Landscaping & Lawn Care in Plano
17 Aug 2015

Quick Tip: Troubleshooting Your Sprinkler System

A common call at this time of year is from people who are attempting to turn on their sprinklers and realizing they won’t work.

Ideally you won’t wait until summer to turn your sprinklers on and discover they aren’t working but if that’s what has happened to you, here are three things you can check before calling Village Green.

First, do you have water going to your sprinkler system? All sprinkler systems are required to have a backflow prevention device to prevent water from the sprinkler pipes running backwards into the water for your home. These devices have handles that allow you to turn off the water going to your sprinklers but leave the water on to your house. For most homes that will be inside a rectangular box with a big, green lid on it. If you open the lid, you’ll find two handles. Some older homes will have a device that sticks up out of the ground like a horseshoe. It will have a handle at the base of it. Sometimes those handles have been turned off and the water has been shut off to your sprinklers.

Second, check to see if your sprinkler controller has power to it. It’s not unusual for the outlet it’s plugged into to be on a GFI circuit and that circuit has gotten tripped. Try plugging something into the outlet like a hairdryer or a light to see if it has power.

Last, all sprinkler systems are supposed to have a rain and freeze sensor. Sometimes when those go bad they trigger and they won’t let the sprinklers run. Most of the time your controller will have an over-ride button on it for you to press and bypass the sensor.

If you check all of those things and still can’t turn your system on, it’s time to call a professional.

If you have questions or need help, give us a call at 972-495-6990 or email me at ken@villagegreen-inc.com. You can also download our free watering guide that gives you our recommendation for year-round watering.

21 Jan 2014

Winter Watering Guide

Irrigation - ServiceIf you want to protect your landscape from freeze damage, don’t turn off your sprinkler system in the winter.  Granted you don’t need to water as much as you would in the summer, but watering a small amount during winter will make sure your lawn and landscape are ready for the spring growing season and protected against freeze damage.

In the winter your soil will lose on average, 1/4″ of water per week.  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 1/4″ from evaporation.  That’s what happens to your lawn and landscape during the winter and if you skip watering for weeks (or months) you’re going to make the roots of your plants more susceptible to freeze damage.  Another reason to water regularly is that any pre-emergent treatments that are applied to your lawn need water to spread and push them into the soil.  This process is what creates the barrier in the soil to prevent the weed seeds from sprouting in late winter and early spring.  A pre-emergent can survive a couple of weeks without water, but after that it will disappear and not be effective.

Most plants in our area like water all winter long.  Take St. Augustine as an example.  It is a tropical plant so it hates the cold.  In fact, watering your St. Augustine lawn in the winter may be more important than your summer watering since the biggest killer of it is freezing.  Unless you have chosen a very sensitive plant, I rarely see any winter damage of any plants if they have been watered correctly over the winter months.  

Be sure and visit the Village Green Resource Center for helpful links to your city watering guidelines as well as our downloadable Village Green Watering Guide.  If you need more help please don’t hesitate to contact us at 972-495-6990, email me at ken@villagegreen-inc.com or fill out our contact form.  We’d be happy to help walk you through the process to make sure you are getting the most out of your winter watering schedule.  For those who want more advanced help, we offer affordable sprinkler system inspections, tune-ups, and sprinkler control replacement that will guarantee appropriate and adequate water coverage for your lawn.  If you contact us by February 15, 2014, you can get our early bird sprinkler tune-up special for only $59 (a savings of $45!.)

30 Aug 2013

Green Talks Video Blog: Drought Stress

 

Ken Hyatt, President and Founder of Village Green shows how you can tell if your lawn is showing the classic signs of drought stress.  During late summer many yards in our area experience drought stress, which is usually sprinkler related.  For more information on tuning up your sprinkler system visit:  http://www.villagegreen-inc.com/sprinkler-repair-dallas-plano-allen-frisco/  For information on watering, including the Village Green Watering Guide:  http://www.villagegreen-inc.com/resource-center/

31 May 2013

The North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) begins Stage 3 on June 1, 2013

The North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) released a statement about Stage 3 water restrictions that go in effect on Saturday, June 1, 2013 for all Village Green customers.  

Restrictions on outdoor watering go into effect Saturday
for customers of the North Texas Muncipal Water District
Stage 3 drought plan limits landscape watering to once per week, if necessary.  Other restrictions apply.

irrigation1-e1298595437543The North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) begins Stage 3 on June 1, 2013.   Under Stage 2 of the NTMWD Water Conservation and Drought Contingency and Water Emergency Response Plan, residential and business customers will be limited to landscape watering with sprinkler or irrigation systems once every seven days, if necessary.  Other restrictions apply.  Check with your city for specific details.

A drier than normal winter and spring resulted in below normal reservoir levels for two key NTMWD water supplies.  Despite recent rains, Lavon Lake is still over 7 feet below the normal conservation level and Lake Jim Chapman is over 8 feet low normal elevation.


“We’ve been fortune to receive several inches of rain over the past few weeks but that was not enough to reverse the declining reservoir levels we are facing in North Texas,”  said Jim Parks executive director Sprinkler Repair in Richardson TXof the North Texas Municipal Water District.  “The experts predict another dry summer, so every gallon we save now will help extend our water supplies.  The ongoing drought and the loss of the Lake Texoma supply is why we need to implement Stage 3 of the Plan, “Parks added.

The goal of Stage 3 is a 10% reduction in water use and increased awareness in ongoing water conservation efforts.

You can read, download, or print the rest of their release by clicking here.

If you need specific details regarding your city visit the Village Green Resource Center.  You’ll find helpful links to all the cities of our customers as well as the Village Green Watering Guide.  

If you need more help give us a call at 972-495-6990, email us at ken@villagegreen-inc.com or fill out our contact form. A sprinkler system inspection 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. For more information visit our Sprinkler Repair page.

07 May 2013

QuickTip: Spring Watering Schedule

irrigation1In the spring your lawn requires around a half an inch of water per week on average.  That equals roughly 30 minutes for most sprinkler systems.  The problem we have in our area is our infamous clay soil can only absorb about 10 minutes worth of water.  After that it will run off which is not good for your water bill or our local water supply. 

Our QuickTip?  Don’t water all 30 minutes at once.  Instead program your sprinkler’s controller to water one day per week with a start time of 2am, 4am, and 6am, having each zone run for 10 minutes.

If you have rotors (the type of sprinkler that turns slowly while spraying a long thin stream) you need to water twice as long (at least 20 minutes per zone at 2am, 4am, and 6am.)  Depending on the rotor speed and stream, you may need to water even longer to give your lawn what it needs.

Do you need help optimizing your sprinkler?  The Village Green sprinkler gurus can tune up your system and have you ready for summer in no time.  Contact us today (972-495-6990 or email) and we’ll take $25 off the first hour of sprinkler work (normally $15 per hour plus materials) through May 31, 2013.    

02 Nov 2012

Fall North Dallas Landscape Check List

Here is your fall landscape to-do list…

Apply Pre-Emergent – In bermuda lawns you’ll want to apply a pre-emergent to your lawn to prevent the winter weed seeds from germinating.  Check your local nursery for a pre-emergent with an active ingredient of Simazine or Pendimethalin.  St. Augustine doesn’t like herbicides – pre-emergents tend to stunt its growth.  Instead use a low nitrogen fertilizer (we use 5-10-31) and spot treat weeds as they show.

Install Trees and Shrubs – Fall is the best season to install trees and shrubs, followed by winter.  Believe it or not, spring is the third best season to install a landscape.  Just like people, the closer plants get to a Dallas summer the unhappier they get which makes fall the best season for planting.   Installing trees and shrubs in the fall or winter allows them to set their roots, so by the time summer rolls around they’re better prepared.  Want so design ideas?  Go to our gallery and review our landscape architect’s plans.  You’ll find lots of great ideas and plants suggestions there.

Mulch Landscape Beds – You’ll want 3″ or so of mulch in your beds.  This provides insulation for the plants during our cold weather and blocks most of the weed seeds from germinating.  A good mulch, as it decomposes throughout the year, will also give organic material to the roots of your plants.  Be sure to use shredded hardwood mulch.  Other, cheaper mulch is frequently made from old, shredded pallets and doesn’t break down nearly as well.

Fertilize Trees and Shrubs – As trees and shrubs go dormant over the winter they move nutrients into their root system to store.  When you add a balanced fertilizer such as 14-14-14 in the fall, the tree moves the fertilizer into the roots, giving the tree a great boost in the spring.

Install Fall Flowers – Your summer annuals may look nice now but they won’t survive the first couple of frosts.  It’s time to change to pansies, kale or cabbage.  Follow this link for more information on fall color.

Set Fall Watering Schedule – Did you know your sprinkler system is your first line of defense against winter weeds?  Watering spreads your pre-emergent, creating a barrier just below the surface of the soil to prevent weed seeds from germinating.  Watering in the fall roughly 30 minutes per week (twice that for rotors) also reduces chance of winter damage.  Why do I talk about watering so much?  Most of the issues I see in lawns and landscape either start or are made worse by poor watering methods.  Follow this link for in-depth fall watering tips. 

 

04 Aug 2012

It’s impossible to have a green lawn in 100 degree weather, right?

I can’t tell you how often I walk up to a Dallas area home in the summer, the lawn almost completely brown and when I ask why it’s brown the answer is “I can’t keep it green because it’s too hot and my city has water restrictions.”  Take a look at this St. Augustine lawn in Garland.  It’s summer.  We’ve had 100 plus degree weather for weeks.  No rain for a long, long time and it’s only being watered two days per week.  It’s growing so fast the mowing crew has trouble cutting it.  All it takes to have a green lawn in the summer is watering 60 to 70 minutes per week per zone.

10 Apr 2012

North Dallas water restrictions by city…

A week or so ago the water board relaxed its water restrictions. As usual, each city has its own twist on the requirements so here is a list of the current water restrictions by city:

Allen Water Restrictions

Dallas Water Restrictions

Frisco Water Restrictions

Fairview Water Restrictions

Garland Water Restrictions

Murphy Water Restrictions

Plano Water Restrictions

Richardson Water Restrictions

Sachse Water Restrictions

22 Dec 2011

Landscaping Tip: Pulsating Sprinklers

Superior Dallas landscaping involves many steps, but perhaps none is as important as proper hydration. After all, a landscape cannot succeed without water. Adequately hydrating your landscape is not an exact science, but it is close. The best plan is to install a sprinkler system that ensures your landscape is watered every day at the same time. Sprinkler systems with a timer are even more ideal, but you still have several options there. Landscaping specialists highly recommend pulsating sprinklers for the best results.

Pulsating sprinkler systems spray water into the air and allow the water to fall back down to the ground in a fine mist. There are five different types of pulsating sprinklers: impulse, traveling, stationary, oscillating and rotary. Impulse sprinklers are the top choice of Dallas landscaping professionals because they cover larger areas.

It is important to know if you have high or low water pressure, as that also factors in to which type of pulsating sprinkler you choose for your Dallas landscaping needs. If you have low water pressure, an H-base is a better choice than a spike-based sprinkler which is better suited for high pressure.

Pulsating sprinklers have the benefit of being designed with gusty winds in mind, as well as low-hanging trees or tall shrubs. The height of the water spray can be adjusted accordingly and since the water is typically sprayed close to the ground, its spray is unaffected by the wind.

If you think a pulsating sprinkler may be beneficial to your lawn, contact your local Dallas landscaping company. Many Dallas landscaping companies also install Dallas irrigation systems, especially since proper hydration makes their job that much easier!

Landscape Blog

02 Jul 2011

Dallas Sprinkler Repair: Are you watering enough?

t’s summer in Dallas and that means temperatures at 100 degrees, give or take. So what what does under watering look like? In bermuda lawns most of the blades will turn slightly gray. You will see splotches of brown, sprinkled with grayish green grass and the lawn will look thin. Fortunately bermuda is an amazingly tough so once it gets enough water it usually springs right back. This photo is a good example of under watering.

How much should you water in the summer? In full sun your lawn will lose on average roughly one inch of water per week. Most spray heads (nozzles that spray in a fan pattern) put out roughly 1″ of water per hour. That means if you don’t water an hour per week your lawn gradually drys out. Imagine a slow leak in your car tire. If you don’t keep putting air into it at the same rate it’s leaking, eventually you’re going to have a flat tire. Rotory heads need to run even longer. Rotors are heads that spray in a stream and slowly turn. They typically cover twice the area with the same gallons of water the spray heads do which means they have to run twice as long. How many days per week should you water? The number of days per week doesn’t matter nearly as much as the total minutes per week.

These numbers are a good starting point but every landscape and every sprinkler system is different. In very shady areas you can probably cut back by 75% or more. Start with these minutes and then work up or down depending on how your lawn looks after a week or two.