- Newly planted trees and shrubs should be fertilized each spring using a balanced fertilizer formulated for the Rocky Mountain region. Follow directions on the label. Watering of new, as well as existing, trees and shrubs should follow a general rule: the entire root system of the plant should be saturated and then the soil should become almost dry before the next watering. If your soil is a heavy clay type, less watering will be required. Be aware that too much water in the soil is usually worse for plantings than too little water.
- Severe damage may occur to plantings during our dry fall and winter months. It is important that watering be continued during these months even though your irrigation system may be turned off. Soak the root area around plants thoroughly before winter. The simplest method is by open hose or soaker running slowly for a period of 2-3 hours. Broad leaf evergreens are especially susceptible to drying during these months and should be checked regularly. Remember that the snow we usually receive in the Rocky Mountain area is not sufficient to adequately water your plantings. Do not be fooled by a little snow!
- Please soak all plantings and lawn areas thoroughly during any warm period in winter. Most winter injury is caused from plants dehydrating. Watering twice monthly is usually sufficient, but keep an eye on your plantings to know for sure. It is hard to tell with deciduous plantings so use evergreens as an indicator. Broad leaf evergreen leaves will become brittle and break as you bend them. Junipers will start to show signs of browning and will also be brittle. Be sure to wear gloves when checking evergreens as some of the needles can be very sharp.
- Stakes should be removed from trees one year after planting. If allowed to remain for too long a period, damage may occur.
- Pruning generally is not needed the first year. During the second year, pruning should begin to improve the appearance and vigor of plants. We suggest that the original, natural shape of the plant be maintained and that hedge shears only be used when a hedge is truly the desired effect. We would be happy to give you a free estimate for our pruning services.
- Insect and disease problems may occur in your plantings. We recommend a program developed by a licensed applicator for your particular needs.
Test the wood
There’s no exact expiration date when your wood sealant or waterproofing treatment will wear out and need to be reapplied, so performing a quick water test a few times a year will let you know when it’s time for some maintenance. Just sprinkle some water on the deck and watch it. If the water quickly seeps into the deck, it’s time to reseal, but if the water beads up, you should be all right for at least another few months.
Clean everything first
Sealing your deck will prevent water or other liquids from seeping into the wood and damaging it, but it also prevents existing stains and dirt from surfacing, so be sure to clean the deck completely before applying any sealant or waterproofing treatment. Wood cleaner will remove most dirt, mildew and old stains and isn’t harmful to the area around the deck. Larger buildup may require a degreaser or stain remover, and sanding the deck is a great way to prepare the surface for a stain or sealant. Wait at least a day – during obviously dry weather – for the deck to dry before continuing.
Use a brightener
Brighteners are simple to use and will really bring some color back to an old, weathered deck. Once the deck is clean and dry, just apply the brightener and wait a few minutes before washing it away. The difference in the final product will make this step well worth it.
Wait until you expect to have two dry days in a row, then apply a stain or sealant. Be sure that your product specifies that it repels water and resists fading, or you’ll find yourself repeating the process in short order. Cover nearby plants and structures with plastic so they won’t get any of the stain on them, then apply the stain to the deck using a paint roller. Use one thin coat at first, being sure to even out any puddles that form as you go, then apply a second coat, using a paint brush to get to areas where the roller won’t reach. Be sure to let stain-soaked rags dry in the open air before disposing of them, as evaporating finish is a fire hazard.
Keep up maintenance
A good sealant or stain should keep your deck looking nice for quite a while, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore your deck during this time. Regular washing – even if it’s just washing away visible dirt and grime – will not only help keep your deck looking nice, but you’ll be able to spot potential problems, either with the stain or with the deck itself, and can then perform preventive maintenance before things get really bad. This is also a great opportunity to perform a quick water test to see how your sealant is holding up.