Native Landscape Maintenance Schedule

January

  • Water during winter drought periods. Trees and shrubs planted in the previous season may suffer if not kept watered, even in winter.
  • Check that gardening tools and equipment are in good repair—sharpen  mower blades, sprayers, hand tools, saws, replace washers in garden hoses as needed, etc.
  • Check on supplies of materials such as fertilizer, herbicide, garden equipment, etc.

February

  • Prepare mowers, string trimmers, etc. for use. Clean air filters, new fuel, oil & filter change, perhaps tune-up, etc.
  • Finish pruning trees, shrubs, and vines before leaf-out in late March.
  • Most bare-rooted trees and shrubs should be planted in February or early March.
  • Burn grass clumps where appropriate (stay away from buildings).

March

  • Cut down and remove dead leaves, stems and seed heads from perennials and grasses.
  • Mulch where needed to reduce weeding and maintain moisture.
  • Plant trees, shrubs, vines, perennials and grasses through May. Recycle all plastic pots.
  • Divide and move perennials and grasses March thru May. Divide ferns while leaves are short to minimize damage to leaves.   
  • If you have not done so by now, replace worn, punctured and broken parts on irrigation system before turning on in April.  

April

  • Begin planting native perennials and grasses.
  • Replace mulch which has been washed out with spring rains. Smooth mulch layer if it has been disturbed.
  • Prune winter-damaged branches on shrubs or trees that have not begun to grow by late April/early May (especially beautyberry).
  • In late April and early May cut back tall grasses, goldenrods, wild bergamot, sweet coneflower, garden phlox, and asters by 50% to promote fuller and more compact growth.

May

  • Attend Shaw Nature Reserve Wildflower Market on Mothers Day weekend (Friday evening and Saturday)
  • Sweep or blow clean all walkways and curbs on a weekly basis.
  • Nutsedge become visible during this month. Hand pull weekly or apply Sedge-Hammer or Pro Sedge according to label. Don't forget to add spreader sticker to spray tank. 
  • Water new transplants and newly planted shrubs and trees unless rainfall is abundant.

 June

  • Vigorous, unwanted limbs should be removed or shortened on new trees. Watch for forks in the main trunk and remove the least desirable leader as soon as it is noticed.
  • Cultivate and mulch. Mulching will reduce about 70% of the summer yard maintenance.
  • Continue to water new plantings deeply as needed. Apply at least one inch of water each time.
  • Softwood cuttings from new growth of many shrubs will root if propagated in a moist shady spot.

July

  • Expect some leaf fall, a normal reaction to summer drought, especially on red buckeye. Continue watering young plantings.
  • Trim back any groundcover overhanging curbs or sidewalks.
  • Remove diseased plant material (like deformed purple coneflower, blazing star, and black-eyed Susan) by digging entire plant and disposing in trash.  Composting will spread the virus.

 August

  • Water all key planting areas thoroughly unless rainfall has been adequate.
  • Divide and replant spring blooming perennials.
  • Hedges and shrubs can be pruned, if necessary, about mid-August.

 September

  • Attend Shaw Nature Reserve Wildflower Market in early September. 
  • Check plants for signs of water stress, nutrient deficiency or disease. Fertilize only when necessary.
  • Now through November is a good time to plant perennials and grasses mulched to a depth of 2-3 inches. For trees and shrubs be sure to mulch to a depth of 3-4 inches.
  • Divide and move perennials and grasses September thru October. 
  • Mulch where needed to reduce weeding and maintain moisture and protect from winter freezing and drought.
  • September and October are best months to kill invasive bush honeysuckle. Cut and spray stumps with 10% glyphosate. Properly dispose of cuttings if they contain berries to prevent spreading the seeds and reinfesting the newly cleared area.

 October

  • Scout property for invasive bush honeysuckle. Leaves are bright yellow with red berries in Oct.
  • Mulch where needed to reduce weeding and maintain moisture and protect from winter freezing and drought.
  • Remove tree leaves and litter from parking lots and turf areas or mow with mulching mower.
  • Trim back any groundcover overhanging curbs or sidewalks.
  • Keep dead leaves, stems and seed heads on perennials and grasses throughout winter to provide food and shelter for birds and overwintering insects.  
  • Clean out bluebird and other bird houses in fall or winter.

 November

  • Continue to seek out and remove invasive species. more details
  • Blow or rake tree leaves from beds onto lawn and mow. Rake up ground leaves, compost and use the following season.
  • Clean tree leaves and debris out gutters after tree leaves have fallen.  
  • Winterize hoses and outside water sources.  Clean out rain barrels.  Clean and/or remove water feature pumps.
  • November 15 to March 15 is the best time to prune most trees and shrubs. Remove conflicting and crowded branches, dead limbs, double-leaders and unsightly branches.
  • Add fuel stabilizer to engines before winter storage. Drain and store water hoses. Clean up all tools.
  • Good time to make improvements to hardscapes (pavers, walls, stonework, woodwork, etc.)
  • Order new trees from the Missouri Department of Conservation on their tree seedling orders website

  December

  • Review the year’s schedule and make plans for next year’s improvements.
  • Continue pruning trees and shrubs.  Prune any tree branches in parking lots and sidewalks that interfere with public safety.
  • Provide cover for wildlife.  Leave plant stalks and seed heads standing.  Create brush piles. Leave deadwood for insects to overwinter.
  • Build an insect hotel. Instructions