Landscape Mulch Installation

Fall Is the Best Time for Landscape Replacement Springfield MO

Fall Is the Best Time for Landscape Replacement Springfield MO

Garden centers have us tricked, and we let them trick us. After a long winter of reading magazines full of tantalizing plants and flowers, we itch for the first warm day. Nurseries make most of their annual income in the Spring, which almost everyone considers to be the best time to replace their landscaping.

But it isn’t. Fall is the best time to plant grass and shrubs and it’s time we realized this. Not only is cooler weather easier on new plants, but planting with rain on the horizon also has advantages. Here’s more on why planting in the Fall can make your yard more robust than we imagined.

Plants love Fall weather. Their leaves aren’t stressed by scorching sun, and cooler temps lessen the demand for water from the roots. Many experts think that fall-dug plants are more robust than spring- or summer-dug plants.

Less watering means lower maintenance. If you plant in spring or summer, more often than not you have to dutifully keep up with watering during those first few weeks or months. Constant observation of your new landscaping gets tedious as the heat ramps ups.

It’s easier on the trees once their leaves are gone. There’s less pressure to devote resources to keeping them alive, and all of their effort is dedicated to growing roots. That’s the benefit of Fall digging for all plants. You’re helping them concentrate on roots, so when they come back in the Spring, they’re ready to put on more top growth in the form of lovely foliage and stunning blooms. If you plant in Spring or Summer, you have to wait an entire year to see those results.

It’s also easier to see where you need to add plants. You should leave your plants up for winter to help the landscaping insulate itself, capture moisture and protect overwintering pollinators, but it also will help you see where the gaps between plants are. Maybe a grass is needed in an open spot, or you realize you want some spring blooms to pop in one bed. Now’s the time to make those changes while the mosquitoes and leaves are gone. You can actually see the ground and get to it through the skeletons of the year’s growth.

So when you’re ready to plant new grass and shrubs, don’t wait until Spring. Call Gabris Landscaping in the Fall to schedule your next landscape replacement project.

Types of Landscape Mulch Installation Springfield MO

Types of Landscape Mulch Installation Springfield MO

Landscape mulch installation is the act of placing a protective barrier of mulch around your plants and over your bare soil. Mulch is used as soil covering for several reasons:

  • Preserve water and retain moisture
  • Trapping heat
  • Weed prevention and control
  • Help control soil erosion

There are many types of landscape mulch installation. It can be made up of a variety of decomposing organic materials, including bark or wood chips, or non-decomposing non-organic materials such as recycled tires, pebbles, and landscape fabric.

Pebble Mulch

Pebble mulch/gravel is best used for pathways or driveways. It allows water to drain through, which cement and asphalt do not do. Gravel and pebble mulch also absorb some heat from the sun during the day, and give it off at night, creating a mini micro-climate.

Rock Mulch

Rock landscape mulch can be used in perennial flower beds or other perennial plantings. Large rocks absorb heat from the sun during the day, creating the potential for larger warm micro-climate areas than small pebbles. Dark stones and rocks will absorb more heat than white or light-colored stones. Larger stones and rocks also cover more area with fewer stones. A good covering of larger stones will also help prevent soil erosion.

Pumice Rock

Pumice rock is a type of landscape mulch made from very lightweight porous rock. Its porous characteristic allows it to trap and retain moisture. No other rock mulches are able to retain moisture. It will also absorb some heat from the sun, but not as much as other rock mulches.

Landscape Fabric

Landscape fabric is a black fabric usually made from woven polypropylene. Using a black, landscape fabric catches the heat of the sun, warming up the soil beneath it sooner than usual. This keeps the soil a little warmer at night, making it possible to plant out heat-loving crops a little sooner than you otherwise would be able to.

Each type of mulch has its differing characteristics and uses. When deciding on the types of landscape mulch installation, it is best to talk to an experienced professional about your options.

Benefits of Landscape Mulch Installation Springfield MO

Benefits of Landscape Mulch Installation Springfield MO

Mulching is one of the best things you can do for your landscaping. This is the act of placing a protective barrier of mulch around your plants and over your bare soil. This protective barrier can be made up of a variety of decomposing organic materials, including bark or wood chips, pine needles and straw, or non decomposing, non-organic materials such as recycled tires, pebbles, and river rock.

Here are the top benefits of installing mulch in your landscaping:

Controls Weeds

Through the use of landscape mulch installation we can limit the amount of weeds that spring up in the open spaces of your landscaping. The mulch acts as a barrier, limiting the amount of sunlight that can find its way to the weeds.

Retains Moisture

Organic mulches absorb water. Organic and non-organic varieties both cover the soil and limit evaporation. Retaining moisture, especially during hot, dry seasons can not only help out your plants, but it can also help out your water bill.

Prevents Soil Erosion

Mulching not only keeps existing water trapped in the soil, it also keeps rain water from washing away your soil. It does this by breaking the fall of the water and therefore lessening the force when the water impacts the ground.

Maintains Soil Nutrients

Not only does mulch keep soil nutrients from being washed away with the rain, but it also can release nutrients into the soil if you are using an organic material. This happens as the organic material slowly decomposes on top of the soil.

Controls Pests

Using certain types of mulch, such as cedar bark, can deter certain pests due to the fact that the cedar bark has natural oils that act as insect repellant. To reap the full benefits, we recommend using a mulch that is very fragrant, as it will have the greatest affect on insects. But be warned, that some mulches can actually encourage insects to flock to your landscaping and sometimes your house, so we will make sure to recommend which type of mulch will best suit your needs based on appearance and pest control properties.

Polishes up your Landscaping

Mulch can give your landscaping a finished look by filling in the empty spaces while being one of the easiest fillers to maintain. Grass, groundcovers and other fillers may take extensive care, such as mowing and watering, as well as competing for resources with your landscaping plants. Mulch is easy to care for and never competes with your other plants.

If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of landscape mulch installation, please give the experts at Gabris Landscaping a call so we can schedule a time to visit your yard and recommend what would be best for your landscaping.

Crape Myrtle - Tree Service Company Springfield MO

Four Colorful Trees To Grow Curb Appeal – Tree Service Company Springfield MO

If you want to add some color to your lawn and increase the curb appeal of your home, you have more options than just flowers and shrubs. Colorful trees can turn your lawn from dull to vibrant all year around. There are numerous options to choose from, but we’ve listed some of our favorites to help you get you started.
Crape Myrtle - Tree Service Company Springfield MO

Crape Myrtle

The Crape Myrtle average height is between 15 to 25 ft and the average spread is between 6 to 15 ft.

We like like these trees because they’re survivors that laugh in the face of drought and deer. They love hot, sunny climates and bloom in summer when most trees have ended their show. However, crape myrtles don’t love to be topped off. Be sure to give them plenty of room to grow and ask your tree service company to use a lighter pruning touch.
Sugar Maple - Tree Service Company Springfield MO

Sugar Maple

The Sugar Maple average height is between 60 and 75 ft and the average spread is 40 to 50 ft.

We like the Sugar Maple because it’s not picky about soil and doesn’t mind wide ranges of temperature. The hardy sugar maple can be a good replacement tree for an ash or elm tree taken by disease. And added bonus is the eye-popping fall foliage, and you can even tap the sap and make your own syrup. Just don’t plant them too close to roads, because any salt from ice melters will harm the tree.

Smoke Tree

The Smoke Tree average height is between 10 and 15 ft and the average spread is 12 ft.

We recommend the smoke tree because it plays well with others in groupings, hedges, or windbreaks. Smoke trees like hot, dry weather and thrive in a wide range of soils. They have fascinating textures and add a punch of color in small spaces. In summer, they sport wispy, pink bloom clusters. In fall, their foliage turns yellow, orange, and red. The rest of the year their leaves are purple, gold, or green.

Saucer Magnolia

The Saucer Magnolia average height is between 20 to 30 ft and the average spread is 25 ft.

This harbinger of spring is a very tolerant tree, not bothered much by dry, wet, and polluted environments. It does well in our clay soil here in Missouri, but would prefer rich, well-draining loams. Its fragrant white and purple flowers usually show up in March, putting on a spectacular, albeit short, show.

If you’d like us to plant these or any other colorful trees to improve the curb appeal of your home, please don’t hesitate to contact our office. We would be happy to help you explore your other options when it comes to colorful trees for your landscaping.

Leave Pruning To The Experts - Shrub Care Service Springfield MO

Leave Pruning To The Experts – Shrub Care Service Springfield MO

Proper pruning enhances the beauty of almost any landscape tree and shrub, while improper pruning can ruin or greatly reduce its landscape potential. In most cases, it is better not to prune than to do it incorrectly. In nature, plants go years with little or no pruning, but man can ruin what nature has created. By using improper pruning methods healthy plants are often weakened or deformed. In nature, every plant eventually is pruned in some manner.

It may be a simple matter of low branches being shaded by higher ones resulting in the formation of a collar around the base of the branch restricting the flow of moisture and nutrients. Eventually the leaves wither and die and the branch then drops off in a high wind or storm. Often, tender new branches of small plants are broken off by wild animals in their quest for food. In the long run, a plant growing naturally assumes the shape that allows it to make the best use of light in a given location and climate. All one needs to do to appreciate a plant’s ability to adapt itself to a location is to walk into a wilderness and see the beauty of natural growing plants.

Pruning, like any other skill, requires knowing what you are doing to achieve success. The old idea that anyone with a chain saw or a pruning saw can be a landscape pruner is far from the truth. More trees are killed or ruined each year from improper pruning than by pests. Remember that pruning is the removal or reduction of certain plant parts that are not required, that are no longer effective, or that are of no use to the plant. It is done to supply additional energy for the development of flowers, fruits, and limbs that remain on the plant.

Pruning involves removing plant parts to improve the health, landscape effect, or value of the plant. It’s best to leave the pruning to the shrub care service experts at Gabris Landscaping.

By making the pruning cuts in a certain order, the total number of cuts is reduced greatly. Our skilled pruners first remove all dead, broken, diseased or problem limbs by cutting them at the point of origin or back to a strong lateral branch or shoot. Often, removing this material opens the canopy sufficiently so that no further pruning is necessary.

The next step in pruning is to make any training cuts needed. By cutting back lateral branches, the tree or shrub is trained to develop a desired shape, to fill in an open area caused by storm or wind damage or to keep it in bounds to fit a given area. To properly train a plant, one should understand its natural growth habit. We always strive to avoid destroying the natural shape or growth habit when pruning.

Pruning can actually be done at any time of the year. However, recommended times vary with different plants. Contrary to popular belief, pruning at the wrong time of the year does not kill plants, but continual improper pruning results in damaged or weakened plants. In general, the best time to prune most plants is during late winter or early spring before growth begins.

The least desirable time is immediately after new growth develops in the spring. A great amount of food stored in roots and stems is used in developing new growth. This food should be replaced by new foliage before it is removed; if not, considerable dwarfing of the plant may occur. This is a common problem encountered in pruning.

It also is advisable to limit the amount of pruning done late in summer as new growth may be encouraged on some plants. This growth may not have sufficient time to harden off before cold weather arrives resulting in cold damage or winter kill. It’s best to have us prune plants that have been damaged by storms or vandalism or ones with dead limbs as soon as possible to avoid additional insect and disease problems that may develop.

All too often trees are topped (“dehorned”) to reduce size or to rejuvenate growth. In either case topping is not a recommended practice. Topping is the process whereby a tree is cut back to a few large branches. After 2 to 3 months, regrowth on a topped tree is vigorous, bushy and upright. Topping seriously affects the tree’s structure and appearance. The weakly attached regrowth can break off during severe wind or rain storms. Topping may also shorten the life of a tree by making it susceptible to attack by insect and disease.

Thinning is a better means of reducing the size of a tree or rejuvenating growth. In contrast to topping, thinning removes unwanted branches by cutting them back to their point of origin. Thinning conforms to the tree’s natural branching habit and results in a more open tree, emphasizing the branches’ internal structure. Thinning also strengthens the tree by forcing diameter growth of the remaining branches.

If you have any questions about having your trees, plants or bushes trimmed by the experts at Gabris Landscaping, give us a call to schedule an appointment to have us come by and offer our recommendations and provide you with a written estimate for our services.


KY3 Feature – What to Ask Before You Hire a Lawn or Landscaping Service Springfield MO

Here’s the feature KY3 did that features Gabris Landscaping. Learn what questions to ask before you hire a lawn and landscape service so you don’t get duped.

Additional Tree Disease Resources (2015) - Tree Service Company Springfield MO

Additional Tree Disease Resources (2015) – Tree Service Company Springfield MO

(Information was obtained through a workshop put on by Simeon Wright, Forest Pathologist at the Missouri Department of Conservation in January 2015.)

For Plant Problem Diagnosis through the University of Missouri Plant Diagnostic Clinic check out:

Want to get updates and alerts about forest health issues in Missouri?

Looking for current forest health news items?

Just love trees? Want to spread the word? Check out Trees Work:

Specific Disease Information

Oak Decline –>

Oak Decline –>

Oak Wilt –>

Fire Blight –>

Bleeding Cankers –>

Ash Leaf Spot –>

Boxwood Blight –>

*Thousand Cankers Disease –>

*Thousand Cankers Disease –>

*Please be aware that “Black Walnut is ecologically and economically important to Missouri, and thousand cankers disease (TCD) is a serious threat to this resource. After reviewing symptoms of TCD, if you discover groups of walnut trees with suspicious symptoms that are not due to site disturbance or other issues, contact your Missouri Department of Conservation forester or email: …Photos can be very helpful in diagnosis.”

Missouri Exterior Quarantine Law:

If after viewing our extensive tree disease resources you have questions, since we specialize in being a tree service company, we can answer them.

Proper Planting Techniques Handout - Landscape Replacement Springfield MO

Proper Planting Techniques Handout – Landscape Replacement Springfield MO

Click Here To Download Our Proper Planting Techniques Handout

Proper Planting Techniques

  1. Choose a healthy, disease-free and pest-free plant with good structure relative to its species and if help would be beneficial we offer many landscape replacement services.
  2. Look up for wires/lights and around/down for wires, irrigation, gas, water, and telecommunications lines. .(AVOID FIBEROPTIC LINES AT ALL COSTS – EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE REPAIR COSTS)
  3. Find the top-most root and treat root defects for trees and large shrubs; (i.e. cut out stem girdling roots.) For smaller shrubs and plants pull roots out gently on root-ball to encourage horizontal growth. (Thicker root wads may need to be sliced with a sharp pocket knife or utility blade first.)
  4. Dig the depth of hole exactly the height of the root-ball (as measured from the bottom to the top-most root) and twice the width of root-ball width.
  5. Remove synthetic materials (burlap, wire basket, etc)
  6. Place plant in hole and position top root 1-2 inches above landscape soil
  7. Make sure plant or tree is straight by standing a distance away and examining it from multiple angles.  Face the fuller, healthier sides of plants and trees towards the area from which it will be most often seen.
  8. Add back soil and pack firmly around the root ball
  9. Soak planting area until full of water to push air out of any pockets
  10. Add mulch 2-3 inches thick on top of moist soil around root ball and step down gently to push soil down into any large air pockets.  Then spread mulch out around tree using proper mulching techniques.
  11. Stake and prune (only if needed)
Protecting Plants From Winter Desiccation - Shrub Care Service Springfield MO

Protecting Plants From Winter Desiccation – Shrub Care Service Springfield MO

After last year’s winter, many of our customers are concerned with losing plants in the landscape from the cold weather. I thought it may be beneficial to share some simple tips to help keep your plants alive during our sporadic Winters here in Springfield, Missouri. Below you will find 3 easy ways you could be protecting your plants from Winter desiccation.

Although it may be too late for many people, the first step in helping your plants live through the seasons is selecting the correct plants upon installation. Many plants have specific varieties that can handle cold temperatures or drought conditions better than other varieties or cultivars. Making sure your plants are in the correct Hardiness Zone for our location is one way to determine if a plant is suited to survive in our area. In Springfield, Missouri our Hardiness Zone would be considered 6a.  This information should be available on the plant’s tag at the nursery. If not, usually it can be found with a simple internet search from your smart phone. Search for “plant specifications for (plant name here)” or “plant facts for (plant name here).” Some good websites for plant facts will be your local botanical center (Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder) or a university extension website (Virginia Tech University Dendrology Factsheet).

Another simple way to keep your plants healthy during the more extreme weather conditions is by keeping a fresh layer of mulch over their roots.  Usually 2-3 inches is the appropriate thickness for your mulch.  Be sure to keep the mulch away from the woody trunk or stem of your plants because it will hold moisture against the plant.  This moisture can lead to conditions such as root rot or insect infestations.  Mulch only needs to cover the roots, not the plant itself.  There are many types of mulch you can use for your plants such as wood chips, tree bark, pine needles, crushed up pine cones, processed mulches, or leaves.  The experts recommend using a mulch that is relatively proportionate to the size of your plant.  For smaller plants, go with a finer mulch (mulched leaves, processed mulch, pine needles).  For a larger plant or tree, use larger mulches (tree bark, pine cones, wood chips).  Although, for aesthetic purposes, I recommend finding a happy medium and keeping the mulch color and style uniform across the entire landscape.  Of course, exceptions are always made for areas of focus.  A different kind of mulch or gravel could be used in a pathway or around a specific variety of plants for a sleek contrast that can really make a landscape “pop”.  Aesthetics aside, mulching your plants properly can make a big impact on their ability to handle Winter weather.

Something most people don’t think about during the Winter that can make a huge difference in the survival of their plants is the occasional watering.  If you can remember to water your plants about once a month during the Winter while irrigation systems are shut off, it could literally be the difference between the life and death of some of your plants.  Of course, you will want to make sure the weather is warm enough for watering before you spend the time filling up your watering cans.  During the winter we often have a cold, dry weather in Springfield with the occasional snow accumulation.  It may seem to us that we have had all kinds of precipitation, but usually it’s not nearly what we need.  To add to the trouble, snow is usually high in nitrogen.  Nitrogen, while an important element of plant health, can sometimes dry plants out when over applied.  A little water can dilute nitrogen levels, keeping plants healthy and better able to deal with the cold weather conditions.  Be sure to water your plants when we get those few warmer days during the winter.

The plants I’ve noticed that were affected most last Winter were our leafy-evergreen plants. Some examples would be Holly, Nandina, Azalea, Photinia, and Laurel. These may be some good plants to focus your efforts on for this coming Winter. Another good place to focus your efforts would be on high value plants, new plants, and mature plants. If you are unsure about how to maintain plants in your yard, be sure to contact one of our local professionals since we specialize in shrub care service. The local Conservation Department and the International Society of Arboriculture ( are great resources for finding educated professionals in your area.

Hopefully these tips will ease some landscape concerns this Winter and save you lots of money.  Happy Gardening!


Jeffrey R. Gabris, B.S., MBA,

ISA Certified Arborist: MW-5363A


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