It is hard to believe that we are already half way through 2018. This Spring has been very busy for us thanks to all of you. We are glad to say we are almost done with mulching and are looking forward to our second round of pruning. If you signed up for pruning on your contract this Spring, you don’t have to do anything. We already have you on the list and will be working our way to you. This time through, we are only looking to lightly shape the shrubs to get them back in shape. Doing too much to them can be harmful. If you would like us to take your shrubs down more, we can do that in the late Fall or early Spring. Just give us a call and we can come out to discuss this option with you.
The other thing we have started is our third round of fertilizer for our five and six step clients. This round will have an insecticide in it to target grubs. We want to get them now before they start feeding heavily on the grass roots in August. If you have not signed up for a fertilizer program or signed up for our four-step program, it is not too late to make the adjustment and either get on a program or upgrade to the five-step program to handle the grubs.
Looking forward at the temperatures for the next couple weeks, we are seeing high temperatures and not much rain. If you have a newly installed lawn or plants, please remember to keep up on the watering. This is the time of year where plants or turf that are struggling will give up and die. Many of you will notice your lawns starting to get a brown tinge to it. That is just the grass going dormant due to temperatures and lack of rain. Do not worry though, as soon as the rains start back and the temperatures drop, the grass will start coming back. You will notice us mowing less though during this time. We want to be careful we do not cause damage to your lawn by mowing it when it is stressed and not growing. If you have us take care of your weeds, we will continue to show up to make sure your beds don’t get overrun while the grass is not growing. If you have any questions, please just give us a call so we can get you the answers you need.
We hope you and your family enjoy the 4th of July and continue to have a safe and happy Summer!
Liriope are low, grass-like, flowering plants. They originated in East Asia and Southeast Asia. Although it is sometimes called Lilyturf, it is neither a true grass or a Lily. Some folks confuse Liriope with Monkey Grass, which is also known as Mondo Grass. Liriope is a perennial.
Liriope is commonly used as a ground cover or a border plant in landscapes. There are about 20 varieties of Liriope species available, but “Big Blue” is the most commonly available.
Liriope reaches about 1 foot in height and is clump forming. It has a spikey flower, ranging in color from white to blue and lavender. It produces a dark berry in Fall. They can be grown in partial shade but can also tolerate full sun. Either way, they need a well drained soil. They are tough plants that spread easily and quickly, and one can find themselves in a love/hate relationship with them – in some areas, they are considered invasive plants.
An interesting phenomenon happened here at Brothers Grimm last year. Within one week of each other, two of our key employees ended up in the ER with allergic reactions to stinging insects. Jacob was first after he was stung by a honeybee and Jason followed the next week after he was stung by a ground wasp. Both were told that they had developed a life threatening allergy to stinging insects and both now carry Epi-pen injectors with them should either of them get stung again.
I share these stories to help you understand part of the reason for our stinging insect policy, which is pretty simple: We carry wasp & hornet spray in all of our trucks and if we come across a nest at your house where we are working, we are going to spray it. The standard charge for this is $25.00 per can (vs. $75+ that an exterminator will charge you). Usually, one can will do the trick.
We will take care of it normally without talking to you first as usually these situations call for immediate action. Now, the exception to this rule is the honeybee. We will not spray honeybees, but will let you know if we find a swarm so that a beekeeper can be called to come and remove them. Honeybees need all of the help they can get!
I don’t know about you all, but the mosquitoes at our house have been atrocious this year. They are plentiful and they are voracious – my poor 8 year old is mosquito attractant and they enjoy feasting on her.
Mosquitoes belong to the same family as flies. They have a single pair of wings and their bodies are covered in tiny scales. And they feast on blood.
They breed in standing water so properties near ponds, marshes or depressions that collect water are at risk. Some are active at different times of the day but most emerge just before dusk and are active at night.
Mosquitoes can transmit several dangerous diseases, including Zika virus, West Nile and several kinds of encephalitis. The CDC states that the number of illnesses caused by mosquito bites tripled between 2004 and 2016. They are not going away but getting worse!
Now, some good news – mosquitoes can’t fly very far or very fast. Most mosquitoes can fly no more than about 1-3 miles, and often stay within several hundred feet of where they were hatched. The top speed for a mosquito is about 1.5 miles per hour.
So how do we combat these little suckers without dousing ourselves in Deet every time we go outside? You can reduce standing water on your property or treat it. The best way we’ve found so far is to spray your property – you can either do it yourself or hire someone. There are some natural alternatives out there that seem to work well. What ways do you use to rid your property of mosquitoes?
Our Design Build Department is in full swimming pool mode. If you love to swim or just relax in the water, there is nothing quite like an inground pool in your own backyard. From design to installation, we handle it all. We like to think the pool is part of the project, not the entire project, and design around the client’s needs/wants, budget, and existing conditions. If a pool is something you are considering, keep us in mind! Check out this pool with waterslide that we installed last year. The possibilities are numerous – let us know if we can help!
Little Henry Itea is a deciduous shrub that gets about two feet tall and wide. Its green foliage turns red, orange, and gold in the fall. The very pronounced white flowers appear in June and will typically last through July. The plant likes to be in full sun and can take wet conditions. The best use of this plant is in a mass planting to take advantage of its Fall color and flowers. If left unchecked, the plant will spread out by root suckers and will fill in an area rather nicely. It has no serious disease or insect problems which make it a great addition to your landscape.
Even with the late start to the mowing season, the crews are making progress through the mulching list. Our goal is to have all of our mulch put down by the end of the month. The reason for that is we are already planning for the next part of the season.
Our Summer pruning will be starting soon. You may notice that some of your plants are starting to look a little hairy again. With the Spring we had, the plants were very happy and pushed a lot of new growth. What we are targeting in our next round of pruning is to get the shrubs back under control and get a nice shape to them. We will be doing a slightly more aggressive shaping on the shrubs that were flowering on our first visit. Overall, our goal is to make sure your landscape looks nice through the rest of the season.
Not all shrubs can be sheared into shape though. Pruning shrubs wrong can lead to unsightly plants or even plants dying. A lot of evergreen shrubs can be severely damaged by shearing while others will be fine. Some shrubs like Junipers cannot be pruned back past the green growth. Doing so could lead to spots never growing again. Other shrubs like Boxwood and Yews can be sheared but will need a detailed hand pruning every couple of years to make sure new growth is starting from inside the plant. Shearing a shrub can cause the majority of the growth to be at the very tips of the branches making a harder pruning not possible.
The other thing we look for during this pruning is dead branches. We want to remove these branches to make room for healthy new growth to fill in. While the plant may have a funny shape to it after removing these branches, it will help the plant fill out and a gap is better than looking at a bunch of dead branches.
If you feel that your shrubs are heavily overgrown and in need of a much heavier pruning, just give us a call. We can come out and take a look at them. In most cases, this type of pruning is better done in the late Fall or early Winter. If you are not on the pruning list but would like to be, just give us a call. We are more than happy to get you taken care of this round.
While the grass is finally starting to grow, the nemesis of many people is also starting as well. The dandelions have made a strong run this year with many lawns going from green to yellow in a matter of days. If this is a problem you are having, just let us know. We have designed 3 different fertilizer programs you can choose from to combat these little yellow annoyances. All of our programs have an herbicide spray in them coming up next to attack them. If you have not signed up for a program yet but would like to discuss your options, just let me know. It is never too late to get started on a program. Which lawn would you prefer?
The Serviceberry is a smaller tree that has wonderful interest all year long. In the Spring, the trees get a beautiful white flower all over them. The blooms occur from March to April and will start to disappear as the leaves start to bud out.
The multi trunk structure of this tree makes it an interesting feature in the garden during the Summer. They develop no serious problems but do get rust, leaf spot, and powdery mildew disease issues occasionally. They will reach 15’-25’ tall and about the same width.
The flowers develop into round berries which develop a dark red to purplish-black color in early Summer. The berries, which are similar in size to a blueberry, will persist thru the Fall and into the Winter and can be used in jams, jellies, and pies. The Fall color of the tree is a red to orange leaf color.
The tree is best planted in full sun to partial shade and will tolerate the clay soils we have in the area. All in all, it is a great tree to be used in the landscape.
Wow!! It is hard to believe we got a blast of snow just three weeks ago. While Spring has taken a while to get going, our crews have not. They have been hard at work getting properties clean up, mulched, and ready for the season. We have our list of work put together and are working on getting everything scheduled and completed. Please don’t worry if we have not been to your property yet. We are working our way there.
Unlike years past, this year we did not start mowing in April. Due to the amount of rain and snow we saw, the grass just wasn’t ready to start growing. In about a week though, that has all changed. Our first day of mowing this year was April 30th. Our crews have been going through each property to make sure they get the sticks picked up and get everything mowed right the first time. While we try to not move days for our clients, please remember that the first few weeks are slightly fluid as new clients sign on and we have to rework routes. If you have any questions or concerns, just give us a call and we will address them with you.
Due to the weather so far, our first round of fertilizer is slightly behind last year as well. Please don’t worry about it though. With the cold temperatures in April, we purposely started applying later. We watch the ground temperatures and schedule the crabgrass preventer to give you optimal coverage through the season. By the time you are reading this, everyone will have their first application completed and we will be starting to plan on round two.
We still have some room in our schedules for both mowing and fertilizer, so if your neighbor is commenting on your lawn, please have them give us a call. We would love to help them have a lawn like yours.