How gardening helps grow kids

Did you know that 98 percent of kids who grow their own vegetables will actually eat them? That means kids will want to eat peas, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli and maybe even spinach! This is the official word from the American Gardening Association which offers programs to encourage kids to head outdoors and into the garden.

Ron Finley plants vegetable gardens in South Central LA — in abandoned lots, traffic medians, along the curbs. Why? For fun, for defiance, for beauty and community. Click this link to listen to a truly inspirational gardener! » Watch TED Talk

toddler gardeningGardening is catching on in schools all across the country and that includes a big emphasis in Nevada. Every year, more schools are building gardens on their campuses and using them as an educational opportunity. And some of the produce ends up in the school cafeteria.

If you have children, consider getting them involved in gardening at home as well. Already, kid-sized tools and boots are showing up in garden centers. Helping kids pick out their own properly sized implements will make the process more fun.

Then head over the seed aisle and let them select veggies, herbs and flowers they would like to grow. This kind of involvement is more engaging than handing them your packet of seeds early some Saturday morning when it’s time to plant.

Here are four ways to keep the engagement going:

  • Help kids to learn by doing. Even a 3-year-old can tuck some seeds into the soil and will love holding the water wand to sprinkle water over newly-planted seeds. What child doesn’t like to play in the dirt or spray water? Older children can do more – and as the growing season takes off, you can make pulling weeds a game rather than a chore.
  • Keep it simple. Kids are most motivated when they grow plants that are easy to grow and that show fast results. Sunflowers and pumpkins, for example, grow quickly and are dramatic in their size and shape. They can be started indoors before it’s time to plant outside. Kids can stand by the window sill and check out the changes as seedlings emerge and become little plants.
  • Make it “mine.” Remember those seeds that the little ones selected? Create an area for those plants and allow children have their own group of plants to care for. Having them water and weed their own plants – and pick the harvest later on – imparts pride of ownership.
  • Teach value. At harvest time, weigh some of your harvest and write down how many pounds of zucchini, tomatoes or other veggies your young gardener has grown. Then go to the grocery store, find the current price of these items and help them do the math. There’s a good lesson in knowing that you’ve just grown $5 worth green beans!

Unlicensed Contractors on the Rise in the Area

“The Nevada State Contractors Board recently cited eight alleged unlicensed contractors for violating statutes of contracting without a license and advertising without a license during a February sting operation.”

» CLICK TO READ RGJ ARTICLE

nscblogo

Click to visit the NSCB

Heads up Northern Nevada.With the added growth in the market, we’ll also begin to see unscrupulous service providers popping up all over. Just this week, the RGJ reports the Nevada State Contractors Board cited eight violators in February.

What does this mean to you? Very simply put, always make sure the person offering services has a license to do the work they’re selling you. Ask for a license on paper. And be diligent if they can’t quickly come up with documents of proof. You have time to make sure they have the skills, resources and licensing to do your job right, so exercise your right for validation. This goes for landscapers of course, but all other trades as well. The end result could be catastrophic for your home or business if issues arise – and they typically do.

Search NSCB Database for Company Name

Why should I hire a licensed contractor?

  • Unlicensed contractors do not carry Workman’s Compensation insurance, so if they get injured on your property, you could be held liable.
  • Homeowners who use unlicensed contractors are not eligible for the Residential Recovery Fund, and by law a contract with an unlicensed contractor is null and void.

The NSCB encourages anyone who comes across unlicensed contracting activities to report the information to NSCB’s unlicensed contractor hotline at 702-486-1160 or 775-850-7838. Details to provide include the unlicensed contractor’s name, address (business and/or physical location where work is being performed), phone number, vehicle description, license plate, business card and/or advertisement, contracts signed by the unlicensed individual, etc.

 

Ten Tips for Making Sure Your Contractor Is on the Level

  1. Hire only licensed contractors.
  2. Check the contractor’s license number by utilizing our Online Contractor Search or by contacting the Nevada State Contractors Board:

9670 Gateway Drive, Ste 100
Reno, NV 89521
Phone: (775) 688-1141
Fax: (775) 688-1271
Hours of Operation – Monday – Friday 8:00am – 5:00pm

  1. Get three references and review past work.
  2. Get at least three bids.
  3. Get a written contract and do not sign anything until you
    completely understand the terms.
  4. For pool contracts, pay 10% down or $1,000 – whichever is less, if a deposit
    is required.
  5. Don’t let payments get ahead of the work. Keep a record of all payments.
    Don’t make a final payment until you are satisfied with the job.
  6. Don’t pay cash.
  7. Keep a job file of all papers relating to your project.
  8. Check the contractor’s record with the Better Business Bureau in your area or visit their website at www.bbb.org

Landscaping During Changing Weather

Late Winter Lawn Care

Yards are trying to turn green, trees are budding and if your yard is like Erin’s, daffodils are coming up confusingly early. Our warmer weather is challenging the plants around the yard. Our best advice is to water the trees but let the lawns stay dormant until things warm up a little more.


Here’s a link to the original piece by KTVN:
http://www.ktvn.com/story/28192449/with-lawn-care-watch-the-timing

Weed Control in Spring Time

Now is the time!

Here’s the skinny…while we’re not calling an end to winter – the weed seeds on your property are saying it right now. The weather is unusually warm and this means all of us in the Truckee Meadows need to step up our weed control programs considerably.

quotess2Beautiful landscapes begin by eliminating weeds before germination

Lawn maintenance requires attentive weed control.

The most effective way to control weeds is to apply pre-emergent herbicide early in the year to prevent unwanted growth from appearing. Call our helpful weed-pros to schedule your treatments this week – before the seeds on your property germinate.

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL Professional Pre-emergent Application + Turf Aeration Service – Save 10% on any service this month up to 3,000 square feet!


Call Julie to schedule a free weed control consultation (775) 827-LAWN (5296)

  • Weeds hurt the healthy and vibrant plants in the landscape stealing water, nutrients and light.
  • Many people are allergic to weeds and can suffer skin reactions or breathing difficulties.
  • They’re unattractive additions to any property and can cost thousands of dollars to eliminate if left untreated.
  • The aesthetic factor: weeds hurt the look of a landscape.

Timing Weed Control

Pre-emergent herbicides only work if they are applied to your lawn before the weed’s growth period. Weeds are persistent and crafty, and managing them really is a matter of outwitting, outplaying them, and outlasting them. They come back every season, twice a year. According to garden experts across the U.S., pre-emergent fertilizers should be applied so that they activate before seasonal weeds make an appearance.

Winter Drought Tree Watering

Supplemental Tree Watering

Winter watering is essential to maintain healthy trees in Northern Nevada and California. Your trees and shrubs need a good drink this winter! 


Signature Landscapes offers a Deep Root Watering service that ensures moisture is placed in and around the critical root system.

Let us help you water your trees & shrubs: Contact our Tree Care team at (775) 857-4333

Why water trees in the winter?

driplinegraphic-LargeWe’ll often find ourselves experiencing periods of little or no precipitation during winter months. The impact of this to newly planted trees, trees in construction areas, and trees already under stress from previous storm or insect damage can be overwhelming. This will often result in tree death. With the cost of removing and planting trees rising every day, it becomes increasingly important to properly care for the trees that are already in your landscape.

On average, it takes up to 12″ of snow to equal just 1″ of actual moisture.

Businesses, property managers and homeowners should evaluate their ability to water their trees, shrubs and turf areas, and don’t be fooled when it snows. Dry winter conditions result in serious damage to newly planted landscapes as well as mature and established trees. Damage to vegetation includes, but is not limited to:

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

Download PDF – Managing Drought Guideook

Inadequate water (drought stress) is probably the most significant cause of plant problems in the Truckee Meadows. Due to the semi-arid conditions in which we live, irrigation systems, designed to satisfy the watering needs of our lawn, do not water deeply enough to accommodate the needs of our trees. Trees require deeper, longer, less frequent watering.

Rule of thumb: Water all established trees and shrubs deeply every four weeks when conditions are dry and mild. This is especially true in the fall and winter. Use of a soil probe or soaker hose is a good way to deeply water your trees. A sprinkler can also be used if allowed to run long enough to thoroughly moisten the top 12 inches.

To test if your trees need water, dig down two inches deep and form a ball in your hand. If the soil remains clumped together, your tree does not need water, otherwise water deeply.

Turf & trees have different water needs

Trees and turf often share space in home landscapes, but they have different water needs. Understanding this can help conserve water and save money.

A tree is a thirty-year investment that can easily add up to $5,000 to a property’s value!


Tree suffering from overwatering

Tree suffering from overwatering

Bluegrass turf requires about 1inch of moisture per week during the spring and fall and about 1 1/2 inches in summer, depending on temperatures and winds.

Water should be applied once or twice a week on heavier soils in spring and fall, and potentially two to three times during the heat of the summer. For lighter, sandy soils watering may be needed more often.

This frequent irrigation is good for the turf, but not so for the trees that live within the turf.

This frequent, shallow watering encourages trees living within the turfgrass to develop shallow roots. When periods of drought occur, these trees do not have a deep root system that would allow them to pull water from deeper in the soil profile and that’s when we see them become drought stressed.

One other problem that trees encounter while living in the over-irrigated turfgrass environment is that daily watering of turf also prevents the soil from drying out, this also is harmful to trees.

Tree roots need oxygen to develop correctly. Soil that is constantly saturated with water will prevent oxygen from being present in the soil. This will prevent proper root growth and this will lead to drought like symptoms.

Furthermore, trees planted in irrigated turf must try to compete with turf to capture moisture and nutrients within that top 12 inches of soil. Inevitably the turf will win every time.

Homeowners will find it more practical to meet the differing needs of trees and turf if they group trees within large mulched beds. Trees would prefer to be watered deeply and less frequently than lawns. They should be given 1 to 2 inches per application.

Healthy grouping of trees on a separate drip line

Healthy grouping of trees on a separate drip line

We encourage watering trees deeply and infrequently to encourage them to develop a deeper rooting system, which makes them structurally stronger and more resilient to years of drought because they can capture water deeper in the soil profile.

A typical tree has most of its water-absorbing roots in the top 12 to 24 inches of soil. Those roots also expand out more than one and a half times further than the drip line of the tree. These massive root systems allow trees to draw moisture from a larger area.

The objective to watering trees should be to irrigate to the depth of the root zone and provide adequate water to the area under the drip line and beyond.

Trees would prefer to receive moisture every seven to 10 days, possibly even 14 days, depending on species. The best way to know if a tree needs to be watered is to insert a soil probe or a 12-inch-long flat-head screwdriver into the ground. If it goes in easily there is no need to water; if it is difficult to insert into the ground, it is time to apply some moisture.

It’s also important not to apply too much water or fertilizer around the trees near the end of the growing season, prior to first frost. That would stimulate tender new growth that could be damaged by the freeze. However, after the leaves have dropped, if winter is dry, water should be added once a month.

Other factors to consider when trying to figure out a watering routine and amount to apply are:

  • Soil: Heavy soils require more water less often. Sandy soils require more applications, but in smaller amounts
  • Location in the landscape: Trees placed on south and west sides of buildings and homes require more frequent watering than trees on the north and east
  • Time of year: Trees need to be irrigated less often in the spring and fall, because temperatures are lower and less evaporation is occurring
  • Species of tree: Some trees species require more water than others

Knowing trees’ water requirements is more than a good way to conserve water; during a drought, it might be the key to saving valuable trees. If water restrictions are enacted, homeowners should give trees higher priority than turf.

 

Special thanks to Amy Seiler and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for information on this article.

Pre-season garden work that pays off

‘Dirt’ ~ ‘Soil’ ~ ‘Mother Earth’ ~ Whatever you call it, some of us like to dig in with our own hands and others would rather have someone else do the digging. Either way, if you want a great garden this year, it’s best to get the soil in order before someone starts digging.

February is an ideal time to apply compost, regardless of the weather. That means you can even toss it on top of the snow!

  • Need help getting compost into your garden? Signature Landscapes’ lawn and garden pros can can help you identify the right mix of compost and soil to help your garden grow.

Why compost?
Compost on its own is low in nutrient value. It’s not valuable for what it is, so much as what it does – and the doing takes time. Even if you are not able to till compost into the soil when you apply it, an early application gives the compost adequate time to do its work.

Why winter composting is good
Compost needs time to mellow or break down and that’s why a winter-time application is beneficial, even if it is not tilled into the soil. Compost creates a homogeneous soil mixture ripe with microbial activity. This process does not add many nutrients to the soil, but improves the soil’s capacity to hold onto both nutrients and water. It improves the root zone. That is why compost is so good for the garden and of course, the plants grown there.

How to shop for compost
Shop for compost that is well-aged and low in salt. Also, look for varieties that have little or no fillers. Compost by nature is all organic, so composts that are labeled “mixes” that contain sand or other inorganic fillers are generally less than optimal.

How much should I buy?
Applying 1 cubic yard of compost per 100 square feet of garden is the rule of thumb. However, if your soil has been well amended in the past, you can use less. The best value is in bulk purchases, so if you have 100 square feet of garden or more, a pick-up load might be the most cost effective. Most pick-ups hold 1 ½ to 2 cubic yards. If you order bulk delivery from a supplier, the minimum order is usually 5 or more cubic yards.

Reminder: Compost is about more than growing good veggies. It’s a key ingredient when establishing a healthy, low-water lawn and for all the other plants in your landscape.

 

Dry soil is a winter problem

This weekend marks the midpoint between three weeks of almost spring-like weather throughout much of Northern Nevada. This weekend could also be a critical time to water plants as warm temps and minimal precipitation has created dry soil conditions that can impact ongoing plant health.

Consider that it takes +/-10 inches of snowfall, depending on the moisture content, to equal 1 inch of moisture. Most winters, we do not receive the snowfall to give plants the moisture they need to sustain themselves.

Adding supplemental water during the winter keeps roots from drying out and that is one of the most important protective steps we can take in terms of winter plant care. And it’s not just about the winter. When we keep plants adequately watered during the dormant season, they enter the spring as healthier plants – ready to jump into their spring growth spurt. And that, in turn, makes plants better prepared for the hot days of summer.

In other words, winter watering pays off all year long.

About winter watering:

  • Anytime daytime temps are above freezing and the soil is not frozen, plants can be watered.
  • This weekend is prime time to check soil moisture around plants.
  • If soil is dry to about a 3-inch depth, then supplemental water is needed.
  • While daytime temps are still above freezing, assuming the soil in your area is not frozen, right now is a critical time to water trees, perennials and also turf.
Winter Drought Effect on Conifer

Evergreen trees are highly susceptible to winter drought

Even though lawns appear dormant, they still need supplemental water – especially the areas with a lot of sun exposure. Pay special attention to slopes and south or west facing areas. These areas will dry out first and when they are dry, they will also be very susceptible to mite damage. Fortunately, the best cure for turf mites is a good drink of water. Use a garden hose with the sprinkler attached and apply sufficient moisture so that the water soaks deeply into the soil.

Water trees with a deep root watering device attached to the hose so that water gets deep into the soil where roots live. Place the device into the soil at about 18 inch intervals around the tree. Move around the tree in a circle that corresponds to the area on the ground where the branches end. Use the same device to water shrubs.

This weekend, when you’re checking and watering your plants, remember that plant life is a cycle throughout all the seasons. Everything we do to maintain our plants now will pay it forward to have healthier plants down the road.

Water & Managing Drought

Quick Facts about Watering During A Dry Winter

  • Water trees, shrubs, lawns, and perennials during prolonged dry fall and winter periods to prevent root damage that affects the health of the entire plant.
  • Water only when air and soil temperatures are above 40 degrees F with no snow cover.
  • Established large trees have a root spread equal to or greater than the height of the tree. Apply water to the most critical part of the root zone within the dripline.

Signature PDF Guideook – Managing Drought

Dry air, low precipitation, little soil moisture, and fluctuating temperatures are characteristics of fall and winter in our area. Often there is little or no snow cover to provide soil moisture from October through March. Trees, shrubs, perennials and lawns under these conditions may be damaged if they do not receive supplemental water.

The result of long, dry periods during fall and winter is injury or death to parts of plant root systems.

Affected plants may appear perfectly normal and resume growth in the spring using stored food energy. Plants may be weakened and all or parts may die in late spring or summer when temperatures rise. Weakened plants also may be subject to insect and disease problems.

DROUGHT GUIDELINE: Download PDF for managing large landscapes during drought

Plants Sensitive to Drought Injury

Woody plants with shallow root systems require supplemental watering during extended dry fall and winter periods. These include European white and paper birches; Norway, silver, red, Rocky Mountain and hybrid maples; lindens, alders, hornbeams, dogwoods, willows, and mountain ashes. Evergreen plants that benefit include spruce, fir, arborvitae, yew, Oregon grape-holly, boxwood, and Manhattan euonymus. Woody plants also benefit from mulch to conserve soil moisture.

Herbaceous perennials and ground covers in exposed sites are more subject to winter freezing and thawing. This opens cracks in soil that expose roots to cold and drying. Winter watering combined with mulching can prevent this damage.

Lawns also are prone to winter damage too! Newly established lawns, whether seeded or sodded, are especially susceptible. Susceptibility increases for lawns with south or west exposures.

Watering Guidelines
Water only when air temperatures are above 40 degrees F. Apply water at mid-day so it will have time to soak in before possible freezing at night. A solid layer (persisting for more than a month) of ice on lawns can cause suffocation or result in matting of the grass.

Plants receiving reflected heat from buildings, walls and fences are more subject to damage. The low angle of winter sun makes this more likely on south or west exposures. Windy sites result in faster drying of sod and plants and require additional water. Lawns in warm exposures are prone to late winter mite damage. Water is the best treatment to prevent turf injury (see fact sheet 5.505, Clover and Other Mites of Turfgrass.)

Monitor weather conditions and water during extended dry periods without snow cover – one to two times per month.

Newly Planted vs. Established Plants
Newly planted trees are most susceptible to winter drought injury. Trees generally take one year to establish for each inch of trunk diameter. For example, a two inch diameter (caliper) tree takes a minimum of two years to establish under normal conditions.

Trees obtain water best when it is allowed to soak into the soil slowly to a depth of 12 inches. Methods of watering trees include: sprinklers, deep-root fork or needle, soaker hose or soft spray wand. Apply water to many locations under the dripline and beyond if possible. If using a deep-root fork or needle, insert no deeper than 8 inches into the soil. As a general survival rule, apply 10 gallons of water for each diameter inch of the tree. For example, a two-inch diameter tree needs 20 gallons per watering. Use a ruler to measure your tree’s diameter at 6″ above ground level.

Newly planted shrubs require more water than established shrubs that have been planted for at least one year. The following recommendations assume shrubs are mulched to retain moisture. In dry winters, all shrubs benefit from winter watering from October through March. Apply 5 gallons two times per month for a newly planted shrub. Small established shrubs (less than 3 feet tall) should receive 5 gallons monthly. Large established shrubs (more than 6 feet) require 18 gallons on a monthly basis. Decrease amounts to account for precipitation. Water within the dripline of the shrub and around the base.

Herbaceous perennial establishment periods vary. Bare root plants require longer to establish than container plants. Perennials transplanted late in the fall will not establish as quickly as those planted in spring. Winter watering is advisable with late planted perennials, bare root plants, and perennials located in windy or southwest exposures.

 

 

Thanks to the Colorado State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Colorado counties cooperating.CSU Extension programs are available to all without discrimination. No endorsement of products mentioned is intended nor is criticism implied of products not mentioned.

by J.E. Klett,  Colorado State University Extension horticulture specialist and professor, horticulture and landscape architecture; and R. Cox, Extension horticulture agent, Arapahoe County. 1/04. Revised 3/13.

 

Winter drought will take a toll on your landscape

A winter watering program will save your trees & shrubs

According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, if the snow levels continue at this rate, it will be the driest four-year period since 1990-92. Warm winters without snow appeal to people, but cause harmful winter drought. Specifically, the lack of soil moisture and atmospheric humidity can damage tree and plant root systems unless they receive supplemental water on a regular basis. This can trigger a cascade of effects on overall tree and overall landscape health. By reducing a plant’s ability to take up water and nutrients, particularly during spring bud break, winter root damage limits subsequent stem and branch growth in summer. In turn, this can contribute to tree mortality and may even explain pockets of dead trees.

You see, trees may look inactive going into winter but the fact is they continue to regulate their metabolism and only slow down some physiological activities. This decrease in photosynthesis and transpiration begins a tree’s dormant phase. Trees still continue to slowly grow roots, respire and take in water and nutrients.

help-trees-survive-the-drought

A simple & visual guide to watering your trees during the winter drought

Why this matters now

Your tree & plant roots suffer from weeks of zero moisture.

Weaker trees and plants are more susceptible to outside pests and disease.

Plants will put energy into rebuilding the damaged root structures before flourishing in the springtime.

 

Contact Christina, your Customer Service Diva today to set up a winter watering program to ensure the health and vitality of your landscape investment this year.

Call: (775) 857-4333
Email: info@siglands.com

 

Learn more about our winter drought conditions from the media:

  • KTVN Channel 2 News: http://www.ktvn.com/story/24360015/drought-continues-into-new-year
  • KTVN Channel 2 News: http://www.ktvn.com/story/24420480/federal-water-master-says-drought-taking-its-toll-on-rivers-and-streams
  • RGJ.com: http://www.rgj.com/article/20140113/NEWS1801/301130022/Waiting-more-white-stuff-Snow-still-rare-resorts-retailers-challenging-season

 

Page 2 of 10 12345...»