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Source: Signature Landscapes

 

In the heat of mid-summer, almost every lawn gets brown spots, which are really the lawn’s “S-O-S” call for help! The grass is obviously stressed and of course, we think it needs MORE water.

We’re tempted to turn up the sprinkler system so it waters longer. But watering longer won’t solve the problem if the water isn’t getting to that brown spot to begin with. So, how do we find the problem?

Many brown spots can be solved at the source of where the water comes out — at the sprinkler heads themselves. Four common problems have quick fixes that can get much of your system back in order. If you do the work yourself, it shouldn’t take a lot of time. Whether it’s a DIY project or you bring in outside help, the benefits will be a healthier lawn and hopefully, less water use and costs.

Those four causes of brown spots are:

- The nozzle– the part in the sprinkler head where the water comes out– is clogged. Dirt and debris often get into the nozzle and once it is cleaned out, the head will spray water where it’s intended.

- The direction of the nozzle’s spray is out of adjustment. The nozzle may be directing water too low or too high. Either one will keep the water from hitting the area it is supposed to reach. Making the adjustment will solve the problem.

- Rotor heads– the ones that oscillate back and forth– may be stuck or pointed in the wrong direction. A head that’s aimed at the street rather than your lawn is the culprit for the brown spot, and wasting water in the process. Getting the head back into alignment will put the water where it needs to go.

- Sprinkler heads aren’t popping up high enough. Equipment damage or soil buildup over the years may mean the sprinklers are no longer popping up high enough to clear the top of the grass blades. Water will hit the grass closest to the head and be deflected. Raising the heads-or replacing them with sprinklers that pop up higher-will solve the problem.

If temps remain high, you may want to hand water just the brown spots for a few days to give them extra TLC. But avoid making the entire sprinkler system run longer to deal with problem areas. That’s a waste of water and added expense.

 

Source: Signature Landscapes

 

From: Sprinkler Juice

Summer weather is here, and by that we also mean rainy days and thunderstorms! Depending on where you live, some of these storms can be severe and cause quite a bit of damage.

 

Your first inclination will be to check for damage. The second inclination will be to clean the yard of any debris. These are good thoughts, but you want to make sure you clean up correctly

 

Remember, these storms can damage trees and shrubs and leave behind a trail of debris. You need to be careful when doing such cleanup work.

 

Strong storms can bring down tree limbs and power lines. The first thing you want to do is make sure none of those fallen tree limbs are resting on power lines. If this is the case do not, under any circumstances, try to remove them. You must contact your local utility company to have those limbs and branches removed.

 

Most of the fallen branches will be branches that have already died.  Some limbs may have been ready to come down and were just waiting for a good, stiff wind.

 

If large parts of a tree have come down and are in a difficult position or are too big and heavy to maneuver, do the wise thing and call a professional. A tree pruning company can help with the removal.

 

Check your lawn sprinkler system. It’s possible it could have sustained damage in a rough storm. Check all the zones and make sure the sprinkler heads are not damaged. This should be done before you try and use the system after a storm.

 

Source: www.sprinklerjuice.com

In addition to bees, there are over 2,000 species of animals that act as pollinators. Pollinators play an extremely important role in our survival; without them, we simply would not be here. In fact, 75% of all flowering plants rely on pollinators in order to provide us with the food we eat and to also sustain many other species and wildlife. The collapse of the honeybee population and the scarcity of other plant pollinators have grown into a serious problem that requires immediate action, and ecoLogical is on board!

To raise awareness and support, the Pollinator Partnership has launched National Pollinator Week to not only educate the world about honeybees and Colony Collapse Disorder, but to also help spread the word about the importance of protecting other plant pollinators such as bats, butterflies, hummingbirds, and beetles. All of these pollinators together are responsible for bringing us one out of every three bites of food, and the time to act is now!

 

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One of the best and easiest ways to get involved and to help save the bees and other pollinators is to get outside this weekend, enjoy the sunshine and warm weather, and plant pollinator-friendly flowers and plants around your yard. Gardening is a great summer project, and it provides pollinators with safe and beautiful habitat. And, as always, never use chemicals or pesticides on your lawn or in your garden!!!

 

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photo: thespanishgardener.blogspot.com

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photo: anr.ext.wvu.edu 

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photo: pollinators.blogspot.com

 

If you live in the Boulder/Denver area of Colorado (or the Southern Rocky Mountain Steppe/Open Woodland/Coniferous Forest/Alpine Meadow Province, which includes parts of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho), the best plants to attract pollinators include lavender, columbine, sunflowers, roses, phacelia, cilantro, sage, and many more! For the complete list and information about the best plants and habitat for pollinators, click here.

 

If you don’t live in this particular region, click here to calculate your planting region by entering your zip code, then find out which pollinator-friendly flowers and plants will grow best where you live!

 

To learn more about how you can get involved from the legal standpoint, click here, or visit ecoLogical Lawn & Tree Care’s Facebook page.

 

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From Sprinkler Juice

 

As we approach mid-June, the sunshine is getting stronger and the weather is getting hotter!

 

Summer can be a tough time for a lawn. The best thing you can do is prepare your lawn for the hot summer season ahead.

 

You should start at the root of the situation. This means checking the soil in your yard. Start with a soil test; the results of the test can help you determine when to fertilize and plant.

 

Aeration is also extremely beneficial, as it allows more water, oxygen, and nutrients to access the root zone of your lawn. Aerating your lawn will help your grass to grow healthy and stay green throughout the summertime.

 

It’s also important to know how to water. A lawn sprinkler system with a timer can help take the guess work out of knowing what time to water the lawn. Watering early in the morning is very important during the summer months. Hot air and a pounding sun can cause water to evaporate too quickly, before it has a chance to be absorbed into the soil. A lawn irrigation system timer should be set to different times depending on the season.

 

If you have recently seeded your lawn with new grass seed (sometimes called slit seeding or overseeding), then be sure to water in short increments throughout the day to keep your soil moist and your seedlings hydrated. For more information on watering schedules, please see our Current Suggested Watering Program, which we update weekly.

 

 

 

We are very proud and excited to introduce Diane Curlette as the author of our featured guest blog, which is a letter that she recently wrote and submitted to the local Boulder Daily Camera. Her piece discusses the rising emerald ash borer dilemma and explains how certain pesticide treatments used to treat the “beetle problem” are also contributing to Colony Collapse Disorder and are causing the bee population to continue to dwindle. We, ourselves, have blogged about the ash beetle dilemma and also about the importance of saving the bees, and we are delighted to share Diane’s letter with you all!

Diane Curlette: Emerald ash borer — Pesticide treatment is killing bees

POSTED: 05/25/2014 01:00:00 AM MDT on Boulder Daily Camera Online

 

Sometimes being a good steward of the earth requires humans to make tough choices and incur losses or experience inconvenience. The city of Boulder has lots of green ash trees and wood from these trees has been quarantined to prevent the spread of a devastating new pest, the emerald ash borer (EAB).

Arborists have had little success in defeating this pest and professionals agree that we are at the beginning of a years-long epidemic of ash deaths that will mean a loss of valued shade and habitat, first in the city and then more generally in the county.

Wild and domestic pollinators, particularly honeybees, are suffering colony collapse disorder and dying in high numbers. Bee experts worry that the human food supply could be threatened by the massive die offs of the bees and other pollinators.

These two problems are related because evidence is emerging that neonicotinoid pesticides are a major cause of the loss of bee hives. And neonicotinoid pesticides are the main recommended treatment for ash trees infected with the EAB.

The treatment is systemic, meaning it is applied to the roots or trunk of the tree and flows throughout the tree’s tissues to kill the boring larva feeding under the bark. Thus all the tree’s tissues, including leaves and surrounding soil and ground water, become permanently poisonous. Other plants can take up the poison from the soil and create an additional source of poison. These are long lived pesticides and treatment must be repeated every year to have a chance of saving the tree.

By introducing substantial additional quantities of these new poisons into our yards, we are contributing to poisoning our environment and threatening honeybees. Responsible action has four components: get informed about these issues by reading the information on emerald the ash borer on the city of Boulder website, and on the Boulder County Beekeepers’ website, choosing Tom’s corner for extensive information.

Second, assess the importance of the individual ash trees in your yard and your neighborhood. And third, resist insistent communications from pesticide applicators to “pre-treat” your trees or to set up an “annual program” for neonicotinoid applications. And finally, choose and plant replacement trees for those you plan to lose.

 

Diane Curlette

Boulder

Source: http://www.dailycamera.com/letters/ci_25822511/diane-curlette-emerald-ash-borer-pesticide-treatment-is

Late spring or early summer is a great time to apply compost to your newly aerated and seeded lawns. Compost applications enrich your soil and enable your turf to grow and flourish; compost applications (also known as top-dressing) are an essential part of organic lawn care and make your grass gorgeous and green! If you haven’t seen our May Newsletter, we’ve outlined all you need to know about compost applications and your lawn right here (the why, the what, and the how!):

Why should I use compost on my lawn? Integrating compost applications into your lawn care regimen is necessary for achieving healthy, nutrient-rich soil and growing turf that is strong, lush, and free of weeds and bare spots. In order to have a healthy, green, and beautiful lawn, you must have healthy soil! Compost top-dressing is most effective when your turf has first been aerated, enabling the compost to saturate and fertilize your soil with organic nutrients a nd microbes. Compost top-dressing also breaks down thatch build-up, neutralizes your soil’s pH, and increases your soil’s water retention.

What kind of compost should I use on my lawn? Compost, in general, is made of all organic and biodegradable materials; many compost mixes contain ordinary household food waste (like eggshells, coffee grounds, and vegetable scraps), while others contain wood chips, leaves, and other organic matter and yard waste. At ecoLogical Lawn Care, we have developed a unique Compost Tea that’s specially engineered to achieve the very best results in soil nutrition and biofertility. Our freshly brewed Compost Tea is teeming with microbial life and is mixed with humates, vitamins, amino acids, and an abundance of other organic nutrients. We recommend five applications of our Compost Tea a year: the first, third, and fifth Compost Tea applications (applied May, July, and September) also contain fish hydrosylate, humic acid, molasses, and cold water kelp extract for an extra boost of biofertility; the second and fourth applications (applied in June and August) contain just our original Compost Tea formula. It’s truly a recipe for a thick, lush, and weed-free lawn!

- How is compost applied to my lawn? After aeration (aeration ensures your turf’s absorption of fertilizer), we apply our Compost Tea directly to our customers’ lawns using our amazing, eco-friendly top-dressing machine called the— you guessed it— Top-dresser (pictured below)! This state-of-the-art motorized top-dresser spreads our highly concentrated, nutrient-dense Compost Tea evenly throughout your lawn to feed the soil and lock-in moisture. Along with aeration and slit sleeding, top-dressing helps to ensure that your grass grows into a healthy, sustainable, and beautiful turf.

 

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Lately, there has been a lot of talk over the ash beetle invasion that recently struck the Boulder, Colorado area last September. The non-native, bright green emerald ash borer only preys on ash trees (hence its colloquial name ash beetle), and once an ash tree is infested with these little guys, there is practically no hope for survival.

On the surface, these beetles seem like your typical, destructive pests; but what adds an interesting layer to this dilemma is the fact that they’re not the only non-native species that’s involved here. Ironically, the ash trees that are currently growing here in Colorado are also a non-native species like the ash beetle, and they were purposely planted here (and will continue to be– about a million of them through year 2025) in order to introduce more shade into our sunny state. The point is, although we keep deliberately planting them, the ash trees– just like the ash beetle– aren’t really supposed to be here, either. 

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So what’s the problem?

Well, studies predict that this new invasive ash beetle population will end up killing off tens of thousands of ash trees in Colorado… all while the state spends enormous funds (which are projected to eventually amount to millions of dollars) on ineffective chemical treatments that attempt to “mitigate” the ash beetle population and reverse the damage caused by the critters in already infested ash trees. Unfortunately, these chemical treatments and insecticidal tree-injections cannot save these trees, nor can they possibly kill off all of the beetles; the only remedy that works is the removal of the infested ash tree altogether. We can’t help but feel sorry for all of the ash trees (which are supposed to be thriving) and demonize the ash beetles for being such stubborn pests, but we must remember that what’s happening is also just nature.

Thus, the real problem is not the havoc of the ash beetle. Rather, the true problem is that we keep continuing to plant new ash trees to replace the already dead and dying ones (which is frankly a waste of money, time, and resources), and we keep poisoning our ecosystem with pointless pesticides and insecticides that aren’t really working. Seven months later after the ash beetle invasion, we find ourselves stuck in a sort of cyclical war between the ash tree and the ash beetle, pouring all of our efforts into constant planting, pesticide-injecting, removing, and re-planting. It’s as if we are just luring the ash beetles with fresh bait over and over again, and many feel that these measures we’ve been taking to eradicate the ash beetle have proven to be overwhelmingly futile and wasteful.

But is there an alternative solution?

A solution: not quite. But a suggestion for how we can cope: yes. Many Colorado citizens propose and agree that it is more financially and environmentally ethical to first stop trying to save the ash trees that are already infested by the ash beetle, and to also stop planting new ones for the ash beetles to just inevitably gobble up again. In reality, if an ash tree has ash beetles living inside of it, then it must be accepted that the tree will eventually die. Toxic pesticide and insecticide treatments are very costly and are highly unsuccessful in reversing the ash beetles’ infestation of an ash tree. Not to mention, these synthetic chemicals are dangerous for our environment and health. Also, the “preemptive removal” of healthy ash trees, as well as the removal of beetle-ridden ones, lacks logic– why would we invest in the removal of all of these ash trees if we are also simultaneously investing in a project to plant almost a million new ones? In other words, why keep planting ash trees and feeding the beetles?

Ultimately, the idea of letting nature run its course and choosing acceptance over combativeness exists. We can choose to stop injecting pesticides and insecticides into our environment and ecosystem and stop planting new ash trees to cover-up the dead ones. Believe it or not, having dead ash trees around us is not the end of the world. We can always use the dead ash trees as firewood and scrap wood, and perhaps even launch a campaign to repurpose the dead ash trees in the Boulder community. We must also keep in mind that, when left alone, dead ash trees create more natural habitat for wildlife. So why not, for now, just let the ash beetles have the ash trees that are already planted here, and let the birds have plenty of beetles to eat in the meantime? There is no need to be so ashamed of the ash beetle, in our opinion.

 

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Images:

www.emeraldashborer.wordpress.com

www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

 

Sources:

www.dailycamera.com/lifestyles/ci_24402821/emerald-ash-borer-tree-monster

www.dailycamera.com/letters/ci_24206188/bill-weber-ash-trees-invasive-beetle-is-blessing

www.dailycamera.com/guest-opinions/ci_25588139/how-deal-ash-beetle

 

 

 

 

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