Maintenance

Have a question about maintaining your landscaping? Contact us for answers.

Maintenance doesn’t need to be a sore subject provided that it is timely. Many of the yards we install require 1-2 hours a month to keep them looking healthy and beautiful. Most plants and trees respond very well to trimming provided that a few simple rules are followed.

Plants

  • Try to avoid shearing (it’s not a sheep)
  • Use small hand pruners and selectively trim off the “wild hairs” or areas of more rapid growth
  • Avoid trimming during the hottest and coldest conditions (outer foliage provides protection for plant core)
  • Reserve fertilization for spring time and just after the heat breaks.  This is to prevent a big jump in growth that will be either burned or frozen off.  Check with a fertilizer supplier or the proper supplies for your yard.
  • Protect delicate items from frost
  • Plants draw water from the soil not from water on the leaves. Plants like a little challenge so water no more than every 2nd day (during the hottest days you may need to water daily).  Apply water 1st thing in the morning. In the winter time reduce the number of days. Water deep enough to reach the bottom of  the root zone. Test this with a piece of rebar. It should shove into the ground approximately 12-18” fairly easily depending on the size of the plant.

 

Trees

  • Pruning is most important in the early years. If a branch is growing to an area that is not good, then it should be trimmed. Try to make cuts on branches pinky size or smaller. Don’t allow the interior of the tree to become overgrown. Let it breathe.
  • Desert trees do not require fertilizer. If you have the green leafy style, consult your fertilizer supplier for recommendations.
  • Trees should be watered deep and infrequent. The older the tree, the deeper and less frequent water it will require.

 

Grass

  • Try to keep it cut on a weekly basis. Every 4th or 5th day for fairway length.
  • I recommend a non-motorized McLane rotary reel mower. Sharpen it at the beginning of each season (summer & winter). It’s better for the environment and there’s no fuss or mess with the gas and oil changes, etc.  Just make sure to police the edges of your grass for rocks that will dull your blade. Most yards can be cut in 10-15 minutes.
  • When using your line trimmer for the edges, try turning the machine and edging vertically instead of horizontally. This leaves a nice clean cut edge and helps cut down on rhizome creep.
  • Fertilize every 4-6 weeks depending on rainfall (rain contains extra nitrogen).  Fertilizers will be different for your summer vs. winter lawn. Higher nitrogen for your winter lawn and more balanced for your summer lawn. Fertilizers with iron help get rid of the general yellowness.
  • As an average you should apply 2” of water per week in the summer. Set out a multitude of catch bins or empty tuna cans and turn on the sprinklers. When you reach 2/3 of an inch this is how long you should water every 2nd day. Increase the number of days between watering as it gets colder. Adjust as your individual yard dictates. Every 2nd day should be the most frequent as the root zone needs to dry out some between watering.
  • Install your winter lawn in the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th week of October depending on temperature. Your summer lawn should start to reappear in April and be in full swing by mid-May. Remember to fertilize and boost your water during this time.

Weed Control

  • Once weeds are up you own them. You can pick them or spray and wait for them to die off.  Afterwards you can pull them or rake them into the gravel. If you spray them, be sure to use protective gear. The best protection is good defense with pre-emergent. A good fertilizer supplier should also carry this for the do-it-yourselfer or you can contact me for an application.

Irrigation

  • Periodically (every month or 2) turn on your plant and tree valves and check all your drip heads. Make sure they are all present and working.
  • Check your backflow prevention device for any leaks and be sure to wrap it for the winter freeze
  • Replace the battery in your time clock once per year or as needed
  • Turn on grass sprinklers and check for broken or cracked sprinkler heads and check for aim

Gravel

  • After the winter leaf drop, heavily rake or turn your gravel and hit it with a blower to freshen it up.

Pavers and Flagstone

  • If they have been sealed, sprinkle water on them to see if water beads up. If no, then it is time to reseal. If unsealed, then now may be the time to do it. Contact me for sealers specific to these surfaces.

Palms

Arizona's climate and soil may not be ideal for palms but with proper care and maintainence they do very well here. Yes that does include Queen palms. Sufficient water and proper fertilization are the keys.

Mediterranean fans, Pygme dates and larger varieties such as fan palms, pineapple palms and others respond well to a simple palm food, deep watering 2-3 days per week and a well draining sandy soil. For Queen palms we defer to our friends at Pacific Palms (2538 E Mohawk Lane, Phoenix,AZ 85050 - 602-867-2602).

According to Pacific Palms a good fertilizer should contain all the minerals important to the health of tropical palms including adequate amounts of nitrogen, magnesium, sulfur, iron, copper and especially manganese. Manganese deficiencies show up as a condition known as "frizzle top". Untreated this condition can lead to the demise of your Queen palms. Regular feedings with fertilizer spikes 2-3 times a year can help keep this in check. Queens that have been in the ground for longer periods of time that are not responding to fertilization may be suffering from a soil that with a high ph content. Lime that is either naturally present or leached into the soil from nearby decking, walkways or foundation footers conribute to this condition. The solution is to acidify the soil to allow the roots to chemically bind with the nutrients. Create a water retention trough around the base of your tree at approximately 24" to 36" radius. Water the soil around the Queen palm the day before. Mix 1 cup of muriatic (pool) acid into a 5 gallon bucket of water being sure to follow all manufacturers recommendations for safety including skin, eye and vapor or ingestion warnings. Pour 2-4 (less for small palms, more for large ones) buckets around the base of your palms in the water retention trough. This combined with the fertilization spikes should get your palms looking and staying healthy.

More information and fertilizer is available through Pacific Palms.

Barbeque

  • Pull out the internal components and give it a thorough cleaning.
  • Check all electric and gas connections (good spring project)