Landscaping & Lawn Care in Plano
26 Mar 2014

How To Properly Prune Your Crepe Myrtle

In late winter and early spring you will often see many of your neighbors pruning their crepe myrtles.  That’s actually an understatement. Most of your neighbors butcher their crepe myrtles, believing, wrongly, that cutting them back is the proper way to main this beautiful tree and promote extra blooms in the summer.  Unfortunately this misinformation, what we refer to as crepe murder, is rampant in North Texas, and the punishment is an ugly tree. 

You want to know how to prune your crepe myrtle?  Don’t do it!  

The best way to trim your crepe myrtles is to treat them like your large trees and prune and trim as needed.  You wouldn’t consider topping an oak tree at 20′ each year.  Yet if you look around your neighborhood, I’d wager that many of your neighbors are hacking their crepe myrtles so they end up at about 6′ tall believing that this will lead to better flower blooms in the summer.  A few years back, I even saw a guy use a circular saw to proudly cut through his crepe myrtle limbs that were 3″ thick.

Crepe Myrtle Murder
When people butcher their crepe myrtles in this way, all they are doing is creating big, ugly knots on the trunks of their trees (see the pic above.)  And then come summer, the few extra blooms they get will droop on spindly limbs that are too weak to hold the flowers weight.  

So, how do we recommend you trim a crepe myrtle?

  • Trim off any limbs rubbing against each other or rubbing on your roof. 
  • If you want to trim more, try not to trim anything larger than a pencil.

Crepe Myrtle TreeIf you want to see what good crepe myrtle pruning looks like 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.

If you have more questions regarding your lawn and landscape give us a call at 972-495-6990 or email our Founder and President, Ken Hyatt at ken@villagegreen-inc.com.  We’d be happy to answer any of your your questions.

 

11 Mar 2014

Village Green Featured on Angie’s List Experts Podcast

I have to admit that I was shocked when I got the call from the Angie’s List Experts podcast asking me to be the guest expert on their popular series.  If you aren’t familiar, the Angie’s List Experts podcast brings highly-rated service providers from Angie’s List together to answer questions and provide home owners with the best tips and advice for their next home improvement project.
 
My interview was for Episode 008, where I talked about spring lawn and landscaping tips for a beautiful yard.  Personally I think I sound funny, but my friends and family tell me that’s how I actually sound!  You can judge for yourself by listening to the episode on the Angie’s List website by clicking here.  Or listen to it on iTunes by clicking here. Regardless of how I sound, there is a lot of great information from my 30+ years of lawn and landscaping in this 15 minute podcast.
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If you have any questions regarding your lawn or landscape, please don’t hesitate to contact me at 972-495-6990 or ken@villagegreen-inc.com.  I’d be happy to answer any of your questions.  If you do listen to the podcast I’d love to hear what you think.

Thanks,

Ken Hyatt, Founder and President of Village Green

 

25 Feb 2014

Secrets to a Healthy Lawn: Water

One of my constants is a lawn needs three things: water, food, and sun.  If it has all three it will grow on concrete (not forever, but if it didn’t we wouldn’t need edgers).  If you’re missing one of those three things the lawn won’t get any better no matter what you do.  Today I want to discuss water, or more importantly how you can tell if your lawn problem is water related.

If your lawn developed brown spots last summer, I’d venture to guess that your problem is water related.  Most of the lawn issues we see in July and August aren’t insect related which often get the blame for brown spots.  They are almost always water related.  These brown spots are generally caused by one of three things:  not enough water, poor coverage or, less frequently, a rock a few inches below the surface of the soil.

If most of your lawn looked good until June, got worse as summer progressed, and then started looking better into fall, you’re probably not watering long enough (I’ll include a link to our free watering guide at the end of this post.)

If your brown spots are limited to a few smaller spots that appear every year in the same area, you more than likely have sprinkler system coverage issues.  Keep in mind that just because the brown spot is getting wet when the sprinkler is running doesn’t necessarily mean it is getting adequate coverage.  All sprinkler systems have weak spots in them, with reasons ranging from the heads being spaced a little too far apart, to a head that isn’t working 100% right.  The thing is that Mother Nature will cover most of these issues until June, and then it’s up to your sprinkler system.  If it’s not performing right, that’s when you are going to see the proof in a less than perfect lawn with unsightly brown spots that won’t perk up until fall (for North Texas it usually happens around State Fair time.)

The reason I’m talking about watering problems, which is a summertime issue, in early spring is simple.  Like Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  If you take the steps to make sure your sprinkler is working properly now, you’ll never have the problem when summer rolls around.  If you wait until you see the symptoms, you will be able to fix it, but you’ll have to be patient and more than likely wait until fall to see the results because of our summer heat and ongoing water restrictions.

If you’d like to make sure your sprinkler is performing at optimum levels take advantage of our Village Green Spring Sprinkler Tune-Up Special for $59.  This offer is valid for up to 10 zones and includes setting your controller, checking for line leaks, dry areas, and broken sprinkler heads; cleaning and adjusting clogged nozzles and is valid thru March 31st.   Call 972-495-6990, email me at ken@villagegreen-inc.com or fill out our contact form for more information.

Resources (click the links below.)
Village Green Watering Guide
Village Green Resource Center (has helpful links to water resource and schedules for the cities Village Green serve)

19 Feb 2014

Secrets to a Healthy Lawn: Sun

The secret to a healthy lawn in North Texas is comprised of three things:  water, food, and sun.  Today I want to focus on the last one, sun which, depending on how much your lawn gets in a typical day, can be a blessing or a curse.

Trees.  Nearly everyone loves and wants them on their lot.  A big, beautiful, well established tree can not only add beauty to your property, they can also provide shade which in turn keeps your home cooler and will save you on your energy bill.  What is good for your wallet however, isn’t good for your lawn and landscape, and too much shade is often the culprit for an unsightly dirt patch in a lawn.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone tell me they think all they need to do is install a pallet of sod and their lawn will be fine.  What actually happens is the sod looks great for a few months, but over time begins to fade and, six months later, their unsightly dirt patch is back.  

The bottom line is that bermuda needs eight hours of sunlight on average and St. Augustine and zosia need about six.  

If your lawn isn’t getting that much sun then you need a solid plan b which is why roughly two-thirds of the landscape projects Village Green installs are for customers with heavy shade in their yard.  

The funny thing is that once these customers accept that these areas will never be able to support a lush green lawn, they soon realize that these areas can be the prettiest and most welcoming places of their lawn.  

A shady area can be a great place for a bench on a flagstone patio, maybe with a water fountain nearby to enjoy during a beautiful day.   And for large areas, ground cover, such as lirope or asian jasmine can be added and then be broken up with shrubs of different sizes and textures such as variegated pittosporum or plum yew.  If water restrictions are a concern, you can use river rock and mulch areas to break up large areas while reducing the watering requirements.

If you’re searching for ideas on how to fix an unsightly brown patch in your lawn, or just looking for some landscaping ideas, I invite you to visit our landscape portfolio.  The page contains a tour of landscapes from our recent projects designed by our on-staff landscape architect, David Daigle.  You can also watch a couple of my landscape eTours which showcase some customers with a lot of shade on their property and our landscape solutions for those yards.  Click here to watch the Dallas 2012 Landscape eTour.  Click here to watch the Dallas 2013 Landscape eTour.  

If you have any questions regarding your lawn and landscape 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 answer any of your questions.   

03 Jan 2014

Village Green Earns 2013 Angie’s List Super Service Award

Village Green has earned the service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award, for the third time in as many years, reflecting an exemplary year of service provided to members of the consumer review service in 2013. 

Village Green won the 2013 Super Service Award for the following categories:  Pest Control/Exterminating (for our Mosquito Assassin Program,) Landscaping, Lawn & Yard Work, Lawn Irrigation (Sprinkler Repair,) and Lawn Treatment & Fertilization.   

In our Founder & President, Ken Hyatt’s own words:  “Earning Angie’s List Super Service Award in five categories has exceeded my expectations for Village Green.  Our previous best was four categories in 2011.  Customer service is very important to me, it is how we’ve stayed in business since 1980, and it makes me very proud of our team to see that we’re delivering on multiple levels to our valued customers as evident by this many Super Service awards from Angie’s List.”

Angie’s List Super Service Award 2013 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.

 

24 Dec 2013

Holiday Party

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We’ve posted photos from the Village Green Holiday Party held on December 21, 2013.  You can see the entire set
here.  It was a fun and festive way for the Village Green family to end 2013.  We will be closed until January 2nd (except for Xmas light emergencies) so our staff can enjoy the holidays with their family and friends.  
11 Dec 2013

Christmas Light After Winter Storm Cleon

Holiday-lights-on-iceOver the past few days we have received a large number of calls from customers who are having trouble with their Christmas lights.  Village Green is in the Christmas light business at this time of the year, so our customers (both business and commercial) are calling to tell us that large sections of their lights are not working.  The culprit is Cleon (the recent winter storm that dumped all the ice in our area.)  The issue is that Christmas lights have slight nicks or weak spots that allow moisture to seep into them.  Your roof lights will usually be ok, but on trees and shrubs water from the melting ice will wick in from the limbs and can trip the GFI (Ground Fault Interrupter.)  This is also true of any Christmas lights on the ground (like staked lights.)  In fact, any long soaking rain can seep into the wire and trip the GFI outlet.  Keep in mind that GFIs can be located in strange places.  It’s not unusual for a bathroom outlet to trip and turn off the holiday lights plugged in on the front porch.  If you are having issues look for GFIs on all outlets near water (think kitchens or bathroom and out in the garage.) Some newer homes will have the GFI built into the breaker switch in the breaker panel.  Once you find the GFI, press the button until it clicks and your holiday lights are once again shining brightly.  If that doesn’t resolve the problem, we tell our customers to wait a few hours (to allow the lights to dry out) and try the GFI again.  

23 Nov 2013

What Do You Do With Leaves?!?

20131121_082451Fall is here and so are the leaves!  One of the questions we get during this time of year is what should our customers do with all their leaves?  If they are in your beds we recommend you leave them alone.  They eventually break down into the soil, providing great organic material for the roots of your plants.  Your lawn however, is a different matter.  Having a thick blanket of leaves can cause a few problems.  One is that a thick layer of leaves can promote fungus.  Another is that the leaves form an insulation barrier for your grass, which is great, until the inevitable gust of wind blows, leaving your lawn exposed to sudden cold.  The inability to acclimate when this occurs is especially hard on St. Augustine and zoysiagrass.  So, the original questions, what should you do with all those leaves?  If at all possible mulch them.  Most mulching mowers can mulch them finely enough after a couple of passes to dispatch the leaves back into your lawn.  If, after after a couple of passes, you’re still left with a ton of leaves, or you don’t have a mulching mower, your best option is to go old school and grab the rake and trash bags.

21 Nov 2013

Cold Weather Plant Care

Cold WeatherAn artic cold front pushing into our area later tonight promises to bring much colder temperatures and the possibility of sleet to parts of North Texas.  Fortunately for us in the Metroplex, the temperature should remain above freezing.  While these temps may be uncomfortable to us humans (and our pets,) they should not be a problem for most plants.  

What harms the majority of plants is extremely cold and DRY weather that is well below freezing.  When temperatures are predicted to plummet, the best protection you can provide for your plants is to water your landscape.  If the soil is wet, even if the temperatures plunge into the single digits (which, can happen in North Texas), the soil temperature won’t drop below 32 degrees which protects the roots of your plants.

While your plants will survive the cold if you’ve watered, we recommend covering your blooming plants, such as pansies, or your more sensitive plants.  An old sheet or cloth towel is what we recommend to our customers.  Never cover your plants with a plastic sheet or tarp.  The plastic works like a magnifying glass, and will scald the plants underneath.

21 Nov 2013

Meet the Team: Shelby Hyatt

Founded in 1980 by Ken Hyatt, Village Green is a family owned business that specializes in lawn care, landscaping, fertilization and weed control, sprinkler repair, and mosquito control. During the Holiday Season we also professionally install lights for both business and residential customers.  

Ken has always felt that the people behind Village Green are as important as the company itself.  With that in mind he asked the team to answer a few questions in order for our customers to get to know more about the Village Green employees who serve them. 




Shelby HyattQ&A WITH SHELBY HYATT, Doer of Whatever is Needed Done as Daughter of the Owner


Please describe what you do at Village Green.  

I do a lot of in and out jobs between doing bills and putting up Xmas lights at Dallas Baptist University.

How long have you worked at Village Green?  
Since I was born! [Which isn’t exactly true, but when you are the owner’s daughter you start helping with the family business at an early age!)

What would people be surprised to learn about you?  
I volunteered at the Dallas Zoo and got to feed and pet a rhino.
What some of your favorite things?  
My favorite past time is camping and hiking. 

 
Where did you grow up?  
Texas.
 
What is your favorite TV show?  
My favorite TV show is between Once Upon a Time, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Fringe.
 
Fill in the blanks.  I can’t live without laptoppets, and family
  
If you could have a dinner party and invite any four people, dead or alive, the guest list would be?  
Teddy Roosevelt, J.J. Abrams, Joss Whedon, and Walt Disney.
  
If you were a superhero would you be?  
Black Widow

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