Landscaping & Lawn Care in Plano
12 Dec 2017

Do You Have Brown Patch?

How about this weather? It’s hard to complain about these cooler temperatures and rain, but it does bring Brown Patch, which we’ve been seeing a lot of in the past week.

We typically don’t see Brown Patch until later September in North Texas, but with these cooler temperatures at night, we are seeing some brown rings and patches showing up in our customers with St. Augustine lawns.

Brown Patch is a fungus that attacks St. Augustine in the fall (and spring.) The reason we experience so much Brown Patch during these two seasons is because our warm days and cool evenings mean your lawn never fully dries and Brown Patch thrives on these damp conditions.

To understand Brown Patch, you need to consider that St. Augustine is a tropical plant and our North Texas summers of blistering heat (although this year wasn’t as hot) coupled with cold winter days put far more stress on it than its more natural home in places like Houston or Florida.

The stress of summer followed by our fall like conditions of warm days and cool nights create the perfect environment for Brown Patch.

Brown Patch isn’t going to destroy your lawn. Its biggest crime is making your lawn look bad. It typically goes away after our first frost. The bigger risk is that if you let it get out of control it can weaken your grass which could then suffer freeze damage if we have a cold enough winter.

If you want to avoid or treat Brown Patch I recommend watering your lawn in the morning so it has the best chance to dry during the day. You can also cut back your watering in shady areas. Instead of 30 minutes per week, try 10 or 15 minutes in those areas. You can download our free fall watering guide here.

Another thing to note if you are doing your own fertilization is that Brown Patch feeds on nitrogen. You need to avoid high-nitrogen fertilizers in St. Augustine lawns during early spring and late summer through fall. At Village Green we use a 5-10-31 ratio fertilizer.

Finally, if you see signs of Brown Patch you should treat the areas with Propiconazole. This isn’t going to make the Brown Patch go away, but it will stop the spread into other areas of your lawn.

As always, if you have a question regarding your lawn and landscape give us call at 972.495.6990 or email me at ken@villagegreen-inc.com. I love to answer your questions and often turn them into Quick Tips to help teach our customers on all things lawn and landscape related!

12 Dec 2017

When is the best time to landscape my yard?

I’m frequently asked, “What’s the best time of year to plant?”

Technically the answer from best to worst seasons are:
•  fall
•  winter
•  spring (yes, the season everyone thinks about landscape is third best)
•  summer

The reason I rank the seasons in this way is logical if you stop and consider that plants and people have more in common than you may think. The closer we get to summer, the more uncomfortable we can become with our HOT North Texas weather.

That’s why installing in the fall or this winter is such a great time. In North Texas there will be plenty of warm fall and winter days for new plants to set their roots and become established in your landscape. Established plants are much easier to keep healthy during times of the year that are more stressful for young plants (like the heat of our summer.)

A lot of people bring up concerns about their new plants freezing in in the winter. The reality is if you go with Village Green for a new landscape, we’re going to carefully select your plants so they will be fine. Village Green rarely loses plants to the cold weather so if you are considering a landscape project for 2018, rest assured that the fall and winter are the best times of the year to complete this work.

As always, if you have a question regarding your lawn and landscape give us call at 972.495.6990 or email me at ken@villagegreen-inc.com. I love to answer your questions and often turn them into Quick Tips to help teach our customers on all things lawn and landscape related!

12 Dec 2017

How To Get Rid Of Fall Weeds

I’ve been getting a lot of people asking me what can be done about all the crab grass and other weeds they’re seeing in their lawn this fall.

The good news is most are summer weeds that will go away soon. The bad news is these weeds have already left their seeds in the lawn which means they will be back again next year unless something is done over the next few months.

That’s why at Village Green, our annual fertilization and weed control program includes fall and winter visits. These are some of the most important visits we make all year, because we are applying preventatives that will keep those seeds from turning into weeds next year.

On these visits we apply a pre-emergent that prevents winter weeds from coming up along with a post-emergent for any broad-leaf weeds that have already sprouted. In late winter, around February and March, we apply a different type of pre-emergent to prevent spring weeds, such as henbit or poa-annua from growing.

All of this means when the lawn comes out of dormancy next April, it won’t have to compete with a bunch of weeds and will fill in much more quickly.

Does this prevent all of the weeds? Unfortunately not. There are three types of weeds: annuals (those that come back from seeds each year), biennial (those that have a two-year life cycle) and perennial (those that come back from their roots every year).

Pre-emergents only work on seeds so they are only effective annuals. The other two, biennials such as dandelions or perennials, such as dalisgrass can’t be prevented and must be controlled after they have sprouted from their roots.

Preventing the annuals from growing is a great start though and allows us to focus on just the other two types.

I’m often told that some of the gardeners on the radio say a pre-emergent can only be applied in September and ask if our preventative will work when we apply it later.

They are right, what is available at nurseries is only effective during certain times of the year but what Village Green applies is much different. It is more effective than what is available at stores and is applied later in the season.

Another big factor in the success of our winter weed control depends on watering. We apply our pre-emergent in big droplets which makes it fall to the ground instead of misting and blowing around. Once the drops hit the ground they stay on top of the soil. The pre-emergent only starts working when you water the lawn. The water spreads the droplets out evenly across the ground and pushes it down in the soil where the seeds are waiting to come out. Without watering, it sits on top of the soil for a couple of weeks and then eventually disappears which doesn’t do any good.

So what does all of this mean to you and your lawn? Having a great lawn next year starts with how you treat your lawn this fall and winter.

As always, if you have a question regarding your lawn and landscape give us call at 972.495.6990 or email me at ken@villagegreen-inc.com. I love to answer your questions and often turn them into Quick Tips to help teach our customers on all things lawn and landscape related!

19 Jun 2013

Summer Water Schedule


Sprinkler Repair in Richardson TXAs the temperature gets closer and closer to the century mark, I get more and more questions about how to keep your lawn and landscape looking good in this Texas heat.  Not to mention during Stage 3 water restrictions. 

First, you need to water for about sixty minutes in the summer. That can vary based on a few variables (has it rained? Do you have a lot of shade?) But sixty minutes is a good basic guideline for our area.

The challenge though is this, the infamous clay soil in our area can only absorb about ten minutes of watering.  Anything beyond that is going to run off which is bad for your water bill and our environment.

Which is why Village Green usually recommends you schedule two mornings per week in three ten minute bursts (run your system with three starts times, 2am, 4am and 6am on each of the days.)  That will give you a total of sixty minutes.  

I said usually because since June 1st, many of us are under Stage 3 water restrictions which only allows us to water once per week.  

irrigation1If this is your predicament, then you need to quite literally change to Plan B, and water of 2am, 4am, and 6am.  Then add (Program B on most sprinkler controllers) water times of  6pm, 8pm and 10pm.   Most plants, including your lawn, will be fine on this once per week summer watering schedule. 

Customers with a larger property may not be able to achieve all of the desired minutes in the one day you are allowed under Stage 3 water restrictions.  If that is the case contact the city to see if it you can get a waiver.  Most cities will grant waivers for residents with large properties.  

One final point, if your sprinkler system has rotary heads (that turn out slowly and send out long streams of water) you will need to water those zones twice as long.  The reason being they are covering twice the area with the same number of gallons and need to run twice as long to put out an inch of water (which amounts to about two hours per zone in the summer.)

Visit the Village Green Resource Center for helpful links for your city watering guidelines as well as the downloadable Village Green Watering Guide.  If you need more help programming your sprinkler, or making sure your system is in top condition give us a call at 972-495-6990, email me at ken@villagegreen-inc.com or fill out our contact form. We 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. 

07 Dec 2012

Winter Water Schedule for the Dallas Area

How do you protect your landscape from freeze damage?  Don’t turn off your sprinkler system in the winter

If you think about this, it makes sense.  Imagine filling a gallon bucket with water and setting it out in your yard.  If you came back and checked the bucket a week later, would there still be a gallon of water in it?  Some of it would evaporate, right?  The same thing is happening to the soil in your lawn and landscape.  If you skip watering for weeks or months at a time, the roots of your plants will be far more susceptible to freeze damage.  

Each week during the winter your soil loses about 1/4″ of water so you want to water about 10 minutes per zone per week, twice that if the zone has rotors (sprinkler heads that turn).  Some controllers have a “Seasonal Adjust” spot on their dial, if yours does and you originally had the schedule set to our summer schedule of 60 minutes per week, you can set the adjust to 20%.

Most plants like water all winter long – if you have St. Augustine grass, watering in the winter may be more important than your summer watering.  It’s a tropical plant so it’s unhappy in 110 degree weather but it hates 20 degree weather.  The most common killer of St. Augustine is from freezing but I very rarely see winter damage to it if the homeowner has been watering regularly all winter long – in fact, unless you have chosen a really sensitive plant, it’s rare for me to see winter damage of any plants over the winter if they’ve been watered correctly.

One last reason to water regularly in the winter, the pre-emergent treatments we apply depend on your sprinkler system to spread and push them into the soil – that’s what creates the barrier to prevent the weed seeds from sprouting.  The treatment can survive a couple of weeks without water but after that it disappears, which is disappointing to both of us.

In short- Water a little all winter long.  Your water bill will be a little higher but your lawn and landscape will thank you for it.

Not sure how to set your controller?  Give us a call we can probably walk you through how to do it over the phone.  Don’t have the time or patience to set it yourself?  Take advantage of our early bird sprinkler tune-up special of $50 (a $45 savings). 

11 Aug 2012

Flagstone on decomposed granite

Decomposed granite can be great base for flagstone.  It packs down well and is perfect if you’re going for a very informal, natural look.  An added benefit is if you’re near a tree the granite is more flexible, allowing the tree roots to grow without ruining the patio.