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How Much Time Should You Devote to Lawn Maintenance?

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The average American devotes roughly 70 hours to lawn and garden maintenance each year. However, this average includes apartment dwellers and others that don’t have a lawn, so in reality most lawn owners spend far more than 70 hours per year on their landscaping. This time commitment, though, is not necessary to maintain a healthy and beautiful lawn and garden. Find out how you can have the lawn you want without detracting from personal pleasures.

Do a Little Bit Every Day

Instead of taking care of all of your lawn maintenance on the weekends, devote half an hour to an hour each day to lawn maintenance. Do a little work at a time instead of a lot of work at once. That way, exhaustion is less likely to occur, and motivation lasts longer, too. Creating a regular routine can optimize your efficiency even more by giving you a plan.

Use Your Calendar

Spacing out your lawn maintenance is the only way proper time management can help save you time on lawn maintenance. Certain tasks are most effective if performed at specific times throughout the year. For example, spring and fall are the best time to fertilize and aerate your lawn to foster growth. In the summer, take steps to eliminate and prevent pests, and take care to spend extra time on watering. In the winter your lawn is dormant, so you can take a step back from lawn maintenance and relax.

Use the Correct Strategies

A soil test conducted by a professional service can help you determine the needs of your lawn. This helps you to prioritize the tasks the make the most difference in the health and appearance of your lawn, and prevents you from wasting time on chores that your lawn doesn’t need. Soil tests are cost effective, and improve lawncare efficiency.

Be Low Maintenance

Choose features and vegetation that requires minimal upkeep. Turfgrass is a versatile and resilient grass that thrives in most environments. Because it’s so resilient, this grass requires mowing more often than other types of grasses. However, in exchange you get a lawn that looks great but requires less weeding and watering.

Hire a Professional

Alternatively, you can devote little to none of your own time on lawn maintenance by hiring a professional lawn care service provider like Lawnscape Systems. Professional lawn care systems save you time on lawn maintenance by taking care of your lawn for you, and by offering treatments that make your lawn easier to take care of.

Lawnscape Systems, Inc.

Lawnscape Systems, Inc. started in Los Angeles in the spring of 1979, and now services much of southern California, including Ventura County, Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, Orange County, Riverside County, and San Diego County. We prioritize environmental responsibility and your family’s safety, so we use only EPA-certified products. We strive to provide all of our customers with the best possible customer and lawncare service.

At Lawnscape, we offer two lawn care programs, our comprehensive Supreme program and our basic but thorough Weed and Feed program. Each program is customized based on location and lawncare needs. You can also choose from a host of additional services. If you don’t have the ability or inclination to spend time on lawn maintenance, contact Lawnscape Systems to get your lawn taken care of by one of California’s best.

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Weed Removal: A Novice’s Guide

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Weeds create huge problems in lawns and gardens. They ruin the appearance of carefully planned and styled lawns, but they can also crowd out desired plants. Weed removal may seem basic, but if you’ve encountered weeds in your lawn or garden, you know that dealing with weeds is far more difficult than it may initially seem. Weeds by their very nature are able to thrive in all kinds of conditions; so when dealing with them, homeowners need to be thorough and proactive.

Make Sure the Timing is Right for Weed Removal

Homeowners should weed at least once a week. Many homeowners prefer to roam their garden and lawn every other day, pulling any weeds they see as they go, in order to minimize the need for a long weeding session on the weekend. Weeding often prevents weeds from maturing before they are dealt with.

Mature weeds are more difficult to eliminate and are able to spread seeds, worsening your weed problem. If you notice a mature weed but can’t or don’t have the time to deal with it, at least clip the weed down and make sure all flowers are removed to prevent spreading.

Weed When it’s Wet

Weeding is most effective when the soil is moist and it’s easier to remove the complete root system of the weeds. You can wet the soil with sprinklers or a hose. California is in the midst of a drought, however, so many homeowners are unable or unwilling to wet their lawns. Fortunately, there are some ecological alternatives.

Weeding after rain can create similar conditions to wetting the soil. Weeding in the morning while the ground is still dewy is not as effective as weeding after rain or wetting the soil, but it is more effective than weeding while the soil is dry.

Be Careful with Herbicide

Herbicide can be helpful in dealing with weeds, but it can also be tricky. Use a spray collar to help keep the herbicide’s spray limited to its target. You can easily make a spray collar by removing the top and bottom of a metal can. You can also use cardboard pieces to shield plants from spray drift. Never spray herbicide on a windy day. Be sure to identify your weed type or types before purchasing a weed killer, but vinegar can work as an all purpose herbicide in a pinch.

Pull Correctly

If you don’t remove the entire root system when pulling weeds, the weeds will only grow back, so it’s important to pull weeds correctly. To remove the entire weed, grip the plant gently but firmly close to the ground, and then gently pull straight up. The roots may still break off into the ground, but the chances are far lower if you use this method; and this will become less common as you pull more weeds and get a feeling of how much force is necessary when pulling.

Hire a Professional

Even with these weed removal tips, some people may still have stubborn weeds lingering. Others don’t have the time or inclination to deal with weeds. For these people, hiring a professional may be the best option. A professional lawn care service provider can deal with even the most stubborn weeds and other lawn issues with little to no time commitment on the homeowner’s part.

Lawnscape Systems is a Los Angeles based lawn care service that has been in the area since spring of 1979. We now service six southern California counties: Ventura County, Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, Orange County, Riverside County, and San Diego County.  We strive to provide you with the best possible customer service in addition to the best possible lawn care, and we only use EPA certified products in order to keep your family and the environment safe.

We offer two lawn care programs which are further customized to your location and lawn’s issues. If you struggle with weeds or other lawn issues or simply don’t have the time to take out of your busy schedule to deal with lawn maintenance, contact Lawnscape Systems today to get started.

How to Keep Wild Rabbits Out of Your Lawn

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When we think of rabbits, we normally associate them as a cute household pet. However, don’t be fooled by their appearance. Rabbits in the wild are much more disastrous. Like any pests, wild rabbits will gather where they believe there’s an easily accessible food source. Because they’re herbivores, it usually means your plants. Rabbits have a voracious appetite, and can severely damage or kill trees and shrubs by gnawing at the bark. In addition, they dig up holes across your lawn.

What to Look For

Rabbits are not nocturnal animals, so being able to spot one roaming around is fairly common. If your plants are missing stems, or if your lawn has angular cuts, that likely means a rabbit has had lunch. Look for fecal pellets, about ¼ inch thick, rabbit footprints, or small burrows on your lawn.

Like with any unfamiliar animal, you should be cautious. Although not common, wild rabbits may carry rabies. The most apparent symptoms include:

  • Lethargic or aggressive behavior
  • Loss of jaw mobility, or slack jawed
  • Excessive salivation
  • Blindness

If you believe the rabbits have rabies, consult animal control officials in your area.

Where to Start

Wild rabbits will hide in places where there is a lot of vegetation, so it’s important to keep your lawn healthy. Cut grass short, and clear out mulch and leaf litter where possible. Shrubs and bushes may have low hanging bottom branches that are especially attractive to rabbits. Try to trim these down as much as you can.

If you find rabbit burrows on your property, fill them up as soon as possible. Always take a look at your lawn to ensure that no new burrows have appeared, and to see if these measures are working.

Sometimes, wild rabbits will find themselves in areas with more substantial cover, such as decks and sheds nearby. If you don’t want them getting in there, you can seal up holes with mesh, wood, or chicken wire. Always check back to make sure these repairs are intact.

Rabbits are also attracted to areas where there is a lot of water. Never water your turf to excess. It’s recommended that you water your lawn deeply for 20 minutes in the early morning. This way, it stays dry for the rest of the day, and it helps with your plants’ health.

If there is a creek, fountain, or a stream on the property, it may be wise to build a fence around it. Fences can be made out of mesh or chicken wire, but they must stand 3 feet high, and six inches under the ground so the rabbits can’t burrow underneath. Be sure to maintain fencing: if it’s damaged, rabbits are able to regain entry.

Protecting Your Existing Plants

There may be some specific areas on your lawn that rabbits are repeatedly getting into. In that case, it may be better to build a fence, just like for watery areas. Just make sure that the mesh has holes that are 1 inch or less. Fencing, chicken wire, and mesh all come in several designs and colors, so it will be easy to find something that matches your lawn’s personality and complements the decor.

If you happen to have trees on your turf, you should consider using hardware cloth. Hardware cloth is a wire screen that comes in rolls that rabbits can’t gnaw through. The material is available at most hardware stores.

Also available are automatic, motion-activated sprinkler systems. These spray water every time something moves into range, and they make a sound that drives rabbits away. These are environmentally friendly, humane, and as easy to set up as your typical sprinkler system. Just be aware of the path of water, as you don’t want to overwater your turf.

Natural Deterrents

There aren’t a lot of plants that rabbits won’t eat, but there are certainly some they don’t prefer. Ground cover such as big periwinkle and bougainvillea can work great. Trees like birch and alder are undesirable to rabbits, and shrubs like rhododendrons and camellias can be really effective when paired with perennial and annual plants.

These plants include:

  • Goatweed (annual)
  • Impatiens (annual)
  • Verbena (annual)
  • Echinacea (perennial)
  • Honeysuckle (perennial)
  • Mexican marigolds (perennial)

Just remember to keep them healthy!

For your existing plants and turf, try using blood or bone meal fertilizer. Rabbits are naturally herbivores, so this should drive them away. For an extra deterrent, you can mix a few household items into the fertilizer like:

  • Cayenne pepper
  • Human and pet hair
  • Kitty litter
  • Coffee grounds
  • Manure

Dried sulfur, fish, onions, and garlic are also said to work effectively; however not all repellents will work on all wild rabbits. Predators, like cats and dogs, will scare rabbits away effectively. If you don’t have a pet roaming around your turf, you can always purchase a decoy.

On the Market

Electronic repellents are portable machines that use vibrations, movement, water, or sound to humanely drive not only rabbits away, but any other unsightly pest.

You can purchase catch and release traps from most stores. These can be baited with apples, Brussels sprouts, carrots, or lettuce. Always wear protective gloves when handling the traps. Monitor them often and release rabbits as quickly as possible, at least a mile away to ensure they won’t come back. Talk to your local animal control or parks and recreation department for more information about release laws in your area.

As well, odors like potassium salts, naphthalene or ammonium are effective, but not safe around pets. You should always read and follow the label to make sure that they’re okay for use on your turf.

Now you’re ready to live out your happy, rabbit-free days! If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about wild rabbits, don’t hesitate to contact our dedicated team!

How to Tell if You Have a Healthy or Unhealthy Lawn

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Most lawn owners are happy if their lawn is green and cut, but sometimes looks may be deceiving. One day your lawn is pristine and lush and the next week it’s splotched with brown patches of unsightly dead grass. Being able to check your lawn for oncoming issues is one of the best ways to keep your lawn healthy year round. Here are some things to look for when assessing if you have a healthy or unhealthy lawn.

Color

While this is the most obvious indicator of health, it is still something that needs to be watched for. Color changes throughout the seasons, so if your grass is a little lackluster in the winter that could be totally normal for the species. Some variation in color is inevitable because it’s impossible to perfectly plant a lawn to be completely even. Plus variances in water, shade, and other micro-factors can amount to variations in the green of your lawn. A healthy lawn might be green, but it’s not the only factor.

Thickness

A more subtle indicator than color, thickness can be a great indicator of how well your lawn is doing. Just like color, thickness does vary through the seasons and won’t be perfectly consistent because of the nature of grass. To tell if your grass is thinning, take a closer look at it, if you can see through to the dirt then that may be a sign of an unhealthy lawn, even if it is green.

Thatch

Thatch is another informative aspect of your lawn. A healthy lawn will have just the right amount of thatch, which is the layer of decaying material between the grass and dirt, not too little and not too much. Thatch is naturally created as you mow and the grass grows new leaves and sheds old ones. To tell if your thatch is the right density you should watch when you water.

When watering, if the liquid sits on the thatch and isn’t draining into the dirt then you’re thatch is probably too thick. Thick thatch can be caused by overwatering and other incorrect maintenance practices, as well as diseases and pests. When your thatch is too thick, it prevents not only water from reaching the roots, but also the air it needs to grow, eventually killing your grass. Aeration is one effective way to deal with this problem.

Texture

A non-visual way of determining the health of your lawn is the way it feels. Healthy lawns will retain their shape after being stepped on, won’t break or crack, and feel flexible. Unhealthy lawns will have rigid blades that will break apart when stepped on or handled and will retain footprints after being walked on. Feel your grass with your hand to see how it responds; any change towards brittleness can indicate a need for more water, and if you are watering regularly it may be a sign of an infection or infestation.

Fungus

Notice a ring of dead grass on your lawn? Or maybe mushrooms sprouting up from time to time? These can be signs that your lawn has an invasive species of fungus growing beneath. Mushrooms and stalks are only the reproductive parts of the fungus, with the main “body” of the organism being invisible to the naked eye; so if you’re seeing the fungus it’s already taken hold. Fungus species that are undesirable are often a result of overwatering or weak grass that is being outcompeted.

Insects and Worms

When your lawn is sporadically becoming patched with no discernible pattern, then you may have an invasive species of insect or worm. Typically, these organisms thrive in lawns with thatch layers that are too dense. Once they’ve taken root, it’s hard to remove these pests without professional help, so it’s best to practice proper maintenance to avoid these problems in the first place.

Keeping your Lawn Healthy

The only way to ensure your lawn’s health is to maintain it with expert precision. Aeration, fertilization, and watering should be closely monitored to ensure your lawn is getting enough, but not too much of what it needs. Consult Lawnscape to ensure that your lawn is the healthiest it can be. Contact Lawnscape today!

Choosing the Perfect Lawn Ornaments for Your LA Home

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Lawn ornaments come in all kinds of styles and at different price points. From the traditional pink flamingo to unique and elaborate sculptures, ornamentation for every style and budget is out there. This article will help you find the perfect lawn ornament for your yard.

Choosing Your Lawn Ornament

When choosing the perfect lawn ornament for your garden, it is important to consider how the ornaments will draw attention to, and enhance, your lawn.

It is important not to remember to use too many lawn ornaments. Too many ornaments can overwhelm viewers, and can detract from your lawn; making it look messy and cluttered, rather than stylishly landscaped.

When choosing the ideal ornaments for your lawn, think about the style and design of your property. It doesn’t make sense to place kitschy lawn ornaments in your lawn when your style is classic or old-fashioned. Similarly, if you’re going for a fun and funky look, stone statues are probably not what you’re looking for.

Types of Lawn Ornaments

Almost anything can be a lawn ornament – from traditional garden gnomes and plastic pink flamingos; to statues, birdbaths, or homemade knicknacks. What you choose to place on your lawn largely depends on the look you want to create and the space you have.

If you’re looking to create an old-fashioned or classic look, consider stone birdbaths or fountains, especially if you have a large yard you want to draw attention to.

If you’ve got a limited budget, or you want something unique that nobody else has, consider making your own lawn and garden ornaments. Instead of buying Tiki torches to set up along your yard or patio, consider making your own, out of old wine bottles. 

Want a fountain or water feature in your yard, but don’t like any of the commercially available stone or concrete fountains? Make your own out of some steel pipes and an old teapot.  Or, create a lighthouse for your lawn out of oversized clay pots and a candle lantern.

Placement

Once you’ve decided on your perfect lawn ornaments, the next thing you need to do is decide where to put them.  Do you want your lawn ornaments to draw attention to your home from the street? Or do you want your ornament to be something that only guests and family members can see?

It is also important to consider the size of your lawn and the size of the lawn ornament. Large statues or birdbaths may look out of place and overwhelm a small yard, while small ornaments might not even be seen in a large yard.

The Perfect Lawn is More than Just Ornaments

While choosing the right ornaments for your yard is important, routine maintenance is just as important when it comes to making your lawn stand out and, more important, staying healthy. Lawnscape offers aeration, weed control, and a wide range of other lawncare services. Contact the experts at Lawnscape today to find out more.