Advice for trimming, pruning, and maintenance


Old 10-11-13, 04:08 PM
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Advice for trimming, pruning, and maintenance

I bought a house a while ago. It needs some love. Everything was horribly overgrown and unmaintained when I bought it. It was a foreclosure that I picked up.

I did a lot of work already, but most of that was rather obvious for me. One rose bush was laid flat on the ground so I tied it up into a tight bunch so I could try to retrain it to grow up instead of out. That's after I left it for a few weeks after trimming half of it off. Trimming half of it off already had it really springing back to life nicely...

I'm planning to take the bottom row of branches off of the tree in my back yard when the leaves fall, and then take another bottom row off when the leaves fall next year. Two rows total should bring it to about head height. I expect it to look MUCH better and I'll actually be able to mow under it.

So... I need advice on everything else (and maybe what I already said)...

These pictures are from just a few days ago. I took a lot so I won't embed them all here.

A lot of stuff looks dead or dying. I'd really like to make everything stay alive since the landscaping that did go in seems like it would be beautiful if it were given another chance to live.

Absolutely any advice that anyone has would be hugely appreciated. I have a LOOOONG way to go on this place and I've reached what I can figure out myself with the outside.

.. I'd also like to add a raised garden in back somewhere. Not sure where that would look nice. I want to grow a bunch of hot peppers and tomatoes.

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Old 10-12-13, 05:59 AM
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I would narrow the inquiry down to specific items so we can help.
Old 10-12-13, 07:15 AM
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I don't see that much overgrowth. Light trimming in the middle of winter would be in order, but nothing drastic. Just because the leaves fall doesn't mean all the sap has receded, so wait until winter to do your pruning. I would do away with the bush in the garage You won't need a large area to grow peppers and tomatoes. I grow all the peppers I can eat and preserve in 3- 2 gallon buckets on the back deck. Tomatoes put out a lot at one time, so if you are only eating, a few plants would suffice. If you preserve them, then more would be in order. We can and eat what we need (2 of us) on 10 to 12 plants.
Old 10-12-13, 08:07 AM
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I agree with Chandler that is doesn't look too bad. Remember we just came off a fairly dry summer, so with that in mind, I'd say your in good shape.

The hostas look about right for this time of year. The season is waning.
The daylillys look like they could use a division.
The other shrubs, I would trim off anything dead and then trim them up again to shape when the leafs drop.
The trees look pretty good except for a little shaping needed.
Old 10-12-13, 08:18 AM
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It doesn't look too overgrown to me, either.
As for the Pine or Evergreen that you think is too low to the ground, well it's supposed to be like that. I would not cut bottom branches off.

I would leave any of the plants in the stones alone for now and see how they fair in the spring. They may perk up and look nice. If not, you can always pull them out and replant something new.

What I don't like, is the large clump of bushes in front of the windows at the one corner of the house, and the large clump of bushes under the deck.
Personally, I'd get rid of all of them, and plant some nice annuals or leafy plants next spring outside of the border, and just fill in the now empty spaces with more stone and add some nice lighting or solar lights there. You can always take some pics of those areas to a garden place, and they'll help you pick out something nice.

As the years go along, you'll start noticing spots where you'll think, oh, that would look nice here. It can take years to get everything looking really perfect, unless you hire a landscaper.
Otherwise, it really doesn't look too bad. Don't stress too much over it.
Old 10-12-13, 01:01 PM
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Thanks for all of the suggestions!

The tree in my back yard isn't an evergreen.
I was figuring that taking the two bottom rows of branches would give me a nice shade tree to sit under as it gets older and bigger.

I'm glad the hostas look right. I really thought they looked dead.
I'll also do some reading up to learn about dividing the daylilies.
Shaping sounds like a lot of learning to make it look nice. That could be fun!

There's no bush inside my garage. :P That's the pile of trimmings from what I did so far. I'm looking for a 5gal metal barrel that I could cut off the bottom and use as a fire pit at the outside edge of the tree.

Would it make sense to remove the two stone squares that seem to have been used as a mini flower bed?
House - Imgur & House - Imgur

Thanks again for all the advice and tips! This whole owning and caring for a house thing is a bit scary and overwhelming. I think you guys just gave me a huge confidence boost!
Old 10-12-13, 03:20 PM
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Oooh, ooh, no, one is your pepper bed and the other can be tomatoes. Built in!! Just straighten things up and add some soil amendments, you're good. I was going to say check local ordinances for burning permits, but I see you are in SD, so you are probably isolated somewhat. If you want a good burn barrel, go to a junk yard and locate a Budd wheel off a tractor trailer (not a Dayton). Invert it lug side up, set it on 3 bricks and set the barrel on it. Perfect fit and it will allow air up into the burning chamber while keeping your solids off the ground.
Old 10-13-13, 08:04 AM
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Moisture retention and Sunlight...

I will suggest that, in the spring and into the summer next year, you follow the path of the sun, both in the morning when it first come up and then into the evening. The sun's path across the sky isn't going to be the same as it is now in the fall.

Following the path of the sun on your property is important because you will want to maximize the amount of sun that your veggies get during the Spring and Summer growing season. Some things take time to figure out. Also, pay attention to where the shadows from the trees fall, throughout the day and consider setting your garden up where only late afternoon shade, if any, will hit the garden. If you take your time, initially, and determine the sun's path during the growing season, it will maximize your crop yield. Once you know the sun's path, you'll be able to better place your plants on your property...a little patience and planning goes a long way.

The other consideration is moisture in the soil. You'll want "well drained" but not "dried out" soil. A raised bed will provide this, if you don't mind going through the expense and construction of a raised bed. Local soil delivery companies should have a choice of "garden" soil which will be more loamy or sandy than regular "yard" top soil, providing good drainage and allowing for better root growth.

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