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Appeal Local experts in landscaping, plants and lawn care share advice


Curb appeal is especially eye-catching beginning in April: thick, green grass, appealing landscaping and the just the right touches with annuals and perennials plants and scrubs. Local experts in landscaping, plants and lawn care share advice on creating curb appeal for neighbors, motorists, cyclists, joggers — or anyone passing by — to envy. Nick Davis, owner of Extreme Green Lawns & Landscaping ( (, explained what his service did for a Farragut home. Creating about 1,000 square feet of plant and scrub beds around a two-story red brick home using dwarf hollies, knockout roses and azaleas —surrounded by creek rock — Davis explained these homeowners wished to combine an attractive look and limited maintenance using

File photo

Hardspaces such as this rock waterfall and pond at Stanley’s Secret Garden lend not only interest and beauty to the landscape but also a sense of tranquility to a busy lifestyle.

plants that would stay green year-round. Dwarf hollies “are evergreens so they stay green year-round,” Davis said. “Evergreen azaleas, they also bloom in the spring. They stay green yearround, also.” Using creek rock, “For some customers they like that because they don't have to do it but once a year,” as opposed to "putting hardwood mulch down," Davis added. Rock beds and flowers often don't coexist well. “If there's going to be quite a bit of sun kind of beating down on the rocks, you're probably not going to want to put the flowers down there because it’ll just draw too much heat,” he said. “Delicate plants you don't want to use with rock.” However, knockout roses are an exception according to Davis. "They bloom longer than regular roses,” Davis said. “They’re a smaller type rose. They bloom in spring into the early part of summer.” When applying hardwood mulch around trees and plants, “You want to make a little donut around the tree, that allows that when it does rain, water will siphon down into the root system,” Davis said. “You want to do that with all your plants.” Lisa Stanley, sales manager with Stanley’s Greenhouse, 3105 Davenport Road, Knoxville (, spoke about color coordinating See CURB APPEAL on Page 4C

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Pest control Local experts lend advice for handling unwelcome pests


Numerous pests can make keeping a lawn or garden difficult. Lee Strunk, All Seasons Lawn Care owner, said bagworms can kill trees. They can be found on almost any type of evergreen, he said. Grubs can damage the turf, he said. “Because obviously they’re in the sod, and they’re feeding on the roots of your grass,” he said. “So as they chew on the roots of the grass, the first thing that you’ll see, the lawn becomes less droughttolerant and needs more watering. And the more they eat on the roots, then eventually the plants that they’re eating on the roots, they die.” This also can lead to a bigger pest – the skunk, which may dig the grubs up and create a hole in the lawn, he said. Fleas in the lawn can find their way into the house through a walk of the dog, he said. During this time of year, mosquitoes present an annoyance and a health hazard, he said. “The things you want to do to prevent mosquitoes are look around your lawn, look around the outside of your home,” he said. “Make sure there’s nothing around that can hold water. Birdbaths and stuff like that are pretty, but unless you change that water pretty frequently, it can become stagnant and cause a problem.” All Seasons Lawn Care can treat for

We are

grubs, and the business can treat outside the home for fleas or ticks in the lawn, he said. Carl Haynes, Southeast Termite and Pest Control owner, said spring and summer are when pests are particularly troublesome, and usually March through October marks the business’s busiest time of the year. The warmer weather of the past few weeks has brought the ants out, he said. “Crickets are not too bad so far,” he said. “They’ll pick up a little later on, but ants, centipedes and now termites are starting to swarm. We’ve had several swarms already. When it gets up into the 70s for several days in a row, that’s usually when the termites start coming out.” Above average rain also brings out termites, he said. “They have to have moisture, and then you have that 75-degree weather, the sunshine, that’s when the swarmers come out,” he said. “... And when you have that kind of weather, people are out working in their yard, and they tend to see signs of termites that they normally wouldn’t see at any other time.” Pests can enter the home from outside in a number of different ways, he said. “They can come in through the smallest crack imaginable around the doors, around windows, plumbing,” he said. “There’s just so many ways. It’s almost impossible to make a home too tight for

Robby O’Daniel/farragutpress

Treating for ants is Danny Kidd, Southeast Termite and Pest Control sales and service technician.

See PEST on Page 7C

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Gardening Tips for beginners

Gardening is a rewarding hobby that many enthusiasts credit with helping them to peacefully escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Though gardening can be both relaxing and rewarding, it's not as easy as it may seem, and the more time and effort a person devotes to his or her garden the more likely it is to be successful. Gardening can be a little daunting for beginners who have little or no experience planting flowers or vegetables. But gardening need not be so intimidating, especially for those beginners who adhere to the following tips aimed at helping novice gardeners start their gardens off on the right foot.

Determine what you should plant Where you live will go a long way toward determining what you should plant. While you can plant anything you can get your hands on, the United States Department of Agriculture has determined specific plant hardiness zones that indicate which plants are most likely to thrive in given locations. Maps of these zones can be found at By adhering to the maps, gardeners can significantly increase their chances of growing successful gardens. When in doubt about what to plant, consult a local gardening center or seek advice from a professional landscaper.

Think location when beginning your garden Beginners with large yards have the luxury of choosing the right location on their properties to start planting. When choosing a spot, consider how much sunlight a location gets on a daily basis and the spot's proximity to a water supply. If planting flowers, try to avoid planting in areas with heavy foot traffic so the flowers are less likely to be stomped. If you're planting flowers to accent walkways, then consider erecting a barri-

er around the flower bed to safeguard the flowers from foot traffic.

Get started before you plant Preparing the soil a few weeks before you start planting can help the plants thrive down the road. Add some organic material, such as compost or fertilizer, to the soil roughly three weeks before planting. This helps the soil retain water and nutrients, which will help your garden thrive.

Time your planting When you plant is sometimes as important as what you plant. Some climates allow for yearround planting, but many do not. When buying seeds, the packaging might suggest what time of year to plant the seeds. Adhere to these suggestions or your garden might not grow much at all. In addition, keep in mind that many seedlings need significant light throughout the day in order to grow, so choose a time of year with ample daylight.

Don't forget to mulch Mulch can be as aesthetically appealing as it is effective. Mulch retains soil, helping roots to grow stronger, while deterring bugs and preventing weed growth. And many gardeners find mulch adds visual appeal their garden, and does so in a very inexpensive way.

Clean your tools Beginners rarely recognize the importance of cleaning gardening tools before putting them away. At the end of each gardening session, clean your tools thoroughly, as soil left on your garden tools can play host to potentially harmful microbes that might kill your plants. Gardening can be a labor-intensive yet gratifying hobby. By sticking to a few simple rules, beginners can develop a thriving garden to reward all of that hard work.

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Photo submitted

This two-story brick home in Farragut had about 1,000 square feet of plant and scrub beds, filled with creek rock, installed by Extreme Green Lawns & Landscaping.

Curb appeal From page 1C

flowers with the house’s outside color. When matching colors with flowers, taking a red brick home as one example, “Then I would probably want to put white or yellow against it ... because white or yellow will reflect the light out and it will show up the colors against it,” Stanley said. “Use white or yellow as a barrier against the brick, then put your other colors on the outside of that white or yellow.” With a tan home, “I would probably want the bolder colors like the reds and the oranges,” Stanley said. For in-ground plants and flowers around scrubs, “Come out about six inches” for the scrub's drip line, Stanley said. “Usually the borders colors would be best there, your whites and your yellows. ... To show up against that deep green. Then come out from your border and apply some color against that, either your reds, oranges, pinks or blues.” Stanley said a homeowner could add “a focus” potted plant

among the scrubs and in-ground flowers. ... “But I probably wouldn't want to do my whole border” with potted plants. To make each in-ground plant stand out in a bed, “I like to do a zigzag [pattern], so that none of the plants are hiding,” Stanley said. “It looks better from the side and it looks better from the front.” Lindsay Lindsey, landscape designer and assistant manager for Meadow View Greenhouse & Garden Center, 9885 Highway 11E, Lenoir City, (www. (hello@, said she recommends to “always have some foundation of evergreens, so there’s some interest all year. But then you also can add different seasons of color with your selections.” “I think the biggest problems we see are just putting a plant in the wrong place,” she added. “A common one would be an azalea, everybody thinks they can go sun or shade. Typically, an azalea is going to be stressed if you put it in the full sun. … It is a plant that likes to have morning sun but evening shade.” As for year-round, mainte-

nance-free plants, “A lot of small conifers [pine needle evergreens] work well,” Lindsey said. “You’ve got some hollies and boxwoods that stay in that two- to three-foot range.” “Using perennials for color is good, also,” she added. “Most perennials have a bloom period throughout the year. … they don’t all bloom in all seasons, so using different perennials is how you get different phases of color throughout the yard.” Annuals “typically give you more color,” Lindsey said.” And they do have a much longer bloom period than a perennial.” Among the more “drought-tolerant” perennials according to Lindsey are sedums. “Autumn joy sedum is one variety that’s taller, gives you great color but is very drought tolerant,” she said. Lee Strunk, owner of All Season’s Lawn Care & Landscaping (, warned about lawns browning during the hottest periods of summer. About fescue lawns, "Once it gets brown, it’s done,” he said. “You rarely can get it to come back. And even if it does come back, it's not going to come back as

Alan Sloan/farragutpress

Around this birdbath at Meadow View Greenhouse & Garden Center Is an arrangement that could be duplicated for curb appeal at a home: sun annuals and evergreens bordered by flagstone.

strong as before. “Of course, watering is the best way” to prevent browning. “It needs about an inch of rain per week. ... To know that you're going to have to have a rain gauge,” Strunk added. In addition, “You need a good fertilization program to get your grass established, even in the wintertime. … It grows a root system throughout the wintertime and the cooler times of the year,” Strunk said. Fertilize “about five times a year,” Strunk added. “About this time of the year or maybe a little bit earlier … then about six weeks after that … then there is a summer fertilization that has the turf-builder in it, which is going to help produce the root system again. Mid-summer, midJuly. Then again in the fall. ...

And then around December.” Struck warns about lime. “You never want to put lime on anything until you do a soil test to tell what your pH is,” he said. “For turf grass, your pH pretty much needs to be neutral, somewhere between six and seven. “Take a soil sample … they make a tool for it, and that tool takes up a plug that’s three inches long and probably three-quarter inches in diameter. Just takes two or three of those in a bag,” Strunk added. With Strunk advising to send samples to John Deere Landscaping, 1337 E. Weisgarber Road, the next step is sending it to a lab to “actually do a soil analysis, and they'll send you back a report ... They will tell you how many pounds per thousand square feet that you need to put on.”

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Irrigation Pros and cons of automatic systems Water is essential to keeping a lawn or garden in good health. The trouble with watering is that it can be time-consuming, especially if your idea of watering is standing outside with the hose. But thanks to irrigation systems, watering has become a lot less hands-on. An irrigation sprinkler or drip system takes much of the work out of watering a landscape. Some can also be fitted to deliver fertilizer and weed-prevention products to a lawn. But before any digging takes place, homeowners might want to learn about the advantages and disadvantages of irrigation systems.

Advantages One of the most obvious advantages is the time savings afforded by an automatic sprinkler or drip irrigation system. Once installed, many systems can be set to a timer to water at specific time intervals and on certain days of the week. This means there's no need to worry about forgetting to water the lawn and coming back from vacation to find crisp, yellow grass. Another advantage is that irrigation systems, particularly the drip type, can be positioned so that water is more effectively targeted where it is needed. Nozzles can be adjusted and underground drip tubes will deliver water right to the roots, rather than spraying walkways and driveways. Another advantage is that automatic irrigation systems are generally hidden from view, which means there are no unsightly hoses stretched across the lawn and no more tripping hazards. Sprinkler heads pop up to spray and then retract when the job is done. Underground drip systems do their work out of view. For families with young children and

pets who share outdoor spaces, automatic systems may be a safer option.

Disadvantages The primary disadvantage associated with a sprinkler system is the expense. These systems can be quite costly depending on the size of the property. Furthermore, portions of the lawn will have to be dug up to install pipework and attach it to the plumbing system of the home. It is best to install an irrigation system prior to the installation of sod or extensive landscaping. The repairs to fix an irrigation system can be much more costly than replacing a damaged garden hose. Irrigation systems have their advantages and disadvantages, and homeowners should weigh their options.

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Pools & lawns Can they cohabitate peacefully?

The backyard has become a go-to destination for warm weather recreation. As the "staycation" has grown in popularity, more effort has been put forth in making the backyard a place where all members of the household can enjoy themselves. That means merging interests into one space. A pool may be competing for acreage along with a decorative patch of lawn. Some homeowners wonder if lawns and pools can be successful alongside each other. Many question if chlorinated pool water poses any ill effects on the grass in the backyard. In addition to splash-out of water during fun times in the pool, water also will be tracked across the lawn from children and adults exiting the pool or will flood the grass when it is necessary to clean and "backwash" the filter. Will you be left with a dried-out patch of chlorine-burnt lawn? Probably not. Healthy chlorine levels in a pool are kept so that the pool water is generally on par with the chlorine levels contained in regular tap water. You wouldn't hesitate turning on the hose to water your lawn, so you shouldn't be overly concerned about pool water splashing out of the pool, particularly if you are stringent about maintaining the proper pH levels and chlorine levels.

Also, soil can withstand chlorine at high acid levels and is pretty resilient about selfcorrecting. Furthermore, grass blades are selective about which nutrients they absorb, so excess chlorine likely will not penetrate the grass blades. Chlorine also dissipates in the sun. Therefore, while the levels may be elevated upon just hitting the grass, over a short while the chlorine will essentially be used up and pose no additional threat to the surrounding lawn. Some people have actually said that watering your lawn with pool water can be an eco-friendly way of curbing water usage. Therefore, it may be safely used on lawns and most flowering plants. It is unadvisable to water vegetable gardens with pool water because of any trace levels of other chemicals that may be found in the pool water. Homeowners still concerned about exposing their lawns to pool water can create a buffer zone around the pool. Inground pools are traditionally bordered by concrete or patio blocks. Place stone or mulch around the perimeter of an above-ground pool to catch any splashes and to create a barrier between the pool and the lawn. Also, direct backwashed water through a long tube and flow it to an area away from

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Benefits of


Pruning trees and shrubs is necessary to ensure they maintain their health and vigor. Trees and shrubs should be inspected annually to determine if they need to be pruned. Mature trees typically do not need to be pruned as frequently as young trees, which need pruning to establish branch structure. Trees and shrubs that go years without pruning can become overgrown and weak. In addition to promoting tree and shrub health, pruning pays a host of other dividends.

Pruning removes dead or diseased branches Pruning helps a tree or shrub maintain its shape and vigor by removing broken, dead or diseased branches that can be unsightly and make it more difficult for the tree or shrub to stay healthy. When broken, dead or diseased branches are removed, trees or shrubs look healthier and add aesthetic appeal to a property.

Pruning trees and shrubs

Pest From page 2C

insects.” To combat pests, he recommends calling an exterminator. “You can’t keep them away,” he said. “All you can do is do what you can to kill them before they come in and start laying eggs and multiplying.” Southeast Termite and Pest Control offers free inspections where employees look at the home and provide suggestions. The business uses granule, a sand-like substance spread around the foundation of the home, he said. “Once you spray over them or if you just wait and let it rain, the rain releases the chemical in the granule, and it’s very, very

promotes growth of other plants Trees and shrubs that go years without being pruned become overgrown, making it difficult for plants underneath or adjacent to them to grow in healthy. For example, grass beneath an overgrown tree might not get adequate sunlight, which it needs to establish strong roots so it can grow in lush and healthy. Pruning allows plants beneath the tree and shrub, and even those next to the tree and shrub, to grow in nicely.

Pruning can sometimes bring plants back to life Shrubs that have gone years without being pruned can sometimes be salvaged. In some instances, pruning such shrubs can restore natural and healthy growth.

Pruning reduces risk of accidents Overgrown trees can interfere with power lines, increasing the risk of accieffective on outside insects like ants, crickets, spiders, centipedes, millipedes, things like that,” he said. Baits work mainly on ants and roaches, he said. The business may also use pesticides in certain situations. “If you had a heavy infestation of ants, roaches, fleas, something like that, that you need to do an initial treatment of a pesticide, but after the initial knockdown treatment, you could switch to your baits, your granules,” he said. He stressed that everything the business uses is safe for people and pets. “We service hospitals, daycare centers, nursing homes,” he said. “We can’t afford to use anything that’s dangerous.”

dents and power outages. In addition, overgrown trees tend to have larger, weaker limbs, which can prove hazardous and cause property damage during storms. Pruning overgrown trees reduces the risk of such accidents.

Pruning can save money Over time, overgrown trees might require professional assistance in order to be removed or pruned from a property. Homeowners who prune their trees as needed can save themselves the cost of a

potentially pricey tree service.

Pruning adds curb appeal A property littered with overgrown trees and shrubs hurts a home's curb appeal, giving prospective buyers the impression that homeowners might have been careless with regard to maintaining the whole house and not just the lawn. But trees and shrubs that are pruned and well-maintained can add to a home's curb appeal, something that goes a long way toward impressing prospective buyers.


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fp 041113 Lawn & Garden  

Tips on landscaping, watering, gardening and other helpful year round planting