Defensible Space Specialists

Signature Landscapes is a leading defensible space landscape contractor for the Truckee Meadows, Carson and Tahoe/Truckee region. This means our expertise and manpower can quickly and effectively help to provide our firefighters with a safe place from which to defend your home from an approaching wildland fire.  Homes with adequate defensible space are more likely to survive a wildland fire, even without firefighter assistance.

Defensible Space
Defined as the area around your home where the vegetation has been modified to reduce the fire threat.  The size of a home’s defensible space varies, depending upon property size, location, and topography.  Sometimes a defensible space is simply a homeowner’s properly maintained backyard.  Yet another property owner might need to provide over 200 feet of defensible space around their property. 

Call Signature Landscapes today and take steps to create a fire-safe landscape for your home as well as your neighborhood. It takes a community to keep everyone’s home safe from the devastation of fire.

Local fire departments would like to encourage you to create a defensible space around your home.  You can do this by implementing the three “R’s” into your landscaping design: Removal, Reduction, and Replacement.

Start the Spring with Fire Safety

There are a few simple things homeowners can do to help protect their property before a wildfire.


  • Remove dead or flammable vegetation. 
  • Reduce vegetation by pruning or mowing.  Providing space between plants and trees removes the continuous fuel bed that might otherwise exist throughout your yard.  The more continuous and dense the vegetation in your yard, the greater the wildfire threat to your home. 
  • Replace flammable vegetation with less hazardous choices.  Shorter plants are better than taller plants, and non-woody plants are better than evergreens or junipers.

“Shifting our thinking now is critical given some disturbing projections from the nation’s wildfire experts:”

  • Fire seasons will become longer, more intense, and wildfires will be more difficult to control.
  • The number of people living in or adjacent to high fire-hazard areas will increase.
  • Our firefighting resources will not keep pace with the increased wildfire threat.

Ed Smith, Natural Resource Specialist University of Nevada Cooperative Extension

 

Download the following PDF booklets to learn how you can create a landscape in fire-prone areas:

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

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.”

 

Brown Spots on Your Lawn?

How to deal with brown spots

In the heat of July, almost every lawn has brown spots and we all see them. Brown spots 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 right at the source of where the water comes out – at the sprinkler heads themselves. Four common problems are 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 the Signature Landscapes technician, the benefits will be a healthier lawn and hopefully, less water use and costs.

4 Causes of brown spots

  • 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 pointed in the wrong direction or stuck. 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 adjustment will put the water where it needs to go.
  • Sprinkler heads aren’t popping up high enough. Equipment damage or soil build-up 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 the head and be deflected. Raising the heads – or replacing them with sprinklers that pop up higher – will solve the problem. 

More advice for brown spots

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

Need help getting your sprinklers in good running order? Your Signature Landscapes Landscape Certified Irrigation Technician can help you find the perfect formula for a healthier greener turf.

TURF HELP

Call 827-5296 to green-up your grass today

Tips for Turning on Your Sprinkler System with KTVN Channel 2

Spring Water System Check

Sprinkler systems all around the Truckee Meadows are coming out of hibernation following a long, cold winter. Local lawn services are scrambling to turn on sprinkler systems now that the weather has warmed up. Scott Leonard of Signature Landscapes says his crews are responding to calls from customers who are ready to start watering. “The weather changed from last week and freezing temperatures to near 80 degrees right now. It’s about getting water on as fast as we can,” said Leonard.


 

via Tips for Turning on Your Sprinkler System – KTVN Channel 2 – Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video –.

Dave Dabner Joins Signature Landscapes’ Commercial Team

Dave Dabner

Dave Dabner

Signature Landscapes is proud to announce Dave Dabner has joined their commercial landscape management division. A farm boy from Willows, CA, Mr. Dabner has devoted his career to the landscape industry; from managing nurseries and irrigation supply firms, to managing municipal parks for the City of Orville. He ran his own Northern California landscape operation for 16 years before moving to Reno more than a decade ago.

His leadership in the industry includes past president of the Nevada Landscape Association (NLA), holds a C-27 Landscaping Contractor license (CA), holds a Qualified Commercial Applicator Certification (CA), and is a certified paver with an ICPI certification.

Mr. Dabner helped usher in the newer, more refreshing California Style of landscape to the Truckee Meadows. Key introductions included a larger plant palette that was colorful throughout the seasons, and smart landscape designs to help reduce ever-increasing maintenance expenses. His efforts also helped bring smarter water management programs to our larger properties where he has been a driving force for water conservation ever since.

Signature is proud to welcome Mr. Dabner into the umbrella of Signature’s premium services.

Let’s get planting!

At last, spring really is just around the corner and it’s about time to plant the first seeds of this year’s garden.

Depending on the altitude and whether you have a warm southern exposure, you could get outside and plant as early as next weekend

Here’s what you need:

  • Soil that’s warm enough to till – such as a southern exposure. The south side of a building that provides reflected heat will warm up for planting sooner than other areas of a yard.
  • A cultivating tool to even out the soil.
  • Soil that was composted and tilled last fall – or compost to till in now to prep the soil.
  • Seed packets or seed tape which is a strip of paper with seeds placed along along it. Using the tape guarantees a straight row of plants.

What can you plant early?

  • Green Onions
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Radishes
  • Carrotts
  • Peas

Once planted, all of these seeds will stay in the soil quietly waiting to germinate. Some will germinate at a soil temp of about 40-45 degrees and others may need a bit warmer temperature. The good news is that the seeds can sit still in the soil until conditions are right.

Snow and frost shouldn’t bother them and snow will give the soil needed moisture. If there’s no precipitation after planting, watch the soil and if it dries out, be ready to water.

If you’d like to add improvements to your garden irrigation system, call Tina, our Installation Coordinator to schedule a free consultation. We’ll make sure your garden will grow healthy and hearty with a simple to manage watering system. Call Tina at (775) 857-4333.

Vegetable-GardeningDepending on the weather, your veggies should be ready to harvest sometime between the end of April and early May. Then it will almost be time to plant the warmer season crops.

If you want to extend the growing season, you can do what commercial growers do and place strips of black plastic about 18 inches wide on top of the soil. On sunny days, the plastic will absorb heat and bring up the soil temperature faster than if left alone. At higher altitudes where the growing season is even shorter than along the Sierra, this procedure can give an earlier start to the growing season.

When it’s time to plant, simply poke holes in the plastic and install the plants. This procedure is especially good for warm season crops like tomatoes, egg plant and peppers. Using walls of water – the plastic towers filled with water – around plants will also add to the warmth and help protect tender plants against frost damage.

Your Trees Need Water in the Winter

Winter watering is important to our region’s community forest. When sprinklers are turned off, most plants and lawns hibernate, but your trees still need care. Remember that winter in the Truckee Meadows is often characterized by dry air, dry soil and significant temperature swings – all of which can stress your trees. The need for winter watering may not be obvious, but trees need water during dry spells. To help keep your trees healthy, follow these winter watering tips:

  • Water your trees every two to four weeks if there is no significant rain or snow. A healthy, sufficiently watered tree can withstand strong winds and freezing temperatures far better than one that is dry and stressed.
  • Apply water when temperatures are above 40 degrees and early enough in the day that the water will not freeze overnight.
  • Avoid spraying water on the trunks, as it increases the risk of frost injuries.

Be sure to disconnect and drain your hoses once you’re done watering too!

This is an excerpt from the TMWA January Newsletter.

Link to TMWA’s newsletter…

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