Tag Archives: irrigation

Ideas to relieve standing water from your lawn and landscape

If proper site drainage is lacking at your property and continuous rains routinely cause the ground to become fully saturated, standing water will almost certainly occur.

Especially across low lying lawn and poorly drained plant bed areas, if surface water is left to stagnate for long periods of time, non-tolerant plants may fall victim to the negative effects of excessive soil moisture (root decay/wet-feet).

Here are a few ways to relieve standing water at your property.

  • Redirect existing roof downspouts and/or sump pump outlet pipes to flow toward alternate non-problematic areas (if possible).
  • Raise the soil grade within low-lying flood prone areas.
  • Install an underground drainage system to properly relocate, store and/or further improve the natural process of ground water percolation.
  • Replace impermeable paved surfaces with porous materials.
  • Fine tune your irrigation system to prevent over watering (soil type and natural rainfall frequency dependent).
  • If you suspect a neighboring property is the direct cause of your drainage problem, begin a direct discussion with it’s owner and/or the local government to find a beneficial solution.
  • If poor drainage cannot be improved for whatever reason, consider planting species that can tolerate wet soil conditions.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions you may have.  We greatly appreciate your time and look forward to being of assistance to you in the very near future.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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When planting cool season grass seed…………. timing is key!

When planting grass seed it is not enough to properly prepare the soil, fertilize, choose a premium site specific grass seed, cover large seedbed areas to protect/retain moisture and routinely water.  In addition to each of the critical steps mentioned above, grass seed must be planted when soil temperatures are expected to reach/remain at 50 degrees or above to successfully germinate.

Pacocha - Lawn Repair by Seed 4-26-14

Ideally, grass seed should be planted in late summer/early fall (late August thru September) for best results. Late summer/early fall is a great time of the year for planting grass seed (non-shade areas in particular) due to cooler air temperatures, lawns are coming out of dormancy, soil temperatures remain warm and there is very little chance of frost or prolonged freezing temperatures.  In addition, rainfall becomes more routine and we experience less weed seed proliferation/competition for open exposed soil areas at this time.Pacocha - Lawn Repair by Seed 5-22-14

Spring grass seed planting (late March through mid-May) is great for shade tree covered lawn areas (below large and dense deciduous trees in particular).  It is only at this time of the year that you can really enhance the seed germination/root development process by taking advantage of additional sun exposure that happens to make it’s way through the early spring leafless tree canopies above.

Regardless of the season you decide to plant grass seed, you will need at least 4 hours of sunlight per day, soil temperature of at least 50 degrees and routine irrigation to successfully grow turfgrass from seed.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. for all of your grass seed planting and lawn care related needs.  Thank you for visiting and have a great day!

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A few proven ways to reduce labor, save money and increase the quality of your residential lawn and landscape management service

Over the last 20 years or so I have had the privilege of performing lawn and landscape related services at several thousand Chicago area properties.  As you can imagine, there are many time consuming variables on each individual property that can either add or lessen the total number of seasonal man hours needed to properly service a lawn and/or landscape.Pacocha - Open Lawn Area Nicely Stripped

Here are a few ways to lower the cost of professional lawn and landscape care by reducing the labor needed to produce it.Pacocha - Narrow Back Yard Passage Further Obstructed by a Concrete Stoop

1). Increase the width of entry into your back yard (if possible).  Common commercial walk behind mowers are 36″ wide and require a clear opening that is at least 38″ wide  to safely pass through.  It is very common to spend 30% less labor when using a 36″ walk behind mower (or larger) over a standard 21″ push mower.  In addition, a 36″ wide (or greater) commercial mower offers a far superior quality of cut and finish over a small 21″ push mower.Pacocha - Multiple Above Ground Elongated Drain Lines

2).  Relocate or bury any/all misdirected downspouts and sump pump outlet pipes that happen to cross into heavily traveled lawn or property passageways.  Additional time is usually needed  to disconnect (where applicable), work around and/or lift maintenance equipment over aluminum, PVC, plastic, etc. drain pipes to complete a routine maintenance visit.Pacocha - Underground Drainage Improvements

3).  Reduce watering schedules during cooler spring and/or fall rainy seasons (in particular).  We highly recommend the creation of a custom watering schedule that can be routinely adjusted (+/-) throughout the course of each and every growing season.  Over watering a lawn usually stimulates unwanted excess top growth and over saturates the soil which leads to poor grass plant health. Increasing levels of lawn stress and maintenance labor are normally the case when “ever-wet” conditions exist.Pacocha Water Irrigation System

4). Create larger “flowing” lawn areas instead of multiple small hard to reach turf areas (wherever possible).  When planning what mowing equipment will be needed to properly service your property, it is very beneficial (improved quality of finish with less labor needed) to have lawn areas that are wide enough to reach by commercial mower (36″+ wide generally preferred).   As you may or may not know, a small hand held grass trimmer(aka line trimmer, weed eater, string trimmer, etc.) is a piece of equipment that is used to trim growing grass along, around or within areas that are difficult to reach by conventional lawn mower.  Hand held line trimmers rarely allow for the quality of cut that a lawn mower can produce.Spring Cleanup - Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc.

5). Add a layer of wood mulch across any/all open bare soil plant bed spaces.  Not only will wood mulch provide beneficial moisture retention for your plants, but a decent 2″ +/- layer of shredded wood mulch will slow down unwanted weed growth and make your overall landscape look fantastic.  Great amounts of landscape maintenance labor can be saved by creating an environment that lessens the possibility of weed seed germination and survival.  Whether it be mulch covered plant beds or a dense lawn, the goal is the same, do not let weed seeds germinate in sun exposed open soil.Pacocha - Large Open Lawn Area Post Lawn Care Application

6). Mulch grass clippings.   The mulching of grass clippings are a great way to add beneficial nutrients to your soil and reduce the additional labor and disposal fees generated from removing green debris off-site.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions, comments or service requests you may have.

Thank you for your time and have a great day!

 

 

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Chicago area underground flood control systems, sewer repairs, emergency utility work and the necessary landscape related repairs that follow!

The damage done to a mature lawn or landscape (in particular) after a major sewer repair, drainage improvements or new flood control system has been installed can be minimal or quite extreme.  Plant material, lawns, irrigation systems, retaining walls, pavement and low voltage lighting can be damaged or completely destroyed when underground construction takes place near by.  Other matters like extreme soil compaction and severed mature plant root systems are very common issues as well.  Flood control systemDepending on the initial soil excavation depth, size of equipment used, property location, type of underground repair performed and amount of construction spoils left behind will normally dictate the cost of landscape restoration services required.  One of the main cost drivers (besides labor and materials) of residential landscape restoration work (post sewer/flood control improvements) is the amount of excess stone/debris that is left behind.  When hiring an underground repair contractor it is always a good idea to be aware and to discuss who exactly will be responsible for the cost of removing excess fill/debris (off-site) if needed.  If the excess fill Pacocha - Elevated elongated mound post underground constructionmaterial that is left behind is somewhat desirable (soil or sand) and lacks large pieces of unwanted stone, bricks, concrete, etc. than it can be easily re-purposed/relocated on-site to reduce overall restoration costs.   Some examples of how to use these excess materials may be to elevate a low lying plant bed area, create a new raised planting bed or to fill-in multiple low/sunken lawn areas that are in need of repair.  In addition, please keep in mind that it is very likely that ground settling will occur after deep soil excavation work has been performed.  Pacocha - Elevated mound post underground constructionDepending on how well the underground contractor compacted the back-filled soil/stone will determine the amount of ground settling to be experienced in the future (1-3 years post landscape repair).  Please contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. to assist in evaluating and providing the necessary lawn and landscape restoration services for your Chicago or surrounding northwest suburban residential property.  Pacocha - Low area ready for additional top soil and boxwood relocation

Thank you for your time and we look forward to being of assistance to you in the very near future.

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Sod Webworm: Weakened or drought stressed lawns beware!

If you maintain a lawn that happens to benefit from full sun exposure (not shaded) and has become weakened from heat and drought stress you need to be aware of sod webworm and the damage it can cause.  This small sod webworm caterpillar (5/8″-1″ in length) can chew off leaves and stems of your cool-season grasses including Kentucky bluegrass, most fescues, perennial ryegrass and bentgrass.  It will cause general lawn thinning, followed by small patches of brown and finally leaving behind closely cut/cropped areas.  A lawn that is healthy and well irrigated will often tolerate and recover from sod webworm scalping.  Weak or drought stressed lawns that have been clipped short by sod webworm may be killed via sun exposure to the crowns of the plant.  Adult sod webworm moths (lawn moths) are small whitish, dull gray or tan colored moths that hover over turfgrass at dusk.  As these small sod webworm moths flutter across the lawn females drop eggs during flight that settle in the upper thatch layer of your lawn.  As many as 500 eggs are laid during a life span of usually less than 14 days.  Depending on temperatures, eggs hatch in 4 to 20 days and the larvae develop through usually 6 to 8 larval stages in 4 to 7 weeks.  The larvae are beige, gray, brown or a greenish color (depending upon species) with a brownish head.  The older larvae chew down foliage around their burrows mainly at night.  Most sod webworm have two generations per year.  Sod webworm are fairly easy to control on a curative, as-needed basis.  Insecticide controls are directed against the feeding larvae, not the moths.  A healthy, vigorous turf, balanced fertility and adequate irrigation during dry periods will enhance your lawn’s tolerance to sod webworm feeding.  As always, be sure to contact a local lawn professional to help identify sod webworm, evaluate treatment options and analyze if lawn repairs will be needed.

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Your Lawn is Under Severe Water Stress!

When watering your lawn, you should really strive to water enough to wet the entire root zone.  The most common error committed by people is light irrigation.  Too little water too often encourages a multitude of problems such as shallow root system.  The ever changing need for watering depends mainly on your soil and of course, the weather.  Determining the type of soil you have is really helpful when determining beneficial watering schedules.  If you have a clay based soil watering to 1.25″ +/- is just about right.  However if your soil is more sandy or loam than anywhere between 1/2″ – 3/4″ is fine.  Try to remember that rainfall is no guarantee and should not be relied on as the single source of moisture for your lawn.  Light showers merely wet the surface.  Short down pours do the same.  Most of the water is lost in runoff before it can soak in to the soil.  A lawn will use as much as two inches per week in hot, dry weather – a fraction of that when it is cooler.  If you decide your lawn needs water, you should put on enough to wet the entire root zone as specified above.  If you can, avoid late afternoon or evening irrigation.  Grass that stays wet for a long time favors development of diseases.  However, do not avoid watering at these times if this is the only time you can water.  The important thing is water.  Avoiding late afternoons is secondary to providing the needed water to your turfgrass.  In heavy clay soils prevent watering to the full recommended amount at one time, frequent watering may be necessary to avoid surface runoff.

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The damaging power of ice!

Many of us carefully travel atop slippery icy surfaces every winter with great care and awareness.  We do our very best to lower the possibility of a slip and fall or vehicle accident by applying various forms of ice melters to our roads, sidewalks and bridges to convert dangerous ice to manageable surface water.  However, we need to really consider the power of ice and the damage it can cause when water is allowed to freeze when becoming trapped or simply left to stagnate in non-temperature controlled areas like exterior sump drains, foundation mounted water supply lines, roof gutters, non-drained buried lawn irrigation lines, buried down spout drain lines, garden hoses left outside, rain barrels, etc.

What happens to water if it’s not allowed to expand when frozen?

Here are a few simple steps to avoid ice related property damage and it’s corresponding repair.

  • Clean out all leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts often to allow for proper draining.
  • Be sure to properly pitch exterior sump pump drain lines to allow water to flow out and not remain stagnate in pipe.
  • Blow out or vacuum all debris that may have become trapped in buried down spout extension drain lines.
  • Prepare your lawn’s sprinkler system for winter by removing all the water from the irrigation system and equipment by using pressurized air.
  • Drain water from all portable/stationary pumps and water holding tanks before freezing temperatures move in.

By taking these few simple winter related precautions will allow our drainage and water control systems to function as they were intended and with minimal additional expense.

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