April is National Lawn and Garden month and All Seasons Landcare can not only help you with lawncare in DFW, but can also help you cultivate new ideas for plants and flowers in your spring landscape. One of the easiest ways to create color and variety in and around your lawn is to incorporate container gardening. Growing plants in containers allows you to move them, as needed, for sun or shade, utilize the best soil possible, and irrigate more easily. You can fill containers with anything you want such as herbs for more flavorful cooking, colorful flowers for fresh cut arrangements, or vegetables for healthy eating.
Follow some of the simple tips below for great container gardens throughout your landscape.
GardeningKnowHow.com provides lots of information on the different types of containers you can use for gardening. From less expensive clay pots to metal, wood, and plastic, they give important details about which container will work best for the type of plants you want. For example, since clay pots are porous, they allow more air and water to pass through easily, so they’re more suited to plans that are drought resistant. They can also be more apt to break, but are usually cheap and easy to replace.
Due to the heavy clay dirt found throughout DFW, gardening directly in the ground can be challenging, so container gardening is one of the best ways to avoid this. You can fill your containers with nutrient rich soil from your home and garden center to ensure whatever you’re growing is more apt to grow fully. The Texas A & M AgriLife Extension website says that almost any vegetable that you would grow in a backyard garden can grow in a container and, they provide a handy 7-page guide on how to grow vegetables in containers.
Container placement depends on the plant and whether it requires more sun or shade. However, you can get creative with how you display your container. Instead of just placing containers on the ground, steps, or sidewalk, they can be elevated using a shepherd’s hook, hanging on a branch, or even hanging on a wall or fence. They can also be placed on deck, or balcony railings, but should be heavy enough not to topple over in heavy winds.
Irrigating containers can be done by placing them in areas where automatic sprinklers can reach them or attaching a soaker hose to the container. However, it’s usually best to hand water containers to make sure they are watered properly and avoid overwatering.
Most container plants do not need as many pesticides as plants placed directly in the ground. However, this doesn’t mean your container plants will be pest free. Utilizing natural pesticides, and helpful insects such as ladybugs, can ensure your container plants are as pest free as they can be. You can purchase natural remedies from your home and garden store or see this article by Robert 'Skip' Richter (CEA-Horticulture Texas Agricultural Extension Service, Montgomery County) which gives great tips on attacking pests naturally.
Container gardening can help beautify your surroundings and provide you with plants that you can enjoy for months and even years. For more ideas on lawn and landscaping ideas for your home, contact All Seasons Landcare today!
This article is ©2018 All Seasons Landcare • All Rights Reserved
As spring arrives, the wildflowers are beginning to bloom, but to make sure weeds are not sprouting and your lawn looks it’s best, Allseasons Landcare offers these tips.
To remove old, dead grass, it’s recommended to scalp your lawn after winter. This is done by dropping the blade of the mower, so the dead grass can be removed easily. This process allows more sun into the soil and results in a healthier lawn more quickly.
As we have written about in other blogs, a pre-emergent weed killer can stop weeds from germination. Warm season weeds such as crabgrass, and others, can be controlled with a pre-emergent which can give you about 100 days of resisting weed germination. However, this must be done a couple of weeks prior to the last freeze for it to work effectively. For weed control in DFW, this usually means the first application should be done by March 15th with a second application a couple of weeks into June. A pre-emergent is safe for all types of grass, but only after it’s been through a first winter.
Herbicides will get rid of weeds, such as clovers and dandelions, that have already germinated. However, herbicides are not as safe as a pre-emergent and can affect trees and shrubs if not applied correctly. It’s advised to apply them directly to the weeds and avoid surrounding shrubs, plants, and trees. So, obviously, do not attempt this on a windy day.
Consistent and deep watering is needed for a healthy lawn in the spring. Many sprinkler systems in DFW need to be adjusted appropriately for the time of year and if drought conditions dictate the times at which watering can occur. So, it’s important to check that your sprinkler system is functioning well and hand water, if needed, to make sure your grass, plants, and trees are getting the water they need. Also, make sure that your lawn is level, throughout, to keep water from pooling.
As we have discussed before, dethatching your lawn can get rid of thatch and topsoil that prevents nutrients from reaching the soil. This is done by using a dethatching machine, but make sure it’s really needed by determining if the thatch is over ½ inch think. Dethatching, if really needed, is best done by a professional as many of the dethatching machines that can be rented can end up doing more harm than good.
For North Texas, fertilizing should be done around the first week of April. Testing the soil to determine the best fertilizer will keep you from wasting time and money on the wrong one. However, for the mostly heavy clay soil found throughout DFW, an all-nitrogen fertilizer is recommended. A good, quality, slow release fertilizer will keep you from having to fertilize frequently.
Contact Allseasons Landcare, so we can help you have a lush, healthy lawn for spring and throughout the entire year.
There are many different options for installing an outdoor fireplace. Some homeowners opt for purchasing a portable fireplace, or fire pit, and simply placing it anywhere it can be utilized safely. However, depending on the size and style of the fireplace you may want, one can be custom built and integrated into your existing landscape for less than what you may spend for a high-quality portable one.
A custom, outdoor fireplace can become the central area for entertaining in any sized yard. For smaller areas, a fireplace built on a smaller scale can offer just as much heat as a larger one. Smaller fireplaces are also easier to clean and maintain. For backyards with more space, a fireplace as the focal point can bring family and friends together in one place.
Large or small, the materials used to build the fireplace will determine not only it’s visual appeal in your overall landscape, but the maintenance needed to ensure its continued use for years to come. Stone construction has been the most popular material used in fireplace construction in Dallas and Fort Worth in recent years. However, steel, marble, stucco, brick, and tile are some other great choices.
Some outdoor fireplaces are specifically built with outdoor cooking in mind while others aren’t used for anything other than providing heat, so it’s important to have a skilled, knowledgeable contractor who clearly understands what you are looking for from the initial design to the final product. This will ensure your fireplace is built to local codes and meets your full expectations.
If the area you are in has restrictions on a more traditional fireplace or fire pit, keep in mind that wood and gas logs are not the only options to create an inviting atmosphere. Other ideas for a warm glow include candles, river rocks with gel fuel, and electric fireplaces if they have adequate cover.
No matter what design and material you decide to use, safety is key in utilizing a backyard fireplace properly. Plants and trees with oversized leaves or extended branches should not be located near the fire source nor should flammable fences or other backyard items such as playground equipment. However, an adequate water supply should be as close to the fireplace as possible. In addition, screens and gates should be utilized to ensure pets and small children are restricted from access to any flames.
Companies who install outdoor fireplaces in DFW are not all the same. Not all companies care about the safety, or long-term enjoyment, you should have with a custom-built fireplace. All Seasons Landcare has decades of experience in designing fireplaces and firepits in DFW, for any backyard landscape, with many happy customers. February is the perfect time of year to install one. Depending on the design you choose, you can start enjoying your fireplace in under one week. Contact us today!
Winter weather slows the need for mowing in DFW, and other lawn maintenance tasks, but that doesn’t mean that you should ignore your lawn altogether. There are some steps that should be taken to ensure your lawn is healthy throughout the colder season, so it will be in great shape once spring arrives.
Even though mowing is not needed as frequently in the winter, it should still be done. For the month of January, Southern Living Magazine states that when it’s dry outside on a winter day, mowing can be good for a “dormant warm-season” lawn. Mowing can also help minimize pests.
Many areas of DFW such as the Mid-Cities of Hurst, Euless, and Bedford and other areas such as Colleyville, and Keller in need of lawncare, may have many leaves covering the grass. If leaves have fallen, they can be mulched into the grass to protect and nourish it. This will also clear the grass so it can be inspected for winter weeds. Weeds can either be pulled or a post-emergent herbicide can be applied. However, it’s always important to make sure to follow the label directions for herbicides and make sure that it can be applied for your grass type. Otherwise, you may accidently kill your grass.
Below are other lawn and landscaping tips for wintertime.
Any items, large or small, left on the grass in the winter can create brown patches. The brown patches are where the grass has died, or almost died, making your lawn not only unsightly, but more susceptible to weeds and pests. So, don’t forget to remove any items such as toys, furniture, or potted plants from your lawn to avoid harming the grass. In addition to man-made items, other debris such as fallen branches can leave your grass with brown patches as well.
If your lawn is continually walked over for extended periods of time during the winter, it can compact the dormant grass. Once spring arrives, and the grass is no longer dormant, compacted grass will not grow properly and won’t get the nutrients it needs. Avoid walking on the grass in the winter by keeping your sidewalks and driveway clear.
In addition to the wrong pesticides or herbicides, any chemicals used on, or near, your lawn while it is dormant can negatively affect it. In the winter months, chemicals for deicing your driveway and sidewalks should be kept away from your lawn. Less harmful deicing methods include using kitty litter or sand or just plowing or shoveling icy or snowy walkways to keep any harmful chemicals from seeping into your lawn.
In addition to mowing and lawncare, other areas of your landscape, such as pruning, can be addressed during the winter months too. According to the Texas A & M Horticulture Department, pruning can be done anytime of year, but during the winter months, when growth is slowed, pruning can remove dead leaves, limbs, and branches to allow more growth in the spring. For more information on pruning, see the Texas A & M Horticulture website at https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/earthkind/landscape/proper-pruning-techniques/
For questions about landscaping and lawncare in DFW anytime of the year, give All Seasons Landcare a call at (817)545-8590 or contact us at http://www.allseasonslandcare.com/Contact-Us.
Even though the fall temperatures in North Texas have been mild, a sure sign that autumn is here is the colorful leaves that have fallen from the trees. A light layer of leaves in your yard is okay and they can act as a fertilizer. However, numerous trees that provide much needed shade in late spring and summer can drown your landscape in a sea of red, orange, and brown leaves by late fall if you don’t take care of them every week.
There are some ways, besides just raking them, to efficiently keep them under control and prevent them from overtaking your yard completely.
If your leaves haven’t gotten too deep, they can be mowed and bagged and made into mulch. This is one of the easiest ways to keep them under control quickly and easily. However, mowing has to be done when the leaves aren’t too thick, or you will have a hard time mowing them.
A leaf vacuum is just like a vacuum you use in your house which can pick up leaves that can then be ground for mulch or bagged for disposal. Just like with mowing, it’s best to use a leaf vacuum when there aren’t too many leaves already on the ground.
A leaf blower can be used to easily maneuver the leaves where you want them, and this works best for larger yards. Blowing them into a pile and then bagging them will get them out of your way much quicker than using a rake. It’s also much easier to get leaves out of your flower beds and other areas where a rake isn’t as efficient.
Ground leaves used as mulch are a great benefit to other areas of your landscape and can be shared with friends and neighbors if you have too many. They can also be used in your compost as an added nutrient for your garden. If you’re bagging the leaves, instead of just throwing them away, your city may have a compost area for them.
As pretty and colorful as fall leaves can be at first, they can quickly become cumbersome once they’re covering your sidewalks and landscape. Pretty flower beds and hedges can be overtaken by them and too many dead leaves can clog swimming pools and drains.
Spending time dealing with leaves isn’t appealing to most people. Also, many don’t have the time or equipment to handle them effectively. Allowing a professional lawn company in DFW, such as All Seasons Landcare, to take care of your leaves can help free up your time and make your lawn beautiful again. To make sure your lawn is looking great for the upcoming fall and winter holidays, call All Seasons Landcare today!
This article is ©2017 All Seasons Landcare • All Rights Reserved
Having beautiful landscaping in North Texas is important to many people. However, if you’re a pet owner, you may not be aware of the best landscaping plants for your four-legged friends.
Crepe Myrtles – The beautiful, confetti-like blooms of the Crepe Myrtle can be found throughout the DFW area in the spring and summer. They are perfectly safe for cats, dogs, and horses.
Sweet Potato Vine – Sweet Potato Vine is also safe for cats, dogs, and horses and provides pretty climbing or ground-cover in any landscape. Just be on the look-out for cotton tail bunnies who love to snack on the bright, green leaves.
Pansies, Roses, and Snapdragons – Popular flowers that can add vibrant color to North Texas landscapes include, pansies, roses, and snapdragons and they are all perfectly safe for cats, dogs, and horses.
Hosta – A hardy, shade-tolerant foliage, Hosta can be harmful to cats, dogs, and horses. It’s best to plant them in areas not accessible to pets.
Aloe – While aloe can have cooling, soothing properties for humans, they are toxic to cats, dogs, and horses.
Chrysanthemums, Lantana, and Tulips – Flowers found throughout the area, such as chrysanthemums, lantana, and tulips, may be beautiful, but are not safe for pets.
Plants that are great for any pet owner’s yard are those that are not only safe for your furry friends, but also repel pesky fleas and ticks.
Rosemary – Rosemary not only keeps fleas and ticks away, but flies and mosquitos too. It smells great and is a staple in many chefs’ kitchens.
Lavender – Lavender repels fleas, ticks, mosquitos, and moths, but is beautiful and fragrant in your garden or flower bed.
Catnip – Catnip is a flea, cockroach, and mosquito deterrent. It’s great for your cat and your garden. However, be aware that you may end up with more cats than your own!
Chamomile – Most people know that chamomile can have a calming effect when used in herbal teas, but they also keep your pets calm by keeping ticks and flees at bay.
A great place to search for a more thorough list of plants that are safe for your pets can be found at the ASPCA website. If you’re a pet owner, or just want to make sure your yard is safe for your pet loving friends, All Seasons Landcare has the landscape design team to help. Contact us today!
Watering your lawn in North Texas can become a costly endeavor when the summer heat lasts well into the fall months. This is even more true when the heat is coupled with low, or no, rainfall. Recently, cities across DFW have implemented water conservation measures such as watering on specific days, and for shorter amounts of time, to ensure less consumption of water.
There are some ways you can conserve water, lower your water bill, and still have a lush, green lawn. For most residential lawns in the DFW area, watering is done through sprinkler systems, hand watering, and/or drip watering systems. It’s important to remember that watering in the morning is recommended because watering at night can cause fungus growth.
Hand watering allows you to control the amount of water you use in all areas of your lawn, flower beds, or other areas. However, it can be time consuming and cumbersome in the hot North Texas summers. As an alternative, use a rain barrel, or other collection device, to catch rainfall and runoff from downspouts. Rainwater can be used for plants and flowers and is usually healthier for your plants than tap water. Just make sure the barrel has a good cover, or screen, to inhibit mosquitos.
An automatic sprinkler system is what many in DFW use to water their lawns. It can be set on a timer but must be adjusted or turned off when there is rainfall to avoid unnecessary watering. Portable sprinklers can be more convenient than hand watering but still need to be moved periodically to avoid overwatering.
A drip irrigation system is good for a small lawn or for watering individual plants. The drip system applies the least amount of water over a longer period-of-time which works well for areas that may otherwise be easily eroded by hand watering or sprinkler systems.
No matter how you water your lawn, one of the best ways to monitor water usage is through rain or moisture sensors. These sensors can trigger your watering system to shut down to avoid unnecessary watering until the need for more water is detected. If you’re not familiar with rain or moisture sensors and need help with installation, All Seasons Landcare can help. As licensed irrigation experts with many years of experience, All Seasons can also design a custom watering system to specifically meet your needs to save you money now and for years to come.
The prime selling season for houses in the DFW area is during the summer months, but no matter what time of year it is, one of the best ways to ensure great drive-up appeal is to improve your landscape. The return on investment for landscaping in Fort Worth and Dallas will vary, but many homeowners may not realize that just small improvements can yield a higher selling price and decrease selling time. Some of the least expensive ways to add drive-up appeal are:
Just as you see on the home improvement shows on T.V., potted plants and colorful flowers can instantly improve your home’s appeal by providing a welcoming feel near your front door.
Mulch livens the landscape and provides rich nutrients to beds which have lost their benefits due to rains, watering, and erosion. In addition to mulch, it's important to keep the yard mowed, edged, and weed free.
For larger projects, hiring a lawn and landscaping professional in DFW can save a homeowner valuable time. Sometimes, even the smallest tasks can turn into seemingly unmanageable projects if you’re not a skilled landscaper. More extensive projects, which can result in a higher return on investment, are improvements that All Seasons Landcare specializes in and includes:
Drainage systems are important to divert standing water away from your home’s foundation which can result in major issues when it comes to selling your home.
Fencing is important to potential homebuyers and fencing that is in need of repair, or missing completely, can decrease the value of your home.
Residential retaining walls are meant to be functional and are normally used to hold back soil in a sloping landscape. Like fencing, retaining walls that are in disrepair can lower your home's value as well as become a safety hazard.
If you don’t have many trees, planting some can add value to your home. Also, the shade from trees can help reduce the electric bill especially in the summertime. Keep in mind that branches that extend onto your roof can cause damage to the roof and allow bugs and other insects easy access to your home. This is an area that Texas home inspectors look at and will report on to a potential homebuyer.
Trimming scraggily hedges and bushes, and removing any dead areas, is a part of the landscape that would definitely need to be addressed prior to putting your home on the market. Also, just like with trees, if you don’t currently have any hedges or bushes, adding some can instantly increase drive-up appeal as well as the value of your home.
Even if you’re not selling your home this year, improvements you make now can have a positive impact on your home’s value now and in the future. All Seasons Landcare is always happy to help you achieve the landscape ideas you may want or need.
A year ago, we provided information about apps for watering your lawn in the hot summer months. In addition to watering apps, there are many other lawn and garden apps that are low or no cost that may be helpful to you.
This FREE app, by House and Garden Magazine, allows you to access their magazine digitally by individual issue or through a longer subscription. They offer great ideas for a beautiful garden and landscaping outside as well as ways to bring the outdoors in.
For $2.99, this app diagnoses plant diseases and sends it to a professional plant pathologist who will provide live, interactive communication regarding the plant and the disease.
This 99 cent app allows uploading of photos to a team of experts who will identify any plants that you’re not familiar with. There is a $1 fee per plant. However, if the experts can’t identify it, you are not charged the $1 fee. That’s a nominal price for expert advice.
This FREE Android app, gives you instant access to information about plants, insects, and diseases. By uploading a photo, the user can see possible matches for their submission to show more information about plant care. If the app doesn’t provide a good match, the user can submit the photo directly to an expert from within the app.
This is a FREE garden app that connects you to a local group of gardeners who know your area and have helpful information for what grows best. You can upload photos to the community of growers who help with plant identification as well as all other aspects of gardening in your area.
Bonnie has been a well-known name in vegetable and herb plants since 1918, and with their FREE app, they provide expert advice for newbies and experienced gardeners alike. With information on almost 300 vegetables and herbs, they are sure to have something to help grow your garden to its fullest extent.
FREE to those who want to search for pollinator plants, soils, bloom color, sun to shade requirements and plant type.
This cool app is FREE and works with your phone’s GPS to identify the properties in soil throughout the continental U.S.
Although apps are often convenient, and can be fun and educational, you may still have the need for a professional lawn and landscape company to provide you with the best advice, in person, based on your specific needs. When you need lawncare in DFW, All Seasons Landcare is always happy to help.
In addition to regular lawn care in DFW, such as mowing and weed eating, maintaining a healthy yard can be challenging when issues such as thatching occur. Thatching is caused by the dead roots and stems of your lawn becoming too thick which can prevent oxygen, water, and other nutrients from reaching the good, viable, root system.
The process of dethatching is often confused with aeration. However, unlike aeration, which allows nutrients such as oxygen, fertilizers, and water to reach the root system of your grass, dethatching is done to remove dead roots and stems found between your grass and the soil. Some thatch can actually be protective, but when it’s over ½ inch thick it should be taken care of in order to keep your lawn looking its best.
Thatching happens when grass is producing new growth faster than it can be broken down. This can occur for several different reasons which include:
- Compacted, poorly draining soil
- Watering too often and too lightly
- Nitrogen levels which are too high and constantly push new growth
- Fungicides used excessively which kill off microbes that help break up organic matter.
Dethatching can be done at any time of year, but it’s not recommended in the springtime due to the transition from dormant to active grass growth. It is also not recommended during extreme drought. If you have a small lawn, a dethatching rake can be used to remove the dead roots and stems, but a larger yard will require heavier equipment. It can be labor intensive, and isn’t as easy as it may look online. Making sure not to get the dethatching blades into the soil can be tricky. Just the thatch, itself, should be removed. If not, it can be forced deeper into the soil and not much progress will be made. This is why many homeowners opt to have a professional do their dethatching.
The experts at All Seasons Landcare can conduct a thorough analysis of your lawn and determine if dethatching is needed. With many lawns in North Texas, dethatching may be needed at least once a year. However, some lawns require bi-annual dethatching to keep the grass as healthy as possible. Prior to dethatching, the lawn should be cut a little shorter than usual. This allows for easier removal of the thatch and lessens the possibility of it falling back into the soil.
After dethatching, depending on the time of year, aeration and then fertilizing can encourage grass growth. Whether your lawn needs dethatching, aeration, fertilization, or a combination of all three, to keep it healthy, All Seasons Landcare can ensure the job is done properly and efficiently.