Seasonal Maintenance

In early Spring, crew members can arrive to cut down last year's perennial growth, clean up leaves, remove weeds and edge gardens. We will also prune small trees and shrubs, as necessary. Barring persistent perennial weeds, some such as bindweed take consecutive years to control, your garden will be in excellent shape for the upcoming growing season. It is best to leave most perennials standing throughout the winter for health of the plants and for winter interest. We encourage on-site composting whenever possible and mulching byproducts of pruning and putting them right back on the garden. We can also mulch your gardens with Composted Pine Mulch or Composted Hardwood Mulch, which promotes the important soil microbiome, adds nutrients, preserves soil moisture and insulates from excessive heat and cold. Avoid the use of wood mulch, since wood mulch can deplete nitrogen levels in the soil!

Of all the projects that need attention in the garden, pruning is the most important for the long run and also the easiest to get wrong. Folks can do terrible damage if they prune incorrectly. When untrained folks use power tools, irreparable damage can be done in a short time. At Fern Ridge, pruning small trees and shrubs is one of our specialties. When we’re finished, the plants will look better and be healthier – able to withstand storms, disease and insects and ready to grow in the right direction in the coming years. Proper pruning may not look dramatic – especially if it’s done right – but it protects your investment and restores and enhances beauty. You might not even know we’ve been there. Except for the coppiced plants. Coppicing can be a shocking process. Coppicing involves cutting multi-stem deciduous shrubs RIGHT to the ground to rejuvenate them. They WILL regrow and be rejuvenated and healthy. The common practice of cutting these shrubs back by half or shearing them into globes to control size is actually very harmful to them.

For Summer, while some folks love working in their gardens, other folks just want to sit back and enjoy being surrounded by a beautiful landscape. Some spend a lot of time at the cottage but want the garden to look its best all the time. (We also have lawn maintenance companies we can refer you to if needed.) Fern Ridge can structure a summer maintenance program with just one or two visits, or as often as monthly, depending on your desired level of participation. We won’t just globe your shrubs and we won’t weed out your prized perennials. Our knowledge of plants and how to maintain them in an ecologically friendly fashion will help your garden last for decades, with a minimum of expense.

Fall leaves lying on the garden are not a problem unless they overwhelm the perennials. We remove or mulch excess leaves, prune evergreens to prevent snow damage and cut down selected perennials for the winter. Generally, with the exception of disease-prone plants, perennials should be left standing for the winter for protection, for sheltering beneficial insects, feeding the birds and for winter interest.