Take these winter steps give hope for next year

The dry, hot summer has many lawns looking rough as we head into winter.

While it might seem easiest to throw in the towel, proclaim defeat and try again next spring, the best time to prepare your lawn to look its best next year is now.
Seeding, fertilizing and weeding in the fall help ensure healthy root development before winter hits — and let your yard thrive the following summer.

“Anything you can do in the fall will help that plant be healthier next year,” said Steve Fine, of Signature Landscapes. “You will get substantially more root development in your turf. If you wait until spring, you just won’t have time to develop that root system.”

Beginning in September, homeowners should:

  • Make sure your lawn is getting enough water. Most lawns need an inch to 11/2 inches of water each week. Place a rain gauge or straight-edged container, such as a tuna can or drinking glass, under your sprinkler to determine how long you need to water. When it has an inch to 11/2 inches of water, you know you’re done.
  • Apply fertilizer before the first frost. This will help provide your lawn with enough nutrients to survive the winter. “Fall fertilization is much more important than a spring fertilizer,” Fine said. “It can never catch up in the spring.”
  • Aerate your lawn. Aeration lets air, moisture and fertilizer travel to the roots more efficiently. “It should be aerated three or four times in different directions before you overseed,” said Tim Scott, Signature’s residential manager. “Our clay soil, which doesn’t have nearly enough air or water and doesn’t have the capacity to hold it. The key to (successful) seeding is having soil contact with the seed.”
  • Overseed your lawn when necessary. If your lawn has bare spots larger than a softball, seed those areas from early September through mid-October. Thin grass promotes weed growth. “It’s important to get seeding done in early September so that grass has plenty of time to germinate, develop a root system and establish before winter,” Scott said.
  • Kill the weeds. Apply a broadleaf weed killer in the fall to minimize weed growth in the spring. “October is a great time to get good weed control going into next year,” Fine said. “Weeds eliminated in the fall won’t come back in the spring.”
  • Continue to mow. Keep the blade at its highest setting and mow until around mid-November. Leaving the grass about 3 inches tall helps promote strong turf and reduces weed growth. Be sure to rake up leaves from your lawn quickly, so water and nutrients can penetrate the ground and reach the grass roots.

While many homeowners like to work in their yards, hiring a professional can help ensure good results. Many companies offer a free analysis of your lawn, and you can work together to come up with a plan that’s best for your situation.

“The biggest advantage with a professional is that they will have timely applications, using the correct products at the correct time and using the products correctly,” Fine said.

Install Christmas lights without stress this year

Save time and aggravation by hiring a local decorator to adorn your home this holiday

There’s nothing like the sight of a beautifully-decorated home with dazzling lights to signal the arrival of the holidays. But, nothing can be more aggravating than that annual chore of hanging the lights, wrestling that old ladder and untangling strand after strand of lights.

If you’re like me, it seems holiday stress tends to rise with over-commitments, over-spending, over-eating, and over-indulging – all done with the hopes of making everything perfect and memorable.  That’s why I recommend letting someone else the climb the ladder, negotiate the roof, handle the electrical, and do the lighting and decorating – so you can achieve a happier and safer holiday season.

Call Tim Scott for help with light installation at 827-5296


Tim Scott, lighting manager for Christmas Décor of Reno sums it up this way, “There are two unspoken rules to hanging lights and decorating. One, whenever you decide to put up the decorations, the weather will turn bad. Two, it will always take longer than you thought.”

“That’s where we come in,” says Tim. “When you recruit help for the lighting and decorating, you know it will be done with attention to every detail because the installation is done to your personal specifications. We’re not done until you’re a smiling Christmas Elf yourself!” he chuckles.

Christmas Decor - Caughin RanchWhen hiring a lighting company like Christmas Decor (managed by Signature Landscapes), you should always check to ensure the company is fully insured and expertly trained. And by trained, a friendly uniformed crew should really understand what it takes to get on your roof, not break a tile or damage the delicate wood fascia, and most importantly how to navigate all types of ladders. Safety is king when it comes to hanging Christmas lights.

On the lighter side, Tim says he’s already received calls for lights and overwhelming requests are for the newer LED lights. “These lights are the strongest and most durable lights you can get and their power savings are 1/100th the energy of larger, traditional bulbs. When you consider how long these thousands of bulbs are powered on each night you will quickly notice the effect of the more efficient LEDs in your NV Energy bill. Plus with the newer technology the bulbs now have that warm glow versus that stark bright neon look from earlier LED products.”

In addition to the installation of your décor, you’ll want to make sure you’re to receive proactive drive-by maintenance, and of course, prompt take-down. Some companies, like Christmas Décor, will store your materials during the off season too.

Installation from start to finish usually takes about 6 hours. This includes wrapping the trees and hanging garland. Some of the larger properties can take much longer depending on the depth of their lighting and decor, so plan ahead and get on the install schedule early.

“Our clients want an impeccably-decorated home,” said Tim.  “Whether entertaining guests, lighting the family home, or creating a warm and welcome environment for business customers, people are discovering that using the services of a professional really lowers stress levels for the holidays.”