Phone: (480)882-9553 Fax: (480)882-3488

State of Arizona Register of Contractor (ROC):
ROC291815 (K-21 Dual Landscaping)
ROC291814 (KA Dual Engineering)

State of Arizona Office of Pest Management (OPM):
OPM 9296 (B3 Weeds & B5 Turf and Ornamental Pest Control)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I am going to skip over seeding my lawn this year!

One of our HOA accounts has elected to only over seed the entrance area this year. Our top goal is obviously to do a good job with the overseeded area and make it look as good as possible. I am not going to go into detail on our process, there is plenty of literature out there one that. All I am going to say is that last week was way too early, and it still is this week and most likely will still be too warm for a couple of more weeks.

A very close second goal is to keep the non over seeded grass green as long as possible. We will do this through proper watering and fertilizer. Even slow growing grass needs water. A lot of irrigation controller out there have seasonal adjust setting on the dial, “never use it.” I learned a long time ago that I shouldn’t use absolutes like never or always, but I do to get a point across. I am sure that if another landscaper was to read this blog, they would give me a couple of examples of when they felt like that had to use that setting.

It is better to adjust watering frequency than run duration. For example if you were watering 10 minutes every day and wanted to cut the water in half you have two option on most irrigation controllers. Option 1 move the watering down to 5 minutes and keep it every day or Option 2 keep it as 10 minutes but water every other day. Most experts agree that option 2 is best. This can be summed up is one simple argument. Water duration determined how deep the water will penetrate and plant roots don’t move up and down in depth with the weather.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Drainage Problems

Is the standing water in the corner of your lawn after every rain? Or on the side of the house? Depending on if the problem might be affecting the foundation of your house, you might need to call a grading contractor or engineer. For minor problem you might consider installing a drainage system. There are two way to deal with the water, move it off site or help it into the ground through a dry well. Moving the water off site is usually the cheapest and safer solution.

Most yards are intended to be graded to drain all water to the front yard, and down the street to neighborhood retention area (often a park in newer HOA’s.) Many homes have issues with this not happening 100% correctly. It might be because the grading got changed during a backyard construction project or even the brick boarder to your grass is retaining some water, it is often a fairly simple fix.

If you don’t have a slab of cement that would need bored under or a giant tree with a web of roots in the way, a drainage box and some corrugated pipe will be your answer most of the time. If boring is required, you have some calculating to do. A drain box and corrugated might still be your answer pipe, but more often you might be easier and cheaper to dig a dry-well to help the water percolated fast.

Give us a call and let us help you make that decision.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


This has been a fairly wet year so far, rain counts at Sky Harbor don’t conform that, but the weeds starting to pop up everywhere do. Sense it has been a lot of little rains, the water isn’t getting to deep in most places, which means herbaceous not woody weeds. This is better, because they are easier to control. There are two main classes of Herbicide (Weed killers) are Pre-emergent’s and Post emergent’s.

Pre-emergent’s are to be sprayed on the ground before you can see weeds. They help “prevent”/reduce new weeds. The more frequent they are applied with the correct timing, the better the results, they’re most effective closest to application. Sense most of the pre-emergent’s have 4 month and 6 month mix ratios. My opinion is that it is best to do 3 properly time 4 month applications. Their seems to consistently be three wet periods in the Phoenix Valley: Late Winter/Early spring (February to Early April); Monsoon (July and August) and fall (Late October to Early December). That’s not to say they there is never rain in between. If your budget does not allow for 3 applications, two can be timed for decent results.

They are a few products out they that have Pre and post emergent property, because they are usually a mix of two or more chemical, they are more expensive and both are rarely needed everywhere on a property.

Post emergent’s kill existing weeds. Even with a pre-emergent plan, a few weeds might needs sprayed with a post emergent. If you are having a problem vegetative growth ([not from seed] Bermuda grass where you don’t want it) you will need a post emergent because pre-emergent will not control it.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Monsoons season is here again.

During monsoons everyone’s first concern is trees. If you have ever seen a whole tree or a majority of a tree on the grown after a wind storm, you might have thought to yourself that tree needed trim before the storm? Most likely that tree was trim before the storm, the issue is that it was raised not thinned. A high percentage of the “trees” planted in the Phoenix valley are some verity of Mesquite, Palo Verde (Brea) or Iron Wood. The word trees, is in parenthesis because that is the biggest problem; Mesquites and Palo Verde’s are not trees they are very large shrubs. A tree is “self pruning.” If you want to see the difference between a self pruning and non self pruning plant, go to a northern Arizona pine forest and then go to the natural desert (15 minutes out side of town.) In the pine forest you can walk through it with little to no ducking, and no human punned them. In the desert the Mesquite and Palo Verde’s will a have branches all the way to the ground. If the placement was right on tree when planted in a urban landscape, it should never be raised more then 1/3 the height of the tree. If you do raise the tree higher, it likely will became top heavy or grow unsightly suckers. If a “tree” is top heavy is needs thinned, or it might be one of the trees on the ground after the next storm.

The second concern should be the waste of water. This is the time of year when the desert gets a lot if its yearly ran. Most landscapes can do without irrigation water for a several days after a rain. A few ways to handle this are to: manually turning off the water, a rain sensor or soil moister sensor integrated into the irritation system. Most irrigation clocks are compatible with one and/or the other. Rain sensors are great for grasses and ok for shrubs. They have no way of sensing how deep and how long the water last in the soil, so that aren’t ideal for tree lines. Soil Moister sensor are great for all three categories but are usually a little more expensive.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Turf Renovation

You do not have to reseed or re-sod every spring. You should fertilize and increase watering frequency. It is also a good idea you aerate your lawn at least once a year; spring being the best time. If you have a bare area that seems to not fill in, no matter what you do, you might consider using a different grass or converting that section to a planter.

If you have a bare area there are several thing you should to check before come to a conclusion.

1) Does the area get enough sun? “Summer grasses” need more sun than the “winter grasses” that are used year-round in other parts of the county.

2) Are you watering evenly (uniformly)? Many residential irrigation systems are designed or install purely, plus parts wear and lose regulating ability overtime.

3) Are you watering frequently and deep enough? If water is making it at least 6” deep you should only have to water 3 or 4 days a week, even in the summer. [that has to be uniform as possible for good results]

4) Are you over watering? Plant roots need oxygen to live, if the bare spot is always saturated grass most lightly can’t grow there.

5) Does or did the bare area have a disease? Pearl scale, cut warms or fungus might be making it impossible to grow grass or other plants. You should almost always address the other four issues first, a health lawn can often defend itself from disease.

Once you have addressed these issues, you might consider reseeding or installing sod, to speed the recovery of your turf.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Soil Test and Fertilizer

You don’t have to do a soil test ever time you are going to fertilize, but you should done one at least once a year. For this post when I talk about soil test I am referring to Soil Nutrient test, which let you know what nutrients are in the ground. There are several other type of soil test/ analysis that can be done but usually are only done if there is a drainage/erosion problem or there is a possible soil born disease. Soil Nutrient test can be divide into two general categories, either Basic or Complete analysis.

Basic test usually only give you results for Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K); with some frequency you will also get soil pH. You sometime receive the results in number for ppm (parts per million) but usually on a basic test you are give the results at Inadequate/Low, Adequate/Good or High/Too High. You will get the results for each of the three nutrients/minerals.

N-P-K are the three numbers on all fertilizers. The numbers represent the percents of the nutrient by weight. The three numbers can never exceed 100, but usually are less than 50. Often there are other things in the fertilizer, like more minerals or product to slow the release of the nutrients into the soil. A common general fertilizer is 15-15-15; it is 15% of each of the nutrients. This would be a good fertilizer is you got inadequate results for all three nutrients. It you got a good result for a nutrient you might look for a low percentage for that nutrient. But if you got a high/too high result you want to look for a fertile without that particular nutrient/mineral.

pH is a good number to have (scale of 0 to 14, with 7 being natural), it lets you know the availability of some of the nutrients that are already in the soil. For example, Arizona’s soil usually has good/adequate results for Iron (Fe), but the soils pH is somewhere around 8 (Alkaline.) With that pH there iron that is in the soil is not available for most plants to get enough. You can try lowering the pH with something like sulfur or an acidic produce like pine much (I would recommend the second because of how easy it is to overdo the sulfur.) Or, you can use a fertilizer with a little iron (will remain available to most plants along as it is suspended the soil water.)

Complete test will give ppm or ppb (parts per billion) results for all (at least most of the) 13 essential minerals for plants. It almost always includes the pH of the soil, and sometimes includes even more information that could be helpful. This test obviously cost more, and usually needs a professional to help analyze the number, but it will help keep you landscape healthy for years to come.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Spring is here!

Officially spring doesn’t start until March 20th, but Cactus league baseball (spring training) started over a week ago. The weather has been perfect in the afternoons and early evenings for a while now, so IT’S SPRING.
What does spring mean for your landscaping? Answers 1) Flowers; 2) New growth; 3) Fertilizer and 4) Water.
A lot of plants are starting to get new growth and or flower. This is most noticeable on deciduous trees (trees that dropped all their levels for the winter.) Depending on the micro-climate at your house, trees such as Ash trees, buds are either starting to open or might already be fully leafed out. Some tree such a Jacaranda or some citrus are starting to flower.
This natural process need nutrients and water. This means that none native/naturalized species are likely to need some supplemental nutrients (fertilized) and/or water. Native or naturalized species most likely are adapted to get the nutrients and moisture they need from the local soil. Fertilizers that are sold at retail stores are usually water soluble and early for the plant to adsorb Non-native and native alike.
Water should be straight forward, increase the water to your plants. It should not have been off for the winter, but if it was turn it back on. Your irrigation system should be adjusted with the weather, minimum or 4 times a year. 12 would be better.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tree trimming time?

It depends on the tree. For some this is the best time, so some this is just as good as any other time, but there are a few species that you need to wait till spring for. DO NOT cut the freeze/frost damage off your Ficus or Jacarandas until March. There are trees that are included in this so ask an arborist before cutting.

The two most common deciduous trees we grow in the Phoenix Valley are the Ashes and the Chinese Elm. Deciduous means that it drops all its leaves in fall or winter and goes dormant. In the Phoenix Valley many have just finished dropping there leaves in the last few weeks, which means that most of the trees energy reserves are in the roots and next year’s active buds (new branches) have not been decided yet. So, now until the first sign of new growth is the ideal time to trim and thin a Deciduous tree: You will remove the lowest amount of stored sugars and other nutrients, it is the easiest time to see the branching structure and you are not reduce the number of active buds (less likely to unbalance grow hormones.)

And as stated above, now is as good as any to time most other trees. You’re likely to save some money if the crew doesn’t have to come a second time in the year.