Category Archives: Lawn Management

Starting the Sprinkler System in the Spring

When spring time comes around, many home owners call their local landscaping company to come out and perform a sprinkler start up. It is possible to do it yourself but be sure to calculate your moves because it isn’t as easy as just turning a knob.

First, be sure the big spring thaw has happened in your area. It is not a good idea to introduce water to the irrigation system if another freeze could happen.

Make sure that the drain valve is closed. This manual valve is normally found under the vacuum breaker (back-flow assembly) located on the outside your home. Make sure the knobs on the vacuum breaker are also closed.

Find the main water valve that is normally found in the basement near where the vacuum breaker is located on the other side of the wall. Once you find this valve, slowly turn it open.

Since all valves on the outside of the house are closed, the water should stop running quickly, check for leaks.

Go outside and check for leaks, then slowly open the first knob/valve closest to the wall of the house (feeding into the vacuum breaker). This should fill up the back-flow assembly. Then open up the second valve feeding into the irrigation system. It will take a while to charge this up with water.

Replace the battery in your sprinkler timer if needed. Use the sprinkler timer to manually check each zone. Go through each watering zone and check each sprinkler head and look for leaks.

Make sure each sprinkler head is clear of vegetation that would obstruct the watering of your lawn. When they are off, these sprinkler heads should be level with the lawn so mowers don’t chew them up.

Adjustment to the heads of each sprinkler may be needed to ensure each one is targeting its zone accurately. A screw driver can be used to make tweaks.

If a zone seems to be getting watered improperly, use the sprinkler timer to turn that individual zone off and contact your local sprinkler guy.

Continue to occasionally check your zones for proper water coverage. Usually a dry spot in the yard will appear if the sprinklers are not fine tuned.

If you are experiencing problems with your sprinkler system start up and live on the front range of Colorado give Green Guys a call for help.

Mole And Grub Treatment Questions

Editors note: The article that follows is typical of discussions I have had with many homeowners. In fact, it is taken from a recent email exchange. The names and locations have been left out to protect the innocent.

The points made here are important for anyone with this problem. Things like making the proper identification of the problem critter, following the label directions on all chemical products are very important steps in the safe elimination of such problems.

The questions and answers:
I need your assistance.  Please give me a call to discuss my gopher situation.

I am not able to take on much new work at this time, but let me ask you a few questions, please. Are the creatures you are having problems with tunneling close to the surface and leaving small mounds, or are they tunneling deeply and leaving large, horseshoe-shaped mounds like a volcano with part of one side missing? The first type is moles,the second is gopher damage.
If it is moles, trapping is difficult, but using “Talprid” will work, and I would suggest following up with a treatment for grubs since that is usually what they are after.
If it is a gopher problem, trapping them is the best way to handle them, and the next most effective method is tunnel treatment with poison grain.
I have all but stopped doing this type of trapping and treatment since the cost of fuel makes it little better than a break even proposition, and most people already complain about the price, but I do make some exceptions in some exceptional circumstances.
Sorry that I missed your calls yesterday.  We were having work done in our back yard and I was tied up with the workers.  Anyway, yes, it is apparent that I have moles, not gophers.  I have always heard that the worms etc do not work, so that is why I haven’t tried them.  Do they sell this Talprid anywhere in the area?  I have started grub treatment about a month ago and have applied heavily two weeks apart.  I don’t see that it has slowed down at all.  What makes matters worse, is that due to a miscommunication, I have had ½ yard re-sodded. I am willing to try Talprid, as it seems as if I have tried everything else.  I see its available online readily.
Thanks for your help

Hello, I think you should be able to pick some up at (supplier name). Follow the label instructions and they work better than most other methods. I would also consider treating the lawn with a product containing imidacloprid for controlling grubs for the rest of the season. Thanks Hi, Does it have any effect on newly laid grass? (Imidalcoprid) Hi, That is a very good question! I have never run across it before, so I spent the last half hour reading product labels. Usually, if the product causes damage to new turf, it says so somewhere on the label, and I have read the labels on several products containing the chemical, and none mentioned it. You can find the product you want to use and call the company with that question if you are concerned that it might be a problem. Thanks, I appreciate all of your help.  I’ve never ran across something so difficult to get rid of……thanks again for all your help.  Will keep you posted-- Hello, The best way to get rid of moles is to prevent them, and about the best way to prevent them is by keeping grubs out, and about the best way to keep grubs out is to do a treatment in the spring and fall with "seven" or something similar, and once from around mid May to the end of July with the product I mentioned earlier. Grubs, at least around this area, are the larvae of the June bug. They seek light, and when they find a light source, they fly around until they are ready to lay eggs in the nearest patch of lawn that they can find. If you could get rid of all the lighting around your home and neighborhood, the problem would probably solve itself. We know we can't do that, so the next best thing is treatment for them. The moles come to dine on the grubs, but will stick around if they find another food source like earthworms. I would love to hear how it works out. Thanks Editors note: I will post the outcome when it becomes available.

Green Money Saving Lawn and Landscape Tips

A well planned landscape can save you lots of money. A lousy one can cost you lots of money.

Whether you hire a landscaper to install your lawn and landscape, or do it yourself, there are some things you should give close attention to aside from the standard design principles commonly followed today. These tips will help to “green” your lawn and landscape, and keep some green in your wallet.

Soil type and irrigation

What could be more green than saving one of our most important natural resources; water? If you have a heavy clay soil, and you want to grow almost any of our common lawn grasses, you should be certain that the soil is amended properly, or top soil added.

If this is not done, you will be at constant odds with mother nature and your pocketbook when the heat of summer arrives. The best practice for lawn grass irrigation is to water deeply, and infrequently, but if you have hard clay soils, and nothing else to absorb and hold the water for the plants, you will have to water more often, using less water each time to achieve similar results. If you attempt to water deeply on clay soils, the result will be excess runoff. When watering more frequently to avoid runoff, you will still need to have the same amount of water, but it will have to be broken up into several smaller increments. Either way, the water used is less efficient. You will lose water to runoff, or evaporation, neither of which is desirable, and in some places, it is even considered criminal!

To avoid this problem, you need to start before the landscape and lawn are installed, or renovated.

Make sure that there is sufficient top soil to become an adequate root zone for your lawn grasses and landscape beds. Plan your irrigation layout carefully to avoid having tree watering or bed watering on the same station with lawn watering. Each of these will require differing amounts of water, and you could end up drowning one type of plant while allowing the others to die of thirst! Be certain that your landscape beds are not built in a basin, and that they have good surface drainage, otherwise the plants being used could suffocate from excessive watering. Be sure to clump your plantings according to water needs and water use. Landscaping is more than just making a drawing, and choosing plants, it involves the proper placement of the plants to achieve the best combination of growing conditions.

Plant and bed placement tips

This tip will help you to save money, and “green” up your homes pest control program: When designing landscape beds, leave yourself a foot or more of space between the plants and the home. Do the same with bark mulch. That extra foot of space between your walls and plants can mean the difference between a full blown insect insurgency, and a healthy symbiotic relation between the great outdoors and the insect and mold free comfort of your indoor living space.

Pests use plants and bark mulch as a covered highway onto and into your home. The further you can keep these 2 elements from your exterior walls the better. You would probably be surprised at the difference just a few inches of space can make when it comes to insects. Instead of using the mulch between the plants and the foundation, try digging a trench, and adding coarse sand with pebbles on top. Tunneling insects like termites will find the sand and pebbles impossible to make a tunnel without having it cave in behind them. Other types of insects will see the space as being a cover-less dead end, and  and you will save yourself a lot of money on pest treatments in the long run.