Category Archives: Lawn Irrigation Systems

Avoid A Dry Yard With Proper Lawn Care

Warmer months are ahead of us! That means it’s time to start preparing your lawns and greenery for heightened temperatures and dry weather. This is best done with a few careful steps taken to ensure that every inch of topography is cared for the proper way. Check out our tips for maintaining a lush, beautiful lawn for the remainder of spring.

The Right Time

It seems obvious enough, but knowing when to water your lawn is an important factor in consistent upkeep. Grass does require a fair amount of water, but not every day. Turning on your sprinkler system for thirty minutes twice a week, instead of a few minutes every day, will benefit the soil and allow for the grass to fully absorb the resources you give it.

The time of day matters as well. It’s best to turn your sprinklers on or water a garden in the early morning, before the heat of the day moves in and evaporates water faster. If that is not possible, try the early evening when any harsh weather conditions may have died down enough for the sprinklers to operate smoothly.

Pay Attention to the Weather

Sometimes the weather can be unpredictable, especially in the months of April and May. If it rains, turn off any automated service your lawn care equipment has and let nature do the work for you. Adjusting to what the day brings will ensure not only that your lawn stays fresh and vibrant, but also that any garden and even potted plants that add to the aesthetic receive proper care as well.

Have the Right Tools

The basis of a beautiful yard literally starts from the ground up. Determine what your grass needs from the soil type and layout of your yard to install an irrigation system that hits every bit of surface area. Drainage is also pivotal in order to achieve the right amount of moisture in the grass and soil, and if your space has lawn ornaments or larger furniture pieces, moving those to get to the area underneath is also important. As much as a beautiful lawn adds to the vision of a lovely home, risking any water damage to the house or backyard accouterments can be avoided with proper precautions. Use what your space has to your advantage!

Contact Blue Tree

It’s not too late to install state-of-the-art equipment in time for summer! Blue Tree will outfit your home with the right landscaping tools and services for any time of year. Our team of professionals can provide information and a quote based on your needs, so contact us with any questions on how to help you get started!

4 Tips for Keeping Your Lawn Healthy This Summer

IMG_4425Summer is for running through sprinklers, playing endless games of tag, and catching fireflies. But, all of that wear and tear can be hard on a lawn. So, what can you do to keep it looking, and feeling, its best all season long? Follow these steps for green, lush grass that’s comfortable underfoot, and ready for whatever the summer season throws your way.

Healthy Summer Lawns

Know the Lawn

What sort of lawn do you have? Is your grass a “cool season” grass, like Fescue or Bluegrass, or “warm season” grass, like Zoysia or Bermuda? Cool season grasses prefer temperatures in the 60s, while “warm season” grasses grow best in the 70s. But, in Montgomery County, summer can hit hard. When temperatures fall outside these ranges, grass may brown, dry out, or even lie dormant. Watering it won’t bring it back! You’ll have to be patient, and wait for the cooler temperatures of the fall to arrive. Next year, prevent this dormant state by watering your lawn often, and deeply, to foster roots that can handle any drought.

Water the Lawn

You know your lawn needs watering, but you may not realize that the best time to water your grass is in the morning, when you can help prevent fungal growth, and evaporation. Healthy summer lawns need an inch of water a week, and even more when higher temperatures kick in.

Mow the Lawn

If your lawn hasn’t gotten a good rain lately, set the lawnmower blade up a few notches. Shoot for 3” or 4” high blades to help prevent new weeds from forming. Ensure that your mower blades are kept sharp to avoid damaging the grass. It will help keep your grass from drying out too quickly, while also protecting the roots. A good rule of thumb is to cut no more than 1/3 of a blade of grass each time you mow.

Aerate the Lawn

Give your lawn’s roots the oxygen they need by aerating your lawn this summer. To properly aerate your lawn, simply remove small plugs of soil. Doing so will give your grass’s roots more room to grow. Once you finish aerating your lawn, you can also apply weed killer to the open holes.

Improve Your Lawn Savvy

Knowing how to mow, water, and fertilize your lawn goes a long way toward helping your yard stay healthy during the summer months. Keep your lawn in the best possible shape all season long by turning to the landscaping professionals.

Blue Tree Landscaping is a one-stop-shop for everything lawn (and even pool!). Call Blue Tree Landscaping today, and get your yard in tip-top shape!

How To Save Water With Your Landscape Design

Blue Tree Landscaping

 

Get the most out of your yard without the water-wasting. Read on to learn how you can save water with an updated landscape design.

 

Tips to Conserve Water with Landscape Design

Native or Regional Plants

Using plants that are already part of the natural landscape typically requires less work and upkeep, since they are accustomed to the soil and climate. Most require no more than the usual rainfall to thrive, and you likely won’t need to haul out the fertilizer or pesticides too often. They have a hardiness that other non-native or non-regional plants tend to lack.

Group by Watering Needs

Some plants are water hogs. Figure out which group of plants have similar watering needs, and place plants that don’t need a lot of water further out in your lawn. Plants that require the most water can take advantage of roof runoff, and should be placed closer to your home. This way, you won’t overwater or underwater any particular area. It will keep every part of your yard looking its best!

Saving Space

Avoid overcrowding your plants, and fight off the impulse to cram as many plants into a single space as possible. While it may take a few seasons to fill in your lawn, if you use fewer plants, you will use less water. The same goes for hedges. Some popular hedge varieties have been genetically engineered to grow taller than ever. If you only want a hedge that’s five feet tall, don’t plant a hedge that can reach fifteen feet.

Finishing Touches and Soil Savers

Mulch is more than just the finishing touch to your landscape. It can also help you conserve water, stall evaporation, and keep plants cool. Mulch fills in the space around your plants, preventing water-stealing weeds from growing. Natural mulches, like compost, bark chips, grass clippings, and pine needles will return nutrients to the soil as they decay. A healthy soil encourages deep roots—and better retains water.

Hardscaping

The hard elements of your landscape design, like concrete, let rainwater run exactly where you don’t want it to go: the street. Keep garden pathways porous so the rainwater stays put. Gravel, pebbles, or bricks, are all great options. To help prevent weed growth, line the area with old newspapers before laying these options down.

Water Conservation

When the rest of your Philly neighborhood is facing ever-increasing water bills, you can enjoy an efficient, environmentally-friendly landscape without the extra work. It’s time to go green.

 

If you want to conserve water, but aren’t sure where to start, turn to the professionals at Blue Tree Landscaping. We are your one-stop-shop when it comes to everything yard. From planning to design and maintenance, we can make your dream of a water-saving landscape a reality. Call today.

3 Tips for Choosing the Right Sprinkler System

3 Tips for choosing the Right Sprinkler SystemDid you know that it takes more than 600 gallons of water to keep 1,000 square feet of grass green? When you are ready to give up the fight against tangled hoses, and scorched plants, it’s time to choose a sprinkler system.

How do you choose the right sprinkler system for you? With 30% of your water bill going toward yard care, we have three tips to help you find the most efficient option for keeping your Philly yard healthy.

3 Tips for Choosing the Right Sprinkler System

Water Pressure

It’s an often overlooked factor, but water pressure is a major part of choosing the right sprinkler system. Too much, or too little can greatly impact the look of your lawn. If you aren’t sure how to gauge, get it tested, or do-it-yourself. Use a pressure gauge at the hose bib, and see how it checks out. Low pressure readings (anything under 30 psi) would work best with drip irrigation, while high pressure areas should utilize a regulator to avoid misting.

Wide Open Spaces or Small Groups?

For landscaping that covers a large area, an in-ground pop-up sprinkler system does the hard work for you. A scheduled timer can keep your plants properly watered at the times they need it most, without any additional work on your end. If you possess a few shrubs or bushes, with plenty of space in-between them, drip irrigation is a stand-out choice. It will deliver the water you need, to the places that need it most. Even better, it won’t water the areas in-between, so you can avoid weed growth, and conserve water. If you already possess an underground sprinkler system, your landscape professional can convert it to a drip irrigation system.

Budget Friendly

For anyone on a budget that doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room, look to an above-ground sprinkler system. Basic, inexpensive, and perfect for a large lawn, the above-ground sprinkler can cover a wide range. The downside? The watering is often uneven, and sometimes inefficient. However, it will still get the job done as far as ensuring your yard still thrives.

Achieving Ideal Landscaping

First, consider the area you need to cover, and decide how much you can spend on an irrigation system. Then, get in touch with the professionals at Blue Tree Landscaping.

 

From planning, to construction and design, Blue Tree Landscaping is your one-stop shop for creating, and maintaining the landscape of your dreams.

Summer Maintenance for Commercial Spaces

Summer MaintenanceLandscaping is heavily affected by all seasons—especially with Philadelphia’s seasonal fluctuations. Our cold winters are contrasted by hot summers, and your commercial landscaping plan needs to keep up with the change.

By recognizing the special needs of summer landscaping, you can prevent plant death and grass burns, and maintain a beautiful landscape and hardscape.

 Summer Maintenance Tips for Commercial Spaces

To help you put your best ‘green’ foot forward this summer, here are some of our expert tips to beat the summer heat through irrigation sprinklers, landscape design, hardscape design, and more.

 1. Heat Management

Heat is your biggest issue during summer, with temperatures reaching well over 90 degrees. While you can’t air condition the outdoors, you can protect some of the more vulnerable plants by moving planters out of direct sunlight during the hottest days.

2.Insects & Pests

Any camper knows that insects—unfortunately—thrive in the summer heat. If you don’t want to spray strong pesticides across all your growing spaces, you’ll need to visually monitor for insects. Knowing which insects are eating your plants will help give you a plan of attack—especially with natural remedies. For example, fungal diseases hate baking soda and aphids hate Ivory soap.

3. Watering

Water…or lack thereof, when it comes to landscaping, is directly related to the heat, as extremely high temperatures evaporate much-needed water from plants. Watering can be difficult during summer months—even with irrigation sprinklers—as wind carries the water, and heat evaporates it before the plants’ roots can consume it. Watering at the wrong time of day can burn your grass and plants. So, use your irrigation sprinklers to water before and after sunrise to keep your water bill lower and to give your plants time to absorb the water.

4. Mowing

Many commercial grounds managers are tempted into mowing the grass to a shorter level so it will ‘last longer.’ Don’t be seduced by this, though, as mowing the grass too short will cause it to dehydrate, burn, and otherwise fail to thrive.

5. Hardscaping
If your year-round maintenance—especially in summer—is becoming too difficult to maintain, then give some thought to using a hardscape technique. A hardscape design, through elements like retaining walls and walkways, can help you manage water flow while reducing your need for summer (and year round!) maintenance.

 

For help with your commercial landscape design and maintenance—or to discuss a hardscape concept—give us a call here at Blue Tree. Our professionals can help guide you in the right direction, while providing you with the manpower you need to get the job done.

8 Summer Garden Watering Tips to Help Your Plants Thrive

Summer Garden WateringAny seasoned gardener knows that gardening is hard: there’s a serious science behind all of it, from planting the right plants in the right places to giving them the correct amount of water. The science behind proper watering is why professional irrigation sprinkler systems have become so popular.

When it comes to watering, more isn’t necessarily better. A professional irrigation sprinkler system that targets the right areas might be a great solution to look into. But in the meantime, to help you water in the most efficient way (for your plants, your budget, and the environment) we’ve put together our 8 top watering tips:

1. Don’t Water Too Often

Healthy plants require healthy roots—and watering too often is inefficient for the root system. Allowing the roots to dry out a little before watering encourages their growth, which makes for healthier plants. So, don’t water everyday (unless it’s one of our scorching hot Philly summer days, and the earth is bone dry). Generally, watering 2-3 times a week is plenty.

2. Water Well

The above point recommends not watering everyday (especially for flower beds), but when you’re watering a few days a week, be sure to water thoroughly—although don’t create an impromptu swimming pool.

3. Time your Watering

Whether you’re standing there with a hose or have an automatic irrigation sprinkler system, time your watering correctly. Ideally, you want to water early in the morning or late in the evening. Avoiding watering midday will keep the majority of the water from evaporating, and you’ll keep your leaves from burning.

4. Avoid Watering the Leaves

Watering the leaves instead of the base/roots of the plant can keep them from burning, but it will also encourage mold and plant diseases. Plant diseases thrive in hot, moist environments—especially on the leaves themselves.

5. Don’t Water All at Once

If you have plants that require a large quantity of water, it’s better to water them in parts. So water the flowerbed, then move on to another section. Once the water has seeped into the soil you can return to water the flowerbed again.

6. Water Distribution

Be mindful of where you’re watering plants, as continually watering one side over the other will encourage lop-sided root growth. Lop-sided roots disrupt healthy nutrient absorption.

7. Use Moisture Sensors

If you want to be a high-tech, environmentally-conscious gardener, you can install water sensors that will alert you to the right density of water. Installing these on existing irrigation systems can make a big difference on your water bill (although it will take some time for them to ‘pay for themselves’).

8. Never Ever Over Water

More truly isn’t better with garden watering. Overwatering, aka ‘waterlogging,’ can deprive the roots of much-needed oxygen. Roots can drown in water.

Proper watering can enhance an already beautiful garden. If your garden and overall landscaping is lackluster, then call the pros here at Blue Tree Landscaping. Our professional landscapers in the Philadelphia area can help you plan your garden with the right plants for specific locations based on sun patterns, drainage, and a number of other critical factors.

How to Keep your Lawn Healthy During the Summer

Lawn careThe challenges faced by lawn lovers can be intense. You have to manage your love of your lawn with your desire to use water wisely during dry months…and that’s only the beginning. Luckily, lawn care is a labor of love that many of us will gladly endure and conquer.

To help your eternal ‘green’ struggle, here are a few professional tips to help you keep your grass green during the hot summer months.

 1. Water

Watering your lawn sounds like a juvenile tip, but doing it correctly can be a true art form. Beyond the basic advice of watering during the right time of day (not at the sun’s peak, when you lose significant water to evaporation), you also need to pay attention to your water volume as it relates to the type of grass you’re watering. If you want to ‘water like a pro,’ know that most lawns need about an inch of water, four or five times per week if the temperature is under 80 degrees. A rain gauge can help you determine how much to water in addition to precipitation.

After the heavy Philly rains of springtime end, strongly consider watering a little more deeply (with less frequency). This encourages the roots to grow longer.

If there’s a significant heat wave (and you’re home) a quick watering midday can help keep the lawn cool. To help you with your watering, consider implementing an irrigation system with irrigation sprinklers.

 2. New Grass

Whether you’re starting from scratch or reseeding those rebels-without-a-cause patches, it can be hard to get new grass seeding to take hold. To help your grass grow roots, use a thin layer of mulch on your new lawn. One bale of straw will cover over 1,000 square feet of lawn, so scale accordingly. This incredibly cheap solution can be left on the lawn for a few weeks, and then removed after the grass seeds germinate. If hay isn’t ‘your thing’ you can also use grass clippings from an existing lawn (although make sure the lawn clippings are reasonably dry or they will form clumps and possibly spread grass ‘diseases’).

 3. Mow Like a Pro

Many grass owners have a tendency to ‘over mow’ and cut their grass too short. Simply put—it’s a time saver. Cutting your grass too short, however, makes it more vulnerable to heat waves, and can cause it to burn. The longer the grass, the longer the roots will be—and the safer it will be. Ideally, you don’t want to cut more than a third of the grass’ height.

In addition to keeping your grass longer, pay attention to the sharpness of your lawnmower blades and the height of the mower.

 4. Know your Grass

Grasses can be as unique as people. Some are more susceptible to disease, some need more water, and some need to be left longer and not cut short. By getting to know your grass type you can care for it significantly better. For example, cool-season grasses like Kentucky Blue, Bentgrass and Fescues can go dormant if not watered properly during the hot months. Warm-season grasses like Bermuda and Zoysia become stronger in the hot months but go dormant if the temperature drops below 70 degrees. Using this information, choose new grass seed accordingly.

 5. Fungus Among Us

There is fungus among us, including in our grass. Watering earlier on in the day will help prevent the spread of fungus, as it helps prevent the wet and humid environment that fungus thrives in.

 6. Time-Release Nitrogen

Nitrogen is a critical component to lawns, and a common element in fertilizer. This fickle component, however, can turn to lawn-killing ammonia if it gets too hot. Use fertilizer sparingly, especially midday, and based on the advice of a professional.

 

If all of this sounds overwhelming, perhaps leave the grass-oriented worrying to the pros here at Blue Tree Landscaping. Not only can we help improve the look and lifespan of your lawn, but we can also help you with other landscaping elements to improve your overall outdoor experience. For lawn care, irrigation systems and irrigation sprinklers, and overall landscaping advice, call the pros at Blue Tree Landscaping.

 

 

Irrigation systems mean less work and higher payoffs!

Blue Tree LandscapingSummer is supposed to be a time of relaxation. It’s also supposed to be a time of beauty, with gardens of vibrant reds, blues, yellows and greens in full bloom. Cultivating that beautiful garden, however, can be quite the hassle. Not only is routine watering necessary, but you also have to prepare for droughts and periods of higher-than-average heat.

At Blue Tree Landscaping, we want you to have both the beauty and the relaxation. One way you can reduce your gardening workload is to invest in an automated irrigation system.

Just the right amount

“The more the merrier” does not apply when it comes to watering your plants. Too often, above ground and manual irrigation methods oversaturate your garden. Just as destructive as forgetting to water the plants, though, is is watering too often. This can deplete the plants’ nutrients as they get lost with the run-off. On the other hand, you can calibrate your irrigation system to water the right part of the plant with the right size water droplet. As opposed to the spray of a hose, irrigation systems spread smaller water droplets that can hit the roots instead of the leaves. This is key, as standing moisture on the leaves fosters diseases, while large water droplets can compact the soil and damage the roots.

Of course, watering too much also means wasting your time. With some simple planning, you can set up an automated watering routine with your irrigation system tailored to your specific watering needs.

Less water, less money, more value

Time is money, and so is water. As mentioned, a properly calibrated irrigation system cuts water usage in two ways: the frequency of the watering and the size of the water droplet. The more efficient your irrigation system, the more efficient your budget. It’s as simple as that. In addition, implementing an irrigation system also creates value for your property.

Proper installation with Blue Tree

Installing an efficient irrigation system is no small task. More goes into the design than you might think. Ensuring uniform watering requires appropriate spacing, and this can only be achieved with an accurate analysis of your lawn or garden’s needs.

Efficiency isn’t the only goal, however. Safety is a big concern when it comes to irrigation system installation, as electronic sensors and timers are critical components of any irrigation system.

Thankfully, Blue Tree has a team of experts ready to safely and efficiently install your irrigation system. Call us today to discuss your lawn’s unique needs!

Sprinkler System Options

SprinklersIf you’re tired of tangled hoses, heavy watering cans, and remembering (or forgetting!) to water by hand, it may be time to consider installing a sprinkler system. Sprinkler system options range from the classic above-ground sprinkler to the more efficient and complex drip irrigation system. At the end of the day, the goal is to maintain a healthy lawn and a lush, thriving landscape. Consider the following sprinkler system options, then talk to a landscaping expert to figure out which one is right for you.

Above-ground sprinklers

Your most basic and inexpensive option is the above-ground sprinkler, which is ideal for watering large, open expanses like lawns. Usually connected to a hose, the classic above-ground sprinkler can be purchased with a stationary or rotating head, and should be placed in a central location to cover as much ground as possible. The downside of these sprinklers is that a lot of water will be lost in the process (at times, 50-70%) and the watering is unlikely to be even. If you have flowerbeds, trees, or shrubbery that need gentle and attentive care, read on to explore more efficient watering options.

In ground pop-up sprinkler systems

A professional in ground sprinkler system will water your entire landscape on a scheduled timer. The sprinkler systems generally spray a large amount of water over a large amount of land, so they work best when the landscape requires uniform maintenance. Those interested in installing an in ground sprinkler system should work with a landscaping expert to determine an irrigation plan that’s right for your specific yard — water pressure and soil makeup must be checked, in addition to existing water, gas, and electric lines. For this type of system, trenches will need to be dug in order to place pipes 15-18” underground. Valves will be attached to control water flow, and then the appropriate sprinkler heads must be attached, in addition to wiring, a timer, and a backflow preventer. If you plan on using a traditional in ground sprinkler system, try to lay out your plants in groups — ones that need heavy watering, average watering, and little to no watering.

Drip irrigation systems

Drip irrigation systems are low-pressure systems that conserve water and deliver just the right amount to the different parts of your yard through flexible tubing connected to individual emitters. Drip systems are the most efficient watering option, as they lose the least amount of water through evaporation or overspray. Supply lines can lie directly on the ground and be covered by a thin layer of mulch, or remain exposed until the plants flourish and spread. More advanced landscapes that involve flowerbeds, vegetable rows, or shrubbery can benefit from drip irrigation systems, which are precise in the amount and method in which water is delivered. The controlled water flow also prevents weeds, as the in-between areas are not watered. If you already have an underground sprinkler system in place, you can work with a landscaping expert to convert it into a drip system. Pop-up sprinkler heads can easily be replaced with drip irrigation water emitters, which save water and water more efficiently.

 

There are various ways to maintain a healthy, green landscape. Do your research or consult a landscaping expert at Blue Tree to figure out which watering method is best for your yard.

Three End-of-Summer Landscaping Tips

Sprinkler systemsYour lawn survived the first two months of summer, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to let your guard down. The final few weeks of summer can be the hottest and driest of the year, and homeowners need to continue routine maintenance so their lawns can be ready for the non-growing season. Here are three things you can do right now to keep your lawn happy and healthy for the rest of the year.  Better yet, call us, and we’ll do it for you!

1) Mow wisely

The end of summer means fewer hours of sunshine, which translates to fewer nutrients for your lawn. Your lawn also may need the strength to survive what could be a cold and punishing winter. Mow your grass when it’s around 3 inches tall, then leave the clippings right where they are. By doing this, you can ensure that your grass doesn’t lose any valuable nutrients.

There are benefits to using a mulching lawn mower. The right amount of mulching will create clippings that are over eighty percent nitrogen, and can provide up to a quarter of an average lawn’s fertilizing needs. By allowing you to mow and fertilize at the same time, a mulching lawn mower can do wonders for your lawn!

2) Invest in an efficient sprinkler

Any landscaper knows the importance of an efficient, effective sprinkler. With a number of states currently in the middle of a drought with no foreseeable end, it’s increasingly important to make the most of your water supply. By choosing the right sprinkler for your lawn, you’ll be doing what’s best for your landscape, your budget, and the environment.

An oscillating sprinkler works best for most rectangular lawns, and their range covers average lawns between 4000 and 5000 square feet. For smaller lawns, try a stationary sprinkler that moves in a circular pattern. Owners of larger lawns should use a pulsating sprinkler, which has high pressure that can cover up to 10,000 square feet.

An irrigation system is really the best option for most homeowners.  Blue Tree can install a system  that will eliminate the need for you to worry about when, where and how much to water.  Call us at 610.222.0590 for more information.

3) Test your soil’s pH

You should routinely check the acidity levels of your soil, but the final few weeks of summer is an essential time to have it done. A neutral pH is vital for preparing your lawn for the autumn and winter months, and allows it to have the most optimal growing season when next spring rolls around.

Homeowners should use either a home testing kit or the help of a local soil acidity professional to determine their soil’s pH. The ideal soil pH at the beginning of autumn is roughly 6.5, although this number will slightly vary across regions.

Gardens and lawns are living things that need care and attention the whole year round. By taking a few simple steps this August, you can rest assured that your lawn’s next growing season will be off to a great start!