Many of clients desire the healthiest and best looking lawn in the Upstate; and we want to help you achieve your goals and dreams. We often get asked in spring "Why the neighbors lawn in greening up faster than their lawn?" Here a few different lawn care techniques that are used to help you have the greenest yard on the block.
The term scalping is used by contractors to describe the technique of mowing your warm season grasses like bermuda and zoysia. Scalping should be done in early spring to remove dormant grass and promote new spring growth. This could bring your lawn height to 1/2 inch tall at the beginning of the spring season. If you were to try and scalp your lawn during the summer months while your grass is already fully green it could be very harmful to your lawn. The first reason that this is done is when the dormant grass is removed from your lawn it allows a jump start for the new grass to come up uninhibited. The second reason this is good for your lawn is that it allows the sunlight to reach the soil and warm up the soil temperature so the grass will start to grow and turn green quickly. The last reason this is done is to help thwarts diseases. When your lawn is scalped each year it helps eliminate layers of thatch that hold in moisture. If thatch is not removed it can provide the perfect place for diseases to develop in your lawn. Whenever this is done all grass clipping should be bagged and not left on the lawn, as it will build up thatch which could allow diseases to develop in your lawn. It is also best to have very sharp blades on your mower. when scalping your lawn. Mowing lawns at this height with dull blades could pull some grass by the roots causing the grass to thin.
The term burning is just as it sounds. Years ago home owners and some contractors would burn warm season grasses in order to get rid of the dormant grass. This was thought to release "fertilizer" back into the soil after the lawn was burnt. This is now known not to be true. This technique is not often used in today's time for a few reasons. The first reason is that it is dangerous and there is a risk that the fire could get out of control causing damage to near by structures. The second reason is it can be costly and hard to do because some cities require a burn permit and local fire departments to be notified. Instead of burning, scalping would end in the same result and is a much safety way of removing the dormant grass.
After your lawn is scalped and before the new growth starts is the perfect time to top dress your lawn. The term top dressing refers to putting down a sand and dirt mixture over your entire lawn. This will help level the low spots in your lawn providing a better more even cut each time your lawn is mowed. Have you ever mowed your lawn and a mower tire dipped into a low spot and dropped the blades down to put a big scalp spot in your lawn? Top dressing will help to eliminated these problems. This process can also be done in the summer months and can be accompanied by aerating before the mixture is put down. When the aerating is also done the plugs being pulled out will allowed the dirt mixture to get into the ground and loosen up the soil for the roots to spread and thrive. The aerating should not be done if you do this in the early spring because the grass is starting a transition period and coming out of dormancy. This is not the time to be putting small holes in the root system of your lawn. Once your lawn is completely green it is then safe to aerate.
As always drop a comment below and let us know what you think. We would be happy to answer any of your questions.
March is the time to start planning to plant for annual spring flowers for your home or business. Here in the upstate mid March to mid April is often ideal for planting spring flowers. Spring flowers can add amazing color to make your place beautiful. Adding that perfect color can provide just what you need to help make your yard look the best on the block. If you don't know what to plant check out a few suggestions we have below that are perfect for our area to plant in spring. If you would like us to plant spring flowers at your house or business let us know today, so we can start planning. Full warning, this post is rather long with many different options. Call us today if you want to set up a personal consultation about what annual flowers would be best for your property.
Color: Lavender blue or periwinkle
Size: 6 to 18 inches high and 1 to 2 feet wide
Sunlight: Will grow in full sun, but prefer some shade; will grow in deep shade.
Safety: Toxic to dogs and cats. Signs are loss of coordination, seizures, diarrhea, vomiting, and depression.
(noticed the vinca in the front and salvia in the back)
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This time of year Bradford pears are in full bloom. Do you love the beautiful white flowers? If you knew what Bradford pears really were, you would try to take up every Bradford pear in Greenville. Durant Ashmore, an expert in tree and shrubs, said it best "If you're looking to plant something beautiful, don't let it be a Bradford pear. In fact nurseries will not even sell Bradford pears anymore, if they are LEAVE RIGHT AWAY. Any tree nursery would not ever sell a Bradford pear if they knew anything about trees and shrubs. Why is this you ask? Let me explain a little about Bradford pears and why if you have them you want to have them removed from your property.
Bradford pears are extremely harmful to our local environment, and it is happening right before you. If you were in Greenville 20 years ago you didn't see that many Bradford pears. Now you will see them in any open field, on the side of the road, in yards, and any open land that is not mowed. You can see Bradford pear forest around here, and those white blooms will be destroying our environment for decades to come. Many experts say that Bradford pears are worse than kudzu.
Bradford pears were first introduced in the United States in 1964. When the tree was introduced into the United States they were thought to be sterile. Many landscapers and builders starting to plant these beautiful white blooming trees at homes and businesses. Little did anyone know they were planting a disaster. First Bradford pears are very weak and often will bust apart within 20 years; this is the good news. The bad news, Bradford pears are not sterile. While bradford pears will not reproduce with themselves, they will cross pollinate with other trees. The first big problem with bradford pears not being sterile is that we often times see a lack of natural trees to our area like maples, pines, and oaks thriving. The second problem is when the trees cross pollinate we often see large thorny Bradford pears growing that choke the life out of pines, dogwoods, maples, oaks, and many others. This would be those trees that you pass in a once open field that is now covered with dangerous Bradford pears that are weak and thorny. While the trees are weak, the thorns are strong and can not be taken out easily. It takes a steel tracked dozers to remove these trees and can cost several thousand dollars to get rid of and to repair the damage these trees cause to the land. Just to be clear the problem starts in your yard, with that one Bradford pear that you have. Your one tree can spawn hundreds of environmentally dangerous trees a year. If you truly want to make a difference, CUT DOWN ALL YOUR BRADFORD PEARS TODAY. I am not joking or saying this lightly, I could not yell this or say this any louder; "ALL BRADFORD PEARS MUST GO!"
Save the environment and get rid of Bradford pears. A few good options to plant in the place of the Bradford pear are Natchez Crepe Myrtles, Maples, Oaks, Japanese Magnolias, Cherry Trees, Flowering Apricots, Serviceberry, Witch Hazel, Redbud, Carolina Silverbell, sourwood, and Japanese Maple are all great options. We have linked an article below written by Durant Ashmore that goes into detail and gives more options than what we listed here.
Call, email, or drop a comment below today and we will get you a price on getting rid of those horrible trees in your yard and get you another tree to plant in its place. 864.275.2039 or email us at email@example.com.
Do you ever wonder what licensed, bonded, and insured means? We get questions about that every year. Anyone can say they are licensed, bonded, and insured, but are they really? Lets dig deep so you know what RED FLAGS to look for and what to ask a contractor when hiring? Spoiler Alert, this is a long post with a lot of good information.
You can hold a license for a specific field of work by the state, county, or city. This varies depending on where you live. For a state license in South Carolina you can check to see if someone has the proper license by going to the South Carolina LLR site. This site is super important if you were renovating a house, hiring an accountant, going to the dentist, as well as many other occupations that have to be licensed to do work in South Carolina. Unfortunately lawn care, landscaping, and outdoor living projects for the most part do not require any kind of license. A license is required for forestry and only applies if you are logging wood, it does not apply to your standard tree service company. The other license required for outdoor work is landscape architects. Everything else is not covered in any state license. So why are tree companies and lawn care companies saying they are licensed to work? Some are lying and some are using loose wording to say they hold a license to do work in a city. For example, ALL Outdoors holds a license in the City of Greer to do work. This means nothing for you as the client. I did not get training, they didn't check out my company, I didn't take any test from Greer City to show I am qualified to do the work I am doing. This means I pay a percentage of my gross sales to do work in the city. Nothing too it, all about the money. Many other cities require this too, but it is nothing to you the homeowner. So if you are looking to hire someone to mow your lawn, take out trees, or build a retaining wall or patio they don't need a license; although there are other things you need to check.
On a side note if someone in this line of work said they are licensed, bonded, and insured, I would say RED FLAG. If they are lying or using loose wording here, I will be willing to bet they will lie about other things.
Big RED FLAGS should go up right away if any lawn care, landscaping, tree services, or outdoor living business says they are bonded. First there are many different kinds of bonds that apply to different businesses. We are not going into detail about that, but a typical bond normally covers large projects up to a million dollars. For example in the home renovation business you pay a contractor 50,000 to redo your kitchen. In simple terms this bond will insure that your kitchen gets done even if the contractor skips town or can't finish the project for some reason. You don't need a bond in lawn care, if your lawn care contractor stops coming, you just hire someone else. This is the same for tree and landscaping companies, they don't come you just hire someone else. One thing I should note here is to NEVER PAY for any service upfront that does not require material. For example don't pay for lawn care service for the entire season upfront. This is a RED FLAG that they don't know how to manage money. Most lawn care companies that offer discounts for upfront payment for the entire season go out of business. I have seen this happen time and time again. Don't pay for tree work before it is performed or finished. If material, such as mulch, pavers, retaining wall block, etc, is required most contractors will ask for 50% deposit upfront. This is a standard practice and you should pay; but make sure to check prior work and get at least 4 references before paying the deposit fee for material. Some outdoor living companies are bonded, but it is not standard practice. For me the bond is not important for building your outdoor dream, references are more important. I always tell clients what you don't see is more important that what you see. A contractor can be bonded and finish your project and your paver patio can start falling apart in a year. The bond will not cover this, as the project is over and was completed. This is caused by a improper base being installed under your patio, this is where references come in. Ask for older references and newer references so you can see how there work stands up to time.
This is the most important of the three. Insurance is required, and every lawn care, landscaping, and outdoor living company should have THREE kinds of insurance.
The first kind of insurance a company should have is general liability insurance. This insurance can be very costly for a company, but very important. General Liability will help to protect you the homeowner from a lawsuit if someone gets hurt. A few years ago I took a training class on safety and a great example was told on why you must have general liability and safety within your company. Somehow a screw driver was left in the grass on a property. The lawn care company came and mowed and did not see the screw driver in the grass. The mower hit the screw driver, it shot in the air and went through a car driving by, hitting the person driving, and killed them. The property owner was responsible because the lawn care company did not have general liability. Another story I heard from a neighbor was about hiring a painter. The painter fell and broke his arm. The painter had no general liability policy, and while the painter did not sue the homeowner, the hospital did. The homeowner lost and had to pay the painters medical bills. Another question I often hear is "Is it ok to let the kid down the street mow by lawn?" I would say no, unless that kid has general liability insurance. I have heard of lawsuits involving the kid down the street who got hurt or hurt someone else. Accidents happen, general liability protects the kid down the street from suing you. If the kid down the street wants to run a business, make sure they are running a legit business. I network with a kid who is now 16; he started his business when he was 14. He now has 4 employees, 2 trucks, and runs a great lawn care company. He is the kid down the street with general liability insurance and the one I would hire. General Liability is very important and all companies should have it. Ask all contractors you that do work on your property to provide you with a current copy of the policy. You can also ask that the insurance company to send you a direct copy of the policy.
The second type of insurance all contractors should have is workers comp. This insurance will protect you as the homeowner if one of the contractor's employees gets hurt on your property. Example, a tree company is cutting a tree down in your yard. An employee is not careful and gets cut by the chainsaw. If the companies does not have workers comp you as the homeowner are responsible for the employees medical bills. Your contractor should be able to have to provide you with a current copy of the worker comps policy and get the insurance company to send you a copy. Make sure any contractor you hire has a workers comp policy.
The third type of insurance all companies should have is automobile insurance. This policy normally doesn't effect homeowners, but it could. If your contractor pulls up at your house and accidentally hits your car, you, your house, you could be in a lawsuit because they have no automobile insurance. This is another insurance that you can ask for, but I wouldn't worry about it too much. If they provide you with general liability and workers comp policies, I would be willing to bet they have automobile insurance.
In conclusion the real questions you need to ask are...
Fire pits are often dreamed about, but many people think that can't afford their dream fire pit and patio. Here are 10 reason to get a fire pit installed today by ALL Outdoors.
It is time to use your outdoor space like you have always dreamed of. ALL Outdoors can build you the perfect paver patio, fire pit, kitchen, and more. Contact us now. We are currently booked until the beginning of March. Now is the perfect time to start planning so have a dreamy outdoor space to enjoy in the spring.
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How to trim Crepe Myrtles
February is the perfect time to trim your crepe myrtles, but is it being done correctly? Often times we go to speak with new clients and discover that the previous landscaper trimmed the crepe myrtles incorrectly. Why would a professional do that? While some don't know the proper way to trim, most do it because it is more money in their pocket. I once heard a landscaper say that they knew they were trimming the crepe myrtles wrong, but knew that causing harm to the tree would result in more work which meant more money.
What is the first problem with crepe myrtles?
A crepe myrtle is a tree, not a bush. Do you trim your oaks or maples off at the trunk every year? No, so why would you do it to a crepe myrtle. With that being said there are dwarf crepe myrtle bushes that will stay between 3 to 5 feet. They are beautiful and would be perfect if your looking for a smaller crepe myrtle. If you say your crepe myrtle gets to big, the wrong kind of crepe myrtle was planted. There are many kinds of crepe myrtles. A few of the most popular crepe myrtle are Natchez, Miami, Sioux, Dynamite, Muskogee, and Watermelon Red. These crepe myrtles will grow at least 25-30 feet tall and need to be planted out in your yard. You don't want these crepe myrtles next to a door or window. If you would like a few next to your house it would be better to have a lower growing kind. They have some that only get as tall as 3 feet while other kinds can be 10-15 ft. Finding the right kind of crepe myrtle is essential so you don't commit "crepe murder."
What is crepe murder?
Crepe murder is done every year and is a pet peeve of our company. We hate seeing crepe murder happen in our area. Crepe murder is the improper trimming of crepe myrtles. You often see people take a chain saw and trim the trunk of the tree. This creates ugly knuckles that will result it sucker limbs developing. While crepe murder is irreversible, you can normally save a crepe myrtle and return the tree to beauty. This often takes 3 to 5 years to correct one trimming that was done incorrectly. Although if a crepe myrtle is murdered year after year we have had to remove dead or dying crepe myrtles and completely replace them.
When should you trim crepe myrtles?
Late January to the end of February is the perfect time to trim crepe myrtles. All the blooms are gone and no new blooms are starting so you can easily see all the branches on the tree. If you trim while the tree is blooming it can be hard to see the branches and makes it difficult to see what branches you should be trimming. It will also hurt the tree causing less blooms that year. If you prune your crepe myrtle now it will also promote new growth and promote more blooms in the spring.
How should you trim a crepe myrtle?
If your landscaper is planning on using a chain saw or electric hedge trimmers stop them right now. Those tools should never be used on a crepe myrtle. Start with a good pair of loppers and hand pruners. Any branches 4 feet or below on the main tree trunk should be trimmed off. Any sucker limps coming out of the base of the crepe myrtle should be trimmed off. Within the branches trim any branches that are growing down, inwards, crossing, and dead. If your crepe myrtle still needs to be trimmed you can trim a few of the bigger branches back, but do not trim any branch bigger than your pinkie.
We would be happy to help you trim your crepe myrtles today. Simply call the office at 864.275.2039 or fill out the form below and we would be happy to schedule a crepe myrtle trimming for you today.
Why is it important to install mulch and pine needles?
Types of Mulch & Pine Needles:
It is not too late to have mulch and pine needles installed at your home or business. In fact it is the perfect time to have us install mulch or pine needles. We would be happy to get you a price today.
See the beginning of a retaining wall that we are starting. The first contractor that the home owner hired tried to install the wall twice only to have it fall twice. We are now in the process of properly installing the wall. Get tips on hiring a professional to install a wall by watching the video here.
UPDATE OF FINISHED PROJECT COMING 02/12/18
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