Sunday, November 18, 2012

Don't Forget To Rake

 Need help cleaning that lawn before the snow hits? Forgetting to rake could be costly and damaging to your lawn. Call us for a free estimate! 775-626-7510

While the leaves this season have looked really great up in the trees, once they've fallen down to the ground they could actually cause you some problems if they stay there too long.
If the leaves are left on the grass when the snow comes, the moisture from the snow will become trapped, leading to mold which, if left through the winter, can ruin your lawn.

 The grass will be flat and you're going to see brown spots. You're going to see what they call "snow mold" areas and that's very difficult to bring back once you have it begin.

To prevent these issues, give your grass a good final raking once the leaves have stopped falling and cut your grass low on your last mowing before winter.

A little snow on the leaves won’t kill your lawn, but if you let it sit for a while, costly problems could develop for you.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Snow + Ice Removal

Snow + Ice Removal:

Exceptional Lawn is more than a Lawn and Landscape company we also assist in the sometimes harsh winters our customers experience in the Sierra Nevada's. Exceptional Lawn offers professional ice control and snow removal services for both residential and commercial customers throughout the Reno Sparks area. Ice and snow can cause potentially dangerous conditions, which can become a substantial liability for any private or commercial property owner including office buildings, retail centers, hospitals, industrial properties, and commercial parking lots. Exceptional Lawn offers professional snow removal services to reduce and eliminate hazardous walking and driving conditions.
Some of our winter snow and ice removal services include:
Snow Plowing / Snow Blowing
Shoveling / Sidewalk Clearing
De-icing / Ice Control
Snow Removal / Hauling
Ice Melt / Salt / Sand Treatments
Snow and Ice Management
At Exceptional Lawn we far exceed the competition by properly and professionally completing every task.

We will remove your yard debris and junk from any area necessary conveniently and affordably.
We do all the work so you can kick back and relax knowing your lawn is in safe hands.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Feeding the birds

We love birds! This is the perfect time of year to remember to keep your feeders and the birds full this month as the landscape transitions from summer to fall. While summer has nearly ended, keep your hummingbird feeders full. They may attract migrating hummingbirds.Plant Berries, Keep the birds in mind when selecting your fall plants. Plant berry bushes like hollies, paracantha, mahonia, and blueberries to keep the birds happy. Call Exceptional Lawn for more advice on the perfect bushes to plant in your yard or garden.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

How To Mow Your Lawn Properly

Although it might look like an easy and simple job, cutting grass is not all that simple. As anyone good at the work will tell you the job requires not expertise, but certain skills that a person should posses. This makes the job of cutting grass easier and done in proper order. Usually before one starts cutting grass he/she needs to first put on proper clothing. Most individual are not aware what grass or flying dirt can do to normal clothes. Hence, a person cutting grass should wear proper clothes. The clothes need not be special clothes but rather the simple protection, like goggles to avoid flying blades of grass or stones.

Checking the level of gas in the land mower, one should make sure that the gas is enough so it does not stop half-way. It is important that the land mower is full, if it is to ever run out of gas would leave one stranded and not let the individual complete the cutting the grass. Since, you will probably be using the mower you should make sure that you wear ear protection. The ear protection makes sure that the noise does not hurt the ears of the individuals.

Cut the grass on the edges first, the rest of the grass will be taken of by the mower; this makes sure that the grass is clean cut from all angles. It also is helpful as there are certain areas in which the grass cannot be cut by the mower. These grass in these areas needs to be cut by hand. So, one is cutting the grass, the individual should also make sure that he/she takes out the weeds as he goes. This saves a tip to the individual as he does not need to come again to take out the weeds. When one has a bagging mower, the individual should try to get rid of all the stones, sticks and toys other wise they will clog up the mower. This could cause more hindrance rather then making the process easier.

In order to start cutting the individual should start the mower, whether by switch or cord. Then as the mower starts working the individual should also make sure that he cuts in zigzag patterns, to further make sure that the grass is cut properly. The individual should also cut in opposing patterns to prevent graining. Every now and then the individual should stop the mower and check the bag, whether it is full or will be full. This gives a rough estimate as how long it will take to fill the bag. On the other hand, as one cuts the grass, it should not be done as a task but as enjoyment so that the task is done easily and simply.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Exceptional Lawn Tips: How to Kill Aphids on House Plants

Aphids are a common garden pest. The good news is they are easy to kill and cause generally superficial, short term damage. Most of the time, their natural enemies and hot temperatures will get rid of any infestations. There are times when some intervention is needed and simple ways to do this with or without the use of pesticides. Does this Spark an idea?

Things You'll Need
  • Water
  • Pruning shears
  • Insecticidal soap
  1. General Tips
    • Inspect houseplants regularly for aphid infestation. Aphids are usually less than 1/8-inch long and have soft, pear-shaped bodies that can be any color. Unique to aphids are two tubes that project from their hindquarters called cornicles, from which they feed on the plants.
    •  Spray the houseplant with a brisk flow of water or, in the case of delicate foliage, dip the plants in water. This should shake loose any aphids that are on the leaves.

    • Prune away any damaged or infested leaves and stems.
    Insecticidal Soap for Houseplants
    • Mix the insecticidal soap solution according to directions on the packaging, or you can make a homemade soap/water solution using 2 tsp. of dish or laundry soap mixed in a bottle of lukewarm water. This solution will destroy the protective coating on the aphids' bodies and dehydrate them.

    • Spray the solution all over the plant as directed by the product instructions. The soap should dissolve the aphids' bodies.
    • Wait approximately 30 minutes then wash the soap solution off the plant with water. This will prevent damage to the leaves.
    Rubbing Alcohol
    • Place the alcohol in a spray bottle. It can be used either diluted or undiluted.
    • Spray the plant thoroughly with the alcohol.
    • Place the plant in an area free of drafts until the liquid dries on the plant. Repeat this procedure every few days for one to three weeks.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Irrigation Setup + Repair:

Our installations and repairs are always done with confidence and respect.

One of the first steps to achieving a lush, beautiful lawn is the addition of a quality designed sprinkler system, applicable water techniques, and a properly designed maintenance program. Exceptional Lawn understands the importance to match proper irrigation equipment with the size, shape and type of the landscaping area being watered; every system we install is specifically designed for your lawns needs. Exceptional Lawn utilizes key design fundamentals that assist in developing a strategy to satisfy all your lawn care needs, including irrigation installation, repair and future system maintenance. We strive to build your lawn and landscape soil with sufficient water retention for plant growth, while still allowing excess water to properly drain.

Since there can be be some disruption to any yard when installing a sprinkler system, our professional installation crew takes every step possible to ensure that your lawn is returned to its original condition prior to project completion. We feel that respecting our customers’ property as if it was our own is just another way we distance ourselves from the competition.
At Exceptional Lawn we far exceed the competition by properly and professionally completing every task.

We ensure your lawn will continually receive the necessary care and attention it requires to maintain its natural beauty.

We do all the work so you can kick back and relax knowing your lawn is in safe hands.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Dirt on Composting! 25 Tips & Tricks

The Dirt on Composting! 25 Tips & Tricks

Soils and potting mixes that include compost produce healthier plants regardless of whether you're container gardening, rose gardening or vegetable gardening.

Composting can reduce yard waste that needs to be hauled to the dump by anywhere from 50 to 75%.

Using compost can help reduce plant deficiencies by improving your garden soil. Adding compost is a wonderful way to boost plant health. Making your own compost is beneficial to you, your plants and the environment as a whole. Compost helps your garden, & your environment by reducing the amount of organic material that literally goes to waste in your local landfill.

25 Composting Tips

1. Grass clippings add necessary nitrogen to a compost pile, but be sure to mix with the "brown" materials that add carbon. Both are necessary for quick decomposition and rich compost. Piles made up of just grass will compact, slow down and start to stink.

2. Do not compost fats, pet droppings, or animal products. They will attract pests to the pile and can spread disease.

3. Newspaper or plain white paper from the computer is excellent for composting - just remember to shred it first to speed up the process.

4. Got compost? When finished it should look, feel and smell like rich, dark soil. You should not be able to recognize any of the items you put in there.

5. Worms love coffee grounds!

6. If adding ashes to your compost bin, do so sparingly. They are alkaline and affect the pH of the pile. In contrast, acidic materials include pine needles and oak leaves.

7. Plants that have been treated with pesticides and/or herbicides (weeds and lawn clippings) should be avoided.

8. The microbes responsible for breaking down your compost pile need a balanced diet of nitrogen and carbon. Nitrogen comes from green materials such as food scraps, manure, and grass clippings. Carbon comes from brown materials such as dead leaves, hay, wood chips and shredded newspaper. A ratio that contains equal portions by weight (not volume) of both works best.

9. Algae and seaweed make excellent additions to your compost pile. Be sure to rinse off any salts before using.

10. Finished compost is usually less than half the volume of the materials you started with, but it's much denser.

11. Keep your compost pile in a black plastic bin and in direct sunlight to continue the composting process through the winter. Hay bales can be used to further insulate the pile.

12. Wooden pallets make excellent compost bins. Start with one pallet on the ground. Drive two metal stakes into each side. Slide additional pallets over each support and you have a bin ready for compost.

13. Straw is an excellent source of carbon for your compost pile. However, it may contain weed seeds, so make sure the pile is "cooking" properly.

14. Compost decomposes fastest between 120 and 160 degrees F. Decomposition will occur at lower temperatures, but it takes much longer.

15. The perfect size for a compost pile is one that is at least 3' x 3' x 3'. It's not only a manageable size to turn, but it's ideal for retaining heat while still allowing air flow.

16. For faster composting keep your pile or compost bin in direct sun.

17. Don't throw away your kitchen waste in the winter - try an indoor composter.

18. Compost piles should remain damp but not too wet. As you build your compost pile, make sure that each layer is moist as it is added. The surface should also remain damp (think of a wrung out sponge), especially during the summer months.

19. Does your compost pile smell? It's probably due to a large number of anaerobic microbes, which are working hard to break down your compost, but creating a smelly situation in the process. To cut down on the anaerobic process, aerate your pile regularly, creating air spaces and limiting the anaerobic microbes while stimulating the less stinky aerobic microbes.

20. Help start a new compost pile with aged manure, cottonseed meal, alfalfa meal, blood meal, or compost starter. They are rich in nitrogen and help jump-start the microbes responsible for breaking down organic matter into compost.

21. Anything that was living at one time is great for compost bins. Think of leaves, vegetables, and grass clippings.

22. Compost piles can either be layered - thin layers of alternating greens and browns, or they can all be thrown in together and mixed well. Either way works!

23. Soak finished compost in water to "brew" compost "tea," a nutrient-rich liquid that can be used for foliar feeding or for watering plants in your garden, backyard, or houseplants.

24. Apply finished compost to your garden about 2-4 weeks before you plant, giving the compost time to integrate and stabilize within the soil. Click here for a guide to vegetable gardening.

25. For faster results, use a compost turner every two weeks to aerate your pile..

Monday, April 16, 2012

The best method to Lawn removal

Removing a lawn seems easy enough: Dig it up and haul it away. Removing sod "can be back-breaking work,"removing too much topsoil and inciting the growth of crab grass can occur if proper methods are not taken. If you decide to rototill all you're doing is re-planting the grass, because grass grows from the stems, your pesty grass will return. Most people often make the mistake of hiring a low-budget crew that just tears-up the top of the lawn, leaving the existing root system still in place, and winding up with residual weeds. You're left with the Lawn That Will Not Die. It can be difficult to kill a lawn when not properly executed, and the end result is more cost and more labor. We find it best to contact a professional and eliminate the possibility of future issues.

At Exceptional Lawn we far exceed the competition by properly and professionally completing every task. We will ensure that your lawn be properly removed.

We do all the work so you can kick back and relax knowing your lawn is in safe hands.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

When and How to Plant Potatoes

By growing your own potatoes, you can enjoy all kinds of tasty varieties — in numerous shapes and colors — that you aren't likely to find in any grocery store.

Potatoes are easy to grow, but they prefer cool weather so you should try to get them into the ground at the right time. You can order seed potatoes through mail-order garden companies or buy them at local garden centers or hardware stores.  (You could use supermarket potatoes, but be aware they have probably been treated with chemicals to inhibit sprouting, so they may not grow well.) Store your seed potatoes in the refrigerator.

Your next step is to determine the recommended planting time for your climate. Since it takes potatoes two to three weeks to emerge from the ground, the earliest you should plant seed potatoes is two weeks before your last anticipated freeze date of 28 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. (If you don't know your local last freeze date, you can find it here.) About a week before your planting-out date, bring the seed out of the fridge and place it in a bright warm window for about a week. This will help break the spuds' dormancy and assure they will grow quickly when you put them into the still-cool spring soil.
If you garden in areas that have hot summers be sure to plant your potatoes early, and to play it safe, choose varieties that mature in early- or mid-season. This is because potatoes do not do well when the temperatures climb into the 90s. They may actually keel over and die when the temperature gets to 95 degrees. If a late planting or a late season variety runs into that hot weather while the tubers are in the early bulking stage you may get a very low yield.
To save work, or as a way to start a new garden bed, some people like to just toss their potato seed pieces onto bare ground or even a patch of sod, and then cover the pieces with a heavy mulch of straw or leaves. I've always wondered if you get as many potatoes with this short-cut method as you would if you buried the seed in a prepared garden bed, so I asked Jim and Megan Gerritsen, who grow and sell certified organic potatoes at Wood Prairie Farm in Bridgewater, Maine, what they think of this technique. The Gerritsens have been advising gardeners all across the continent since 1976.

Q: Does planting potatoes in a deep mulch on uncultivated ground still give reasonably good yields?

A: This deep mulch potato planting technique is called the Stout method, named after the old-time popular organic gardener Ruth Stout. Over the years Ruth had created beautiful soil and that fertile soil was a big factor in her success. Perform the Stout method on great soil and expect great yields of delicious potatoes. But try the technique on old worn out and unimproved ground and get ready to learn some patience and gain some humility. Potatoes are heavy feeders and they will respond dramatically to good fertility and tilth. Your yield will suffer to the extent that the soil you plant in lacks proper fertility and water.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Importance Of Thatch In Lawn Care

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What Is Lawn Thatch
Thatch is a layer of organic matter that lies underneath the top green layer of the lawn.

In Warm Season Lawns, thatch is comprised of living and dead runners (stolons), as well as other build up of organic material such as lawn clippings, and other organic plant matter which is in the process of breaking down.

Thatch in Cool Season Lawns is an assortment of dead or dying leaf matter, lawn clippings, and other organic material.

Importance Of Thatch In Lawn Care
A layer of thatch is vitally important to the ongoing health of a quality lawn. It provides insulation to the lawn's root system, preventing evaporation of water and any drying out or dying of the lawn's roots.

The thatch is what provides the softness to lawns under foot, that makes them so functional as play or relaxation areas.

And a healthy thatch layer is part of the lawn that helps to prevent damage occurring by providing a thick knitted layer of runners, or thick tillering that work together to create a cushioning protection for the lawn.

When Thatch Problems Occur
Even with the best lawn care, over time, thatch can build up to excessive levels, this can be for many reasons, either by natural course, or through being sped up by bad lawn practices such as infrequent mowing.

Once excessive thatch is present, it must be dealt with, otherwise many problems will start occurring. Mowing will become more difficult, and each mowing will constantly cut back into the thatch layer, removing all the green leaf, and revealing the brown thatch layer.
  • Lawns become ugly from the constant straw like undergrowth being revealed.
  • With the removal of all the green leaf, Photosynthesis stops, and the lawn begins to suffer and starve from lack of food.
  • With the lack of food, lawns cannot quickly recover from it's damaged state
  • It's a continuing cycle
Extreme Lawn Thatching

The brown thatch layer between soil and leaf
Lawns such as Buffalo can be at risk of extreme thatching, where the lawn continues to grow higher and higher above the ground. At the base of the thick layer is the original lawn, long since dead, and the entire lawn is now comprised of a mixture of living and dead stolons and roots.
Eventually, as the lawn continues to grow and regenerate, new roots will no longer reach into the soil, they will stay in the underlying dead lawn matter, at high risk of dehydration, starvation from lack of nutrients, and death.

Repairing Lawn Thatch
The only remedy to a severely thatched up lawn is to remove the thatch.
For Cool Season Grasses, this is best achieved by carefully reducing the mowing height over a few cuts with a Rotary Mower to remove any loose material. Then returning heights back to a healthy and normal level.

Lawn Care Tip
De-thatching, and scarifying, and is essential in the lawn care regimes of all warm season lawns.