Cooler weather is coming, although it may not seem like it right now. Before the cool weather arrives, you need to take care of a number of tasks, many of them indoors, including some involving your heating system and your windows. Don’t forget to handle the outdoor tasks as well. If you live in a colder climate, you need to complete basic tasks to winterize your lawn.
Draining your sprinkler system is important because the water pooled inside the pipes can easily freeze, causing your system to spring leaks that may require extensive repair. Experts advise that you turn off the water supply to your sprinkler system. Then, if you have a manual drain system, you should find the valves located near the bottom of each sprinkler branch. Open those drains and leave them open for several days. Then open the drains at the top of the system. Leave them open for a day or two. Next, gently jiggle the sprinkler heads to shake out any water to protect things from freezing. When you are finished, close each valve once more. Experts also suggest insulating your sprinkler’s connection to the water supply. In some cases, you may want to use compressed air to blow out the water in your sprinkler.
Fall is the time to prepare your soil for next year’s grass growth. You should spread new grass seed and plant your flower bulbs during this period. In addition, experts recommend aerating your soil. You can do this manually, but many people prefer to rent an aerator. These machines punch holes in the soil so that it is not compacted, and this allows the grass seed to more easily to take root. Fall is also the time to fertilize your lawn and, surprisingly, water it after your labors. After that, continue to water enough to keep the grass moist but not wet. Although some of these actions may seem more like spring-friendly activities, completing them during the fall can make a drastic improvement in your lawn next spring.
Winter means getting many things inside prepared for the cold weather, but do not short-change your yard. Your sprinkler system needs attention, as does your grass. Working hard this fall will pay off in the spring. You’ll end up with a lawn that’s ready to thrive with the help of your well-maintained sprinkler system. Then you can sit back and enjoy the spring weather.
If you plan to place a hardscape in your backyard soon, it’s important that you keep the area cool in the summer. Although hardscapes can be beautiful additions to your home, they can become hot from the sun’s summer heat. If you have small children, pets or older individuals living in your home, you want to keep your hardscape as comfortable as possible for them. Here are some things you can do to make your hardscape enjoyable during the summer months.
Choose Interlocking Paving Stones For Your Hardscape
One of the most important things to consider is the type of paving stones you want to use for your hardscape. If you choose to use natural stone, make sure that use interlocking paving stones instead of whole stones. Natural stones can absorb heat over time. If your hardscape will sit near your kitchen or another frequently visited room in the home, the heat can transfer to it.
Interlocking pavements made with light-colored travertine or shell stones may be good for your hardscape. The stones don’t absorb as much heat as concrete, flagstone and a number of materials, which can become uncomfortably hot from the sun’s heat. In addition, interlocking stones allow you to be creative with your landscaping project. You can create a host of designs, including diamonds, circles and everything in between.
If you’re still unsure about the best paving material to use for your hardscape, consult with a landscaper for help.
Place Trees and Plants Around Your Hardscape
The next step to keeping your hardscape cool is to plant trees in the area. You don’t have to plant seeds and wait for them to grow to accomplish your goals. You can strategically plant young trees around your backyard instead. However, you want to avoid planting fast-growing trees, as they can cause some issues with your hardscape and property. Instead, select trees that mature at a good rate, such as Japanese Maple and Crape Myrtle.
It’s a good idea that you consult with a landscaper before deciding on your trees. You must select trees that grow well and thrive in your climate, as well as meet the requirements set by your city. In addition, you may want to ask a landscaper about adding native plants and perennial flowers to your hardscape. Many perennials require full sunlight and little maintenance on your part to thrive, which may help keep the area cool and relaxing for you.
If you would like to learn more about keeping your future hardscape cool in the summer, contact a landscaper for additional info.
If you had a tree that died and fell in your yard, you may be left with a stump in your yard. Some people think that they can just leave the stump and maybe landscape around it, put some flowers around it, or something similar. However, no matter how pretty you make the area around the stump, you aren’t going to make it less attractive to the animals and pests that like to live in stumps.
Yellow jackets and wasps both like to find hollow places where they can build their hives. They will build their hives in any hole, including holes in the ground, so a hollow rotting stump can be perfect for them. Unlike honey bees, yellow jackets and wasps are aggressive and will attack in larger numbers if they feel that their hive is threatened.
There are some things that you can look for to tell if you have honey bees or yellow jackets. A yellow jacket has two distinct body segments, with a tiny little waist in between them. They also have yellow and black bands around their body. A honey bee has less defined body segments, and their stripes are usually black and brown. Another difference, but one you don’t want to find out about, is that yellow jackets are able to sting more than once without dying, but when a honey bee stings, it dies.
If you have honey bees, you can call a bee removal company to relocate the bees. If you have yellow jackets or wasps, call an exterminator.
No one wants to think about having rats anywhere near their house, but the truth is, rats are everywhere. Rats are true survivors. You put them in just about any environment, and not only will they survive, they will thrive.
Rats like to live in places like stumps because they can chew a den inside that is big enough for them and their families. Rats also compulsively chew because their teeth are always growing and chewing keeps the teeth from getting too big. A stump is good for that. The stump is generally close enough to your house that the rats can get into your garbage and that of your neighbors so that they can find something to eat and bring back to their den in the stump.
If you have an old stump in your yard, you may think it’s picturesque, but there are pests out there who are going to think it’s home. Be sure to call your local stump removal company to have it removed as soon as possible.
Nematodes are some of the most common and stubborn pests that can be found in an apple orchard. Not only do these tiny roundworms burrow into and damage the roots of your trees, but they also spread diseases that can stunt and reduce the quality of your fruit. Worse still, nematodes and the diseases they carry can remain active in the soil long after their original host trees are removed, which can make replanting on the same land a risky proposition. If you are removing trees infested with nematodes to start fresh in your apple orchard, follow these four tree removal tips for a successful replanting.
Treating the Nematode Infestation
Before you remove your trees, you should do everything you can to eradicate the nematodes living within them. This may seem like a waste of time any money, but once the trees are gone, any surviving nematodes will quickly scatter into the soil and nearby plants. It is better to eliminate nematode colonies while they are still concentrated and then dispose of the infested trees.
Removing the Roots of the Infested Trees
In most cases of tree removal, it is enough to chop down the tree and then pull out or burn the remaining stump. But this typically leaves behind a large chunk of the tree’s root system to decompose naturally, which can harbor nematodes for years. When you speak to your tree removal service, emphasize the importance of removing as much of each tree’s root system as possible to give lingering nematodes fewer places to regroup and build again.
Planting Nematode-Resistant Ground Covers
Once your trees are gone, you may want to fumigate the soil again to wipe out any survivors. After this, you should leave the orchard unplanted for at least one growing season to give the soil time to recover and ensure the absence of disease. Typically, the longer you can wait, the better. During this time, sow ground covers that are known to suppress nematode populations, such as marigolds, sorghum, cowpeas, vetch or lupine. These plants spread quickly and may improve your soil quality, and they have the added advantage of not supporting nematode populations.
Testing the Soil Before Planting New Saplings
Before you take the plunge and purchase new saplings for planting, it is wise to have your soil tested for any remaining nematodes and their associated diseases. This can typically be done through a professional testing company or your local agricultural extension. By relying on a seasoned tree removal service and demonstrating patience, you can prevent your new trees from growing in stunted and disappointing and instead enjoy the fruits of your diligence.
If the side of your home is empty and the landscaping hasn’t been done in this area, it’s a good idea to look into what kinds of projects you can tackle to improve this area of your property. Since the side of your yard is likely narrow and doesn’t receive much sunlight, you’ll need to keep these two qualities in mind when deciding what to do with your side yard. The following projects can all be handled by a landscaper and improve the way your yard looks substantially.
Get a Shade Garden Put In
A great way to take advantage of the square footage of your side yard is by putting in a shade garden. The shade garden can include everything from shrubs and flowers to edible plants such as lettuce and strawberries. Whatever you intend on growing in your side yard, you’ll need to make sure that the plants will do well in the shade and that the soil is treated first. Container gardening for planter beds can all be good ways to ensure that you’re able to control the quality of the soil and easily move the plants into the sunlight if needed.
Make Sure a Walkway is Installed
Another way to make use of the limited square footage of the side of your yard is through getting a walkway installed. The walkway can come in a variety of forms, ranging from brick paving to natural river rock. Even a gravel walkway can work on the side of your yard, but it’s important to consider the exterior of your home and the other landscaping features present so that the walkway can fit in once installed.
Include Eco-Friendly Features
Eco-friendly features are especially appealing to potential homebuyers, making it a good idea to incorporate a few features into your side yard. If you live in a climate that receives a lot of rain, a good way to repurpose rainwater into landscaping water is through setting up a rain barrel. Whether you build one on your own or purchase a prebuilt rain barrel, you can enjoy its benefits almost right away. Another eco-friendly option for using the space on the side of your yard is adding compost bins that allow you to throw out scraps of food to reuse as fertilizer.
With the various projects that you can do to improve the look and function of the side of your yard, you can be sure that your landscaping looks great and that every square foot of your yard is utilized.
If your dreams of having your own backyard kitchen are mostly rooted in the idea of enjoying fresh baked pizza at home, there are a number of steps you’ll need to take towards getting your yard ready for the new addition. While some outdoor kitchens are designed with a BBQ grill or entertaining friends and family in mind, you’ll want to consider a few other factors that will help you get the final look and function you desire.
Make the Pizza Oven the Main Focal Point
Authentic pizza ovens can cost in the several thousand-dollar range, making it obvious that this key part of your outdoor kitchen should be made the highlight. While you may be tempted to devote a lot of your budget into the kitchen counters or the paving that will be underneath the kitchen, you want to do your best to make sure that the pizza oven isn’t skimped on. This means devoting a chunk of your budget towards the pizza oven and focusing on quality over saving money.
Include Plenty of Counter Space
While the pizza oven will be the main focal point of the kitchen, you also want to make sure that there is plenty of counter space. Not only do you need a large counter space to help prep everything before going in the oven, it’s also a good place to place everything before serving.
Consider Which Extra Features Are Ideal for You
When you begin exploring all of your options for creating an outdoor kitchen, you’ll quickly see just how many features are included. Everything from string lighting to landscaping rocks can make a big impact in the final look of your outdoor kitchen, making it a good idea to look into what will be best for your kitchen while still fitting into your budget.
Create a Theme for an Immersive Experience
All the above features can go a long way towards creating your dream outdoor kitchen, but the best thing to do is create a theme. A typical theme for outdoor kitchens and pizza ovens is an Italian, rustic style, but you’re free to try styles such as tropical or modern. Whatever theme you end up going with, you can expect a more cohesive look that ties together the space.
As you begin exploring all of your options for creating an outdoor kitchen, you’ll quickly see just how personal it could be. By making their main focus the pizza oven, you can begin enjoying baking your own pizzas at home once the kitchen has been finished.
When you want your home to exist with efficiency and durability, it’s all about the little fixture that you install to aid you in this. When it comes to your property, you should be just as mindful of the exterior as you are the interior. This means taking great care of your landscape to the best of your ability. With this in mind, one of the best things you can do is invest in a set of retaining walls. Take advantage of these points so that you can understand the benefits of buying retaining walls, follow some key tips to getting it installed and understand the cost. From here, you can reach out to a landscaper who can handle the work for you.
What are the main advantages of retaining walls?
There are a number of ways that a retaining wall will be well worth the investment. These walls are excellent for your soil by keeping it sturdy and in place and helping you to avoid developing sink holes. These walls are excellent flood prevention tools as well and will help you to avoid dealing with erosion throughout your landscape. Further, they are beautiful fixtures that will improve the way that your landscape looks overall.
How can I make the most of my retaining walls?
When you get your retaining walls installed, there are a number of things you should keep in mind to make the most of it. For one, be sure that it becomes part of your lifestyle and not just a structure. For instance, you can set up the flow of your yard around it and use the wall to plant an assortment of crops. You can work with a landscaper on the quality of design and should select the best materials for the wall, including stones and blocks that are manufactured.
What is the cost of a retaining wall?
In order to get the help and service of a retaining wall contractor, you will need to get a clear idea of how much this work will cost. Much of this cost will depend on the type of material that you use. For instance, concrete block walls will cost anywhere between $15 per square foot and $30 per square foot. Wood walls will cost between $20 per square foot and $25 per square foot. Stone walls will cost between $25 per square foot and $40 per square foot. Poured concrete walls will cost between $30 per square foot and $40 per square foot.
Keep these ideas in mind and reach out to a landscape contractor that can help you further. To learn more, contact a company like K & R Lawn and Landscaping.
Adding a pond or lake to your personal or commercial property can increase the beauty and value of your land. Maintaining that lake does take some effort. Fortunately, installing a fountain in your lake can take care of multiple issues for you by providing aeration, a necessity for a healthy body of water. In addition, they simply add beauty to your home or business.
The aeration provided by a lake fountain improves the quality of the water. Sediments, gasses, and metals are released from the bottom of the lake or pond. When the right aeration is used, these substances are released into the air at the surface. Aeration also removes carbon dioxide while limiting alkalinity and encouraging proper pH levels. You will get less pond algae as well due to the spores being drawn into areas where they do not get enough sunlight to thrive. Your lake can easily become an eyesore if it doesn’t have the proper aeration.
Your lake or pond will attract more than compliments. Insects adore water and will swarm to your property. Without taking preventative steps, you will see bees, wasps, and other potentially dangerous insects in addition to gnats and flies. When you add a fountain, bugs are repelled by the movement of the water. They find it difficult to drink and reproduce there. You are then able to enjoy your body of water instead of having to avoid it.
If you have fish in your lake or pond, a good aeration system will help them grow fat and healthy. When there is enough oxygen in the water, the good plant life at the bottom of the water will thrive, ensuring a plentiful food source for your fish. In particular, warm water fish will benefit because they are more dependent on higher “dissolved” oxygen levels. Lake fountains can provide enough aeration to allow your fish to multiply.
A lake fountain is more than mere decoration, although it certainly adds value to your landscape. A fountain provides the right level of aeration, improving the quality of the water as well as discouraging insects. A properly aerated pond also allows your fish and “good” plant life to thrive. Adding a pond or lake to your property improves the aesthetics and usually increases the value of your land. You can maintain this asset by installing a visually striking lake fountain to your pond or lake.
Caused by a fungus, oak wilt is a deadly infection that affects all species of oak trees. There is no cure once a tree is infected, so it’s best to focus on preventing the disease – especially if you live in the eastern US where oak wilt is common. If you have an oak tree in an area where oak wilt is prevalent, follow these three tips to protect your oak tree.
Don’t bring other wood onto your property.
The fungus that causes oak wilt is spread from tree to tree by beetles. These beetles can hide out in firewood – and not just oak firewood. If you bring firewood onto your property, you risk bringing home these beetles and the fungus that they carry. If you must buy firewood for a wood burning stove or such, make sure you purchase it from a knowledgeable vendor who can guarantee that it came from an area that is oak wilt free or that it has been fumigated for pests.
Have between-tree root grafts broken.
When you have multiple oak trees in one area, their roots may become intertwined. If one tree becomes infected, it can easily spread the oak wilt fungus to another tree through these root adhesions. Breaking these root adhesions beforehand will help ensure that if one tree becomes infected with oak wilt, they don’t all immediately become infected. A tree care expert can sever these roof grafts for you. The process involves digging down into the soil a certain distance away from the trunk of the tree and slicing through (and sealing off) any roots that may travel to a nearby tree.
Don’t trim your trees in the spring.
The beetles that spread the oak wilt fungus happen to be most active during the spring. They are attracted to the exposed wood that occurs when you trim a tree. Thus, it is best to avoid trimming your trees during the spring so you do not attract the beetles. If your tree is in need of pruning, have your tree care service tackle the job in late fall or late winter when the beetles are still hibernating. By the time the beetles emerge and become active again, the tree will have healed its trimming “wounds.”
In addition to following the tips above, also make sure you keep an eye out for the main sign of oak wilt – which is browning, falling leaves in spring or summer. Contact an arborist if you believe your tree has oak wilt, as prompt action will help prevent its spread to other trees.
For more information, contact Arborcare Tree Service or a similar company.
If you want your fruit trees to remain healthy and productive, it is important for you to prune them regularly. Unfortunately, a bad pruning job can be just as detrimental to a fruit tree as not pruning it at all. To ensure your pruning job is as helpful as possible, follow these four basic tips.
Only prune when the tree is dormant.
The best time to prune your fruit tree is in the late winter or early spring before buds have begun to appear. If you wait too long to prune the tree, it will waste all of its energy on this new growth, only to have it pruned away. Pruning a non-dormant tree also increases the risk of the cut edges becoming infected with fungus.
Remove older branches first.
When branches get too old, they stop producing fruit. Thus, it is these branches – not the new ones – that you want to eliminate first. To tell the difference between old and new branches, look at the color of the wood. Old branches are completely brown. If you can see any hint of green through the bark, that branch is rather new, and you should leave it on the tree, if possible. If you have removed a substantial number of older branches from a given area of the tree and it still seems too dense, then start removing some of the new branches – but do so sparingly.
Prune with the goal of exposing branches to sunlight.
The more sunlight a particular branch receives, the more productive it will be. Thus, your goal when pruning should be to trim away some growth at the top of the tree to allow sunlight to reach the deeper, lower branches. Try to visualize the tree with leaves on it. Look at each lower branch and ask yourself if it would receive sunlight, or if the branches above it would block all of the sun. If your answer is the latter, then prune away some upper branches to expose that lower branch more fully.
Make clean cuts.
Ensure that the shears you are using are sharp. If they are dull, they will make jagged cuts, which take longer for the tree to seal off and heal and are more susceptible to fungal infections. If your shears are feeling dull, many hardware stores offer sharpening services and will sharpen them for you.
Pruning a tree takes time and attention to detail. If you are not confident in your ability to prune a fruit tree by yourself, consider hiring a professional to do so for you. This way, you can be confident that your tree will enter the growing season in great shape. For more information or assistance, contact a landscaping company like Valentino Lawncare.