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June Landscapes – Dealing with stone vendors


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How to deal with stone vendors

 

An acquaintance of mine who lives in another state shared with me a story about their experience with one of their do-it-yourself projects at their home. He and his wife had decided to create a sitting area in the back landscape where they could sit with friends around a fire pit which they would also build.

 

So he sketched out a drawing of what they wanted it to look like. They decided what materials they would need and how much. After determining costs, they proceeded with their project.

 

Unfortunately, it didn’t get off to a good start. They ordered some flagstone and some chopped stone, along with about two yards of topsoil from one of their local stone/soil vendors. And, they requested delivery.

 

My friend was not at home when the delivery arrived, as it arrived two hours later than scheduled. And in his wake, the delivery driver damaged an automated driveway gate, busted a sprinkler line, and put the materials onto his lawn instead of his driveway. Though he tried to speak with the vendor/owner about what happened, his complaints fell on deaf ears. They had their money. No one could prove the gate or sprinkler line were busted by the vendor. And they claimed the lawn thing was a simple misunderstanding.

 

Just like that, their project was over budget even before it really got started.

 

Consumers shouldn’t have to pay a price for doing business with a stone/soil vendor like that. When in this situation, shop around. Ask questions. Seek referrals. Referrals are a big deal as they indicate to you through experience what type of service you might expect.

 

Once you’ve found a vendor you’re comfortable with and have made your order – get the name of the person you’re dealing with and a phone number so you can communicate with them on the day of delivery regarding timing. Also, let them know you’ll be contacting them that day regarding the timing of the delivery. Traffic and other things can make a delivery late. Let’s face it, big vehicles like that get no where fast. But this way you’ll be able to have an idea of exactly when they’ll arrive.

 

Of course – be there when they arrive to deliver. Communicate with the delivery driver exactly where you want him to put your materials. And tell him what items, features or issues he needs to avoid on your property. Then simply make sure you watch everything get unloaded. This simple strategy will save you a ton of stress and frustration.

 

If you’re shopping for flagstone and are picking out a pallet of stone to reserve, make sure you pay attention to the middle of the pallet. Look as well as possible into the middle section of the pallet. The best stone in the pallet is normally found on the top few layers and again at the bottom. Some stone quarries will try to cram less desirable flagstone in that middle section just to get rid of it.

 

Not all stone vendors are the same just as any other business out there. Don’t rely on just what you see from the street or highway. Find out what you can about them before you do business with them. Here in Lewisville, there are a number of vendors to choose from. Two of them are directly across the highway from each other. I will never do business with one of them and quite frequently do business with the other (DFW Stone) and I gladly share that opinion whenever I’m asked.

 

Here are a few other tips/ facts to consider in dealing with stone and soil materials and vendors:

 

– Flagstone and chopped stone are sold by weight. Soil and gravel are sold by volume.

 

– 1†or 1†minus flagstone thickness is not sufficient for a walking surface and instead is more suited to a stone wall construction where its not in a strength/support purpose. Patios and walkways should be done with at least 2†to 2.5†thick flagstone.

 

– Flagstone and chopped stone pallets will come with stone of various sizes. The sizes are not across the board consistent. This is normal as all sizes will be needed in a flagstone patio or walkway construction.

 

– Many stone/soil vendors will come up with catchy names for certain types of stone. There’s nothing wrong with this practice, but it will make it confusing when you call another vendor asking about a stone name that another stone vendor made up. In general terms, stone is normally described by the location it is taken from, such as Oklahoma or Oklahoma Blue, or Leuders (Leuders, TX). So if your vendor calls a stone “rattlesnake†. . just smile and ask where the stone comes from or is quarried at.

 

– Do not try to order materials over the phone unless you have a clear understanding of what you’re getting. You don’t want to order bedding soil and have them dump 9 yards of clay fill dirt in your driveway.

 

GCMGA-3785_Deadheading.GIF

Why Deadhead?

 

Most homeowners hear the term “deadheading†and aren’t really sure what it means. It has nothing to do with a Grateful Dead concert. lol

 

Instead, pinching off the spent blooms of some flowers can cause them to bloom more and with higher volume. This works on perennial flowers such as Gerber Daisies, Salvia and Columbine. The objective of these plants is to grow, flower and then seed/reproduce before death. So if you take the spent flowers away before they’re able to set seed, the plant will set new flowers in an attempt to reproduce before it dies or goes dormant.

 

Another reason for deadheading would be, for example, a plant like Columbine. Columbine produces generous amounts of seeds which cause more plants to grow up around it. So in order to contain the spreading, you must remove those spent blooms before they seed out and fall to the ground.

 

For Daylilies, you want to remove the entire “tower†of the bloom, given that all the blooms on the tower are spent.

Early June is a great time to deadhead. Many perennials have already presented their spring blooms and will continue through June and into July if you deadhead them now.

 

Want to Create More Daylilies?

 

Reproduce them from seed! Here’s the “how to†on that.

 

Each time a Daylily blooms, that bloom becomes a seed “pod†after the blooming is over. At first, this pod will be bright green. You need to wait until the pod dries out and begins turning brown before you remove the pod.

 

Inside each pod are dozens of seeds. Take the seeds and let them dry completely out for a day. Then, put the seeds into a sandwich bag and then into the refrigerator for three weeks. The conditions in your fridge will simulate winter to the seeds. When you remove them and that condition becomes warmer, the seeds think spring has begun and will emerge once planted.

 

It normally takes about a week for them to emerge. This way, you don’t have to wait until next year to get your new daylilies.

 

 

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June Watering Schedule

 

I’m often asked when the best time to water is. In some ways, that answer changes as the growing season changes. For instance, beginning on June 15 we will change our sprinkler settings in order for systems to begin operating in the late evening as opposed to morning watering. With the extreme heat we get in Texas, this simple change can mean the difference in a healthy lawn and a thirsty, parched lawn that struggles to survive July and August. On Labor day, we will change our start times back to morning start since temperatures begin cooling and nights become shorter at that time.

 

So that settles the timing question for watering. But what about the number of days to water? In Texas, once temperatures are consistently in the 90s, we should be watering at least three times a week.

 

Now here’s the kicker – one of the three days needs to be your mowing day. Watering your lawn AFTER you mow is very helpful to your turf. When a mower blade cuts a blade of grass, it creates a wound. Allowing the wound to sit, unattended so to speak, causes the tips of your blades to turn brown and frazzled. If you water very soon after mowing, that will not happen and you’ll get far better growth from your lawn.

 

Let’s continue with this. Whats next? How long to water each day. Although there is some logic in what is commonly called “deep root watering†which translated means “water like its 1999.†That strategy only works when you have a property that is relatively level and doesn’t drain very fast. Thats simply not often the case in residential neighborhoods where each property is designed to drain away from the home structure and into the street. Since that is most often the case, I advocate shorter waterings.

 

During the month of June, watering three days a week at 15 minutes per zone should be sufficient. Prolonged watering causes a lot of wasted water and often times, erosion.

 

June Lawn Treatments

 

If you haven’t already applied your grub control, go ahead and do so now. Winter in Texas was very, very mild this year so the grubs came to the turf root level much sooner than normal this year. Make sure you can have it watered in before any rainfall event as you don’t want your product to be washed off the lawn. Apply more thoroughly in the visibly weaker sections of your lawn.

 

June is also the time for your second fertilization of the season. We’re right at the 90-day mark now from the last feeding and we want to get it down before the heat of July begins. I recommend you dial back your ratio from your spring application to further insure you don’t cause some burn in the turf. As always, water it in immediately after you apply.

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Thanks again for all of your great info! I have a green, thick, lush lawn that is the best in the neighborhood thanks to your yard schedule and info.

 

2 questions-

1) I have a back corner in my back yard that luckily is full of trees. But unfortunately, that means grass cannot grow there. It is also where the rain runoff runs through. So I am doing a river rock landscape area with some small boulder tyoe rocks. I would love to have a few plants/cactus in there to break up the rock look but I am not sure of anything that can grow in 100% shade. Any recs?

 

2) why does nutsedge tend to grow where trenches are dug? I put in a gas firepit a few years ago and now nutsedge grows along where the trench line was. I use sedgehammer every year but it always comes back along that line. My neighbor also got an irrigation system put in a few months ago and he is also growing nutsedge along his trench lines.

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Thanks again for all of your great info! I have a green, thick, lush lawn that is the best in the neighborhood thanks to your yard schedule and info.

 

2 questions-

1) I have a back corner in my back yard that luckily is full of trees. But unfortunately, that means grass cannot grow there. It is also where the rain runoff runs through. So I am doing a river rock landscape area with some small boulder tyoe rocks. I would love to have a few plants/cactus in there to break up the rock look but I am not sure of anything that can grow in 100% shade. Any recs?

 

2) why does nutsedge tend to grow where trenches are dug? I put in a gas firepit a few years ago and now nutsedge grows along where the trench line was. I use sedgehammer every year but it always comes back along that line. My neighbor also got an irrigation system put in a few months ago and he is also growing nutsedge along his trench lines.

 

 

1. Cactus won't work in a shaded environment. So we need to look at plants that 1) prefer shade, and 2) aren't real needy.

 

Turk's Cap is a flowering plant that can grow just about anywhere.

Hostas prefer filtered sunlight or shade and are beautiful.

Just about any type of fern will prefer shade

Ginger and Variegated Ginger

Spreading Yews and Creeping Yews

Even the seasonal Croton will do well in shade

Society Garlic prefers sun, but does fine in shade

Variegated Pittisporum or Pittisporum, including the dwarf Creme de Mint Pittisporum

 

I would make sure to add a bunch of compost and topsoil to this area since its obvious there has been some erosion. All of the above plants want and need organic planting mix.

 

2. Nutsedge wants two things: Plenty of sun and plenty of water. Where both are found, nutsedge will try to set up shop. You can keep using the Sedgehammer or switch to another product. ProSedge is another fine nutsedge killer.

 

A trench is lower than the surrounding area, so it naturally will have more water/moisture. Nutsedge knows what its doing. lol

 

Basically, you'll see nutsedge pop up in your lawn wherever your turf grass is weak.

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