MM Landscape and Gardening services Frequently Asked Questions

Cutting Back

The great thing about pruning is that plants can be tackled as individuals, so it's worth having in your mind your own candidates for 'ten minute' jobs, an hour or even a weekend project such tackling a shrub border. There are many plants that can be cut back in the dormant season but avoid really cold spells. Remember most woody plants can be left until next month if need be.

Bring a bit of spring into your home by cutting some stems of corkscrew hazel (Corylus avellena 'Contorta'). Flower arrangers will love the twisted stems and now there are late winter male catkins as a bonus. Our plant is mature so there is plenty of material but with young plants don't take too much as it is slow-growing. Border sedums are often left when neighbouring plants are cut back as their flower heads add colour late in the year but now is time to remove them to allow the next season's growth to start.

Dog urine on grass

When nature calls, dogs do what they must, where they must (after all, a pristine green lawn is a human invention, far beyond the comprehension of the canine brain). The brown spots caused by urine are simply the result of too much of a good thing--namely, an overconcentration of nitrogen, which burns the grass.

How to fix it

1. Consider the kind of maintenance your lawn gets. The soil beneath a highly fertilized lawn already contains large concentrations of nitrogen--and a little more, courtesy of a dog doing his duty, is enough to push the grass over the edge. (Female-dog urine is not more potent than that of males. It causes more trouble simply because females tend to urinate all at once in one spot.)

2. Turn on the hose and flood the spot if the deed has just been done. Even within a few days, a thorough flushing should head off any damage, and before long the grass will grow back as good as new.

3. In cases where the damage has been in place for a while, dig out the damaged turf and flush the soil with plenty of water to dilute the excess nitrogen.

4. Reseed or resod the spot.