Hey y’all, it’s been a little while but we’re back to spread some knowledge! We hope everyone’s winter has been full of warmth and joy! It’s been consistently colder than last winter but before you know it, the temperatures will be above 70 on the daily, the sun will be shining and the birds will be chirping! La La La La La ♫
It’s prep time!
Some of you gardeners may be getting a head start by sowing seeds indoors to prep for spring planting. Others may be looking outside thinking, there is no way I am going to start doing a n y t h i n g outside in this cold!
We do not blame you, that is why we are here to help where we can! While we don’t see ourselves being able to come out daily to tend to your seedlings, we are happy to do some soil prepping for you!
Our Soil Building Program began in January and we are about a week out from being done with our first round so it’s not too late to get started! Even if you do miss the first round you will be ahead of the game opposed to waiting until next year to start!
The first 3 treatments of the year are the most important. We pack a mixture of vitamins, nutrients, and other amendments into the Liquid Compost to give the plants and turf the best possible push out of dormancy.
Spring Set Backs
Some of you may have experienced the dreaded Brown Patch last fall. If so, you may already know that these areas will be the last to green up in the Spring. In 2017, we experienced a lag of green up in these areas all the way into May.
More fatal setbacks could have been chinch bugs, take all root rot or grubs. If these areas caused dieback or large bare spots, it could take the whole season for the grass to fill back in - depending on the severity of the damage and turf variety. Spring is a great time of the year to lay sod or plant St. Augustine plugs. This may be an option for some people depending on their patience and tolerance for the bare areas.
Weeds are growing, so we’re mowing.
Right around this time each year, weeds will begin to grow quickly. Mowing in February and early March will cut off their flower heads before they can bloom and spread more seed, greatly reducing your population of spring weeds. As a bonus, the clippings will quickly compost into the soil when left on the lawn, adding nutrients to the soil. Mowing now also allows more light to reach the soil, warming up microbes and alerting them to get to work at improving the soil and also warming roots, prompting them to grow.
All of this prepping may seem a bit premature because of the recent cold snap but you'll be thanking us later when you're two steps ahead of your neighbor come Springtime!
As humans, we feel the need to fix everything. We see a problem and we instinctively try to find a solution. Unfortunately, Mother Nature does not come with an instruction manual. When you are unfamiliar with the task at hand (landscaping for example), your ego can overcome your ability to ask for help; leaving you with a bigger mess than what you started with.
When it comes to lawn maintenance, there is more than meets the eye.
Not everyone is equipped with the right skills and knowledge to take care of their lawn. Most homeowners begin their landscape maintenance journey with high hopes and confidence that they can do it on their own and burn out quickly when they can’t diagnose or resolve their issues. You don’t have to conquer your landscape battles on your own!
How does the weather come into play?
Too much rain can cause fungal issues, not enough rain can cause dehydration. Mild winters or springs (major trend this year) can cause more weeds and a longer transition time out of dormancy. Needless to say, in our industry, the weather controls everything. We are truly at the mercy of what Mother Nature decides to throw at us each day. Our decisions have to be prompt, diligent and meticulous. As you can imagine, having to base those decisions off of a prediction can be stressful to say the least.
Don’t be afraid to call the experts!
Our landscapes are truly a force to be reckoned with. Luckily, this isn’t our first rodeo! After being in the business for 20 years now, we have learned to accept and respect the ebb & flow of Texas’ seasons and unpredictable weather patterns.
Is your choice of turf variety hindering the full potential of your landscape?
Bermuda lawns need abundant sunlight to thrive. If your landscape does not allow for at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day, it is not a practical growing environment for Bermudagrass.
St. Augustine on the other hand is known to only require 4+ hours of direct sunlight but it comes along with its own baggage. While it is a good alternative, St. Augustine is not native to Texas and is seemingly always under stress unless put in the perfect conditions. It has been especially stressed this year due to the major freeze damage that has occurred from the previous winter. It is also extremely prone to fungal issues like Brown Patch and one in particular that can cause significant damage to the health of the turf - Take All Root Rot.
Healthy St Augustine lawn
Although Bermuda & St Augustine are the usual "go to" picks, you do have other options that are appealing to the eye and fairly tolerant to shade & pesky diseases!
It’s time to get practical!
We know first hand as Texans that we love our lawns and our shady trees! But just like most things in life, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. It may be time stop fighting a losing battle and start accommodating your growing environment instead of disrupting it.
So, who wins?
Mother Nature-1 Human-0.
Stop trying to predict her next move and go with the flow!
Things we do know:
The weather and seasons are always changing. Our lives are much simpler when we accept the changes instead of trying to fight them.
Most grasses do not survive in significant shade. Maybe install some large beds that expand out about halfway to the canopy of the tree. You could fill the beds with shade tolerant ground cover, river rock or hardwood bark mulch. You can even install a water feature or if you need some good luck- throw a garden gnome in there!
If you don’t know, ask! Don’t get yourself in a pickle because you don’t want to ask for help. We are here to provide practical, natural minded advice and treatment for your landscape. We want everyone to win!
In this day and age, everything is fast-paced, convenient and results driven. We like to drive the fastest cars, eat at the quickest restaurants and wait in the shortest lines. If you are making the plunge to go organic, be prepared to wait. If you truly want to be organic you have to let go of the control and let nature run its course.
Regardless of your approach, we are all after the same outcome: a beautiful, healthy, disease free lawn. Can we prevent that? Yes, to some extent. Our homemade liquid compost is designed to do a majority of the grunt work when it comes to disease prevention but it is no silver bullet.
We extract a large amount of fresh local worm castings (worm poop) into the liquid compost extract which provides a huge population of protozoa, flagellates and beneficial bacteria and fungi. These are top of the food chain in the microbiology world and do much of the heavy lifting in keeping soil borne insects and fungal/bacterial issues at bay.
Balance is KEY
Our ideology is to limit interventions with both chemical and organic pesticides to sustain an environment that Mother Nature intended. In other words, if it is viable for things to be worked out on their own, then we choose that route first. Pesticide use can result in a sterilized environment which can disrupt the natural order of prey/predator that occurs in a properly functioning ecosystem. Any products, chemical or organic, used to treat a pathogen not only eliminates the unwanted target, but can also deter the beneficial components. This results in plants becoming vulnerable and more susceptible to pathogens, and can also make your landscape more dependent on pesticide treatments.
For example, scale is a very common pathogen that attacks Crepe Myrtles. In nature, ladybug larvae are the predator and scale is the prey. If a client has active scale on their Crepe Myrtle and it is not out of control, we find it to be much more beneficial to try and let the ladybug larvae take care of it first.
Scale on a Crepe Myrtle
While limiting intervention is a goal of ours, some situations do call for interference. If you are a customer of our Soil Building Program, it is possible for issues to arise in between our normal visits. If you think that something is going on out of the ordinary, it is always good to contact us so we can address it before it gets out of control.
Take the plunge!
If you’re going to be organic, changing your perspective is valuable to your happiness with your decision.
After many years of experience we’ve come to understand the importance on the emphasis of balance in our environment. With enough trust and patience, we promise you that going organic will benefit you in the long run.