Themes to Consider for Fall Lawn Maintenance, Part 2

themes fall lawn maintenance

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the basics for fall lawn care to consider on your property. The fall season is an important transition from summer to winter, and taking the proper steps now will ensure your lawn is healthy and ready once the spring hits.

At Professional Yard Services, we offer a wide variety of related lawn care services, from lawn fertilization to cutting, sprinkler repair and numerous others. In today’s part two, we’ll go over several additional areas to consider, both on your own or with the assistance of our professional landscapers, to keep your lawn in great shape throughout the cold season.

themes fall lawn maintenance

Aeration

While you don’t necessarily have to do this every year, the process of aeration – which involves punching holes in the ground and pulling up plugs of soil – is valuable, and best done during the fall season. This process stops soil from being too compacted or from being covered with thatch, a layer of roots and other debris that blocks water and nutrients from reaching the soil.

Generally speaking, you want to aerate the lawn just before beginning fertilization. This allows the fertilizer to make its way directly to the roots, providing maximum benefits.

Fertilizer

After aeration, if you choose to do it this fall, you should immediately look to fertilize the lawn. Fertilizer brings vital nutrients, including sugars that prevent root freezing and give the grass the energy to last the winter and be strong during the spring. Our pros will be happy to explain the various nutrients present in fertilizer, from sugars to nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, each of which holds its own distinct benefits for your lawn.

Spreading Seeds

For proper weed protection, it’s important to spread seeds that will fill in thin spots and bare patches – but will also provide drought tolerance and resiliency. Fall is a great time for this, as the ground is still somewhat warm from the summer and there’s plenty of moisture to go around.

Now, it’s important to realize that you can’t simply throw seeds over an established lawn willy-nilly. Seeds need to make direct contact with the soil, plus stay moist until they germinate. Speak to our team about assistance in this area if needed.

Proper Timing

For each of the steps we’ve gone over in this series, it’s important to take proper timing. If you fertilize too early, for instance, the grass will grow in tender, delicate blades that may not do well during the cold winter. Too late, on the other hand, and the roots won’t have enough time to absorb the proper nutrients.

For more on the proper timing for fall lawn care areas, or to learn about any of our lawn or landscaping services, speak to the staff at Professional Yard Services today.

How to Winterize an In-Ground Sprinkler System

Utah sprinkler maintenance

Winterizing your in-ground sprinkler system can help you avoid cracked pipes, broken valves and impaired seals next spring. And trust us, you don’t want to face issues like these – repairs can be costly and accessing the damaged components may mean digging up a large portion of your yard.

To prepare the equipment for the cold weather months you need to drain all the water from the pipes. Any water left behind can freeze and expand, and the resulting pressure can cause the pipes to burst.

So, how do you drain an in-ground sprinkler system?

Utah sprinkler maintenance

Manual Drain

One method of winterizing a sprinkler system involves the manual drain valves located at the ends and low points of the piping. To manually drain the pipes, take the following steps:

  • Shut off the main water supply valve
  • Open all the manual drain valves and allow time for the water to flow out
  • Once drained, open the drain cap on the stop and waste valve and the test cocks on the backflow device
  • Pull the sprinkler heads up to allow any excess water to drain away
  • Close the manual drain valves when the draining is finished

Blow-Out Method

Another way to winterize a sprinkler system involves the use of an air compressor to blow all the water out of the pipes. To use the blow-out method, wear eye protection and take these steps:

  • Shut off the water supply at the main valve
  • Use a coupler or hose bib to attach a compressor to the mainline
  • Activate the zone furthest from the compressor or the sprinklers at the highest elevation
  • Close the backflow isolation valves and slowly open the valve on the compressor
  • Activate each zone, starting with the one furthest from the compressor and working your way forward, until you see no more water draining from the sprinkler heads
  • Once a zone is dry, move on to the next, and turn off the compressor as soon as the entire sprinkler system has been drained
  • Disconnect the compressor, then open and close the isolation valves a few times to allow any trapped water to escape
  • Leave the valves about halfway open for the winter and open the test cocks on the backflow device

Get Help from a Sprinkler Specialist

As you can see, winterizing an in-ground sprinkler system is a challenging task, regardless of the method you choose. For that reason – and for safety purposes – it’s best to leave the task to a professional.

For expert winterization service in Salt Lake City or the surrounding northern Utah region, turn to the sprinkler specialists at Utah Professional Yard Services.

At Utah Professional Yard Services, we provide a full range of services for homeowners, including in-ground sprinkler system installation, sprinkler repairs and system retrofits. We take extreme care with every project, and we offer quality workmanship at a fair, competitive price.

To learn more about our sprinkler services, or to have the Utah Professional Yard Services team winterize your in-ground sprinkler system, contact our Sandy, Utah, office today.

Themes to Consider for Fall Lawn Maintenance, Part 1

themes fall lawn maintenance

There are several elements of a home or outdoor landscape that go through a transition during the fall season each year, and the grass on your lawn is a perfect example. The steps homeowners take now, before the winter hits, are vital toward ensuring the lawn is thick, green and ready to go once the cold passes and spring hits next year.

At Professional Yard Services, we’re proud to offer a wide range of lawn care and grass maintenance services throughout the year, including during this fall period. You can contact us anytime during this season to learn about our detailed lawn and landscape maintenance services. In this two-part blog, we’ll go over several steps to consider for fall lawn maintenance, including several areas our team will be happy to assist you with as needed.

themes fall lawn maintenance

Leaf Removal

For starters, while leaves are often aesthetically pleasing and might even offer a fun play activity for kids in the home, they’re not very good for your grass at all. They stop vital sunlight from making its way in, plus trap in moisture and create issues for the turf below your grass.

For this reason, it’s important to take the time to remove any significant leaf buildups during fall using a rake or leaf blower. Even once trees have lost all their leaves, keep raking any areas where they pile up and disposing of them. If you neglect this area, you’ll find dead grass and a soggy turf surface come spring.

Mowing Height

You should keep mowing your grass regularly during the fall season, but the important area to consider here is the mowing height you use. Grass will keep growing up until the frost hits to begin winter, and should be cut to between 2.5 and 3 inches. If you allow it to get too long regularly, it will be susceptible to mold and other fungi formats.

On the flip side, if you cut grass too low, it may limit the root system and stop the grass’s ability to withstand cold temperatures and dryness once the winter hits. One other benefit of continuing to mow: It helps get rid of leaves, actually turning them into mulch that may benefit the soil.

Watering Considerations

While you can begin to taper off the amounts of water used on your grass over the fall, you should continue watering to some level right up until the first frost. Make sure the lawn is getting at least one inch of water per week, using a basic rain gauge to check if you’re unsure. We recommend keeping the sprinklers running until the end of October in most cases, unless early frost has hit before then.

For more on fall tips to prepare your lawn for the winter, or to learn about any of our lawn care service, speak to the staff at Professional Yard Services today.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Artificial Turf for Landscaping

benefits drawbacks artificial turf landscaping

A generation ago, a product like artificial turf was used almost exclusively for specific applications like sporting fields, golf courses and others down similar lines. Today, however, this product is often considered a great alternative to traditional grass for many homeowners and landscapers, one that has several beneficial qualities for certain needs.

At Professional Yard Services, we’re proud to assist you with everything from lawn care services to sprinkler repair within our landscaping services. We have numerous reviews from satisfied customers thrilled with our services, and we’re here to provide the same to you. Our experts are happy to explain the benefits and drawbacks of artificial turf to you if you’re considering it for your landscape – here are some basics, plus pros and cons to be aware of.
benefits drawbacks artificial turf landscaping

Artificial Turf Basics

Artificial turf is a product made from man-made, synthetic fibers. These fibers are stitched onto a permeable backing, the better to allow for basic airflow and drainage capabilities.

You can find a wide variety of artificial turf formats today, with varying heights, textures and even colors. It’s possible to match artificial turf to a huge range of normal grasses, even including options that have tints of brown to more accurately represent a true living lawn.

Turf Benefits

There are several distinct benefits to using artificial turf on areas of your landscape:

  • Maintenance: Artificial turf comes with significantly lower upkeep needs than normal grass, exponentially so in most cases. Turf requires no seeding, mowing, fertilization, weeding or even watering. Instead of sifting through grass to remove debris like dirt or leaves, you can just use a leaf blower. You can also hose down pet waste instead of picking it up individually.
  • Pet-friendly: Speaking of pets, artificial turf is great for them. It helps limit brown spots found on traditional grass for many dog owners as their pet urinates.
  • Durability: Artificial turf stands the test of time, even in high-traffic areas where normal grass might wear down.
  • Water consumption: Turf requires no watering, a major money-saver for homeowners who often spend $100 or more each month to adequately water their lawns.

Turf Drawbacks

There are also a few potential drawbacks to consider with artificial turf:

  • Up-front cost: Installing artificial turf is significantly more expensive than installing natural grass. But as we went over above, your costs for maintenance are so much lower that you’ll generally recoup this money in short order.
  • Environment: Research is continuing in this area, but there are currently no major brands of artificial turf that are recyclable. This is on top of the general lack of ecological benefits found in this grass, which is not technically natural.
  • Heat: Artificial turf can get pretty hot during the summer months in direct sunlight, and lower-quality types may even melt partially in extreme heat.

For more on artificial turf and why it might be right for your landscape, or to learn about any of our other landscape design services, speak to the staff at Professional Yard Services today.

Common Landscaping Mistakes to Avoid, Part 2

common landscaping mistakes avoid

In part one of this two-part blog, we went over several landscaping mistakes to avoid on your property. Whether you’re a first-timer unsure about certain areas or an experienced gardener trying some new things, you should always take the proper care and avoid certain pitfalls.

At Professional Yard Services, we’re here to help. Contact us at any time to learn about our wide variety of landscaping maintenance services, from basic lawn care and sprinkler repair to large-scale landscape design. We’ve helped numerous homeowners steer clear of potential landscaping risks for years – here are a few more areas we’ll assist you with.

common landscaping mistakes avoid

Too Much Ornamentation

For many landscapes, decorative ornaments are a great addition that bring texture and aesthetic appeal. Some of them may even have specific functional purposes, and when used in the right context and quantity, this is a great avenue to pursue.

However, you want to avoid allowing ornaments and similar items to overwhelm the space. Too many such items will turn your garden into something else entirely – these should be used as accents in most cases, with flowers, shrubs, grasses and trees serving as the main attraction. Too many additional elements will take eyes away from the areas of the property you actually spend the most time caring for.

Cutting Grass Too Short

Cutting your grass short is a good goal to have – it looks great and will lengthen the amount of time before you need to mow again. But once again, it’s important not to go overboard here.

If you cut grass so low that the stalk is removed, for instance, the grass will be unable to grow properly. Its roots won’t come in how they should, and it won’t be able to properly maintain photosynthesis for color and quality. If you’re unsure here, find out what species of grass you use and research the proper mowing height. If this fails, our landscaping pros are here to lend a hand.

Lack of Color Blending

The goal of a beautiful landscape is to blend various colors together in aesthetically pleasing ways. This comes through a combination of flowers, plants, trees, grasses, ornamental designs, hardscape elements and several others. Do your best to avoid too much of a single color, and also avoid having too many colors – a few good variations is the best way to go, something you can update with each passing season.

Improper Irrigation

Finally, proper moisture content is vital to several areas of a great landscape. There are potential pitfalls on both sides of this coin: You can’t under-water your plants and grass for fear of them browning or dying altogether, but over-watering can also have several negative effects as well. Ask our team about our sprinkler repair services and other areas when it comes to the proper irrigation system for your landscape.

For more on avoiding common landscaping mistakes, or to learn about any of our landscaping services, speak to the pros at Professional Yard Services today.

Common Landscaping Mistakes to Avoid, Part 1

common landscaping mistakes avoid

At Professional Yard Services, we’re proud to serve as your go-to landscape design and maintenance professionals. With one quick call, you’ll be greeted by a team of pros with years in lawn care, sprinkler repair and several other areas of landscaping throughout Sandy and nearby areas.

Unfortunately, not everyone in our space provides the same level of quality as our services. Whether the cause of improperly trained landscapers or homeowners attempting to do too much on their own, we’ve seen a number of landscaping errors made through the years – this two-part blog will dig into several of the most common mistake areas, plus how you can avoid them and keep your property’s landscape looking pristine throughout the year.

common landscaping mistakes avoid

Improper Planning

If you truly want your landscape to remain lush and visually pleasing throughout the year, it’s going to take more than just a wave of your hand and a few minutes at your local home improvement store. Specifically, it’s going to take some planning – you can spend a bunch of money and bring in all sorts of modern plants or design elements, but if you don’t have a proper plan for their planting and care, it will all be for nothing.

For starters, research the kinds of plants you want in your landscape. Do you have the time to care for several different varieties? Are there any that require special feeding requirements or have unique growth patterns? You can perform this same basic assessment for every area of the landscape, assessing both your budget and your future available time for care and upkeep.

Pruning Concerns

One major area of maintenance for virtually any landscape is pruning, or the strategic removal of certain plant elements to encourage their growth and development. Because pruning involves actually taking parts of a plant or tree off, doing it incorrectly can cause significant damage to their health while also diminishing the aesthetic appeal of your landscape. If you aren’t 100 percent sure how to prune a given plant or tree, call our professionals and ask them to do it for you.

Forgetting About the Front Yard

Some landscape owners make the fatal mistake of only focusing on the area where they spend the most time: The back yard. And while it’s fine to focus more of your efforts in this area, a truly complete landscape – one that maintains your home’s curb appeal – also includes the front yard. Areas like pathways to the front door, basic color and dimension setting for the home are those you can work on with the front yard, even if you’re keeping things relatively simple and saving the major work for the back.

For more on avoiding common landscaping mistakes to avoid, or to learn about any of our lawn care or other landscaping services, speak to the staff at Professional Yard Services today.

Warm-Season Grass vs. Cool-Season Grass Comparison

warm-season cool-season grass

If a top priority for your landscaping is maintaining a beautiful-looking lawn, one of the important factors to consider here will be grass type. There are several different individual species of grass out there, and knowing which match best with your climate, lifestyle and needs can go a long way to attaining the proper lawn care.

At Professional Yard Services, we’re proud to be your top contact source for lawn care services and several other landscaping areas. Generally speaking, lawn grass is grouped into two types: Warm-season grass and cool-season grass. Let’s go over some basics and examples of each, plus some in-between areas to consider as well.

warm-season cool-season grass

Warm-Season Grass

Warm-season grasses, those you’re likely a bit more familiar with, generally show growth between the months of April and October in most temperate climates. During the winter, most of these species will enter their standard dormancy period, during which they may brown and will not look their proper green color until the temperatures turn back to the warm end of the spectrum.

Warm-season grasses are almost all heat-tolerant, and drought-tolerant as well. Some common examples of warm-season grasses include the following:

  • Bahia grass
  • Bermuda grass
  • Buffalo grass
  • Centipede grass
  • Augustine grass
  • Zoysia grass

Cool-Season Grass

Cool-season grasses, on the other hand, are those that tend to grow most during spring and fall, or when temperatures sit between 60 and 75 degrees for most of the day. These grasses may or may not go dormant during the winter, and also may or may not do so during the hottest summer months.

For a climate like Utah’s, which has significant fluctuations in temperature between seasons, cool-season grasses can be highly valuable. They can help supplement the look of a given landscape during the early spring and late fall months, periods where other grasses will still be in their dormancy stages or just coming out of them. When planted in proper coordination with warm-season grasses, they’ll help you maintain strong green areas within the landscape during all the non-winter months of the year.

Some examples of cool-season grasses include the following:

  • Ryegrass – either annual or perennial options are available
  • Bentgrass
  • Fescue – tall or fine varieties available
  • Kentucky bluegrass

Cool-season grasses may require different kinds of soil maintenance or conditions than warm-season grasses, so be aware here.

Transition Zones

In many cases, particularly in climates like Utah, you need overlap between warm-season and cool-season grass areas. There are several grass types out there that endure a wide range of temperatures, and as we noted above, you can take steps to mix warm- and cool-season grasses within your lawn for great year-round growth.

For more on the kinds of grasses you may want to consider for your landscaping, or to learn about any of our additional grass maintenance services, speak to the staff at Professional Yard Services today.

Basics and Care Tips for Ornamental Grass Landscaping

basics care ornamental grass landscaping

If you’re looking for a wonderful addition to your landscape that will remain a prominent part of your visual aesthetic well into fall and even winter, ornamental grass is an area you should consider strongly. Essentially a form of grass grown as ornamental plants, ornamental grasses are becoming more and more popular, particularly in areas that have colder temperatures at any point during the year.

At Professional Yard Services, our team is happy to provide a full range of ornamental grass maintenance, expertise and service as required. Let’s go over some basics on this product and how it can affect your landscaping.

basics care ornamental grass landscaping

Defining Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses, as we said above, are grasses grown as ornamental plants. They come in a huge range of sizes and shapes, plus a wide array of colors to chose from.

Back in earlier decades, these grasses were mostly only used by experienced gardeners. But since they’re not only beautiful but also low-maintenance and economically-friendly, they’ve become much more popular in recent years and are beginning to show up everywhere. They can grow in a ton of different soil environments, a huge positive factor, and are generally drought-tolerant. On top of all this, they naturally resist many of the same insect infestations or diseases that may impact other grasses or plants.

When and Where to Plant Them

The choice on when to plant ornamental grasses comes down to whether you’re choosing annual options or perennials. In the case of annuals, these should be planted in spring and are meant to last through a full season. For perennials, we recommend planting in either spring or fall – whichever you prefer them to re-appear during in future years, which they will with proper care.

When choosing your planting location, consider both available sun in the area and the water that will be present. Most ornamental grasses do best in full sunlight, though a few types may do okay in partial sun. From here, individual ornamental grasses will vary in terms of water needs – you can find these details on their tags, where they’ll tell you the kinds of soil they prefer, the sort of draining they do best with, and more.

Care Tips

Some basic planting and care tips for ornamental grasses:

  • Plant ornamental grasses at the same depth as they were in the pot – this avoids water pooling and clumping.
  • Cut grasses back to 4-6 inches each spring (if using perennials).
  • Use a slow-release fertilizer in the spring, with low nitrogen levels to prevent grass from flopping over.
  • Use mulch placement to control weed growth and unneeded reseeding around your ornamental grasses.
  • Water ornamental grasses well during their initial planting season – it helps them grow a viable root system. In future years, perennials will only need supplemental watering during drought periods (again, further detail here will depend on the exact type you choose).

For more on ornamental grasses and how to care for them, or to learn about any of our lawn care or other landscaping services, speak to the staff at Professional Yard Services today.

Identifying and Preventing Soil Frost Heave

identifying preventing soil frost heave

Within the state of Utah, temperatures and weather conditions change significantly throughout the year. Winters are cold and snowy while summers are hot and dry, and these seasons plus everything in between have a significant impact on your grass, soil and other parts of your landscaping.

At Professional Yard Services, we can help with all temperature-related lawn care and landscape maintenance services. One such concern, particularly in winter and the periods just before or after it, is known as frost heave. What is frost heave, when can it take place, and how can you prevent it in your yard?

identifying preventing soil frost heave

Defining Frost Heave

Common both at the end of fall and during the beginning of spring, frost heave refers to a condition where soil expands and contracts due to the freezing and thawing taking place at its surface. As temperatures get into the 32 degree Fahrenheit range, cold air makes its way into your soil and freezes the water that’s there – this in turn expands the soil, plus brings further moisture up from below the surface.

Unless you address it, this cycle can become heavier and heavier and draw various items, including soil or roots, out of the ground. Your soil may appear to be “growing rocks” after too much frost heave, a negative look no one wants in their landscape.

Conditions for Frost Heave

There are three basic conditions that have to be present for frost heave to take place:

  • Cold: Temperatures have to be at 32 degrees, or even slightly colder in some situations, for frost heave to take place. This is because the freezing temperature needs to be able to reach below the top layer of soil.
  • Soil: There are certain kinds of soil that are not at risk of frost, but many others definitely are. If you have clay, silt or loam soil, these are all particularly susceptible to frost heave, as they al contain high levels of moisture.

Preventing Frost Heave

Some basic tips for preventing frost heave:

  • Plant early: During fall, plan to plant all your perennials at least six weeks before the first frost, if not earlier. This gives them time for their root systems to grow and become robust.
  • Watch: The best way to catch frost heave is to notice it early and correct it. Look for any areas that are freezing, then press the soil back into place and consider additional mulch for insulation.
  • Drainage: To avoid frost heave and several other issues as well, your soil must be able to properly drain moisture. You should be adding organic matter each fall and spring season to help here, plus rake and otherwise arrange things so drainage is optimal.
  • Mulch: Mulch can be valuable for several things, including keeping your soil a little warmer during winter. If you have issues with frost heave, consider additional mulch or changing to a stronger type.

For more on how to avoid frost heave in your soil, or to learn about any of our lawn care or sprinkler repair services, speak to the staff at Professional Yard Services today.