Landscaping & Lawn Care in Plano
15 Jun 2016

Ken’s Quick Tip: Mosquito Control for North Texas

I can tell it is summertime by the amount of inquiries we’ve been getting about our mosquito control program (we call it the Village Green Mosquito Assassin Program!With our mild winter and a lot of rain this spring the conditions are perfect for mosquitoes which are plaguing many of our customers.   We’ve made a huge difference in the quality of life for our customers who are using our Mosquito Assassin Program (Our 6 visit program will help you take back your outdoor spaces by killing 90% of all mosquitoes!  We’d love to give you a quote to show you how affordable our solution is and explain why it is safe and effective.)

It is important for everyone to do their part, because mosquito control truly is a community effort.  Below are some some helpful mosquito control tips.

>  Get rid of any standing water on your property. Check your gutters, drains and flowerpots.
>  Anywhere water stands is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Drain it!
>  Use insect repellent when you are going to be outside (especially true from dusk until dawn when mosquitoes are most active.)  Repellents that include DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus are the most effective.
>  Wear light, long sleeve shirts and pants when you are going to be outside for an extended amount of time (especially from dusk until dawn.)  Mosquitoes are drawn to heat and carbon dioxide (which is why it is important to wear lighter clothing so your heat signature isn’t too great.)
>  Use air conditioning or make sure there are screens on all doors and windows (and they are in good repair) to keep mosquitoes from entering the home.
>  If there are any green-water pools nearby, report them to the local health department.

For more information on mosquito control activity in your city visit our Village Green Resource Center where you will always find helpful links that we have compiled to benefit our customers.

If you have any lawn or landscape questions give us a call at 972.495.6990 or email Ken@VillageGreen-Inc.com. I love to answer your questions and often can share the information for our Quick Tip series that helps all Village Green customers.
Read More

07 Jun 2016

Ken’s Quick Tip: How do you grow grass in a shady lawn?

This is the time of year when we get a lot of calls and emails from people who are frustrated that they cannot grow grass in certain parts of their lawns.  The location where they have bare dirt varies considerably, but the root cause is nearly always the same.  Too much shade.  Grass isn’t that hard to grow if you have the right conditions which amount to these three things in this order:  sun, water, and food (or fertilizer.)

I can tell you based on nearly 40 years of experience in North Texas that if you have the right conditions, grass will fill in by itself.  If you don’t, it doesn’t matter how much time, effort or money you throw at the problem, you will end up with that same bare dirt spot.

I’m all about education at Village Green so let’s start with how much sun you need in North Texas for some common grasses in our area.

•  Bermuda needs about 8 hours of sunlight to survive.
•  St. Augustine needs about 6 to establish, once established you can plant a tree and as the tree casts more shade the St. Augustine will gradually acclimate to less light (which explains why your neighbor may have thick St. Augustine under their trees and you don’t).
•  Zoysia is starting to become popular and has similar light requirements as St. Augustine.
•  Fescue doesn’t mind the shade, but it’s a cheap short-term solution because you have to replant it each year.

I want to point out a huge mistake that many make because it seems so logical and that is thinning their trees in an effort to get more sunlight into their lawn. This is great for the tree and does almost nothing for the grass underneath.  Thinning a tree is like removing an arm or two of an umbrella.  At the end of the day you still have an umbrella.  Studies have shown that there is little difference in the amount of sunlight hitting the lawn under a thinned tree versus one that has not been cut back.  Pruning can be great for a tree, but do it for the correct reasons, not to help grow grass.

So what can be done to solve your problem?  Surely something can be done to make those dirt patches look better?  My advice to our customers is acceptance.  Embrace your shady yard (this is Texas after all and that shade is a wonderful benefit on hot summer days!)  Let go of it being green with grass cover, and instead shift your mindset and look into installing plants that thrive in the shade.  There are many ground covers and shrubs that do well in little to no light.  In fact, most of the landscapes that we install are in heavy shade where a customer has accepted that they will never be able to grow grass.

If you have any lawn or landscape questions give us a call at 972.495.6990 or email Ken@VillageGreen-Inc.com. I love to answer your questions and often can share the information for our Quick Tip series that helps all Village Green customers. I’m also happy to discuss plants that do well in shade if you want to do it yourself.  For those that don’t want to invest the time and energy into landscaping their own yards, Village Green offers affordable landscaping design and installation which can transform your lawn in no time! Many of our projects include transforming shady lawns filled with dirt patches into an oasis for our customers. We’d be happy to give you a free, no obligation quote on installing a shade loving landscape.  In fact you can see more of landscape work here.  We’re currently booking summer projects so now is the time to get on our schedule.  And for those that may think summer is a bad time to install a new landscape, that is not the case.  You can learn more about that subject here.

18 May 2016

Ken’s Quick Tip: How to protect your yard from grub damage

This is the time of the year when we start getting a lot of calls and emails from customers worried about the grubs they are finding in their yards while doing spring planting.

The concern is valid because grub worms (which are the larvae of June beetles) can cause all kinds of problems in North Texas lawns.

It is important to know that grub worms have a three-year life cycle.  Which means In our area the beetle lay its eggs in late spring to early summer, with the grub emerging in a few weeks.  They start feeding pretty much instantly on the root system of your grass.  The biggest problem is that you often can’t see this damage until it is already done.   Another problem with grubs is that armadillos love to eat them, and if you have armadillos around, they’ll start digging up your lawn to feed on the grubs causing even more damage.

Now is the time to treat for grub worms.  If you want to do-it-yourself look for product using Imidacloprid.  I know that’s a tough name to remember (let alone say) but you need to make sure that is the active ingredient if you are treating for grubs.  Don’t make the mistake of picking up the first bag of Ortho or Bayer with an easier name that has a picture of a grub.  Take the time to read the labels and make sure you get a product that has Imidacloprid which will create a barrier that prevents the grub worm from damaging your lawn.

It is important to remember that Imidacloprid is a great preventative against grub worms, which means it is NOT effective once they are actively feeding.  You need to treat before they become active.

People often ask me what they should do when they see grubs in their lawn or landscape earlier in spring?  Does it mean they are already feasting on my lawn?  The answer is no.  You’d be hard pressed to find a lawn in our area that doesn’t have some grub worms.  They only become an issue when their numbers grow to the point where they can cause widespread destruction in late summer (it is impossible for them to grow their numbers to the point of damaging your lawn anytime but late summer in our area.)  That is why you need to treat for them in last spring in our area.

If you have any lawn or landscape questions give us a call at 972.495.6990 or email Ken@VillageGreen-Inc.com. I love to answer your questions and often can share the information for our Quick Tip series that helps all Village Green customers.

11 May 2016

Ken’s Quick Tip: New sod lawn care tips

Spring is the time of year when we get a lot of calls about new lawns and how to care for newly laid sod.

New lawns are a little like babies in the fact that they are much more sensitive than established lawns.  It is important that you don’t treat them like a well established lawn —-  you have to adjust to their needs and give them special care.

Below are my tips for how Village Green takes care of new lawns.

Weed Control in a New Lawn:  New lawns are sensitive to weed control products so we skip applying any pre-emergents the first six months and only spot treat the lawn.

That means for the first six months, instead of preventing weeds, we’re treating them as they pop-up. You’ll have a few more weeds that first six months than either of us will be happy with but your lawn will be much healthier.

Fertilizing a New Lawn:  We use an 18-46-0 fertilizer on our new lawns. The first number is nitrogen and that helps green up the lawn. The next number is phosphorous and it’s very high, making it the main ingredient of this fertilizer. With new lawns, we don’t really want the top to grow, we’re focused on establishing the root system and phosphorous helps with root growth.

Watering a New Lawn:  The roots of sod only are about a half-inch deep which means, instead of the deep but infrequent watering we’ve been taught, we need to water in short, frequent bursts. The frequency will depend on how warm it is but typically daily or every-other-day watering works during the spring. Gradually increase the days between watering and watch the lawn to see how it reacts.

It is also important to remember if you put in a new lawn, contact your city about any variance you can get on your water restrictions to help protect your investment.

Usually after about six months your lawn is fairly established and we can begin treating it just like a more established lawn.

If you have any lawn or landscape questions give us a call at 972.495.6990 or email Ken@VillageGreen-Inc.com. I love to answer your questions and often can share the information for our Quick Tip series that helps all Village Green customers.

02 May 2016

Ken’s Quick Tip: What should you be doing to keep your lawn healthy this time of year?  

The answer to this question boils down to what kind of lawn you have and how long you’ve been taking care of it. 

If you’ve been a Village Green fertilizer and weed-control customer for a while, we are currently applying a granular fertilizer and spot treating your lawn for weeds. 

Bermuda lawns are getting a high nitrogen fertilizer which will help them green up for the spring. 

This plan doesn’t work for our customers with St. Augustine and zoysia lawns because of nasty little fungus called brown patch that love spring weather and feeds on nitrogen.  For these lawns we apply a low nitrogen fertilizer.  That means our St. Augustine lawns might not green up quite as fast but when they do they will be much healthier the rest of the year.

If you are brand-new to our lawn care services and have St. Augustine grass it will get the low-nitrogen fertilizer mentioned above to keep it healthy. If you have bermuda it will receive a liquid, slow release nitrogen fertilizer, mixed with a spring weed preventative and a broad leaf weed control. That is the perfect start to green up the lawn, control even the small broad-leaf weeds that are just starting to grow, plus prevent spring and summer weeds, such as crab grass from even starting.

We’ve been bouncing between cool weather and warm weather. We’re sort of between seasons – we’re out of winter but we haven’t had quite enough warm weather for all of our lawns to realize we should be in spring. Most of the lawns have greened up but there are still some pockets that haven’t yet.  We’ll have our normal warm weather over the next few weeks (probably more than we want) and when we do, your lawn will have the right food to help it become green and healthy.
 
If you have any lawn or landscape questions give us a call at 972.495.6990 or email Ken@VillageGreen-Inc.com. I love to answer your questions and often can share the information for our Quick Tip series that helps all Village Green customers.
 

22 Apr 2016

Ken’s Quick Tip: What is the best weed control this time of year?

Mid spring in North Texas is a strange in between time.  We typically get a lot of rain coupled with days that can be warm and humid and then turn cool and blustery.  Often in the same week!  The end result is you may be seeing a bumper crop of weeds in your lawn and wondering what to do.

Believe it or not my advice is your lawn mower.  What you are more than likely seeing now are winter weeds.  There are three in particular that are very common in our area at the time of year.

1.  Henbit (the weed with purple flowers)
2.  Rescue grass (a tall, bright green grassy weed)
3.  Poa annua (a very short grassy weed with tiny seeds)

All of these can be prevented by using a weed preventive in the winter, but once they have sprouted, they are hard to control with any products because they are no longer growing enough to absorb the spray.

That’s why I recommend you mow your lawn short (but please don’t scalp it!) and often.

Even though it seems counter intuitive, these winter weeds are struggling to grow right now.  They thrive in cooler temperatures which we are getting less and less as we head into May.  Every time you mow, you cut them back, which makes it harder for them to grow in what isn’t the best environment (warmer weather.)  Eventually they will give up and go away and then you can prevent them from coming back next year by applying a good preventative.

You may be asking yourself if this means you should skip lawn care during this time of the year. Not at all.

Once those winter weeds finally go away, you want to make sure new ones don’t take their place so now is the time of year when we are applying a spring and summer weed preventative.  It’s important to remember that a healthy growing lawn is one of the best weed preventatives there is so we also apply a slow release fertilizer to help the lawn fill back into the gaps those winter weeds left.

If you have any lawn or landscape questions give us a call at 972.495.6990 or email Ken@VillageGreen-Inc.com. I love to answer your questions and often can share the information for our Quick Tip series that helps all Village Green customers.

 
28 Mar 2016

Ken’s Quick Tip: Why is that ugly brown patch from fall back in my lawn this spring?

Spring brings many great things, blooming flowers, bright-green leaves bursting from trees, warmer weather, and usually more rain for North Texas.  It can also bring out these ugly brown patches (or spots.)

When we have epic weather, it is almost always followed by an epidemic of insects or diseases.  I’m sure many long time residents remember the huge amounts of crickets we had a few years ago or the grasshoppers before that. 

Last fall the epidemic was a fungus called brown patch in St. Augustine.  It didn’t matter what preventative was used or how often it was applied, nearly every St. Augustine lawn had a lot of ugly brown patches.

It is my opinion that the four months of almost no moisture followed by the flooding rains we experienced last fall stressed St. Augustine to the breaking point.

So why am I talking about last fall now? After all it’s spring and that’s history.  Brown patch is also common in the spring and we usually see it in the same areas in which it occurred in the fall.  Since we had lots of it last fall, there’s a pretty good chance we may see more of it than usual this spring.  

How do we go about fighting this nasty little fungus that thrives on warm, damp conditions? 

Here are my Quick Tips on how to fight it in your lawn.
•  Sprinkle in the morning (to avoid water standing overnight.)
•  Avoid allowing water to puddle in the lawn.
•  Use a low nitrogen fertilizer in early spring (brown patch fungus feeds on nitrogen.)
•  Use a preventative such as PCNB before brown patch occurs.
•  If you see brown patches in your lawn, spot treat the areas to prevent them getting larger.

The good news is that brown patch generally only makes your lawn look bad.  It usually won’t kill it.  In fact, many people leave it untreated, taking steps to prevent it after it goes away.  Plus with enough direct sunlight, St. Augustine is incredibly aggressive and that means no matter what happens, it usually fills back in by late spring.

If you have any lawn or landscape questions give us a call at 972.495.6990 or email Ken@VillageGreen-Inc.com. I love to answer your questions and often can share the information for our Quick Tip series that helps all Village Green customers.

22 Mar 2016

Village Green Earns Esteemed 2015 Angie’s List Super Service Award

Angie's List Super Service Award
Angie’s List Super Service Award

Village Green has earned the service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award, for the fifth time in as many years, reflecting an exemplary year of service provided to members of the consumer review service in 2015.

Village Green won the 2015 Super Service Award for the following categories:  Landscaping, Lawn & Yard Work, and Lawn Irrigation (Sprinkler Repair.)

In our Founder & President, Ken Hyatt’s own words:  “Only about 5% of the lawn and landscape companies in North Texas have performed consistently enough to earn Angie’s List Super Service Award.  The fact that we did it in three categories makes me very proud of our team.”

Angie’s List Super Service Award 2015 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade, and review period grade; the company must be in good standing with Angie’s List, have a fully complete profile, pass a background check and abide by Angie’s List operational guidelines.

Service company ratings are updated daily on Angie’s List. Companies are graded on an A through F scale in areas ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality.

16 Mar 2016

Spring has Sprung: Time To Update Your Sprinkler Settings

I know it may seem odd to be thinking about fine tuning your sprinkler system considering the recent rains, but the single biggest mistake you can make is turning off your sprinklers.  In my professional opinion your lawn and landscape will be better served by installing a rain sensor than manually controlling your system by turning it on and off.  If we know anything about North Texas it is that the weather will be unpredictable.

Now is the time to update your sprinkler system to make sure you are getting adequate water coverage for your lawn and landscape in North Texas this spring.

So, how much watering is enough water in spring?  

Consider this, in the spring your soil loses about 1/2 the water it loses in the summer.  To help illustrate, imagine filling a gallon bucket with water and setting it out in your yard. When you check your bucket a week later, you’re going to find it still has water, but you’ve lost about 1/2 inch from evaporation.  That’s what happens to your lawn and landscape during the spring and if you skip watering your plants will be more susceptible to late season freeze damage as well as not have enough water for the important spring growing season.

Download our Free Village Green Spring Watering Guide

If you have questions or need help from one of certified sprinkler technicians, give us a call at 972-495-6990 or email me at ken@villagegreen-inc.comWe offer affordable sprinkler system inspections and tune-ups that will guarantee appropriate and adequate water coverage for your lawn. Our certified irrigation technicians can also install water-conserving nozzles and applicators so that water usage is as efficient as possible. 

04 Mar 2016

Quick Tip: What is the proper way to prune a crepe myrtle?  

In late winter and early spring many of your neighbors will get out their tools and proceed to butcher their crepe myrtles.  They do this because they believe that cutting them back is the proper way to maintain the tree and that it will help produce extra blooms in the summer.  I wouldn’t judge your neighbors too harshly though, they aren’t killers, just misinformed.  And their punishment is an ugly tree.    

The proper way to maintain a crepe myrtle is to treat it like any other large tree and prune and trim as needed.  You wouldn’t top off an oak tree at 20 feet each year.  Yet many of your neighbors are hacking their crepe myrtles so they end up at about 6 feet tall.  A few years back, I even saw a guy use a circular saw to proudly cut through his crepe myrtle limbs that were 3 inches thick.

When you butcher your crepe myrtles in this way, all you are doing is creating big, ugly knots on the trunks of the tree (you can see a picture on our blog.)  And then come summer, the few extra blooms you get will droop on spindly limbs that are too weak to hold the flowers weight. 

The way to proper maintain a crepe myrtle:
>  Trim off any limbs rubbing against each other or rubbing on your roof or fence.
>  If you must trim more, try not to trim anything larger than a pencil. 

If you want to see good crepe myrtle pruning I recommend a trip to the beautiful Dallas Arboretum.  Their crepe myrtles are used during their tour for the blind because of the beautiful sculpted feel of their untrimmed trunks.  

Enter To WinYou don't want to miss this chance!

Sign up for Ken's Quick Tips to ENTER TO WIN A TREE.  We'll also send you our monthly Quick Tip emails which are full of helpful lawn and landscape info for North Texas homeowners.