It has been a while since our last blog update. We have been very busy serving many of our existing and new clients and at the same time fixing everything in the back end. This year, we mainly focused on improving our online bulk mulch delivery service. Delivery has now been expanded throughout the city of Austin and neighboring cities by popular demand. Despite the rising cost of doing business, we are maintaining our FREE delivery within Austin and a nominal fee for neighboring cities. In line with this, we improved our ability to handle large orders, upwards of 50 yards, especially for commercial properties and large homes. Service scheduling currently stands at 90% on-time delivery (within the day of original schedule) for the past 6 months. We are very proud of this achievement. This resulted in expedited service that lessened property down time, greatly improved service quality, and lowered overall service price. We would say that the totality of our mulch installation and delivery service is a culmination of 7 years of industry experience and 6 months of hyperfocus to make the mulch numbers work! There are more updates coming very soon this year! Thank you for trusting us, Austin! Serving you with Love since 2015.
BACKGROUND: THIS SECTION COVERS BASIC KNOWLEDGE ABOUT EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ORGANIC LAWN CARE.
What is Organic Lawn Care?
Organic lawn care is about turning away from the use of conventional chemicals. A more sustainable approach like how farmers used on crops in the years past. Organic lawn care centers around the health of the soil. When the soil is healthy, you get to have healthy plants too. A healthy soil absorbs more moisture and requires less watering. That means switching to organic lawn care is in fact a cost effective alternative. Organic lawns resist pests, prolonged drought, and outgrow weeds.
Organic Lawn Care includes:
Organic fertilizer made from rock minerals, organic plant, and animal matter. This combination of organic matter adds nutrients into the soil as it decomposes. The length of the decomposition process depends on ground temperature and weather. Warmer weather accelerates the decomposition process while cooler weather prolongs it. This process expands and contracts organic matter. Releasing nutrients absorbed by grass, plants, and trees. That, in turn, improves soil structure and texture.
Topsoil not only adds nutrients, oxygen to plant roots, and beneficial microbes. This is essential when transitioning to organic lawn care. Topsoil contributes to lawn health by creating aerobic condition that improves drainage. By making the soil more porous, air is able to reach the root system easier. This lessens anaerobic condition, a particular symptoms of which is muddy areas. Anaerobic muddy areas accelerates unwanted soil erosion. Topsoil is also used for minor re-levelling/correction of the lawn. In sports fields, topsoil is the best amendment to flatten the field. It bonds to the existing soil much better than sand. That is the number one mistake we notice when dealing with construction companies. They deal with lawn like they deal with foundations. They are not the same. Sand will not bond to the existing soil, ever - well, yes, if Dr. Elaine Ingham is advising them. But then again, that is a big if. Almost always, construction companies will use sand to fill in holes only for the sand to erode after a rain. That said, if filling holes is the problem, topsoil is the solution.
Compost is the unprocessed topsoil. A compost has chunks of yet-to-be-decomposed organic matter. Compost is moist and very warm to touch when alive. If packaged in a bag for a prolonged period of time, the microbes in the compost can die, be dry and dusty. An good compost has beneficial microbes: bacteria, algae, fungi, and nematodes. These microbes help keep the soil healthy. Adding compost to your lawn helps nourish the soil. We generally recommend adding compost as a top dress as a cost-effective way to amend the soil. It is cheaper than topsoil at a ratio of $1:$2. While it is not as flat as a topsoil, compost generally flattens as it decomposes. Compost becomes topsoil when given enough time to decompose. This decomposition process again increases beneficial microbial activity in the soil. When the soil is rich in microbial life, this means less fertilizing and watering.
Actively Aerated Compost Tea
Aerated Compost Tea helps speed up the lawn's transition to organic lawn care. A compost tea contains beneficial microorganisms that produces 12 bioavailable nutrients: Nitrogen, Phosphorus/Phosphate, Calcium, Iron, Soluble Potash, Magnesium, Sulfur, Copper, Manganese, Molybdenum, Sodium, and Zinc. These water-soluble nutrients are immediately available contributing to the lawn's growth and reproduction. For that matter, any plant's health.
Organic mulch includes wood chips, bark, straw, leaves, and other organic matter. Organic mulch is the unprocessed compost. That said, organic mulch also has beneficial microbes. It retains moisture and can be very hot to touch. As you can see, these two observations are a telltale sign of a good organic product. Organic mulches suppress weeds on plant beds. On lawns, we use mulch on anaerobic areas to provide root protection in high traffic areas. They add organic matter to the soil and prevent soil compaction. In residential setting, mulch is the best-bang-for-the-buck to increase curb appeal.
Organic Weed Control
Most households use weed killers as part of their lawn care regiment. This has become the de-facto practice after World War 2. The time when companies repurposed war-time chemicals to household use. The threat to health of these chemicals poses is becoming mainstream. Every year, a growing number of households in Austin are switching to organic lawn care. Organic lawn care is a system that accepts minor imperfection in grass propagation. This is a healthy balance in the real world. Organic weed control is not about treating weeds. It is about prevention and weed management. We tolerate imperfections. This philosophy is known as Integrated Pest Management (IPM) according to The Spruce.
Core Aeration and Dethatching
Thatch is an accumulated layer of organic matter on a lawn. Composed of grass roots, crowns, stolon, rhizomes, and organic matter. Thatch buildup slows down when the soil have beneficial microorganisms. When beneficial microorganism is at its lowest, thatch builds up occurs. This happens when using synthetic nitrates. Synthetic nitrates, in concentrate form, do not exist in the real world. Because of this, microorganism dies upon contact. As a result, the thatch layer fails to decompose and builds up. Generally, a thatch layer of about 1/2-inch thick is acceptable. It allows water, nutrients, and air to penetrate into the soil. At acceptable thickness, we use core aeration to pull soil plugs from the lawn. These plugs aid the decomposition process. The plug holes in the soil increase air and water penetration. When the thatch is layer is thicker, it blocks water, air, and nutrients from reaching the soil. In this case, a dethatching pulls the excess thatch layer. This process is stressful for the lawn. We avoid this as much as possible through the use of less invasive methods of soil correction. Because dethatching pulls the thatch layer, it damages the lawn, creating bald areas.
Proper Lawn Mowing
Proper lawn mowing is essential to organic lawn care. Lawn mowing prevents weeds and diseases. We mow organic lawns higher following the one-third cardinal rule of mowing. This keeps the grass longer and lessens unwanted seed germination. It also keeps the soil moist and cooler. The grass' growth potential depends on the season. In Spring and Fall, grass grows the fastest and requires frequent mowing. Whereas in Summer and Winter, the grass grows at a much slower pace that requires less mowing. But then again, weather is unpredictable. The grass will grow as long as the outdoor temperature is above 60F even in Summer and Winter. That said, these are highly generalized rule of thumb we are discussing here.
How to know if a lawn is healthy?
A healthy lawn must have healthy soil. Healthy soil can be best described as something that is moist to the touch even when not irrigated. This supports the development of a healthy grass. A healthy soil resists weeds and pests. Diseases and pest problems are very rare in a healthy soil. For example, it is very hard for fairy rings and brown patches to propagate in organic soil. The ecosystem for uncontrolled fungal growth does not exist in organic lawn care.
The majority of lawn care companies use synthetic chemicals. These harsh, even toxic, chemicals work directly on the grass blade. The approach is to pump in as much nitrates as the grass can take. This turns the grass greener much faster, but also killing them in the process. It is like an addiction of excess nitrogen. The nitrates in synthetic fertilizer kill microbes that convert organic matter to nutrients. This depletes soil fertility in the long term. That as a result increases reliance on synthetic fertilizers to remain green. A genius-level business model.
How to know if a lawn is healthy? A healthy lawn must have healthy soil. Healthy soil can be best described as something that is moist to the touch even when not irrigated. This supports the development of a healthy grass. A healthy soil resists weeds and pests. Diseases and pest problems are very rare in a healthy soil. For example, it is very hard for fairy rings and brown patches to propagate in organic soil. The ecosystem for uncontrolled fungal growth does not exist in organic lawn care.
The majority of lawn care companies use synthetic chemicals. These harsh, even toxic, chemicals work directly on the grass blade. The approach is to pump in as much nitrates as the grass can take. This turns the grass greener much faster, but also killing them in the process. It is like an addiction of excess nitrogen. The nitrates in synthetic fertilizer kill microbes that convert organic matter to nutrients. This depletes soil fertility in the long term. That as a result increases reliance on synthetic fertilizers to remain green. A genius-level business model.
Why Switch to Organic Lawn Care?
Conventional lawn chemicals are a health and environmental hazard. It pollutes our water and has adverse effects not only to us but also to our pets. A study from Purdue University found adverse association between cancer and dogs. Chemically-treated lawns increased bladder cancer risk in Scottish Terriers four to seven times. This discovery prompts new information about carcinogens in lawn treatments. According to the research done by Lawrence T. Glickman, a professor of epidemiology and environmental medicine in Purdue's School of Veterinary Medicine, and other veterinary researchers, "they have discovered a relationship between risk of transitional cell carcinoma of the urinary bladder in Scottish terriers and the canines' exposure to synthetic compounds found in chemical-based yard treatments." Glickman said, "the danger of transitional cell carcinoma was observed to be somewhere in the range of four and seven times more apparent in exposed animals." They are working on finding the similarity between human and dog genomes. Canine and human genomes could be the key for researchers to find the gene in humans that makes them vulnerable to developing bladder cancer.
How many humans and canines are affected?
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 56,000 men and 17,500 women get bladder cancer, and about 12,000 men and 4,700 women die from the disease.
According to American Kennel Club, bladder cancer in dogs is relatively rare, about 1-2% of all canine cancers. However, it appears to be on the rise as more than 50,000 dogs get affected every year.
AKC listed the breeds that have the highest risk according to veterinarians:
Scottish Terriers West Highland White Terrier Beagle Shetland Sheepdog Wire Fox Terrier American Eskimo Dog
Other breeds that could also be at risk: Australian Cattle Dog Australian Shepherd Bichon Frise Border Collie Parson Russell Terrier Lhasa Apso Rat Terrier Russel Terrier
Conventional chemical-based lawn care also impacts our environment. Chemical-based treatments contribute to environmental pollution with excess phosphorus and nitrogen runoff. The nitrogen runoff is suspected to have caused excessive algal blooms. According to The European Physical Journal, "the increasing use of fertilizers in agricultural fields causes more rapid algal growth." They also affect the number of pollinators too. These chemicals tend to reduce the number of flowering plants which results to the amount of food available for native pollinators declining. Chemical-based lawn care has harmful effects to humans, animals, and the environment. The question now is, what is in chemical-based treatments and why are they harmful?
Here is a list of the most commonly used lawn pesticides:
Herbicides: 2,4-D Benfluralin Clopyralid Dicamba Diquat Dibromide Dithiopyr Fluazipop-p-butyl Glyphosate Imazapyr Isoxaben MCPA Mecoprop (MCPP) Pelargonic Acid Pendimethalin Triclopyr Trifluralin
Insecticides Acephate Bifenthrin Carbaryl Fipronil Imidacloprid Malathion Permethrin Trichlorfon
Fungicides Azoxystrobin Myclobutanil Propiconazole Sulfur Thiophanate methyl Ziram
The most widely used on lawns are glyphosate, dicamba, mecoprop (MCPP), pendimethalin, pelargonic acid, and trifluralin. Glyphosate is one of the most used herbicides in the United States and has been classified by The International Agency for Research on Cancer as carcinogenic. Glyphosate is seriously harmful that it could disrupt the endocrine and reproductive systems. Another most used pesticide is imidacloprid. It is part of the neonics (Neonicotinoid class). Neonicotinoid pesticides have contributed a lot in putting the bee population at risk of being extinct.
These chemicals put all of us at risk. That is why we chose not to be part of the chemical spraying industry. Water pollution is a serious problem. And these pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizers are contributing to this problem. It is now in your hands as the consumer to vote with your wallet. To the betterment of the environment, wildlife, and human health, you can put an end to the use of toxic chemicals. Start with your lawn.
3 Main Advantages of Organic Lawn Care
1. Healthier lawn - organically grown lawns are healthier than chemically treated lawns. Chemically treated lawns are not able to naturally fight pests and diseases, and are vulnerable to drought. This is because chemical treatments like synthetic fertilizers only feed the plant and not the soil. In the long run, the ecosystem of the soil will be harmed, roots will become weak and shallow making them dependent on the next treatment. The effects of synthetic fertilizers are almost instant that they end up burning your lawn due to quick release of nitrogen causing microorganism use up most of the available nutrients for them, and when they finish all the food, they crash down. This will result to poor soil structure
2. Healthier environment - without the use of chemicals on your lawn, wild lands and water sources near you will be saved from the major source of water pollution, chemical runoff. Chemical runoffs happen because chemically treated lawns require more water and fertilizer due to poor soil structure and less organic matter in the soil. People can limit runoff pollution in many ways. One way of doing so is by reducing the amount of synthetic fertilizers.
3. Healthier YOU - organophosphates are the most used insecticides in agriculture, homes, gardens, and veterinary practice. According to CDC, these human-made chemicals can poison living organisms, insects, and people. A study done by CDC, organophosphates insecticides and their breakdown products known as metabolites were analyzed in urine samples from participants in the Churchill County leukemia. These metabolites are not toxic but exposure to organophosphate compound occurred few days before the test was done. Keeping away from industrial pesticides could save you and your loved ones as exposure to organophosphates is extremely poisonous.
Disadvantages of Organic Lawn Care
1. It takes patience and consistency if you are eager to see its results. It will not give you an immediate result unlike when using chemical based treatments that gives an almost instant result due to strong and harsh ingredients in it.
2. It may cost you more initially when switching from conventional to organic lawn care as it is essential for your lawn to detox. More labor and maintenance is needed to help your lawn recover from chemical based treatments. In the long run, when your lawn is established, it will require less water, fertilizer, and maintenance.
3. It may be time consuming to apply organic lawn care products as they are often applied by hand.
4. An increased risk of weeds is possible as there is currently no organic weed control products in the market that is proven to be effective.
U.S. Organic industry is undeniably growing. According to Economic Research Service U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), consumer demand for organically produced goods continues to grow. This goes to show that more people are becoming more conscious of their health and environmentally responsible. Remember that organic lawn care palys a big part of it.
Annual Ryegrass (Lolium rigidum) is a cool season grass used as temporary turf grass for lawns in Austin, Texas. It is cold tolerant, easy to grow, and provides lush, fine textured, green lawn in Fall and Winter. Annual Ryegrass can be often described as an emergency turf to keep the lawn green during the cold season, ready for the holidays, while at the same time acting as a nursing plant that aids perennial grasses coming out of dormancy in Spring. This makes the Annual Ryegrass the king of organic turf management in Austin. On top of this, Annual Ryegrass is a natural way to improve organic weed control. It covers bare soil and absorbs excess nutrients preventing unwanted germination of other seedlings that eliminates the need for synthetic pre-emergent. The Annual Ryegrass root system is also able to cover a large area that alleviates soil compaction and decreases water movement, thereby lessening erosion. We have learned this through the years of exploring natural ways of managing local lawns. All in all, the use of Annual Ryegrass in Austin, Texas should definitely be part of every Austinite's organic lawn care arsenal.
Should you ever need organic lawn care in Austin, feel free to contact us at 844-505-5296.
Normally, we end it here. But we decided to include other types of Ryegrass you should completely ignore if you live in Austin and the surrounding areas in Central Texas. This will save you time in researching because these types of Ryegrass generally do not grow within our zone. Of course, this is always subject to change based on climate change. Should you live in a specific area where temperature is cooler than usual, then the other types of Ryegrasses may work.
Other types of Ryegrass we do not have in Austin, Texas:
1. Wild Ryegrass
Wild Ryegrass is also called Elymus Triticoides in Latin. Some of the key identifying characteristics of Wild Ryegrass is that it has long flat or rolled leaves. This type of Ryegrass can be planted and used for groundcover and erosion control. Wild Ryegrass is native to western United States from California to Washington state and Montana.
2. Cereal Ryegrass
Cereal Ryegrass is also called winter rye or grain rye. Cereal Ryegrass is a wheat-like grain. Its seed weighs about 56 pounds per bushel and is larger than annual Ryegrass. Cereal rye is available in all parts of the United States.
3. Perennial Ryegrass (Lolium Perenne)
Perennial Ryegrass is widely used permanent lawn grass. It grows rapidly during fall and spring. Perennial Ryegrass is native to Europe and Asia.
4. Marshall Ryegrass
Marshall Ryegrass is famous for being a cold-tolerant type of grass. These grasses are easily established and it is used to protect the soil and to manage the weeds. Marshall Ryegrass is a variety that was released by Mississippi State, United States.
5. Italian Ryegrass
Italian Ryegrasses (Lolium Multiflorum) are now designed with winter hardiness because they are sometimes killed by winter. It is a winter annual that is exposed to cold climates to bloom and it has the process of continuous growth of different cycles each year to become mature before they harvest. Italian Ryegrass is native to southern Europe.
6. Intermediate Ryegrass
Intermediate Ryegrass from the word itself is one of the fastest turfgrasses that can be established. They are prone to milder climates, can tolerate a climate that’s not as hot but not cold either. Intermediate Ryegrass recommended use would be for grazing or hay/haylage production in northern Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
7. Festulolium Ryegrass
Festulolium is derived from a cross between either Italian or perennial ryegrass and meadow fescue or tall fescue. It is a combination of the high-quality type of ryegrass with good hardiness in winter, persistent and stress-tolerant from fescues.
What is Buffalo Grass?
Buffalo grass as the new lawn alternative, Buchloe dactyloides, is a perennial grass native to North America. In Texas, this grass is found from the south central region to the High Plains region. It requires full sun but can withstand partial shade. It is a warm season grass that becomes dormant in cold temperatures, which may turn brown from mid-fall through mid-spring. Buffalo grass is fine-textured, curly, vibrant, and dark green in color. You can grow buffalo grass lawns by seeding (burs) or laying sod.
Buffalo grass is dioecious. It has both male and female plants. Male plants contain stamens while female plants contain pistils. These male and female plants produce seeds. Male (Staminate) plants are white-colored, have a flag type, one-sided spike pollen head while female (Pistillate) plants are often green-colored, and have short spikes. Buffalo being a dioecious grass mean it has both male and female plants. Usually found in patches. Poor germination of seeds or burs may affect the production of buffalo grass.
Is Buffalo Grass A Good Grass For Austin Lawns?
Buffalo grass is a common alternative to other types of grass that are commonly used in Austin, namely St. Augustine, Zoysia, Ryegrass, and Bermuda grass. Good news for Austin homeowners who are looking for a type of grass that requires less irrigation. Buffalo grass could be the perfect one for you as it is drought tolerant and can tolerate extreme temperatures.
Know more about Bufflograss below:
Strengths: Heat and drought tolerant, very cold tolerant, low maintenance, invulnerable to diseases.
Weaknesses: Intolerant of excessive foot traffic, not recommended in high rainfall areas, difficult to establish from seed, intolerant of sandy soils, prone to weed invasion during dormant season
Buffalo Grass Installation
Buffalo grass can be installed anytime of the year but ideally in Spring. Buffalo sod needs to be installed right after it is delivered as it dries out fast especially in hot weather. If the weather is hot on the day of the installation, lay the turf in sections and water each section. It takes about two weeks for the buffalo grass to establish. Ensure proper watering to avoid root rot, diseases, and weeds. According to Colorado State University Extension, proper irrigation is crucial during the root formation period.
It can be difficult to establish buffalo grass from seed as it has often low germination rate. Treated seed germination however is much higher. That is why it is important to treat the seed and should be planted in dry conditions. Ideally during spring and summer. It takes 7 to 10 days for the seed to germinate. Buffalo seeding rate is 1-3 pounds per 1,000 square feet at a depth of half an inch or less. Make sure that the soil to be used is rock and debris free.
Buffalo Grass Maintenance
Buffalo grass is low growing, usually reaches about 12 inches long but drapes over which makes the turf appear short. It requires little maintenance. There is no need for frequent mowing and watering as the grass simply needs a moderate amount of moisture. One inch of water per week is enough to maintain a healthy green buffalo grass turf. Buffalo grass can be mowed up to 3 inches high. Although, be mindful of the weeds that buffalo grass tends to get. Regular fertilization and hand weeding are key to this problem.
How to repair a damaged buffalo lawn?
As we have mentioned, one of the weaknesses of buffalo grass is that, it is intolerant of excessive foot traffic. Foot traffic by us, and even by our little furry friends may damage our buffalo lawn. Simply because it may cause soil compaction. Once the soil is compacted, it will affect the rate of water infiltration and drainage.
Core Aeration and Organic Fertilization! Core Aeration alleviates soil compaction which helps oxygen, water, and nutrients penetrate deeper into the ground. Fertilize every three months, and aerate once or twice a year. Consider re-levelling any lower areas after aerating to avoid lumps and an uneven lawn. An uneven lawn can be challenging to mow.
Buffalo lawns have the ability to resist weeds. But they sometimes grow in buffalo lawns typically in summer and winter.
Kill those nasty weeds by pulling them out by hand while they are still small because once they grow bigger and set seed, it becomes difficult to get rid of them. Control them while you still can as they can spread all over your lawn quickly. If you want to be extra cautious. you can fertilize your lawn using organic fertilizer once every three months.
Buffalo grass losing its beautiful color?
Buffalo grass turning brown in cold temperatures or due to poor maintenance is inevitable.
Proper lawn care maintenance! While buffalo lawns are low maintenance, do not take them for granted. It is important to ensure that you give your lawn the proper care it needs: Regular fertilization, mowing, and correct watering. Water your lawn daily for about 15 minutes per zone if you have irrigation or 30 minutes per area if watering by hand. Especially if it is very hot outside.
Please keep in mind that buffalo grass is only recommended for areas that are not used regularly. It will not grow in areas that are used heavily as it will lead to deterioration of the quality of buffalo grass.
Agaves have grayish-blue to bluish-green leaves and long spines at the tips. They are extremely drought tolerant, slow-growing, and propagate in dry and gravelly soils. These plants live between 10-25 years and produce a flower stalk of up to 15 feet tall. They can weigh around 500 pounds or even tons, and occupy a space of around 5 feet to 40 feet in diameter when fully grown.
Here are the 3 things you need to know before planting an agave:
First, agaves should be planted away from people. They have long spines that can be a safety concern to children and pets. A workaround if you already have an agave planted near a walkway or side street is to trim the spines at the tips of the leaves with garden clippers. Agave spines do not grow back after getting cut, and so you only need to worry about new growth as time passes by.
Second, agaves are very large when fully grown and should be planted with proper distance from existing structures. Walls and fences will eventually be pushed until one cracks or breaks. Agaves are deeply rooted and heavy plants. One should be mindful of how the area around the agave plant will be used. Is it just dead space, a property line, an area you do not want people to go to? Surely, one will not want to place an agave in front of one's front door if one plans to still keep using that front door. But we digress, because it is far too common to find professionals in the real world to not just do but even extensively plan exactly what we exhaustively described here not to do. Maybe due to the fact that it could unimaginable to think that a 3-gallon agave baby plant will eventually grow to become a 10 ft monster? Maybe.
Third, agaves must be planted far away from towering deciduous trees. Sometimes, we find agaves on areas they should not be planted on, like a sunny patch of land 15 feet away from a Live Oak Tree. Live Oaks are deciduous trees, and like all deciduous trees, they regularly shed leaves. These leaves tend to collect underneath the foliage of an agave plant. The leaves when left alone will retain moisture and become the perfect home for cockroaches, spiders, mosquitoes, snakes, and even rats. Agaves within the city limits should therefore be used sparingly and with utmost awareness of planting intentions and use of the vicinity.
Now, what do you do if you already have an existing agave planted in all the wrong places as described above?
We always recommend to transplant any plant if it is still small or can be transplanted safely. This, however, is rarely the case when it comes to agaves. The reason you are here is probably because your specific agave is already too large for a 3-man crew with a jack to lift. In this case, transplanting is worse than saving the plant. We are risking a lot to transplant an agave plant that is already 50/50 once lifted off the ground. In such cases, we recommend to remove the agave by cutting it down to small portions, and reusing, repurposing, and recycling the entire plant for other uses, like soap, antiseptic, or a much needed addition to your compost pile.
Why Install Mulch?
Mulch Installation can improve your soil conditions and maintain moisture to keep plants healthy and green. Aside from plant health, installing mulch can exponentially increase the curb appeal of your home. It is the most cost-effective improvements a homeowner, property manager, and realtor can do before move-ins, selling, events, holidays, or special occasions. This is part of basic landscaping 101.
What Is The Right Mulch?
Select between an organic mulch or naturally dyed black or brown mulch. Our clients typically prefer brown mulch as it retains its color the longest. Some of our clients who top off mulch more often than once a year go for black mulch. Black mulch tends to fade much quicker than its brown counter part. No matter which mulch you prefer, any mulch is better than no mulch. They all will improve soil conditions and moisture retention.
When to Install Mulch?
We highly recommend to install mulch twice a year for optimal results or once every other season. You may lay mulch at anytime of the year. Typically, our clients like laying mulch in late Spring or early Summer to help lessen plant heat stress, and late Fall before Thanksgiving or early Winter before Christmas to prepare for the holiday season. Because mulch retains moisture, it can help keep plants and trees cooler in the Summer and warmer in the Winter. This keeps microorganisms active which is provides key components for good health. It is also a good idea to install mulch whenever you have newly planted trees or shrubs. This helps them establish especially during their first year after being transplanted.
Where (Else) Do We Install Mulch?
Most of the time, we install mulch on plant beds and tree beds, but in some circumstances we've been requested to install mulch for other purposes:
Play Areas. Mulch can be a good ground cover for playgrounds to soften the fall of playing children. Installing mulch on perimeters of trampolines - in fact, even underneath trampolines - and around above ground swimming pools have also been a common theme in Austin neighborhoods.
Receded Lawn Areas. Mulch can act as a temporary ground cover on lawn areas that have receded due to a combination of having too much sunlight and lack of watering. Because mulch is water permeable and retains moisture, it can be a cost effective way to repair lawn areas.
Walkways. Mulch can sometimes be used as a ground cover for high foot traffic areas. It absorbs moisture and lessens anaerobic soil conditions that produces mud. By keeping the ground aerobic and dampening the soil from foot traffic compaction, mulch can act as a layer to prevent lawn areas from receding.
How Do We Install The Mulch and Maintain It?
Prep. Pull weeds out of the lawn and make an edge for the mulch. If there is an existing mulch, shovel it off the work area.
Weed Fabric Installation. Cover the bare ground with weed fabric in order to control the amount of weeds that may grow on the bed. Although the weed fabric is optional, we highly recommend applying weed fabric first before laying the mulch.
Mulch Installation. Lay the mulch on the work area between 2-3 inches.
Maintenance. Turn the mulch every month using a leaf rake. Top off the mulch once every other season for optimal results.
Need more help? Please contact us for a free onsite estimate, and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Found us outside of our normal business hours? Reserve your spot in our schedule and order online, anytime!
Here's what to do!
As a professional lawn care service provider, we try our best to give you an exceptional customer experience to the best of our abilities. We take our time to service each and every one of you until we meet our standards. Your satisfaction is always our top priority. Having that said, the time we allot for each property that we service for a day’s route is unpredictable. Push backs and delays are inevitable especially in times of heavy rain and intense heat. But don’t fret. You’re automatically going to be rescheduled to the next available day. We are implementing a "First In - First Out" Scheduling System. This means we will be scheduling the first delayed clients and move the upcoming ones to the rest of the following days.
Got any concerns? We are always eager to help!
You can always reach out to us seven days a week . You may call us at (844) 505-5296 Monday through Saturday 8 AM to 5 PM and on Sundays, you may send us a message via chat on our website, 8 AM to 5 PM.
WHAT IS AN ORGANIC FERTILIZER?
Our organic fertilizer is composed of 85% organic matter. Organic matter decomposes and feeds the existing microbes. These microbes eventually die and release nutrients that are absorbed by grass and plant roots, which make the soil healthy enough to grow grass and other plants.
WHY USE ORGANIC FERTILIZER OVER SYNTHETIC FERTILIZER?
Synthetic fertilizer is very effective in getting quick results but actually does little to stimulate soil life, improve soil texture, composition, or improve long-term fertility. In fact, synthetic nitrates found in synthetic fertilizer are known to kill organic microbes found in soil. Moreover, synthetic fertilizers that are water soluble can very easily can overrun and reach our rivers, streams, and other natural waterways. Applying too much synthetic fertilizer is also known to burn lawn and plants. All of these issues are virtually eliminated or lessened when using an organic fertilizer. Organic fertilizer provides benefits to both plants and soil and generally won’t burn or damage plants. It stimulates beneficial soil microbes and improves the soil structure. This is a developing science on its own, but current understanding suggests that soil microbes play a key role in converting organic fertilizers into soluble nutrients at a rate that can be absorbed by plants. Because the fertilizer is derived organically, the secondary micronutrients which are normally absent in synthetic fertilizer are available. Organic fertilizer also typically has a lower NPK analysis (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) than synthetic fertilizer, but organic fertilizer feeds grass and plants for a much longer period of time. As a result, despite having a subtle impact on lawn and plants, we generally get a greener lawn and plants for a much longer period of time.
WHAT DOES AN ORGANIC FERTILIZER DO?
Organic fertilizer adds organic matter that feeds the soil and slowly releases nitrogen into the lawn as it grows. Nitrogen is one of the 40+ essential nutrients in grass and plant growth, development, and reproduction.
HOW DOES AERATION HELPS WITH ORGANIC FERTILIZATION?
Organic fertilizer goes hand in hand with aeration. Aeration makes it much easier for oxygen, water, and movable nutrients like nitrogen (N) to get into the soil and to be absorbed by the grass roots
WHAT ARE MOVABLE NUTRIENTS?
Movable or mobile nutrients are nitrogen (N) in the form of nitrate, phosphorus (P) in the form of phosphate, potassium (K), magnesium (Mg), chlorine (Cl), zinc (Zn), among others. Movable nutrients are important for plant growth and help in diagnosing plant nutrient deficiencies because a deficiency in any element can seriously inhibit plant development and show unique symptoms.
WHAT IS THE RECOMMENDED APPLICATION INTERVALS FOR GRASS?
Organic fertilization is recommended to be applied 5 times a year for best results. However, it can be applied any time during the growing season. Each application feeds for up to 10 weeks. This will result to fertilizing less while your grass gets all the nutrients it needs. Make sure to test the soil first before fertilizing as over-fertilization can negatively impact our environment. Yes, even when using organic fertilizer, excessive movable nutrients can overrun and reach our lakes, rivers, and other natural waterways causing algae, mass fish deaths, increase water toxicity, among others.
WHAT IS THE RECOMMENDED ORGANIC FERTILIZATION APPLICATION FOR TREES AND SHRUBS?
For trees and shrubs plants, we recommend to fertilize trees and shrubs twice a year, once in spring and another in fall in preparation for its growing season in summer. Although, it is best to test the soil first to determine if the trees and shrubs need a nutritional boost.
COULD ORGANIC FERTILIZER PREVENT WEEDS?
There are many kinds of organic fertilizers, but one kind of organic fertilizer that stands out is the natural corn gluten meal. Natural corn gluten meal can be used in organic fertilization and treatment. It is like a natural weed and feed. Corn gluten is a byproduct of the corn milling process. Corn gluten in itself does not prevent weed seeds to grow. However, it prevents weed seeds from forming roots after germination. It can work as a pre-emergent herbicide and is most effective when applied just before weed germination. Corn gluten has an NPK of 10-0-0, a natural nitrogen source that breaks down over time. It also smells good.
We understand you are looking for answers for controlling crabgrass germination without the use of synthetic herbicides or harmful chemicals. Your time will not be wasted with information that are already available elsewhere online. We will dive deep into controlling crabgrass organically and methodically.
PREVENT CRABGRASS SEEDS FROM ROOTING
Your first goal is to control the crabgrass seeds from rooting in the first place. Since we service Austin, Texas, we really can't predict the weather every year. That is just a fact of life in our hometown. We have had very hot and humid winters on and off for the past... who knows how long? Forever? See, crabgrass propagates in hot weather, so a general rule of thumb is to be aware of crabgrass germination whenever the weather is projected to hit above 80F. This can happen at anytime of the year. When it happens, follow our recommendations, and you will be off to a great start.
We recommend using natural corn gluten meal as a go-to organic fertilizer for all types of turf grass. At 9-0-0, it is a good organic fertilizer going into the growing season. This will give your lawn the push it needs to grow. Because natural corn gluten has organic sources of nitrogen, it will not burn the lawn. Nutrients are released as moisture becomes available over a longer period of time. Where natural corn gluten really shines, however, is in its natural herbicidal tendencies. It will not only create a layer to prevent crabgrass seeds from rooting, it will in fact prevent ANY seeds from growing! So do not overseed in Spring if you will be applying corn gluten meal as fertilizer in Spring. Overseed in Fall instead. That's the optimal time to overseed anyways. If you are really concerned about crabgrass, we recommend to use the maximum application recommendation found in the label for best results. This means that a 40 lbs. bag of natural corn gluten meal, if applied at a rate of 20 lbs per 1,000 square feet, will only cover 2,000 square feet. A bag of corn gluten in 2019 will set you back upwards of $45. This is definitely not a cheap alternative to the toxic chemicals available at the local big box store. But this by far is the best pet friendly and child friendly alternative for health conscious people like yourself. Have we mentioned you must water immediately after laying it down? Yes you do have to water right away because birds love eating it. Water also activates the corn gluten meal and breaks it down even further. Corn gluten meal also smells like cereals if you've ever opened a fresh bag. Be aware though that corn gluten meal can rot and decompose if stored improperly. Unless you want your lawn to smell like rotten eggs, we suggest to only use fresh corn gluten meals. A single application will provide up to 4 months of protection from any seeds. Generally, we only recommend using corn gluten meal once a year. You do not need to use it repeatedly if your soil composition is healthy for turf growth. As your lawn becomes thicker and healthier, you can lessen your application volume up to the point where you no longer need it.
CONTROL CRABGRASS SEEDS FROM GERMINATING
If you did not get the chance to read your first goal in time, then this is where you will begin your organic lawn care plan. Your second goal is to control the existing crabgrass. Crabgrass seeds germination can be controlled by mowing high and by bagging all the clippings whenever you mow. No, you will not collect all the seeds with your mower, but you will collect a bunch of them. This will control some of the crabgrass seeds from getting in contact with the soil; thereby, minimizing seed germination. Mowing as high as possible also helps in controlling seeds from germinating. See, taller grass blades lessen lawn heat stress by retaining moisture in the soil. Moisture in the soil means that the soil is cooler than the ambient temperature. Since crabgrass seeds germinate when it's hot, you are lessening germination by keeping the soil cool. Lawns with taller grass blades also provide shade that lessens direct sunlight contact to the crabgrass seeds. This in turn will further lessen seed germination.
REMOVAL AND OVERSEEDING
If you are interested in our organic lawn care program, contact us right away. We can help you.
Beautiful Lawn: Organic Fertilizers, Actively Aerated Compost Tea Treatments, and Mulched Grass Clippings
Our approach to lawn care and plant care has continued to improve through the years. We now use a combination of organic fertilizers, beneficial microbes, and natural nutrient sources to encourage maximum grass and plant growth. This takes advantage of nature's natural nutrient cycle and recycle. No use of harmful chemicals. No synthetics. 100% natural and organic.
Among all key primary nutrients found in all fertilizers, Phosphorus is of a main concern for the environment. Phosphorus is a mobile nutrient which can leach and hurt aquatic resources. Grass in general does not need a lot of phosphorus to propagate. This is the reason why when soil phosphorus content is low, the organic fertilizers we use have very low phosphorus content. And when soil phosphorus content is sufficient, we use phosphorus-free organic fertilizers to promote clean water in rivers, lakes, bays, and wetlands. Our practice has always been to use products and create services that work with nature, not against it, and for all our clients to only pay for the services they actually need and to not take advantage of that trust.
Phosphorus/Phosphate (AS NEEDED)
Actively Aerated Compost Tea Treatments
Actively Aerated Compost Tea (AACT) in general is a liquefied biological amendment made by maneuvering beneficial organisms from a highly active organic pile into an aerated water solution with various food sources. Our specific AACT treatment has been professionally brewed from only the highest quality, pathogen-free, weed-free, pet friendly and bacteria-dominant organic compost, all-natural organic earthworm castings, fish hydrolysate, brown algae, soghum grass, sugar cane (NOT from genetically engineered), and highly aerobic, chlorine-free water. AACT helps accelerate organic matter decomposition like thatch and leaves, improves soil's aggregation to increase water-holding capacity, and reduce soil compaction by adding beneficial microbes for both grass and plants. It contains 12 bioavailable essential nutrients grass and plants need for optimum growth. The advantage of the tea is that specialized recipes can be developed and fine-tuned to target specific lawn conditions and plant needs. Careful application of AACT can speed up the process of balancing the soil biology. The challenge, however, is achieving the proper mix. This requires a lot of time and testing because there is no way to ensure that one had brewed the proper amount and types of immobile and mobile bacterial populations, protozoas, rotifers, fungal hyphaes, and nematodes other than to test each and every batch, analyze under a microscope, and monitor the results. The amount of beneficial organisms found in AACT makes it particularly favorable for lawns and trees.
Mulching Grass Clippings
If you ever need help with your lawn care and plant care needs in Austin, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are very eager to help you.
We have traveled the world to select only the very best methods of taking care of our lawns and plants in Austin, Texas. We aim to fully explain our organic soil management. What we do, and how we do it.
Our organic soil management focuses in the natural nutrient cycling provided by nature for lawns and plants. By identifying the natural cycle first, we run against the industry convention of using synthetic chemicals and harmful pollutants, such as synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, and pesticides, to counteract highly specific lawn and plant health conditions. We believe a holistic approach in taking care of lawns and plants is and has always been the best approach. We highlight our use of natural and organic methods to achieve desirable results. Our unique approach to lawn and plant care has been proven to improve soil water retention, increase the breakdown of organic layers (thatch) and leaves (yes, fallen leaves!), increase nutrient availability to plants, suppress diseases, and increase the natural aeration capability of the lawn.
Aside from the commonly used testing of available primary nutrient levels in soil, it is just as important to also analyze for immobile and mobile bacterial levels, fungi, as well as beneficial predators like protozoa and nematodes population when selecting an organic matter amendment strategy. Specifically for lawns, we are looking for nutrient cycling systems that is largely bacterial dominated to function optimally. For plants, we require fungal dominated soils. Microbial analysis is an additional tool we use to create a holistic picture of the soil composition.
Mycorrrhizal fungi form narrow threads in compost and attach themselves to root structures. These microbial organisms consume exudates from plant roots. The nutrients become stored as food and moisture for plants - to draw on when needed - as well as nematode predators. The waste from the nematodes also becomes food for the plants - completing this natural nutrient cycle.
Bacteria also play a key role in plant nutrition by immobilizing nutrients in the rhizoshepere. These microbes decompose organic matter and ingest root exudates, preventing them from leaching out of the soil. These valuable nutrients are tied up in the bacteria until they are eventually released in the ammonium (NH4+) waste of protozoa predators, for use by the plant.
Measuring the pH level is where a chemical analysis typically starts and historically ends. As science progressed, we eventually added the three primary nutrients known to encourage grass and plant growth; Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphorous (N, K, and P). This is crucial in determining the baseline of available nutrients, and crucial in accurate adjustments in the field. Then, secondary plant nutrients were added, Calcium, Magnesium, and Sulfur. To date, most professionals will say that there are between 40-44 essential grass and plant nutrients. On very large projects, we typically contract the help of a trusted laboratory to measure all essential nutrients and Cation Exchange Capacities (CEC), and soluble salt contents. For most residential applications, however, knowing the pH, primary, and secondary nutrient levels are enough to make an informed decision.
ORGANIC SOIL MANAGEMENT RESULTS
Note: All photos are unedited real world photos.
Note: All photos are unedited real world photos.
These were the last photos of this property. Unfortunately, our client had to move. We would have loved to continue taking photos of the continuous progress we made.
Shrubs and Hedges
Note: All photos are unedited real world photos.
This is the ultimate lawn and landscaping guide for making smart and intelligent property management choices in Austin, Texas.
We have helped a lot of property managers in Austin, Texas make the right choices for their property needs. With our years of industry experience, this guide will help you shine! You will not find this anywhere else. We compiled the very best ways to save you money without cutting corners. "Work smarter, not harder," a wiseman once said. This will be updated every time we find a smart and intelligent way to guide the discerning property manager in the Austin area.
Roof and Siding Clearance
Afterall, who else would the property owner and tenant blame? It is you, the property manager. This problem can be significantly lessen by making sure to remind the owner of the need for yearly pruning. Prune back trees, shrubs, and hedges away from the house's siding, windows, and roof line, no matter how low or high. Pruning will create clearance for natural movements during inclement weather and lessen preventable repairs. It also makes maintenance around the property easier as crews are able to move around more freely. For taller trees, make sure to have the crossed branches, dead branches, and foliage trimmed to lessen the chances of the trunk breaking or debris from falling. This tip will save you a lot of headache sometime down the road and is a smart and intelligent property management choice on any property you may have in and around the Austin area.
Do Not Fight Nature
If rain water flows a certain direction, do not obstruct it, but rather work around it and go with the flow. While larger rocks and boulders can help with erosion, they can be very difficult to walk on. You can lay flagstones to create pathways when you need the slope to be functional. On areas where literally nothing grows, you can typically skip on laying weed fabric before laying the stones to save you money on installation. Since nothing grows there even with bare soil, you do not have to worry about weeding in the future. For areas with patches, lay some fabric or cardboard boxes to keep unwanted vegetation in check. In our experience, we have seen tenants bring in trampolines, children's playgrounds complete with slides and swings, and at times picnic tables upon moving in. A clean backyard with a large functional space, therefore, can add a lot of value and is a smart and intelligent property management choice.
Know Your Lawn
It is already self-sufficient. But should your prospective tenants change their minds and decide to care for having the best irrigation-free green lawn, then go ahead with adding fertilization and actively aerated compost tea treatment as part of the yearly maintenance. Otherwise, if getting the best irrigation-free green lawn is not the priority, then the smart and intelligent choice is to simply leave the lawn as it is and just get it mowed more frequently. Sometimes, just having a professionally mowed lawn is enough to make prospective tenants happy. This is us speaking from the heart and what property managers have told us through the years, not some marketing quackery.
Yes, you may be able to get away with not cleaning up immediately. But with time, leaves will eventually accumulate beyond manageable levels. Tenants will then complain of bugs, spiders, cockroaches, and even snakes, then move out, and then you are now stuck with a vacant property and a huge mess. Maybe this may not happen to you, and the property simply goes on sale. Still, cleanup is highly recommended if not required for a successful turnaround. The smarter and intelligent approach to properties with deciduous trees is to leave the plant bed with either bare soil or use finer, smaller rocks or gravel as ground cover. Both approach will make it so much easier to rake, blow clean, and vacuum; thereby significantly lowering the cost of cleanup. Finer and smaller rock and gravel gets compacted over time and do not get suctioned or blown away very easily. Leaves, on the contrary, do get blown away easily and vacuumed quickly. And any service provider that has been in the industry for quite sometime will be quick to identify the price difference between the two. If you do not see a significant price decrease, text, call, chat, or email us. We can help you.
Wild Vegetation is Your Friend
Isn't making wild vegetation a friend, rather than an enemy, the smarter and intelligent solution to the common problem? When the time comes that the property becomes vacant, all you need to tell your service provider is to cut it back with a lawn mower or a weed eater. The vegetation will simply grow back the following year. This lessens the cost of maintenance and upkeep while retaining a comparable curb appeal. The BEST of both worlds. What we have not mentioned yet is what wild vegetation does to the local ecosystem. Wild vegetation adds food and shelter to butterflies, honeybees, earthworms, microbes, insects, and birds. You will also notice wild vegetation is being used at the Austin parks around downtown Austin. And if wild vegetation is good enough for our city parks, why would it not be good for the property you manage?
Native and Adapted Plants Give Diversity
If wild vegetation is too wild for your taste, then stick with plants that are native and have adapted locally. The city of Austin has a booklet as a resource guide for a quick refresher. For a more intensive list, the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower center is very hard to beat. The local industry typically conducts conventions and local training at their Southwest Austin location. Native and adapted plants are chosen because they are hardy to our local climate, are not invasive, and fits in the local flora and fauna. Using native and adapted plants gives you more control in adding plant variety to the plant beds. Similar to wild vegetation, these plants do not need a lot of human intervention. While all native and adapted plants do need to be fertilized when being planted and again 3 months later, very little fertilization is needed once they are established. Some may need to be pruned back once a year, and others may not need pruning at all. It just depends on the native and adapted plants you pick. If you need guidance, chat with us 24/7. We can help.
We hope to have helped you become a wiser and more verse property manager. Make sure to bookmark this page as this compilation will be updated for the years to come. Visit us often for more tips and tricks around your lawn and landscaping. Should you ever need our help, just let us know. We are here for you.
Debunking the MythContrary to popular belief, mulching the lawn or otherwise leaving grass clippings or leaves on the lawn will NOT increase the thatch layer. Grass clippings and leaves are made up mostly of water and nutrients that can easily be absorbed by the lawn. According to University of Minnesota Extension, "grass clippings decompose rapidly and contribute very little to thatch accumulation." When it comes to leaving leaves on the lawn, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University says, "Mulching the leaves had no undesirable effects on turf quality or color, growth, thatch accumulation, soil pH, weed populations, or disease pressure. While the leaves did not prove to be a substitute for appropriate N fertilization practices, the general assessment was that mulching was overall very positive and economical."
Thatch Build-upExcessive thatch build up happens when the lawn produces more organic debris much faster than can be decomposed. According to Penn State University, "parts of grass plants that are the most resistant to decay — stem nodes, crowns, fibers of vascular tissues, and roots — make up the bulk of thatch." Mowing infrequently will contribute to thatch build up. This is because a significant amount of stem tissue gets cut off. As time passes by mowing one overgrown lawn after another, thatch layer naturally thickens as more and more stem nodes, crowns, fibers, and roots collect underneath the lawn. This is the reason why dethatching exists.
Thatch ManagementThatch Management calls for regular lawn maintenance. Get more frequent and regular weekly mowing, even when you think the grass has not grown yet. This limits the length of the grass to be cut and lowers the amount of organic matters resistant to decay. Mowing higher is also preferred to keep the grass lush and thick. Aerate and Top Dress regularly in Spring to reduce the need for synthetic fertilizer. Avoid the use of high yielding Nitrogen synthetic fertilizer. To get a greener look earlier into the growing season, add Iron instead of Nitrogen. Do not deep water lawns that are compacted. When the root system is restricted, there is no added benefit to watering deeply. Excessive moisture in the soil can become a paradise for fungal growth that may eat away the lawns' root system. But as the lawn thickens and recovers, gradually increase watering intervals and increase the amount of water at every watering time. Reducing the watering time may be needed for lawns with slopes and hills to lessen water runoff.
We hope that our little blog post helps you in understanding more about dethatching and thatch. Should you need help with your lawn, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are very eager to help.
Ah, the dreaded rain delay! Lawn Care Providers and Landscapers in Austin have a love-hate relationship with rain. Too little rain causes drought. Too frequent rain creates disruption to virtually all services. This is something the entire industry has to work with. But why would services be disrupted just because of rain in the first place?
1. SafetyIt is simply slippery when wet. Slip and fall accidents can break bones, dislocate shoulders, hips, fingers, and more. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says slip and fall accounts for approximately 25% of all injury claims per year, 17% of disabling injuries, and 15% of accidental deaths. This is on top of the increase likelihood of getting involved in vehicle collisions. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) statistics, 22% or 1.2 million crashes every year are weather related. Over a 10-year period, 73% is said to be attributable to wet pavement and 43% is connected to driving when it's rainingrain fall. Working under the rain simply elevates a lot of unnecessary safety issues and problems for lawn care providers and landscapers in Austin. Problems that, in all honesty, are avoidable.
2. Labor InefficiencyBecause lawn care providers and landscapers in Austin have to be more cautious of their surroundings, they have to work much slower than when it is dry. This increases the cost of labor way above the budgeted time. "One key example", based to a whitepaper published by Intergraph "is [homeowners] will very often demand the same completion date, despite the added workscope. This may require overtime, second shift work, rework, additional crafts, and many other impacts to the original plan and estimate. This increase in man-hours, constraints, and other resources would impact the cost and schedule." The same DoT report, moreover, shows travel inefficiency increases by as much as 50% when it rains. Since a huge amount of lawn care and landscaping jobs pricing are connected one way or another to labor cost, pricing has to be increased significantly. Nobody wants that to do that.
3. Decreased Work QualityDecreased Work Quality has to be learned the hard way, through experience. Men in boots carrying heavy equipment while walking dozens of times, going back and forth from the lawn and to the truck, in wet weather condition will create mud. No matter how slow and careful a lawn care provider or landscaper go on any job, a heavy object on a lawn will create a mess. Then, mud and clippings will eventually find its way to any pavement around the house, the driveway or side street, and the lawn portions of the will be damaged and compacted. After the damage has been done, the only ways to fix these issues are to pressure wash the entire pavement and to aerate and re-level the lawn, both of which are labor intensive jobs. Not to mention, the unnecessary hassle this brings to the job site and all stakeholders.
4. Soil CompactionSoil can easily be compacted when it is wet. This matters more to Lawn Care Providers than Landscapers. We focus in making sure the lawn germinates. But under wet conditions, according to Iowa State University, the "best choice [one] can make is to stay away from the field--avoid traffic on wet soil to reduce soil compaction". Should your soil be compacted, learn how to alleviate compaction through core aeration.
ConclusionFor these reasons, lawn care providers and landscapers in Austin tend to re-schedule almost all appointments when it rains. It is simply the right thing to do. It is right to treat our employees with care. And it is right to treat our client's properties with utmost respect.
This is the ultimate new homeowner's guide about the techniques for making smart lawn and landscape choices. Now updated for 2021!
You Just Moved to Your South Austin Home! Now, What Do You Need To Do?
First, welcome to South Austin! Congratulations on your new home! Our ultimate lawn and landscape guide for your new home in South Austin will help you identify and correct issues that may not be easily noticeable without expert guidance. From bumpy lawns to lawns with massive drainage issues, we have seen all the cheap tricks contractors may throw at you. Work quality of new lawns in South Austin have significantly gone down when compared to those built in the mid 2000's. That is why vigilance on your part is imperative. Hopefully, you have found the issues first and haggled to get them corrected. If you did not notice the underlying issues the first time, then our goal is to guide you to everything you need to know from day 1. Remember: planning, maintenance, and prevention will always be cheaper in the long run.
1. Lawn and Landscape Inspection Checklist
Check for a Bumpy Lawn
We noticed bumpy lawns are now rampant all over new developments in South Austin. Bumpy lawns are a trip hazard and must be corrected immediately. It felt as though the sods were laid when the ground was still soaking wet. To check for a bumpy lawn, walk around the lawn when it is dry. Assuming the lawn is draining properly, your feet should be level and relatively flat. If you notice significant bumps, one correction to increase flatness is to re-roll the entire lawn with an appropriately weighted roller or top dressing low lying areas with high quality compost. We found that using a combination of both will significantly lessen the bumpiness of the lawn.
When rolling the lawn, avoid rolling when wet. You risk damaging the lawn through compaction. And when top dressing, limit thickness to about .25". You may also mix your top dressing material with sand or decomposed granite. The granules in sand or decomposed granite helps level the lawn. We are aware that estimating how thick is .25" is hard to estimate on the job, so simply make sure the grass blades are still visible. As long as you see grass blades on top of the top dressing, you will not smother the lawn. Afterall, your lawn is alive! The lawn will do whatever it takes to get the much needed sunlight.
Inspect the Lawn for Drainage Problems
Has your lawn always been too muddy to walk on? Is it always wet? Does it have a swampy smell? If all these are true, you may have a drainage issue. The builder wants the water to flow away from the house's foundation. Sometimes, however, the water runoff is set to an extreme. A drainage problem is commonly found near the fence line, around edges of the property line, near the backyard gate, or along the A/C. Drainage problems may cause your lawn to recede as it gets smothered with water, exacerbated by anaerobic condition. There are quite a number of options to correct this issue and lessen excessive water runoff. Your lawn and landscape professional may recommend gutters, explore the creation of a rain garden beds on low lying areas, creation of physical drain like a french drain, or re-grading the lawn to lessen the steep runoff, then maybe using rocks to slow down or reroute excessive water runoff, among others. Your first call to action, however, is to identify the issue as soon as possible before the need for extensive re-sodding. Afterall, this is your new home!
Use larger river rocks of about 1" or more strategically to slow down water runoff. We use river rocks along gutter down spouts, pathways, or garden beds to control the velocity of water flow to lessen erosion. Make sure to watch how the entire environment react on these specific locations when it rains. Observe water flow both before installation and afterwards. There is no other substitute for observing mother nature. Even the civil engineers do this, why wouldn't you?
Check The Plant Beds for Weed Barriers
Quickly check what is underneath the existing plant beds. Is it just bare soil? Do you see a black plastic, a white fabric, or a cardboard box? Most likely than not, your plant bed only has bare soil underneath the mulch. This means that sooner or later your plant beds will be riddled with weeds because mulch does not offer any kind of protection from weed infestation - yes, regardless of what the guys selling mulch will tell you. A weed barrier, fabric, or some kind of a natural barrier from the ground is needed to suppress and prevent weeds. When new beds are infested and weeds get established, the new mulch will end up getting thrown away. There will be simply too many seedlings germinating on the mulch. And these seeds can eventually germinate even on top of a weed barrier. The key, therefore, is prevention. Prevention will save you a lot of time and money. Re-doing the plant beds while it is new is better than waiting months down the road, and paying extra for a clean-up. This way, we can simply move the existing mulch on the side, and lay a weed barrier. Doing so will keep the new look of your beds longer.
Avoid using weed and feed products or any kind of synthetic herbicides. These products have been shown to have adverse effects to our environment, the fish population, and birds and bees. Use vinegar mixed with water instead to spot treat specific areas, and use your hands to weed areas with other vegetation. You can also apply corn gluten meal fertilizer as a natural alternative to weed and feed.
Inspect for Mature Deciduous Trees
Walk around the lawn to check for deciduous trees like Live Oaks, Maple, and Ash that are all over Austin. Are you going to need to remove leaves in Fall and Winter? This will help you and your lawn care professional plan for the materials needed for your landscape and plant beds. We recommend to simply mulch these leaves back to the lawn in winter. The result may not be aesthetically pleasing, but these mulched leaves will eventually be reabsorbed by the lawn come Spring. If leaves are not getting broken down, spray the area with actively aerated compost tea. The live microbes will help breakdown the mulch. This is much hundreds of dollars cheaper than removing the leaves. The last is to get your provider to come by every couple of weeks to spend time bagging the leaves. Avoid leaving the leaves on the lawn for a prolonged period. This will cause an almost 100% increase in dandelions and crabgrass infestation, according to Michigan State University.
Ask your lawn care provider to spray Actively Aerated Compost Tea treatments regularly. This is penny on the dollar when compared to a full leaf cleanup. Doing it this way, you'll be saving money and at the same time enriching your lawn's soil with organic matter.
RELATED: Would you like to know about The Easiest Way to Remove Leaves?
2. Maintenance Schedule Checklist
Recurring Lawn Mowing Begins
Lawn mowing is a very important part of your overall lawn maintenance program. We strongly recommend weekly lawn mowing to ensure you get the best quality cut. If you are looking to save a little money, then bi-weekly mowing can sometimes work. It is, however, very hard to get a great looking lawn on a bi-weekly interval. To get the best, weekly interval is the way to go.
There is a lot that goes on behind mowing the lawn. First, ensure the mower blades are very sharp. When using lawn care professionals, one way to know if the blades are dull is by looking at the cut immediately after mowing. A grass blade must be crisp and should not have rugged brown edges. Rugged edge is a telltale sign of dull blades. And dull blades will increase the chances of infection and lengthen the grass' recovery time. Imagine having multiple wounds instead of just one.
When mowing the lawn, make sure to cut appropriately to the season. This means not cutting too short in the summer or too high in the winter. Cutting too short when it is hot will cause heat stress and the lawn to recede. Cutting too long in the winter will keep the lawn very moist in the cold and encourage disease causing fungus to take. Generally, do not cut more than a third of the grass during normal maintenance. This will lessen stress. Cut in different directions to lessen lawn rot and soil compaction. Doing this lessens missed areas and cuts the lawn very flat. This will give you the professionally manicured look everyone desires.
In general, lawn mowing is recommended at least once every week for best results during Spring, Summer, and Fall, and once every month during Winter. If going for a weekly interval is beyond the monthly budget, then going for once every 2 weeks in Spring, Summer, and Fall, and once every month and a half in the Winter will suffice.
Bag clippings when weeds are present to lessen infestation. Do this as needed. Weed by hand as necessary. It is best to add organic matter, fertilize, aerate, and weed regularly during the season. You will notice when the lawn has thickened and fully recovered. From here on, you will simply be maintaining the lawn.
RELATED: Would you like to learn more about How to Properly Mow a Lawn?
Core aeration alleviates soil compaction. Compaction is more prevalent to older lawns than newer ones. A telltale sign your lawn has a compacted lawn is weak grass growth on localized areas. Typically, you will find these areas when people take regular shortcuts walking unto the lawn. Walking on the lawn is generally not bad for the lawn. But sometimes, new homeowners are not aware that walking on the lawn while the lawn is still moist or otherwise wet will eventually cause soil compaction on both new and older lawns. This is where core aeration kicks in. Core Aeration makes it easier for air, water and movable nutrients to flow much freely throughout the soil. This in turn gives the grass roots the opportunity to grow deeper into the soil, making the lawn hardy to sudden drought. Generally, aeration is recommended at least once a year. For areas experiencing more traffic, we recommend twice a year, once in Spring and another in Fall. Only aerate the lawn during the growth phases of the season. Be careful when aerating lawns with a sprinkler system as sprinkler heads can easily be damaged by the aerator.
Aerate and Top dress at the same time. Top Dressing uses a soil mix which adds organic matter into the soil and can also be used to build up soil flora. When combined with core aeration, the organic matter can be placed deeper into the soil profile to manipulate the soil structure. It also lessens traffic stress and alleviates soil compaction. Sometimes, when the soil's pH level is just a little off, top dressing may be enough to make minor adjustments.
RELATED: Would you like to explore more about The Benefits of Lawn Core Aeration?
Lawns are recommended do a soil test first before fertilizing the lawn. A trusted provider typically provides FREE soil fertility tests to avoid over fertilization. If they do not provide this service, you will be overpaying for services you may not need. We generally recommend to fertilize once in every month of March, May, July, September, and November AS NEEDED. Make sure to organic granular slow release fertilizers to avoid burning the lawn. This will eliminate 99% of the problems with synthetic fertilizers. Organic fertilization with corn gluten meal can also prevent the spread of weeds and make the lawn very healthy. Remember, we recommend to perform a soil test first in order to have a baseline of the amount of N-K-P the lawn needs, and its pH level. Note that fertilization will not correct the lawn's pH level. What it will do, however, is to add nutrients back into the lawn. Organic fertilizers, unlike synthetic salt-based fertilizers, will add nutrients AND organic matter back into the lawn, which is essential to increase nematode and beneficial microorganism population. If the pH level needs to be corrected, you may use lime or aluminum sulfate to raise or lower the pH level back to the ideal range of around 7.0. Adding organic compost, peat moss, and other naturally found materials will increase organic matter in the soil and also slightly adjust the pH level. When fertilizing, we recommend adding a professionally brewed actively aerated compost tea to help break down thatch, organic matter like leaves, and increase the lawn's bacterial and beneficial microbe count to help in the natural nutrient cycle.
Use organic slow release fertilizers and naturally found soil amendments to improve the lawn's soil and nutrient composition.
RELATED: Would you like to learn more about Our Full Organic and Natural Fertilization Program?
Mulch Installation and Mulch Turning
Mulch adds a layer of protection from drought and sudden freeze, but limit mulch thickness to 4", as adding too much mulch will smother the roots. If your plant beds have old mulch, make sure to turn the mulch at least once a year. This helps against soil compaction and revitalizes the look of the mulch for the season. Turning old mulch also helps in making sure air gets into the bottom of the mulch and aid in decomposition of organic matter, like leaves. Turning mulch can be a great time to weed the beds as well. Light weeding will still be recommended at least once a year for optimal results, even with a weed fabric.
Not all mulches are created equal. Make sure to inspect the mulch color, cut quality, and cleanliness. It is not unusual to find mulch that has trash mixed in, varying cut quality, and with sub-par pigments.
RELATED: Would you like to understand more about your Groundcover Options?
Perennial Tree and Shrub Trimming and Pruning.
Perennial trees and shrubs in general are recommended to be pruned in the winter when they are dormant. This allows trees and srubs to use all the nutrients available to grow in Spring. Selective pruning can also be utilized at this time of the year to prevent cross branches from becoming a safety hazard or damaging sidings or roof. Aside from these, trimming and pruning can add shape and exquisite look to your landscape especially during the holidays.
Avoid trimming too deep into the foliage. Some plants like Box Shrubs or Rosemaries won't recover on once the damage has been done. The best alternative is to do selective pruning first, letting the plant recover and grow foliage inside, before finally shaping to the desired size and shape. With plants as with people, slow is fast.
We hope you find our blog helpful. Should you need help with your lawn and landscape or should you want us to expand this guide, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are eager to help.
We compiled the ultimate organic lawn care service guide to help you with your lawn and landscaping. This guide is yours absolutely FREE. It is up to date to the most recent science concerning sustainable lawn and landscape management to support healthy plants, soil, and clean environment. This guide has been updated for 2019.
THE ULTIMATE FREE ORGANIC BEST PRACTICES LAWN CARE SERVICE GUIDE
Check soil nutrients regularly.
Sharpen blades everytime you mow.
This is the best time to do landscaping work!
March: (turn on sprinklers!)
May: Ask us for your FREE SOIL TEST before spreading organic lawn fertilizers & spraying with AACT. Why? You may not need fertilization this month! Do not over-fertilize. Movable nutrients from fertilizers of any kind will simply leach into our natural rivers and lakes.
June: Deep watering begins & set mowing height to 4”. You will increase your chances of getting weeds if you mow any lower.
August: Summer cleanup: prune shrubs & trees; clean plant beds.
October: Fall cleanup: prune shrubs & trees; clean plant beds.
November: Reapply organic lawn fertilizer & AACT treatment as needed. If it's a hot winter, apply corn gluten fertilizer to prevent seeds from rooting.
SOME TECHNICAL INFORMATION FOR FREE ORGANIC BEST PRACTICES GUIDE
a. Spread organic corn gluten fertilizer at a rate of up to 20 lbs./1,000 sq. ft. for coverage against weeds; water immediately. b. Spread GP organic lawn fertilizer at a rate of 12.8 lbs./1,000 sq. ft.; 25.6 lbs./1,000 sq. ft. if overseeding. c. Use organic tree fertilizer in a 1” x 12” hole spaced 2’ apart along drip line at a rate of 5 lbs./trunk-diameter-inch; for shrubs, 5 lbs./100 sq.ft. or 1 lb./shrub root area. d. AACT: bacteria dominant for lawn; fungal dominant for trees/shrubs. Contact us for FREE GUIDANCE.
Experienced gardeners know that just right before Spring is the right time to prepare for the growing season. Much like growing crops, lawns in Southpark Meadows require the same amount of preparation and care. It is not hard, but it simply takes time. Because it is vital that we get it right at the beginning of the year, we have compiled from our lawn care specialists the top 3 pro tips for a natural green lawn in Spring.
Top Pro Tip #1: Aerate the LawnIf getting a natural green lawn in Spring is your goal, then an aeration service as soon as the grass starts growing must be at the top of your list. This paves the way to expanding the root zone. Aeration shatters the soil to encourage root penetration, water infiltration, and air exploration. According to Penn State University, College of Agricultural Sciences, "Mechanical aeration provides an excellent, and probably the only, means of correcting or alleviating soil compaction which may be quite serious on many lawn areas." The idea of free movement within the soil naturally results in what we call an aerobic condition. On the contrary, blocked soil pores due to compaction which restricts the natural flow of water and air, similar to what we see in swamps, floodplains, and wetlands, is called an anaerobic condition. Both conditions have their role in nature. What we want to have, however, is a deeper root zone for our lawn. The deeper the root growth is, the healthier our lawn will be. As roots burrow more deeply into the soil, they gain more access to water reserves and immovable nutrients that the lawn needs. This promotes more germination of grass which in turn creates a lusher, thicker, and a naturally greener lawn.
Top Pro Tip #2: Mow The Leaves and All Plant Clippings Back Into The LawnMowing the leaves, grass clippings, and brush clippings back into the soil will help in getting a natural green lawn in Spring. All these "unwanted" trash is really just misunderstood organic matter. By adding all the organic plant matter back to the lawn, we are creating soils with a high organic matter content that encourages biological activity. As biological creatures in the soil tunnels through, we are naturally preventing anaerobic conditions. This is similar to aeration, only that it is done as nature intended. The lawn then will have better chances of naturally recovering from temporary soil compaction. This practice also lessens the amount of organic trash we throw away at landfills; thereby, lessening our carbon footprint in Southpark Meadows, and saving you money.
Top Pro Tip #3: Fix Bare Lawn SpotsBecause it rains almost every other week in Southpark Meadows during this time of the year, Spring is arguably the best time to fix all the bare spots on your lawn. Of course, you may do this anytime in the year with professional help. But if we are talking about the easiest time to do this in Southpark Meadows, it is right now, during Spring. Fixing the bare spots by laying seeds or sods and reconditioning the soil becomes very easy because you no longer have to worry about the summer heat. During Summer, lawn care specialists need to observe if seeds are getting too dry or if sods are showing signs of heat stress. This kind of baby sitting is eliminated by the more frequent rain and generally favorable weather conditions in Spring. Best of all, rain water from thunderstorms naturally adds a fresh amount of Nitrogen back into the soil that helps with germination and rooting. Unlike synthetic fertilizers,nitrogen and other nutrients from rain water will not burn the lawn because they are slowly broken down by microorganisms naturally found in the soil.
The cheapest, easiest, and arguably the best way to remove leaves is to simply blow the leaves towards your lawn, and mulch them with a mower. You may sometimes need to go over a few times. Nonetheless, there is no need to bag them because leaves are organic matter with nutrients that the lawn can eventually reabsorb. Running them over with a mower have been proven to improve turf quality year after year according to a Michigan State University study.
Professional Pet Waste Removal in Austin, Texas
Have you ever thought about how much time and effort it actually takes to be a responsible pet parent? We own a small 1 year-old Shih Tzu, and he poops around 2 or 3 times a day. His diet is primarily kibble and canned dog food, but thinking of all the other pet owners, especially those with bigger dogs out there, it gets me thinking, "How do you go about cleaning after your pet?!" Some of you may have really big dogs, some may have medium dogs, others have small dogs or even cats: regardless of the size and kind of pet you have, all of us have one thing in common… WE DISLIKE CLEANING AFTER THEM!!! PERIOD!!! When you’re relaxing and maybe watching “the blacklist” or “the flash” on Netflix, or just chilling in your South Austin home, the last thing you want to do is to get up and clean up after your pet because the lawn guys are coming anytime today. It's a cringefest right there. You start pointing fingers as to who's turn it is to clean up after your pet. No need to worry, we got your back with our professional pet waste removal service in Austin, Texas. But really, whether you get our services or not, we do hope everyone out there cleans up after their pets, one way or another.
Pet Poop Fact #1
According to Austin, Tx poop expert guide, scoopthepoop.org, pet waste, especially poop, can contain e-coli, roundworm, giardia, and other germs that can make people extremely sick. Some of these disease-causing organisms remain infectious in soil for weeks or years. To make matters worst, pet poop can contaminate lakes, rivers, and our entire water supply. Pet poop is also toxic to plants and will cause a bald spot on your lawn if left alone for weeks.
Why Clean After Your Pet? Short answer... "BECAUSE IT IS AGAINST THE LAW"!
Here is a list of ordinances in Austin, Texas for pet owners:
§ 3-4-6 DEFECATION BY A DOG OR CAT. "An owner or handler shall promptly remove and sanitarily dispose of feces left on public or private property by a dog or cat being handled by the person, other than property owned by the owner or handler of the dog or cat.”
Fine: Up to $500.
§ 15-6-112 - ACCUMULATIONS AND DEPOSIT OF WASTE PROHIBITED. (A) A person commits an offense if the person deposits, causes to be deposited, or permits to accumulate any dry or wet solid waste upon any public or private premises within the city in such a manner as to emit noxious or offensive odors or to become unsanitary or injurious to public health or safety.
§ 3-2-11 - ENCLOSURE REQUIRED. (A)(3) maintained in a sanitary condition that does not allow flies to breed or cause an odor offensive to an adjacent residence or business
Pet Poop Fact #2
# 250,000 Dogs in Austin create 150,000 pounds of dog poop per day, which is 55 million pounds of dog poop per year deposited in our city.
"BECAUSE DOG WASTE IS HARMFUL"
Aside from the fact that it is “EEEEEEEEWWWW” and it “SMELLS BAD”!
Pet Poop Fact #3
Just one ounce of dog feces contains 23 million microorganisms of bacteria - nearly twice that of human waste.
"BECAUSE IT “WILL” DESTROY YOUR LAWN!"
Pet waste does not make a good fertilizer. Pet waste is toxic (as I said, it contains harmful microorganisms) and is harmful to your lawn, it causes burns on your grass and discoloring. Improperly scooping and disposing of your pet’s waste will damage your lawn and hopefully not but may be irreparable.
This may lead to bigger problems if you plan on landscaping your lawn or if you want to sell your home in the future.
Pet Poop Fact #4
Some of the common diseases that you, other people or other pets can get from pet waste:
Pet Poop Fact #5
It washes from land into our creeks and lakes and contaminates the water
- causes harmful algae and aquatic weeds to grow
- reduces oxygen in the water for fish and other animals
- makes recreational areas unsafe to enjoy
So what do you need to do to be a responsible Fur parent?
Pet Poop Fact #6
Your pet’s waste can cause water pollution. When it rains, pet waste left on trails, sidewalks and grassy areas can wash into the nearest waterway. Even if you can't see signs of water near you, the feces wash into storm drains and then travel to your neighborhood creek or lake untreated.
As much as we want to do it maybe once a week or once a month, it is really not possible. Since your pet, a dog for example, may poop more than once a day. So make sure to clean after your pet on a daily basis and that should be fine.
Pet Poop Fact #7
Roundworm eggs last for years, because of this dog waste should not go in compost that will end up as vegetable garden fertilizers. Hookworms are a concern in sandy areas where people are on the beach or barefoot in parks and playgrounds since these worms will migrate under the skin, causing scars
Professional Driveway Sod Installation
Professional sod installation in Austin, Texas requires more than just laying sod. Your lawn service provider needs to analyze the general topography of your driveway, and attentively prepare the area with that in mind. If you ever encounter a situation where you went with one of the cheapest bids and see the lawn service crew just laying sod right away, without removing vegetation, without leveling, you better ask them to stop and call another provider. Your new sod will most likely die, or if they ever survive, they will have drainage and puddling issues. Our goal is to arm you with general guidelines to protect yourself and save you a lot of money in future lawn issues.
When installing sod in Austin, Texas, the first thing we would need to do is have a feel of the area -- in this case, the driveway lawn. Along the driveway, we see that vegetation currently exists, a collection of dirt is piled towards the fence line, a small tree spout is under the fence, and the front street corner of the driveway lawn needs to be filled up with soil. We now have identified what has to be corrected, and we need to figure out how to make corrections properly.
Preparation involves removing the vegetation and re-grading the turf as we go along. This is the most important and time consuming phase of the sod installation service in Austin, Texas. We have to make sure that we prepare the area properly because turf growth has a lot to do with the soil it is on. If, for example, vegetation is left underneath it, the sod on top would dry out and die. If, for another instance, the soil was not leveled, puddles would easily cause turf damage and increase the possibility of root rot and fungal infection. Both of this in mind, we have to remove the vegetation from the roots up, in effect tilling the soil at the same time. We also have to remove excess dirt along the fence line and move this to fill in the front portion of the driveway lawn. We then remove most of the rocks and concrete that may stunt turf growth, and grade with the intention of having water naturally drain away from the lawn
After preparation of the area, we will now lay our organic compost and make minor grade corrections. This does two things. First, the height of our organic compost has to be close to grade level of the concrete. This is crucial to ensure we have proper drainage to let the water flow freely. Second, laying organic compost makes sure nutrients will be slowly released to support turf growth. We then removed more rocks that were missed during the previous phases in installing the sod.
The photo above shows the result we are looking for. The sod is noticeably a little higher than the concrete level. During heavy rains, the water won't puddle on the sod and will always have somewhere to go. We then lay the sod side by side, as close together as possible without overlapping.
We again make adjustments to the sod and compost as we go along during the installation. We cut where we are supposed to cut and re-level to correct minor imperfections. Our goal is to get the best possible installation results right now, not later. If we do the corrections months later, it will be very costly to re-do the sodding installation from scratch.
This is the completed project for sodding the driveway in Austin, Texas. Given adequate watering for the first few weeks, our new sod has the best foundation moving forward. We will maintain this sod with weekly mowing and periodic nutrient level checks. Again, we make minor adjustments and let nature run its course. As with anything in life, prevention is key. Prevention on a sodding installation in Austin, Texas centers on soil preparation, tilling, and removal of vegetation and rocks. That being said, this lawn will have a great chance to remain weed free and outperform the sod at the other side of the fence line.
Aggressive Natural and Organic Lawn Recovery Program
Comparison Photos Show The Effectiveness of The Lawn Recovery Program
We offer safe organic lawn recovery program utilizing the natural way plants recover from environmental stresses. All the photos below are from real clients of ours. Aside from masking the house number, everything else remains unedited. On the first example, our client complained the lawn was slowly dying, receding in places, yellowish, brown, spotty, unattractive, and with weeds slowly infiltrating the weakest portions. The previous lawn care provider was unsuccessful in maintaining the lawn of a newly built home in North Austin.
We inspected and made determinations to the customized approach in order correct the lawn issues in this new home. We noticed discoloration along the side walk and the pathway leading to the backyard gate, a very weak backyard turf, a bare spot in the middle of the front yard, where a plant used to be. Yellowing on localized areas can be a telltale sign of lawn stress. This can be due to compaction, nutrient levels, pH levels, excessive salt, or a combination of one or more factors. We noticed the soil specifically found in North Austin has a majority clay composition. That when moist can be very soft to the lightest amount of pressure. This can make the lawn greatly unfitted for any activity when wet. Unlike its counterparts along Mopac and in South Austin, lawns in North Austin, Round Rock, and Georgetown area need far more care on the side of the homeowner. Neighbors may unknowingly cause damage by simply walking on the lawn, especially immediately after a rain. If we truly want to revive this lawn back to its former glory, further inspection of the lawn's soil composition, macro and micro nutrients, pH level, salt content has to be known.
To further guide us, we inspected the grass blades to look for obvious nutrient deficiencies. Ocular inspection suggested nitrogen deficiency. This was confirmed by a subsequent soil test using the zone sampling method. The zone sampling method separates the lawn into different zones to give the most accurate representation of the soil's current condition on a given area. This is best used when there is a localized issue or inconsistency. Another typically used method is the field sampling, where samples are taken all over the lawn and are then mixed to "average" out the data. Both have their uses in different situations. In this case, we noticed that in areas where the deficiencies are pronounced, thousands of mini live oak spouts have germinated. This is on top of the dozens of crabgrass and broad leaf weeds along the fence of the backyard lawn. The previous provider was close to suggesting a complete re-do of the backyard. However, we felt that this would be a great challenge for us and our lawn program, a system we developed in collaboration with other experts in Agriculture from around the world. Clients are normally surprised to know that we travel to other countries specifically to find best practices and revolutionize the way we handle our lawn in Austin.
Soil pH test confirmed a very strong alkalinity. Alkalinity and acidity levels have a direct effect to the amount of movable and immovable nutrients like Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sulphur, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Manganese, Boron, Copper and Zinc, among others, that are available and can retained by the soil. Our goal is to hover around the goldiluck's zone of 6.2 to 7.3 pH level range, depending on the type of turf you have. This will give the lawn the best possible balance of nutrients before adding organic matter and other nutrient rich amendments for a sustainable development of the lawn. The common problem we see from homeowners and other lawn care professionals alike is to generously spread commonly available synthetic granular fertilizers at big box stores, eventually burning the lawn, making it turn brown, and killing a lot of microorganisms along the way. For your lawn, the best rule of thumb is to think that slow is fast, and fast is slow because it takes time for nature to nurture.
Aggressive Natural and Organic Lawn Recovery Program
The approach we took for this specific lawn was multifaceted. We first had to loosen up the soil through core aeration to let the roots breath and easily absorb more nutrients. This have been covered extensively on previous blog posts. We then had to remove the strongest of the infesting weeds and live oak spouts. Afterwards, we applied the right amount of top dressing to aid in repairing the lawn. This also adds more organic materials back to the soil. Organic amendments and natural conditioners to adjust the pH level to lessen salt levels were applied. The trick is to make sure we are adding the proper amount organic matter using the results from the soil test, add the proper amount of water, and then mow much more frequently a few weeks later. Even when the lawn has not grown much, mowing more often encourages the lawn to use all the nutrients available to regrow and repair. This calls for a weekly lawn mowing as it is really impossible to successfully recover the lawn under any other service intervals. There has to be constant monitoring to check the reaction of the lawn to make the necessary adjustments as needed. It was a slow but highly effective scientific process that has proved itself to be very successful time and again. There is little arguing with the results. At Week 7, the lawn has recovered, and the more time passes by, the better the lawn will look as the organic amendments break down to its natural cycle.
Week 7 and Week 20
Works on Problem Areas
On this second example, another client had a couple of problem areas. A big name full service provider was unsuccessful in installing new sods a year earlier. The sods did not take, the client told us. It was a very tough challenge at the time because we were unsure what went wrong with the previous provider's project. We analyzed the problem and recommended a round of new sods to be installedto expedite the recovery process and remove time from the equation. Naturally, the client was concerned and a bit hesitant because they had already been burned before. In this case, we guaranteed the new sods would "take" and be alive over a period of 30 days. As seen in the photos, the maintenance program was used to full effect. At day 60, the sods are propagating quite well. The new sods "take" and the project was successful. At day 90, the owner had let the dogs out in the backyard. This was a concern. We were not aware the dogs would be let in the backyard. Notice small dotted yellow patches on isolated areas have appeared. This is where the dogs would normally pee. Because dogs are carnivorous, their pee have large amounts of Nitrogen, which burns the lawn. This situation is exacerbated with larger breeds. In this situation, that is exactly the case. This is the reason why it is very important to wash away the dog pee to dilute nitrogen levels and lessen burn marks. This is very similar to having synthetic fertilizers poured over one spot. The best practice is to get the dog trained to pee and poop on one specific spot in the backyard. This way, proper planning can be done to accommodate the pet.
Works at Anytime of the Year
The same program was performed extensively on a recent project we had in South Austin. In this case, two previous reseeding applications from other providers failed to revive this football field. 50K Professional Lawn Services LLC was eventually contracted to help revive the football field below. Our expertise in lawn care accurately assessed the situation and performed the proper corrections. We even had an independent laboratory confirm our results. Our maintenance program was used to help our community regain a fresh new football field to use. Our clients, partners, and the community were pleased with the results.
We are fully aware that you may find contradicting information on other websites. In the lawn care industry, there are a lot of misinformation from special interest groups and companies that benefit from selling ethically questionable products. No matter how harmful they are to our waterways, sewers, lakes, and overall environment. Our company mindset has always been to think of organic, natural, and creative ways to solve lawn and landscape problems. It is simply the right thing to do because there is no other substitute for our environment.
Should you need help or have any questions that you'd like us to answer, please don't hesitate to contact us .
Maintaining proper roof clearance is crucial to lessen roof damage due to hanging limbs being blown away during a storm or insect infestation after months worth of tree debris pile up on gutters and roof crevices. We have seen spiders, cockroaches, millipedes, poisonous centipedes, and in extreme cases mold and mildew on people's roofs. All of these issues can be avoided and thousands of dollars worth of pest control services be saved with regular maintenance from your lawn care provider. If you have mature trees around your home, make sure to have them checked at least once a year. This ensures you are ahead of all your home's exterior maintenance.
Live Unedited Onsite Video Recordings.
These videos will show you the amount of roaches on this small pile of tree debris. There were 5 of this kind of pile on our client's roof. The main issue in this situation is that once the roaches have infiltrated the house, they can be very hard to fully eradicate. By cleaning the roof, we are an inch closer in controlling the infestation. In cases like this one, we almost always seek assistance from pest control specialists.
10 Easy Steps to Overseed Bermuda Seeds on an Existing Bermuda Grass
For the budding DIYers, here's our simple guide that won't let you down to overseeding Bermuda! Let's make those seeds sprout.
Easy Step 1
Scalp the grass. Yes, go all the way down with your mower to the lowest possible setting.
Easy Step 2
Make sure you have good seed to soil contact.
Easy Step 3
Rake the lawn or purchase or rent a pinpoint spreader/slice seeder.
Easy Step 4
Aerate the ground as you drop the seeds and make sure there the seeds are in contact with the soil.
Easy Step 5
Use a spreader to apply the seeds.
Easy Step 6
Ignore the seed labels and use as much seeds as possible. Seeds are cheap. Labor is not (even if it's just you doing the work).
Easy Step 7
Make sure to overlap and pass in different directions, north to south, east to west, and diagonally.
Easy Step 8
Use a roller or back of a straight rake to go over the lawn to ensure the seeds are in contact with the soil.
Easy Step 9
Water a couple of times a day for up to 21 days (no, not 21 business days, just 21 days).
Easy Step 10
Simply wait for the Bermuda seeds to pop!
Top 3 Reasons to Choose Native and Adapted Landscape Plants
1. Native and Adapted Plants Help Protect and Preserve Our Water Resources in Central Texas.
Time and again, our study of chosen native and adapted plants have shown that they tend to be drought tolerant and can survive and retain foliage with little to no watering up to a few weeks. The key here is to plan the overall landscape ahead of time, and place your selected native and adapted plants in areas where they typically thrive. If a plant calls for shade, do not place them in full sun while watering very low. In other words, the magic happens when you use the right plant in the right location. The city of Austin have landscape design and other resources available for Austin residents at www.austintexas.gov/department/landscape-design. By actively participating in being a more responsible bearer of our lands, we can conserve and protect our natural rivers, aquifers, and lakes.
2. Most Native and Adapted Plants in Austin Need Very Little Supplemental Fertilizer.
There is a reason why they are called native and adapted plants in the first place. They will grow in Austin's wild habitat without human intervention! Sure, some may need a little fresh compost once in a blue moon to get the extra "umph!", but all will likely survive unattended for many, many years. In fact, sometimes, they survive and thrive for so long that homeowners who have planted them decades ago use our services to remove them. But there is no need to feel guilty. Any plant we remove are either re-potted or re-planted. We do our very best not to trash anything that easily.
3. Many Native and Adapted Plants Provide Habitat and Food Sources for Local Wildlife.
It may be hard to believe, but the circle of life is true. the native wildlife use native and adapted plants as safe refuge and food. Native and adapted plants sometimes have edible leaves, berries, nectar, and flower petals. They also attract insects and other animals that can complete the local cycle; just as how a pond full of mosquitoes will naturally attract frogs, a rose bush will attract butterflies and incidentally bees. It is up to your provider to plan and adjust accordingly to find the right balance for your lawn and landscaping needs.
What Your Lawn Care Provider Does Not Want You To Know.
Long-term Service Contract? Service Commitment? Terms of Agreement Over 12 Months? Oral Commitment of 6 Visits? Lawn Care Service Providers of All Sizes Have A Lot of Confusing Mambo Jumbo To Throw You Off. Now Updated for 2019, What Your Lawn Care Provider Does Not Want You To Know.
New homeowners in Austin and perhaps elswehere sometimes get confused of what a long-term lawn service contract actually means to them. Some of whom we have spoken with thought that having one saves them money. This may perhaps be true if lawn care service providers are losing money servicing lawns. With the industry, according to IBIS World, worth $78 billion and having grown 4.6% in 2016, it is safe to assume they are NOT losing money.
The industry contends that contracts have been an industry-wide practice for decades. This is particularly true for huge sprawling commercial properties. Bidding on these commercial lots are cutthroat. That we know all too well. And why shouldn't it not? Commercial properties have economies of scale due to the sheer sizes of their lots. Because lawn care providers had to acquire additional trucks, trailers, laborers, and other equipment just to service them, the long-term service contract was created to avoid the commercial property management company from walking away easily. That is to say that from the perspective of the lawn care provider, the long-term service contract is there to protect the lawn business. It provides proof to creditors that the additional debt incurred from assets purchased are feasible and can be carried throughout the duration of the contract. In Austin, we notice the same logic being applied by lawn care providers to Austin homeowners. A growing number of homeowners in Austin are being asked to sign similar long-term service contract for their modest lawns. But the question begs to be answered, why do lawn care providers require homeowners to sign a long-term service contract in the first place?
In this blog entry, 50K Professional Lawn Services LLC explores what your lawn care provider does not want you to know. Let's begin, shall we? The long-term service contract is there to do the following:
1. To Make You Overpay
On commercial properties, professional managers almost always already know what they want out of the service. These managers are there to protect the property owner's interests. They have what people in the industry call, "Specs Sheet" or "Specifications". The Specs Sheet have all the services they want to see. It includes height, diameter, color, shade, etc. The detail will mesmerize you should you actually see one. From years of experience and lots of data from blind bids, property managers know what they want, and know how much the going rate is. The same can not be said for the typical homeowner (except, of course, for the really savvy ones! You know who you are.). But we digress. See, on a residential setting, the long-term service contract makes the deal sound really great at first glance because everything has been bundled together. They commonly call the bundles "Basic", "Better", and "Best". The really profitable bundle, a company will typically say, "Best Value", to somehow make you feel you outsmarted them. In fact, they outsmarted you. By bundling all services, the lawn care provider is making it much more difficult for you to decipher how much each service actually cost. The really big lawn companies will typically have a highly trained salesman/lady as a front liner. If you ever talk to one over the phone, they are easy on the ears. If you ever walked in to one of their locations, they are easy on the eyes. This is part of the sales process, and most homeowners stand little to no chance to these highly persuasive professionals. See, the sales team do this kind of thing all day, everyday. You are just another customer out of hundreds if not thousands of prospective leads they have talked with in the past few days. You will first be told of how great it is that you will now only be paying a flat rate. Imagine bundling your landline and internet services. You may think you're saving money until you realize you don't even use the landline. Nobody calls the landline except telemarketers! The same logic can be said for residential lawn care service contracts. It may be great when you need all those services, or when you just know more information than the "house", or in this case lawn care provider. Chances are that is not the case. You will be bombarded with industry jargon you are not familiar with. Now, coupled with a little tactical push and pull from the sales team, it is only a matter of time before you justify to yourself that you are ripe for the hook. After all, if you have incomplete information, it will be harder for you to compare similar services from other companies. Their hope is that you won't do a thorough research and will simply sign on the dotted line. But of course, you know better. That's why you're here.
Only order the services you need right now. If they want you to sign up for other services, ask for their justifications. If you are satisfied, check for more information to other references online. The idea is to trust your professional lawn provider but verify their justifications.
2. To Force You To Prepay For Services
This is connected to reason number one. The long-term service contract forces you to prepay for services you either will not need until much later in the season or do not need at all. Lawn care providers use long-term service contracts as a strategy to get paid in advance at the beginning of the season. A simple mowing that should have only cost you $40 will now be $80 because you are paying for upcoming services. They use it to bundle other services that under normal circumstances, you probably won't purchase anyway or may not even need. We see this all the time. Lawn care service providers spraying herbicides when weeds can just be pulled, and applying fertilizers when soil nutrients are normal. Herbicide overuse is already a problem and is producing herbicide resistant strains of weeds according to the director of Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative published on Phys.org, a leading web-based science, research and technology news service. Herbicide overuse in the green industry is no different than the overuse of antibiotics in the medical industry. There are adverse effects in misusing great products. The same can be said in the overuse of fertilizers. SFGate.com reports, "The misuse of fertilizer often has negative effects on fish and other aquatic animals. Algae feed off of the nutrients in fertilizers, using up oxygen that fish and other animals need. Additionally, ammonia released by fertilizer is harmful to fish." The problem with long-term service contracts is as much of an economic problem to the typical household in Austin as an environmental one. They push so many products to make a profit. In most cases, they push too much that we end up wasting resources.
Look for lawn care service providers that avoid the use of herbicide and synthetic fertilizers. There are a lot of reasons why the use of herbicides are controlled. For herbicides that can be purchased at your local big box store, hold off until the controversy regarding cancer has been cleared. It is much better to stay healthy than to fully eliminate weeds on your plant bed. See Roundup Lawsuit. There are a lot of organic and natural herbicides on the market that are naturally occurring and are safe for pets, children, and our aquatic resources. Only use organic fertilizers after a soil test. A soil test will give you the immediate nutrient available for a specific area. There is no need to pre-package these services. Only use the products as needed.
3. To Lock You In
The long-term service contract avoids competition and locks you up with the lawn care service provider regardless of service quality and customer satisfaction. There are a lot of bad apples in our industry. Yes, even large bad and rotten apples. Go to Yelp or Google Reviews, and you will read a lot stories from large franchise businesses to large publicly listed companies. Some lawn care providers have tried all the smarts in the world can muster to break the business down into a science, where one client can bring a certain number of profit and so on, that the overwhelming majority of lawn service providers, both large and small, fail to see the real intrinsic value for having great clients with whom you have great relationships with over a long period of time. A long term lawn service contract will limit your options months down the road. But why risk being unhappy and getting stuck with a lawn care service provider you no longer want? See, in a commercial property, the lawn only needs to look presentable because nobody lives there. Professional managers, moreover, do not have the kind of appreciation for their commercial properties similar to the one you have for your home. At your home's lawn, you play with your children, play fetch with your dog, relax with your wife, and celebrate the good times with other family and friends. Frankly, one of the best moments in life are created at your home, a stark contrast to that found at a place of business. When you are not restricted by a long-term lawn service contract to walk away at anytime, you keep the lawn care service provider on its toes. Because of this, service quality greatly improves and customers stay not because of legal obligation but because they are absolutely happy and fully satisfied. This we think is the right way to go. It may have been a long and winding road of capitalism, but we truly believe we will all end up back to where we started, just like the good old days.
Only use on-demand lawn service and ask to setup a risk-free recurring service. By going for this route, you will have the same benefits of a "service contract" without having to sign one. Services will still recur automatically, only this time you can walk away at anytime. Also, the best way to make sure that you are on the right path is to CALL your chosen lawn care service provider. If your call went straight to voicemail, then you know what to expect should you move forward with them. In the event that the provider answered the call, expect the provider to be an expert in the industry and be able to answer all your questions to your full satisfaction. No matter if they are office personnel or general manager. They must be trained in the business they are in. A lot of lawn care service providers now have an answering service to answer calls. Answering service as of this writing are absolutely clueless to who you are and what you need. They are just there to write down notes. At this point, express your desire to maintain your entire lawn and your need for guidance. If guidance is not there, move along. The typical mow, blow, and go guy will be hard pressed to discuss extensive maintenance outside of mowing. A trusted provider, on the other hand, will always perform a free soil fertility test and bore testing before quoting any type of service. They do not just fertilize because of a schedule. Fertilizer is applied because nutrients are insufficient. They also do not aerate just for the sake of aerating. They aerate because a bore test confirmed specific compaction points. These two free tests alone will save you hundreds of dollars in unnecessary services.
We hope to have added an insightful perspective on this topic. Let's keep on tearing up those long-term contracts! Add them to your compost pile! For more information about lawn care contracts, here are 3 Reasons Why You Should Dump Your Residential Lawn Care Contract