Grass TLC: Should You Repair Or Renovate?

When your grass is having a difficult time recovering from ​​stress conditions like disease and insects – or just too much sun, it’s time to undertake grass repairs, or even a renovation, depending on the extent of the damage.

Spring and Fall are ideal times of the year for a lawn renovation, as warm soil temperatures, cooler weather, and increased precipitation make for great growing conditions and optimal turf establishment.

To come to a determination as to whether you can repair your lawn, or if it needs a larger renovation effort, we suggest you estimate whether less than a quarter of your lawn is damaged. If this is the case, there’s no need to look into larger renovation projects just yet.

Lawn Repair

If you only have small, isolated areas that are damaged and struggling to recover, small repair jobs like seeding will help you get back on the right track.

For small areas of concern that are no bigger than the size of your fist, hand spot seeding is an effective way to repair bald patches.

For lawns that are thin, weak, or have multiple minor areas of concern, overseeding is an ideal solution. This is best done with a push spreader.

Whether you’re spot seeding or overseeding, timing is important. Seeding projects are best done in the Spring or the Fall when air and soil temperatures are not too warm or too cold, and when natural rainfall is common.

Lawn Renovations

Although seeding is a great way to repair your lawn, sometimes it’s not that simple. Due to issues like poor topsoil, excessive thatch, or heavy infestations of weeds, insects, or disease, a lawn renovation may be required. There’s a range of renovation options to consider, and some of these options can be costly and time consuming, so talk to one of our professional lawn care experts before making any decisions.

Power Raking

In some cases, lawns begin struggling because of too much thatch in the lawn, which prohibits the soil from accessing important nutrients like air, sun, water, and fertilizers. Power Raking is a great way to remove thatch.

Dethatching

Dethatching is a restorative service only recommended for lawns that suffer from an extremely thick thatch layer, more than 3 inches thick. Since dethatching causes a lot of damage, it creates a lawn that is thin, brown, and beat up. Because of this, it is strongly recommended to combine dethatching with Overseeding or Slitseeding, as well as an application of Topdressing.

New Sod Installation

Installing new sod can be an expensive renovation, but if you have a timeframe you want to stick to, it might be your best solution. 

Resodding replaces damaged areas instantly, without having to wait weeks or months for new seed to establish. Soil preparation prior to laying new sod is essential to ensure successful establishment. New sod generally takes 2-3 weeks to fully establish before regular lawn care activities can take place again.

Whether you’re a homeowner who feels they can undertake repairs independently, or a commercial property owner that needs our help to take care of repairs, the certified lawn care experts at Bayscape will be happy to assist you determine your best next steps.

Toxic Plants for Dogs in Bay Area

Bay Area Homeowners Beware: 5 Toxic Garden Plants To Pets

Did you know there are more dogs than children in San Francisco? It’s true.

If you are a pet owner in the Bay Area, including Santa Clara County, you probably know that your furry friends, like small children, enjoy eating mysterious objects found in your yard or home.

The problem is that many garden plants and flowers we think are beautiful may actually be toxic for dogs and other pets. If you truly love your animal companions, you should ensure your home is free of harmful garden plants.

There are many alternative safe plant options available. But here are 5 harmful plants for pets that bay area homeowners need to be aware of.

1. Azalea
Azaleas are common flowering shrubs found in the garden or yard. They are frequently used in landscaping design. The pretty but toxic flowers can cause your pet to experience gastrointestinal illness and lowered strength and heart rate. In some cases eating this plant could lead to death. Other than dogs and cats, this plant could also harm horses, sheep, and goats.

2. Ivy
Another common plant to have around the yard or patio is ivy. Whether you grow it intentionally or it occurs naturally, you’ll want to ensure dogs are not secretly nibbling this plant. Dogs consuming ivy can experience excessive drooling, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. If you grow this plant as an accent, climbing up walls or structures, you may want to cover the bottom portion to prevent pet access.

3. Tulips
Tulips and hyacinths are also plants toxic to dogs. The primary concentration of toxins is in the bulb of the plant. The leaves and flowers are not as much of a concern. Bulbs lie underground, but digging pets could easily access these harmful plants. Consumption of tulips and hyacinths can lead to an irritated mouth and profuse drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea, depending on how much they consume.

4. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is a plant that humans have loved for a long time. The many uses of the gel inside an aloe plant are well-known. However, these are plants toxic to cats as well as dogs.
This popular succulent can cause diarrhea, vomiting, internal spasms, and other discomforts to your pets. If you do have small indoor aloe plants, make sure they are completely out of reach of your pets.

5. Daffodils
Daffodils are beautiful, but the harmful flowers have high emetic properties, which causes vomiting. This can occur when pets ingest either the bulb, flower, or plant.
Other symptoms of consumption include diarrhea, abdominal pain, and trouble breathing. Daffodil bulbs also have crystals similar to that of hyacinths, leading to profuse drooling and irritation of the mouth.

It’s easy to replace harmful plants with safe Bay Area garden plants such as sunflower, honeysuckle, rose, or calendula.

Safe Landscaping for Bay Area Homeowners

Sure, there are many more harmful plants for pets and humans, should we ingest them. But there are also many more totally safe Bay Area plants and flowers that are just as beautiful and vibrant. On top of safe plants, there are many other ways to create a safe, beautiful, and sustainable landscape for animals and homeowners.

Bay Area homeowners and Santa Clara county residents who want their home to be both beautiful and safe for pets and children alike can contact us today for help designing brand new Bay Area landscaping or simply replacing plants bad for pets.

Boost Curb Appeal of your Santa Clara Home

Boost the Curb Appeal of Your Santa Clara Home

If you want to draw the right attention to your front yard, consider professional landscaping services. Bayscape Landscape in Santa Clara can design and install grass, flowers and shrubs that look great all year.

Boosting Your Curb Appeal

Nothing boosts curb appeal like well-planned landscaping. Using plants with different textures and heights creates interest. However, don’t block windows with large growing plants. Instead, save those for the corners of your home where they can anchor your design.

Professional landscapers work with you to choose plants you love that work well together in the Santa Clara climate. Proper spacing gives all your plants room to grow. In contrast, crowded plants complete for resources and look overgrown.

Should You Start Your Flower Bed from Seeds?

Unless you have extensive experience with plants and a very green thumb, we recommend buying seedlings with an established root system. This gives you the opportunity to see results more quickly. Established plants also are often more robust, so you can enjoy them longer.

The Basics

If you use evergreens as the basis for your design, you can prevent a bare landscape when leaves fall in autumn. Intermix deciduous trees that develop in spring and summer for variety throughout the year.For pine trees, acidic pine straw creates attractive mulch that keeps your beds hydrated. Choose from azaleas, gardenias and ferns to add color and texture to your design. If you have favorite plants, sentimental or aesthetic preferences, talk to your landscaper to work them into your front yard landscaping. Tip: Mapping out where your electrical, phone, water and gas lines connect to your home can help you avoid problems with roots penetrating pipes. If you aren’t sure where your electric lines are, call the local utility before you start digging.

Build an Arbor Over the Walkway

An arbor raises over your front walk, framing it on either side and above. Climbing roses, jasmine and other flowering vines can add beauty and interest to your walkway. By attaching the arbor to a picket fence, you can create a traditional look. However, a standalone arbor creates a welcoming vibe and lovely focal point that boost your curb appeal.

Add a Water Feature

Fountains and ponds add a tranquil element to your landscaping. Whether you install a small water feature or larger pond with fish and decorative elements, water features add to the beauty and curb appeal of your Santa Clara property.

Line the Walkway

Add colorful plants along the walkway. Planting trees or shrubs along the border of your yard or walkway creates shade and interest for those passing by or entering your home. You can choose low maintenance greenery such as monkey grass or mondo grass or go with flowers that add lovely color.

Contact Bayscape Landscape to transform your front yard today!

July & August Gardening Tips. Hint: Water!

July and August is a crucial time in the Bay Area for gardeners and landscapers. Depending on where you are in the Bay, and your level of fog, you will have different choices about what to plant and when. We’ve compiled a few tips to consider as we head into late summer.

According to the San Francisco Bay Chronicle, your chief task in July is to make sure your plants receive sufficient water. Make sure to pay attention to the water needs of young trees, and potted plants in July and August. Make sure to cultivate (gently rough) the surface soil of your potted plants to ensure that the water you provide them reaches the roots, rather than spilling off the top of dried soil. You can also submerge the pot in a larger container of water until bubbles stop and the soil is pliable.

Rhododendron, azaleas and camellias will need water to encourage budding. Citrus and other fruit trees will drop their fruit without sufficient water. (Are you noticing a trend here? Water!)

It’s also a good time to ensure all of your blooming plants are fertilized appropriately, and to cut old and dying parts of the plant back to make sure that your garden and landscape beauties only focus energy on new growth. The same applies for fallen fruit and vegetables… clear them out and compost them if possible to lower the risk of slugs, spores and white fly infestation.

Remember to be water wise and fire safe, always! Clear away brush from within a 30-foot radius of your house every summer.

Everything is Fed, Watered and Clean… Now, What to Plant?

For your landscape, consider planting autumn-blooming versions of bulbs such as spider lily, colchicum, ivy-leaved cyclamen, and allium in July and August.

It’s also time for a second sowing of seeds in the vegetable garden. Bush beans, carrots and radishes can be sowed directly into the soil now, as well as lettuces, beets, spinach and more! Check local listings like SF Bay Gardener for additional guidance.

All of us at Bayscape Landscape wish you health, safety and a fruitful garden and landscape this summer.

Return of the Victory Garden! Spring Planting Guide

What a year!

This has been an incredible year… incredibly challenging for many of us. If you love to nurture fruits and vegetables and watch them grow, there has never been a better time.

The Return of the Victory Garden

Seasoned gardeners and new planters are also discussing a return of the victory garden, an idea originally launched during WWI and again in WWIIAlso called “food gardens for defense”, victory gardens planted both at private residences and on public land during World War I and World War II to reduce the pressure on the public food supply brought on by the war effort.
The 2020 pandemic victory garden has a different twist, but the basic concept is the same: Growing your own food is a rewarding, healthy and fun way to contribute to your home and community food supply.

“The act of planting a seed is an act of faith in tomorrow,” Hoffman says. “During this time of limited movement, a garden is a place to find solace, joy and wonder, and hopefully some great things to eat.” – N. Astrid Hoffman with The Living Seed Company in an article for The Mercury News.

Aren’t I Supposed to Stay Home? Simple Tricks for Getting Your Grow On in a Pandemic

Intrigued? Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Use items you have on hand: Cups, egg crates and small containers will work just fine for get your seeds started! Think about where to source soil and compost in a safe and responsible manner, whether it is on your property or a delivery source.
  • The same goes for seeds! You can safely swap seeds with neighbors by communicating online and dropping sanitized packets on your neighbors porch. Alternately, you can order seeds for your ultimate victory garden from your favorite garden store.
  • Review which plants want to be started outside vs. inside and when. One of my favorite things to do is make a map of my ideal garden, considering sun, shade, water points and companion plants.

What tips and tricks do you have for starting a plentiful fruit and vegetable garden from existing items in your home and community?

Already started? Please share your photos!
Happy Growing!
Tree Care for Bay Area

Become A Young Seedling Expert Following This One Tip….

You may be like the people in those ubiquitous (and admittedly motivating) commercials, who grab the perfect mix of flowers, vegetable, trees, and plants in the garden section of their local big-box home improvement store, and are able to transform an entire backyard area in what appears to be the space of a single afternoon.

 

Or, you might want to take it a little slower. Maybe you’d like a few varieties of vegetables and flowers that aren’t easily available in cut form, or maybe you’d like to get a head start with the planting season. Maybe you’d like to save some money. Or maybe you just like the idea of nurturing a plant from seed to harvest.

 

Whatever the reason you decide to start with seeds instead of cut plants, there’s really one thing you need to know to become comfortable and proficient in the art and science of seedling care: you’re going to have to do your research. This doesn’t mean you need to spend hours surfing online or holed up in the public library. But since each plant is unique, each batch of seeds will have different requirements.

 

There are many possible threats to your little seedlings if their unique needs aren’t met, including:

 

  • Over- or under-watering: Under-watering can leave delicate seedlings parched; over-watering can leave them open to disease and rot.
  • Planting depth: Some seeds thrive covered in soil, some need to be directly exposed to sunlight or they won’t germinate.
  • When to plant: It’s common to plant too early. Even if California bears less risk of frost than other places, it’s still possible if you start them too soon.
  • Transplanting: Many seedlings can’t handle being directly transplanted into daylong sunlight, and need to go through a process called “hardening,” which slowly transitions them from indoor to outdoor life.

 

There are lots of great resources for learning about what your seedlings need. Start with the back of the seed packet, and check out the seed companies’ websites for further information – as well as the extension arms of university agricultural departments, and websites like GrowVeg.com.  Grab a gardening journal (Moleskin has some great options), or an old-fashioned notebook, and start taking notes. A little information will take you a long way in helping your young seedlings flourish as mature, producing plants. And of course, contact an expert if you need the extra maintenance and care.

Bayscape Blog

Free Summer Gifts You Can Grow In Your Own Backyard

Have you ever thought about a flower garden as a source for thoughtful gifts? With so many potential uses, and the side benefit of having a beautiful yard, we think it’s an idea worth considering.

Gardeners love annual flowers for their beauty, variety, and flexibility. They make great additions to container gardens, fill in flowerbeds, and some can fit quite nicely in window boxes. The broad diversity of annuals allows gardeners to create interesting and exciting combinations of flowers that bloom across the Spring and Summer seasons.

That variety also makes annuals a great choice for creating your own fantastic bouquets that you can bring to dinner parties, give to friends and loved ones, or use to decorate your own home.

California’s largely temperate climate provides a lot of flexibility when it comes to planting annual flowers, so there are many annuals that grow well here in the Bay Area. Some of the more common types include:

Cosmos – These plants produce bowl or open cup shaped, daisy-like flowers atop long stems. They come in colors including orange, red, pink, maroon, yellow, and white.

Sunflowers – Big, tall, and bright, sunflowers are the iconic summer flower. Most are yellow, though there are red varieties, and most will grow quite tall (up to 16 ft.). Shorter versions have been developed if height is an issue in your space.

Petunias – A very popular flower, petunias have delicate flowers (that can be prone to damage from heavy rain). Grandiflora petunias have larger flowers, while Multiflora petunias have smaller but more numerous flowers.

Marigolds – Typically known for their gold colored, carnation-like flowers, marigolds come in a number of varieties. French marigolds and rock-garden marigolds offer smaller, daintier flowers. The great thing about marigolds is that they will usually put out bright blooms all summer.

Bayscape Blog Petunias

Petunias

Impatiens – With flowers somewhat like petunias, impatiens make good houseplants due to their preference for shade. They also bloom into the fall, which helps extend the life of your flower garden.

There are also a lot of interesting and more unusual varietals you can use to add a bit of flair:

Zinnias – Zinnias make great cutting flowers. They grow quite quickly and bloom heavily, with a single flower on each stem. Their bright colors can attract butterflies.

Mexican sunflowers – The big yellow Sunflower’s smaller cousin, the tithonia plant has
daisy-like flowers in a variety of colors, typically yellow, orange, and red. This flower is a preferred food for Monarch butterflies.

Bayscape Blog Mexican Sunflower Annuals

Mexican Sunflower

Lavatera – With abundant blooms of smaller flowers in vibrant lavender shades, these grow into bushy plants that provide plenty of cut flowers.

To add fragrance:

Stock – Stock flowers, also known as Gillyflower or Matthiola incana, produce attractive and interesting flowers in colors like pink, purple, red, and white that also happen to smell wonderful. Stock plants prefer cooler weather.

Reseda (mignonette) – While it may not be the best looking flower of the bunch, Reseda is very well known for its fragrance, having been cultivated for just that reason since before the 1700’s.

Nicotiana – A member of the tobacco family, Nicotiana are another type of fragrant, flowering annual. Their flowers are typically trumpet shaped florets, with lavender, red, rose, pink, white, and yellow colors. The flowers grow on slim stems, and the plants are usually 1 to 3 feet high.

To round out your bouquets, and garden arrangements, you’ll want some attractive foliage:

Caladium – Commonly called Elephant Ears, Caladium’s large colorful leaves really stand out. They typically prefer shade and can work well indoors, although some newer versions can handle some sun.

Coleus – There are low-growing, midsize, and tall types of coleus, with many color and texture variations among them. Bright magenta to buttery yellow, smooth to frilly, coleus can add a lot to a bouquet (or your garden).

 Bayscape Blog annuals dusty miller

Bouquet with Dusty Miller acccents

Dusty miller – The silvery grey foliage of dusty miller plants provide distinct contrast from other plants and flowers in your garden or bouquet. They hold up well through the summer and can tolerate some frost.

We’re already entering prime season for planting annuals, so don’t wait much longer.

If you need assistance, Bayscape Landscape can provide expert garden planning and installation services. 

Pre-Spring Landscape Care for the Bay Area Gardener

Who else is ready for Spring?

Here are some tips for Bay Area gardeners and landscape artists for January and February! There is plenty to do, so read on!

What Can I Plant?

Bay Area gardeners wanting to create a flowerful landscape should check out azaleas and camellias at your local garden store. Local landscape artists and nursery experts are great resources for learning what flowers will grow well when planted in late winter and early Spring.

If you are looking for colorful trees to fill out your landscape in 2020, look into maple trees. Japanese and paper maples are recommended for our climate during this time of year.

(Do check your local planting guide for types of plants and trees that will thrive at this time of year. )

Maintenance is Key

I used to miss plodding around in my garden and landscape during the winter months, before I understood the lifecycle of the garden and our ecosystem. All of that to say, there is always more to do!

Citrus plants, in particular, will benefit if you provide them with fertilizer six to eight weeks before blossoms appear. All deciduous plants will benefit from pruning excess stems, leaves and other old growth as they prepare to bear fruit in the upcoming Spring season.

Dream On

One of the benefits of growing and maintaining a thoughtful and fruitful landscape is imagining an atmosphere, then building it, growing, and living within that vision. While the list of items to plant in January in the Bay Area isn’t long, the time spared can be allocated to dreaming about Spring. Why not put pen to paper and sketch your vision for your ultimate 2020 landscape?

What do you want to grow where you live? What do you want to see? Sketch it out and save your pennies… Spring is around the corner.

Happy New Year!

How To Make Poinsettias Last Longer

How to Make a Poinsettia Last Longer

Poinsettias come in a wide range of colors. You can find reds, marbles, whites, and even pinks. Whichever color you choose, the care is the same for a long lasting poinsettia.

1) The actual flower of a poinsettia is directly in the center. The leaves, the colored portions, are actually leaves that have colored up. They will start as a green leaf and turn red, pink, or white as it grows and matures. When selecting your poinsettias, pick ones that have the flowers in the center that aren’t open, this way the whole plant will last a lot longer for you. 

2)  Place poinsettias in a sunny area away from drafts – this is very important to keep the plant growing and thriving. You want to maintain the plant in a temperature of 65 – 75 degrees F.

3) Keep a poinsettia moist, but not soaking wet (if you need a refresher on overwatering, check out our blog 4 Signs of Overwatering Plants). If you have a pot cover, make sure to drain the water to avoid plant rot.

4) Poinsettias are very susceptible to carbon monoxide. If your poinsettia is constantly wilted, you might want to check your monitoring systems to make sure you don’t have high levels of carbon monoxide at your property.

5) If you really want them to last longer than 6-8 weeks, consider fertilizing them after the leaves fully bloom. You may get a few more weeks out of them!

In conclusion, give it sun, keep it warm, keep it well-watered (not soaked), and enjoy the holiday season a little bit longer with your Poinsettia this year!

Winter Vegetable Planting

Decorative, Perennial and Delicious! Two Perfect Vegetables for Winter Planting

Do the words “winter” and “garden” ever cross your mind?

Asparagus and Artichoke are perfect for winter planting, and once established, are a long term relationship that will keep giving… With the right care, they will produce delicious vegetables for years to come! Read on for tips on planting and caring for these perennial beauties in your Bay Area landscape.

Asparagus Planting Tips

Cited from the Mercury News: “Asparagus, once established, can keep on giving for up to 20 years. Avoid varieties that have been bred for the hot and humid summers and extremely cold winters of the East Coast such as Mary Washington and Jersey Giant.

UC Davis has developed several hybrids that work well in our mild climate: UC 157 F1, Atlas F1, Apollo, Grande and Purple Passion.”

Make sure your asparagus will get full sun and well-drained soil! Too much moisture can lead to root rot and disease.

Plant asparagus crowns from your local nursery with the bud ends up, 12 to 18 inches apart, (rows should be at least four feet between) and cover with 2 inches of soil.

Remember the long term relationship I mentioned? Don’t plan to harvest your asparagus until the second year. By year four, you should be in good shape for an annual harvest.

How to Plant Artichokes

The artichoke is the lobster of vegetables! This large, gorgeous plant and takes time to cultivate, and to enjoy when it is time to eat. The time invested is worth the result! I like my artichokes best dipped in butter or oil with some salt and good conversation once it gets to my plate.

Before planting, it is important to amend the soil before planting. Talk to Bayscape before planting for tips to ensure a successful crop! You’ll need to purchase a part of the root (root division) from a nursery, as artichokes don’t produce from seed.

Artichokes spread up to six feet wide, and up to four feet tall. Make sure you create the space you will need for your ‘chokes to thrive. Check out this excellent article from Marin Master Gardeners for tips on Irrigating, Fertilizing, and more.

We hope you are enjoying the fall season in the Bay! There’s one more winter perennial that we’ll discuss in our next blog. (Hint, your grandmother may have made a sweet pie out of it… ).