Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Checking Your Irrigation System - RRR Lawn & Landscape Tip of the Day

Check your Irrigation System

Whether you have an in-ground sprinkler system or a hose attachment, you should check to make sure all your sprinklers are working. For an in-ground system- make sure your pump and tank are operating correctly especially if they haven’t run in a few months. Check the sprinkler heads and test them to see if any need to be replaced.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Grand Rapids Landscaping Tip of the Day!

Adding Color To Your Landscape

Even if it is still too early to plant, take a look around your landscape and decide if you can brighten the place up with a few new “faces.” We can help you with updating your landscape and putting together a free quote once we determine the amount of sunlight affecting that part of your landscape and what type of shrub or tree would give you the “Best Bang for Your Buck”. Flowers are great for short term but by selecting specimens that have interesting color or texture in their foliage you will have a more lasting visual effect in your landscape.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Grand Rapids Landscaping Tip of the Day!

Plant and transplant April and May are good times to plant those new roses, flowering shrubs, fruit trees, evergreens and most deciduous plants. If you’re still not sure what to plant, you can always contact us. We are able to design and help you plan your landscaping project. As far as transplanting existing plants from one spot to another, time is running out, so the sooner the better. Many plants are already starting their spring growth and you want them to get used to their new spot before the heat starts coming in.

Visit www.rrrlawn.com to get a free estimate!

Friday, May 10, 2013

5 Landscaping Tips That Will Make Your Neighbors Jealous!

Add these five landscaping tips into your spring project plans to improve the appearance of your property, increase the value of your home and - best of all - make your neighbors jealous!

1. Clean up - The first thing you must do to prepare for any spring landscaping project is to clean up the lawn, beds and garden. Pick up all branches that may have fallen during the winter, leaves and debris that may be on the lawn, in the garden or beds, and clean up the area you are preparing to work with.

 2. Plant and feed - If you plan on planting new grass seed or installing sod, make sure you do not apply any pre-emergent with the early spring lawn treatment. Just apply a balanced organic based fertilizer in these areas. If you plan on waiting until the fall to do your annual grass planting or sod installation, then I advise you to apply a crabgrass barrier pre-emergent plus fertilizer to the lawn. A natural pre-emergent plus fertilizer is corn gluten meal. For all plants and garden vegetables, make sure the soil is in the proper condition for planting. I would advise a soil test before planting anything to make sure you know what nutrients the soil is deficient in. Add organic matter or compost to the soil at the time of planting to improve the soil structure and to promote deeper roots. This will mean less stress from insects, disease and heat. It will also result in a lower water bill, as you’ll need to water these areas less.

 3. Sharpen your mower blades - If you winterized your lawn mower and didn’t sharpen the mower blades, sharpen them now. Sharpening your mower blades will help you cut the grass instead of tearing it. Tearing the grass blades can cause an unsightly tan or brown color to a freshly cut lawn. It also can promote fungus development.

4. Set a higher mowing height - Make sure to mow your grass high. For cool-season grasses, such as bluegrass or fescues, the height should be 2-1/2 inches to 4 inches high after being cut.

5. Mulch - Apply a 4-inch layer of fresh mulch over all beds to help reduce the amount of weeds that will pop up. Hand pull or carefully spray a glyphosate product such as Roundup on any weeds that have emerged after mulching.

Visit www.rrrlawn.com for more information!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Selecting Plants with Fragrance for your Landscape

Common lilac bushes bloom in late spring, when they release their heavenly fragrance into the evening air. If you care about having aroma in the landscape, planting lilacs is a must! Learn how to grow them here.

These fragrant plants come from China. Peonies are a triple threat, boasting blooms that are gorgeous in appearance and that exude a heavenly aroma; they also bear attractive leaves. On top of all this, peony plants can live for decades in the landscape (without much maintenance, at all).

So colorful are iris flowers that they were named after the Greek goddess of the rainbow, Iris. But in addition to producing exquisitely graceful blossoms, some types of iris also smell wonderful.

I mentioned plants valued specifically for the smell of their foliage, and many herbs fall into this category. Perhaps the most renowned among them is lavender, a stalwart of potpourris for generations. In the landscape, a nice use for these fragrant plants is in a border planting.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Privacy Screen Options

If you grow shrubs closely enough together, they can form a "living wall" that is effective in screening out the public's unwanted gazes. One option is to plant the shrubs in rows and shear them to create dense outdoor privacy screens. Another option is to install shrubs more loosely to form borders that will be more low-maintenance.

Lattice fences can serve a number of functions, in addition to creating backyard retreats and serving as trellises. Have an eyesore you'd like to disguise (e.g., trash area, air conditioner, deck supports)? Wooden or vinyl lattice fences can hide them. Building lattice fences to serve as outdoor privacy screens is simple.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Landscaping Quick Tip: Incorporating Hardscaping Into Your Yard

Make liberal use of crushed-stone mulch. If you grow plants in such mulch in a sunny area, select drought-tolerant plants, since stone gets hot in the summer. Don't place the stone mulch directly up against the plants.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Lawn Care Tip: Diluting Dog Urine

If you can't bring yourself to renounce grass, you can still prevent dog spots by vigilance. When you see a dog urinating on the grass, rush to the garden hose. Turn it on and bring it over to the area where your dog has just urinated. Douse the area with water, thereby flushing it and diluting the harmful elements in the dog urine.

This strategy won't be very appealing if you "have a life." I know I wouldn't want my day to revolve around the urinary habits of my dog! But hey, different strokes for different folks.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Green Alternatives to Grass (Landscaping with Pets Series)

But installing a tougher type of grass will solve only one lawn-care problem encountered in landscaping with dogs: namely, wear and tear on grass. It will do nothing to solve the problem of "dog spots." Dog spots are the unsightly yellow spots on grass caused by the nitrogen and salts in dog urine.
But there is a type of "green carpet" that solves the problem of dog spots: clover. Clover lawns have many advantages over grass lawns. If you're landscaping with dogs, you'll especially appreciate the fact that clover doesn't stain the way grass does after being subjected to canine urine.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Avoid Dog Spots with Hardscape

Avoid Dog Spots With Hardscape
Dogs and lawn grass don't mix well. For small areas, consider switching from a grassy expanse to hardscape. The advantages of hardscape go beyond solutions to landscaping with dogs, since hardscape offers a low-maintenance alternative to grass that obviates lawn care. Stone and masonry are especially useful for landscaping with dogs, because they minimize the mess dogs make through urination (dog spots), digging and plain old wear and tear.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lawn Care and Dogs

Is your landscaping going to the dogs? Is your lawn riddled with "dog spots?" There's no reason that you can't have both canine companionship and an attractive yard. But landscaping with dogs does present challenges that may require some compromises. The goal in this balancing act is to achieve an attractive, dog-friendly yard.

Effective landscaping with dogs begins with the recognition that a business-as-usual approach won't work. If your dogs are to be allowed to run about in your yard, you'll probably have to make adjustments to your landscaping. Landscaping with dogs primarily entails making concessions to your canine friends, as you'll see from the strategies below. I do, however, offer one glimmer of hope that you can, instead, adjust the dogs to the landscaping. Either way, if you fail to make some sort of adjustment, then dogs will make a mess of your yard. Worse still, they'll be continually dragging dirt into your house.

Learn more in our next edition!

Monday, April 22, 2013

5 Steps to a Great Spring Landscape Clean Up!

1- Clean Up and Clean Out!  Take an afternoon  and clean out any dead foliage and/or tree branches from your lawn and garden beds. Harsh winter storms can leave branches, leaves and other tree debris.

2- Weed Patrol - Clean any existing weeds out of flower beds and check your lawn for any weed growth. Once you are clear of weeds- you should plan on spending 10-15 minutes a few times a week to keep new weed growth out of your gardens.

3- Fertilize - Fertilizing your grass, shrubs and flowers now will make sure that anything you want to thrive this season will.  For your lawn, there are an array of options available including turf builder and organic weed killers.  The same goes for flower beds and shrubs.  If you plan on fertilizing herbs and/or vegetables that you will use for cooking, consider using an organic fertilizer that is free of pesticides.

4- Check your Irrigation System - Whether you have an in-ground sprinkler system or a hose attachment, you should check to make sure all your sprinklers are working. For an in-ground system- make sure your pump and tank are operating correctly especially if they haven’t run in a few months. Check the sprinkler heads and test them to see if any need to be replaced.

5- Mulch - A fresh layer of mulch can take any flower bed from drab and dreary to beautiful.  Professional landscapers typically suggest about 4 inches of mulch on top of any soil in order to prevent weeds and help plants retain moisture.  Make sure to pull the mulch around the base of all plants and shrubs as this will help keep moisture around the root ball.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Grand Rapids Lawn Care Tip of the Day: Fertilizing

Lawns can be fertilized organically by using compost and mulching mowers. But for those who prefer chemical fertilizers, Scotts provides a lawn fertilizing schedule. Many experts, however, recommend a lighter feeding in spring and a heavier one in late fall for cool-season grasses. Too much fertilizer in spring can lead to disease and weed problems. And if you have, indeed, already fertilized in late fall, your lawn is still "digesting" that fertilizer in spring.

In addition to the above tasks of spring lawn care, don't forget weed control and making sure your mower is ready for the mowing season.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Overseeding your West Michigan Lawn

Is your lawn riddled with bare patches due to dog spots, heavy traffic or neglect? If so, you may need to apply grass seed to fill in those bare patches. This solution is known as "overseeding lawns." Apply a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer when you overseed. Five weeks after the grass germinates, apply a quick-release nitrogen fertilizer.

However, spring isn't the very best time for overseeding lawns. Fall is the preferred time, when the new grass won't have to compete with crabgrass, which is killed off by autumn frosts. So postpone overseeding until fall, unless your situation is dire.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Spring Lawn Care Tip of the Day: Liming

Besides compaction, the presence of moss plants also signals acidity. But grass likes a neutral soil pH. You can solve this problem by liming your soil. But don't expect a quick fix: the effects of liming are slow to take place.

But first send a soil sample to your local county extension to determine the extent of your soil's acidity. The county extension will also be able to advise you on how much lime per square foot you'll need. Apply the lime using a lawn spreader.

But if your lawn has been doing fine and shows no signs of suffering from acidity, don't apply lime. Liming is only a corrective measure, not a preventive measure. A soil that is too alkaline will also cause your lawn problems, so too much lime is as bad as not enough.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Lawn Care Tip of the Day: Compaction

Check for Compaction
If your lawn is subjected to high levels of traffic year after year, it may eventually start to show signs of decline. In such cases, your lawn is probably suffering from compaction. For instance, the presence of moss plants signals compaction (among other things).
Lawn aeration is the remedy for compaction. The good news is that RRR Lawn & Landscape is just a phone call away. The bad news is we recommend postponing lawn aeration until fall. But if, during your "spring lawn checkup," you become aware of compaction, at least you can plan on setting aside some time in the fall to take care of it.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Raking - Spring Lawn Care Tip of the Day from RRR Lawn

Raking will be your first task of spring lawn care. Okay, I can hear the groans coming from all lands near and far, wherever grassy carpets are cultivated: "But we already raked leaves in the fall!" Sorry, but raking is for more than just removing leaves: it's for controlling thatch, too. A thatch build-up of more than 1/2 inch is considered excessive.
Thatch is the reason why I recommend that, when you rake leaves in the fall, you make the effort to rake deeply. Don't just skim the surface, so as to remove the leaves. A deep raking will remove thatch, too, allowing you to kill two birds with one stone. Even if you followed this advice in fall, I still recommend a spring raking: it will remove grass blades that died over the winter -- dead blades that are just waiting to become thatch!
But there's often another good reason for a spring raking. As you survey your lawn in spring, see if there are any matted patches, in which the grass blades are all stuck together. This can be caused by a disease known as "snow mold." New grass may have difficulty penetrating these matted patches. But a light raking will be sufficient to solve this problem.
Just when you should perform any of these spring lawn care tasks will depend upon the climate of your own region. But Mother Nature provides palpable cues in some cases. For instance, when you're pretty sure the snow season (if you have one) is over in your region, begin raking. Applying pre-emergent herbicides (see Tip #6) should be done sometime between the time the local forsythia bushes stop blooming and the time the local lilac bushes begin blooming.