Landscaping & Lawn Care in Plano
10 Apr 2017

Ken’s Quick Tip: Is it an Attack of Mega-Mosquitoes!?!?

I’ve been getting a lot of questions this spring about these mega-mosquitoes which are crane flies.  I’ve heard them called may flies, mosquito hawks, skeeter eaters, and my favorite, mosquito on steroids!

Everyone can rest easy, these aren’t some dangerously huge mosquitoes that have descended on North Texas.

These inch-long, gangly-legged insects that are sneaking into your home and bouncing off the walls and ceilings are crane flies, and despite rumors to the contrary, they are neither predators of mosquitoes nor a colossal mosquito.  And they are harmless (even though you may see reports on the internet that they can bite or sting.)

In fact, adult crane flies eat very little, if at all according to the experts.  Some of them can sponge up liquids, such as dew and honey water.  Sometimes they’ll visit flowers to take up nectar.

The reason they don’t eat a lot is because adult crane flies typically only live a few days.  Crane flies spend most of their time as larvae living underwater in streams, the edges of ponds, within wet logs, or in other damp places, and then emerge as adults for a quick mating spree before dying.

In our area, we typically see crane flies in spring, but as I’ve written in my previous quick tip, spring has come early this year.  Rest assured most of these crane flies will be gone soon (if not already.)  The not so good news though is actual mosquitoes who do and will bite will be active in our area before we know it.  And with our mild weather, I fear it will be a banner year for them.

Village Green does offer a safe yet effective Mosquito Assassin Program that will get rid of your mosquito problem.  I’d love to give you a free quote and earn your business. Give us call at 972.495.6990 or ken@villagegreen-inc.com.  We are always happy to answer your questions.

04 Apr 2017

Ken’s Quick Tip: Attack of the Grubs!

Spring has sprung and the warmer weather and blue skies always gets people out into their yards to poke around in their yards and start their spring planting. 

When they turn over their soil they often will find grubs which concerns them and causes a lot of calls and emails to come into Village Green.

They are right to be concerned about grub worms (which are the larvae of June beetles,) because they can cause all kinds of problems in North Texas lawns.

The thing is, like most things in life, timing is everything with grub worms.

If you see a lot of grubs in your lawn in early spring don’t panic.  This doesn’t mean that they are feasting on your lawn.  It also doesn’t mean they are just in your lawn (you’d be hard pressed to find a lawn in our area that doesn’t have some grub worms.) 

Grub worms only become an issue when their numbers grow to the point where they can cause widespread destruction and the timing of this in their life cycle is late summer.  It is impossible for them to grow their numbers to the point of damanging your lawn before late summer in North Texas.  So, whatever you see in spring, even if it seems like a lot to you, is not enough to cause your lawn harm.  Yet.

You need to treat for grubs in late spring or early summer to make sure they don’t become a problem in late summer.

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.  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.  

If you have any question regarding your lawn and landscape give us call at 972.495.6990 or ken@villagegreen-inc.com.  We our scheduling affordable grub prevention treatment appointments now for late spring, and would love to give you a quote on the cost for your lawn if you’d like for us to handle the job for you.

29 Mar 2017

Ken’s Quick Tip: Is My Lawn OK?

I’ve lost count how many times that question has been asked the past few weeks by our customers.

Our weather has been extremely mild this winter.  We’ve had a few cold snaps, but for the most part we’ve had a lot warms days.  More recently we’ve had some extremely warm days (we hit 92 last week which was a new record for North Texas.)  All this warm weather makes us think our grass should be coming in lush and green by now.  But the thing is, even though our days have been warm, our nights are still cool.  It is early spring after all and the big thing to note is that grass only comes out of dormancy when our soil temperatures are above 80 degrees.

In my professional opinion, it will be a few more weeks before our grass comes completely out of dormancy.

Our bermuda lawns are filing in nicely, but I have noticed our St. Augustine lawns are much slower than usual this year.  Yes, we have had a very short winter this year (four days to be exact.)  The problem is that for a few days we bounced from the mid-eighties to the teens and then back to the mid-eighties.  That temperature yo-yo effect is tough on people, but even tougher on sensitive plants like St. Augustine.

If your lawn isn’t filling in as much as you thought by now, please be patient.  If you have plenty of sunshine, and are watering properly (download our spring water guide), and a good fertilization program in place your lawn is going to be fine.  Bermuda and St. Augustine are very aggressive plants and typically heal themselves by late spring in North Texas.

If you have any question regarding your lawn and landscape give us call at 972.495.6990 or ken@villagegreen-inc.com.  We are always happy to answer your questions.

20 Mar 2017

Ken’s Quick Tip:  Spring Watering Guide

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.

How much watering is enough water in spring?

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 Spring Watering Guide >

If you have question or need additional help from one of our certified irrigation technicians give us call at 972.495.6990 or ken@villagegreen-inc.com.  We are always happy to answer your questions.  You can download our FREE Spring Watering Guide below.

08 Mar 2017

Ken’s Quick Tip: Brown Patch

Who doesn’t love spring?!?  Warm weather, blooming flowers, bright-green leaves bursting from trees, and usually more rain in North Texas.  Unfortunately some of these conditions can also bring on brown patch (which is a nasty little fungus that thrives in warm, damp conditions.)  Brown patch is pretty easy to diagnose (you’ll have ugly brown spots in your lawn.)   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 shouldn’t do anything bad to your lawn long-term, it will only make it look ugly. Many people leave it untreated and then take steps to prevent it after it goes away.  And it will go away.  Enough direct sunlight and your St. Augustine will thrive and typically fill in those ugly brown spots by late spring, early summer.  

04 Mar 2017

Ken’s Quick Tip:  How to Correctly Prune a Crepe Myrtle

This is the time of the year when many of your neighbors will butcher their poor crepe myrtles in an effort to ‘prune’ them for the upcoming growing season.

I’m amazed at how many people still believe they need to chop their crepe myrtles back at this time of the year to promote extra blooms this summer.  Unfortunately this misinformation, what I refer to as crepe murder, is rampant in North Texas in mid-to-late winter.  

Treat your crepe myrtle like any other large tree and prune and trim as needed. You wouldn’t consider topping your oak treat at 20′ each year would you?  The same is true of your crepe myrtle tree.  

When people chop back their crepe myrtles all they are accomplishing is creating big, ugly knots on the trunks of their trees.  When summer comes, their reward will be a few extra blooms that droop on spindly limbs that are too weak to hold the flowers weight.

Here’s how to correctly prune your crepe myrtle:
>  Trim any limbs rubbing against each other or rubbing against your home or roof.
>  If you feel the need to trim more, try not to trim anything larger than a pencil.

If you want to see an example of great crepe myrtle pruning I recommend a visit to theDallas Arboretum.  Their crepe myrtles are amazing.

If you have any question regarding your lawn and landscape give us call at 972.495.6990 or ken@villagegreen-inc.com.  We are always happy to answer your questions.

26 Feb 2017

Landscape Spotlight: Made in the Shade


Village Green has been in business since 1980, and one of my favorite parts about that longevity is the ability to have long term relationships with many of our customers.  A great example is Mr. and Mrs. M. in Plano.

In 2007 we worked on their landscape by focusing on planting around their foundation and adding some plants around the base of their oak trees (which were big back then.)  They love their St. Augustine lawn, but those oak trees provide a lot of shade, and the fact is that causes bald spots in the best of lawns.  The couple have done all they could do to keep their grass thriving, but the reality is those oak trees are much larger today and they were fighting a losing battle.  After replacing the grass a few times, they finally realized it was time to throw in the towel and call Village Green for an update.

David, our landscape architect, redesigned his original drawing for their home, extending their front beds to cover the bare areas caused by the shade.  They love their original stone border so we had Andres, our mason, move it out, re-using their original stone and adding more that matched as needed.  Mrs. M. likes boulders so we brought in a few more and placed them where she wanted them.  We added flirt nandina, a colorful dwarf nandina, along with care grass – all of which will do much better in the shade than their St. Augustine.

The end result – Mr. and Mrs. M. love their updated landscape and Village Green was able to build upon a solid landscape design we did over a decade ago. If that isn’t a text book win-win I don’t know what is!
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Since 1980, Village Green has specialized in creating extraordinary landscapes for our customers. Our personalized, one-on-one approach allow us to take your ideas and inspiration and transform them into a beautiful landscape that will enhance your home and happiness.  If you’d like for us to help update your landscape or solve a problem in your yard, give us a call at 972-495-6990.  You can also email me at Ken@VillageGreen-Inc.com.  There is no obligation for us to discuss a project and we’re always happy to give an estimate on your projects.  We would love to earn you landscape business.

20 Feb 2017

Ken’s Quick Tip: Signs Your Sprinkler System Needs Repair

I don’t want to jinx us with only four weeks left until the first day of spring, but this winter has been one of our warmest in recent years.  It’s been so warm in fact that many of our customers are calling us and asking if they should be following our winter watering schedule.

The answer is yes.  It may not seem like it, but it is still winter, and you won’t need to update your sprinkler system for another month.

I do recommend paying attention to your sprinkler system in these last weeks of winter, that way if you spot a problem, you can have it resolved before the important spring watering season beings.

Here are some signs you may have a sprinkler problem.

Loss of pressure. If a certain zone or head isn’t watering with as much pressure as it should, this typically indicates a malfunction with your system that needs some attention.

Uneven watering.  Keep an eye out for pools of water in areas of your lawn, or worse, a drenched sidewalk, driveway, or street.  The same is true of dry sections in your lawn after watering.  These are signs that your lawn is not being consistently watered, and more than likely you have some sprinkler heads that need some adjusting.

Irregular water flow. If one of your heads is sputtering or dribbling in a way that is anything less than a steady stream, you may have a cracked head or clogged valve you need to repair.

Your lawn has changed.  If you’ve had any changes in your lawn, whether it be new a new landscape, flower bed, or hardscape, chances are you need to tweak your system to best water your lawn.Your water bill is high!  If your water bill seems higher than normal for this time of year, and you’ve not increased water consumption elsewhere, you could have a leak.  Best to fix it during later winter before your water consumption increases this spring and summer.

All the above are issues are easy to spot if you pay attention for a week or so and note anything out of the ordinary.  If you do have issues, most of these are relatively easy to fix with supplies from your local hardware store.

If you have any questions or need additional help give us a call at 972.495.6990 or email me at Ken@VillageGreen-inc.com.

13 Feb 2017

Ken’s Quick Tip: Lawn Aeration

If you are wondering why lawn aeration is so important, look no further than our infamous North Texas clay soil.  It is made up tiny particles that compact over time.  The longer you go without aerating your lawn the more they compact.  This is bad for your lawn because it makes it hard to take in water, oxygen, and fertilizer (major components if you want a healthy lawn.)

If you have a lot of traffic on your lawn, whether it be people or pets, the problem increases which is why golf courses aerate their greens and fairways several times a year.

As a homeowner, you don’t need to go that far, but it is a wise investment to aerate your lawn annually.  We typically perform this service in the late winter, early spring for our customers.

Whether you want to do it yourself or hire Village Green boils down to the amount of time you want to invest punching thousands of smalls holes in your turf.  Either way, the investment in lawn aeration makes sense.  Financially and environmentally, and better yet, the end result will be a much healthier and more beautiful lawn when you combine aeration with your ongoing lawn maintenance program.

13 Jan 2017

Landscape Spotlight: Wide Open Spaces

A new year, a new year landscape spotlight!  And today’s is perfect.  Like 2017, which is wide open in front of us, Ms. J’s home in Frisco, Texas was the very definition of a ‘wide open space.’

Ms. J called us soon after moving into her newly built home for some recommendations on what kind of plants she should consider installing.  David (our landscape architect,) and I arrived for our initial consultation to find a beautiful new home on a huge corner lot.  I remember being struck with the fact that she had enough land for several soccer’s fields! 

Since Ms. J’s home is a corner lot, her home is one of the first you see coming into this new neighborhood.  This was a key point in our plan, because it was extremely important that her landscaping represent her and the neighborhood well.  Another consideration was that we had to provide her a certain amount of privacy without compromising her wide open space.

As you will see from our design, our solution was to attack this landscape two ways.  For the areas that would be seen at a distance (people driving into the neighborhood in cars) we went simple beds.  We used fewer large plants.  In the areas where people would be walking post or enjoying the home close-up we used a variety of smaller plants with lots of colors and textures.  The end result is when you drive by you see a stunning landscape that doesn’t overwhelm the eye, while maintaining the majesty of the large lot.  Up close, well you can get lost in the details of the plants, their shapes, textures and colors.

Speaking of plants.  We installed nandinas, irises and a dash of annuals at the entrance.  These plants grow up, but not out, to help direct people to the entrance.  Just beyond that entrance, Andres, our stone mason, installed a flagstone sitting area.  As you can see from the photos, he did a stellar job in making the joints no wider than an inch or so. 

We also installed savanah hollies, little gem magnolias and a couple of vitex trees along the rod-iron fence to screen off the pool area from the street.  Another benefit is that the vitex trees have purple blooms during the summer which add great color.  Around the swimming pool you’ll note we installed fan palms, sages, pink muhly grass and a number of smaller plants.

The end result is a fantastic project for the Village Green portfolio.  More importantly though, Ms. J is ecstatic about her new home and landscape and still has enough room left for a soccer field (or two!)

Thank you Ms. J for allowing me to spotlight this landscape project.  Village Green has been transforming lawns and landscapes in your neighborhood since 1980.  We specialize in creating extraordinary outdoor spaces at all budget points for our customers.  Our personalized one-on-one approach allow us to take your ideas and inspiration and transform them into a beautiful landscape that will enrich your life.  If you’d like more information or an estimate on your project contact us at 972-495-6990 or Ken@VillageGreen-Inc.com.