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.

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 –.

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…

Weathering winter drought – watering required

Commercial & Residential Landscapes Affected by Winter Drought

In much of Northern Nevada, we’re experiencing a serious dry spell. Warm winters without snow appeal to people, but cause winter drought. Specifically, the lack of soil moisture and atmospheric humidity can damage plant root systems unless they receive supplemental water. Truckee Meadows residents are in for a shock if watering doesn’t take place in the next few days.

 
Washoe County Parks has issued an emergency watering rule for all turf areas. Take this as a warning… let’s get our landscapes watered this month!

KTVN Channel 2 Interview

Do you remember last year’s dry December and January?


Affected plants may appear normal and resume growth in the spring, only to weaken or die in late spring or early summer because the amount of new growth produced is greater than the weakened root system can support. Lawn grasses also are prone to winter damage. Newly established lawns, whether they are started with seed or sod, are especially susceptible to damage in dry weather. Pay particular attention to turf on south exposures.

If you have any questions or comments about how to ensure the survival of your landscape plants, shrubs and trees, give us a call at (775) 857-4333 and ask for Tim, our irrigation landscape specialist.

woodlandvillageTrees and shrubs at risk from dry winters include recent transplants, evergreens and shallow rooted species such as lindens, birches, and Norway and silver maples. Evergreen shrubs, particularly those growing near a house, may suffer root system damage during dry spells.

Water during winter only when air temp is above freezing.In the future, you should plan on watering plants when the leaves start to fall in the autumn. This will send them into winter with adequate soil moisture. For recent transplants, a soil needle or deep-root-feeder can be used on low water pressure for one minute at each site to water the root ball and surrounding soil.

Water during winter only when air temperature is above freezing. Apply water early in the day, so it will have time to soak in before nighttime freezing. If water stands around the base of a tree, it can freeze and damage the bark.

In most years, one or two winter waterings will be enough to keep plants from suffering winter damage.

Special thanks goes out to the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Landscape for information on this article.

Drought parches West; 11 states declared disaster areas

Map of western US drought areas

Map of western US drought areas

(RGJ.COM) – Federal officials have designated portions of 11 western and central states as primary natural disaster areas because of a drought.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s announcement Wednesday includes counties in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Kansas, Texas, Utah, Arkansas, Hawaii, Idaho, Oklahoma and California.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement that he sympathizes with farmers and ranchers who are dealing with the lack of rain and snow, and assured them that the USDA will stand by them.

The designation means eligible farmers can qualify for low-interest emergency loans from the Agriculture Department.

Counties adjacent to those that are affected also are eligible for assistance.

The U.S. Drought Monitor, a federal website that tracks drought, reports that while storms have dumped rain and snow in the East, droughts are persisting or intensifying in the West.

The worst states for drought are California, Oregon and Nevada, the monitor reported. More than 62% of the state of California is now in “extreme” drought, the state’s highest percentage since the Drought Monitor began in Jan. 2000.

Extreme drought is the second-worst category of drought.

The entire state of Oregon is now completely in a drought, while the state of Nevada is just under 97%.

The monitor added that mountain snowpacks in the Sierra Nevada range continued to dwindle, with snow water equivalent averaging between 10% and 30% of normal.

Contributing; Doyle Rice, USA TODAY

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Read the original story: Drought parches West; 11 states declared disaster areas

via Drought parches West; 11 states declared disaster areas | Reno Gazette-Journal | rgj.com.

Drought prompts natural disaster declaration for Washoe County

Western Nevada Drought

Western Nevada Drought. RGJ.com map

Nine Nevada counties as primary natural disaster areas because of a drought.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s announcement Wednesday includes Washoe, Clark, Lyon, Nye, Churchill, Lander, Mineral, Pershing, and Humboldt counties.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement that he sympathizes with farmers and ranchers who are dealing with the lack of rain and snow, and assured them that the USDA will stand by them.

The designation means eligible farmers can qualify for low-interest emergency loans from the agriculture department.

Counties adjacent to the nine in Nevada are also eligible for assistance. Those include Douglas, Esmeralda, Lincoln, White Pine, Elko, Eureka, Storey and Carson City.

It also includes Mohave County, Ariz., Owyhee County, Idaho, eight counties in California and three in Oregon.

Article excerpt from RGJ.com

 


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