4 Cash Saving Tips for Lawn & Garden Care.

It’s that time of year again; time for your beautiful green grass surrounded by newly planted trees will be the envy of all your neighbors.

The National Gardening Association estimates that the U.S. households spent over 28 billion dollars on their lawn and gardens in 2013.  Here are some major cash saving tips for keeping your lawn and garden in check.

1. Over seed your grass – Let’s say your lawn was planted several decades ago, it’s possible that your species is more prone to disease and requires more care and feeding than newer, more drought friendly species of grass.  Of course you don’t have to start all over, you simply have to over seed your lawn.

The best time to seed is in the fall to for a better yield in the spring.  You can waste money on your lawn and garden care by seeding at the incorrect times.  If you seed in the spring, it only has a very limited time to take root and mature…the summer heat is a killer.

2. Aerate your lawn- Aerate each fall.  Aeration is simply poking holes in your lawn to loosen the soil.  Aerating helps remove the lawn dark color build up between the soil and the base of the grass;and your yard will breath and retain moisture easier.  You can rent your own aerate machine or hire a company to do it for you.  It’s a great investment for a healthy lawn.

3.  Water your grass at the right time – Many people make the mistake in lawn and garden care to water at the wrong time of the day.  If you water during the day, the hot and dry weather quickly evaporates.  If you water at night, that can cause disease or fungus because of the wet conditions.  The best time to water your lawn and garden is between 4 a.m and 8 a.m.

4. Leave your grass taller – Don’t mow the grass low.  Keep your grass cut high. This saves you money because of less watering and allows the grass to have a longer root system.

Happy Lawn and Garden Care season!

 

 

Watering Trees – How to guide

Trees constantly lose water to the atmosphere. Water is the single most limiting essential resource for tree survival and growth. Water shortages severely damage young and old trees alike, and set-up healthy trees for other problems. Drought conditions can lead to tree decline, pest problems, and non-recoverable damage. Supplemental watering can greatly assist in maintaining tree health during droughts – both during the growing season or during the dormant season.

Trees can be old and valuable. They are usually considered non-replaceable beyond 10 inches in diameter. Many associated landscape plants are low cost and easily replaceable. If these plants are damaged or lost to drought, the landscape can be corrected quickly and relatively cheaply. Large, drought-killed trees can not be replaced in two human generations. Please emphasize watering trees during droughts.

How

Ideally, irrigation should automatically begin when soil moisture reaches some critical measure determined by a moisture probe or soil tensiometers. Trees should be zoned apart from turf and other landscape plants. Careful tuning of irrigation systems are needed to prevent over-watering trees.

Manually, the best ways to water trees are by (drip) irrigation which you turn on and off such as a Tree Sprinklers you can find in the market place.  Even a garden hose, moved often, can provide a good soil soaking although can be time consuming but I personally like to find a good tree sprinkler.  Use a light organic mulch to conserve moisture and apply water over the top of the mulch.

Deep watering a tree with a pipe or wand stuck into the soil 12-24 inches is not as good for trees as surface applications. Most of the tree’s absorbing roots are in the top foot of soil. Applying water deeper than this level misses the active roots and allows water to drain away from the roots, wasting efforts and water. Apply water across the soil surface and let it soak into the soil. Surface soaking allows tree roots more chances to absorb any water, helps maintain soil health, and helps maintain essential element cycling and transformations in the soil. There are many tree watering products on the market by companies like Bosch watering, Grainger, Teknorapex and Water King Tree Sprinkler by Water King. 

Where

Lay-out water hoses or applicators out to the tree crown edge (drip-line). Try to water the soil areas directly beneath the foliage and shaded by the tree.  Be sure the water soaks in well. Use mulch and slow application rates on slopes, heavy soils (clays), and compacted soils to assure water is soaking-in and not running-off. If the tree is surrounded with other landscape plants, or by turf, deep soaking water applications will benefit all. Do not spray tree foliage when applying water. Water droplets on tree leaves can lead to pest problems and destruction of leaf tissue through sun damage. Try not to wet the upper trunk if possible.

Young, newly planted trees need additional watering care. Water does not move sideways in a soil. You must apply water directly over where you need water in a soil. For new trees, concentrate water over the root ball, as well as the planting area, to assure survival.

Old, large trees can be extensively watered over the entire area under their foliage. Another method in watering large trees is to select roughly 1/3 of the area whin the drip-line for concentrated water applications. The whole area below the foliage can be watered occasionally.

When

The best time to water is at night from 8 pm to 8 am. Trees relieve water deficits (refill) over the night time hours. Watering at night allows effective use of applied water and less evaporative loss, assuring more water moves into the soil and tree. Night time application hours, when dew is already present, does not expand the foliage wetting period for understory plants. This watering cycle minimizes pest problems.

The next best time to water is when foliage is dry and evaporation potential is not at its daily peak. This watering period is late afternoons. Be sure to allow applied water to dry-off of foliage surfaces before the evening dew appears. This dry gap between watering and atmospheric condensation helps minimize pests which require longer wetting periods. This is especially critical where turf surrounds a tree.  Of course it’s important to get water to your trees, so water whenever your schedule allows.

Because trees lose water from day to day, month to month, and season to season – dormant season watering during winter drought is important, especially for evergreen trees and juvenile hardwood trees that have not lost their leaves. Because of temperature and relative humidity interactions, much less water is required in the dormant season, but water is still needed. Do not water when the soil surface is less than 40°F.

For every 18°F increase in temperature, the amount of water lost by a tree and the site around it almost doubles. This feature of water loss must be factored into applying supplemental water to a tree. Trees surrounded by pavement and other hot, hard surfaces can be 20-30°F warmer than a tree in a protected, landscaped backyard. Water use rapidly climbs with increasing temperatures, and so should water application volumes.

How Much

Depending upon soil texture, bulk density, daily temperatures, and rainfall amounts, 1-3 inches of water per week should keep a tree healthy. Trees in limited rooting areas, in containers or pots, or on major slopes, need additional care to assure water is reaching the root system in adequate amounts and not suffocating roots from lack of drainage. Five gallons per square yard is about 1 inch of water.

Fine soils (clays) require careful attention to prevent over-watering and root death. Sandy soils can be severely droughty because water runs out of the rooting zone quickly. There are some water holding compounds that are commercially available for keeping water near roots. In addition, composted organic material additions and organic mulch covers on the soil surface can help hold and prevent rapid loss of applied water.

How Often

Trees should be watered once or twice a week in the growing season if there is no rainfall in that particular week. A few heavy (high volume) waterings are much better than many light, shallow waterings. A greater proportion of the applied water is utilized by the tree with heavy watering. Also, light waterings encourage shallow rooting which can lead to more severe drought damage. Once you begin watering you should continue to water until rain comes.

Other Things

Many plants in a small area can effectively compete within the soil to use available water. This water competition can be severe. Remove excess plant competition from around any tree to decrease water stress. Use mulch to conserve water and prevent weed competition. Careful applications of herbicides can also reduce weed competition for water, but severe drought conditions can lead to unexpected results.

When landscape watering is not allowed because of water-use restrictions, “gray water” could be used. Gray water is waste water from household bathtub, shower, sink, dishwasher, and/or washing machine. Gray water use is approved in only a limited number of counties. You must check to see if it is legal in your county or city. Gray water will play a greater role in water conservation in the future. Sodium-based exchange-softened water should not be applied to soils.

Xeriscaping, or developing water-efficient landscapes, is becoming more important. There are a number of concepts involved in developing a water-efficient landscapes, when integrated wisely, will conserve water while providing a functional and aesthetically pleasing landscape. Trees are a critical part of any water-efficient landscape.

The resource and author was found at the Warnell School of Forest Resources, The University of Georgia. Visit uga.com

Tree Care for Cold Weather Months.

Mulch is important for winter tree care months.  Use mulch under your trees in the fall or early winter to help retain water.  Mulch is a wonderful thing to use during the winter months. 

Give your trees a drink, they are thirsty.  Winter water droughts require watering just like the summer.  If temperature and weather permits, an occasional watering during the winter on a young tree can help protect and protect that tree for proper survival.  Don’t water trees if the tree and soil are frozen.. but if it is a cool temp then water away! 

How to Water A Tree – guide

Trees constantly lose water to the atmosphere. Water is the single most limiting essential resource for tree survival and growth. Water shortages severely damage young and old trees alike, and set-up healthy trees for other problems. Drought conditions can lead to tree decline, pest problems, and non-recoverable damage. Supplemental watering can greatly assist in maintaining tree health during droughts – both during the growing season or during the dormant season.

Trees can be old and valuable. They are usually considered non-replaceable beyond 10 inches in diameter. Many associated landscape plants are low cost and easily replaceable. If these plants are damaged or lost to drought, the landscape can be corrected quickly and relatively cheaply. Large, drought-killed trees can not be replaced in two human generations. Please emphasize watering trees during droughts.

How

Ideally, irrigation should automatically begin when soil moisture reaches some critical measure determined by a moisture probe or soil tensiometers. Trees should be zoned apart from turf and other landscape plants. Careful tuning of irrigation systems are needed to prevent over-watering trees.

Manually, the best ways to water trees are by soaker hose or trickle (drip) irrigation which you turn on and off such as the Tree Sprinkler by WaterKingProducts.com.  Even a garden hose, moved often, can provide a good soil soaking although can be time consuming.  Use a light organic mulch to conserve moisture and apply water over the top of the mulch.

Deep watering a tree with a pipe or wand stuck into the soil 12-24 inches is not as good for trees as surface applications. Most of the tree’s absorbing roots are in the top foot of soil. Applying water deeper than this level misses the active roots and allows water to drain away from the roots, wasting efforts and water. Apply water across the soil surface and let it soak into the soil. Surface soaking allows tree roots more chances to absorb any water, helps maintain soil health, and helps maintain essential element cycling and transformations in the soil. There are many tree watering products on the market by companies like Bosch watering, Grainger, Teknorapex and Water King Tree Sprinkler @ waterkingproducts.com.

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Why Hire a Certified Arborist?

Why Hire a Certified Arborist?

It’s important to use caution when working with trees.

As reported by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) web site:  An arborist, by definition, is an individual trained in the art and science of planting, caring for, and maintaining individual trees. Arborists are knowledgeable about the needs of trees and are trained and equipped to provide proper care. Hiring an arborist is a decision that should not be taken lightly.

Proper tree care is an investment that can lead to substantial returns. Well-cared-for trees are attractive and can add considerable value to your property. Poorly maintained trees can be a significant liability. Pruning or removing trees, especially large trees, can be dangerous work. Tree work should be done only by those trained and equipped to work safely in trees.

WHAT IS A CERTIFIED ARBORIST?

Certified Arborists are individuals who have achieved a level of knowledge in the art and science of tree care through experience and by passing a comprehensive examination developed by some of the nation’s leading experts on tree care. Certified Arborists must also continue their education to maintain their certification and adhere to a Code of Ethics. Therefore, they are more likely to be up to date on the latest techniques in arboriculture.

You can find the rest of the article on the ISA website link here:  http://www.isa-arbor.com/publicOutreach/whyHireCertifiedArborist/index.aspx

Cutting a Christmas tree in a national forest.

Click here for State Access and the Rocky Mountain Region Christmas Tree Program – or see your city offices here for your places to cut. (see offices pdf).

Cutting a Christmas tree in a national forest is a tradition for many residents of the Rocky Mountain Region.  In doing so, you take an active part in managing your national forest as you celebrate your own family’s holiday tradition.