Sunday, March 29, 2009

Purple Fountain Grass!

Ornamental Grass: Fountain Grass
Fountain Grass is an upright-open, mound forming plant that usually grows 12 inches to 3 feet. This is an excellent ornamental grass and should be used as an accent or specimen plant, in the middle of borders, and with other perennials. A mass planting produces a colorful display when in full bloom. Fountain Grass does well as a transitional grass between formal and natural areas. Flowering occurs in July and goes through the fall. Flower color changes from whitish purple to coppery purple and persists well into the winter. Fall foliage is yellow-gold. Fountain grass grows well in any fertile, moist, wet or well-drained soil. It prefers full sun to very light shade. If you would like to ask any questions concerning other ornamental grasses you can contact us at:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dwarf Yaupon Holly

Dwarf Yaupon Holly

Ilex vomitoria 'Nana' - Dwarf Yaupon Holly

The Dwarf Yaupon Holly is a small evergreen shrub that has a refine and attractive look, it can get 5 feet in height and 8-10 feet in width. Dwarf Yaupon can be very formal when sheared, or a small mound if not. Often this shrub is seen as little "meatballs" in the landscape. Produces inconspicuous scarlet-red berries.

Hardiness: USDA Zones 7-10
Plant Use:
Full Sun-Part Sun
Water Requirements:

Good for sunny locationsGood for partly sunny locations

Monday, March 23, 2009

" Every week I will explore plants that will make your outdoor living more spectacular"--E.D.

The Bi Color Iris

Dietes (Moraea) bicolor is a clumping perennial with sword like leaves and is a native to South Africa. Bicolor Iris naturally occurs near streams and wet areas in the Bathurst district of the Eastern Cape. Even though it is native to wet areas, it is drought tolerant as well. To keep clumps looking neat only cut back old damaged foliage and large seed heads for best results. Flowers are iris type, 2" in diameter, yellow with maroon blotches fading to brown. Bicolor Iris can reach up to 2 feet tall at maturity and works great as an upright effect in the landscape.

Hardiness: USDA Zones 8-11
Plant Use: Flowering Perennial
Exposure: Sun to Part Sun
Water Requirements: Medium

Good for sunny locationsGood for partly sunny locations

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

How to Install Sod Properly

How to Install New Grass Properly!

1. Remove all debris from area to be planted. This includes sticks, bricks, old lumber, and anything else that might impede root growth.

2.The next step is very critical to proper turf establishment. The existing soil must be tilled to a depth of at least 6". This will break up any hardpan that may have developed. Without this step the turf root system will be unable to develop properly. This in turn will cause severe stress during the dry periods as well as very cold periods.

3.If the soil you currently have is a compacted clay you will need to apply approximately 3 to 4 inches of good topsoil, after you have tilled the existing soil. This will create an excellent medium for your sod to attach itself to and enhance early establishment. During periods of excessive rainfall this alluvial topsoil will help move the excessive moisture away from the plants growth points, therefore, reducing the chances of disease development and any other problems related to excessive moisture.

4. Prior to planting, the area must be leveled and any necessary drainage should be established at this time. Once the sod is down it will become very difficult to fill any low lying areas without doing excessive damage to the turf. Remember, this is normally a once in a life-time endeavor and the more time you spend on the little things now the fewer problems you will have in the long run.

5. Do not apply any pre-plant fertilizer or pre-emergent herbicide prior to planting. These two inputs can cause severe damage to the root system you are trying to estabfish. If you are planting a quality turf from a reputable dealer the turf should already contain an adequate amount of each of these to begin establishment.

6. Just prior to planting your sod you will want to cut away approximately 2 inches of dirt from any sidewalks, driveways, or curbs. This allows the turf to lay flush with the concrete and gives your job a much neater look, The excess dirt should be scattered across the yard so that you do not have any bumps under the sod.

7. You are now ready to start planting. Remember when you are making your sod selection, no matter what variety, there are basically two types of turf, quality sod and cheap sod. The two are never synonymous. Often times if you buy the cheapest sod you will also be buying problems that will consume your savings by the time they are corrected.

8. Once you have made your sod selection be sure you are ready to start planting as soon as the turf is delivered. The longer you wait the slower the rate of establishment for the turf. If the turf is not planted promptly you run the risk of your turf dying before it is ever planted.

9. Once the turf has been planted it should be watered immediately. Be sure you have adequate irrigation equipment to water your sod to a point of complete saturation, that is, where water begins to run off within a few hours. This watering to saturation should be done only once. Excessive watering will cause a lazy root system and damage the turf. The turf should then receive a light watering every 1 to 3 days as required. This procedure should continue until the sod firmly attaches itself with the new root system. Once this occurs watering should be curtailed to only during periods of wilting. This will require the root system to go down deeper in search of moisture and begin the establishment phase of a healthy turf. It is not uncommon for turf to go off color during the early stages after planting.

10. Fertilization and mowing should begin by the end of the third week. Fertilization should be done with a balanced fertilizer whose nitrogen source is in a slow release form. Fertilization should be done no more than three times during a growing season and very little nitrogen fertilizer should be used during very hot dry periods.

These steps are a recommended full scale planting program. Any deletion to these may cause slower turf establishment and decrease the quality of your turf.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Fertilize Your Lawn!!!

Things to Consider when Fertilizing your Lawn!

Step #1 — Identify your Grass Type

Identify your grass as a cool or warm season grass. A large section of the U.S. is considered transitional, which means that both warm and cool season grasses may grow in the area. If you live in this area, a clue to your grass type is the fact that warm season grasses will turn brown after the first frost. Cool season grasses will generally stay green all year long in the cool and transitional zones. They will not survive the summers in the warm season zone.

Step #2 — Do a Soil Test

Determine the pH of your soil. pH is a measure of the alkalinity or acidity of a substance. The pH of your soil is important because it determines the ability of the fertilizer to use the ingredients in the fertilizer. Your soil test will determine which fertilizer is best for you.

Bring your soil as close to neutral as possible to get the most benefit from the fertilizer you use. A pH range between 6.0 and 7.0 is accepted as being the best for growing quality grass.

Step #3 — Determine your Lawn Size

The fertilizer package will tell you how many square feet of coverage it contains. Determine the square footage of lawn to be fertilized. Fertilizers, weed-killers and other soil amendments are typically sold by the amount necessary to cover a certain square footage. Determine this figure by multiplying the length of your lawn by its width. Then, subtract the square footage of the house, driveway and other areas not to be fertilized.

Fertilizing Warm Season Grasses

Fertilize when the grass starts to turn green in spring. The growing season for these grasses, depending upon the geographic area, is during late spring and summer. Warm season grasses grow best when the temperature is in the range of 80 to 95 ° Fahrenheit, although they will also grow outside of this range.

Begin fertilizing in late spring when the lawn begins to show signs of life. You may use either slow or quick release fertilizer, but time your fertilization regimen so the fertilizer will be used up before the onset of severe hot summer weather. Begin fertilizing again after the intense heat of the summer has subsided.

Always follow the manufacturer's instructions when fertilizing, and ensure that you time the life of the fertilizer so it is not present at the onset of severe hot or cold temperatures. Failing to do so could damage your lawn. When fertilizing, too much is not a good thing.

Broadcasting Granules

Spreader pattern

  1. Make sure the spreader and fertilizer are dry.

  2. Set the rate-of-flow lever according to the setting listed on the fertilizer bag. If you have any doubts, apply too little rather than too much.

  3. Close the hopper vent. Place the spreader on a hard surface and fill the hopper slowly. Wear gloves and be sure to keep fertilizer away from eyes and skin.

  4. For complete coverage, cut the recommended application rate in half and apply evenly in a criss-cross manner.

  5. Clean the spreader thoroughly after use.

If you have any questions concerning contact us at!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Azaleas are Blooming!

Azaleas are in Bloom!
Here are some tips on planting azaleas!
1.Location:Planting azaleas in a spot cooled by partial shade, where the soil is acidic(Soil pH should be about 5.5; have your garden soil tested first before planting).It is a good idea to use a special soil when planting.
2.Red Oaks: Azalea and rhododendron plants like acid soil and have shallow roots, so a red oak is compatible with them will not mind acid soil.
3.Mulching and Water: Azaleas like mulch to help protect them from illness.They like water but just don't like to be sitting in it for long periods of time, which would cause their root to rot.
4. Pruning:Pruning azaleas should be undertaken immediately after they finish blooming (usually June or July). Pruning azaleas later than that risks interfering with the development of next year's buds. I see many lawn companies pruning the azaleas and other shrubs at the wrong time and this leads to unhealthy material.
5.Fertilization: It is important to fertilize azaleas twice a year to keep the soil acidic and give the azaleas a pretty zone. Call Arbor Life at 281-914-7788 if you have any other questions about this topic or other plant concerns for the spring.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Pruning Trees are Important!

"God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools."- John Muir

Tree Pruning is so important in the development and stability of a tree!
Here are some reasons for pruning:

1.Prune to promote plant health.
**Remove dead or dying branches injured by disease, severe insect infestation, animals, storms, or other adverse mechanical damage.
**Remove branches and branch stubs that rub together.
Avoid topping trees. Removing large branches leaves stubs that can cause several health problems.
**It also destroys the plant’s natural shape and promotes suckering and development of weak branch structure.

2.Prune to maintain plants and purposes in landscape design.
**Encouraging flower and fruit development,
maintaining a dense hedge, or
maintaining a desired tree form or special garden forms.
**Prune to improve plant appearance
Appearance in the landscape is essential to a plant’s usefulness. For most landscapes, a plant’s natural form is best. Avoid shearing shrubs into tight geometrical forms that can adversely affect flowering. Alter a plant’s natural form only if it needs to be confined or trained for a specific purpose.
** When plants are pruned well, it is difficult to see that they have been pruned!

3.Prune to control plant size.

4.Prune to protect people and property.
Remove dead branches from falling and hurting others.
Prune branches that obscure vision at intersections.
For security purposes, prune shrubs or tree branches that obscure the entry to your home.

I hope this gives us enough reasons for pruning! Let us protect and restore the trees in our neighborhood! Any more questions, contact us at

Saturday, March 7, 2009

March is here and the time to plant is here!

"I am soo glad that spring is here! This is the time when we like to be outside and enjoy the weather and look around at our surroundings. As we enter in the spring, let us focus on one thing that tends to gets ignored...our St. Augustine grass! I will be giving you the steps that will create a green yard for the spring and going into the summer! Here we go!"

Number 1: Aeration is the start of great things to come!(early spring)

*Aeration helps to control thatch and helps out areas with clay soils!
*Be sure to mark sprinkler heads, shallow lines from sprinkler, underground utilities, cable, and septic lines before aerating so they will not be damaged.
*Soil cores are best left on the lawn surface; they typically work back into the grass in 2-4 weeks.
*Lawns may be fertilized and seeded immediately following aeration with or without further soil top dressing.
*If your soil is heavily compacted, you can apply stable, mature compost 1/4 inch deep. Rake the compost over the lawn, filling the aeration holes.
Make sure lawns are aerated once a year!

Number 2: Get Rid of Weeds and Bugs(early spring)

*This process can be done right after aeration!

* Go to your local store and find a granular product that is not a fertilizer but specifically for getting rid of weeds and pests.

*Make sure you follow the directions on bag for right spread and portion settings!

*Very important: Make sure you water in the granular very well after applying. This is important for any granular product that you use!

Number 3: Spring Fertilization

*Find a good fertilizer product that is specific the spring for your type of grass!

*Very important and can not stress this too much: Make sure you water in granular product very well!

Number 4: Summer Fertilization
*Make sure you increase your water times during the early morning or late night for heat index will be going up!

Number 5: Fall Fertilization(Start cutting back on watering)

*After fertilizing during this season, you will need to change your schedule for the winter is approaching!

I hope all this helps and if you ever have any more questions feel free to contact us at :