashes, melons, and cucumbers to prevent bacterial wilt.
  • Deadhead annuals and perennials after flowering to encourage the plant to spend its energy producing more flowers or foliage and roots.
  • Fertilize flowering annuals to give an extra boost of energy.

MID JULY

  • Prune Yews, Junipers, and Arborvitae by mid-July.
  • Watch for rust on hollyhocks.
  • Renovate old strawberry plantings when bearing is finished.
  • Pick off dead flowers for attractive borders and blooms.
  • Keep an eye out for webs from webworm on woody plants. Cut out branches wrapped in webbing and spray with insecticide.
  • Keep plants, especially vegetables, evenly moist to promote good health as it gets warmer.
  • Harvest raspberries regularly to help discourage insects.

LATE JULY

  • Stop feeding roses and most perennials.
  • Tie Dahlias to stakes.
  • Keep lawn mown at 2 1/2” height.
  • Make last granular fertilizer applications on woody plants.
  • Alpine Currant shrubs infected with fungus will lose leaves and may defoliate completely. Fallen leaves should be removed and destroyed to reduce infection next year.
  • Watch for powdery mildew and leaf spot diseases on flowers and ornamentals.
  • Honeysuckles susceptible to aphids should be sprayed every 10-14 days with insecticidal soap.

As always, let us know if you have questions! We can give suggestions, recommend product, and help you create the beautiful backyard you’re striving toward. Call 920.788.6344 today!

An “Almost” Complete Guide to Buying an Outdoor Dining Set

When buying an outdoor dining furniture set there is an absolute smorgasbord of styles, sizes, and add-ons that can leave an anyone’s head spinning. We created this “Almost” Complete Buying Guide to help break down some of the must-ask questions and different options to help you make best choice for your outdoor furniture.

First things first, you are going to want to think about the following questions:

  • How many people will typically be utilizing the set?
  • How big is the outdoor space?
  • How often do you entertain?
  • Who will be using the furniture (children, adults, elderly)?

Decide on a set size. Once you decide how many people will typically be using the set you can decide how large of a set you will need. Whether it is a cozy two piece for you and your partner, a nine piece for a large family or anything in between, as long as it fits on your patio we can help you make it happen. Shape is also an important factor. A square or rectangular table will provide a more modern straight-lined look while a circular table is more free-flowing and rustic. You should also consider that a circular table makes it easier to add extra chairs.

Choose your height. Dining height, counter height and bar height all provide unique benefits and visual appeal.

  • Dining height can be dressed up for formal dinners or dressed down for casual nights outside. It is easier to get in and out of than a much taller bar height and is comfortable for extended periods of sitting.
  • Counter height is the middle option providing some added height if people are standing around and looking for a place to put their drink. It is also the easiest to get in and out of because it does not require sitting down into or stepping up into.
  • Bar height provides a more casual look that is perfect for leaning up against and standing around. While it creates a higher viewing platform, it can be difficult for children and elderly to climb up into.

Choose a seating option. While standard dining chairs are great, you will also want to consider adding arms and maybe even a swivel. Arms not only add comfort but also make it easier to get in and out of the chair. A swivel chair allows both a change of view and the ability to get in and out without moving the chair. The swivel chairs are particularly beneficial if you choose a polyethylene set due to heavy weight of the chairs. Other options include stools that create a bar-like feel with a higher table height or benches which are a great way to increase seating space especially with small kids.

Choose your materials and color. Our most popular dining sets are made from HDPE recycled plastic which provides numerous benefits. It is very heavy preventing it from blowing in the wind, it can be left outside all year long, and it is colored all the way through minimizing scratching and fading. Other people prefer teak which gives a more natural feel. Teak is a very durable and strong wood that naturally regulates its temperature. Our third most popular set is rattan which is not only lightweight but also creates a beach-like feel. Choose your colors and you are a full step closer to finalizing your new dining set! If you are not sure how to choose your colors, ask us and we would be happy to find the perfect color to fit your style!

Do I want an umbrella? Whether it is a large umbrella extending over the patio or a standard umbrella in your table, an umbrella provides a cool area on hot days and protection when it rains. An umbrella is also a great way to bring in some bright accent colors and make your set pop!  

Should I add a rug? While it may not be the best fit practically around a pool or muddy area, a rug can bring in a splash of color and comfort. It is also a great way to cozy up an outdoor area. If you decide to go with a rug, you want to make sure it is at least two feet longer than your table, so the entire set remains on the rug.

Add your finishing touches. To take your patio set to the next level, consider adding outdoor cushions for comfort and style, a centerpiece with fresh cut flowers, a table cloth, a fire feature, and maybe some stylish napkins or dining pieces. Little details make big statements and take your dining set to the next level.

You might be wondering why this guide is “not complete.” While we have provided a ton of information, it is not complete because it is missing one important thing—you. It is missing your opinion, your style, and your color preferences. Ultimately, you are the decision-maker and we are just here to help you along! Learn more about the furniture we offer here or stop by and talk to a Vande Hey Company representative.

Rose Month Rundown- The Complete Guide To Roses

A whole month dedicated to a plant? You better believe it! Roses hold a special place in the hearts and minds of people everywhere. Their striking beauty and lovely fragrance not only elevate your garden but also have come to symbolize love, war, history, shows like The Bachelor, and even movies such as Beauty and the Beast. While some view roses as difficult, we are here to tell you that roses, just like relationships, just need just a little extra love and effort. Here are our tips for bringing the elegance of roses and all they stand for into your backyard.

FROM THE BEGINNING

Planning ahead will not only impact the success of your roses but also help you highlight their beauty. When choosing where your roses will be placed, you want to look for a location with at least 6 hours of sun and good drainage. Planting next to a South or West facing fence or wall will help minimize the damage of our harsh Wisconsin winters. You also want to plan how your roses will be used whether it is as focal points, border shrubs, climbing vines, etc. Determining the use will help you choose the variety in addition to looking for disease-resistant and locally-hardy varieties.

When planting roses, mixing in leaf compost and adding root stimulator will help the plant get established and also create more even soil conditions which will lead to greater health and longevity.

GENERAL CARE

Roses do their best when the soil moisture is uniform so regular watering on hot and humid days can make a big difference. When watering it is best to water in the morning at ground level or use soaker hoses. Wet leaves, especially at night, are much more prone to diseases such as powdery mildew and black spot.

Hard pruning is best done in early spring (March/April). In addition to removing dead and damaged canes, we recommend cutting back 1/3 to 1/2 of the previous year’s growth until you find a healthy white center inside the cane. We also recommend light pruning throughout the season to keep your roses looking pristine!

Deadheading roses will encourage reblooming if your varieties do not develop rose hips. Leaving as much foliage on the canes as you can, cut back just below the first leaflet to encourage the foliage to continue drawing up nutrients all the way to the top.

There are multiple options for fertilizing roses, so we encourage you to stop by and ask us about your options. Whether it is a slow-release granular product or a liquid fertilizer, your roses are working hard to look beautiful and need the extra boost! You can fertilize throughout the growing season, but we recommend you stop feeding late in the summer to allow growth to slow and enter the dormant stage before winter.

BATTLING DISEASE AND INSECTS

Powdery Mildew will cause leaves to curl and twist leaving white powdery spots on the leaves. This is best prevented by proper watering as described in the general care as well as pruning to allow for air circulation.

Black Spot will leave circular black or brown spots on the tops of the leaves, starting at the bottom and working their way up. Eventually it will cause defoliation but is best prevented the same way as powdery mildew. Some basic rose care products can also take care of black spot and powdery mildew.

Insects including aphids, Japanese beetles, spider mites, and sawflies are best controlled with basic rose care products such as neem oil or insecticidal soaps. Aphids can also sometimes be handled by blasting with water in the morning.

DISPLAYING

Roses can be the highlight of your garden, but also the highlight on your or your loved one’s counter. Roses cut for display are best cut right when the petals are opening using a sharp blade to ensure a clean cut and undamaged water channels. The best time is when they are well hydrated in the early morning or evening hours. To eliminate air bubbles and encourage water uptake, you should recut the stems at a 45-degree-angle just before putting them into the vase. Strip the leaves below the water line, add other flowers like baby’s breath if desired, and change water frequently to create a gorgeous and long-lasting display!

After all of this information you can probably see why roses need a whole month to be highlighted and celebrated! Show some extra love to your roses this month and they will continue to spread the love and beauty they manifest in your yard and in your home.

Landscaping Management 101: June

June is Rose Month, so let’s work hard, but don’t forget to stop and smell the roses! We are saying goodbye to the spring and hello to the start of summer! We will also be saying hello to gorgeous annual and perennial flowers and unfortunately the pests that come along with the warmer weather. Let’s get right to it with your June Landscape Management 101!

EARLY JUNE

  • Prune all spring flowering shrubs as they finish blooming.
  • Cut peony blooms when they are one-third open if you want to bring them in for cut flowers.
  • Plant late potatoes and cabbage.
  • Fertilize bulbs and most perennial flowers now. The bulbs will be forming for next year and the perennials will be actively producing flowers!
  • Prune and transplant houseplants experiencing vigorous growth due to increased light and warmer temperatures. Fertilize monthly.
  • Control heavy plant bug damage on honey locust and ash foliage with insecticides.
  • Inspect your vegetable garden for pests, covering and spraying as necessary. If you have specific questions check with a Vande Hey Company horticulturist.
  • Spray fruit trees.
  • Cut back late spring blooming perennials such as yarrow and salvia to encourage a second flush of blooms in summer.
  • Aphids can be treated with a strong jet of water or insecticidal soap. They are typically identified by curling foliage, sticky leaves, and black sooty mold.

MID JUNE

  • Cut back delphinium after blooming.
  • Allow only 1 dahlia shoot per clump
  • Mulch woody plants to control weeds, retain moisture, and modify soil temperature extremes.
  • Stake and mulch tomatoes; thin annual flowers and vegetables.
  • Sow perennial seeds and label all perennials.
  • Remove seed clusters from lilacs.
  • Check spruce and arborvitaes for spider mites. Thoroughly wet plants with hose if present.
  • If you have not mulched yet, 2-4” of fresh mulch will discourage weeds, hold moisture, and maintain even soil temperatures. Mulch rings around trees can also prevent mower damage.

LATE JUNE

  • Pinch out tips of black raspberry shoots when 3 feet tall.
  • Remove leaves of spring flowering bulbs after they turn yellow for best development and growth next year.
  • Set house plants on shaded patio as night temperature warms.
  • Fertilize roses after first full flush of blooms.
  • Keep an eye out for Japanese beetle adults and get ready to treat grubs.

As always, let us know if you have questions! We can give suggestions, recommend product, and help you create the beautiful backyard you’re striving toward. Call 920.788.6344 today!