Take your time, research when planning summer landscape _lowres

Photo by ALLEN OWINGS/LSU AgCenter – Landscape professionals are familiar with Louisiana plants and can help create a design that's right for you.

Landscapes are dynamic creations that are always changing. Plants grow larger. New plants are added. Plants die. Even trees may be lost in storms.

Over the years, a landscape can change radically from its original look.

Summer is a great time to study your landscape and develop plans for needed changes, says LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dan Gill.

“Spend the season refining your ideas, and you’ll be ready when our prime planting season for trees, shrubs and ground covers arrives in late October,” advises Gill.

First, analyze your landscaping needs.

Basically, this means sitting down with the family and deciding on what the landscape should provide.

Once you’ve decided, consult landscaping and gardening books to help you refine your ideas and talk to knowledgeable people, such as local gardeners you know, LSU AgCenter agents and garden center and nursery staffs.

As you plan, consider the future maintenance of your new plantings. Select insect- and disease-resistant plants that are well adapted to our area. And make sure they will not grow too big for the location where you intend to plant them. Remember to choose plants that will thrive in the growing conditions where they will be planted.

Consider the amount of sun and drainage they will receive, for instance. Remember, flower beds are high-maintenance, so don’t overburden yourself.

Landscaping your home brings quite a few economic benefits. A well-landscaped home generally sells more quickly and at a higher price than a comparable home lacking a nice landscape. One reason trees and shrubs add value to a home is that, unlike many purchases, over the years they appreciate in value as they grow larger and more beautiful.

It’s nice to add to the value of your property and help the environment, but the most important benefit of landscaping is the personal enjoyment it brings to outdoor living.

You asked

Can you explain why no crape myrtles are flowering in our subdivision this year? James

Many crape myrtle varieties this summer are behind on flowering due to our cool, wet spring.

Cool wet, springs slow foliage growth on crape myrtles and less foliage growth in spring means fewer summer flowers. They also flower better as the weather gets warmer, so I anticipate crape myrtles coming on and blooming in the next few weeks if they have not already. — Allen Owings, LSU AgCenter horticulturist

Got a gardening question? Write to GardenNews@agcenter.lsu.edu.