Winter is coming, are your trees ready for the cold chill? At 50K, we recommend to mulch your trees to get ready for the winter months. Mulching is very beneficial for trees. It will preserve its current dormant state. This stops premature plant growth in winter due to temperature fluctuation.
Natural Mulch and Ground Cover Available for Lawns in Austin, Texas.
Natural Mulch and Ground Cover are essential part of lawn and landscapes in Austin, TX. Our lawn care experts can help you choose the right mulch or ground cover material for your needs. In this blog, written and compiled by recognized lawn care industry professionals, we will arm you with the knowledge to help you make the right decision. Afterall, any type of landscape installation is a no easy feat. It requires proper planning and expert-level knowledge to create a landscape that works for you, not the other way around.
Corrugated Cardboard Boxes
Corrugated cardboard boxes are biodegradable and will decompose as time passes by. It is normally used as a natural barrier to suppress turf or weed growth on specific areas. It cools down the coverage area, like a garden bed or pathway. As it decomposes, nematode population naturally increases to create a local ecosystem, which affects macro and micro nutrients in the soil. This natural ecosystem also lessens the need for human intervention, the use of herbicides, pesticides, and the need for synthetic fertilizers.
Newspapers are very similar to corrugated cardboard boxes, like all paper based material, will decompose if left in contact with the soil. It can be used to suppress weeds and pests, and also cools down the garden bed. Newspapers create the same pros and cons found on corrugated cardboard boxes. Lawn care professionals installing newspapers typically use it as a natural weed barrier, to be used in conjunction with hardwood cedar mulch, decomposed granite, or pea gravel to improve aesthetics.
Hardwood mulch is very popular and came from recycled wood. Unlike corrugated cardboard boxes and newspapers, it does not smother weeds. This is the reason why lawn care professionals in Austin, Tx use hardwood mulch in tandem with either corrugated cardboard boxes, newspapers, or oil-based weed fabric. Hardwood mulch is naturally found in Austin, is aesthetically pleasing once professionally installed, and can be purchases in different colors (Red, Brown, Natural, or Black). While it also increases moisture on plant beds, picking a darker color will increase heat absorption. We, however, do not recommended cedar mulch to be used around deciduous plants or areas with a lot of fallen leaves. Hardwood mulch can hard to clean thoroughly with rake, blower, or vacuum. As a result, expect frequent and higher overall maintenance cost when removing leaves.
Decomposed granite is also one of the most popular rocks used as ground cover. It can increase drainage when mixed into the compost or soil. Similar to a hardwood cedar mulch, it does not protect the area against weeds or pests. When using decomposed granite on areas with a lot of leaves, expect lawn care professionals to only use rake. Using a leaf vacuum or blower will inadvertently suck or blow away the decomposed granite. Despite this, decomposed granite is still commonly used in Austin as it gives a modern look on any landscape.
Pea gravel is preferred by lawn care professionals in Austin, Tx on areas prone to fallen leaves or around deciduous plants. Unlike hardwood cedar mulch and decomposed granite, leaves on top of pea gravel beds are easy to clean with either a rake, a leaf vacuum or blower. This decreases overall cost of removing leaves on plant beds. Similar to hardwood cedar mulch and decomposed granite, pea gravel does not protect an area against weed. It is best practice to combine pea gravel with at least one other ground cover material for weed barrier. Pea gravel increases moisture as well and will need power washing once a year to remove dirt.
1. Faster Setup
Without a long-term contract, you could call today and have everything setup in minutes instead of days. The setup process is much faster and simpler. All you need to give is your address, basic contact information, and the kind of services you wanted done. From here, you will get a direct quote on the spot. You may either accept the offer, decline, or make suggestions. Now, once accepted, the rest is very easy. If you love the quality of service, you could go ahead and tell us, "Hey, come back next week." Either way, you will always have a choice. Compare this to a lawn care provider that will bind you in a 12-month contract. When you contact them, they would schedule a visit in the next couple of days to measure your lawn and discuss with you the multi-tiered service packages they offer for the rest of the year. You would be talked into the need of lime soil protection, targeted weed control, among many others. There would be pressure on you to decide upfront the kind of services you want throughout the year. You would most likely have to talk with your spouse, neighbor, and friends about what they did with theirs and possibly what to do with yours. All these hassles just for lawn care complicate things and bog down the time to setup service. You no longer have to go through this. With pay as you go, you can be in and out in the setup process a whole lot faster.
You may easily add, change, and remove services at anytime. No longer will you have to deal with service bundles just to get the service you need. With pay per visit, you only pay for the service you want. Simply say what you need, and it is done. Easy as pie. You may even switch lawn care providers without worrying about breaking your contract. Save hundreds of dollars because the hefty cancellation fee is just a thing of the past. Unwanted things can happen in 12 months. You may need to sell your house, move to another city, or no longer need the professional lawn care service. Whatever it is, you want to be flexible. The goal of a reputable lawn care provider should be that of a helping hand in making life easier for you, not to financially destroy you. Unfortunately, this old school value is all but gone nowadays.
When you dump your 12-month service contract, every lawn service visit becomes a trial period. If you and the provider are not an exact match, you don't have to wait out the next few months. You can leave right away and replace it with another provider. This being said, there is a lot of pressure on pay per visit lawn service providers to ensure the highest quality of service on each and every visit. This is also the main reason why the majority of lawn care companies want you to sign a contract. They are driven mainly by profits. After the trial period, service starts to suffer as clients get piled in a very tight schedule. Crews rush the job to meet their deadline. Things get skipped. A pay per visit service provider is driven mainly by quality. They want you to stay because you absolutely love the service. Gone are the days when you are just waiting for the contract to expire.
A few questions would have to be answered. Why pay should you pay for a service you no longer want/need? And is the lawn care company seriously contemplating of going after you should you break contract? If not, then a long-term service contract in residential properties is really unnecessary. There is no reason for it. It does not help. Dump your service contract today, and get the fast, flexible, and quality service you deserve.
This guide has been updated to industry specifications in 2021.
How to Build a Wooden Fence That Will Last a Longtime
Installing a new fence can be a very daunting task. This is a step-by-step guide to help you Do It Yourself. It is crucial to use the right materials to build the best wooden fence in the neighborhood. Use metal posts instead of wooden 4 by 4's. Metal posts with proper foundations are designed to outlive all of us. For pickets and planks, use cedar wood instead of pressure treated wood. Cedar naturally absorbs moisture and can last for 20 years or more with regular pressure washing, cleaning, and staining.
Tools1. Spade Shovel
2. Post Hole Digger
3. Pencil Point Digging Bar
4. Wheel Barrow
5. Miter Saw
6. Cordless Impact Wrench
7. Measuring Tape
11. Knife Sharpener
12. Steel Stakes and Tie Downs
CAUTION: Please practice extreme care. Check with your local authorities for gas, oil, water, electric, or other below ground utility lines before digging. Always use safety glasses, safety gloves, knee pads, and a lot of common sense.
CALL BEFORE YOU DIG.
Materials1. 2-3/8 by 2-3/8 8 ft. Metal Tube Post
2. 2-3/8 Grip Tie and Cap
3. 1-1/4" Deck Screws
4. 2 x 4 x 8 Lumber
5. Appropriately-sized Pickets
6. Fast-setting Cement
7. Wood Stain
Step 1: PlanningBegin by taking photos and detailed notes of the existing fence line's location. This is very crucial, as this will be your only guide moving forward. If you are building a new fence, mark where you want your fence to start and end. Make a rough sketch of the completed fence's shape and a general idea of how you want it to look like. Use your imagination. You can add more complex and interesting twists, like following the contour of a tree branch, working around a physical barrier, a waterway, etc. This guide will only focus on building a simple fence line that you won't need to touch for a very long time.
Step 2: MarkingUse the spade to mark where you want your first post to stand. Maintain a gap of 7-3/4' to 8' between every fence post's center. Repeat this step until you have completely marked the entire fence line.
Industry TipYou may mark your first post and directly proceed to step 3 and 4. Then, repeat the steps 2-6 for each and every fence post until you have completed your entire fence line. This makes it easier to make adjustments especially if you are not used to carpentry. Note: when digging near utilities or foundations, always call in for safe dig and only dig by hand for safety.
Step 3: FoundationRemember, take your time and be consistent. Some areas are much more easier to dig than others. Use your spade to start digging the marked locations. If the soil is too dry, consider watering until moist. Use your post hole digger to remove soil debris. Use a digging bar or pick to remove rocks or to break through boulders. Repeat until you have reached 24" in depth. For areas with considerable water overrun, such as those found in uphill/downhill slopes, consider adding another 6" to add gravel as extra drainage. Do not shortchange yourself. You have gone this far. Go by the book, and you will be pleased with the results. For fences taller than 6', you will need to dig deeper. As a general rule, the foundation's depth tend to be 1/3rd of the total height of the fence above ground. If tree roots are on the way, use your digging bar to breakthrough them. Note that moving the post to another area usually do not help. It is not uncommon for trees to have multiple main root lines not too far from where you have already dug.
Industry TipCheck for post foundation alignment by either using a laser or a fish line. If these tools are not immediately available in your tool box, you may also eyeball the holes to get the approximate alignment and simply make small adjustments to line up the posts when you start setting them up. Also, make sure your spade, post hole digger, and pencil bar are sharp. They do get dull after a couple of holes.
Step 4: Set-up PostsPlace your post in the center of the hole. Should your post alignment be off, consider digging some more on one side to correct the alignment. Take your time. Preparation is key for a successful fence project.
Step 5: Mix CementOpen a bag of concrete and put it in your wheel barrow. Water and mix until you get a muddy texture. Avoid over watering as this will weaken the concrete. Make sure to mix the concrete thoroughly using your spade before pouring in the hole. Should you have added an addition 6" of drain, make sure to put the gravel in first, then compact the gravel using a piece of wood for even footing.
Industry TipOnly open a bag you know you will use. Fast setting concrete may dry up in as little as 5 minutes. If it ever dries up while still in the wheel barrow, add more water and re-mix thoroughly.
Step 6: LevelingLevel the post by making sure you have center bubble all the way around (front, back, and sides). For posts higher than 6' above ground level, tie down using stakes to maintain desired leveling. For 6' posts or shorter, the weight of the concrete is enough to hold it in place. Make alignment adjustments as needed before the concrete dries up.
Step 7: CuringLet the concrete cure for 4-6 hours. Note that even fast setting concrete will have a hard time curing during wet and cold weather. If the weather is colder than 60F, consider waiting for a couple more days.
Step 8: Grip Tie and CapInstall grip ties a foot above ground and at the very top of the fence post. Tighten up until snug. Place two or three levels. If you're going with three levels, place the third grip tie exactly in the middle of the top and bottom grip ties.
Step 9: PlankInstall your planks by screwing one side first unto the grip tie and then the other. Use two or more planks between posts. Screw in 2 screws per side or 4 screws per plank.
Step 10: PicketPlace the first picket a quarter inch above ground. Screw in your first screw. Level to center bubble before screwing in your second screw. Install 4 screws per picket. Repeat the steps until the entire fence line has been completed. You may maintain an eight of an inch gap between pickets by placing a nail in between or by eyeballing the gap. The gap, however, is not necessary. Your fence will be fine with or without it.
Step 11: StainingUse your roller and carefully stain with even strokes. Thoroughly saturate one area before moving to the next. For best results, stain both front and back of the fence line. Repeat every 2-3 years.
Follow these steps and you will be on your way to a great looking fence that will last a very long time.
We hope our article has helped you better understand how to properly install a wooden fence that will last a long time. If you need professional lawn care assistance in Austin or around Travis County, please don't hesitate to contact us at 844-50K-LAWN (844-505-5296).
DISCLAIMER: This general guideline is meant for educational purposes only. We will not be responsible for damages caused by you for following any of our suggestions. Every situation is different. Please consult 50K Professional Lawn Services LLC for professional help.
Imagine this, you water your plants everyday, trim all the excess branches to welcome more sunlight, and add fertilizer every other month. Despite your greatest efforts, your plant doesn't seem to grow an inch, leaves look dry and wrinkly, branches and stem are thin and brittle, and seem to develop brownish freckle-like spots. Wait, what is going on?
Before and After Photos
We treat lawn care as a true profession. Our services come with before and after photos, standard. We offer you peace of mind. You will know when we serviced your lawn and what we did while on your lawn. With 50K, there is nothing to worry about. This is another reason why a growing number of Austinites (both new and old) choose 50K over everybody else. You will see the exact condition of your lawn when we arrived and the same exact condition before we leave. Our crews are trained to take accurate and clear photos that will show the scope of all the work we performed. We take clear and wide angle photos of the tasks we completed. No hiding. No guessing. Just old school values, mixed with 21st century technology.
Why Should You Care
You want to know if you should trust your lawn care provider. Without comparison photos, it may be very difficult to confirm if the work order on your invoice was actually completed. The photos will serve as an additional eye for you and our managers to make sure our technicians do what they are supposed to do every single time. Photos are not only useful to confirm every job, but are also useful when comparing the condition of your lawn months or even years ago. This makes for a more objective recommendation for needed services to care for your lawn. In some cases, comparison photos have actually helped our customer identify a drainage issue. On top of this, during service, crews may occasionally miss a spot or two, and while taking after photos, they will have another opportunity to look at their work before handing it back to you. In instances when a spot was missed, our crews would go back to their truck, grab the proper equipment, and do whatever they need to do to get it right. After confirming the job was fully completed, then and only then would they start taking after photos. If at some point during our visit, we found anything unusual with your lawn, tree, or fence, we would take a photo and contact you right away.
1. Transparency of Service.
When we service your lawn, tree, or perform any landscaping project, you will know exactly when we came and what we did immediately after service. This means that even if you are away, in another state, or out of the country, you will see a real side by side comparison of your property. Before servicing, you will receive service reminders of your service date so you will be able to plan ahead of time. Should there be any weather delays, we will contact you with the reason for the delay and service your home on our next availability. This means that you are a priority in our service pipeline. You'll always know what's going on with the service. No more guessing games.
2. Professional Guarantee.
If for whatever reason you are not satisfied with the quality of our work, just tell us what's wrong, and we'll re-do the specific item in question for FREE! But there is more... if after coming back for FREE and you are still not happy with the results, we will hire a competitor of your choice up to the full amount of your invoice to make sure you only get the professional results you truly deserve!
3. Crew Expertise.
Our crews know our culture of excellence and the way we conduct business. We don't take shortcuts. Should a job ever take longer than expected, we would absorb the cost of completion and let you know immediately. We are committed in making sure your experience with us is worry-free. Whatever happens, we would be with you in every step of the way.
4. Management Reliability.
When you contact us, we will answer the phone every single time, from 7AM to 7PM. When you leave a voicemail, we'll get back with you in 24 hours or less. The full force of our management team is dedicated in making sure all your questions are answered and your concerns are addressed. We will give you clear answers. Our managers are on duty to make hard off the cuff decisions should the need arise. At 50K, you will not get the run around.
5. Payment Flexibility.
You may pay per visit, per month, or as much as you want in advance. We also accept online payments via PayPal, over the phone with all major credit cards, charged either automatically or one-time, or on-site payment by check or by mail. We are flexible in whichever way you want to pay your bill.
Decorative Ivies can turn into eyesores if they are not maintained. Excessive ivies will make any beautiful property look very ghastly. Do not underestimate the strength of Ivies. They will slowly infiltrate, bend, and lift to the point of destroying parts of your walls, fences, decks, and more. Although Ivies are not parasitic plants like others might think, by itself, they are harmless to plants and trees. The problem begins once they grow and starts to entirely surround them, they can overpower and weaken them by covering them from sunlight.
3 Solid Reasons to Hire a Professional Lawn Care Company
We all have reasons for doing things the way we do. So if you happen to have a lawn somewhere around your home or place of business, why should you hire a professional lawn care company? Among the many reasons we compiled, here are the top three rock-solid reasons you shouldn't even try to become a weekend warrior.
1. Have More Time
There are only so many hours in a 24-hour day that you can spend studying lawn care, watching dozens of online reviews for different equipment, and researching countless of local laws and ordinances. Rather than wasting hours of your time doing these unproductive tasks, why not invest in yourself today? Yes, why not leave the lawn to the pros, so you can have more time with the people and things that really matter in your life? Yes, them, right here, right now, at this moment. Imagine more quality time with your family, the freedom to just relax and unwind. Imagine reviving your long lost hobbies, reliving the youth within you that has been asleep for so long. Just imagine how much more you can do when you have 2 or more free hours during the week. Having a manicured lawn while getting more time can only be achieved by delegating this monotony to a professional lawn care company like us, a company that only does lawn care all day long.
2. Liability Protection
A professional lawn care company carries a commercial general liability insurance coverage. You no longer need to fear about breaking your neighbor's windows, running over your expensive sprinkler system, or accidentally injuring a passer by; however, be careful of other companies that have a propensity to use sub-contractors to cover their workload. There is nothing wrong with using sub-contractors, but you should be extra diligent in ensuring that these sub-contractors in unmarked pickup trucks have proper insurance because you may be held responsible for injuries or damages caused by them. You don't want a fly by night sub-contractor that will bail on you the moment things go south. You want a local lawn care company that is active in the community and does all the work they schedule from A to Z.
Savings from scale has a lot of benefits for consumers like you. For a small fee, your local lawn care provider can cover the costs of expert labor, high quality materials, and commercial equipment. Why wasting hundreds or even thousands of dollars on equipment you will only use at the very most a few hours a month? Plus the hard-labor associated with learning how to use the equipment you just purchased, and then gaining the expertise necessary to achieve a manicured lawn, not to mention the risks, hiccups, and drawbacks one normally encounter along the way. A local lawn care company like us do this kind of work all day, everyday. This is what we do for a living. We do this full time. We are out servicing different areas day-in and day-out. This is what you want to hear from your provider because companies like us are experts in this industry.
To sum it up, if time, liability, and savings matter to you, you should just leave the lawn to us.
1. Excess leaves destroy grass growth.
Too much leaves (not to be confused with mulched leaves) will block sunlight and water evaporation that are necessary for the turf to grow. This is one of the main reasons why some lawns have bald spots and while others no longer have any turf growth at all. Weak turf growth is common where the leaves have accumulated, especially to the point where it is rotting from within. If you have a deciduous tree, like the Live Oaks that we have in Austin, our recommendation is to at least perform a leaf removal once in the Fall and another one in Spring. This encourages strong turf growth and a beautiful looking lawn.
2. Excess leaves cause your turf to get plant diseases.
Rotting leaves develop fungus and molds that can potentially cause disease to spread throughout your turf and neighboring plants. Certain strains of fungal infection on plants are difficult to assess and cure. In some instances, the fastest way to remedy the problem is by removing all infected areas.
3. Excess leaves invite unwanted visitors.
Once the leaves start collecting water, drainage issues have already started. This creates a perfect breeding ground for pests which can be harmful not just to your plants but also potentially to people. Many local lawn provider simply "mulch" the leaves which may exacerbate the problem. Others may also try to spray chemicals to eradicate the pests, completely ignoring its root cause. Leaf removal is one of the fastest and easiest ways to rejuvenate your lawn. With regular service, your lawn will look very crispy and clean.
Three Simple Reasons Cedar Wood Is Great for Fences
1. DurabilityCedar will not shrink, swell, or warp as much as other lumbers. When fences made of other lumbers need replacement every five years, fences made of cedar lasts decades with regular maintenance.
2. AppearanceCedar fences will look better 10 years later than other lumbers because it is hygroscopic. Meaning, it won't split as it absorbs and discharges water moisture in its surroundings. It is, therefore, very stable and has a low shrinkage factor. It will remain straight for decades.
3. Ease of InstallationBecause Cedar is a softwood, a very soft one indeed, it is one easiest woods to work with. It is easily sawn either by hand or machine, and has good fastening and gluing properties.
Top 8 Thumbtack Questions Answered By 50K Professional Lawn Services LLC
How did you get started doing this type of work?
We had enough dealing with contractors that either don't show up, don't answer calls, or simply don't do what they say they will do. After getting burned over and over again, we decided to finally start a business that will show up when it says it will show up, that will answer calls when it is supposed to answer calls, and that will do anything and everything it says it will do every single time. This is what we are all about. But don't just take our word for it, the only badge of honor we have is our long line of fully satisfied customers.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
Exceptional work takes time and energy. It's a lot harder than just mowing yards, trimming trees, putting up walls, laying down stones, or hauling debris. Some companies, like ourselves, take hiring honest and high quality workers seriously. And the really great companies train and train and train their crews to become the best not only at what they do but on what they can be. There are companies that take being exceptional in every sense of the word very seriously. We are one of those companies.
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
Every landscaping project we handle is different from those previously handled. That said, we make sure all our landscaping projects are finished within the agreed project timeline. This means that if we will have a big project, then we will make sure to have a big crew. Our operations do not permit us to sit on any project. All projects, big or small, are finished on time. We can do this because we take into account weather patterns every season. This means that something out of the ordinary has to happen to keep us from meeting our project completion goals and disrupt services. Once we set a date, the entire company stands behind that date and will do everything and anything to meet the set goal. We are that kind of different.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
Look for a company that has an iron-clad 100% money back guarantee in writing that is either posted on their website or service contract, has a multi-million general liability insurance policy to protect your family and can furnish a copy upon your request, and only uses legal U.S. workers and/or verified workers in the U.S. under the H2B Visa program. Otherwise, these workers cannot be background checked. Protect your family above everything else.
What types of customers have you worked with?
We have worked with customers who have properties as small as 1,000 sq ft and as large as 45,000 sq ft, from services like lawn mowing, fertilization, weed control, bush trimming, flower installations, mulch installs, flower bed maintenance, entire property maintenance... of course, we do a lot more than this... but these are just the most common services that we preform every single day.
Do you have a standard pricing system for your service? If so, please share the details here.
We have a standard pricing algorithm for each service. Pricing depends on factors such as distance, scope, square footage or acreage, land grade, window size, tree height, degree of disrepair, etc.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
We operate a professionally run business, and education and training is a very important part of what we do everyday. Our education involves intensive training in our very own University of Property Maintenance, a controlled environment where crews learn real-world application of different concepts in every aspect of what we do, where they receive hands-on training in operating the best commercial equipment in the market, and where shift managers hone skills necessary to ensure each crew maintains the highest quality of service everyday. We are experts who collaborate with and learn from other experts in the industry, not just here in the United States but also overseas.
What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
Our interaction with new customers is very easy and quite simple. We first obtain basic information, perform an estimate, and then work on the job while keeping the customer up to date in every step of the way. With us, there is no guess work. You know exactly what is going on around your home.
The development of sods through research has enabled utilization for the most effective ground cover based on needs and preferences. Different types of sods have diverse characteristics and respond uniquely to their environment. Thus, when choosing a sod for a particular landscaping project, many things should be taken into consideration.
Some of the Things to Bear in Mind when Picking a Sod
- Texture & Color
- Erosion factor
- Drought resistance
- Traffic consideration
- Amount of shade needed and available
- Maintenance requirements
One of the best sods for southern area home usage is the Bermuda type sod. It is considerably drought resistant, has excellent wear tolerance divot recovery, and high shade tolerance, and requires little fertilization. Bermuda is a fast grower and has an excellent blue-green hue, which is very appealing for lawns and sports venues. However, it can produce heavy thatch and may require frequent bagging.
St. Augustine is a local favorite in central Texas because of its carpet-like texture. With proper watering, it produces long, healthy runners that comes together to form a nice cushion to walk on, and makes it prolific for extensive coverage. It is bug resistant and has less propensity to support weeds and other types of grass growth. It also has excellent shade tolerance and requires minimal mowing because if its generally horizontal growth pattern.
For less thatch and incredible emerald hue and carpet-like aesthetics, Zoysia is a fine bladed grass that is easy to grow. It is extremely drought tolerant and a slow grower, and grows well in moderately shaded areas. It has one of the best wear tolerance, and is great for landscaping small definitive areas. Zoysia, however, requires adequate drainage and can be slow to recuperate and heal damaged areas.
One of the top fall and winter winners when it comes to grass types is the Rye variety. It is a perennial with insect resistant attributes. The Rye variety is a favorite in areas where winter pasturing for livestock and wildlife is needed. It is somewhat shade tolerant and great at germination. Because of the variety of Rye in central Texas, it grows very fast and requires more frequent maintenance.
Centipede grass is an incredible sod which is low maintenance and extremely adaptable. It has excellent lateral growth and is quick to repair damage. Centipede has a massive root system and excellent drought tolerance.
Whichever turf you choose, make sure to fertilize and mow regularly. The best protection against weed is not herbicide but a healthy lawn.
What is Shrub Pruning and Trimming?
Trimming and pruning are usually used interchangeably by industry professionals. It is because they are for the most part the same. The difference falls to how they are used on the field. Professionals classify trimming as removal of large sections of branches, while pruning becomes more associated with meticulous trimming of the canopy. Generally, when we say trimming or pruning, we normally cut back foliage, seal all wounds as needed (especially with Live Oaks), remove dead branches, and shape the shrub to match the landscape in South Austin.
When is the best time to prune shrubs in South Austin?
Pruning encourages future growth, and the best time to do this is in Fall and Winter when shrubs are generally dormant. This ensures the shrub remains compact before the growing season.
Why do we do it?
We trim and prune shrubs as a form of correction for a variety of reasons. In general, trimming is performed to either maintain or cut back the size of a shrub. But it does not just end on that. Sometimes we prune to get a desired shape of the canopy. Other times we trim to encourage growth or decrease weight on certain locations of the shrub for health or safety reasons. There are also times the shrub's crown can be obstructing so much sunlight to the lawn or other smaller plants that it has to be raised. Whatever the case may be, it is important to have your shrubs checked at least once a year. Shaping the shrubs can be aesthetically pleasing as well.
What it is?
Line Trimming is the horizontal cutting of grass in order to restore and maintain a neat look of the lawn.
Why we do it?
Most of the time there are grass that surrounds locations such as tree trunks, utility lines, small plants, fences and walls. These are tough spots that are inadvisable for lawn mowers to pass through due to possible damage to property and the equipment itself. Line Trimmers are used in order to cut the grass in between these tough spot areas.
Lawn professionals don't just cut the grass, they also cut the appropriate grass length in order to make the lawn and the tough spots virtually identical.
When and Why to Overseed?
Overseeding is simply spreading grass seeds over an existing lawn. It is performed when your lawn starts looking thin and brown. It helps prevent weed infestation and encourages turf growth to achieve a thicker, crispier lawn.
When to Overseed?
Overseeding is best done in early fall because the soil is still warm enough for seed germination, and the competition from weeds such as crab grass, fox tails, among others are at its lowest. All of these contribute in making sure the new grass will have deeper roots before winter.
Which grass type can I overseed?
Overseeding can be applied to fine and tall fescue, perennial and annual ryegrass, bluegrass, and bermudagrass.
How to overseed?
Our unique practice is to report to you in writing, photo, or video anything we find unusual around or within your property. We report in concise and actionable manner that is available to you immediately after service. At 50K, we are more than just mowing lawns and trimming trees, we work in tandem with you or your property manager for all your lawn maintenance needs.
It is the right thing to do because we care. Our goal is not only to maintain, protect, and preserve our client's property, but also to use our resources to build a safer community for all of us. We are that kind of different. Imagine fences an acre away from your porch in total disrepair. Some of our clients indeed get surprised when we report that an impending $3,000 repair could have entirely been avoided with a bucket of paint 5 years ago... had somebody told them. This is very important. You need somebody to trust. That somebody, we believe, is us.
We believe that communication is key to any healthy relationship. We maintain a very high quality of service. All our team members are trained to let you know of anything we find on your entire property. Always.
We hope this article helps you out in learning more about our Perimeter Report. Feel free to contact 50K whenever you need professional help.
Edging... The What?
Edging is the vertical cutting of a lawn's edges in order to create a neat perimeter surrounding the lawn. It is a detailing procedure that professionals do to increase the lawn's curb appeal.
Edging... The Why?
Edging serves as an additional barrier to prevent grass roots from invading neighboring areas (such as plant beds, or driveways).
Edging... The How?
When edging, you need to be very careful not to damage the driveway, street, or the turf. It is very crucial that you only edge where it is needed. We recommend that you avoid edging using a line trimmer as debris may damage properties or hurt people nearby. Use only proper equipment and a lot of precaution. Our practice is to err on the side of caution. We rather close the entire lot or walkway to avoid injuries rather than leaving it open and have somebody get hurt. Once you have closed down the perimeter, start slow and make sure you are walking on a straight line. Concentrate on the distance of your edger and the turf. Ensure that you know where exactly the blade will hit. Give a slow and gentle squeeze on the throttle and only give what is required. If you push too hard, you will dull the blades right away and waste gas. When you are about to hit the corner, go very slow until you are about to hit the edge, then stop. Position yourself on the adjacent side, again starting slow, and repeating the process all over again until you are finished.
We hope our little article helps you push yourself to the edge. Give us a call here at 50K whenever you need any expert assistance.
How to Properly Mow a Lawn? Best Practices.
Before mowing your lawn, you need to know the type of grass you will be mowing and whether it is the growing season (Spring or Fall) or the dry season (Summer or Winter). Generally, you should avoid cutting off more than 1/3rd of the total grass height. Cutting more than 1/3 creates burn marks common to overgrown and neglected lawns. Under trees or shaded areas, we recommend to keep the turf height at a minimum of 3" because there is added competition for water and nutrients. It is normally better to let the weedeater do the work around these areas as it will be able to blend the grass height in such a way that a mower can't. We also recommend maintaining the turf height to at least 2.5" high for purposes of weed prevention and control. Mowing too low may encourage crabgrass and dandelions to germinate. Furthermore, only bag clippings when there is weed presence. This helps lessen weed infestation. Once you have the weeds under control, mulch the grass clippings back to the lawn is highly recommended. Nutrients from the grass blade clippings will be reabsorbed by the lawn which helps deepen root growth. If leaves are present, blow them back to the lawn and run them over with a mower. This will mulch the leaves, helping the lawn to reabsorb the nutrients much easier.
For equipment, make sure to sharpen your mower blades before every use. Dull blades make rugged cuts which makes the lawn much weaker. Imagine having multiple bruises instead of just one. It increases the chance of diseases and pests aside from making the overall look of your lawn... well... below average.
Ask if your lawn care provider would sub-contract the work. If so, this is a strong red flag. Sub-contractors are more likely to skimp on maintenance. They acquire contracts by bidding very low. If your lawn care provider has a mowing crew, ask how often they maintain their equipment. Everyday is optimal. Once every week is about average. Once every season is poor.
When mowing the lawn, the best practice is to survey the area first by clearing debris that may be on the way of your lawn mower. Doing this lessens down time and costs for repairing broken or bent blades. A replacement OEM blade for a 21" mower may cost you up to $40. After the clean up, mow around the perimeter to get a good look of the entire area. Identify where to cut high, short, or not at all. This also serves as a check to your initial clean up. You may have missed a couple of toys, rocks, tree branches, etc.
After the perimeter cut, you may cut horizontally, diagonally, or vertically. You may even create imaginary squares or rectangles for larger lawns. Try to stick to one approach from beginning to end. This way you can vary the direction of mowing to lessen compaction and increase flatness. We recommend maintaining a slight overlap when mowing to achieve uniformed results. No matter what direction you choose to cut, you will need to mow on a straight path. To mow as straight as possible, avoid looking at the turf you are currently mowing. Instead, look straight ahead and lock your eyes on a targeted object far away, usually by the fence line or garden bed, and then mow towards it. After the pass, repeat the procedures on the next turn until you finish the entire yard.
When mowing using a zero-turn mower, avoid turning without both wheels slightly moving. A 360-degree turn will almost always create rot and scalp marks. If for some reason this happened to you, re-lay the grass, add compost, water the area, and re-flatten flatten. This helps repair the damage much faster.
Mowing is a highly repetitive task that requires some technical skill in small engine and blade maintenance, and a significant time to learn the skills needed. While there is no shortcut to good old hard work, the trick to success is to be as consistent as possible. Keep our recommendations in mind, have a keen attention to detail, and you are on your way to a great looking lawn.
We hope our article has helped you better understand how to properly mow a lawn. If you need professional lawn care assistance, please don't hesitate to contact us at 844-50K-LAWN (844-505-5296).
RELATED: The Ultimate Free Organic Best Practices Lawn Care Service Guide
What is Fertilization?
Fertilization is the mixture of a substance that helps make the soil healthy for plant growth. There are two kinds of fertilizers:
1. Organic Fertilizers consist of any natural based substances such as animal manure, wood ash, vermiculture, and other decomposing materials.
2. Inorganic Fertilizers are man-made synthetic fertilizers that come in the form of pellets, powder granules, and liquid which consists of Nitrogen (N), Potassium (K), Phosphorus (P) and Magnesium (Mg).
Which type of fertilizer should I use?
Our position is to use organic fertilizers on most situations. Organic fertilizers takes a lot more work when compared to inorganic fertilizers, but are safer for the environment. Excessive nitrates from inorganic fertilizers, also known as synthetic fertilizers, can infiltrate the local sewerage system, local rivers, and natural ponds and negatively affect the existing ecosystem. Because of this reason, we only use organic fertilizers that came from milking cow manure, wood shavings, leaf shavings, grass clippings, vermiculture, among other organic materials to control soil nutrient levels.
Unlike inorganic fertilizers, organic fertilizers will not burn your lawn or kill your plants because of over application of synthetic nitrates. It is impossible to over fertilizer with organic fertilizers. Organic fertilizers naturally breakdown using time, wind, sun, and the local ecosystem.
Why do we do it?
Fertilization infuses nutrients into the soil to help plants achieve optimal health. It also increases earthworm population which is highly beneficial to the turf's development. Earthworms excrete waste materials called castings which consist of Phosphorus, Calcium, Nitrogen and Magnesium, that encourages strong development of the root system. By adding macro and micro nutrients into the soil, grass grows greener which repairs damaged lawn and lessens the chances of weed infestation.
What are the benefits of Aeration?Aeration helps your lawn by creating a system of non-capillary holes that makes the movement of water, air, and movable nutrients easier. This fast movement of specifically water and air is known to alleviate the effects of soil compaction. Soil compaction prevents proper circulation of air and flow of water. According to University of Minnesota, "Soil compaction occurs when soil particles are pressed together, reducing pore space between them." It simply impedes plant growth by lessening the desirable area roots can grow. So as moisture from air and nutrients from rainwater penetrate more deeply into the soil as a result of aeration, grass roots are encouraged to barrow deeper, thereby creating a stronger root system. This helps roots retain more moisture and be much more resilient during drought. In general, a strong root system tends to be more resistant to pests and fungal infections.
Make sure to place flags on sprinkler heads, soakers, and other sensitive areas. Aerate these areas manually by hand. Deals that are too good to be true often skip on these areas of the lawn. The bottom line is that if you do not see visible plugs on the turf, there is a high likelihood that it did not get touched.
Spike/Tine vs Core AerationAccording to Penn State University, "Equipment having solid tines or spikes should not be mistaken for aerating equipment. Aerators always remove a soil core whereas solid tine spikers do not. Spikers actually increase soil compaction as the movement of the soil to all sides by the penetration of the solid tine forces the soil into a denser mass." This is one of the reasons why we always use a core aerator on lawns. Aeration is performed by extracting 1/2 to 3/4 inch diameter cores of soil and depositing them on your lawn. These holes are typically 1-4 inches deep and 3-6 inches apart.
Leave plugs and other aerated debris on the lawn. They are good for your lawn and will naturally wash away in a few days.
When to Aerate?Aerate at least once a year during the growing season in Spring is a general rule of thumb. However, aerating twice a year, once in Spring and another in Fall, is recommended when any of these are true:
1. at any point during the year the thatch is greater than half an inch,
2. the lawn gets regular foot traffic, or
3.the soil feels spongy for days on end after a rain.
Myth: Remember that you can still aerate even after a herbicide application. Research has shown that aeration has no effect on herbicide effectiveness.
Make sure to aerate areas people use as "short cuts". Better yet, add a Ground Cover. We typically lay gravel, pea gravel, decomposed granite and paver stones on pathways.
A question from Austin, Texas: Why do we prune trees anyways and when to Do It?
There are a number of reasons why to do them.
When is the best time to Prune and Trim?
We hope our article helps you branch out with your lawn adventure. Don't hesitate to call us here at 50K for any expert assistance.