Flower Care and Garden Bed Services in Milwaukee Area

Perennials to Divide in Spring

May is  an opportune time for dividing popular perennials, ensuring vibrant garden beds throughout the season. Among the commonly divided perennials are Hostas, Daylilies,  Siberian Iris, Shasta Daisies, Bee Balm, and ornamental grasses. Dividing these plants not only promotes healthier growth but also allows for expanding garden beds or sharing plants with friends and neighbors.

To divide perennials effectively, begin by preparing the soil in the new planting area, ensuring it is well-drained and amended with organic matter. Then, carefully dig around the perimeter of the perennial clump, loosening the soil and exposing the roots. Use a sharp spade or garden fork to gently separate the clump into smaller sections, ensuring each division has a healthy root system and several shoots or buds.

Once divided, replant the sections at the same depth as they were previously growing, ensuring they are adequately spaced apart to allow for future growth. Water the newly transplanted divisions thoroughly and continue to provide regular moisture until they become established.

Remember to consider weather and soil temperatures when undertaking any gardening tasks in May. Monitoring soil temperatures before digging ensures optimal conditions for successful division and transplanting.

We are happy to help prepare your garden beds for the growing season. Get in touch today to get started.

How to Divide and Transplant Perennials in Southeast Wisconsin

In southeast Wisconsin, there are many perennial plants that can (and should!) be divided and transplanted in the fall. Dividing perennials not only helps rejuvenate old plants and control their size but also provides new plants for other areas of your garden. Fall division allows these plants to establish their root systems during the cooler months, which can lead to stronger, healthier plants in the spring.

Here are some perennials that are typically good candidates for fall division in southeast Wisconsin:

  1. Daylilies (Hemerocallis): Daylilies can be divided every 3-4 years if they become too crowded or if flowering decreases.
  2. Hostas: These shade-loving plants can become very large and might benefit from division every few years.
  3. Peonies (Paeonia): While they don’t require frequent division, older clumps can be rejuvenated by dividing them in the fall.
  4. Siberian Iris (Iris sibirica): These can be divided when flowering decreases or they become overcrowded.
  5. Bee Balm (Monarda): Divide when centers of the clumps die out or plants become less vigorous.
  6. Goldenrod (Solidago): These can be divided to maintain their vigor.
  7. Astilbe: When flowering decreases, it’s a good indication they need dividing.
  8. Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia): Divide if plants become too crowded or if the center of the clump dies.
  9. Coneflower (Echinacea): Like Black-eyed Susans, divide when overcrowded or if the center of the clump dies.
  10. Yarrow (Achillea): Divide every 3-4 years to rejuvenate plants.
  11. Phlox: Dividing can help reduce susceptibility to powdery mildew and other issues.
  12. Coreopsis: Divide every 2-3 years for best performance.

Steps to Successfully Divide and Transplant Perennials

  • Plan to divide perennials a few weeks before the first hard frost so that the plants have time to establish roots before winter.
  • Water the plants a day or so before you plan to divide them; this will make the division process easier, ensure the plants are well-hydrated, and reduce stress on the plants.
  • Using a sharp spade, dig around the perimeter of the plant, going deep enough to encompass the majority of its roots. Gently lift the clump from the ground.
  • Separate the plant into smaller sections either by gently pulling apart with your hands or using a knife for tougher roots. Ensure each division has 2-3 growth buds and a good amount of roots.
  • Dig holes for the new divisions, ensuring they’re at the same depth as they were previously planted. Space them appropriately for their mature size. Fill in with soil and water well.
  • After dividing, replant the perennials immediately. Plant them at the same depth they were previously growing
  • Mulch around the newly planted divisions to retain moisture and provide insulation for the upcoming winter. Water regularly until the ground freezes.

Remember, while many perennials can be divided in the fall, some prefer spring division. Always research specific plants before dividing to ensure you’re choosing the optimal time for the process.

We have experts ready to help ensure your garden beds and entire landscape thrive in every season. Get in touch today!

How to Cut Back Spring Bulbs and Foliage

As your spring flowers begin to die off and foliage begins to droop and yellow, it’s time to take action! Follow our advice to trim these plants properly so your bulbs will produce gorgeous flowers for you again in the fall.  

Hyacinth

When flowers are spent, holding the flower stem firm, cut the stalk as close to the base as you can and remove.  

Tulip

When flowers are spent, holding the flower stem firm, cut the stem as close to the second leaf as you can. 

For both tulips and hyacinth, be sure to leave the remaining foliage up until it yellows. That is how the bulb makes nutrients for next year’s flowers.  After foliage yellows, you can pull, rake, or cut it off and dispose.

Daffodils

Daffodils are a little different than tulips and hyacinth.  There are many late blooming varieties, they often grow in large clumps, and sometimes the foliage will stay green well into June.  As the flowers die and the foliage starts to flop or interfere with spring planting, you can cut the foliage back to make it more attractive, while still leaving enough for the plant to store nutrients in its bulbs to flower next year.

Gather the leaves in your hands and cut straight across leaving 6”-8” of the foliage still standing. Your clumps will look nice and tidy and you can plant around them without interference.

Just like with your tulips and hyacinths, wait until leaves have yellowed before fully removing them. 

Pro Tip!  Consider interplanting your bulbs with perennials.  As the bulbs fade, the perennials grow and hide the dying foliage, leaving you with less work! 

Dividing & Transplanting

If you want to relocate your spring bulbs or if you notice they are not blooming well, you can divide and transplant them. It is best to wait until the foliage starts to die back so that the bulbs have time to store nutrients from the plant. 

When you transplant your spring bulbs, add a little bone meal or bulb fertilizer to give them a boost as they root in and prepare for next year. Be sure to give them a good watering and then wait for some gorgeous flowers in fall!

Note: Tulips do not typically have the longevity in Wisconsin that daffodils do, so over time it might just be best to replant with new ones.  

It’s always a great idea to get expert help with your landscaping. Get in touch today to schedule an appointment for new design/construction or to inquire about our maintenance programs.

How Do I Prune Hydrangeas?

“How do I prune hydrangeas” sounds like a simple question, right? But, to do it correctly, this question needs to be tackled in three parts.  We first have to answer:

What kind of hydrangea do you have?

When is the right time to prune the type of hydrangea you have?

What is the best way to prune your hydrangea?

Identifying Hydrangeas

There are SIX different species of hydrangea commonly found in gardens and to know when and how to prune them correctly, you’ll need to determine which type you have.  The species will let us know if it blooms on new or old wood, which is critical information to have before getting your pruning shears out. Lop off the buds and you will risk having a subpar showing of flowers in spring! You can identify your hydrangea species through the flowering and leaf pattern.

Identifying Hydrangea Species and Types

When to Prune Hydrangeas

Once you have successfully identified the type of hydrangea you have, you need to know whether it blooms on new or old wood. This information will guide the timing of your pruning.

New growth: Shrubs that bloom on new growth should be pruned in late fall once the plants have gone dormant or in early spring before new growth has started. This will maximize the amount of new growth and the number of flowers your shrub produces.

Hydrangeas that bloom on new wood:

  • Smooth hydrangeas
  • Panicle hydrangeas

Old growth: Shrubs that bloom on old growth, should be pruned immediately after their flowers have faded. This gives the plant plenty of time to develop wood that will be “old” by the time the next season’s flower buds emerge.

PRO TIP: Most experts agree that hydrangeas that bloom on old wood do not need aggressive pruning. Rather, you should aim to prune only when needing to shape or maintain their size.

Hydrangeas that bloom on old wood:

  • Oakleaf hydrangeas
  • Bigleaf hydrangeas
  • Mountain hydrangeas

When to Prune Hydrangeas

How to Prune Hydrangeas

In general, flowering woody shrubs that bloom on new wood thrive on somewhat aggressive pruning, while those that bloom on old wood require more careful restrained pruning. Hydrangeas are no exception.

The two species that bloom on new wood—panicle and smooth hydrangeas—do well with an aggressive annual pruning that removes as much as one-third of the shrub. So, for example, if your hydrangea is six feet tall, you can safely prune as much as two feet off the top and sides. Be wary of pruning more than 30% of the shrub to avoid removing too much of its framework needed to keep it upright. For best results, prune back stems to just above (1/4”) a fat bud or a healthy set of leaves.

We have experts on our team who know exactly when and how to prune your shrubs to keep them healthy and producing beautiful foliage and flowers. Call (262) 252-4260 or complete a contact form here.
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Top Tips for Planting Fall Bulbs

Fall-planted flower bulbs, such as tulips, daffodils and hyacinths, flower in spring and are a great way to add color to your garden. With these expert tips, planting fall bulbs becomes an easy and enjoyable task for gardeners of every skill level. 

Plant Your Bulbs as Soon as the Ground Is Cool 

Wisconsin’s cold winters are perfect for these bulbs since it allows them to winter over, which is an essential process for them to grow in the spring. The bulbs should be planted in the fall when the nighttime temperatures are around 40-50° F. It’s important to plant them at least six weeks before the ground freezes for sufficient rooting time. For those of us in Wisconsin, the optimal planting time is normally between mid-September through mid-November. 

Choose the Optimal Spot to Plant Your Fall Bulbs

You can plant bulbs just about anywhere in your garden, which allows for a lot of freedom when choosing your garden design. The most important consideration is to choose an area where the soil can drain well and avoid spots where water collects. Bulbs like the sun and each flower can grow to a different height, so take that into consideration as well when choosing your planting spots. 

Prepare Your Soil, Then Plant!

Your soil should be loose and workable to a depth of around 8”. If your planting area isn’t an established garden bed, it can be beneficial to add organic matter or compost to add nutrients. Remove any weeds or other debris as well. When you plant your bulbs, unless the label says differently, plant the bigger bulbs 8” deep and the smaller bulbs at 5”. Place the bulb in the hole with the roots facing down. Once planted, cover the hole with soil but don’t pack it. Water it once, and then you’re done! 

We would be happy to work with you to design a garden bed full of seasonal color. Contact us today to connect with one of our skilled landscape experts! https://amerlandscape.com/contact/ or (262) 252-4260

Spring Bulb Clean-Up

As your spring flowers begin to die off and foliage begins to droop and yellow, it’s time to take action! Follow our advice to trim these plants properly so your bulbs will produce gorgeous flowers for you again in the fall.  

Hyacinth

When flowers are spent, holding the flower stem firm, cut the stalk as close to the base as you can and remove.  

Tulip

When flowers are spent, holding the flower stem firm, cut the stem as close to the second leaf as you can. 

 

For both tulips and hyacinth, be sure to leave the remaining foliage up until it yellows. That is how the bulb makes nutrients for next year’s flowers.  After foliage yellows, you can pull, rake, or cut it off and dispose.

Daffodills

Daffodils are a little different than tulips and hyacinth.  There are many late blooming varieties, they often grow in large clumps, and sometimes the foliage will stay green well into June.  As the flowers die and the foliage starts to flop or interfere with spring planting, you can cut the foliage back to make it more attractive, while still leaving enough for the plant to store nutrients in its bulbs to flower next year.

Gather the leaves in your hands and cut straight across leaving 6”-8” of the foliage still standing. Your clumps will look nice and tidy and you can plant around them without interference.

Just like with your tulips and hyacinths, wait until leaves have yellowed before fully removing them. 

 

Pro Tip!  Consider interplanting your bulbs with perennials.  As the bulbs fade, the perennials grow and hide the dying foliage, leaving you with less work! 

Dividing & Transplanting

If you want to relocate your spring flowering bulbs or if you notice they are not blooming well, you can divide and transplant them. It is best to wait until the foliage starts to die back so that the bulbs have time to store nutrients from the plant. 

When you transplant the bulbs, add a little bone meal or bulb fertilizer to give them a boost as they root in and prepare for next year. Be sure to give them a good watering and then wait for some gorgeous flowers in fall!

Note: Tulips do not typically have the longevity in Wisconsin that the daffodils do, so over time it might just be best to replant with new ones.  

It’s always a great idea to get expert help with your landscaping. Get in touch today to schedule an appointment for new design/construction or to inquire about our maintenance programs.