December 17, 2014

Ice on the Lawn

Winter officially arrives next week and the cold temperatures will settle in around most of the U.S. for a while. This impacts us in many ways, including our lawn.

It’s no fun having ice on the lawn, unless you want your lawn to be a skating rink. In addition to being slippery and unsightly, ice can be damaging to your yard.

It’s not just the grass. Ice can also be damaging to plants. If ice crystals form in the crown of the plants, plant cells can rupture, eventually killing the plant.

Sheets of ice on grass and gardens can cause problems, especially when the ice melts then re-freezes. It’s important to be aware of what can cause ice problems besides, you know, the actual ice.

Lawns with poor drainage are particularly susceptible to ice buildup and damage. The combination of standing water and cold temperatures can be problematic. You can try and remove and break up some of the ice with an ice chipper. You can also wait until spring and warmer weather to assess damage and make repairs. The grass may rebound by itself or it may need some help, such and re-seeding and watering bare spots to generate new grass.

December 10, 2014

Year-Round Lawn Tips

No matter the time of year, there is always something you can do to make your lawn greener and healthier. We know things like watering are important. That’s why a quality lawn sprinkler system with a timer is such a great investment. But what else can you do to make sure your lawn is a lawn for all seasons?


·         Make sure your lawn receives the proper amount of water and fertilizer. This will help it recover from a long winter. This is the time of year when temperatures rise and grass begins to grow.
·         Lay your sod. Spring is a great time top lay sod because the ground is warmer and the rainy days will help with the growing process.


·         See if your lawn needs another feeding. If it is rainy summer, your lawn may need another round of fertilizer.
·         Mowing with regularity. Keep your lawn mowing to a set schedule.


·         Add some top-dressing. Spread a quality top-dressing over the lawn.
·         Remove the leaves. You can rake the leaves or use a mulching mower to reduce the leaves top mulch, benefitting the lawn and the soil.


·         Avoid excessive walking on the lawn. Too much foot traffic can damage a fragile lawn during the cold weather.

·         Get rid of remaining leaves. During milder winter days, dispose of any remaining leaves on the lawn.

December 2, 2014

Hillside Watering

If you have a garden on a hillside or sloped landscape, you know what a pretty setting this can be. However, the uneven setting can prove to be challenging when it comes time to water the garden.

For proper lawn and garden irrigation, you want to maximize the delivery of the water with a minimal amount of runoff or waste. This is why drip irrigation is a great method of delivering water to a hillside garden.

Drip irrigation releases water slowly into the soil, near the roots. The benefits are obvious. Since the water is released slowly, the chances of erosion or runoff are greatly reduced. Drip irrigation allows deep penetration of water in the soil, allowing the water to reach plant roots.

Combining drip irrigation with a timer is a great way to water a hillside garden. You also need to consider things like the angle of the slope on the hill. This can help you determine how much water the garden will need on a weekly basis.

There are drip irrigation systems that have different sizes and lengths of distribution tubing. This gives you more options if there are hard-to-reach areas of your hillside garden. The timer can be used to ensure optimal drip irrigation watering. 

November 24, 2014

We know how important it is to water your lawn. Yet, other parts of your yard also need the proper amount of watering.

In this case, we are talking about watering your garden. Many people will struggle in trying to decide when the best time to water the garden is. Also, how much should the garden receive?

Let’s start with the necessary amount of water. Generally speaking, your garden should receive about one to two inches of water per week.

How about timing? Much like your lawn, the best time to water your garden is early in the morning. This is especially true during the warmer months. The early morning hours are cooler during those times, making it more conducive to productive watering. This also gives the water in the garden time to be absorbed in the roots of the plants.

This is where a lawn sprinkler system with a timer can really pay off. Maybe you want to water your garden at 4am. That’s great except prefer not to get up at 4am. No problem. Just set your lawn sprinkler timer for the specified time and stay in bed while your lawn sprinkler system does what needs to be done to keep your garden healthy.

November 18, 2014

When it comes to protecting plants in the winter, it’s hard to beat mulch as a natural protector.

There are many types of mulch on the market. You can also make your own mulch. It’s important to have an understanding of the different kinds of mulch.

The two basic types of mulch are organic and inorganic mulch. Organic mulch is made up of plant matter that has broken down over time. This includes material like leaves, grass clippings, pine needles and bark chips. Organic mulch keeps plant roots warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. A two-to-three inch layer of organic mulch helps minimize water evaporation after watering your lawn. This means less water waste.

Organic mulch will eventually break down. However, as it breaks down, organic mulch will improve soil structure and drainage while controlling soil erosion and reducing dust.

Inorganic mulch are made of manmade materials or of materials that do not break down. Inorganic mulch can be made up of things like pebbles, stone and ground rubber tire. Inorganic mulch is often put on things like plastic covers outdoors to keep the covers in place.

Organic mulch is the definite choice for winter mulch. Winter mulch will keep the ground frozen until spring arrives and brings along warmer weather on a consistent basis. This allows soil to be ready for a new growing season.

November 11, 2014

Winter Lawn Preparation

As the leaves fall to the ground, the days grow shorter and Thanksgiving approaches, it’s time to get your lawn ready for winter.

One of the first things you need to do is make plans to have your lawn sprinkler system winterized. We strongly recommend bringing in a professional for this job. There are areas of the winterizing job that you could do yourself but there are also areas where it would be best to let a professional with experience and safety knowledge take over. A major part of the lawn sprinkler winterization process is blowing out the lawn sprinkler system. This is the act of taking an air hose to blow out any remaining winter in the pipes and heads of the sprinkler system. Water left in the pipes can freeze and cause major damage, resulting in costly repairs. This process is not for the inexperienced. Instead, talk to a pro.

There are other things you can do to get your yard ready for the cold winter months:

·         Rake any lingering leaves. Even if you’ve done your big fall raking, go around the yard and rake those last remaining leaves. Leaves can smother a grass and invite lawn disease.
·         Late fall fertilizing. One last feeding late in the fall will help roots survive winter hibernation and allow for a quicker transition from hibernation in the spring.
·         Mow one last time with a mulching mower. Having a mulching mower is great for breaking down leaves into mulch and giving your grass one last time before winter. Mulch can be useful to plants in your garden. After the first hard freeze, apply mulch to your plants, about two to four inches in depth.
·         Create a compost pile. Pick a location close to your garden. You can use leaves and lawn clippings and garden soil. This will eventually make a great garden fertilizer.

November 4, 2014

Preparing Your Plants for Fall

November is here. We can enjoy the last of the orange leaves and snack a little too much. We can think ahead to the Thanksgiving holiday, think about budgeting for Black Friday sales and start deciding on plans for the holiday season.

There’s one other thing we need to think about. Winter. It’s coming. And your plants will need protection.

The first frost may already have come and gone. There will be more frosty overnights. You need to prepare your yard and plants for the chill:

·         Remove and discard annuals. This means plants and vegetation like vegetable and certain flowers. Not removing this stuff and letting them can be an invitation to insects and lawn disease.
·         Clean up the rest of those leaves. Many areas of the country have seen stormy and windy weather in the last couple of weeks. This means there is likely a new batch of fallen leaves in yards and garden beds just waiting to be collected.
·         Start a compost pile. Here’s the upside to those leaves in your yard. They can help make a compost pile.
·         Still water your lawn if there has been a dry period. If you have not stored your lawn sprinkler system for the winter, it’s a good idea to give the lawn some water if there has been a stretch of dry weather.

October 29, 2014

Storing Your Mower for the Winter

Every season has its own set of outdoor chores. As we move along in fall, it’s time to start thinking about winter and what needs to go into storage before the cold weather arrives. You’ll no doubt be getting that lawn sprinkler system ready for winter hibernation.

One thing that definitely needs to be prepped for winter storage is your lawn mower. Making sure a gas-powered mower is in good working condition will help ensure your mower is ready to one once again when spring rolls around. It’s a good time to check the condition of your mower.

·         Check the oil and check the spark plug. It’s not a bad idea to replace the spark plug once a year. Doing it before putting the mower in winter storage is also not a bad idea.
·         About that gas in the tank. Get it out of the tank. Before you put the mower in storage for the winter. Gas that is left in the tank can get stale and gummy, causing damage to the carburetor. Nobody likes damage to the carburetor. Drain the mower in a safe place. Or, add some fuel stabilizer to the gas tank, crank up the mower and let the mower run until the tank is dry.
·         Drain the oil with a proper receptacle. Replace the oil filter and add new oil.
·         If you are storing a riding mower, check the air filter to see if it needs to be replaced. 
·         Check for, and tighten, any nuts and bolts that may have come loose during the lawn mowing season.
·         Check the tire pressure on a riding mower. You don’t want to go get the mower out of storage in the spring and be greeted by a flat tire.
·         Clean the undercarriage of the mower.
·         Charge or remove the battery on a riding mower.

These are pretty basic, simple tips. It’s also a good idea to check your owner’s manual to make sure you are not missing anything specific to your mower model.

October 22, 2014

Using a Sprinkler Timer to Save Money

Everyone wants to save money on their water bill. It’s highly unlikely you’ll run into someone who says “Gee, I am just not spending enough money on water. I really want my water bill to be higher.”

Okay, so everyone wants to save money, but how do we save? Well, if you’ve got a lawn irrigation system, you are off to a good start. You can make your lawn sprinkler system even more efficient by adding a timer to the system.

Sprinkler system timers are the best. They come at a reasonable cost, and can save you of money. Plus, they eliminate the guesswork of wondering things like “Did I turn on the sprinkler system?” Or worse, “Did I turn off the sprinkler system?” Sprinkler timers allow you to program your sprinkler system watering times so you don’t waste money. This helps to ensure you only use the amount of water you need for your watering needs.

This goes beyond just saving your money. Too much water is bad for your lawn. Remember to adjust the amount of water delivered to your lawn based on time of year and precipitation in your area. Adjust the sprinkler timer and set regular watering times.

October 14, 2014

Setting the Time for Fall Watering

Properly caring for your lawn in the fall means you may need to adjust your timer on your lawn sprinkler system. This is because now that the air is cooler and the days are shorter, your lawn needs a different level of care.

Let’s remember the big advantage of a lawn sprinkler timer. Using a timer with your lawn sprinkler system allows you to use water more efficiently to keep your lawn green and healthy. It also cuts down on the chance of over-watering, saving you money on your water bill.

In the summer, your lawn may require more water. This is why it’s a good idea to set your lawn sprinkler timer to an early-morning time for watering. This allows the water to be absorbed over the whole and not immediately evaporate in the hot sun.

You may not need to mow as much in the fall, but your lawn will still grow. It will need water, especially if there is a lack of rainfall.

Try watering twice a week, still in the early-morning hours. Set your lawn sprinkler timer to reflect this change and then monitor your lawn. The early watering should continue to pay dividends as your lawn strengthens ahead of winter.