Below you will find a just a few pictures of a recent Illinois landscape design and Installation job we have recently completed. This landscape is complete with Black Trap Rock, Stacked Weathered Field-stone Boulders, and various grasses, perennials, shrubs and a breathtaking Japanese Lace Leaf Maple!
Japanese Lace Leaf Maple!
Stacking Boulders bring character to ANY Landscape!
Butterfly Bushes, Grasses and so much MORE!
Fire Chief ™ Globe Arborvitae
Thuja occidentalis ‘Congabe’
Nearly perfectly globe shaped shrub has finely textured, bright golden spring foliage and fantastic deep red fall color. This sport of the popular Rheingold variety has more intense coloration and is less prone to splitting. No pruning is necessary to maintain its compact, rounded form. Perfect for massing in the landscape foundation or as a rock garden specimen. Evergreen.
|Botanical Pronunciation:||THEW-ya ok-si-den-TAY-lis|
|Key feature:||Dramatic Foliage Color|
|Plant types:||Shrub, Conifer|
|Patent Act:||Asexual reproduction of plants protected by the Plant Patent Act is prohibited during the life of the patent|
|Garden styles:||Asian/Zen, Rustic|
|Cold hardiness zones:||4 – 8|
|Light needs:||Full sun|
|Water Needs:||Needs regular watering – weekly, or more often in extreme heat|
|Average landscape size:||Reaches 2 ft. tall and wide in 10 years; to 4 ft. tall and wide at maturity.|
|Growth habit:||Compact, Round|
|Special features:||Dramatic Foliage Color, Dwarf Plant, Easy Care, Fall Color,Year-round Interest|
|Landscape uses:||Border, Container, Hedge, Mass Planting, Rock Garden,Woodland Garden|
|Blooms:||Does not flower|
Follow a regular watering schedule during the first growing season to establish a deep, extensive root system. Feed with a general purpose fertilizer before new growth begins in spring. Pruning time: spring.
Heucherella ‘Solar Power’
Best grown in organically rich, humusy, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Performs well in full sun in the north, but prefers some shade (particularly in the heat of the afternoon) in the south. In the St. Louis area, best yellow foliage color occurs in sunny spots with part afternoon shade. Foliage takes on lime green tones as the exposure to shade increases. As the cultivar name suggests, ‘Solar Power’ tolerates sun and heat better than most yellow-leaved heucherella cultivars. Scorch and general foliage decline usually occur if soils are allowed to dry out. If grown in full sun, consistent moisture is particularly important. Remove stems of faded flowers to encourage additional bloom and to tidy plantings so that the attractive foliage can be fully appreciated. In cold winter climates, a winter mulch applied after the ground freezes will help prevent root heaving. Divide clumps in spring every 3-4 years.
X Heucherella, commonly called foamy bells, is an intergeneric hybrid between a variety of Heuchera and a variety of Tiarella. It is generally more compact and delicate in appearance than its Heuchera parent. ‘Solar Power’ is a mounding variety that features lobed, yellow-gold to lime-green leaves splashed with red along the veins. It forms a mound of basal foliage to 12″ tall spreading to 20″ wide. Tiny white flowers on stems rising above the foliage to 16″ tall bloom in mid to late spring. U. S. Plant Patent Applied For (PPAF).
Golden Zebra x Heucherella
Now here’s a beautiful accent for the partly to fully shaded border or container: a brilliantly variegated perennial with large, maple-leaf-like foliage of golden with generous maroon markings. Dense, vigorous, and very tolerant of heat and humidity, it’s a trouble-free selection of x Heucherella, the cross of two native species: Heuchera and Tiarella.
Commonly known as Foamy Bells, x Heucherella really does combine the best of the two genii from which it is bred. From Heuchera, it gets its dramatic colors. From Tiarella, its plant habit, along with deeply lobed leaves and the tendency to sport red variegation at the center of each leaf. ‘Golden Zebra’ is the perfect example of this blend — and the result is simply beautiful!
The foliage emerges from a tight crown in spring, densely layered and lovely. The large leaves have a feathery, light appearance that keeps the plant looking airy and graceful in the shade. By late spring, bell-shaped white blooms on long, slender stems 18 inches high have topped the foliage, and remain into summer. Hummingbirds visit these blooms religiously, and butterflies may also express an interest!
‘Golden Zebra’ is a good choice beneath high-canopy trees and shrubs, where filtered light is allowed to touch its foliage, but it also thrives in deeper shade as well. It is not fussy at all about soil type or conditions, provided the drainage is good. Plant it among its cousins in the shade border or fine containers, or use it to wake up Hosta and other late-emerging shade perennials in spring. By the time your Hostas have fully leafed out, ‘Golden Zebra’ will have already entertained visitors for 2 months or more with foliage and flowers!
Native vigor is a hallmark of ‘Golden Zebra.’ Reaching just 10 inches high (out of bloom) and 15 inches wide, it is untroubled by most pests and diseases, and so densely leafed that it has the impact of a much larger plant. Find a prominent place to show it off, and enjoy this carefree marvel for many seasons to come. Zones 4-9.
|Zone||4 – 9|
|Bloom Season||Late Spring – Early Summer|
|Plant Height||10 in|
|Plant Width||15 in|
|Additional Characteristics||Bloom First Year, Butterfly Lovers, Easy Care Plants, Flower, Hummingbird Lovers, Native, Variegated|
|Foliage Color||Burgundy, Chartreuse, Gold, Red, Variegated|
|Light Requirements||Part Shade, Shade|
|Moisture Requirements||Moist, well-drained|
|Resistance||Cold Hardy, Disease Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Heat Tolerant, Humidity Tolerant, Pest Resistant|
|Soil Tolerance||Clay, Normal, loamy, Poor|
|Uses||Border, Containers, Foliage Interest, Ground Cover, Outdoor|
|Restrictions||Canada, Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands|
Spring is just around the corner!!!! All of us at Kiefer Landscaping can’t wait for a fun and enjoyable 2013 season! From now until Spring we will be showcasing a few of the new varieties of plants that will be coming in this year. Please feel free to comment with any questions or simply give us a call!!
Thank you again to all our customers, friends, & family of Kiefer Landscaping.
New Plant Arrivals for the 2013 Planting Season!
Cityline® Rio Bigleaf Hydrangea
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Ragra’
This compact early-blooming Hydrangea has one of the best blue-colored flowers and attractive glossy foliage. It has an striking green eye when opening, is long-blooming, and extremely mildew resistant. Adds drama to mixed containers, borders, or cut flower arrangements.
|Key feature:||Showy Flowers|
|Cold hardiness zones:||5 – 8|
|Light needs:||Partial shade to full sun|
|Water Needs:||Requires regular watering.|
|Average landscape size:||Reaches two to three feet tall and wide.|
|Growth habit:||Compact, Round|
|Flower attribute:||Showy Flowers|
|Special features:||Gift Plant, Improved Pest and Disease Resistance|
|Landscape uses:||Border, Container, Seacoast Exposure, Specimen, Woodland Garden|
Ryusen Acer palmatum Japanese Maple Tree
At last, a true weeping Japanese Maple! ‘Ryusen’ boasts a magnificent weeping habit with strong, pendulous branches bearing palmately divided leaves of bright green. It’s a whole new look for the family!
Train ‘Ryusen’ to desired height until it forms a sturdy trunk, or let it weep over a wall, espalier it, or let it decorate your favorite arbor or arch. The cascading branches are wonderfully versatile, so you can find just the right spot in any landscape for this exciting introduction!
The foliage on this slow grower turns brilliant shades of golden-orange and bright red in autumn. More heat- and sun-tolerant than many A. palmatum cultivars, ‘Ryusen’ leafs out late in spring, thus avoiding late frosts. Expect it to reach 20 feet long and 6 to 8 feet wide over many years. Zones 5-8.
|Item Form||Trade Gallon (3qt)|
|Zone||5 – 8|
|Plant Height||20 ft|
|Plant Width||6 ft – 8 ft|
|Additional Characteristics||Easy Care Plants, Fall Color|
|Foliage Color||Gold, Medium Green, Orange, Red|
|Light Requirements||Full Sun, Part Shade|
|Moisture Requirements||Moist, well-drained|
|Resistance||Disease Resistant, Heat Tolerant, Humidity Tolerant, Pest Resistant|
|Soil Tolerance||Clay, Normal, loamy|
|Uses||Border, Containers, Fall Color, Foliage Interest, Ornamental, Specimen|
|Restrictions||Canada, Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands|
Formative pruning is desirable, as is spur pruning for those cultivars with interesting bark coloration (A. ‘Sango Kaku’, for example). Such pruning should be done in late summer or early fall and, at the same time, any dead branches should be cut back to live wood. Water well during periods of drought, especially in the first 2 to 3 years after planting.
Sonic Bloom™ Pink Reblooming Weigela
Weigela florida ‘Bokrasopin’
Create an explosion of color with this fantastic new re-blooming selection. Loads of hot pink flowers in spring are followed by waves of blooms until frost! Mounded growth habit with deep green, deer resistant foliage. Reblooms without deadheading, providing season-long color in foundation plantings and borders. Attracts hummingbirds. Deciduous.
|Botanical Pronunciation:||wy-GEE-la FLOR-id-uh|
|Key feature:||Repeat Blooming|
|Patent Act:||Asexual reproduction of plants protected by the Plant Patent Act is prohibited during the life of the patent.|
|Garden styles:||Cottage, Rustic|
|Cold hardiness zones:||4 – 8|
|Light needs:||Full sun|
|Water Needs:||Needs regular watering, weekly or more often in extreme heat.|
|Average landscape size:||Reaches 4 to 5 ft. tall and wide.|
|Flower attributes:||Long Bloom Season, Repeat Flowering, Showy Flowers|
|Special features:||Attracts Hummingbirds, Deer Resistant, Easy Care|
|Landscape uses:||Border, Mass Planting|
|Blooms:||Spring and late summer to hard frost|
Over the past several years, we have noticed a lot of phone calls from individuals who are dealing with failing retaining walls. A retaining wall is intended to retain entire hillsides. If a wall is not properly installed starting at ground level then issues will arise. In the example below we found that this particular retaining wall was failing FAST. You can see clearly, from the present crack, that the wall is falling to the left & to the right. The reason for this being an improperly installed base and base course. The most important step in any retaining wall is the soil base; comprised of tamped CA6 rock. This is the point where one needs to take the extra time to ensure that the base is level, if not, the entire wall will eventually fail. After the soil base has been installed, the next step is to start laying the first course of block. At this point every block needs to be individually leveled. Once the first base course is down then we simply stack the remainder of the block in a staggered pattern (to ensure maximum strength) & back fill with CA7 rock. As you may be able to notice in the picture, there is no type of drainage for ground and or rain water. All rain and ground water needs to be able to filter through the the back of the wall and out the other side, leaving no room for water to build up behind the wall. Depending on the size and height of the retaining wall, GEO-GRID may be needed. Geo-Grid is a product that is installed behind the wall and back into the turf / hillside, giving more strength and durability.
When shopping around for someone to build and retaining wall remember these crucial steps we have pointed out. No retaining wall job is ever CHEAP and if it is I would be very very cautious. In the world of retaining walls you honestly “get what you pay for”. Paying someone thousands of dollars, only to have the wall fail will ultimately lead to paying close to triple the original price.
Please don’t make a costly mistake! Compare contractors, get pictures of jobs they have installed, ask for letters of recommendation.
Here are a few pictures of a Brick Paver Patio we have just completed. This patio is complete with a circular paver design, stone columns & a beautiful accent sitting wall. You will notice in the before pictures that the homeowner previously had a concrete pad to entertain. However they were wanting a larger entertaining area to complete their wonderful backyard landscape.
Ahh…Springtime! The sun shining outside and the temperature increasing signifies the end of a long, cold winter. The chirping birds greet you as you open your front door and examine your finally-thawed lawn. Often times, people stare in horror at the patches of brown, dead grass that is covering their lawn. If these bare spots are not overseeded they will more than likely be overtaken by weeds or insects. Spring seeding often cures the Winter Time Blues.
Although the best time to seed a lawn is in the fall, it can be done in the Spring if done properly. It is important to have good seed to soil contact through good soil preparation. It is also important to control weeds in the lawn because spring germinating weeds will out-compete the desirable turf-grass. The downside to spring seeding is that you can’t put down a pre-emergent to hold back crabgrass. Below explains how to properly seed an existing lawn and how to seed a new lawn.
Overseeding an Existing Lawn
Problems to avoid when watering newly planted seed
Seeding a new lawn
The following article is provided by the University of Illinois. Shedding some light on the fast-growing invasive weed known as Kudzu.
To all Illinois residents: Be on the lookout for kudzu. This high-climbing, fast-growing weed, which is illegal to buy, grow and plant in Illinois, smothers existing vegetation and has been spotted in more than 30 Illinois counties.
“Many people are not aware that kudzu has been found in Illinois,” said George Czapar, an extension educator at the Springfield Extension Center of the University of Illinois. In collaboration with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Czapar is monitoring kudzu in Illinois and is part of an effort to slow the spread of the creeping vine.
“We try to make people aware of what it looks like, and help document infestations of kudzu” he said. “We hope to make people more vigilant to keep kudzu from spreading.”
Kudzu (Pueraria montana var. lobata) is sometimes confused with wild grape, another climbing vine that is widespread in Illinois. Although several species of wild grapes are commonly found in Illinois, they do not spread as aggressively, Czapar said. Kudzu is distinguished from wild grape by its trifoliate leaves, like on soybeans; whereas wild grapes have single leaves alternately attached to the stem.
Kudzu can grow a foot a day, and a single crown may send 30 vines in different directions, Czapar said. Vines can extend 98 feet, and mature vines can be four inches thick, according to the Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council.
Kudzu was introduced from China and Japan, coming to the United States during the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia as part of a Japanese garden exhibit.
In the 1930s, kudzu was touted for its ability to stabilize eroding land and as a food source for cows, Czapar said. The U.S. government promoted what it called the “wonderplant,” leading to 2.47 million acres of kudzu-covered U.S. land by 1946, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Now the invasive vine, a relative of soybeans, covers an estimated 7 million acres across southeastern states. In Illinois, kudzu is located mainly along roads.
“It blocks the sunlight and smothers native plants,” Czapar said. No natural enemies or predators of kudzu are common in Illinois, which is typical of an introduced, invasive species, he said.
Southeast Illinois has 90 percent of the Illinois kudzu and the greatest kudzu problem compared with the rest of the state, said Jody Shimp, regional administrator at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
The northernmost reported patch of kudzu in Illinois is in Evanston, where there is about an acre of kudzu near the Chicago Transit Authority railroad, Shimp said.
Kudzu has not been identified in Champaign County, but it has been found in Clark, Cumberland, Macon, Peoria, Shelby and Tazewell counties. In 2003, surveys showed that about 100 different locations of kudzu covered 410 acres of Illinois, Shimp said. Most Illinois populations of kudzu cover less than a couple of acres.
Illinois researchers have found that kudzu survives Illinois winters and has excellent germination – characteristics previously assumed to be untrue, Czapar said.
Since kudzu is a host for soybean rust, interest in the weed has increased lately, Czapar said. Soybean rust can cause significant soybean yield loss. First discovered in the United States in November 2004, the rust is now in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina, according to the USDA.
The U.I. Extension Center and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources are working together to manage kudzu in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources uses both herbicides and mowing to destroy patches of kudzu, Shimp said.
“Because its root system can descend 12 feet into the soil and weigh 300 pounds, controlling kudzu requires a combination of management practices rather than simply pulling out the weed,” Czapar said.
When do you start mowing your new lawn? The grass is growing and getting tall but this is the time that the most damage can be done. You can start mowing when the grass has reached 4 inches tall, not any sooner. When you start mowing your lawn, cut the grass at least 3″ high or on your mowers highest level. This will prevent the young grass from being stressed or damaged from mowing. If your grass gets much longer than 3 inches it will mat, leading to winter lawn disease problems such as snow mold. If you cut it shorter than 2 inches, you will severely limit its ability to make and store food for growth in the spring. DO NOT SCALP! Scalped lawns lose density, have shallow root systems and bare spots which make it easier for weeds to take over. Taller grass provides shading of the soil surface and reduces lethal temperatures near the base of the grass plants. Taller grass has deeper roots and a lower tendency to wilt. Taller grass draws moisture from a larger volume of soil and therefore requires less supplemental irrigation.
Change your mowing directions every time you mow. By mowing in the same direction every time, you create streaks and lines that grow back irregularly. To keep your lawn as healthy as possible, it is important that your lawn is not trampled or continuously matted to the point were it is not allowed to grow properly. You should cut cross-diagonally, or in the opposite direction every time. You will be amazed at what a simple process like this can do for your lawns appearance.
Contact Us today or call (217) 347-7500 for a FREE Lawn Care Maintenance Estimate!!
A lawn does not happen over night it takes time and maintenance. A newly seeded lawn will need to watered daily and may need as many as four light waterings in a single day if conditions are dry and windy. The seed bed should be kept moist, but not saturated, to a depth of one to two inches until germination occurs. Germination occurs when your new lawn has green cast and the seedlings are a quarter to one half inch tall. At this early stage it is crucial that seedlings are not stressed to the point of wilt, continue to water one to four times a day with light applications of water, approximately 1/8 to 1/4 inch of water per day. As seedlings reach two inches gradually reduce the frequency of watering. You should start watering 3 times a week but for a longer period of time in each area. After the new lawn has been mowed two or three times, keep watering on the 3 times a week cycle until the grass has filled in. Don’t let the grass turn brown, apply enough water to keep it green. Water early in the day when lawns are normally wet from dew. Avoid midday due to evaporation, and at night due to the increased potential of diseases. Spread the water uniformly across the lawn. Avoid flooding areas and missing spots. Sprinklers vary in distribution patterns and require spray overlap for uniform coverage. To ensure complete coverage, we recommend an automatic irrigation system. A well-designed, properly installed and appropriately maintained irrigation system can be the most efficient way to keep your landscape and lawn healthy. The benefits of having an automatic irrigation system include: reduced labor for watering, convenience, full landscape / lawn coverage, easy control over irrigation timing for waterings, added value to your property and an irrigation system that delivers exactly the right amount of water at the right time to the lawn, plants and trees is not only efficient but practical.
Apples to Apples
First things first. Visit the contractor’s retail garden center to see how well they maintain their facility. If they can’t maintain their own facility how are you going to get a great looking landscape.
We have taken the time to compile a list of information that we feel would be beneficial when choosing a landscape company.
- Have you seen and checked the quality of plants going into your landscape design?
- Have you seen the stone, brick or block going into your new landscape?
- Have you sat down and reviewed the plans with the landscape company and understand what you are getting?
- Are you signing a contract for your new landscape project? (this is for your protection also)
- Are you getting a design when you sign the contract?
- Are you getting a list of plants going into your landscape?
- Are plant sizes listed out so you are not just getting the smallest plants available?
- What grade of plants are you buying? Grade 1, Grade 2 or Grade 3? (We use Grade 1)
- Are the plants that are in your landscape plan recommended for your zone?
- Are you getting a written guarantee on plants and material warranties? (View our Warranty)
- Are you getting a written description of the work to be performed?
- Are you getting thick commercial weed barrier or the cheap see through weed barrier? (some weed barrier will actually puncture if you walk on it, leaving holes for weeds to grow. All landscaping should have a weed barrier fabric. Absolutely no plastic, newspaper, or burlap should be used as weed barrier.)
- How thick is the rock bed going to be in your new landscape?
- How thick is the mulch bed going to be in your new landscape?
- Do the people installing your landscape have experience doing the king of work you are wanting done?
- Does the landscaper have experience or are they new to landscaping?
- Find out it the Landscape Company is under new ownership or management.
- Does the Landscape Company own or rent the equipment doing the job? Remember, if someone rents equipment they will be in a hurry to return the equipment, not allowing the time needed to perform the work properly.
- Does the contractor have the proper insurance to perform the work that you are wanting done, if not you are liable if something goes wrong.
- How many years have they been in business? Sometimes experience and years are figured differently. Example; Combined years with all employees or number of years in business. (Kiefer Landscaping 21 years in business or 264 years experience).
It is hard to do an Apples to Apples comparison not knowing the above information. Quality work is also hard to put a price tag on. We guarantee all of the about and guarantees the highest level of quality and service that you will find.
Below are a few key points that Kiefer Landscaping brings to the table. Compare with other contractors to see what they may be leaving out.
- Over 21 years in business with the original owner
- $2 million dollar liability insurance policy
- Proven Performance on Large Commercial and Residential Projects
- Experienced and knowledgeable craftsmen with many years experience
- New innovative designs
- Top Quality materials
- High quality suppliers to aid in design and troubleshooting
- Exclusive distributor on selective products
- Responsive communication
- Coordinated effort from design to install
- Excellent Safety record
- Full Time office staff
- Regular bussiness hours
- In house landscape designers
- Value Engineering service for retaining walls
- Environmentally Conscientious
- Contract contains written warranties
- Stand behind ALL warranties
- All crews carry cell phones for constant contact
- Annual Service Plans
- Drug Testing on Employees
- Worker’s Compensation Insurance
- Licensed Plumber on staff (Irrigation Connections to main lines)