Landscape Architects serving Central Illinois     Call Today 309-925-5277
Landscape Architects serving Central Illinois
Call Today 309-925-5277

Landscaping Tips

We've put together a helpful guide to caring for your plants and lawns broken down by each month. Be sure to take proper care and contact us with any questions!


January & February

Indoor plants: Indoor plants will greatly benefit from lots of light so open those shades and blinds during the day. As the sun shines in and warms your home, it will reduce your need for heat. Water plants when dry to the touch. Excess water that has drained out the bottom of the pot should be removed to prevent overwatering. Increase the humidity for your plants by misting or setting your pot on top of rocks in a watered filled saucer or tray. Remember cactus would prefer a lower humidity setting and less water. Apply insecticides as needed.

Shrubs: Summer flowering shrubs can be pruned in the winter, however spring flowering shrubs should be pruned right after they are done blooming. General pruning rules: trim out dead branches, branches that rub, duplicating branches, branches that cross or will eventually rub.

Planning: Begin planning and gathering ideas for your next landscape project. Contact Stuber Land Design for professional design and installation solutions. Check pond heaters regularly to make sure they are heating properly.


Trees and Shrubs: Tighten staking and remove tree wrap on new trees. Remove tree stakes after one year’s time.

Perennials and Groundcovers: Firm back into the soil any perennials that have heaved up out of the soil from freeze-thaw action (Coral Bells). Established perennials are not usually a problem. Cut back all remaining perennials that were left for winter interest. Cut ornamental grasses to 4-6” and perennials to 3-4”; removing all debris from the beds. Do this before spring bulbs emerge so they will not be damaged.

Lawn: Apply a pre-emergent crabgrass herbicide/fertilizer near the end of the month, following the manufacturer’s instructions for application rates and methods. Application rate should be at least 1- 1.25 pounds of Nitrogen per 1000 s.f. A pre-emergent crabgrass herbicide should not be applied to shady lawns or those areas to be seeded.

General: Remove any leaves or debris from beds. Touch up existing mulch with a rake and if necessary apply fresh mulch to attain a total depth of 2-3”. Do not disturb or cover late emerging perennials. Inspect plant material and turf for pests and diseases. If problems are noticed contact SLD.


Trees and Shrubs: Fertilize trees and shrubs before new growth begins in early April. Fertilizer should consist of a granular Tree and Shrub food such as 20-10-10 or a comparable, water soluble soil injections. Application should comply with manufacturer’s specifications. Keep fertilizer off lawn areas. Do not apply granular fertilizer when foliage is wet and avoid foliar contact as it can burn the foliage.

Prune  your roses.

Perennials and Groundcovers: Apply fertilizer to perennials and groundcovers before the new growth begins. The fertilizer should be a balanced, granular 10-10-10, 13-13-13, or comparable. Fertilizers with micronutrients such as iron or sulfur are beneficial. Keep fertilizer off lawn areas and do not apply when foliage is wet. Dig and divide established perennials as needed. Begin weeding as necessary.

Lawn: Add topsoil to low areas and overseed thin areas. Use same mixtures as the existing lawn and apply at a rate of 3-4 pounds per 1,000 s.f. Always use a seed starter fertilizer. Do not use a crabgrass preventative in these areas. Mow the lawn weekly or as needed, maintain at 2.5-3”. With excessive rainfall it may be necessary to water less frequently with the irrigation system (1” of water per week is adequate)

Apply pre-emergent herbicide, like Preen, to mulched beds.

May & June

Trees and Shrubs: Prune the following trees and shrubs: Magnolias, Pear, Crabapple, and Dogwood. Prune suckers and water sprouts that may form on trees. Prune these shrubs after they bloom: Forsythia, Dwarf Lilac, Grey Dogwood, Burkwood Viburnum, Koreanspice Viburnum, and Mohican Viburnum (don’t prune every year to allow fruit to develop.)

Annuals and Perennials: Deadhead Yarrow, Siberian Iris, Peony, and annuals after flowering.

Lawns: Keep an eye on the soil moisture and irrigate as needed, 1” of water per week. Apply a second application of granular lawn fertilizer (at least 1 pound Nitrogen per 1,000 s.f.) and, if needed, spot treat with broadleaf control.

General: Inspect plant material and turf for pests and diseases. Keep any new plants well watered during the first season of growth. Established plant material should be watered if the season is dry. Continue weeding beds as needed.


Emerald Ash Borer is in the Tri-county area. Treat to prevent damage.

Keep an eye out for aphids in early May, especially spireas and roses

Check your shrub roses (Knockout), there seems to be a small green caterpillar eating the leaves. It starts around Mother’s Day and can be controlled with liquid Sevin.

Check your pines (especially Mugos), for Sawfly larva. Spray with Sevin or an organic Bt spray. Check at Kelly Seed.


**Watering** Water for newly installed plants is extremely important. Before watering check the moisture content around the root of the plant. Check plants more often during periods of high wind and/or high temperatures. Watering is important spring through Thanksgiving. A rainfall of 1 inch would be equivalent to one watering.

Keep an eye out for pest and diseases, especially Japanesse Beetles. For larger tree spraying, contact us for recommendations.

Second application of bed pre-emergent herbicide, like Preen.

August & September

Lawn: Fertilize lawn with a granular fertilizer. Application rate should be at least .5-.75 pounds of Nitrogen/1000 s.f. Water if needed (1” of water per week). Complete fall grass seeding (5 lb./1000 s.f.) and overseeding (3-4 lbs./1000 s.f.) between August 15 and September 15.

Remember to keep watering your plants if needed!

Pre-spray any plants you are moving indoors with insecticide once per week for 3 weeks. Pyrethrins can be used indoors also.

October & November

Trees and Shrubs: Keep evergreens and broadleaf evergreens watered until the ground freezes. Apply anti-desiccant to newly planted Boxwood and Yews when temperatures are above freezing. Fertilize trees and shrubs before new growth begins in early April or late fall after leaf drop. Fertilizer should consist of granular Tree and Shrub Food, such as 20-10-10, or comparable water soluble soil injections. Application should comply with manufacturer’s specifications and consist of at least 1.25 pounds of Nitrogen per 1000 s.f. of root zone. Do not apply granular fertilizer when foliage is wet and avoid foliar contact, as it can burn the foliage

Lawns: Lower mower height to 1.5” – 2” for the last cutting. Optional: Apply a 10-18-10 fertilizer to encourage late season root development. Application rate should be at least 1-1.25 pounds of Nitrogen per 1000 s.f.

General: Inspect plant material and turf for pests and diseases. Contact your SLD landscape architect with problems. If any salts are used on walkways, care should be taken to keep away from plants. Finish leaf removal from lawns and bed.

Fall Clean-ups: Cut back foliage of perennials (unless they have winter interest) in November. Clean up leaves until the snow flies.


Evergreen care: An application of Wiltpruf, an anti-desiccant, helps reduce winter burn on evergreens and broadleaf evergreens. Bitrex is a liquid spray that has a bitter taste to deer to reduce browsing on evergreens. It should last up to 3 months. Keep those evergreens and broadleaf evergreens watered until the ground freezes.

Turf: Make sure all leaves are picked up off of the turf; otherwise too much matting will occur and damage your lawn. Monitor the additional piling up of leaves on the lawn from trees that drop leaves during the winter or leaves that blow in from the neighbor’s.

Mower: Prepare your lawn mower now for spring. Proper maintenance, cleaning, and storage are critical for an easy start in the spring. Drain gas tank, change oil, sharpen blade, clean deck, and check spark plug are the keys to success.

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