Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

July Landscapes – Avoid that Disaster Project


Recommended Posts

image.thumb.jpeg.af9213e20381f72ddd3f482f12821bb3.jpeg

Avoid that disaster project!

How to find the right contractor for the job

It pains me to see what goes on in the landscape industry sometimes. This past week was one of those times. I went to a consultation visit to a fellow who was already $8,000 into a backyard project and was looking to alleviate some issues that project had caused.

Landscape contractors are not hired to create new issues within the landscape. If a customer wants something that will cause an issue, it’s on us to inform them of it and steer them to something more problem-free. After all, we’re most often hired to come in and solve problems, not create them.

In the above case, the homeowner had tried to reach out to some larger landscape companies. But his project was viewed “too small” for their time. And in a lack of knowing anyone else to turn to, he found a neighborhood “guy” who said he knew how to work with concrete. While that proved to be true, he had no understanding of how you create a patio next to a home foundation. And therein is the problem. Some neighborhood “guys” sometimes take on jobs they are not qualified to do. And of course, they don’t know they’re not qualified to do it.

Now, the homeowner will pay to demo the whole thing and start over again. Its a heartbreaking situation that makes me wish I had a magic wand.

How did this happen? What could have changed the end result, had he known?

image.jpeg.a5654ecdf3f09db01fa17b4ce9017110.jpeg

The tantalizing thing about the neighborhood guy is his dirt-cheap price. The homeowner gets excited, wants to explain what they want, and then “when can you start?” They will often be able to begin a project within a week.

By contrast, that inquiry should go more like the following:  cheap price, starts in a week – red flag . . prompts intensive questioning . . such as “explain how you intend to do this project.” You should be greeted with a long, information-saturated explanation that makes sense and illustrates a better than working knowledge of the intricacies of the work at hand. You may even question how the project can be done so cheaply when other estimates (if the case) were higher.

So beware of contractors who are way cheap and can start in a week. Why? Because there is often an unfortunate reason why one is far cheaper than another – and – any landscape contractor worth their salt will be booked for at least two weeks or more.

One of our recent jobs was the demo of a driveway that was poured and stained by a contractor. Within six months, the driveway stain job was peeling off in sheets and the contractor was nowhere to be found. We demo’d the drive and poured a new one, another expensive mistake.

image.jpeg.77539134325fde7404341c07480f3606.jpeg

Is there not a good way of locating a quality landscape contractor? Of course there is. Start with word of mouth. Your friends, your family, neighbors, etc. Take a look around your neighborhood. When you see something you really like, stop and ask the homeowners who they used and get their contact information. Here are a few tips to use when you’re looking for a good landscape contractor:

1. As stated above, start by talking to neighbors, friends, etc., or find a landscape in your area that you really like and then talk to the homeowner about who did the job. Make sure you ask questions, i.e. were they happy with the job and the performance of the company? Was it done in a timely fashion?

2. It is customary to obtain three bids for a job. However, the assumption should never be to look for the cheapest bid. Look for details in the bid, distinctions between the bids, etc., and then ask each of them questions about their bids, if necessary. Obtaining three bids should be done when you do NOT have a proven landscape contractor to turn to.

3. Lastly, see how seriously the contractor takes his business. Is the estimate done in professional form? Is there a visual provided that helps you understand the job and end result? Do they provide a detailed list of materials and labor in the estimate? Does the contractor communicate in a timely fashion with you?

If you follow those few tips, your chances of ending up with a project you can be proud of go up significantly.

 

Dial up the sprinkler settings!

As you know, the 100s have already arrived so respond accordingly by giving your landscape/lawn some extra time on the sprinkler system. You should be watering three days minimum and preferably four days. Most landscape plants just can’t take what Mother Nature is dealing out right now without our help.

If you are facing water restrictions, you should take advantage of the multiple programs on your control panel so that you can double up on the days you are allowed to water. For instance, you can have Program A start its normal cycle at midnight while having Program B duplicate the cycle at 7 pm that evening.

If you’re not sure how to operate your control panel, consult with a landscape professional.

 

Hydrangeas, anyone?

A customer asked me last week – can we grow Hydrangeas here in Texas?

Yes, we can. But Hydrangeas are big time water hogs and must have water frequently during the hot summer months. You must enjoy growing Hydrangeas in order to grow them effectively here in most of Texas. TLC is the name of the game, and water, water, water. Its in the name – HYDRAngea.

One trick I use in planting Hydrangeas is to include Palm husk in my planting mix. Palm husk has a high water retention qualities that enable it to preserve water, long. Thus, your Hydrangea won’t have to look sad so much during July and August.

Another trick is to use a polymer planting supplement, such as “Hydrozone” which is made by a company in Garland, Texas. Hydrozone utilizes the same polymer technology that is used in diapers. The product is able to absorb and keep up to 30 to 40 times its own weight in water. As a landscape supplement, this is something you’d use when planting a tree or shrub and can be used under sod, particularly in direct sunlight. This is not something you can add to a plant that is already in the ground, unless you drilled into the root ball to do so and in that case, I’d advise you have a landscape professional do that for you.

It works in the short and long term and will even absorb liquid fertilizer that the tree or shrub can tap into as it wants. I highly recommend it. You can find them at www.thehydrozone.com.

Look out for Scale and Aphids on the Crapes!

July is the month when we commonly see insects such as aphids and scale attack our Crape Myrtles. Crapes in poor health are the ones most vulnerable to aphid or scale attack, and often you see them both attacking at the same time.

These insects slowly suck the moisture from the tree and excrete a substance that is sticky and sweet, which draws in other unwanted insects such as ants. You’ll recognize scale by its white crusty appearance on the limbs and trunk of the tree. Aphids are mostly seen on the trunk and live in groupings or colonies. They can be various colors, including brown, black and clear.

Prolonged infestation will cause black soot fungus to appear as well as powder white fungus, which further deteriorates the health of the tree. If left untreated, it can kill the tree.

On the retail side, a product called Malathion is effective at treating these insects. Be sure to follow the directions closely and wear protective eyewear, mouth cover and long sleeve shirt.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Before I pull the trigger on hiring a contractor to install artificial grass (I know, get a rope) in our very small backyard that gets very little to no sunlight, I just wanted to throw a last-second Hail Mary pass to see if you’ve heard of any recently produced/released grass that will actually grow and flourish in such a sunlight deprived small backyard?  Even St. Augustine dies-out.

your expert thoughts?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

30 minutes ago, Panzerfaust said:

Before I pull the trigger on hiring a contractor to install artificial grass (I know, get a rope) in our very small backyard that gets very little to no sunlight, I just wanted to throw a last-second Hail Mary pass to see if you’ve heard of any recently produced/released grass that will actually grow and flourish in such a sunlight deprived small backyard?  Even St. Augustine dies-out.

your expert thoughts?

Yes, indeed. One of the lawns we maintenance has about 50 trees on a little under a half of an acre. So shade is everywhere. The front only has one tree, but it faces east so there's shade there for the last half of the day.

That lawn has Zeon Zoysia turf. And it is beautiful. It does very well in shaded conditions. The only thing you really need is someone to handle the chemical maintenance that knows what they're doing and is familiar with Zeon Zoysia.

Army worms have been an issue here for the past five years. However, army worms, for whatever reason, won't touch zoysia turf.

If you're in the DFW Metroplex, northern half, let me know and I can help you out with this. But if shade were what I had, Zeon Zoysia is what I would do. We do artificial turf, too. :)

St Augustine can put up with shade, but the average homeowner doesn't know to deal with all the bad things that come with that turf. Grubs in May, Chinch bugs in July, Sod Web Worms from time to time during summer, and fungus in the fall.

If you know what to treat with and when to do the treatments, you can have a St Augustine lawn that is sustainable in shade.

I have St Augustine in my east-facing front yard. There are two huge Live Oaks that shade the entire thing. I have St Augustine and even with my knowledge, it is sometimes a challenge to keep it looking good. I have spots that I have to re-sod from time to time. One of my Live Oaks has a convergence of limbs that come together and when it rains, there's literally a waterfall coming off that limb junction. It creates a hole in my turf and the grass goes away. It doesn't rain much in summer so its not so much a problem, but in fall and spring it can be very frustrating.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you very much...that is exactly what I needed to know.  
We are in Rowlett, so that’s pretty much eastern part of DFW (my family in Ft. Worth accuses us of living in Louisiana).  If that is too far outside your service area, completely understand...but if not, we certainly would be interested in visiting with you about this.

 Thank you again!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 minutes ago, Panzerfaust said:

Thank you very much...that is exactly what I needed to know.  
We are in Rowlett, so that’s pretty much eastern part of DFW (my family in Ft. Worth accuses us of living in Louisiana).  If that is too far outside your service area, completely understand...but if not, we certainly would be interested in visiting with you about this.

 Thank you again!

Yes, Rowlett is in our service area for chemical lawn services and landscape projects. We just don't go that far out with our mowing services.

Send me an email at greenthumbtx@verizon.net and lets get the ball rolling.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We're at stage 1 of water restrictions so I can water 2 times a week. Currently I have it set to go off at 12:15am at 125%. I have a lawn service who does fertilizer and weed control stuff and when they came by a couple of weeks ago, they stated I had a fungus (I have Bermuda grass) which causes yellow spots that looks dry. I forgot the name of the fungus but I thought it was too hot for fungi?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, tejasrulz said:

We're at stage 1 of water restrictions so I can water 2 times a week. Currently I have it set to go off at 12:15am at 125%. I have a lawn service who does fertilizer and weed control stuff and when they came by a couple of weeks ago, they stated I had a fungus (I have Bermuda grass) which causes yellow spots that looks dry. I forgot the name of the fungus but I thought it was too hot for fungi?

lol.

Your lawn service didn't know what they were looking at.

You don't get lawn fungus during the heat of summer. Fungus needs cooler temps and moisture, like we get in Fall. Additionally, you're not watering enough to create a fungus.

What they were looking at was Chinch Bug damage. Chinch Bugs can be killed using Bifenythrin. A number of products have this ingredient. I use one called Cross Check. I simply spray the areas that are damaged, doing this in the middle of the day when the Chinch are feeding.

These guys like the hottest spot in the lawn.

Their damage will look almost copper-colored at first, then it turns yellow and brown. Much like someone took a blow torch to the grass.

On your watering, I would double up (morning/evening) on the two days you have to water.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, tejasrulz said:

Just found a copy of the report and they said it was "Helminth fungus".

 

Thats insane. Thats another word for parasitic tapeworms, which affect humans, not grass. They can live in grass, such as when an infected dog throws up, and hop on a human when they walk through. But they really have no affect on the grass itself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/5/2022 at 10:27 PM, Sirhornsalot said:

Yes, Rowlett is in our service area for chemical lawn services and landscape projects. We just don't go that far out with our mowing services.

Send me an email at greenthumbtx@verizon.net and lets get the ball rolling.

I sent you an email with my contact info, etc...thank you!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

Our Affiliation

USATDP_Logo.png

Quick Links

×
×
  • Create New...