Monday, October 21, 2013

Edging project: risks & rewards

Some ongoing fall projects are re-edging the lawn along the back yard and weeding out the shady triangle area. I last edged the shady triangle in the spring, but it's been a couple of years since I edged along the lawn east of the triangle.

Risks of weeding with beggar lice or tick-trefoil. Rewards of wildflowers in the garden.
Raking the loose soil back into the bed and away from the edge of the lawn in preparation for the chips.
The 3 Stokes asters (with the oblong leaves to the right of the rake) had been obscured by the tick-trefoil.
Previously embedded in the lawn, flush sprinkler heads need clearance so they can remain effective. This one makes a full 360 degree pass. Broom sedge blue stem (Andropogon virginicus) is blooming in the shady triangle.
Below is the end result of the weeding and the edging of the shady triangle area. I'd planted the two magnolias (to the left of the photo) as seedlings years ago in spots that I thought were far enough away from the edge of the wooded area, but I should have given them another six feet. We've trimmed away branches of the sweetgums behind them to make room, but I should have planned better. The one on the left is the traditional southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) and the other one is a sweet bay magnolia (M. virginiana).

Shady triangle after weeding and edging. I probably should have trimmed back the goldenrod earlier in the season
Moving toward the east (on the left side of the above photo) I continued to redefine the lawn edge and to take out another 12 to 18 inches of lawn.

Surface roots of trees are not good for lawn, but ferns don't mind. The netted chain ferns (Woodwardia areolata) make a good border and have already spread out into the lawn. so another 18" of lawn is added to the compost pile.Yay!
The other part of this edge project is to trim back branches and to remove trees or shrubs that are moving into the lawn area. I was pleased to see a beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) growing along the edge, but a water oak sapling was leaning on top of it. I removed the oak to allow the beautyberry to grow, but as it grows larger, I will need to move the edge farther out into the lawn area again!

A beautyberry shrub has a water oak sapling leaning over it.
Now that the oak is removed, the beautyberry will have a chance to grow.
The shady triangle begins in the upper right of this photo.
A self-sown magnolia is too close to the sprinkler head. Cinnamon ferns (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum) have sent up their fall fertile fronds that look like cinnamon sticks.
I root pruned the magnolia that is too close to the sprinkler head and I'll transplant it to someplace more appropriate in the winter. That will give the roots a chance to recover from the root pruning to form a tighter root ball. I was just going to move it a couple of yards back into the wooded area to provide better privacy from the neighbor next door, but there is already a smaller magnolia already growing there. Mother Nature beat me to it. Now I have to decide where I need another magnolia.

I took a morning off last week to be a substitute teacher for a continuing education class on native plants in the landscape at University of North Florida. There were 15 enthusiastic students. Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.
I hope your fall gardening projects are giving you pleasure.

Green Gardening Matters,
Ginny Stibolt

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