Ways to Conserve Water With Your Irrigation System

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It takes a lot of water to keep your landscaping looking lush and green all summer long, which can become a challenge as we enter the dry season here in Florida. Using a lot of water during the dry season not only increases your utility bills, but it can also lead to water shortages – especially during a drought.

Reducing the amount of water you use to maintain your garden can help your wallet and your community. And, thankfully, you don’t have to sacrifice your beautiful greenery if you want to cut down on your water consumption! There are a few methods you can use to keep your grass green while conserving water:

Adjust Your Irrigation Settings Seasonally

Perhaps the easiest and most effective way to conserve water year-round is to adjust your irrigation settings each season. Doing so will ensure that you aren’t using more water than is necessary. If you aren’t sure how to optimize your irrigation system for the season, a local expert can help you configure the settings properly to set you up for success.

Use Weather and Moisture Sensors

Many new irrigation systems have special features that are designed to decrease your water consumption while keeping your landscape happy and healthy. Two excellent features to look for are weather and moisture sensors, which will automatically adjust the irrigation settings based on how much water is in the environment. It will increase water flow on very hot and dry days and decrease it when it’s more humid or rainy out.

Use Landscape-Based Controllers

From the types of plants and soil that you have to the amount of sun your space gets, there are many factors that impact how much water your landscape needs to thrive. It can be challenging to take all of these factors into consideration when creating your watering schedule, especially during the dry season when it’s harder to calculate just how much water your plants need. That’s where landscape-based controllers can come in handy. These advanced irrigation devices will analyze every aspect of your landscape and choose the optimal way to water it.

Contact the Experts at Grasshoppers

It can be challenging to keep your lawn green and lush, even without the added challenge of water conservation. If you want to keep your grass looking great while cutting back on your water usage, turn to your local experts at Grasshoppers! Our team has proudly served the Orlando FL area for over 19 years, so we have plenty of experience navigating the weather patterns and landscaping needs of this area. To get started, give us a call today!

3 Benefits of Lawn Aeration in Spring

Aerating a lawn in springtime in Orlando FL - Grasshoppers Landscaping

With spring in full swing, it’s the perfect time of year to begin preparing your lawn for warm weather. It can be difficult to maintain lush and green grass through the harsh summer sun, but there are a few lawn care techniques you can use to ensure your grass is as healthy and hardy as possible.

One of the most effective tactics for encouraging stronger grass is called lawn aeration, which is the process of driving small holes into the soil to allow water and nutrients to better reach the grassroots. Though lawn aeration is a quick and simple process, it can lead to significant and long-lasting results. Here are just 3 of the benefits of aerating your lawn in spring:

Stronger, Healthier Grass

The first and most obvious benefit of lawn aeration is that it encourages very beautiful, healthy, and durable lawn. This process loosens up the soil and allows nutrients, moisture, and oxygen to feed the roots. So, if your grass is fragile, supple, or easily dehydrated, aeration will encourage stronger growth while preparing your lawn for hot summer weather.

Better Drainage

Lawn aeration helps break up the soil, which can reduce compaction and allow water to seep into your lawn rather than rest on top of it. This can reduce erosion problems, muddy patches, or unsightly puddles while also ensuring your grass is getting all the water it needs. Aeration is a great way to prevent lawn dehydration, which is particularly useful before a dry summer.

Reduced Lawn Thatch

Lawn thatch is a layer of dead plant matter that rests between the grass and the soil. While a little bit of thatch may not be harmful, a thick layer of buildup can cause a variety of problems such as poor drainage and uneven mowing. Aerating your lawn can help penetrate the layer of thatch to encourage decomposition while keeping your grass in great shape.

Why Aerate Your Lawn in Spring?

Though lawn aeration can be effective at any point in the growing season, spring is one of the best times of year to complete this task. That’s because the soil is typically soft from rain, making the process much easier and more effective. The constant spring rain will also ensure your lawn doesn’t dry out afterward, which will encourage fast and strong growth.

Your Local Lawn Aeration Experts

It can be intimidating to aerate your lawn for the first time – after all, poking holes in your grass can lead to damage if done incorrectly. However, you don’t have to navigate it all alone! The landscaping experts at Grasshoppers in Orlando FL are always happy to answer your questions, and we provide great lawn maintenance services to ensure your property is always looking as beautiful as possible. Just give us a call to consult with an expert today!

Why Does Your Lawn Have Dead Patches?

Brown patches in grass in Orlando FL - Grasshoppers

Patches of dead grass in Orlando FL - GrasshoppersHave you been struggling year after year to keep your lawn in tip-top condition? Here at Grasshopper, we know how frustrating it is when unforeseen and inconspicuous conditions cause our lawns to slowly wither away before us. There are multiple reasons why your lawn might be developing scattered dead patches, so it’s important to be aware of all of the potential contributors in order to protect your yard properly. Read on for insight and advice from Grasshoppers’ lawn care team!

Top Reasons for Dead Patches in Grass

The same weather conditions that allow for fruitful plant growth around Orlando FL also create opportunities for pests, fungus, and more. If you are dealing with patches of dead grass on your lawn, it is probably for one of the following reasons:

  • Fungus: Fungal growth will usually occur in a lawn after an extended period of rainy weather. If you find dead patches in shaded areas of your lawn after a storm, fungus is a likely culprit. You can identify established fungal outbreaks by the rings of dead grass that they leave around a small recovered area.
  • Grubs: Grubs are beetle larvae that feed on the roots of many kinds of grasses here in Florida. Their damage will show up in small scattered spots that eventually conglomerate into large patches of dead grass.
  • Wear from people and pets: A lawn that sees too much human or dog activity is sure to develop dead patches. If you have a dog that you let out on your lawn every day, your dead patches might have been caused by urine burns or toys that were left out.
  • Thatch: Thatch is an accumulation of dead and decaying plant material that develops above the surface when grass is not watered properly. Grass roots will begin to develop in the thatch, but the material won’t hold enough moisture to sustain long-term growth, so the new grass will die and appear brown and withered.

How to Get Rid of Brown Patches in Your Lawn

It’s difficult to revive dead grass without an accurate assessment of the issue behind the decay. This is why we recommend diligent lawn care strategies to our customers. Staying on top of the health of your lawn is the best preventative measure that you can take. However, we understand wanting to quickly restore your lawn.

Raking away any thatch or dead grass that you find in your lawn can allow your grass more access to the nutrients it needs to survive. Paired with the use of certain store-bought lawn care products, it is possible to restore your lawn to full health on your own. But how can you be sure you’re making the right assessment?

Lawn Care Experts in Orlando FL

At Grasshoppers, our team of lawn care technicians have years of experience diagnosing lawn care issues and quickly restoring customers’ lawns using the latest lawn care technology. Don’t wait until your lawn is beyond repair to get a professional opinion and detailed care. Give us a call today to get started!

How to Water Your Florida Lawn

Image of a lawn in Florida - how to water your Florida lawn - Lawn care from Grasshoppers in Orlando FL

Image of a lawn in Florida - how to water your Florida lawn - Lawn care from Grasshoppers in Orlando FLLawn care can be a difficult and daunting task. There are so many different things to consider: the type of grass, the amount of shade, fertilizing schedules, and so on. But there is one thing that all lawns need: water. Knowing how to properly water your lawn will help it grow better and look greener all year round. To help you out, the lawn care experts at Grasshoppers have compiled their top tips on how to water your Florida lawn.

 

Why Watering Your Lawn is Important

Your lawn needs water to grow and stay green, especially in the hot and sunny weather of Florida. A regular watering schedule can encourage your grass to root deeper, which encourages hardier grass and can keep your lawn looking great no matter what time of year it is. Watering your lawn correctly can keep your property looking great while saving you money on lawn maintenance and utilities.

 

How Much Water Does Your Lawn Need?

Generally, most lawns in Florida need about an inch of water every week, but this can vary depending on a few different factors such as the type of grass or amount of shade in your yard. For instance, Bermuda grass does not need as much water as St. Augustine grass because it is more drought-tolerant. Other factors to consider are the area’s climate and time of year. If you need help determining how much water your lawn needs to thrive, a lawn care expert can examine these factors and help you create a great watering schedule.

 

When is the Best Time to Water Your Lawn?

In Florida, the best time to water your lawn is in the early morning to avoid water evaporation. We recommend watering once per week during warmer weather, and once every two weeks once the temperature drops. You will want to water deeply and thoroughly to encourage deep roots and hardier plants. Here are some signs that your lawn needs more water:

  • Grass blades are folded or limp
  • Your footprint remains on the lawn
  • Grass blades are blue-gray in color

 

Lawn Care Experts in Orlando FL

If you don’t have the time or expertise to provide your lawn with the care it needs, don’t worry! The lawn care experts at Grasshoppers in Orlando FL are here to help. We offer both residential and commercial lawn care services, including specialized services for HOA communities. If you need help caring for your lawn, just give us a call today!

How to Garden in Florida With Allergies

Gardening with allergies in Florida - Grasshoppers Landscaping - Orlando FL

Gardening with allergies in Florida - Grasshoppers Landscaping - Orlando FLItchy eyes, sneezing, and congestion can quickly turn a day in the yard into a miserable venture. Gardening when you have allergies can be a real challenge, particularly here in the sunny state of Florida. Fortunately, however, there may be some solutions! By following a few simple steps, you can enjoy time in your garden without worrying about an uncomfortable reaction. Here are our tips for gardening in Florida when you have allergies:

 

Avoid Known Allergens

It goes without saying that you should avoid anything that you know you are allergic to. If possible, remove any allergy-inducing plants from your property, or consider hiring help for those specific areas of the garden. That said, many of us don’t know what exactly we are allergic to, which is where the other tips can come in handy.

 

Plan Ahead With a Pollen Map

Pollen maps monitor the daily pollen count in a given area. A pollen count is the number of grains of pollen in a cubic meter of air, and you can use this number to determine which days are best for gardening. On dry and sunny days with a high pollen count, it may be best to stay indoors and plan your yard work for another time.

 

Wear Protective Gear

Gloves aren’t just there to protect you from slivers or thorns; they can also help shield your skin from coming into contact with allergens. Consider wearing long sleeves, long pants, gloves, a painter’s mask, or some protective glasses. While that may seem like overkill – especially on a hot day – it can protect you from anything that would trigger a reaction. Also, avoid touching your face or eyes while gardening.

 

Pick Allergy-Friendly Plants

Some plants produce more pollen than others. With a little bit of planning, you can fill your garden with plants that are less likely to trigger an allergic reaction. To find allergy-friendly plants, you can ask your local experts or follow these tips:

  • Pick female dioecious plants: With dioecious plants, the sex is separated. That means female dioecious plants do not come with pollen-producing male flowers, so they are less likely to aggravate your allergies.
  • Pick perfect-flowered plants: Perfect-flowered plants have both male and female components in the same flower. Because the pollen does not need to travel in the wind to reach the female part of the plant, the pollination is fairly contained.
  • Look at the OPALS rating: The Ogren Plant Allergy Scale (OPALS) is an allergy rating system that measures a plant’s potential to cause allergic reactions. This scale considers everything from pollen allergies to contact allergies and can be a good reference point for individuals looking for allergy-safe plants.

 

Avoid Mold Spores

You may not think that you have mold in the garden, but mold spores can hide anywhere – particularly in mulch, compost, and potted plants. Avoiding mulch and compost can prevent you from coming into contact with mold, which could help you avert a reaction. If you still want to mulch or compost in your garden, consider hiring help.

 

Shower Immediately After Gardening

Showering and changing your clothes can help you avoid a reaction after the gardening is over. If you can’t shower right after gardening, at least change your clothes and wash your face and hands to wash away any allergens that could cause irritation later.

 

Consider Taking Allergy Medications

If your allergies are severe, consider consulting your doctor about allergy medications. A non-drowsy antihistamine can prevent allergic reactions, which may make gardening a more pleasant task.

If you have taken all of these steps and still struggle with allergies while gardening, it may be best to limit your exposure to the outdoors. To keep your yard looking great while avoiding allergens, call the landscaping experts at Grasshoppers today! We have proudly served homeowners throughout the greater Orlando FL area for over 19 years, and we are prepared to meet all of your gardening needs. Call us today to get your quote!

Winter Tips for Your Florida Landscape

How to prepare your landscape for winter in Orlando Florida - Grasshoppers

How to prepare your Florida landscape for winter - Grasshoppers landscaping service in Orlando FLWinter Tips For Your Florida Landscape

Since Florida winters get mild temperatures instead of piles of snow, it may seem unnecessary to prepare your landscape for winter. However, many of our tropical plants thrive in high temperatures, which means they may struggle in the colder winter months. Thankfully, with a little bit of preparation, you can keep your property in great shape through the cold season. Here are our top winter tips for your Florida landscape:

 

Put Down Mulch

Mulch is an incredibly effective way to protect your landscape from cold weather. Not only can mulch help sustain soil moisture and inhibit weeds, but it can also insulate heat to keep your plants from freezing. By layering your garden beds with 3-4 inches of mulch or pine straw, you can keep your plants healthy through the winter.

 

Prune Your Trees and Bushes

Late fall or early winter is a great time to prune your trees, shrubs, and bushes. Doing so allows you to clear pathways while removing any dead or vulnerable branches. Winter weather means that your plants will have fewer resources to stay healthy, so selectively trimming your trees can help keep them strong through the cold.

 

Water Newly Planted Trees

Newly planted trees require plenty of water to develop strong and healthy roots. Even if the tree looks dormant in winter, it is still working to establish its root system. Since Florida doesn’t get much rain in the winter, we recommend watering newly planted trees to ensure they have the resources needed to develop sturdy roots.

 

Fertilize Your Lawn

In Florida, grass typically goes dormant during the winter months. While dormant, your lawn won’t grow as fast or take in as many nutrients. That’s why it’s crucial that your lawn is in good shape before cold weather hits. One way to give your lawn a boost for winter is to apply a lawn fertilizer treatment in early fall. Fertilizer is filled with nutrients that can help your grass withstand the winter chill.

 

Cover Less Hardy Plants with Fabric

Fabric can help insulate your vulnerable plants and protect them from harsh winter frosts. We recommend using fabric rather than other materials such as plastic, which may form condensation and freeze over. Fabric does not run the risk of collecting condensation, which means that it is more effective in protecting your plants from the cold.

 

Be Cautious with Holiday Decorations

If you plan to set up electric holiday decorations, don’t forget to keep your landscape safe! Things like hot light bulbs or loose electrical wires – especially laid out over lawns – can damage your plants and even become a safety hazard for anyone on your property. Be sure to carefully set up your holiday decorations, and if you work with a landscaping company, let them know where you’ve placed your decorations.

 

Experts in Winter Landscape Maintenance

If you want to keep your landscape looking immaculate throughout winter, turn to the professionals at Grasshoppers! Our landscaping specialists are highly skilled in preparing your property for colder weather, and they can help you build a personalized maintenance plan that will keep your yard looking great all year. No property is too big or too small – and we even provide services designed for HOA properties! If you want help winterizing your Florida landscape, call us today to schedule an appointment.

How to Protect Your Yard From a Hurricane

Pruning branches in Orlando FL - Grasshoppers talks about how to protect your yard from a hurricane.

How to Protect Your Yard From a Hurricane

Pruning branches in Orlando FL - Grasshoppers talks about  how to protect your yard from a hurricane.

Though the Florida weather is picture-perfect most of the year, it can take a turn for the worst during hurricane season. These severe tropical storms can cause major damage to your yard, especially if you haven’t taken the proper precautions. But, protecting your garden from a hurricane begins well before you receive a storm warning. Here are some ways you can prepare your yard for a hurricane:

Early Planning

The way you set up and maintain your yard plays a large role in how ready your yard will be for a hurricane. Some of the best ways to keep your garden storm-ready include:

  • Choose the right plants. Not all plants are equipped to handle strong winds or heavy rains. Choosing trees and shrubbery that are known to withstand hurricane conditions is the first step in preparing for these storms. Trees such as the yaupon, Southern magnolia, or cabbage palm are some popular choices. If you aren’t sure how to choose hardy plants, it may be useful to call a professional landscaper for help.
  • Regularly prune your trees and shrubs. Having a regular pruning schedule can help keep your plants strong and well-prepared for harsh weather. Pruning encourages an even shape and a dominant trunk, while also removing overly long branches or damaged areas. Additionally, air can travel through well-pruned trees and shrubs better.
  • Get rid of diseased or unstable plants. Trees or shrubs that aren’t strong enough to stay in the soil may become projectiles in heavy winds. Removing unstable plants can prevent them from flying around your yard when a hurricane hits.
  • Store potentially hazardous tools or chemicals indoors. If you have gardening tools or chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers lying around your yard, it’s a good idea to store those items inside. That way, you don’t run the risk of a spill or dangerous projectile.

Last-Minute Preparations

Even if you’ve perfectly planned out and maintained your yard, there are still a few things you should take care of once you receive a storm warning. Here’s a list of ways to prepare your yard once you know a storm is on its way:

  • Clear out your yard. Things like dead branches, children’s toys, and small tools can become hazardous in high winds. Removing these can keep your home and yard safe.
  • Reinforce trees and plants. You can reinforce your small trees and shrubs by tying them to a sturdy stick placed deep in the ground. Be sure to leave some wiggle room, though – the plants are likely to shake quite a bit with the high winds.
  • Bring potted plants indoors. Potted plants may topple or fly around in a hurricane, so it is best to bring them into your garage or shed until the storm passes.
  • Harvest any fruits or vegetables. The hurricane will likely strip your plants of all fruit or vegetables, so it may be a good idea to harvest anything you want to keep before the storm rolls in.
  • Shut off your water valves. It’s easier for trees and plants to uproot in wet soil. Turning off your water valves and irrigation system can help keep your plants in place.

Between careful planning, regular maintenance, and last-minute preparations, it can feel like a full-time job to protect your yard from a hurricane. Calling a landscaping professional, like those at Grasshoppers, can help you keep your home and garden safe from nasty storms.

With over 20 years of serving the Orlando FL area, our expert landscapers can help you at any stage in protecting your yard from a hurricane. We also provide hurricane cleanup services to keep your yard in great condition, even after a storm passes through. Give us a call today to schedule a consultation!

How Outdoor Lighting Can Brighten Your Business

Lit up storefront at night in Florida. Grasshoppers Landscaping serving Orlando FL and Longwood FL talks about how outdoor lighting can brighten up your business.

Lit up storefront at night in Florida. Grasshoppers Landscaping serving Orlando FL and Longwood FL talks about how outdoor lighting can brighten up your business.As a business owner, we understand you pay a lot of attention to your landscape. You’ve invested in flowers, shrubs, and trees. But your curb appeal shouldn’t end just because it’s nighttime. Outdoor lighting can illuminate your landscape, your walkways, and your business, giving your property a safe and inviting look during evening hours.

Create Focal Points

The parts of your business property that you want to highlight or are most proud of can become focal points at night. Think of your front doors or your business sign. Maybe you have a flower bed design or pathway.

Outdoor Lighting Adds Property Value

Landscaping experts say professional landscaping can increase the value of your property by at least 15%. Imagine the value that could be added when you make your landscaping illuminated year-round.

Outdoor Lighting Increases Security

Effective outdoor lighting will not only help deter potential thieves, but it can also help prevent injuries from slips and falls from stairs or cracks in pathways. Outdoor lighting will simply direct clients or customers right to your door in a way that’s warm and inviting.

Highlight Architectural Features

Every building has unique architectural features. Do you have an older building that has columns or scroll work or a modern building with sharp angles and clean lines? We have many types of outdoor lights that we can place appropriately to draw people’s eyes to the details of your building.

Experts in Landscape Lighting

There are a handful of ways outdoor lighting can help with your business. If you’re interested in taking your landscaping to the next level with landscape lighting, contact Grasshoppers. We serve commercial clients throughout the Orlando and Longwood FL areas.

Our landscaping contractors have extensive training in lighting and electrical work. We’ll work with you to choose the right lighting fixtures and design, then install them for you accordingly to best suit your goals. Learn more about our outdoor lighting services and contact us today for your personalized estimate!

How to Prevent Plant Diseases in Winter

Powdery mildew on a cucumber plant. Grasshoppers talks about ways to prevent plant diseases this winter in Orlando FL.

Powdery mildew on a cucumber plant. Grasshoppers talks about ways to prevent plant diseases this winter in Orlando FL.

Bacteria, viruses, and fungi can all cause diseases in your plants. These diseases aren’t much of a problem during cold winters, but if you live in a warm climate like Florida where you have mild winters, you’ll want to take action. Plant diseases can cause significant damage to your landscaping.

Common Plant Diseases

  • Armillaria Root Rot: Armillaria root rot also called mushroom root rot infects the root of a plant, causing it to wilt and eventually die. Armillaria root rot can continue to live in the soil, so if you’re going to replant in the same area, consider finding a plant that is resistant to the fungi. Armillaria root rot attacks:
    • Loquats
    • Azaleas
    • Ligustrum
    • Oak trees
    • Hickory trees
    • And more
  • Powdery Mildew: Powdery mildew is a serious fungal disease. It causes plants to become distorted and stunted. It can attack a variety of plants including:
    • Rose bushes
    • Sycamores
    • Crapemyrtles
    • Squash
  • Sabal Palm Disease: Sabal Palm Disease also called, lethal bronzing is transmitted by a tiny winged pest called the American palm cixiid. This disease causes a palm’s leaves to turn brown and eventually die. Sabal palm disease is often difficult to diagnose because it shares similar characteristics as a tree that’s been over-fertilized. If you believe your palm has this disease contact your local landscaper or arborist. They may be able to save it with oxytetracycline injections.

Prevent Plant Diseases with Good Practices

Oftentimes people wait until their plants are already sick and/or dying when they decide to take action and by then it’s too late. The best way to cure a plant disease is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Below are some good practices to help keep your plant disease-free.

  • Remove leaves and debris from your lawn to prevent mold growth
  • Continue mowing your grass through the winter until it has stopped growing
  • Prune trees and shrubs during the dormant season. Pruning during the growing season causes sap to flow which attracts insects like bark beetles.
  • Winterize sensitive plants like roses and young trees with thin bark. Tender plants can be seriously damaged in the winter, putting them at risk for a secondary infection like canker fungi.
  • Keep an eye on stressed plants and water them to promote healthy root growth.

Keeping your lawn and plants well-fed, watered, and cared for is your best defense against plant diseases. When a plant is stressed, it is more vulnerable to diseases and is more likely to be affected by lawn pests.

At Grasshoppers, we understand these steps may be a lot which is why you may want to consider hiring a professional landscaper for your property. In addition to being knowledgeable about the plants native to Florida, we’re also familiar with plant diseases, including how to prevent them and treat them.

Keep Your Property Looking Perfect Through Winter

Palm trees with green lush lawn. Grasshoppers talks about ways to keep your Orlando FL commercial property looking perfect through winter.

Palm trees with green lush lawn. Grasshoppers talks about ways to keep your Orlando FL property looking perfect through winter.While winters in Florida are mild, plants and trees still go dormant. But this doesn’t mean you should ignore your landscaping. There are several things you can do to keep your property looking perfect this winter.

Prune

We recommend you have your trees, shrubs, and plants pruned in late winter or early spring. Because they’re dormant during this time of year, this will help prevent any stress to your plants and it doesn’t disrupt fruiting, flowering or the growing cycle.

Mulch

After pruning you should have your flower beds fertilized and re-mulched. This new layer of mulch not only improves the look of your property but it will also help maintain moisture and ensure the fertilizer stays put.

Plant

Depending on your location, you may experience colder winters. If you do, you’ll want to plant annuals that are tolerant to cold weather. This includes amaryllis, petunias, pansies, and snapdragons. Just make sure your flower beds have a good layer of mulch for temperature protection. Adding these winter-hardy flowers to your landscape design will keep it looking beautiful and vibrant year-round.

If you have palm trees on your property, keep in mind they can suffer damage in cold weather. This includes sudden drops of temperature and frost. If you notice dead branches or leaf tissue, have them treated.

Add Hardscaping

Adding hardscaping during the winter is a great way to rejuvenate a dull or stale area. Hardscaping includes rock formations, pavers, sidewalks, water fountains, and retainer walls. Hardscaping not only adds curb appeal but it also provides functionality — whether it’s providing entertainment space or creating a path for visitors.

A great looking lawn and landscape design adds curb appeal and helps make your business more inviting. Fortunately with Florida’s climate, you don’t have to stop enhancing your commercial landscaping. These tips will help keep your property looking vibrant and well-kept through winter.