Pleasant Landscapes Newsletter - September 2010
Fall Recommendations for the Home and Landscape
With the grandchildren starting school, we should all anticipate the quiet subtle breezes of the upcoming season!
During this month, as we survey our lawns we take care of, we really have seen an outbreak of army worms and chinch bugs. The army worms in particular have been quite ferocious, we have had calls from people who aren't customers and have had these worms eat the grass down to the bare soil in a matter of days. We have seen this infestation associated with Bermuda grass the most, although it does affect all varieties. The other turf insect that we are seeing a lot of action with is the chinch bug, this bug is almost unnoticeable from the eye, but a common pattern is drying of the grass particularly along the concrete or pavement areas first. Grass also will have the appearance of not having enough water but in fact the cinch is sucking out all the water and causing the death. We apply a crosscheck as our insecticide of choice for both of these bugs.
With the frequent rains we've been having lately, people notice the poor drainage in their yard much more than previous years. Poor drainage can be a remedy of French drain, sump pump, or drainage swale to channel the run off water to a more desirable location.
French drain: usually a 4 inch corrugated pipe with holes and gravel packed along the exterior that allows water to be absorbed through the piping system. The pipe is then connected to a ditch, pond, curb or other outlined area specified for low-lying water. This is considered a gravity drain and therefore will work in almost any condition. As it needs no power or electricity to work the drawback is the amount water is limited to the pipe size and the absorption rate that the gravel packing allows. Due to the limited capacity of this type of system, water can often puddle for several hours while it alleviated the standing water.
Sump pump: is basin with an electric pump installed in it, which is necessary when there is no convenient low lying area for water to be drained to or a gravity drain. Often a series of French drains are routed to a pumping station or sump pump, waters then pumped uphill to a roadway or convenient located to dispose the water. The drawback of this type of system is that it doesn't work when there's no electricity- therefore in the coastal Carolinas, when we have a hurricane, (the time w the most rain) the system does not work until power has been restored.
Drainage swale: is removing dirt or soil to allow standing water to run off to a convenient water location. Benefits- often this system takes unlimited amount of water. Unlike the above 2 systems, the swale is basically like a ditch, although we try to conceal with clever grading and can remove large volumes of water through ever condition. The drawback to this system is that it is often invasive to your existing lawn n turf because it often takes regarding of the entire lot and can sometimes is costly. This is the most effective of the drainage systems and can handle the highest volumes of water.
The worst drainage problem to have is when the level underneath your house is lower than the exterior dirt level, causing flooding under your home. This comes with hazards such as mold, mildew or the buckling of floors. If you house has a hint smell or the mold or mildew, rotting wood, or the buckling of the wooden floors, you can almost be sure that you have water intrusion somewhere in your home and should certainly be checked out especially because they cause health risks for people of all ages.
Another thing to consider is landscape lighting as the time changes. The landscape lighting is a great way to give some vibrant life to your yard after the sun goes down. Usually landscape lighting consists of 12 low wattage fixtures placed throughout your yard that will often highlight areas of interest. As the nights begin getting darker, a quick survey can help you identify the areas of your home and landscaping that may need lighting. We usually have 3 main goals when doing a landscape outdoor lighting system: beauty, safety and security. For the beauty section, we will often highlight unique plants and architectural features of the home that are not visible. For Security, we would highlight areas than intruders may want to be lurking. Often when our company does a landscape lighting project, we often a landscape project demo, since we stock most of the lights available we would quickly set up a lighting system to let the customer enjoy it for a few days at no charge and fine tune or make any changes or additions they may feel necessary.