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New Crofton Home Owners – Taming Your Yard (Part 1)

Crofton Maryland Real Estate often translates into “established” neighborhoods.  This means extensive shrub and flower beds as well as mature trees and shrubs already in place – maybe even a few overgrown plants in need of pruning or removal. 

Overgrown Shrubbery

For the sake of this series, I’m going to assume your established yard has a healthy lawn and no overgrown shrubs or trees.  Hopefully they were well-manicured when you purchased your Crofton home or, in some cases, you may need to address those issues before taking on other chores in your yard.

Just this one paragraph for new homeowners on removing overgrown shrubs:   Even when Larry and I were much younger, we usually hired someone else to do this for us.  Some of my neighbors have removed overgrown shrubs by looping a heavy cable, chain or rope around the base of the shrub and hooking the other end to the bumper of a pick-up truck.  There’s no labor-free way to achieve this.  As to excess trees, you probably should hire a professional – assuming you don’t want to risk it falling on your house or a bystander.

Taming Your Yard

P4220020If this is your first Spring in your Crofton home, you’re probably looking around your yard and trying to decide what to do about all that “stuff” growing in the shrubbery and flower beds.  The natural assumption to a gardening Newbie is that these plants are weeds – they’re certainly spreading like weeds.

Those plants growing in your beds are not necessarily weeds, however.  In this photo, the green plants are pachysandra – a hardy ground cover that grows well in shady locations.  I happen to be a pachysandra fan, at least when it’s used in moderation, but it does develop underground roots that eventually spread beyond the area you originally intended.  That’s what happened here, in my yard. 

The red-leaf plants in the photo are Japanese red maple trees that are “volunteers”, growing from the roots of this tree.  

Does this mean you should feel guilty about removing these plants?  Of course not!  It’s your yard now, and you can choose to remove them entirely or make any other changes to your landscaping.  Existing plants probably do need taming, however – now and every Spring.

Pachysandra removedRemoving pachysandra that’s growing around the roots of shrubbery or creeping into the lawn is usually my first step, each Spring, after raking leaves out of the beds. In this case, I removed it from around the tree, along with stray shoots that were growing between the hostas pictured on the right.  You can discard the pachysandra you remove, or you may wish to plant some of it elsewhere.  

As to the baby red maple trees, I usually save them until friends or relatives come by, and they’re thrilled to take one home for planting in their own yards. These trees are very expensive when you purchase them at a plant nursery. 

The finishing touch, after the surplus plants are removed, will be a 3–4 inch layer of hardwood mulch to cover the dirt and soaker hose.  Since I keep up with my yard on a regular basis, I can normally tame my back yard in a day, my front yard in another day, and the two sides on the third day – even at the slow pace of someone my age.  Thirty years ago, I would have gotten this done AND had time to go watch my sons’ baseball game the same day.

When you buy a home, you’ll want to put your own stamp on the landscaping, whether your home is located in an established neighborhood or newer one.  There are advantages to each of course:

I’ve been taking pictures as I go, this year, so I can create a series of posts for new home owners in Crofton who may feel a bit overwhelmed at the prospect of taming your yard before summer.

Coming soon:

These topics will be linked to the articles once they are posted online.

 

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