How dry weather damages your landscape

According to NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), the Northern Nevada area is experiencing extremely low precipitation, so you’ll want to put some time into watering your trees and shrubs as soon as possible.

Businesses and homeowners should evaluate their ability to water their trees, shrubs and turf areas, and don’t be fooled when it snows (please let it be soon!). Dry winter conditions result in serious damage to newly planted landscapes as well as mature and established trees. You and your plants will be glad you did.

Damage to vegetation includes, but is not limited to:

  • Increased susceptibility to insect attack
  • Undersized leaves in the spring
  • Needle browning and pre-mature needle drop in evergreen trees
  • Desiccation and dieback to fibrous(nutrient absorbing) root tissue

These are all very serious issues when you’re expecting your landscape to come back vibrant and healthy in the spring. The frequency of supplemental watering should be based on the ongoing conditions, so monitoring soil moisture should be done often throughout the winter. Winter watering is a task that is often ignored during the holidays as everyone’s life becomes hectic.

Fortunately, Signature Landscapes can take this burden off your shoulders. Give us a call today so we can help you all winter long. Just give us a buzz at(775) 827-5296 and we’ll get you started.

KTVN Channel 2 Interview

Here’s our own Steve Fine on KTVN Channel 2 talking about some of the issues with a dry drought – winter or summer


Why plants need TLC in the winter

This time of year, we think our landscapes are tucked away for their long winter’s nap. Yet this is the arid Northern Nevada climate we’re talking about and even leafless trees and dormant lawns will become very thirsty.

The norm for snowfall is 12-15″ per winter at lower elevations – and that equates to only about 1 inch of moisture.  That’s not enough water to keep plants from suffering winter drought stress.  And unfortunately, the effects often don’t show up until the heat of summer.

During the season of giving, the gift of moisture to your plants will not only be well received - but reward you later with stronger, healthier plant material.

A series of unfortunate events following winter drought stress can set up a deadly three strikes that can take plants out.  Drought stress that dehydrates roots, followed by freeze damage that is later followed by other stressors such as an insect infestation or summer heat stress, will often be more than plants can handle.

Winter watering, on the other hand, can keep plants healthy enough to move on and deal with the next stress factor more successfully.  Here are tips for winter watering and plant care.

Supplemental water during dry spells in the fall and winter is very important to bringing plants into the next growing season in good health. 

  • Warm days during fall and winter dry out plants and roots.
  • If you check the soil and it is dry down to about 3 inches deep, then you should apply supplemental water to the lawn, trees and other plants.
  • As long as daytime temps are above freezing and the soil is not frozen, plants can be watered.
  • It’s best to water trees with a deep root watering device attached to the hose so that water gets deeper into the soil where roots live.

Applying mulch around trees and other plants is also very beneficial.  

  • A good wood mulch (not rock) can conserve as much as 30% of moisture in the soil.
  • Mulch also helps insulate plants against severe cold and fluctuating temps.
  • Apply mulch no more than 4 inches deep as deeper mulch can start to sour and hold in too much moisture.
  • Also avoid placing mulch next to tree trunks and shrub stems as this too, can hold in too much moisture and cause the trunk or stems to rot.

Stressed lawns
Lawn areas exposed to winter sun will dry out faster, especially on a slope.  And these conditions also attract turf mites.  Applying moisture is the best deterrent to mites – and gives the thirsty lawn the moisture it needs in the process.

Run the hose with a sprinkler attached to water the lawn.  As in the summer, avoid the quick spritz and apply a good soak of moisture.

Need help with winter watering? Signature Landscapes can help with all your cold weather chores! Call (775) 857-4333 or schedule a visit online!

Schedule An Appointment

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.”

 

Extend your outdoor living this season

Nice weather this week has been a reminder that fall can be glorious in Northern Nevada. There are many great days ahead to enjoy outdoor living even when there’s a chill in the air.

The key to extending outdoor enjoyment beyond the balmy days of summer is as simple as the using the elements of fire and light.


Start a fire!

Staying warm on a chilling fall afternoon is as easy as striking a match in a wood-burning fire pit. A cozy fire brings people together, prolongs a good conversation and adds ambiance to a glass of wine or a bottle of beer. For kids and teens, it’s one more campfire and round of s’mores to enjoy.

Plus, the old-fashioned fire pit is a good way to test drive whether you want a more permanent fixture with less maintenance and no smoke. Out-of-the-box propane models can be embellished to look like custom work that matches other outdoor features in your yard. Or you can create a permanent feature encircled in stone or even a standing fireplace complete with a hearth and chimney. However you make it happen, taking the chill off the air makes the outdoors livable well into the fall.

» Learn about Signature Landscapes fire pit installations.

Turn on the lights

The sun is setting earlier and it will soon be time to turn the clocks back. Since no one likes moving around or sitting in the dark, the darkness alone chases us indoors. On the other hand, lighting up pathways and outdoor living areas keeps outdoor living areas inviting.

There are several benefits to outdoor lighting, especially LED lighting:

  • It is relatively easy to install any time of year
  • LED lighting uses minimal power
  • LED lights are low maintenance because bulb replacements are few and far between

Adding warmth and light are both strategic outdoor projects to tackle in the off-season.

Outdoor lighting also ups the safety factor around your home. If you decide more fire and light are in order, these can be fast-track fall upgrades that won’t interfere with your landscape during the growing season.

This weekend, get outside to kick through the leaves, light a fire and keep enjoying the outdoor season as long as you can.

Fall Harvest Meal Drive

Virginia Palmer Elementary 3rd Annual Fall Harvest Meals for disadvantaged students is a wonderful way of supporting our local community. Won’t you please help make it possible for this annual tradition? Last year 14 meals were provided to the families of Virginia Palmer Elementary. Due to an influx of students, the school is asking for 20 Thanksgiving meals. Remember each meal donated last year provided a family of five, meals for 7 days.

Please contact CAI Nevada’s own Katie Rendina with any questions by email: admin@cai-nevada.org or by phone: (702) 648-8408. Thank you for your continued support.

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD MEAL DRIVE INFORMATION

 

Fall Cleanup is Coming: Leaves

Clear leaves and cut back ornamental grasses as an important first step to your fall prep.

Fallen leaves and debris from uncut ornamental grasses, perennials and flowering shrubs can smother and kill turf.

Perennials, which can have a woody stalk or stem left after the blossom fades, should be trimmed back to both promote the plant’s health and maintain a neat appearance.

And remember, bugs that love the outside during the summer usually move indoors when winter hits. They want to be cozy and warm too.

Whether you own a home or live in a managed association, taking care of leaves will keep your home looking good on the outside and bug free on the inside.

 

$60 FALL SERVICES SPECIAL OFFER

LAWN TIP: GREEN IN, GREEN OUT…

If your lawn is healthy and green going in to winter, you’re almost guaranteed a green healthy lawn next spring. Aeration and fertilization will establish a strong groundwork to deliver a healthy lawn come next spring. Save $60 on our most popular fall services now to enjoy a green spring next year!

Learn More →

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