Posts tagged gardening in Durango Colorado

Landscape Watering Dilemmas in Durango Colorado: How Much?

Wildlife Resistant Landscape

How Much Do I water these Trees and Perennials?

How much do I water my SW Colorado landscape?

There is a very similar outcome when you water too much or too little.  One way to really decide whether to water or not is to actually feel the soil.  If you will dig down about three inches and grab a handful of soil and try to squeeze  it into a ball.  If it sticks together, then it still has sufficient moisture.  The problem with over watering is that the water molecules replace the oxygen in the soil and causes distress to plants.

Durango Landscaping Services by Gardenhart Landscape & Design

Sod & Grass use different amounts of water than many Trees and Plants

Signs of Over watering from Gardenhart Landscape & Design

It seems to me that my garden has not been growing very well and perhaps it is because it has been over watered.  The soil at my house is very hard packed river bottom and even though we have  tilled the garden area and applied compost and soil amendments numerous times, we still do not have a “well-drained soil”.  Watering here is difficult, too much and it runs off and not enough we water only the surface, which encourages shallow roots.  Ideal soil will absorb water down to about eighteen inches or deeper, then allow it to gradually dry out over a predictable period of time.  The plant roots will seek the moisture by going deeper in the soil,  thus they are less susceptible to dry times.

Durango Colorado Landscaping Companies help figure out how much to water

How Much Water Does Sod Need?

In summary, watering is very site specific, depending on your soil composition and the requirements of the individual plants.   As long as the soil will absorb water, deep watering is preferred.  You must pay attention to what is going on with your plants and the soil they are trying to grow in.


David Hart

Gardenhart Landscape & Design


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Best Perennials to Plant in Durango, CO That are Resistant to Deer & Rabbits

What to do about deer eating bulbs

delicate and tasty bulbs

Best Perennials to Plant in Durango, CO That are Resistant to Deer & Rabbits

How do you deal with the critters that are hungry?  Early spring when there is little to eat, the deer and rabbit are pervasive.  It is very difficult to keep them out of gardens and from eating my early blooming bulbs.  They both eat my daylillies and tulips  on the  south  side of my home every year. Daffodils, rhubarb and grape hyacinths generally go unscathed.  Amazingly also they will nibble on the fresh new growths of rose bushes, of which there is only one in our yard.

Several of our local Durango gardeners like to use a product called Bobex, which is sprayed on your plants.  It makes the plants unappetizing to these critters and they are less likely to eat them up. I do not have personal experience with this product, but some swear by it.  I also think that there are several other brands that work the same way, I would ask at your favorite garden center for their personal preference. Organic Gardening Magazine has several ideas on how to control garden pests.

Locally,  Durango Nursery and Supply’s recommended zone 3 perennials that are more resistant to deer is a very helpful list.  The only really proven way to control the deer and rabbits is to put up a very big and sturdy fence.


David Hart

Gardenhart Landscape & Design


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More Fall Action Tips From Gardenhart Landscape & Design

Fall is well on its way here in Southwest Colorado, the nights are cold and the days usually sunny and cool. Perfect weather to work in your garden or ride your mountain bike ( watch out for hunters, wear your orange ) in the woods around Durango.   Gardenhart Landscape & Design is working with a few clients to get some trees in the ground before winter really sets in, a good idea I wrote about several weeks ago.  More things to think about to get ready for winter…

1)   Start a calendar so you can track when and how much you water your trees and other plants.  It does not have to be very technical about how much water was applied, just give yourself in idea, a lot or not so much this time. You will use this information in the upcoming months to help you decide  when you should water during the winter.

2)   Turn your compost at least one more time, before it freezes, this will give the worms a good supply of water and table scraps to feed upon for the next few months. If you do not have at least two piles going, start another one now with all the leaves from your yard and the neighbors ones as well.

I hope this information is helpful to my readers and gives you things to do to help get your landscape in the shape you want, there are many things you can do.  Any questions about your landscape or topics you would like me to address?

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David Hart

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Fall Action Steps for your Colorado Landscape from Gardenhart Landscape & Design

The air has definitely cooled off  here in the Durango Colorado area the last few days, especially in the evening, with the hard frosts we have received. Many of us have lost the above ground vegetables by now.

I will share some of the fall action steps you can do for your landscape this time of year in the next few posts to this blog.

1)   Reduce the amount of water that you put to your plants, this will not only save you water, but it will start to harden them off, in preparation for really cold weather.  This is very important for your shade trees with soft bark, such as maple and ash.  Freeze cracks in the outer layers of the bark will eventually stress the tree and cause its decline.

2)   If you have a lawn,  try to keep it mowed more frequently than you might otherwise do in the summer months.  Not only does it make it easier to rake the leaves, but the lawn will over-winter much better if it is shorter.

We here at Gardenhart Landscape & Design are always happy to answer all of your questions concerning landscaping and your gardens.  People often call me with their landscape  problems that are very easy for me to suggest a solution.

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Landscape Tips for Durango Gardeners

Many of you may not realize that fall is on it’s way and that this is an excellent time of year to get plants in the ground. I get phone calls from people who are worried that it is too late to purchase plants or get that landscaping project started before the winter.

Fall planting is highly recommended by many nursery professionals and landscapers for several reasons that I would like to share with you.

1]  Fall planting is less stressful on the plants than spring or summer, ambient temperatures are lower and humidity is often higher, which creates a gentler environment for the plants to become established.

2]  It takes several weeks for plants to recover from being transplanted and to start to grow in their new location. If we put them in the ground now, they will settle in and be ready to grow in the spring, without any hesitation or adapting to the new location.  They are more acclimated and ready to get on with it!

3]  Many nurseries and garden centers have fall sales or specials on selected plants. This is a good opportunity to get more value for your dollar than in the spring, when everyone wants trees and shrubs. These businesses would rather have the plants at your house, in the ground, than overwinter them and sell them in the spring.

4]  Landscapers, like Gardenhart Landscape and Design, like to book work through the fall, and will often discount their prices slightly to remain busy until the ground freezes and it becomes very difficult to landscape in the Colorado weather!

So, in summary, if you are thinking about doing a landscape project this summer and have not started it yet, do not despair, get going and call us. You will gain a whole growing season by doing it this fall and you will also save some of your hard earned cash.

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Why use a Landscape Architect?

You may wonder why it is a good idea to hire an Architect to design your residential landscape project, after all , it does add to the overall cost.  But remember, you always get what you pay for. The consequences of an inexpensive pair of shoes may not be that great, but the problems encountered with a tree planted too close to your house or a flagstone patio that drains water up against your sliding glass door can be significant. When interviewing a potential landscaper for your project, ask them specific questions about their education, experience and references.

Landscape Designer or Landscape Architect?

An individual does not have to have any formal schooling to call themselves a designer, often they just have a few years of experience in making things look pretty.  They usually do whatever the homeowner suggests, and they, the homeowner, often know even less about the landscaping process than the contractor does. I see many local projects that are not appropriate for our climate, they use trees and shrubs that do not thrive , use excessive amounts of bluegrass lawn, flagstone patios that are too small or too large  and the list goes on and on.  On the other hand, an architect will have an appropriate degree from a college or university and they will be glad to offer that information.  A good architect will ask you many questions about how you intend to use your landscape.

  • Do you need places for children or pets to play?
  • How about entertaining, do you need an outdoor kitchen or just a spot for the grill?
  • Do you enjoy working in the yard?  Mowing the grass?
  • Would you like to grow your own food?

Obviously the list of questions could (and should be) extensive, after all, the more they know about you and how you want to use your outdoor spaces the more likely their landscape design will be successful. You will have enough lawn to appease the neighbors and the kids to play on, but not too much to mow or be politically incorrect in our dry climate.  Large trees will shade the patio in the heat of a summer afternoon but not block the winter sun from warming your house. A good landscape design will add thousands of dollars to the value of the property because it seamlessly integrates the house and it’s inhabitants with the outside and nature. Remember what Ben Franklin said so long ago” An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure ”  Get a landscape that works!


David Hart

Gardenhart Landscape & Design


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When is the Ideal Pruning Season in Durango, Colorado?

Do you get confused about when the best time is to prune certain trees and shrubs?

Some guidelines to be aware of include:

1)  Temperature Changes–If you live in a cold place where the temperatures can fluctuate , it is important to monitor those temperatures so that you don’t prune too early.  Generally it is safe to prune when the temperatures are holding steady during the day and don’t dip too significantly at night. 

2) If you notice that plants are beginning to bud then it’s safe.

3) Spring flowering plants (forsythia etc) should be pruned after they flower or you will reduce their bloom.

Early Spring (March-April)

Plant type: Ornamental grasses
Task: Cut as close to the ground as possible.
Tip: Tying the tops before cutting makes the job fast and easy.

Plant type:Semiwoody perennials (Butterfly bush, Russian sage)
Task: Cut back to about 4″ to produce strong new stems and best flower display.
Tip: May be cut back anytime during the winter or fall

Plant type:Broad-leaved evergreens (boxwood, holly, firethorn)
Task: Prune out stems with winter-injured foliage.
Tip: Wait until later in the spring to shear or hedge so new growth will quickly cover cut tips.

Plant type: Summer-flowering trees, shrubs, vines, hydrangea, and roses
Task: Remove dead, damaged, or crowded stems, shape or reduce size if desired.
Tip: Summer flower buds develop on new growth. Spring fertilization and adequate moisture in the summer will maximize number and size of summer blooms.

Early Summer (May-June)

Plant type: Spring-flowering shrubs (forsythia, rhododendron, lilacs)
Task: Prune for shaping or size control following the “prune after flowering” rule. These plants form buds for next year’s flowers during the summer. Pruning after midsummer will cut off flower buds.
Tip:Deadheading — removing fading flowers — benefits plants like rhododendron and lilac by preventing seed formation and directing growth into flower buds for next spring. Thinning multistemmed shrubs by removing several of the oldest stems each year will maintain size and keep plant vigorously blooming on new stems. If any of these plants, like forsythia and lilac, are overgrown, cut down to 3″ to 4″ for a fresh start. A drastic procedure for problem plants growing too vigorously in full sun, this technique is called “rejuvenation” and is not for the timid gardener!

Plant type: Evergreen shrubs (yews, juniper, boxwood)
Task: Hedging and shaping if desired or thinning to reduce size.
Tip: Cut just as growth begins so new growth covers cut tips. Each job should include some inner thinning of the bush to ensure the outside layer of foliage doesn’t become very thick, resulting in a thin shell of very dense foliage that is attractive to insects.

Midsummer/Fall (July-November)

Plant type: Flowering perennials and annuals
Deadheading — removing flowers as they fade — extends the flowering or promotes a second flush of flowers. After the frost in your area , when the perennials have slowed down and annuals have died, cut down the flower heads  and mulch the area well for next year’s growth.
Tip: Do not deadhead if dried flowers or seed are attractive or desirable for propagation.  Some folks like the look of their garden plants in the snow.

Winter (December-February)

Plant type: Deciduous and evergreen trees, crab apples and other pest-prone plants
Task: Remove any dead, damaged, or hazardous limbs. Prune limbs that interfere with walkways and structures. Remove crossed or rubbing limbs. Prune out suckers.
Tip:Winter is a great time to prune; insect and disease pressure is minimized and the plant architecture is visible. Also it is not as stressfull to the plant as it can be in mid-summer.


David Hart

Gardenhart Landscape & Design

Durango, Colorado

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