Hello again and Happy Spring!

Last month I posted about shrub fertilization, compost application and pre-emergent herbicide. The things to consider in your landscape this month are lawn aeration and spring disease control.

Lawn aeration is one of those best practices that is really under utilized as a way to keep your lawn healthy, lush and looking great. Aeration will relieve soil compaction and open lawn up to allow water, air and nutrients to get down to the root zone without being tied up in the soil. It helps water penetrate and keeps it from running off the soil surface. Aeration will also help breakdown the thatch layer by creating a more hospitable environment for microorganism activity that naturally helps decompose thatch. By opening up the soil it also allows new grass seed to have direct contact with soil, increasing the the chances for successful germination. Overseeding your lawn at the same time as aeration sets your lawn up to really take off and thrive in the upcoming growing season. The best lawns that you’ll see anywhere are aearated on an annual basis. It’s a relativley cost-effective way to keep your lawn looking great.

As your plants and trees are starting to push out new leaf growth this is one of their most vulnerable times to insects and disease. What little critter or fungus wouldn’t be tempted by nice tender leaf growth?! In addition, our spring climate is the perfect environment for disease issues to thrive. A spring disease application is good preventive medicine for the shrubs and trees in your landscape, and timing is critical to treating them before they begin to mature and take hold.

That’s all for now. Please visit our website to learn more about the Plant Health Care options that we can provide for you.


Hello and wecome back to my seasonal plant health care tips. With springtime just around the corner we need to start thinking about our garden and how we can get the season off on the right foot. First of all we want to ensure that with our plants and trees they start pushing new growth and setting buds so we get the most vigorous growth and blooms this spring. The best way to do that is with a properly balanced fertilization for your shrubs and trees and now is a great time to do that application. A mix of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium will promote trunk and branch growth, stimulate vigorous root growth, promote flower bud formation and make an overall healthier, stronger plant.   

The other key during this time of year is to get ahead of the oncoming flush of weeds in your planting beds. One of the best ways to stay ahead of this is with an application of compost or barkdust mulch. If this hasn’t been done in a while I’d recommend a 2″ layer be put down. With our regular clients we do an annual application and in these cases we only put down approximately 1″ each year to freshen it up. This mulch over your planting beds is the best way to keep weeds down and it also helps to build good soil, retain moisture and reduce run-off. Finally, while this is not for our organic clients, if you want to add an extra layer of weed protection to your planting beds you might consider an application of a pre-emergent herbicide. These typically last about 90 days, depending on site conditions and practices, and they prevent weeds from germinating in the first place. It is a chemical and we recommend that you either closely follow the manufacturer’s recommendations or hire a licensed applicator.

Since this time of year is one of the busiest in the garden I will be posting again next month so make sure to subscribe to our RSS feed and get the latest tips from your truly.

Jim Zauner

Staff Horticulturalist


Winter Greetings!

There’s not a whole lot going on in most landscapes now but there are a couple things that everyone should consider doing at this time of year to ensure a healthy and vibrant landscape when springtime rolls around.

The first is a dormant and copper oil treatment. These are both natural products and a great foundation for healthy and pest-free shrubs and trees. Many insects lay their eggs on plants and trees in the Fall and the eggs overwinter and hatch in the spring ready to attack and munch on the tasty new foliage in your landscape. The dormant oil is sprayed onto plants and small trees,  including fruit trees, and it coats and suffocates these eggs preventing them from hatching in the spring. We also recommend adding copper with this treatment as it is a natural fungicide and helps to treat many fungal diseases from  taking hold in your landscape.

The second treatment that we recommend at this time of year is a systemic root injection for your large trees that are too large to spray or to take care of insects that are not controlled by foliar sprays. The insect control is injected directly into to root zone and the tree takes it in and moves it up the tree. Insects are controlled when the tree leafs out and it begins to feed on the foliage. The other major benefit of this treatment is that it minimizes other treatments as it offers full season control.

Both of these are excellent ways to ensure your plants and trees get a great start this spring and your landscape stays healthy and pest-free. They are preventative treatments that are very cost-effective.

I will be posting news and tips about plant health care throughout the year so stay tuned and keep checking back in.

Jim Zauner

Staff Horticulturalist

“An ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure”

Benjamin Franklin

Jim Zauner

Last year we brought on 20+ year industry veteran Jim Zauner to lead our new Plant Health Care service and well, we thought it was time you meet. Jim is our go-to guy when it comes to any questions around fertility, diseases and pests in your landscape. With his many years of experience he can usually assess a situation fairly quickly (sometimes even over the phone or via email) and provide our staff with the reasons for the issue and how to resolve it. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is Jim’s modus operandi, meaning he will always first recommend the least toxic, effective methods first. Jim has helped us to develop a full service Plant Health Care Program featuring organic options through our EarthSense program which you can find here on our website.

Jim is a native Oregonian and lives in Canby with his wife Heidi and two stepdaughters. Jim’s strong work ethic, expert opinion and sense of humor has been a valued addition to the DeSantis team.

Jim will be writing seasonally relevant posts for this blog throughout the year so make sure you’re receiving our RSS feed to stay up to date how to keep your landscape healthy and thriving throughout the year.

There are so many sales pitches, slick websites and other challenges to finding a quality service these days that it can be hard to tell what’s fluff and what’s real. DeSantis Landscapes has the opportunity to work with some great designers, artisans and contractors who do amazing work with great integrity and passion and we recommend you check them out the next time you’re looking to do something really cool, beautiful and special. I’ve had the opportunity to have contact with each one of these people or companies in the last week and while not one of them has talked about “trading referrals” I’ve just been inspired to put their names out there. They’re great artists and good people, check ’em out.

Architect: Nathan Good Architect http://www.nathangoodarchitect.com/
Interior Designer: Jessica Helgerson http://www.jhinteriordesign.com/
Landscape Architect: Jeff Simpson http://www.gosimpl.com/index.html
Timber Framer/Woodworker: Jim DeSantis-Silver Creek TimberWorks http://www.silvercreektimberworks.com/
Builder: Green Hammer Construction http://www.greenhammer.com/index.php
Stone Worker: Peter Andrusko http://www.andruskogroup.com/andrusko_group/Home.html

SALEM, OR, November 22, 2010 – DeSantis Landscapes is proud to announce it has been awarded a National Grand Award for its work at the Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center (The Kroc Center) in the 2010 Annual Environmental Improvement Awards Program sponsored by the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET).

The Kroc Center is a 92,000 sq. ft. multi-functional facility located on a ten acre site in Salem, Oregon (LEED-Silver certification is expected). The project was made possible by a large donation from the estate of Joan Kroc, wife of McDonald’s founder, Ray Kroc. Similar centers are being built all over the nation to serve communities that have the greatest need.

Some of the landscape highlights include a 52 zone centrally controlled irrigation system; the Entry Water Feature consisting of 4 boulders weighing 25-40 tons each and designed to mimic a Northwest forest; bioswales throughout the site to slow and filter stormwater before it enters the sewer system; a Prayer Garden with decomposed granite surface, surrounding trellis, and a mortared stack water feature; and nearly 100,000 sq. ft. of lawn area and 35,000 plants and trees.

“It was a real honor to be involved in the Kroc Center project,” says Dean DeSantis, President of DeSantis Landscapes, “we’ve been in business for 36 years in Salem and to see a project of this caliber come to our hometown it was very special.”

Major Donna Ames, the Executive Director of the Kroc Center commented, “the team from DeSantis Landscapes showed why they are the premier landscape company in Oregon. They were professional, talented and just a great partner to have involved in this project. It doesn’t surprise me at all that they’ve earned a national award for their work!”

PLANET’s Environmental Improvement Awards Program reflects the association’s commitment to creating and preserving the beauty of our landscape. The program is designed to reward independent landscape, lawn care, and interior plantscaping professionals who execute superior projects. PLANET strives to increase public awareness of environmental improvement through contracted landscaping, lawn care, and interior plantscaping and encourages the consistent use of quality materials and workmanship.

About DeSantis Landscapes

DeSantis Landscapes is a family-owned, nationally recognized landscape design, build and maintenance company with offices in Salem and Oregon City. The company’s award-winning services have been enjoyed by clients throughout the Willamette Valley and beyond since 1974. Its landscape projects range from commercial properties, to large private estates, to the most intimate residential gardens. In all cases, DeSantis creates balanced environments of extraordinary beauty and functionality.

Save money while protecting our environment with the following ideas:

-Renovate your existing lawn or replace it, plant grasses such as sedges, fescues and other eco-mixes for “lawn” areas that need less frequent watering than traditional ryegrass.

-Consider how much lawn your family uses— if there are corners or narrow strips that are never used, remove the lawn and add drought tolerant plants, mulch and/or stepping stones.  Maintaining a small proportion of lawn to landscape means less demands for water, fertilizers and mowing.  Mowing less frequently reduces emissions you release into the atmosphere and consumption of fossil fuels.  For lawn maintenance, try using a push mower or electrical mower and hand trimmers.  Elbow grease is good for the environment and your health, a two-for-one deal!

-Plant native and/or drought tolerant plants in place of ornamental plants that demand regular watering throughout our dry summers.  Remember, drought tolerant plants need watering the first year or two to get their roots established but after that they can be weaned off of weekly irrigation- the savings will accumulate.  Go native!  Plants native to our region are adapted to our hot dry summers— some even resent summer watering, like our native oaks!

-Planting trees in areas where they will shade roofs, walls, driveways, sidewalks and streets from the hot sun reduces reflected heat and making these spaces cooler and more comfortable.  You may even realize savings in heating and cooling costs on your home or business.

-Installing an irrigation system will help you save water by doing the watering in the early mornings when evaporation rates are lower.  Unlike hand watering, the amount of water that goes out each time is measured by the system so you know exactly how much water your plants are receiving.  Equipping your irrigation system with a rain gauge will help to conserve water by telling your system when there has been enough precipitation to meet your landscape’s needs and at that point shuts the water off.

-Increasing permeable surfaces in your yard allows storm water to seep back into soils and recharge ground water aquifers while reducing the strain on city stormwater drainage systems, keeping our rivers cleaner.  Consider how much concrete or other hardscaping you truly need and remove what you don’t use.  If you are replacing old hardscaping or planning new areas of hardscaping try a new material such as permeable pavers, permeable concrete or asphalt, even gravel.

-Another way to ease the burden on city stormwater drain systems is to divert downspouts and gutters to a “dry creek” bed or pond area that during our rainy winters will then fill and slowly release the water back into the soil.  In our dry summers these seasonal water features will be dry and not support mosquito breeding.

Even if you only try a couple of these steps to start you will be making a difference in your savings and in the world.