It’s the first week of August in Ohio which means the Akron-Canton area is all abuzz. Canton has the Hall of Fame festivities going on and August 1st started the Bridgestone Invitational. Even though traffic all over is beyond crazy, everything seems to be going well so far. Of course, the busyness isn’t contained to those two activities. Our crews are working hard to get projects wrapped up and keep properties looking as good as the weather is allowing us.
We are at the time of year when most lawns are turning brown. This dormancy is normal and not to be worried about. The grass will turn green again once the temperatures start to cool off and the nice slow rains start to pick up. The heavy downpours we have experienced in the last couple weeks don’t do any good for your lawns and plants. Instead of soaking into the ground for the turf and plants to use, most of the rain just runs off and heads for the drains or low spots in the neighborhoods. My neighbor who happens to have the lowest property on our road has the greenest grass right now while mine is brown.
There are quite a few lawns we mow that we have been skipping the last few weeks and I don’t see that changing in the near future. If you have us do bed maintenance on your property, we will still stop by to make sure no weeds are growing in your beds. Just because we haven’t cut your lawn doesn’t mean we are not keeping an eye on it. We will look at the lawns each week to evaluate if it needs cut or if it’s better to leave it go for another week.
Make sure to keep an eye on your plants and trees during this time of year. Especially anything that was planted within the last year. This is the time of year you may need to be out watering them to make sure they make it through the Summer. If you have any questions on your plants, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We are always happy to provide advice on how to take care of your landscape.
The other thing we are working on is getting through our second round of pruning. If you are noticing your shrubs are looking a little hairy, don’t worry, we are working our way through the list and will be getting your property back under control. If you did not select to have pruning done on your contract this Spring, but would like your shrubs pruned, don’t worry. All you have to do is give us a call and we can get you put on the list.
The next operations we are currently planning for are aeration and overseeding. If you initialed those on your contract this Spring, you are all set. If you did not and would like to discuss getting your lawn taken care of, just give us a call. We still have plenty of time to evaluate your lawn and get you on the list. We will be starting on aeration and overseeding in September to make sure the new seed has plenty of time to grow and get established before going into Winter.
The Phantom Hydrangea is one of the larger hydrangeas available. It can grow up to 6-8 feet high and wide. It does best in a partial sun area of your lawn and will produce amazing white flowers that can grow up to 15 inches long. As the Summer progresses, the white flowers will slowly turn to a soft pink. It is a heavy bloomer with sturdy stems that do not flop.
The flowers appear in mid-summer and stay through the rest of the season. Like all hydrangeas, the Winter can cause them to die back to the ground but they will push back and can still achieve their normal size. They look amazing when done in a hedge row and allowed to grow to their full size. In the Fall, the dead flower heads can be cut off when doing your Fall clean up or left on over the winter to provide some Winter interest.
The newest threat to trees in Ohio is the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid. It is a sucking insect that targets Eastern and Carolina hemlocks. It is a small aphid like insect that grows to a maximum size of less than 1/16”. It is found on the underside of the needles from October to May and will produce a wooly covering that is white in color. It sucks the sugars, stored in the needles, to survive on and can result in the eventual death of the tree. It is currently found in 19 states from Georgia to Maine and has recently made its way into Ohio. The life expectancy of trees that are infested can range from 4 years to more than 15 years. There are control methods for the insect and early detection is key to helping the trees survive.
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.