Fall Color Rotation Makes A Huge Impact
If you’re trying to weigh the value of including fall color rotation as part of your yearly landscaping plan, there are definite advantages you’ll want to consider–particularly if one of your primary objectives is to make the best impression no matter the season.
As a matter of fact, according to U.S. Lawns Hampton Roads franchise owner Steve Ferguson, one of the most effective ways his customers have found to set themselves above their competitors is by maintaining year-round curb appeal. Seasonal color rotation plays a major role in this.
Maintain All-Season Curb Appeal Using Plants
What’s more, while the majority of property managers tend to include spring color in their annal landscape management budget, in Steve’s long experience, fall color makes a more significant contribution, especially if you’re located in a region where the greenery experiences winter dormancy.
As Ferguson expands on the subject, “Because we are coastal Virginia, there is a lot of color in the spring with azaleas and trees blooming; but since we have deciduous trees and deciduous plants here, unless you have all evergreens you lose the luster of curb appeal in the wintertime.”
This is due to the fact that deciduous trees and plants go dormant during the cold months, losing all their leaves and looking drab. All the more reason why a blend of fall annuals and fall perennials can really beautify an otherwise depressing landscape.
Seasonal Flowerbed Changes Create Fresh Interest
Another benefit to changing out the plant beds on a seasonal basis is that it keeps that eye appeal fresh and interesting. Steve and his team utilize a variety of pansies, violas, snapdragons, cabbage, kale, and other regional plants to create the ideal autumnal ambiance with an attractive combination of heights, textures, and colors.
Fall Color Options Can Be As Varied Or Limited As You Prefer
We asked him if there is a standard design that he uses with every commercial property they perform fall color rotation services on, since all the available choices could quickly become overwhelming; but Ferguson, like most experienced landscape management professionals, makes it easy for customers by offering six different designs they can choose from–each tailored with plants that will thrive based on sun, shade, drought tolerance, deer resistance, and other factors unique to the property.
Of course, if you want to customize, that’s always doable too. Steve says he even has a few clients that will budget for more than one round of pansies each year, simply because the deer love them as much as the customers do!
Place Seasonal Color Strategically
So, where are the most effective locations for seasonal color? As Ferguson sensibly explains, “It really depends on the property. You want to pick high profile areas, areas of interest on your property, and where people are going to be, such as entrances, clubhouses, around signs, anywhere you want to be able to focus peoples’ attention.”
How Does Color Rotation Fit Into The Fall Landscaping Schedule?
We also asked him to give us a rundown of how fall color rotation fits in with all the other fall landscaping services necessary to prepare your landscape for the upcoming winter, and what he shared gives us a lot more insight into just how adaptable he and his team all have to be, since everything must happen at the proper temperature, yet they still have to be prepared early.
Here is a basic overview and timeline to give you an idea of all the variables involved in fall cleanup, fall color rotation and other fall landscaping services.
- Ordering flowers and other plants for fall color rotation must take place in late August or early September, to ensure availability. This is important to be aware of because your options become very limited when you don’t plan ahead with your landscape services provider.
- Fall cleanup, which for Ferguson and his team starts with trimming back perennial plants after they start to die out, can’t happen until the temperatures persist in the fifties or below at night, which could be October or it could be November, depending on Mother Nature.
- The same story goes for leaf removal, which could begin in October, or it may be as late as December or even January, depending on the temperature and summer rainfall amounts.
- Steve also schedules fall color changeouts for the month of October, although some years they may have to delay a month, if warmer temperatures continue longer than anticipated.
- Fall fertilization and turf care also needs to take place; this is important because warm-season and cool-season grasses alike need to be revitalized after the harsh summer, and they also need to be well fed and prepared for the winter dormancy, which is a critical growth period for roots.
If you’re taking care of fescue grass, fall is the time for aerating and overseeding as well. But again, these services are temperature dependent as, in the words of Steve Ferguson, “We schedule the aeration and seeding in October, but it may be into November if we get high temperatures in late September, early October because if you put it down too early, it’s going to be birdseed instead of grass seed.”
- Fall is also the time for weed control, which, with Ferguson’s team includes preemergent application in early fall as well as a “late fall winterization” with a post emergent designed to knock out both winter weeds and early spring weed germination.
- Last but certainly not least is irrigation system shutdown and winterization, which Steve and his team prioritize, since freezing temperatures can cause costly damage to waterlines, sprinkler heads, drip emitters, valves and other components of your irrigation system. So, they start by scheduling winter irrigation shutdowns for mid-October, and if the weather remains temperate, they’ll adjust the service date accordingly.
Now although it may seem as if early planning will be fruitless with the all the uncertainty of the autumn weather, it still makes a dramatic difference in the end result. How? By enabling everyone to establish and understand expectations, which can then be easily managed by simple communication–and when you partner with U.S. Lawns, you can rest assured that we’re fully committed to keeping you informed while we keep your landscape flourishing.
If you’d like to learn more about how your local U.S. Lawns can create an annual landscape management plan tailored to your best interests, go ahead and get in touch today. Your Turf. Our Lawn.