Lisa's Landscape & Design

Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time

“I Don’t Want It, I Don’t Want It !”

If your plants could speak our language it would be so much easier. The truth is that plants do speak to us by stressing or dying, thriving, surviving and standing the test of time. In my Landscape Consultations over the last 15 years some things are consistent; though most people know they have a problem sudden or long term, they don’t know what they are doing right and which is wrong. Your  plants, trees and sod cannot provide you with a list of do’s and dont’s, so I’m going to give you a quick run down on a few of the things your plants would really like to tell you if they could.


1) PLEASE stop using chemicals

if you haven’t already. Chemicals do not work, they kill the soil and make your plants and sod dependent on more chemicals to live. Case in point, there are no chemicals in the woods and they are growing just fine. Why, we ask? Compost. Chemicals kill healthy soil so stop it. Compost and organic fertilizers like liquid seaweed and liquid molasses creates a symbiotic relationship with plants, soil and planet. Compost every spring over your entire property to the depths of 1/4 to 1/2″ including flower and veggie beds, lawn and trees. Throw some on yourself while you’re at it.

2)Stop over-watering or under-watering.

Plants don’t want to be watered every day; they like to dry mostly between watering but not forgotten completely. When plants have a deep watering once a week to every 10 days that allows their roots to grow deeper for a water source. Water in the early morning hours when possible, this prevents fungal issues from too much water on leaves and sod overnight. Plants are always thinking about their future, they don’t want us to waste the water that will keep them here in the next century, so only water when needed. There is no such thing as a set schedule, Mother Nature does not work that way. If it rains turn off your system and test it often for breaks and leaks. The best way to determine if your plants are getting enough water is to stick your hands in the soil and feel for yourself.

3)Plants need mulch

Shredded hardwood mulch is an excellent medium for bedding because it breaks down into healthy soil, which happens in the woods in the form of dead animals, dying trees and leaves. Mulch holds moisture which regulates soil temps and creates a barrier from weed seeds. You should have a minimum of 4 inches of mulch for the best results. Add more mulch every fall to maintain depth and color. Never use colored mulch like black or red or huge mulch pieces. Colors are dyed and absolutely are killing certain shrubs and plants. I am seeing it all the time now in the builders beds and newer properties where the black mulch is now so popular. It also doesn’t break down the same. Large pieces can leach more nitrogen from the soil than they provide to break down, they float away and shredded mulch does neither.

4)Don’t walk on their roots

Plants don’t like it and this goes for trees too.  Once you prepare your beds and plants, stay out of them except for maintenance and that includes animals and children. No plant wants to be wee wee’d on and stamping feet means compacted soil. If your breed of dog (or kids) are runners, create a path then design around it. Be artistic with a rock or mulch “run” if you will, and place plants around the space or path to allow a symbiotic relationship with everyone. Doggy gets her run and plants get their place. Remove sod from at least 2 feet from the base of your trees, and much larger around mature trees for a flat mulched tree ring. Just an inch or so of mulch and nothing else, making sure not to cover your trees’ root flair at the base of the tree. Compost the tree ring each spring and mulch it each fall. DO NOT DO THIS! (below)


This an improper way to mulch a tree, you should always see the flair, or bell shape of the bottom of the trunk, it should not look like a stick coming out of the mulch. I call this a muffin top mulch job.

5)No Muffin Tops please!

I have yet to meet a man or woman who thought a muffin top was a good look on them and yet some people think their trees love looking that way. Don’t you realize that the other trees are making fun of them? They look crazy for goodness sakes. Not to mention, you’re killing them :/ yes, the number one reason trees get sick aside from a vector (biter or sorts) is over buried tree roots and tree root flair. True story so stop that too.


6) Don’t Forget About Us

Walk through the garden and really look at what is going on. If you are out every Saturday for 10 minutes pulling weeds, you won’t have a weed problem. If you catch bugs and pests issues early on, there is an organic remedy for just about anything. If you visit your plants and trees for their general welfare, they repay you in calm energy, they never tell your secrets and you will be surprised in even the smallest space of the miracles you will witness if you are present.

Be in the moment, in your own space and time…

Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape & Design

“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

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