University of Maryland Extension

Landscape Management

Soil Building and Fertility

  • Perform a soil test every 3-4 years and follow fertilizer and liming recommendations.
  • Ask the Gardening Experts at the Home and Garden Information Center or your local Cooperative Extension office for help interpreting the results.
  • Fertilize, only as needed, to maintain vigor.
  • Avoid over-fertilizing plants, as it can lead to pest problems.
  • Incorporate organic matter in flower and vegetable beds on a regular basis.
  • Read more about soils and compost.

Mulches

  • Apply mulch at a maximum depth of 3" and NEVER against the trunk of a tree!
  • Maintain even soil moisture. 
  • Prevent weed growth and soil erosion.
  • Protect plant roots and crowns from winter damage.
  • Read more about mulch.

Manage Runoff and Pollution from Impervious Surfaces

  • Direct water flow away from pavement and toward a well-vegetated area.
  • Improve existing water infiltration by incorporating organic matter into lawns and planting beds.
  • Consider using pervious paving options for driveways and entertainment areas.

Irrigation Techniques

  • Avoid overhead watering and splashing soil onto plants.
  • Water trees and shrubs slowly and deeply. Remember that the root zone can extend out 2 to 3 times the height of the tree, well beyond the dripline. Check the depth of soil moisture after irrigation by digging a small hole or inserting a stick.
  • Use drip irrigation and soaker hoses where practical.

 Remove or Mow Weeds 

  • Weeds rob plants of moisture and nutrients and are alternate hosts for pests and diseases.
  • Learn to identify and manage weeds.

Other Cultural Practices

  • Prune to increase air circulation.
  • Avoid accidental root pruning through hoeing and tilling.
  • Don’t work with plants when foliage or soil is wet.
  • Use floating row covers to prevent pest problems in vegetable gardens. 

 Garden Sanitation

  • Remove and dispose of diseased or infested plant parts and dead plants.
  • Rake up and dispose of diseased leaves and fruits.
  • Clean up and compost garden debris in the fall.

 Growing Healthy Transplants

  • Use soil-less media.
  • Use clean, sanitized seedling flats and plant containers.
  • Do not over-water.
  • Acclimatize transplants that are grown indoors by slowly introducing them to outdoor conditions.
  • Protect new transplants and seedlings from cutworms and slugs with paper collars.
Maintained by the IET Department of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. © 2020. Web Accessibility

University programs, activities, and facilities are available to all without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, age, national origin, political affiliation, physical or mental disability, religion, protected veteran status, genetic information, personal appearance, or any other legally protected class. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in any event or activity, please contact your local University of Maryland Extension Office.