Dan Osborn Earns Landscape Industry Certified Manager Designation

Dan_Mug_5x7Commercial Account Manager, Dan Osborn from Signature Landscapes has earned his Landscape Industry Certified Manager certification designation.

The certification, one of the nation’s most rigid for the landscape industry, is designed to showcase truly talented landscape contractors, business owners and managers who are committed to a higher standard of knowledge and execution of landscape principles.

The Signature Landscapes team is also proud to share the world that Mr. Osborn did extremely well on the exam overall, passing each module on the first try; something seldom seen in the LIC testing process.

Dan has been a professional in the field of landscape and facilities management for the past 25 years. Prior to Signature, Dan served the community as the Class A Superintendent for Northgate and Wildcreek Golf Courses. His expertise carries a thorough knowledge of Northern Nevada climates, especially turf care.

Congratulations and well done on your LIC manager certification designation, Dan!

Joe Blackham Joins Signature’s Residential Team

Joe Blackham

Joe Blackham

Signature Landscapes is proud to announce the hiring of Joe Blackham, the newest member of our residential specialty sales team. Mr. Blackham’s role is focused on the homeowner’s need for turf and irrigation renovation, new plantings (trees and shrubs), yard care packages and Signatures Concierge Care programs.

Joe’s strengths concentrate on customer interaction and his strong background is unique as he hails from the nursery industry as well as sales. His tenure at Hines Nurseries had him overseeing the sales and fulfillment of live goods for 12 home supply stores with the product knowledge ranging the full gamut from color to shrubs and trees, representing five growing sites, inventory control, and customer communication.

Mr. Blackham most recently managed business development for Fast Signs and covered the Truckee Meadows and Carson Valley territories.

The Signature Landscapes team is excited to welcome Mr. Blackham into the family.

Avoid ‘Brown Patch” on Turf this Summer

Spotting Brown Patch

Brown patch symptoms can vary depending on the grass variety, the soil as well as climate. Once it takes hold, the disease can spread quickly and begins to appear with 24 – 36 hours after infection. In the early morning on close cut turfgrasses, a dark smoky ring may appear at the periphery of the patch. This smoky ring transforms as the day progresses into a uniformly light brown or straw color.

Typically, brown patch causes rings or patches of blighted grass that measure from 5″ to more than 10′ in diameter. It also causes leaf spots and thin rings with brown borders around the diseased patches. Under close examination of the blades, irregular spots may be noticed that is bordered by a darker margin.

brown patch rottingAfter the leaves die in the blighted area, new leaves can emerge from the surviving crowns. On wide-bladed species, leaf lesions develop with tan centers and dark brown to black margins.

Brown patch favors high humidity and temperatures over 85 degrees during the day and not below 65 at night. On warm season grasses, this disease can be very active in the spring and fall. It also occurs in areas that receive more than 10 hours a day of wetness for consecutive days.

Brown patch infestation is more severe when the grass is cut to a height less than the optimum for the variety of grass.

Prevention

The best prevention for brown patch is to aerate often, reduce shade to effected areas, and follow a fertilization schedule to help prevent fertilization with excess amounts of nitrogen. Avoid irrigating late in the day. Do not over-fertilize.

Treatment

The most common fungicides used on Brown Patch are: benomyl, and chlorothalonil. The brown patch fungus will survive in thatch and turf debris between periods of activity. Chemical controls are available, but should only be applied by licensed applicators. Contact your local lawn care provider for additional information.

Lawn Diseases are Easier to Prevent than to Cure

Here are a few ways we can work together to keep some lawn diseases out of your lawn:

  • Signature Landscapes’ lawn fertilization program controls unhealthy bursts of turf growth that can attract disease.
  • Regular core aeration helps nutrients and water reach roots and breaks up thatch, which is one place diseases like to breed.
  • Deep, infrequent watering in the early morning, keeps moisture from remaining on the grass surface too long, which attracts disease.
  • Mowing frequently, at a high height and with a sharp mower blade, further helps to keep disease out.
  • Overseeding with disease-resistant grasses is another option you can consider.

bunnybrown

If you suspect your lawn has any type of lawn disease, contact the Signature Landscapes team about treatment services immediately. Quick action can make a big difference to save your lawn.

To learn more from the pros… you can visit these links:

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension has a great brochure about your turf. It’s not always a disease! It’s worth the time to download and read!
Click to view PDF

Smart Irrigation Month

Industry Resources

As a Signature Landscapes customer, you already know how an efficient irrigation system can save water and dollars. You see it every time our crews are out there working on your system, planting efficient plants and working with you or your staff to educate smart irrigation practices.

SIM_Logo

We  feel this is just part of what separates a Signature landscape from a the ‘other guys’. So we’ve teamed up with the Irrigation Association to push Smart Irrigation Month, an industry campaign to increase public awareness of the value of water-use efficiency.

Whether you’re a large company, or a homeowner, we encourage you to call our certified landscape professionals to learn more:

  • Educate customers about efficient water-use.
  • Grow demand for water-saving technologies, products and services.
  • Provide real solutions to today’s water challenges.

Getting involved is as simple as adding the Smart Irrigation Month logo to your web site, ads or newsletter, or highlighting water-saving products during July.

Learn More

Download articles to get ideas and tips for a more efficient irrigation program:

Jim Stanhouse Attends Pesticide Regulations and Products Workshop

Jim Stanhouse, manager of Signature Landscapes’ pest control division attended the Sacramento Workshop for pest control professionals. The educational program emphasized two tracks in the field of pesticide management: Understanding the Rodenticide Mitigation Label Changes and  Regulatory Updates, which focused on reducing children’s exposure to rodenticides, protecting wildlife from primary and secondary poisoning, and reducing home-owner miss use.

dprlogoThe second track was the highly acclaimed Integrated Pest Management for Home Gardeners and Landscape Professionals program, focusing on maintaining a healthy, vigorously growing lawn as the best way to prevent disease outbreak in turfgrass.

Stanhouse is a licensed pest control professional with more than 10 years experience in the application of pest control or pesticides. His licenses include the following:

  • Ornamental and Turf Control – The control of insects, weeds, vertebrates and plant diseases and the use of plant regulators on ornamental and turf in urban areas.
  • Industrial and Institutional – Control in and around industrial complexes, institutional complexes and dwelling units.
  • Aquatic – The control of insects, weeds and vertebrates in aquatic areas.
  • Right-of-way – The control of weeds in the maintenance of rights-of-ways, public roads, power lines pipelines and railway rights-of-ways.
  • Maintenance Gardener Pest Control Business – Authorizes the use or supervision of the use of pesticides in work as a maintenance gardener.

Understanding all facets of the pesticide industry is critical in Signature’s operation and the company strives to ensure education is one of the most important tools to manage today’s challenging pest control operation.

Signature Landscapes completes Elko Guard facility

Signature Landscapes has just completed the landscape design/build project for the Elko County Guard facility located in Carlin, Nevada. The new 5,400 square foot readiness center building will house offices, storage areas, a vault and a locker room.

Nevada State Assemblyman from district 33, John Ellison, said he was pleased the Guard was taking over portions of the facility. “This location has endless potential and it’s going to be beneficial for Carlin, Elko and the state of Nevada for years to come.”

Link to Elko Daily Free Press article for more information

 

Signature Landscapes Construction on Three Dollar General Stores Completed

dg_storeSignature Landscapes installed new landscapes for Dollar General Stores in Gardnerville, Yerington and Stead. These ground-up landscape and irrigation projects were designed by Lumos and Associates. An emphasis on low-water usage and simplified maintenance over time are key factors to the design of these projects and will drive significant cost savings for the life of the landscape compared to similar locations.

Fire-Safe Landscape Design Explained

A fire-safe landscape is not a barren landscape.

“When a wildfire comes through your neighborhood, could your house survive on its own?” A dramatic question, but one we need to consider when living in an environment where wildfire is a common occurrence. “fire-safe landscape design” is a landscape that reduces house and property vulnerability to wildfire. The goal is to develop a landscape with a design and choice of plants that offers the best fire protection and enhances the property. The ideal is to surround the house with things that are less likely to burn. It is imperative when building homes in wildfire-prone areas that fire safety be a major factor in landscape design. Appropriate manipulation of the landscape can make a significant contribution toward wildfire survival.

LINK:LivingWithFire.info: What Can Homeowners Do Right Now?

A fire-safe landscape design integrates traditional landscape functions and a design that reduces the threat from wildfire. It does not need to look much different than your traditional landscape. In addition to meeting a homeowner’s aesthetic desires and functional needs, such as entertaining, playing, storage and erosion control, a fire-safe landscape also includes vegetation modification techniques, planting for fire safety, defensible space principles and use of fire safety zones.

FireSafe Demonstration Garden

Through proper plant selection, placement and maintenance, we can diminish the possibility of ignition, lower fire intensity, and reduce how quickly survivability. In fire-safe landscape design, plant selection is primarily determined by a plant’s ability to reduce the wildfire threat. Other considerations may be important, such as appearance, ability to hold the soil in place, and wildlife habitat value. The traditional foundation planting of junipers is not a viable solution in a fire-safe landscape. Minimize use of evergreen shrubs and trees within 30 feet of a structure, because junipers, other conifers and broadleaf evergreens contain oils, resins, and waxes that makes these plants burn with great intensity.

Use ornamental grasses and berries sparingly because they also can be highly flammable. Choose “firewise” plants. These are plants with a high moisture content. They are low growing. Their stems and leaves are not resinous, oily or waxy. Deciduous trees are generally more fire resistant than evergreens because they have a higher moisture content when in leaf, but a lower fuel volume when dormant.

Simple diagram showing plants and vegetation for a fire-safe home

Placement and maintenance of trees and shrubs is as important as actual plant selection. When planning tree placement in the landscape, remember their size at maturity. Keep tree limbs at least 15 feet from chimneys, power lines and structures. Specimen trees can be used near a structure if pruned properly and well irrigated.

A fire-safe landscape uses driveways, lawns, walkways, patios, parking areas, areas with inorganic mulches, and fences constructed of nonflammable materials such as rock, brick, or cement to reduce fuel loads and create fuel breaks. Fuel breaks are a vital component in every fire-safe landscape design. Water features, pools, ponds or streams can be used also as fuel breaks. Areas where wildland vegetation has been thinned or replaced with less flammable plants are the traditional fuel break. Remember, while bare ground is an effective fuel break, it is not generally recommended as a fire-safe landscape element due to aesthetic, soil erosion, and other concerns.

A home located on a brushy site above a south or west facing slope will require more extensive wildfire safety landscape planning than a house situation on a flat lot with little vegetation around it. Boulders and rocks become fire retardant elements in a design. Whether or not a site can be irrigated will greatly influence location of hardscape (concrete, asphalt, wood decks, etc.), plant selection and placement. Prevailing winds, seasonal weather, local fire history, and characteristics of native vegetation surrounding the site are additional important considerations.

The 30 feet closest to a structure will be the highest water use area in the firewise landscape. This is an area where highly flammable fuels are kept to a minimum and plants are kept green throughout the fire season. Use well-irrigated perennials here. Another choice is low growing or non-woody deciduous plants. Lawn is soothing visually, and is also practical as a wildfire safety feature. But extensive areas of turfgrass may not be right for everyone. Some good alternatives include clover, groundcovers, and conservation grasses that are kept green during the fire season through irrigation. Rock mulches are good choices. Patios, masonry and rock planters are excellent fuel breaks and increase wildfire safety. Be creative with boulders, riprap, dry streambeds and sculptural inorganic elements. When designing a landscape for fire safety remember, less is better. Simplify visual lines and groupings. A firewise landscape lets plants and garden elements reveal their innate beauty by leaving space between plants and groups of plants. In fire-safe landscape design, the open spaces are more important than the plants.

What Can Landscape Managers Do to Help Honey Bees?

Most people have heard about the decline in honey bees during the last several years. Are there things that landscape professionals or home gardeners can do to help?

Better Nutrition, Fewer Pesticides

beepollen3

(c) Kathy Keatley Garvey

The actual cause of the honey bee decline is still uncertain. What is known is that a number of factors are probably involved. For instance, honey bees are in their most robust condition and able to best contend with stresses when they are well fed. In addition to water, honey bees require nectar sources for carbohydrates and a varied mix of pollens to provide proteins, lipids, vitamins, minerals, sterols, antioxidants, and other nutrients.
Pesticides can also be involved in bee decline, especially when applied to plants when they are in bloom and bees are foraging. Many insecticides are highly toxic to bees including virtually all organophosphates, carbamates, and pyrethroid materials.Drought, flooding, and conversion of former foraging grounds into large agricultural monocultures, highways, airports, developments, and so forth have led to honey bee malnutrition in many locations. Also, in the last 20 years beekeepers have been encountering a series of previously exotic pests that invade the hive and kill bees, such as the varroa mite; new honey bee diseases, including Nosema ceranae; and many RNA viruses.

If not killed in the field, pollen-foraging bees can collect residue-contaminated pollens and bring them back to the hive for immediate consumption or long-term storage. There are serious concerns over the chronic, sublethal effects of these residues on the physiology of immature and adult bees.

beepollen2

(c) Kathy Keatley Garvey

A newer class of insecticides, the nicotinoids, which include imidacloprid, clothianidin, and dinotefuran, also pose hazards for honey bees. These products are systemic materials that move through the plant and will be included in nectar and pollen of flowers when they bloom. Although the neonicotinoid residues may not kill bees immediately, they may have sublethal effects, such as the suppression of immune and detoxification systems, that cause bees to be more sensitive to other stresses.

Use Plants and Pesticides Wisely

There are several ways landscape managers can help protect bees. When designing
or replanting a landscape, consider honey bees and other pollinators in your plan. Include plants honey bees prefer, and try to ensure that several bee-friendly plants will be blooming throughout the year.

Also, avoid applying highly toxic insecticides, especially when plants are in bloom. Be aware that neonicotinoids tend to be stable compounds that can remain in the soil and in plants for months and still be present when the plants bloom.

Even when plants aren’t in bloom, use nonchemical management methods or pesticides with little or low toxicity to bees whenever possible, as pesticides may leave toxic residues or there may be flowering weeds or other blooms nearby.

For information about relative toxicity of pesticides to bees, consult How to Reduce Bee Poisoning from Pesticides at http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PDF/PMG/pnw591.pdf. Toxicity of many landscape and garden pesticides to bees is also listed in the UC IPM landscape and garden pesticide active ingredient database at http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/menu.pesticides.php.

 

Many thanks to the University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources for this wonderful article. Specifically, 

—Eric Mussen, Entomology,
UC Davis, ecmussen@ucdavis.edu

Special thanks to Kathy Keatley Garvey for the beautiful photos in this article. Kathy works at the University of California, Davis, with Eric Mussen, Extension apiculturist in the Department of Entomology and Nematology

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