Are Your Tools Prepared for Winter?

The remaining leaves have been picked up, the last branch was removed and you have dug your last hole.  As winter approaches your outdoor chores will come to an end.  Although you may be done using your tools for the season, you should consider some easy maintenance tips.  Not only will simple care and maintenance help prolong your tool’s life but it will help keep you orList1ganized and well prepared for the following spring.

The first and easiest thing you can do this winter is to get your tools organized.  Keep hand tools in a crate or on a wall and keep long handled tools such as rakes and shovels orderly and placed neatly on a wall.  Any dry location will work great.  Many hardware stores sell easy to install hanging kits for your tools but any way to keep yourself neat and organized will be beneficial.

Before you hang up those tools you’ll want to examine everything.  Start by removing old dirt and sap from the handles and metal areas.  Use water and a wire brush to clean metal and a fine grit sandpaper will work out any deteriorated wood areas like the handle of your shovel.  Rub vigorously as it may take some time to get down to bare metal or wood.

If you are satisfied with your scrubbing, start to sharpen all of your cutting tools.  A sharpening file will work great and can be found at any home improvement store.  Start at the base of your blade, making sure your bevel is level and make firm strokes away from yourself and up to the tip.  If you are not the sharpening type, check out some of your local hardware stores as many will sharpen your tools for a nominal fee.

After your tools have been sharpened to perfection, disinfect all cutting areas.  You can use rubbing alcohol or bleach.  You will want to thinly coat all metal areas to kill any pathogens or diseases that may be dormant on the cutting blade.  Wipe the bleach clean and apply an oil such as wd-40.  This will not only help keep your tools from rusting but will also help to easily open and close tools for next year.

You will be amazed at how well prepared you are for next season.  Not only will you be able to easily find your tool but you will be able to start and finish your project without any hiccups (at least with no problems from your tools!).storage_ideas_garage_iinside_of_garage_door_new_construction_vertical_view_of_garden_implements_LJW1_2928-040

To Divide or Not to Divide…That is the Question

Perennial Garden

Perennials can be a wonderful addition to your landscape.  As they mature and grow however, plants may benefit from being divided every few years.  There are many reasons to divide your perennials but the main reasons may be to help control the size of the plant, to add more of the same plant to other areas of your landscape without the expense of buying plants, or to just keep the perennial from spreading beyond its allotted space.  Dividing your perennials is an easy project that requires little time and will help keep your garden fresh and neat for the upcoming years.

Different perennials may require division at different times of the year.  In general however, spring and summer blooming perennials are best divided in the fall while fall blooming perennials recover better if divided in the spring.  Plants such as hosta, daylilies and coneflower all benefit from being divided in the fall.  Perennials such as asters and sedum should be divided in the spring as they mature to conserve space.dividing perennials

dividing perennials 4If your plant seems to have voids in the middle of the clump or if it appears like there are less flowers than normal you should divide your plants.  In general, your plants may need divided every three to five years.  If your plants are five years old, flowering great and not overgrowing their space, division may not be needed.  When you do decide to divide your plant, ideal conditions are on a cloudy day with cool, wet weather in the forecast.  Hot sunny days will quickly dry out the leaves of your plants and may over stress the plant beyond repair.

To divide your plant, use a sharp spade or shovel and make sharp downward cuts around the drip line of the perennial.  This is generally six to twelve inches around the base of the plant as to disturb as little of the root system as possible.  Once you have dug around each side of the plant use your shovel to pop the perennial out of place.  Shake off excess dirt to loosen the root system and remove any dead stems or leaves.  Using a sharp knife or shovel, separate the desired roots from the parent plant and place the divided plants in their new home.  dividing perennials 2

dividing perennials 3

Beat the Heat with Drought Tolerant Plants

agastache_cotton candy

Agastache ‘Cotton Candy’



Now that the dog days of summer are upon us it is time to carefully watch your garden.  Like us, plants need nutrition and water to survive.  And like us, the hot summer heat can quickly take a toll on young and mature plants alike if not monitored wisely.  For most people, it is easy enough to just go inside to a cool, refreshing, air conditioned house.  Unless all of your plants are potted, it’s not so easy.  If it is hard for you to get out and water your plants you may want to consider using plants that are more drought tolerant for your garden.  These plants are easier to maintain and can survive hot conditions when others may fail.

Perennials are a favorite for any gardener.  Different perennials flower at distinctive times and for many, maintenance is as easy as cutting them back in the fall.  Many perennials however require regular watering to keep

Asclepias tuberosa

Asclepias tuberosa

those wonderful blooms alive.  A drought tolerant perennial may be best for you and your landscape.  Try Agastache, also known as hysopp, with its fragrant foliage and flowers in the summer.  The blue, orange or pink spikes can be a wonderful addition.  A must have for summer blooms should be an Echinacea purpurea (purple coneflower).  Large daisy like flowers will fill your beds with ease with little rain.  If growing native plants is more your style, try Asclepias tuberosa, known to many as butterfly weed.  This perennial has amazing orange flowers in late spring through summer.  Not only is it drought tolerant but it is sure to attract many butterflies to your home.

Are you having trouble growing a suitable flowering shrub for your landscape?  Try Caryopteris.  There are a few nice varieties including Caryopteris ‘blue mist’ as well as the yellow ‘sunshine blue’.  Both grow 2-3’ tall and wide with purple flowers and are foolproof when it comes to drought resistance.  Buddleia, also known as butterfly bush is also a great choice for drought tolerance.  If you are working with a small space, try ‘blue chip’ or ‘ice chip’ which stay about 2-3’ tall and wide for a nice late summer flower.  The larger variety shrubs are also a nice choice for dry locations with more room to grow.

Caryopteris 'Sunshine blue'

Caryopteris ‘Sunshine blue’


Catalpa Tree

Most trees will develop some sense of drought tolerance once established and mature.  If you are forgetful about watering though there are a couple of trees that may be lenient with you.  The catalpa tree is a large tree best suited for a large lawn.  White flowers burst in late spring to compliment the light green foliage.  The hackberry tree is also a tough tree that can tolerate a wide range of soils and drought conditions.  This large tree can grow 40-60’ tall and wide.  Since this tree is a native species, a little drought will have little effect on its growth and health.

All plants will perform better on a regular watering schedule.  Many of us however may find it difficult to get out and routinely water our plants.  If that is the case, try some of these drought tolerant plants and watch your water bill as well as your stress level decrease.

Made For the Shade: Annuals That Will Brighten Your Garden!

Brighten your shaded home with annuals this year and give your landscape a whole new look!  With so many new annuals in your local garden center out there today, there is sure to be an annual that will wow you.  Whether you have a heavily shaded overhang or dappled sunlight throughout the day you are sure to find an annual that will work brilliantly for you.

So you have a shaded bed where you have always planted impatiens?  And like many of us, a new disease called downy mildew wiped out your flowers last year? Unfortunately for all of us impatiens lovers in Columbus, OH we’ll need to rotate out or flowers and try something new.  This fungus that causes sudden leaf and flower drop thrives in wet conditions and can spread through direct contact or by airborne particles.  So what should you plant?  Try to design your beds with a variety of coleus this year.  ‘Trusty rusty’ or ‘wizard scarlet’ coleus are sure to please the eye. coleus_trusty rusty

There are so many colors to choose from with their amazing variegated leaves it is hard not to like this plant.  Not in to the psychedelic colors of the coleus?  Try a new variety of begonia like ‘sparks will fly’.  The bronze leaves contrast with the orange flowers to brighten up that shady spot.  Many of the new guinea impatiens have amazing flowers like ‘sonic pink cherry’.  The new guinea impatiens do not contract the downy mildew disease and will give you the impatiens flowers you are accustomed to.

caladium_miss muffet

new guinea_sonic sweet cherry

Looking to try a different accent annual in your shady planters?  How about caladium?  Smaller than an elephant ear but with similar leaf shape, these plants come in a variety of variegated colors.  Try ‘miss muffet’ with its speckled light green and red dots.  ‘White Christmas’ is a newer variety that has white leaves and green veins.  An upright fuchsia called ‘electric lights’ is sure to charm company with its dark green foliage and purple and red flowers.

fuchsia_electric lights

begonia_sparks will fly

Like the look of spreading annuals in your hanging basket?  Try a variety of torenia, maybe better known to you as wishbone flower.  These spreading annuals get about 10” tall and profusely bloom throughout the summer. Spreading like a wave petunia, the flowers are more compact and you see more foliage but there are very neat varieties such as the new ‘grape-o-lictorenia_grape o liciousious’. White flowers with a purple center scream for attention.

Just because you have little sunlight does not mean you are cursed to live with hostas and ferns.  There are annuals that do wonderfully in shaded areas and will revitalize your landscape.  Take a look around your garden center and find some annuals that will work for you.  If you live in Columbus, OH give us a call and we would be happy to point you toward the dark side of the annual garden.

What Mature Trees Can Do For Your Landscape!


Trees are a wonderful addition to any landscape.  Whether they are large shade trees or small ornamentals, they can bring a whole new look to your home.  Not only will mature trees increase the value of home but they can conserve energy, help prevent soil erosion, provide shelter and food for wildlife as well as provide privacy for you and your family.  These are just a few of the many great benefits to having healthy, mature trees in your landscape.

How would trees help conserve energy you say?  A well-established tree planted in the right area can provide much needed shade from the hot afternoon sun.  Not only will these trees provide your family with shade while you enjoy your outdoor patio but it will also cool your home.  Trees planted on the Southeast and Southwest corners of your home will block the sun and in turn, cool your home.  This will reduce the amount money you spend on air conditioning and cooling your home.  Large evergreen trees planted on the west side of your home will act as a wind barricade and will help decrease your heating bills as well.

Mature trees can provide much needed shade

Mature trees can provide much needed shade

Soil erosion may not be much of a concern if you live in a flat area in Columbus, OH.  If your home resides on a hillside however, mature tree roots will help retain soil from eroding over time.  The roots expand far past the canopy width helping to hold the tree in place during strong wind storms.  These large roots and their smaller counterparts absorb moisture keeping soil in place and deterring runoff and erosion.

If you’re a nature lover, mature trees help bring the wildlife to you.  Large tree canopies provide shelter as well as a home for many animals.  Mature flowering ornamental trees can entice bumblebees, ladybugs and other beneficial insects to your home.  These beneficial insects help decrease harmful insect populations like mites and aphids.

Among all other great benefits, having privacy is one of the top advantages of mature trees.  Deciduous trees will block out large areas for 6-7 months out the year.  Evergreen trees will give you the privacy year round.  Consider the areas where privacy is needed.  How many months out of the year do you use your patio?  If it is only during the spring and summer months, deciduous trees will give you all the blockage you need while you grill and relax in your outdoor space.  If your bedroom window faces the living room of your neighbor, you may want to consider an evergreen tree to ensure your privacy year round.

Evergreen trees can provide year round privacy for your family

Evergreen trees can provide year round privacy for your family

There is no exact math as to how much mature trees will increase the value of your home but many studies have shown that a property value will increase anywhere from 5-20% solely because mature trees are on the lot.  New homeowners love nice landscapes.  If mature trees are already growing on the property, they are willing to pay more for the many benefits already in place.  That great curb appeal from a nice mature tree will not only help you with the resale of your home but it will help put money back in your pocket.

Need help figuring out which tree is best for you?  Check out your local nursery and browse the many species and cultivars that are available.  If you’re unsure of what may or may not work for you, give Buck & Sons Landscape a call and we would be happy to assist you with your needs.

Have the Best Flowers Guaranteed!

Nothing in the landscape provides for a more beautiful, colorful and extended display better than annual flowers. These seasonal annuals include geranium, begonia, and impatiens just to name a few. What do landscapers and expert gardeners know that sends their floral displays into explosions of color?

Choose the right plants for your exposure
1) First evaluate where you will be planting your annual flowers in order to be successful. If the area that you want to plant flowers is shady, stick with shade tolerant flowers. Don’t try to put sun-loving annuals such as geranium, marigold or petunia in shady areas. No matter how well you care for them, they will fail. The importance of this first consideration cannot be emphasized enough. Put the right plant in the right location.
2) Buy healthy plants. This may seem obvious but you want plants that are well rooted in their pots. Pop one plant out of its cell and have a look. It should be thick with roots. Look for annuals that are thick and sturdy as opposed to tall and leggy. Foliage should be showing signs of rapid growth and rich in color. With this observation you’ll know the grower has been feeding your baby annuals regularly.
3) Prepare your soil like you would a vegetable garden. Add a good organic compost to your proposed flower bed. Incorporate four to six inches into the soil with a tiller or turn over with a shovel. Make sure that the soil is well mixed. This step is crucial to root growth. Rapidly growing annuals require healthy root development to support healthy, heavy blooming plants.
4) Water! Never let your newly planted annuals dry out. If your plants become stressed from lack of water, they could be set back days if not weeks in growth. Water thoroughly and deeply. This will encourage deeper root growth. Never overwater as this can be as bad if not worse than under watering. More plants die from overwatering than not.
5) Feed! Most people forget that annual flowers require food like any plant. Since annual flowers are constantly growing all season long, a good slow release fertilizer is great for them. There are many brands to choose from and timing of release. A good slow release fertilizer will offer feeding over a 3-4 month period. Supplemental feedings throughout the season with a liquid fertilizer at half strength will make your annuals explode with color. Although all other steps are important for a successful floral display, this one tip will put your display over the top this season! Happy planting!

Five Things You Should Do On the 1st REALLY GREAT Spring Weekend


This weekend promises to be the first really great weekend this spring in Ohio, weather speaking that is! What should you do if you’re itching to get out and work in the yard? Here are five things we recommend … Enjoy!

  1. Aerate.  This helps manage dead grass, leaves and winter debris, while also loosening all of that hardened and compacted soil.
  2. The Great Clean Up. If you’ve got trees, they’ve likely shed branches this winter.  Picking up lingering leaves, dead grass and other “unmentionables” will make you feel accomplished, and your lawn look GREAT.
  3. Start Fertilizing.  Hit your lawn with a nice dose of fertilizer to kick off the growing process. Read the directions! The correct amount you add to your lawn is imperative, as well as, how you apply the fertilizer.  Pick a hybrid blend of fertilizer, as it will release a little now — and save some for later too.
  4. Apply Seed.  This is a great time to introduce some fresh cultivars of grass seed into your lawn.  Also, since we’re in the Spring season, the rains will do the trick in keeping the seed moist.
  5. Call Us.  No one loves your lawn like we do.  If you’d like us to give you an estimate on managing the above and more — on routine cutting and maintenance … Or even bigger landscape architectural projects, we’d love to hear from you before the summer settles in and schedules book up with activities.  Think 876-BUCK.


Winter Landscape Tips

Just because winter has arrived doesn’t mean you have to forget about your landscape! Here are some important things you can do to improve your piece of the great outdoors even as the snow piles up in your driveway.

Plan Now for your Spring Landscape Projects!

The days are getting shorter, the temperatures are getting colder, and the first winter snows are upon us. If you are like most people, spring seems like a long way off and landscaping is just about the last thing on your mind. Winter though is actually a great time to start planning for new springtime patio and landscape projects. It may also be a good time to dust off that set of plans you drawinghave in the closet that took a back seat to other home improvement projects this past summer. Often times the planning process is the most time consuming aspect of a project. If you wait until warm weather arrives in early spring to begin, your project may not be completed until mid summer. By starting to think about your landscape projects now, you will have plenty of time to work out all of the details of your plan with your landscape designer. When the weather breaks, you will be ready to go on the installation and you will have the entire summer to enjoy your new patio and landscaping!

Look for Plants That Stand Out in the Winter

When you think of winter, you think of Pine trees, Spruce trees, and Holly shrubs. While these plants, and other evergreens, are “the old stand-bys” for winter interest, there are many other plants that can really liven up your winter landscape. One such plant that is gaining in popularity is the Red Twig Dogwood (Cornus alba). Some cultivars of this plant have spring flowers, variegated foliage, and good fall color; but it is winter when they truly stand out! As the weather gets colder you will notice the brown Winterberry Hollystems beginning to turn red, with the newest stems having the most vibrant color. Another interesting selection is the Red Twig Dogwood’s cousin, the Yellow Twig Dogwood (Cornus sericea ‘Silver & Gold’). Plants that maintain their berries through the winter provide a splash of color and also are attractive to many birds hunting for scarce winter food. The familiar Blue Holly (Ilex x meservae) has a deciduous relative, Winterberry Holly (Ilex verticillata), that maintains bright red berries on its bare branches throughout the winter. The Winter King Hawthorn (Crataegus viridis ‘Winter King’) is a great ornamental tree that also has red berries during the winter. The berries can be especially striking when viewed with a backdrop of Spruce trees!

Look for Plants That Stand Out in the Winter

When you think of winter, you think of Pine trees, Spruce trees, and Holly shrubs. While these plants, and other evergreens, are “the old stand-bys” for winter interest, there are many other plants that can really liven up your winter landscape. One such plant that is gaining in popularity is the Red Twig Dogwood (Cornus alba). Some cultivars of this plant have spring flowers, variegated foliage, and good fall color; but it is winter when they truly stand out! As the weather gets colder you will notice the brown stems beginning to turn red, with the newest stems having the most vibrant color. Another interesting selection is the Red Twig winter-king-hawthorn-fruitDogwood’s cousin, the Yellow Twig Dogwood (Cornus sericea ‘Silver & Gold’). Plants that maintain their berries through the winter provide a splash of color and also are attractive to many birds hunting for scarce winter food. The familiar Blue Holly (Ilex x meservae) has a deciduous relative, Winterberry Holly (Ilex verticillata), that maintains bright red berries on its bare branches throughout the winter. The Winter King Hawthorn (Crataegus viridis ‘Winter King’) is a great ornamental tree that also has red berries during the winter. The berries can be especially striking when viewed with a backdrop of Spruce trees!

Finish those Fall Clean-Ups

Patioandyard4With the exception of some Oak trees and Pear trees, most deciduous trees have dropped there leaves. If you have not already, be sure to get rake all your leaves off the lawn or at least mulch them into the lawn with your lawn mower. Leaves can smother your lawn if left on through the entire winter and make it more susceptible to disease problems in the spring. A little work and preparation now and through the winter months can make a big impact on your landscape come spring. And if you are considering any patio or landscape projects for 2009, start planning for that now. Before you know it, you will be able to replace that hot chocolate in the house with a tall glass of iced tea on your new patio!

Pave Your Way to Better Living

Concrete pavers can be a beautiful and durable addition to your home.  A wide assortment of styles, patterns and colors allow you to create unique driveways and walkways that can really add curb appeal and value to your home.  Concrete pavers can also be used to create a stunning array of “outdoor rooms” and patios that extend your functional living space into the great outdoors.  Within just a matter of days, your new patterned surfaces can be ready to be put into service entertaining guests, leading visitors through your landscape to your front door, and increasing your real estate value.  Though your new concrete paver areas are sturdy enough to provide you with years of use and beauty, they also are flexible enough to allow for future adaptation.

As you use your “outdoor room” you may contemplate new ideas and uses for your space.  Concrete pavers allow you to seamlessly incorporate new features such as seat walls, fire pits, built-in grills, and fountains that you may not have thought of (or wanted to pay for) originally.  You can also easily increase the square footage of your patio in order to accommodate these new uses and the increased number of guests who will want to come over to enjoy your beautiful and unique space!  With more flexibility than a wood deck, greater durability than a poured concrete slab, and unsurpassed beauty and charm it is hard to find something not to like about concrete pavers!

Limited Only By Your Imagination

The wide variety of shapes, colors, and sizes make concrete pavers one of the most versatile paving materials available today.  This diversity allows for numerous choices in patterns and layouts no matter what style of concrete paver you choose.  Combining more than one style of paver can provide an almost endless number of options that will result in a unique “one of a kind” finished product.  With concrete pavers, you are truly limited only by your imagination!

Old World Charm or Bold Modern Style

No matter which style of concrete paver you choose, you can be sure that the end result will be one that adds instant personality to your home.  If “Old World Charm” is your style, choose a tumbled concrete paver to create that “lived in,” vintage feeling.  Since every individual paver is hand placed, each and every project exudes the artistic craftsmanship of the old world.  For those who prefer a clean and modern look, choose from a variety of contemporary style concrete pavers to give your home and landscape a fresh and up to date appearance.  Still others may prefer a natural stone appearance and pavers can provide this look as well.

Benefits of Patio Pavers

  • Affordable
  • Adds Value to Your Home
  • Durable
  • Low Maintenance
  • Flexible
  • Easy to Repair and Modify
  • Increase Your Living Space
  • Old World Charm and Beauty or Bold Contemporary Style

Next Year’s Landscape Success Begins NOW!

Next Year’s Landscape Success Begins NOW!

As the weather turns cool and crisp, you might be tempted to think that your lawn and garden don’t need you anymore. But now is the best time to condition your landscape for a strong start to next spring. Your lawn and ornamentals will also reward you next spring if you give them a hand in making the most of the cooler months.

Don’t abandon the lawn!

During the fall, don’t be fooled as the top growth of your lawn slows. The real action is happening below ground, because this is the time of year when root growth goes into high gear. Fall fertility promotes healthy root growth especially when the soil has been opened through aeration. Roots that have nutrients, adequate moisture and room to expand can store more nutrients for better winter color and earlier spring green-up. Aerate and feed your lawn this fall!

Fortify your trees and shrubs with a good solid meal this fall

Trees and most all other ornamental plants need care in the fall be it pruning, cutting back, mulching or feeding. Fertilization is extremely important in the fall where root growth is building reserves for growth and flower production during the fall and winter. Investing in your landscape now will pay you back many times over next year. Be sure to call us with any questions or requests for quotations. Fall feeding of woody ornamentals has been proven as the optimal time of year to feed these ornamentals.

Spring spectacles begin now – Set yourself off from the crowd with spring flowering bulbs

The only game in town, as far as spectacular spring blooming displays are concerned, remains to be in fall planted bulbs. Of course we are talking about the ever popular spring bloomers such as tulip, daffodil, hyacinth, lily, iris etc. To most of us though that want instant gratification, bulb planting in the fall seems like such a waste of money, time and back-breaking effort. But after about four long cold months, your investment “springs” to life and rewards your efforts with beautiful and unsurpassed colorful displays. The good news too is that bulbs such as daffodils reward you year after year and there are hundreds of varieties and types of bulbs from which to choose. Don’t miss your fall opportunity to spring some life into your landscape investment. For bulb ideas, we have provided you with a link to one of our spring flowering bulb suppliers. SpringDisplays. If prompted for a password, enter ‘shovel‘.

Be sure to use our exclusive and completely free online calculator to determine exactly how many bulbs that you will need here