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When the cold starts to go, the weeds are going to grow.

It won’t be long and the enemy of homeowners everywhere will rise up and start reaching for the sun. Yes, the WEEDS are coming! What is a homeowner to do ? Well, the answer could be Pre-emergents. In case you are not familiar with them, pre-emergents are used to stop weeds before they get a chance to get going. These products only work on weeds that have not sprouted up or started the germination of the seeds. One of the products out there is Preen, a granular product that you shake out onto planting beds.Preen

 

 

Once the weeds have sprouted, then a post emergent herbicide will have to be used. The most popular one by far is Roundup. This comes in several forms but I prefer the granular. I think it’s easier and a lot less mess to mix and store. Roundup

 

 

 

 

Another option is a combination product that has both a pre and post emergent in it. One out there that I like is ProDeuce. Be sure to always read the label and avoid spraying in windy conditions.

combo

 

It also goes that around this time of year it’s a good time to get the jump with a 1-2 punch, and put down a pre-emergent along with making sure you have a nice thick layer of mulch( 2-3 inches thick).

Armed with these tools, you can’t keep all weeds out but you can keep weeds at a minimum and your landscape looking good all year long.

 

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New Walkway, Porch, Seating Wall and Fire Pit

Chop 3

Chop 2

During the cooler times of the year, outdoor living areas like patios and fire pits can be a great place to hang out. There a few things to keep in mind during the year to keep your outdoor living area beautiful. First, keep the debris and dirt off. Keeping your patio clean not only keeps it looking good, but also keeps weeds from finding their way into the joints. Second, keeping the area clean, can prevent mold or mildew forming on the pavers. In severe cases where you have to pressure wash them to get clean, some of the joint sand can get blown out making it necessary to re-sand. Also, keep the grass edged off your pavers so it does not start to invade the sand joints.

If you don’t have a paver patio yet, here are a few things to keep in mind. The finished patio always seems smaller than you thought if would. Not sure why that is, but it almost always happens. The bad part is it is often very hard to match new pavers to older ones. There can be color variations between runs of pavers when manufactured. If you think you may want outdoor landscape lighting, put in the wires or wire chases during the patio construction. This can save you not only money later, but headaches by not having to pull up work to place wiring in. Also if you think you may want under seat lights on a seating wall or on the ends of a wall or stairs, put the fixture in ahead of time to keep from having to redo walls and capstones.

One last thing, if you decide to tackle a project such as pavers on your own, the winter months are a good time to do it. There is less rain to give you problems with putting down and compacting the base material, and it is not 100 degrees outside with the sun beating down on you and then also the pavers radiating the heat back at you. Just take your time in compacting the base material, keep your project square, straight and sloping away from your home and in short order, you can have a beautiful porch and the pride of doing it yourself.

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As the kids start back to school, we come to an end of a very hot Summer. We are still going to have some hot days, but not as hot for as many days in a row. Keep in mind a couple of things as we work towards fall.
Don’t turn the irrigation system off. One of the most common misconceptions is that when the dog days of summer are over, you can turn off the sprinklers. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your turf and shrubs still need water even when the temperature starts to give us some relief. You will want to cut the frequency and duration back but dont stop it completely.

The other big problem when you don’t run your irrigation for an extended time is that the valves get sticky and begin to either stay on when you want it off or not come on when you need it. This problem is increased in areas that use reclaimed water. You will want to run your system regularly all year long and keep the system exercised to avoid repairs come spring.

The cooler temps are when it is a good time to work on getting rid of the tough weeds in your yard. You can hit them in fall with an herbacide and then follow up in spring with another application. Another thing to check is your soil PH. There are test kits available in most garden centers or the county extension agent can do it. Be sure to get about a coffee can sized amount from a couple spots in your yard. The results will tell you what your yard needs. That will give you a jump on the weeds come next spring.

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Drainage issues in the landscape can be challenging to fix. During heavy rains, the ground becomes saturated and the water can not be absorbed into the ground and starts pooling. This can cause root rot on your shrubs, fungus in your turf, and seeping water into your home’s foundation. What are some of the ways to handle this?

First on the list of fixes is to re grade the area to drain the water off to where you want it. This is simply making the water travel down and slight grade to a lower spot where you want the water to end up. Only a small amount of slope is needed to move the water then allow gravity to work.

Another option is the french drain. To do this, you dig a trench about a foot deep where you have your water pooling. Next, put some septic cloth in the bottom of the trench, followed by an inch or two or small rock. The next part is to put a piece of 4? perforated, corrugated pipe in the trench, and cover it up with another couple inches of rock followed by the septic cloth on top. Finally, cover the trench with your top covering, either mulch, rock, more dirt and sod etc. This will allow the water to percolate through the soil into the rock and pipe allowing the ground above to dry out. The optimum way to go then is to run the pipe end out to a natural area of perhaps a retention pond.

The next option is a dry well. This is basically a large hole in the ground where your wet area is. You dig a hole and size it to the volume of water you will need to drain off. We use typically two types. The first is a small box style drain with a grate on top, usually in the 12 to 16 inch square size. The other is an approx. 35 gallon drum sized container which we put holes in. This is then done similar to a french drain in that you line the hole with septic cloth, put some rock in the bottom. Then put in the drum filling around it with rock followed by the lid and more rock and septic cloth. Finally you cover with your ground cover.

Both of the ones above can be used together also to direct water from and area to the drum to allow it to collect or drain off in another area.

Getting water away from your home’s foundation is important. If you have gutters, instead of just hooking on pipes to the end and laying them in the shrubs, you can use the same corrugated pipe without the holes, that you used in the french drain to run the extra rain water to a retention pond or dry-well or even better, hook up a rain barrel to the end of it and collect it for reuse.

Lastly, if you find you do have an area that seems to always be wet, check to make sure you dont have an irrigation or water line leak. Sometimes a little leak can make an area seem soggy or spongy all the time but never really get wet with a puddle. The easiest way to check is to turn off all the water in your home and look at your meter to make sure its not moving. Most have a small wheel or dial that move rapidly even when a small amount of water is being used.

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It is nice to have some cool weather for a change. The lower temperatures seem to get you in the mood for the holidays coming up. There are several reminders about holiday decorating to keep in mind.

Be sure you trim all of your shrubs and trees before putting decorations on them. Just keep in mind that trimming encourages new growth and we don’t want new growth on plants when very cold winter temperatures are coming. So if you trim, do it soon. Also, make sure you check that all of your lights are working before you start putting them up and before you go up the ladder. Try to get needed decorations early, the stores seem to sell out fast. Also, try not to overload any one electrical outlet. If your circuit panel keeps tripping, try decreasing the load or get a professional in to fix the problem.

Be sure to ’foot’ your ladder. Make sure the feet are on level ground and secure. The best thing is to have someone push the ladder into the house while climbing to keep it from sliding out.

Last but not least, is to have a wonderful holiday season and enjoy family, friends and good food. Just remember moderation. All the festive foods can quickly pack on a few inches, making us all a little more jolly than we would like.

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If you have not done so yet, now is the time to apply winterizes for the turf and start getting your supplies together for covering plants during a hard freeze. Be sure to also water a day ahead of a coming freeze. Wait on cutting back anything like Crepe Myrtles or Red Ti plants until later on, usually we like to do this in January. Put down a light coat of fresh mulch now to freshen up your landscape and get it ready for friends and family that may be coming to celebrate the holidays with you. We would be glad to help with any projects you have.

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This time of year it’s hot and the flower choices are kind of limited. Some choices you can use are Salvia, Coleus, Pentas, Lantana, and Crotons. W e are kind of in a ‘no man’s land’ for flowers unit fall gets here. You can also use substitutes such as Lilies or Society Garlic or a multitude of perennials that will add color to you landscape. When you choose to go with the Coleus, keep and eye on them and it is OK to trim the tops when the seedheads start to pop up. The darker colored ones will usually grow faster and taller than the yellow will so you may have to prune to keep them at the same height.

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With the recent large amounts of rain and wind each afternoon, it is a good time to make sure any tree limbs are pruned off. High winds can cause a limb to become a projectile and possibly do damage. It is usually better to be proactive in this case to avoid the limb perhaps landing where you don’t want it to.

Tree trimming can be done on small limbs and trees but don’t try to tackle large ones yourself. There are too many cases of people trying to cut a large limb or tree and either hurting them or others or damaging property. Large limbs and trees can twist and turn in unexpected ways and many people have been killed doing what appeared to be a simple job.

Tree trimming is one thing you should consider hiring a professional tree surgeon for. Make sure you have them provide proof of current liability insurance. A reputable company should have no problem doing that as it will separate the Pro’s from the Joe’s.

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This is a good time to make sure your mower blades are sharp. Sharp blades not only make it easier to mow your yard, but makes for healthier turf. By keeping the blades sharp, it allows the grass to be cut and not torn which invites problems for your yard. Try not to cut more than 1/3 the length of the blade at any one time.

This time of year also keep a sharp eye out for pests doing damage to your yard. Grubs, Sod Webworms and Mole Crickets can do a great deal of damage quickly. If you are on a preventative program this should keep them under control as they are easier to kill when young. If you find you have problems now, you can try Dylox or Sevin to control them. Be sure to always follow label directions and wear appropriate protection.

It also is a good idea to make sure your rain sensor is working correctly so you don’t water when not needed. Call the office if you need it checked or contact us to tell you how we can make it so your lawn’s water needs are controlled by the weather automatically and can tailor each zone to its individual needs.

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With the heat reaching near triple digits on a regular basis, it is important to know a few tips for what to plant and transplant now. The first thing to remember is that it is risky to transplant this time of year. The intense heat is very hard on the plants and makes survival less likely. New material you get from potted plants or B&B plants are fine just about anytime.

If you must transplant try to take as much of the root ball as possible. The more dirt you can keep on the roots, the better the chance of survival. Be sure to keep it well watered and put mulch around it to keep as much moisture in as possible. Even with all the care of the dirt, and water, it still will be very risky doing it now. The best times are when it is much cooler out as the heat will not be such a problem.

With perennials and annuals, Marigolds, Red Ti plants, Caladiums,Crotons, some Begonia, Zinnias’, Blue Daze, Geraniums, Lantana, Pentas’ and Periwinkles. All of these will work well this time of year and make a beautiful impact on your landscape. Most of the ones listed can be found at your local garden center of nursery and can make any landscape beautiful and put bright color around your house.

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