2013-05-03 / Columnists

Getting Back the Curb Appeal

By Danielle of Danielle’s Rockaway Florist

As we make some headway on repairing the damage from the storm inside our homes, so many of us are noticing that the curb appeal is not as great as last year. The itch to revive our gardens as the weather is getting nicer is only natural and although some of our shrubs and blooming plants did not make it, there are some things we can do to help improve the chance of survival for the ones that are showing signs of life.

By simply scratching the stems of the plants in my garden I got a better idea of what I will be able to save. Some evergreens were dried all the way through and had to be replaced but others are showing fresh green or moist stems just under the skin’s surface and I am hoping that with some extra care, we can nurse them back to health.

I have noticed that my peony bushes are starting to sprout and the hydrangeas are showing some new foliage. On other plants, such as the wisteria and some other decorative evergreens, there hasn’t been any sign of life yet, but rather than dig them up, I am hoping to give them a better chance by improving the quality of the soil and air flow to help them thrive.

Begin by loosening the soil around the roots of the plants and the top four or five inches of soil between them. Add gypsum to the soil and soak it well. This will help break up compact soil, improving the structure. It helps with water penetration and aeration of the roots. The calcium that makes up gypsum neutralizes the salt and provides essential nutrients.

After a few days of treating with gypsum, mix in peat moss to help keep the soil nutrient rich and moisturized. It is softer and lighter than traditional soil, especially the clay-like soil we were left with after Sandy.

Topping the soil around your plants with red mulch will add an extra pop of color to your garden and give you some instant gratification and set a beautiful backdrop for your plants to sprout green while preventing weeds from growing.

Aerating the soil on your lawns, adding gypsum and seeding your lawn will help improve your landscape as well. After seeding, make sure to water well so that the grass will grow. On areas that look almost helpless, I recommend turning up the soil and removing any old dead grass that may create a barrier and prevent the seeds from taking. Mix in peat moss and new seeds to help it grow. Unfortunately some of us may not be able to save our lawns and putting in new sod may be the most instantly gratifying and time saving ways of reviving our landscape, but asking for help from a trusted professional will make this much easier.

We are continuing to offer landscape design services here at Danielle’s Rockaway Florist. Stop in to visit us at 436 Beach 129th Street, or call us at 718- 318-8888. We will be happy to help with any advice or materials you will need to get back that curb appeal.

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