All posts by Garrett Matthews

mulch, matthews landscape

Weed Eaters vs Fences

 

Some battles are as old as lawn maintenance it’s self…Weed Eaters vs Fences! I wish I could say there was an easy way to deal with this but there is not. Regardless of how careful you are, when it comes to trimming against fences there is going to be some line damage to the wood. There are a few “unsightly” alternatives but Im not in love with any of them.  We have seen people use brick pavers to line the fence.  This could get costly and also can look pretty random.  Some people even will use the metal edging for outlining your landscape beds against the fence.  Again, not very sightly.  The one that seems to make the most sense would be attaching a extra piece of wood to the base of the fence.  There is still going to be some damage to even this piece however the thicker wood will last much longer than the thiner fence boards.  Ultimately, unless you have small animals that will escape, have the fence stop just short of the ground is the best answer to fixing this problem in our opinion.  Hope all this helps!

Hydrangeas and Soil pH

Not many plants get more traditional or southern than Hydrangeas.  They provide your landscape with very large and beautiful blooms for several months during the summer.  What you might not know however is why some plants bloom a different color than others.  It all has to do with the soil pH the plant is growing in.  When a plant is growing in an acidic soil where the pH is around 5.5 or lower  you will get blue blooms.  When you get a more basic pH of 6.5 or higher you will get pink blooms.  It is also not uncommon to see blooms with shades of Purple when you get pH’s in the middle.  You can actually change the color of your plants bloom by altering this pH.  Im sure you have heard about putting old rusty nails or other metal at the base of the plants.  As it rust the water will bleed into the soil and alter the pH and change the color of the blooms.  Also, remember to make sure these plants get plenty of shade.  They don’t like the afternoon sun very much and will wilt and get droopy.  Hope this helps!!!

Valve Box Covers

If you have a sprinkler system then you see some of these in your yard. Better yet, I bet you have chopped a few up with the lawn mower or had the dog eat one or two! The are valve covers and are a part of your sprinkler system. The green lid is a top for the total valve box that protects the valve underground. They are very important and you need to make sure they are clear and easy to find. The valve box keeps dirt and other debris from covering the valve up. This matters most when you go to perform maintenance on your sprinkler system. If they are covered up and start to have issues it could get pretty costly trying to use a locator to find them all. We buy ours at Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply on Lynbrook Ave. Hope this helps!

 

Using Good Fuel

Most people only ever use the cheapest gas possible for their lawn equipment.  Something to consider this year is the life of your mower.  Did you know something as simple as using the high octane or ethanol free fuel will help your mower to not only run better but last longer. Look at it as a cheap insurance policy to make sure your equipment lasts longer or need fewer repairs.  Fewer repairs and longer life means money saved!  Also, when it comes to your 2 cycle fuel, use a product like TruFuel50 that has cleaners, stabilizers and ethanol free fuel. You wont regret your decision!

 

Hawthorn Leaf Spot

Have you ever noticed Indian Hawthorns in your landscape getting very thin and losing all of their leaves?  You may even notice the leafs turning red and orange before they fall off.  Before long the entire plant looks dead and bald.  Chances are your shrubs are suffering from a disease called Leaf Spot.  It’s a fungus that attacks shrubs like hawthorns very hard.  Typically you will first notice dots or spots forming on the leafs then the plant starts to drop all of the leafs.  Once it forms in one plant it will also start to spread to the others nearby as well.  We typically see it in areas where there is excessive moisture or not much air flow.  It also is common in areas where the plants are planted very thick and form a hedge.  The good news is unless you have let the issue go on to long the plants can be treated using a fungicide.  The entire plant and surrounding plants will need to be sprayed at least once and sometimes twice depending on how advanced the issue is.  We also recommend removing all of the affected leaves that have been dropped.  Reducing the amount of water the plants get and allowing them to dry out is also a very good practice.  Here is a link to a effective product we recommend to use if you decide to tackle this project!

https://www.amazon.com/Propiconazole-Generic-Banner-Quart-nuf-010/dp/B004GTONG8/ref=sr_1_3?crid=1GT9LV4LRV54Z&keywords=propiconazole+14.3+fungicide&qid=1555950859&s=gateway&sprefix=fungicide+pro%2Caps%2C178&sr=8-3

Dethatching

Most people have heard of thatch in your lawn but do you really know what it is?  Basically it is a bunch of dead grass in your yard.  Some thatch is actually a good thing.  When it gets out of control and builds up a super thick layer is when you will start to see issues.  There are several ways you can get an unhealthy layer of thatch.  The most common is allowing the grass to get to tall in between the times you cut it.  Most lawns have a mulching mower used to help break down the grass into smaller sections.  This issues start when there is more grass to break down than time will allow.  It’s pretty easy to tell if you have a thatch issue in your lawn.  Is it hard to see the dirt below the grass?  When you walk across the yard does it feel very soft or like a cushion?  If you pull a rake through the yard do a lot of dead grass come to the surface?  These are all simple signs that you may have an issue to address.  When the layer is allowed to get to thick you will start to notice the lawn getting thin.  This thick layer prevents water from getting to the soil where the roots are.  It also makes it hard to fertilizers and other nutrients to get to the ground.  The solution can sometimes be as basic as aerating the lawn.  This can help break down small amounts of thatch.  Other times you need a more aggressive approach like using a power rake or dethatcher.  The dethatcher has several metal “fingers” that run through the grass and pull all of that thatch to the surface.  It usually surprises people when they see the amount of dead grass that gets removed.  We must warn you, don’t try this unless you have a way to haul off an excessive amount of trash and debris.  As you can see in the video there is a lot of old grass that will need to be raked up and thrown away.  If you try to take this on by yourself there are a few places to rent them like Tubbs Hardware in Bossier or Home Depot on Bert Kouns.  Bailey Bark and Material is a good place to consider dumping the trash when the job is done.  Hope this helps!

mulch, matthews landscape

Water Bubble

Have you ever seen a lawn pimple! HaHa…actually it’s just a massive build up of water under ground. It’s very common this time of year when your sprinkler system has been turned off during the winter. Sometimes there will be breaks and since they are underground you can’t see them. In a situation like this one, the root system of the grass is thick enough and the soil compacted to the point the water stays under ground. It then forms a water bed like situation in the lawn and the water builds up there. The issue ends up being you have punch a hole in the ground to let all the water out then dig around to find the break. It’s very important to find these types of breaks because it is usually a major one that is letting lots of water out. Considering how much the city charges for water you want to get it fixed! Hope this helps! Let us know if you have any questions!

aeration

Do I Need To Aerate?

To aerate or not to aerate?

Wait what do you mean aerate?

Our area is no stranger to clay soil.  That along with all of the rain and high heat can cause for very compacted soil.  To combat this soil compaction problem there is a process called aeration.  This is the process of physically removing cores of dirt which helps loosen the ground.  When the ground is not as compacted it allows for better absorption of water, proper air flow and better ability for nutrients to get to the grass roots.

The real question is how do you know if you need it?  We suggest getting it done at least once a year.  If you have never had it then lets just assume you need it!  A simple test is to take a normal screw driver and try to stick it into the ground.  If you can not get it into the ground relatively easy then you need to consider getting this done.  You should not have to lean into it and put a ton of muscle and body weight into getting the screwdriver into the ground.  The benefits are huge.  If you have any questions about how or where to do this feel free to ask any questions!

Save Money On Water!

Want to save money on your water bill this year? Lord knows the City water isn’t getting any cheaper! Think about the last time you watered your lawn and all of the water that went running down the street. What if you could have saved that water and reduced the waste which leads to money saved? It’s possible in a few ways. One like shown here is by converting your sprinkler heads to MPR nozzles. They are a much slower way of watering the lawn and reduce waste. They also just do a better job to be honest. David makes it look pretty easy but be prepared to get a little wet! The amount of money saved would vary on the size of your lawn but this one simple up grade will pay for itself and save money in the first year. Tomorrow we will talk about controller upgrades!

 

chinch bugs

Crop Circles

Do you have crop circles in your yard?  Worried that aliens may have landed?

Well I hate to break it to you but that is actually a fungus and what you need is a fungicide. Brown Patch is its name and damage is its game! It is very common this time of the year when we are getting temperatures swings of 20-30 degrees between the highs and lows. St. Augustine is the most prone of all the grasses by far. It is also very fast moving and needs to be treated pretty quick. In the example here we sprayed it within 2 days of noticing the fungus. Make sure to use a quality fungicide and apply it following the label on the bottle. Also, don’t be surprised if you need more than one application. It is also important to rotate your types of fungicides out so that a resistance does not build up. As soon as we start getting warm temperatures on a regular basis you will be able to let your guard down. Also, if you neighbors lawn get the brown patch, don’t be surprised if you get it as well.