Attract Pollinators With a Bee-Friendly Garden

Gardens are beautiful to look act and a great way to connect with nature. Gardens that are pollinator-friendly take this one step further, creating a place for bees, birds, and insects to thrive.

Bees are vital to our ecosystem and a garden that is bee-friendly benefits both the bees and the gardener. Bee-friendly gardens help prevent colony collapse disorder, which is the phenomenon that is leading to a rapid decline in honeybee populations. Research has found that areas with more gardens have larger and more diverse bee populations.

Bee-friendly gardens also attract predator insects. These predatory insects are valuable because they keep pest insects from harming your plants. This, in turn, helps increase the quantity and quality of your fruits and vegetables.

How To Create a Bee-Friendly Garden

To create your own bee-friendly garden, be sure to do the following:

 

 

  • Whatever you choose to plant, plant a lot of them. It is recommended that you have at least 3 x 3 feet of each plant species.

 

  • Avoid using pesticides. Pesticides kill bees. Use compost to help develop healthy soil. Healthy soil creates healthy plants.

 

  • Plan out what you plant. You want something blooming for as many months as possible. Native bees and honeybees need forage during the entire growing season.

 

  • Create a habitat for nesting. Seventy percent of native bees are ground nesting. Leave some soil bare for these bees. You can also put up bee nesting blocks for crevice nesting bees.

 

  • Provide a cover. Bees need a break from the sun and heat. Coleus is a great plant for bees to rest under between feedings and flying.

 

  • Place shallow dishes of water in and around your garden. If you have a fountain, place stones or rocks inside it that bees can sit on while they rehydrate. Bees need water just as much as we do.

 

  • Plant bee balm. Bee balm is a hardy perennial that looks beautiful while attracting various types of bees to your garden.

 

  • Keep color in mind. Bees love blue, purple, and yellow plants and flowers. Keep these colors in mind when planning out your garden.

 

  • Plant flowering fruits and vegetables. Tomatoes, zucchini, strawberries, and apples are a great source of pollen for your garden visitors.

 

  • Be mindful of bees. If you have small children, teach them not to kill or swat at bees. If you are respectful of bees’ space, they will be respectful of yours.

 

The success of bee-friendly plants varies according to region, but some common choices that thrive in the Midwest include sunflowers, poppies, lavender, sages, and goldenrod. Having a bee-friendly garden is a great way to both give back to nature and have a prospering garden. For more information on how to create a bee-friendly garden, reach out to our team here.

5 Spring Landscaping Tips

Spring in Wisconsin is just around the corner, and you’re probably looking forward to bringing your yard back to life. Taking care of your spring landscaping early in the season is the best way to guarantee a beautiful and vibrant yard for many months to come. Consider the following factors when beginning your spring landscaping endeavors.

Shrubs and Trees

Examine your shrubs and trees for broken branches caused by heavy snow and strong winter winds. You can prune and remove these branches yourself or hire a specialist to do it for you. For shrubs that bloom in mid to late summer, you should prune in late winter or early spring. If you have shrubs that flower in the springtime, you’ll want to prune the branches once the flowers fade. Keep in mind that dead trees are not only unsightly, but can also be dangerous during a storm. If you are unsure, contact a professional to examine the tree.

Lawn Care

You should rake and thatch your yard in late winter or early spring for best results. Aerating your lawn will free up areas that have become compacted. Apply a light fertilizer to your lawn when doing your early spring landscaping. Seed in the areas that need it, and make sure your lawn is getting at least 1 inch of water per week.

Mulching

Mulch flower beds and tree bases during the early spring. Mulching helps your plants retain moisture and acts as an insulator for the roots in case the temperature drops. Apply an inch or two of mulch, but never more than 3 inches in any one spot. Mulch comes in a variety of colors and textures, and you’ll be want to sure you choose one that compliments your landscape.

Plants

You’ll want to choose plants that are compatible with your soil. The soil acidity, nutrients, and soil makeup will determine how well a plant will do in your yard. Consider whether a plant needs direct sunlight or shade in order to thrive, and make your choices accordingly. When in doubt, contact a nursery professional or professional landscaper. Pick colors that compliment your home and landscape.

Maintenance

Examine your lawnmower and determine the condition it is in before using it on your lawn. You should replace spark plugs, sharpen the blades, and make sure the oil is changed. Storing your lawnmower properly during the winter will make all the difference. Something as seemingly trivial as dull lawnmower blades can actually tear your grass instead of cutting it, which can lead to fungal growth. Furthermore, you should inspect your sprinkler system for any damage before turning it on for the season.

Taking care of your spring landscaping at the beginning of the season is key to achieving a stunning yard all season long. The team at Central Services is happy to help with any questions or concerns you may have about your own Wisconsin spring landscaping.

When To Grow and Remove Trees

When good weather comes back around, you may find yourself needing to remove trees. They may appear small and lacking the fullness of leaves. There are ways to grow strong and healthy trees, but sometimes they cannot be saved and will need to be removed. Here are a few tips and tricks that will make you feel like a horticulture expert in no time.

Making Trees Grow Faster

Once you plant a new tree, you’ll need to remember the following to keep it growing healthy and strong:

Don’t Hit Your Trees

Trees are living organisms, and any time the bark of a tree is injured it can be detrimental to that tree’s overall health. While it may seem a minor error, any time you accidentally knock your tree with your lawn mower, edger, or weed whacker, open wounds are created. These open wounds are vulnerable to infectious pathogens that can really harm your tree.

Give Your Trees Space

When you’re planting your tree, make sure you dig out at least three feet away from the trunk. This is important because it ensures that any neighboring plants can’t steal essential nutrients from the tree roots.

Create a Healthy Root System

Trees need healthy root systems in order to pull nutrients and water from the soil. You want to make sure you have good soil to provide these nutrients. If the dirt around your tree is hard or of poor quality, take time to loosen it up and mix in compost, mulched leaves, or even coffee grounds.

Identifying Dead Trees

You might not be sure yet whether your tree is dead or dying. The following tests can help you determine the state of your tree:

  • Bend Test: Bend a few of the small branches on the tree. If the branches snap quickly without first bending, the branches are dead.
  • Scratch Test: Scratch off a little section of the outer layer of bark on the trunk of the tree. There should be a green layer underneath if the tree is still alive. If it is brown and dry, the tree is dead.
  • Trunk Damage: When trees age, the bark should replenish itself. New layers of bark should continuously replace the old layers. If the trunk of your tree has layers with no bark, your tree might be dead or dying.
  • Fungus: If your tree has fungus growing on the trunk, this may be a sign of internal rot.

 

Removing dead trees is important because, if your tree is dying or dead, it is more likely to fall over during a storm or in strong wind conditions. If your tree is rather large, it can cause extensive damage to the area around it. The team at Central Services is happy to help you with any issues you may have with your trees and provide you with advice and assistance. Check out our article on planting new trees to replace any that you have lost.

 

 

Summer Pest Control

With the beauty of Wisconsin summer comes the unfortunate reality of summer pests such as mosquitos and ticks. Our great state boasts many miles of gorgeous landscape, and Wisconsin homeowners work hard to capture that beauty in their own backyard with beautiful landscaping, trees and shrubs, and lush foliage. No one wants to be forced inside by an infestation of annoying and potentially health-damaging insects. That’s why Central Services is proud to offer effective and safe Mosquito and Tick Control in the Milwaukee and Waukesha areas.

In order to have an outdoor living environment that is relatively free of mosquitos and ticks, there are many things you can do to inhibit their ability to thrive and multiply, as well as countless products designed to be a shortcut to effective pest control. At Central Services, we believe the best summer pest control results from adhering to the following prevention techniques to reduce the likelihood of infestation, combined with our Mosquito and Tick Control Services, which will eliminate the pests that make it past your control efforts. Read on to learn more about preventative protection from annoying summer pests.

When it comes to mosquitoes, the most important thing you can do is to eliminate their preferred breeding grounds. Keep your gutters clean, and eliminate standing water from birdbaths, playground equipment, wheelbarrows, and swimming pool covers. Clear away ivy and decaying leaves as well, which will give the mosquitoes far less opportunity to lay eggs and hatch a new bunch of pests.

Also, if you’re still using traditional incandescent outdoor light bulbs, your pest control efforts may be a good excuse to upgrade to either LED bulbs or yellow-tinted bulbs. These types of bulbs are much less attractive to mosquitoes, and highly effective at keeping them at bay during the evening and nighttime hours.

Ticks love tall grass and lots of shade, so keep your lawn mowed, remove leaves and other debris, and try to let as much sun into your yard as possible. Consider building a fence around your property to keep out deer and other large animals that can carry ticks. And don’t forget to check your pets for ticks after they have been romping outside.

If you exercise these tips and techniques for pest prevention, you’re sure to have considerably less of a problem with pests in your yard. However, even these techniques are no match for Mother Nature, and the prevalence of these pests in our state. Once you’ve eliminated or greatly reduced the pests’ opportunities to nest in your yard, finish the job with Central Service’s Mosquito and Tick Control Service. Our safe and effective methods virtually eliminate the remaining pests from your yard and give you a comfortable and pest-free outdoor living environment for approximately 4 weeks.

Contact us Today!

Central Services are your local experts in landscape design, not to mention grounds maintenance, snow removal, and much more! Contact us at (262) 548-0005 to get started on your project today!

Crabgrass Control

Crabgrass can be any homeowner’s nightmare. It can grow at an alarming rate, even in dry, hot seasons, and take over a once beautiful lawn. Crabgrass is unsightly and most noticeable because it grows at a faster rate and makes the lawn look uneven.  There are chemicals that help eliminate crabgrass once it is established without hurting the  lawn but the best way to control it, is to prevent it.

Crabgrass is an upright weed that can be mat forming and often has purple stems.

Crabgrass is an upright weed that can be mat forming and when mature it often has purple stems.

In Wisconsin Crabgrass is an annual grassy weed, meaning it has a life of less than a year. The first hard frost of the year will kill off the weeds; however one crabgrass weed can distribute thousands of seed which will be ready to germinate in the spring. Crabgrass germinates when the soil temps are greater than 55°F for a consecutive 7-10 days and it will continue to germinate in soil temperatures up to 95°F. The best way to control it is by applying a professional grade pre-emergent herbicide before it germinates. In our area it is typically most effective if it is applied in April to mid-May however, in a seasonably cold or hot spring it can alter the best timing of this application.

Central Services takes in account all the variable of the season to time the crucial period of when to apply this pre-emergent. Applications of the professional pre-emergent used will not only help prevent crabgrass and other annual grassy weeds, it will promote a healthy, dense, lawn. Our specialists can implement the best program for your lawn to help control weeds. We will come out and evaluate your lawn and recommend the best program.  Contact us today and talk to a certified and licensed professional about managing your lawn.

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