Five Benefits of Mulching

Many homeowners recognize the benefits of mulching as a part of their landscape design. Wisely so, as it offers practical benefits as well endless creative options. Central Services provides mulching services and products and here are five reasons we think mulching is a great idea for any yard.

Why We Say Mulch !

1. Conserve soil moisture

There a several kinds of mulch, but no matter what kind you use it will help slow moisture evaporation so more water remains in the soil and is available to thirsty plant roots. Not only is it beneficial for your plant life, you’ll benefit too by having to spend less time watering, especially if you have a large yard and lots of plants or flowers.

2. Protect against temperature changes

Mulch acts as an insulator, helping to regulate soil temperature to keep plant roots cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Mulching is especially important for new plantings done in the fall that are still tender as temperatures begin to plummet.

3. Improve fertility and health of soil

Wood mulch and mulches made from other organic materials improve the soil as they break down. Microbes and insects in the soil naturally consume the mulch over time, adding the by-products back to the soil in the form of organic matter. Central Services offers a wide variety of mulches and can discuss with you which one can best meets your objectives.

4. Reduce weed growth

How much mulch you use and the area you use it, such as shady or lots of sunlight, will factor in to how helpful it is in diminishing weed growth, but it will help. A 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch naturally helps prevents weed from sprouting and taking over the landscape by blocking their growth and access to sunlight. It can take anywhere from a 4-to 6-inch layers however to completely prevent weeds from growing. In shady spots, a 2- to 3-inch layer should suffice, but in areas with consistent sun exposure it may require a little more.

5. Enhance visual appeal

If you have a creative streak, then this is the most fun addition to the benefits of mulching. Mulch instantly gives your landscape a beautiful, finished appearance. With a variety of color schemes to choose from, the landscape design possibilities are limitless. Use two different colors next to each other in an inventive arrangement and turn your yard into an artistic masterpiece.

Contact Us

Mulching your garden beds is a smart way to reduce labor and energy consumption while enhancing the beauty of your beds and property. Whether revamping the look of your yard or working on it from scratch, Central Services provides the Milwaukee area with high quality landscaping products and services. Contact us today to learn about our mulching services or to set up a consultation.

4 Reasons to Add Decorative Stone to Your Landscaping

Landscapes can be more than just trees, shrubs, and flowers. Decorative stone can be a modern and elegant addition to your current landscape for any homeowner. While adding a beautiful look to your property, decorative stone can also provide some very practical benefits, making it great option for any property. Here are four reasons to incorporate it into your landscaping.

It Helps Reduce Weeds

Weeds are a common problem in all yards, some more than others. Although there are many weed-killing products available, there may be reasons why a homeowner prefers not to use herbicides. You may be concerned about other plant life accidentally being exposed to it. Maybe you have young children you know will need to be kept an extra close eye on to make sure they don’t play or walk through it. Decorative stone is a great option for helping reduce weeds because it blocks sunlight that support weed growth.

It Helps Insulate Roots

For the plant life around decorative stones, it helps protect roots by insulating them from heat in the summer and cold in the winter. This is especially beneficial during brief cold or hot snaps in the weather that aren’t conducive to plant life. Cool soil-loving plants can die if their roots get too warm, just as plants that prefer mild-climates will suffer if their roots get too cold.

It Is Durable

In addition to the benefits decorative stone provides with landscape upkeep and healthy plant life, it also is highly durable and will last a long time. You won’t have to worry about needing to replace it in just a few years. The durability and low maintenance of decorative stone means it can tolerate any weather the elements may bring, making it a solid investment for any yard.

It Is Aesthetic

Last but not least, in addition to the practical benefits, decorative stone can give any yard an extra aesthetic appeal. Not only does decorative stone come in a wide range of colors and textures — from large red granite to multi-colored pea gravel and everything in between, different shapes and sizes offer many different options to give you just the right look to add to your yard.

Turn to The Landscaping Experts

With great practical and aesthetic benefits, decorative stone makes a great addition to any residential property. For superior decorative stone installation services, turn to the landscaping artists at Central Services Company. Be sure to visit Central Services website for more information and connect with a professional today.

3 Reasons to Hire a Professional Landscaper

If you’re a homeowner, you may see the necessity of hiring a professional landscaper. Those who do so take pride in making the outside of their home look just as good as the inside. Not only do you want the exterior of your house to look well-kept and up-to-date, but your yard as well. A beautiful yard is the perfect complement to your home. Whether you’re a new homeowner or have owned your home for 20 years, there is a lot that goes into the beginning formation of a new yard, maintaining an established yard, or making changes and updating your yard’s look. No matter which stage you’re at, a professional landscaping service like Central Services has the experience and means to meet your needs. In case you’re still not sure, here are three good reasons to hire a professional landscaping service.

1. Having a professional to collaborate with.

Regardless of what stage you’re at with your yard, unless you already know exactly what you want, it can be overwhelming making decisions with so many options available. If you’re not sure what you want but know you want to do something, having a professional landscaper to bounce ideas off of, brainstorm, and collaborate with about layouts, design, and aesthetics, is a great way to get to your ideal yard and remove some of the stress of trying to make all the decisions on your own. A professional landscaper can also talk with you about best options for cost and on-going maintenance. Central Services offers a free initial consultation to discuss your wants, needs, visions, and budget.

2. Knowing you’re getting the right plant life for your property.

Many homeowners decide to just do their landscaping on their own and that can work out just fine. The benefit, however, of having a professional landscaper is that they can help you make sure your property offers the right setting for the greenery you’re buying. With Central Services, a site evaluation will also be done on your current location and soil conditions. This will help determine what plants and hardscape will perform best for your property. You can have the peace of mind knowing your money is being well-spent and not having to worry about shelling out more cash because new plants or trees need to be purchased.

3. Getting to see what it can look like before going through all the work.

DIY projects can be a lot of fun and very rewarding. But sometimes what you picture in your mind and what actually is created can be two different things. A professional landscaping service can provide you with a visual of what the final product looks like and take away the guess work of what the finished result will be.  Central Services will provide you with a site plan/design drawing that includes all planting and hardscape details; the design will have an individualized plant and material list as well that is included with the drawing for you.

Turn to the Professionals

Between having a professional to collaborate with, peace of mind you’re getting plants that will thrive in your location, and getting to see a pretty good idea of what the final product of your financial investment will be, hiring a professional landscaping company is a great option for any homeowner. For more information on the landscaping services Central Services can provide for you, check out their website, explore the landscaping tab and more.

Protecting Your Garden from Rabbits and Deer

A common landscaping problem mid-westerners face is how to control the local deer and rabbit population. These creatures, while beautiful to observe, can cause a lot of damage to your landscape. Try the following if you have a problem with rabbits and deer.

Fencing

If you want to keep rabbits out of your landscaping, you should have a fence high enough to prevent them from jumping over it. Three feet is typically a good height to keep rabbits out.

Rabbits may also try to dig under your new fencing. Be sure that your fence is buried six inches to keep this from happening.

Keeping out deer is another matter. A fence must be 10 to 12 feet high to properly keep deer from jumping over. This is unrealistic for many landscaping enthusiasts. However, there are a number of alternatives to fencing.

Repellent

There are a variety of sprays being made to deter rabbits and deer from nibbling at your beautiful landscape. These sprays typically have a bad odor and taste to protect your plants from becoming lunch for deer and rabbits.

Repellent sprays should be sprayed on and around your plants. Don’t be afraid to use a lot, and remember to spray the soil and objects all around your garden. Spraying your yard’s perimeter deters many animals from entering in the first place. Continue to spray every 3-4 weeks.

Many landscaping enthusiasts also use predator urine as a sort of natural repellent for deer and rabbits. Coyote urine will deter rabbits, while Mountain Lion urine is the preferred repellent for deer.

Plants

There are a number of plants that deer and rabbits detest.

Rabbits have strong noses and strongly dislike plants with strong scents. They particularly dislike earthy smells. Plants rabbits are known to dislike include, but are not limited to: lavender, sage, butterfly bush, artemesia, and columbine.

Deer dislike certain plants as well. They tend to stay away from trees such as blue spruces, common hackberry, and Douglas fir. Deer have also been found to dislike lavender, chokeberry, goldenrod, delphinium, and chocolate flower.

Conclusion

The perfect way to keep rabbits and deer out of your garden or yard is a combination of all of the above methods. It is important to protect your landscape throughout the upcoming summer. Check out Central Services’ other landscaping blogs to create your perfect summer garden!

Creating a Butterfly Garden

Now that Spring has come around, you may be interested in creating a butterfly garden. Butterfly gardens add beauty and brilliant color to your landscape, but they also do so much more than that.

Butterfly numbers have been dwindling in recent years. Creating a habitat for these creatures in your very own yard will help the species survive. Furthermore, it can be fun and fascinating to observe butterfly behavior and identify different types.  

Butterfly gardening is not as complicated as you may think. Simply choose a sunny location in your yard and plant caterpillar plants as well as plants that produce nectar for butterflies. Try to avoid using pesticides and herbicides, take care to moisturize your plants, provide shelter with trees and shrubs, and learn to identify caterpillars.

Choosing the Right Plants

When deciding on which plants to use in your new garden, choose ones that are good nectar sources.

Plant large sections of each type of flower. You want to have a large diversity of flowers that bloom at different times to attract the most butterflies to your yard. The butterflies will enjoy having a variety of nectar sources to choose from.

You should also include caterpillar food plants in your butterfly garden.

Butterflies lay eggs on food plants, and caterpillars will rely on the host plants for food. When you plant groups of each plant species, any caterpillar damage will be less noticeable.

Creating the Right Conditions

Be sure to provide shelter and resting spots in your butterfly garden. Trees and shrubs are great places for butterflies to roost overnight and escape predators and harsh weather conditions. Pick a sunny spot for your new garden, and include large flat rocks. Rocks provide butterflies with a place to warm themselves in the sun.

Keep your plants well moisturized. When you mulch beds with composted leaves or shredded bark, you reduce the need for constant watering. This also adds nutrients to your soil.

You should avoid using pesticides and herbicides. Pesticides kill butterflies, caterpillars, and many other beneficial insects. Herbicides wipe out dandelions, which are a great nectar source.

Fill a small, shallow container with sand and keep it moisturized. Butterflies will sip water and nutrients from here.

Finally, do your research! Once you identify the kinds of butterflies you have in your garden, you can read up on their preferences. Some butterflies prefer rotten fruit or sap to nectar. You can place a dish of rotten fruit out for these special cases.

In Conclusion

Butterfly gardens can be as rewarding as they are beautiful. Take the time this spring and summer to create a safe space for endangered species in the comfort of your own backyard!

What to Do to Your Yard After Winter

A midwest winter can really take a toll on your yard. Heavy snow will kill your grass and create unsightly patches on your lawn. You can restore the appearance of your yard and make it beautiful for the spring season with the following tips.

Eliminate Dead Turf

Getting rid of any dead turf is the first step to restore your lawn to its former glory after winter. Inspect your yard for dead turf. To eliminate the dead turf, simply pull any dead grass from the soil. The dead grass doesn’t have any roots bound to the soil, so removing it should be a fairly easy task. You can remove the dead turf with your hands or use a rake to save time if you have a large yard. Eliminating the dead turf will allow water, fertilizer, and oxygen to reach the roots of your grass.

Reseed

Reseeding is the next step to restore your lawn after winter. You should wait for the frost to thaw before you begin this process. Ideal soil temperatures for reseeding are between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to till the soil on your lawn up to four inches deep. After tilling, rake the top of the soil in order to remove debris and weeds. If weeds are a big problem for you, you can apply a pre-emergent weed killer before your lawn resumes growth. Finally, scatter your seeds onto the soil. Be sure to do this evenly, using either your hands or a mechanical seeder. Rake the soil lightly, covering the seeded areas with a quarter-inch area of soil. Water the seeded areas regularly until the seeds begin germinating.

Irrigation

As mentioned, watering your newly seeded lawn is important. You should irrigate your lawn either daily or weekly depending on the amount of rain you are receiving. Deep watering helps greatly in the germination process, which is vital to restore your lawn. You want to supply enough water to your lawn so that it is moist, up to six inches deep, allowing the grass to form deep and strong roots. Irrigation stops your grass from drying and keeps it vibrant and beautiful.

Fertilize

If you want to restore the health of your lawn after winter, you must fertilize. The soil and roots of your lawn need nutrients in order to prosper and stay healthy. You can use either high-phosphorus fertilizer or organic manure to improve your soil’s fertility. You may want to consult with a professional to choose the right fertilizer for you and your lawn. The knowledgeable team at Central Services is happy to help.

Caring for your yard properly post-winter will leave it looking beautiful and refreshed. Once your yard is properly restored, consider implementing some of our Spring landscaping ideas.

Protecting Your Lawn from Snow and Ice

Springtime in Wisconsin tends to give us some pretty inconsistent weather, and it’s important that we continue to prepare and protect our lawn for those unforeseen snowfalls. Snow and ice can be dangerous to you and your landscape. Knowing how to manage their effects can help your landscape stay beautiful during the snow removal season. Here are some tips for protecting your lawn before a hard snowfall hits.

Do the following before a heavy snowfall:

Inspect Your Trees

When in doubt an arborist can help you determine if your tree is healthy. An arborist can determine whether your trees or branches have insect damage or are experiencing dieback. Dieback occurs when the branch begins to die from the tip to the base. Remove dead or diseased branches before the next winter storm to stop the spread of dieback.

Prune Your Trees

Winter is usually a good time to prune deciduous trees. This is because the leaves are gone, making the inspection of branches and tree structures much easier. Check for branches that will catch heavy loads of snow. This could result in the collapse or damage of your tree. You should refrain from pruning trees when the ground is frozen, as it will cause the tree to lose a lot of water and moisture.

Hydrate Your Plants

Even in the winter, evergreen plants can lose moisture through their leaves, so they need plenty of water. When plants are well-hydrated, they are more likely to survive a hard freeze. You can water your trees manually (a five-gallon bucket should be sufficient). You can also look for an anti-transpirant to guard your plants against moisture loss and protect your winter lawn from snow and ice. Simply spray it on the top and bottom of the leaves to create a wax-like protective layer.

Protect Your Plants

Cold winter winds can take the moisture out of your leaves. Before a hard freeze, consider wrapping your plants in burlap. The woven material allows air to pass in and out and eliminates the risk of creating a heat moisture trap. Once the cold spell is over, remove the burlap to prevent your plants from overheating.

Do the following after a heavy snowfall:

Don’t Shake Branches

This can be an additional risk to your plants and branches. Wait until everything has melted before assessing the damage caused by the snowfall.

Remove Branches When Appropriate

Remove any damaged wood when the snow and ice have melted. Make a clean cut on a broken branch or limb to prevent insects from inhabiting in your trees and plants.

Practice Caution with Your Equipment

When shoveling your driveway or walkway, be sure you don’t place snow on any plants or shrubs as it will only will damage them further. Exercise caution when using a chainsaw or snow blower in wintery conditions.

Protecting your winter lawn is easy when you consider these tips. The professionals at Central Services can help with all your lawn and landscaping needs.

April Gardening Ideas

As you likely know, April is an extremely busy month for gardening in Wisconsin. For many landscaping enthusiasts, April is the month to officially begin work on your garden.

There are many different projects that can be taken on in the new and inviting April weather. Consider doing some or all of the following when you begin gardening this year to create the garden of your dreams.

Perennial Herbs

April is the perfect time to plant perennial herbs such as mint, thyme, lavender, oregano, sage, and chives. These herbs need to be in a sunny spot and should receive somewhere between six and eight hours of sunlight per day. Mix compost or sand into your soil if it is heavy and course. This will improve drainage and help your herbs thrive.

Plant Roses

Container-grown and bare-root roses prosper when they are planted in April. Consult with the experts at your local nursery and choose a landscape variety that offers continuous bloom. These varieties will be easier to care for and will be beautiful and bold in color. Pick a location for your roses that offers at least six hours of sunlight a day. Consider pairing them with Black-eyed Susans or catmint to make your garden even more beautiful.

Move Indoor Plants Outside

When the frost has officially ended, move your houseplants outdoors. Pick a somewhat shady spot and make sure they are protected from any high winds. Many houseplants will experience a rapid growth burst once moved outside. Be sure to check on these plants daily and feed them with diluted liquid fertilizer.

Tend to Your Lawn

Rake any bare spots on your lawn to remove dead grass and debris. Then, seed your lawn with the grass of your choice and lightly cover the seed with soil to improve germination. Be sure to purchase a grass seed with a 70 percent or higher germination rate.

Monitor Rainfall

Purchase a rain gauge for your garden if you don’t already have one. Most plants require somewhere around one inch of moisture a week. Use your rain gauge to track rainfall and water your plants accordingly. This will both save money and conserve water. Be sure to empty your rain gauge after each rainfall for accurate measurements.

Set Up Birdhouses

Birds add more than just a beautiful visual to your garden. Nesting songbirds will devour pesky insects and stop them from ruining your garden. When selecting birdhouses, choose ones with the appropriate sized hole for the birds you want to attract. Be sure to mount them at the correct height and location.

Looking for More?

The above tips and ideas can help your new April garden bloom and thrive. Check out Central Services’ other spring landscaping tips to help you create the spring landscape you’ve been dreaming of.

Renewing Your Garden Tools

Spring is finally starting to make an appearance in Wisconsin. Early spring is a perfect time to renew your garden tools. It is important to do this in order to have your tools pristine and ready for your spring landscaping endeavors. Use the following tips to clean and sharpen your tools to get them ready for the spring and summer landscaping season.

1. Clean and Remove Rust from Tools

Your various hand tools, such as shovels, picks, loppers, and trowels should be cleaned, sharpened, and properly oiled.

Start by giving your tools a good scrubbing to remove any stubborn oil. A wire brush works wonders. You can also keep some steel wool handy to clean off any rust on your tools.

Try to use as little force as possible when removing rust from your tools. Too much grinding or scraping of the steel can make your tools thinner and weaker over time.

Pure white vinegar also does wonders for rust removal. Pour the vinegar into a small plastic tub or bucket and submerge your pruning shears. Soak the shears in the solution overnight, or for up to 24 hours. The acid of the vinegar will eat away at any and all rust. Wash off your tools with water the next day and they will be good as new.

2. Sand Tools

Smooth any worn tool handles with medium grit sandpaper. This will remove and prevent splinters, as well as any deteriorated finish. Sandpaper can also be used to remove any remaining rust from surfaces and tricky crevices. It can also be used to polish the metal. After sanding, wipe down your tools to remove wood and metal sanding dust.

3. Sharpen Tools

A metal file can be used to sharpen the edges of your garden tools. Use the file to smooth any nicks, remove burrs, and give your tools a nice clean edge for the season ahead. Take care not to grind away too much of the metal. Some cutting tools, such as axes and hedge clippers, require that you use a sharpening stone lubricated with oil. This will give your tools a finer edge.

4. Oil Tools

Use a clean rag to apply lubricating oil to your tool’s wooden handle and metal blade. Take time to thoroughly rub the oil into the surface and wipe off any excess. Oiling prevents rust and also conditions the wood to prevent it from absorbing water and cracking.

After the handle has dried, apply a second coat of oil if needed. If you prefer to refinish your tools, make sure the wood is completely dry before applying any varnish.

Keeping Your Tools in Shape

Be sure to perform preventative maintenance on your tools to keep them looking like new and functioning at their best.

  • At the end of every gardening day, rinse your tools and scrub them as needed to prevent soil from clinging and creating rust.
  • Wipe tools down and let them dry in the sun.
  • Take care to hang your tools up rather than standing them on their edges.
  • Oil your tools as needed to keep them fresh and functional.

We Can Help

Renewing garden tools is an important and often overlooked aspect of landscaping. Taking the time out to care for your tools will make your spring landscaping a real spring breeze. For anymore information on how  to better care for your garden, reach out to Central Services here.

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.