Is it time for a Spring yard clean up?

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Spring is here and it is time to get your yard back in shape before the Summer season arrives. Spring is the perfect season for large cutbacks and the cleaning out of all flowers beds. Having your landscape prepared for the rapid growth of Summer is half the battle.

Now that the weather is a little warmer it is time to lower the height of hedge lines and trim back many flowering plants, such as hibiscus. Lowering hedge lines during the Spring season gives homeowners a leg up for when the rapid growth experienced during the Summer season happens. Large cutbacks are dangerous to a plant's health when cool and dry weather is present, however the Spring has certainly sprung in Sarasota, FL and the warmer weather and rain makes it the perfect time for cutbacks and clean ups.

Bed maintenance is large part of a Spring clean up. Many flower beds accumulate large amounts of leaves that have fallen over the Winter months. Flower beds will look much better and will be easier to work in once all the dead leaves and debris are raked out and removed.

Arbor Landscapes offers free estimates for Spring clean ups as well as monthly maintenance to avoid the need for Spring clean ups. Give us a call at 941.927.8002 for your free estimate.

How does the cold weather affect my Florida landscape?

The most obvious effect of cold weather in Florida is the slowing of growth and the browning of grass. Grass goes dormant in the winter under most circumstances, dormancy is the stage where the grass reserves it's energy and slows its growth. Dormant grass is typically brown and dry at times. Water and fertilizer are two ways to combat your grass from going dormant. However, dry winters mean more irrigation usage to provide the needed water. Remember to adhere to local watering restrictions!

Plants and hedges can show signs of dormancy as well in Florida., Plants and hedges slow their growth and retain energy in the colder months much like grass. Plants and hedges are much more susceptible to freeze when they are freshly trimmed. Trimming of plants and hedges in the winter must be carefully timed to avoid damage in the case of low temperatures. Plants and hedges require much less trimming in the winter months so that's a plus!

Enjoy the Florida winter months of slow growing and more moderate temperatures! Arbor Landscapes is always here to provide a free estimate for landscape maintenance year round. Please call 941.927.8002 for a free estimate!

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What tools do I need to maintain my own yard and landscape?

Depending on the size of yard you are maintaining a homeowner will need either a push mower or riding lawn mower. The self propelled push mowers are great for standard quarter acre lots. A residential riding mower is recommended for anything over a quarter acre as the time saved over the years will definitely be worth the increased cost of a riding lawn mower. You can always visit your local lawn equipment dealer and ask them for advice on which mower is best for you.

A weed eater is essential to reach those areas where a mower won’t fit. There are both gas and electric weed eaters available. A 2 stroke gas weed eater is recommended because of the increased power and longevity of use. No one wants to bother with extension cords when working in the yard. Two stroke engines require oil to mix with the gas before putting it in the fuel tank, so be sure to read the owner’s manual carefully.

An edger is needed to keep grass from growing outward over hard surfaces such as driveways and sidewalks. Like weed eaters there are both electric and gas edgers available. A two stroke gas edger is recommended for the same reasons as the 2 stroke gas weed eater, it has increased power and longevity of use. Extension cords can be a pain around driveways, especially with cars parked in them. Be sure to read the owner’s manual for the oil to gas ratio required for the two stroke engine.

A blower is needed to get rid of unwanted debris on hard surfaces such as leaves or grass clippings. There are electric and gas blowers available. Again, the two stroke gas blower is recommended.

A hedge trimmer is necessary if you have bushes and hedges that need shaping on a regular basis. There are both electric and gas hedge trimmers. Two stroke gas hedge trimmers are recommended for their power and ability to use without cords or the worry of battery life. Two stroke gas hedge trimmers need a mix of gas and oil just like weed eater and edger two stroke engines.

Hand tools can be very helpful for pruning plants and palms. Loppers are long handled with blades at the end that are similar to scissors and very helpful for palm branches and small tree limbs. Hand snips are helpful for small plants and bushes that need to be trimmed by hand.

Weed control can either be done by hand or by the use of chemical. Glyphosate is the concentrate that is found in Round-Up and other weed control products. You can find glyphosate based products at your local lawn care store.

Common Lawn Care Questions for Sarasota and Venice

Q: Does it matter if my lawn care company is insured?

A: Yes! Lawn care companies that are not insured are much less likely to be able to repair unintended damage to your home, vehicles, or neighbors property. Also, a lack of workers compensation coverage can leave the homeowner liable if the company is uninsured and not legitimately filed with the State of Florida.

Q: How often do lawn care companies mow?

A: It varies from company to company, but the typical lawn care company services residences 42-44 visits a year. This results in every other week service in the slow growing winter season and every week during the rest of the year.

Q: Do lawn care companies mow when it is raining?

A: It depends less on if it is raining and more on how saturated the ground is. If the ground is completely saturated from the current rain or previous rain then it is beneficial to not mow. If it is a light rain then there is no risk of harm to the yard and most lawn companies will still operate.

Q: What other services do lawn care companies provide?

A: Most lawn care companies can lay mulch, trim bushes and shrubs, install sod, and apply fertilizer.

Q: How much does it cost for lawn care service in Sarasota or Venice?

A: Cost is dependent on the size and unique requirements of the lawn. It is wise to obtain a detailed written estimate from any potential lawn care companies to avoid discrepancies down the road.

If you have any questions about lawn care in Sarasota or Venice feel free to call Arbor Landscapes at 941.927.8002.

5 weeding tips from your local landscaper

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Weeding your landscape is a tedious and ongoing process that must be done frequently. There are several techniques and preventive tips that can make the weeding process easier and more efficient.

1) Hand pulling weeds should only be necessary if the other techniques and preventative measures are not followed.

2) When installing mulch, shell, or any other ground cover first apply weed block below. Weed block prevents weeds from the soil below from reaching the surface through the mulch or shell. Weed block can be purchased at a local landscape supply store.

3) Use glyphosate application, otherwise know as Round-Up. Glyphosate is a non-selective post emergent pesticide that kills all weeds, plants or grass it comes in contact with. Glyphosate is a great tool to use when combating weeds. Purchasing a backpack sprayer from a local landscape supply store and mixing your own glyphosate concentrate with water makes it affordable and easy to apply. Applying glyphosate to areas with weeds every 3 weeks will kill weeds as they are first emerging and aren't very visible. Be careful not to get any glyphosate on desired landscape!

4) Preemergent pesticide applications can also be used, but are much more costly. Preemergent pesticides are applied to areas where weeds have emerged in the past and treats the soil not allowing weeds to grow in the first place.

5) Pre and post emergent selective pesticides can be used to treat weeds that are in the lawn itself, but must be done by a licensed pesticide applicator. There are many local pesticide companies and we would be happy to refer you to the ones we know do a great job!

How do I avoid grass clumps after mowing my yard?

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During the summer months grass grows at a faster rate due to warmer weather and abundant amounts of water. Although the grass looks greener and fuller in these months it does become much more difficult to maintain. The most common issue is grass clumps remaining on the lawn after it has been mowed. Below are several techniques to remove the grass clumps from your freshly cut lawn.

1. Using a large plastic rake you can rake the grass clumps into large piles and remove them from the lawn in garbage bags or a garbage can.

2. Cutting the grass more frequently is a great solution, but obviously requires more time commitment. Mowing every 5 days instead of every 7 makes a huge difference in the amount of grass that is cut and greatly reduces the amount of grass clumps left on the lawn.

3. Re-mowing the areas of clumps is probably the most common technique used. The trick to re-mowing grass clumps is raising the blade height .25 inches to .5 inches from the height originally cut at. This will allow the blades to still cut any high spots at a relative height desired and also collects the grass clumps and distributes them through the mower shoot.

4. Push mowers can present difficulties in the growing months when the grass is very thick. Push mowers often clog with thick grass and begin to miss spots because the blades are not spinning at full throttle. Periodically lifting the front tires with the blade engaged will shoot out the grass that is clogged, but another technique must still be used to remove the clumps of grass left behind in the lawn.

5. Mulching mowers are a great tool, but can often get clogged with grass, especially when grass is wet. Mulching mowers that are clogged will miss blades of grass and dump grass clumps periodically throughout the yard when grass is extremely thick. Disengaging the blades in a desired place and then re-engaging will often unclog the blade deck of any grass. You can also remove large grass clumps clogged in the deck by hand if need be. Many times during the growing months you must use another technique along with a mulching mower to avoid grass clumps in your lawn.

Stay on top of your hedge and bush trimming!

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Frequently trimming the hedges and bushes at a residence is necessary to promote the health of your landscape as well as the overall aesthetic look. In Southwest Florida it is important to trim your hedges and bushes at least six times a year to avoid it becoming a daunting task.  Many people make the mistake of allowing their bushes and hedges to grow to the point where it becomes an entire weekend project to cut them back to the desired height.  The trick in Southwest Florida is to cut hedges and bushes back frequently throughout the year with a large cut back in the Spring.  A large cutback in the Spring promotes new growth and also allows you to gain control over the bushes and hedges again.  It is important to use equipment with sharp blades and enough power to cut through the hedges and bushes in your landscape.

If you need your bushes or hedges trimmed call us at 941.927.8002!

7 Common Questions About Mulch

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1. How many square feet does a bag of mulch cover? 
A standard bag of mulch covers 8 sq. ft. at a depth of 3 inches.

2. At what depth should mulch be laid?
The ideal depth of mulch is 3 inches, which promotes water retention for plants and also prevents weeds.

3. Should I lay weed block down before laying mulch?
Yes! Weed block can be cut out around plants and helps prevent weeds in flower beds.

4. How many bags of mulch come in a pallet?
A pallet at a nursery or box store consists of 70 bags of mulch.

5. What is the cheapest mulch?
The most inexpensive mulch is cypress mulch which is around $2.00 a bag.

6. What are the different types of mulch?
Cypress mulch, pine bark, black mulch, red mulch and mocha brown mulch are the most common types of mulch used.

7. Is it cheaper to buy mulch by the yard or in bags?
You save on the cost of mulch by purchasing it by the yard from a nursery, however bags are much easier to transport to their desired areas in a yard.

Feel free to give Arbor Landscapes a call if you need mulch or have any questions on how to do it yourself!

10 Tips for Maintaining a Beautiful and Healthy Landscape

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1. Keep all bushes, hedges, and trees trimmed at least two feet away from all walls, screens, and air conditioning units in order to avoid property damage.

2. Springtime is best for any large cutbacks of any bushes, hedges, or trees.

3. Mow lawns at the appropriate height for the type of grass and climate.

4. Weed eat at the same height the lawn is mowed to keep a consistent look, you don't always have to be cutting grass with the weedeater.

5. Edge with light pressure down and towards the hard surface being edged, be sure to change edger blades often.

6. Over watering promotes weed growth, so only water as needed. Rain detectors for irrigation systems are very helpful when trying to avoid over watering.

7. Water once a week for 45 minutes with rotating sprinkler heads and 20 minutes with micro watering systems, be sure to follow local watering ordinances.

8. Fertilize the lawn four times a year, over fertilizing can kill the lawn.

9. Fertilize bushes and shrubs twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall.

10. Fertilizer will stain sidewalks and driveways, so be sure to sweep or blow it off any hard surfaces after application.

If you need help with any of the above tips call Arbor Landscapes at 941.927.8002!

How to clean up oak leaves in your yard

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Oaks are beautiful trees that are a great compliment to any landscape, however they do become a nuisance when they drop their leaves every year. Oak leaves are acidic and cause damage to grass underneath them.

St. Augustine grass is the most tolerant of the acidic oak leaves, but they must be removed within a reasonable time to avoid damage. Below are six steps to ride your lawn and landscape of oak leaves:

1. Using a blower, blow out all of the leaves from all flower beds into the lawn.

2. Alternating between a blower and rake, gather all of the leaves in one area. 

3. With industrial bags already inside of the trash can, place leaves in bags until full then tie and dispose of.

4. Sarasota County will pick up yard waste on designated days, so plan accordingly.

5. Once there are a manageable amount of leaves remaining then you can mulch them into the lawn with a lawn mower.

6. When blowing leaves off of a driveway you can use a closed garage to create a backstop to blow them against and then rake them up.

The different types of sod and how to lay them

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Arbor Landscapes does more than just mow your Sarasota and Venice yard. One of the most frequent jobs Arbor Landscapes performs is sod replacement. Re-sodding your yard is a great investment that promotes the health of your lawn, aesthetic look of your lawn and the overall property value of your home.

Sodding an existing yard is a five step process. First we kill all existing weeds and grass in areas where new sod is going to be placed, which typically takes 2 weeks. Secondly we use a sod cutter to remove all dead grass is the area where new sod is going. Next is laying the new sod that's cut at the farm the same day we lay it. The fourth step is watering and rolling in the new sod that was laid. The final step is applying water frequently over the following weeks to insure the growth of the new sod. Irrigation systems can be set by our sod technicians to guarantee adequate water application to the new sod. 

Picking the right type of sod for your Sarasota or Venice property is also important. Zoysia, Bahia and Floratam are three sods that have success when laid in the proper areas. Shade, water and soil content are all factors when picking the right sod. Arbor Landscapes provides free estimates for sod application and will provide information on the different types of sods, so the property owner can make an informed decision!

How often should I water my Florida lawn?

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Watering a lawn is one aspect of lawn care that’s normally left up to a homeowner to regulate as most system’s must be turned on inside. Although with access to your irrigation clock your lawn care professional can set water times for the appropriate season. If you’re taking the job on yourself then here are a few tips on watering your own lawn.

It is possible to overwater! If you overwater your lawn it can lead to greater vulnerability to weeds, disease, insects and other problems. The only way to ensure you don’t overwater is to turn your irrigation system OFF and only operate it when your lawn needs water. How do you know when your lawn needs water? Look for these signs : folding leaf blades, blueish gray color, and when footprints begin to remain visible.

The amount of water your grass needs is based on many factors including: the type of grass, the time of year and the shade of the grass. Your yard will require more water in dry months than in wet months when your lawn gets free rain water. On average you need to apply 1/2- 3/4 inch of water each time you turn your irrigation system on.

In many areas of Florida, water is regulated by the Water Management Districts. This further restricts the amount of control you have over watering your yard as you are only able to water your lawn as much as they allow. Check with your district to find out the restrictions.

As long as you keep an eye on your lawn and don’t overwater you should have no problem maintaining a healthy yard. And remember if you have any irrigation questions feel free to ask your lawn care professional!

Why should I hire a lawn care company instead of doing it myself?

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The average homeowner initially invests roughly $1,800 in lawn equipment when maintaining their own lawn care and landscape maintenance. This doesn't include the maintenance and upkeep cost of the equipment, as well as fuel. It's also safe to bet the quality of equipment used is not the level of a reputable lawn care company. Most importantly there is a huge time commitment when maintaining a properties landscape. Living in Sarasota is supposed to be about enjoying the hot summers and warm winters, not working outside in it. 

Arbor Landscapes has been providing top quality lawn care and landscape maintenance to the great residents and businesses of Sarasota County for over 10 years. Arbor Landscapes is dedicated to investing in top of the line equipment and providing a professional lawn care service to all of its customers.

We would love the opportunity to free up some time in your busy schedule and provide you the best lawn care service in Sarasota County. Give us a call for a free estimate 941.927.8002.

What plants are best for Sarasota island home landscaping?

There are many plants and shrubs that can be used to compliment the variety of palms used in island home landscaping.  Barrier islands don't always have the most fertile soil therefore durable, salt tolerant plants are a must.  A few suggestions for plants that will brighten up your landscape and do well on the Sarasota barrier islands are:

 Blue Daze- salt tolerant, durable, low maintenance

Blue Daze- salt tolerant, durable, low maintenance

  Japanese Spurge-  salt tolerant, shade tolerant, low maintenance

Japanese Spurge- salt tolerant, shade tolerant, low maintenance

  Varieties of Sage - salt tolerant, moderate maintenance

Varieties of Sage- salt tolerant, moderate maintenance

Landscape Maintenance for Seasonal Residents of Sarasota

The seasonal residents of Sarasota County are only present to enjoy their homes beautiful Florida landscape a portion of the year. The excitement of visiting their home in sunny Florida can be dampened when they return to an unkempt lawn when they have been paying for service for the past year. Reliability and community presence are key qualities for a landscape company used for seasonal residents. Customer service is also important, as to keep the client informed of everything going on even if they are a thousand miles away.

Arbor Landscapes prides itself on serving seasonal clients in Sarasota County. Arbor Landscapes communicates regularly with seasonal clients to keep them informed on their Florida home and will immediately let the owner know if there is anything out of the ordinary. The reliability, customer service and reputation in the community make Arbor Landscapes the perfect landscape maintenance company for seasonal residents.

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At what height should I maintain my grass?

 

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    A common misconception is that the shorter you mow your yard the less you will have to mow it. Grass renews itself so quickly that this is not the case and often grass is harmed when cut too short.  There are numerous advantages to maintaining the appropriate grass height for your lawn. 

    Mowing with the blade height at a higher setting causes less stress on the grass; ideally you only want to cut off the top third of a blade of grass.  Taller grass promotes stronger root development and a healthier lawn.  Allowing your grass to reach a healthy height will allow it to fill out and prevent underlying weeds from getting sunlight, causing the weeds to die.  

    Below is a list of the optimal mowing heights for common Florida grasses:

    • Bahia grass: 3.0 in. - 4.0 in.
    • Bermuda grass: 0.5 in. - 1.5 in.
    • Carpet grass: 1.5 in. - 2.0 in.
    • Centipede grass: 1.5 in. - 2.0 in.
    • Seashore Paspalum: 1.0 in. - 2.0 in.
    • St. Augustine grass: 2.5 in. - 4.0 in.
    • Zoysia grass: 1.0 in. - 3.0 in.