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Frequently Asked Questions

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Expect Excellence

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Design & Installation Services
Fertilizer
Irrigation
Landscape Bed Maintenance
Mowing
Tree & Shrub Care

 

Design and Installation Services

Q. Can I get a complete evaluation of my property and a consultation? 
A. Yes. CM’s offers an evaluation and consultation service. These sessions with a CM’s professional provides clients with a comprehensive analysis of their property as well as the opportunity to discuss any concerns about their landscape. Clients will receive a service proposal and suggestions for enhancing their landscape. 

Q. Do you create landscape designs? 
A. Yes. CM's offers a complete custom design package based on the client’s wishes. CM's has full time designers on staff to work closely with our clients. Once the initial comprehensive evaluation and consultation service has been completed, a CM’s designer will provide a scaled drawing of a landscape tailored to enhance the overall beauty of the specific property. The cost for designs depends on the size and scope of the project. 

Q. When can you start? 
A. As soon as the client is satisfied with the job proposal, the client is asked to sign a contract and provide a down payment. Once the down payment and signed contract is received, the job is scheduled in the next available opening. 

Q. How much maintenance is required in my newly installed landscape? 
A. Maintenance varies depending upon the plant material within the landscape. The client will play a role in determining the amount of maintenance they wish to have when selecting the type of landscape and plant material in a new landscape. The consultation with the designer will allow the client to express his or her maintenance concerns. CM's offers a full maintenance program, bi-weekly or monthly bed maintenance and shrub pruning, that caters to the needs of clients. 

Q. How frequently will I have to water new plant material? 
A. Watering requirements for newly installed plant material varies. A tree requires a different regimen than a perennial. Grass seed and sod differ from a perennial and so on.  All plants, trees, shrubs and turf need water. Be prepared to spend a little time on this chore to protect your investment. Dedicated landscape bed irrigation is a good way to protect your investment in you new landscape. Download watering instructions.

Q. Do I need an irrigation system in my perennial beds? 
A. If you do not object to watering by hand, then no irrigation system is necessary. However, some landscapes should be watered with an irrigation system just to ensure the survival of the plant material. Sometimes, a homeowner’s schedule does not allow him/her to properly water the new landscape. Location of a bed is also a consideration. In these cases, dedicated bed watering is necessary for good plant health. 

Q. What is the difference between perennials and annuals? 
A. Annuals add color and texture to landscape bed, patios, pots and outdoor living areas. Annual colors are typically more vibrant and intense than perennial colors making them a much sought after addition to the landscape. Annuals last for one year only. Typically, annuals die out after the first fall freeze, and cannot be planted until after the frost-free date, which is near May 10th. Perennials are plants that bloom year after year. Typically, perennials will go dormant after the fall freeze and begin to regenerate in the spring once the ground reaches an appropriate temperature. 

Q. Will I have to replant every year? 
A. Most annuals need to be planted each year simply because of their lack of hardiness to our climate. You can expect about an 80 – 100 percent regeneration rate on perennials. 

Q. How big will the new perennials, trees and shrubs get? 
A. Each individual product’s growth is different. The designer will address specific questions regarding size and needs during the design consultation. 

Q. Do I need to fertilize shrubs and trees? 
A. Yes. Trees and shrubs develop better when they are getting the nutrients they need. CM’s offers a four step plant health care program for trees and shrubs. The program includes a fall and a spring deep root fertilization program and two mid-year disease and insect applications. We also offer rust prevention sprays for ornamental crab trees, insect and disease control for evergreens, and a host of other stand alone plant health care services. CM’s can customize a plant health care program to supply the fertilizers and nutrients your plants need. 

Q. Do I need to prune shrubs and trees? 
A. Pruning allows trees to grow more evenly, without dangerous low branches or crossing branches that may damage the overall health of the tree. Shrubs need to be pruned on a regular basis to keep them from overgrowing. Pruned shrubs will grow more vigorously because the damaged parts are always being removed, allowing more sunlight to reach to inner part of the plant. Pruning will also reduce the risk of disease by removing dead material. CM’s offers bed maintenance and pruning programs for every landscape. 

Q. When choosing a landscape cover, what is the difference between rock and mulch? 
A. Rock and mulch are a matter of preference. Mulch is less inexpensive to place initially, but it requires replenishing every one to two years. Mulch also offers benefits to the soil and overall health of the plants while rock does not. Rock is initially more expensive because of the actual cost of the rock and the labor for installation. 

Q. Do you use landscape fabric beneath mulch? 
A. Mulch serves as a natural weed barrier so it does not require fabric. Fabric will actually cause the mulch to blow off easier, and the mulch will not decompose like it should. The decomposition of mulch into the soil is healthy for the plants. 

Q. Where do you get your materials? 
A. We use various vendors. Generally all materials are supplied locally unless otherwise required.

 

Fertilizer

Q. What is the frequency of the applications in your turf maintenance program? 
A. The six applications occur every four to six weeks, depending upon the start of the season and certain other climatological conditions. 

Q. Do I need to water after the application has been applied? 
A. Yes. The schedule of watering may change, depending on the product applied and time of year, but irrigation is always required to activate and move the product. We discuss irrigation practices throughout the year in our newsletter and watering instructions are noted at every application.

Q. How long must I keep my pets off the yard after you fertilize? 
A. We recommend that the applied products be watered in and dry before you allow extensive use of the treated area by pets or children. If the pet is going out and coming right in, we would anticipate no problem with that. If we are using a product that has a higher risk for exposure, we will coordinate the application to maintain a safe environment for you, your family, and your pets. 

Q. What can I do about fungus? It comes back every year. 
A. To minimize the damage that fungus can cause, we recommend that you employ correct cultural practices in the part you play in caring for your lawn. Aerate the yard at least once a year. Aeration reduces soil compaction. Mow regularly with a sharp blade. This reduces thatch build up and minimizes injury to individual plants. To achieve optimal benefit from irrigation, water early in the day when the temperature and wind are at their lowest. Depending on the amount of rainfall, depth of irrigation as well as frequency of irrigation will vary. Your turf may require treatment with a fungicide in order to control the disease process. 

Q. Why is my neighbor's lawn a different color than mine? 
A. There is no single answer to this question. The types of grass plants present in the lawn, soil conditions, and the amounts and types of fertilizer used are all variables. While a difference in the color of your lawn compared to another lawn may be an indication of a problem, it may be nothing more than a reflection of the variables mentioned above, alone or in combination. We can perform soil test to determine if any macro or micronutrients are missing that might affect color. 

Q. Are the chemicals disturbed by mowing? 
A. We prefer that mowing wait until after the product(s) are watered in and dry. If you must mow, do not "bag" the lawn clippings. 

Q. What does the pre-emergent control? 
A. Our product is formulated to control crab grass and certain other grassy weeds. The control is achieved with two successive spring applications. The plants germinate and the pre-emergent product then acts against the roots and shoots of the plant material. The product does not control broadleaf weeds, such as dandelions or nutsedge. 

Q. Why do I have dandelions? 
A. Dandelions are perennial weeds whose seeds spread in the wind, taking root in bare areas of turf. The best defense against dandelions is a dense stand of healthy turf. When they are found in the turf, they are best controlled by a post-emergent product in the fall of the year. Post-emergent applications at other times of the year may be successful in destroying the visible parts of the plant which can be of some help. 

Q. Why do some companies spray the entire yard for weeds? 
A. There are different strategies that lawn care companies use to control weeds. We have always supported the practice of using the proper amount of chemical to treat the infected area. Have you ever had an x-ray for a broken arm? Did the doctor take an x-ray of your entire body or just the broken arm? We use the same theory. In most cases, spot spraying individual weeds provides the control we are seeking. We will spray the entire property only if the concentration of weed material merits that approach. 

 


Mowing

Q. What height will you mow my lawn? 
A. Typically mowing height is between 3"-3.75" for cool season grasses.

Q. Why should I mulch grass clippings? 
A. Mulching will recycle the turf’s nutrients to the soil. 

Q. Will your large equipment harm the turf? 
A. Our equipment efficiently and effectively cuts the grass, leaving the yard with a professional appearance. 

Q. Will your crews service my lawn on the same day each week? 
A. We will always try to service your lawn on the same day each week; however, weather can delay our crews. During the beginning of the year and the end of the year, the schedule may be adjusted due to the needs of the turf. Twice weekly mowing is also available for accounts that require this service. 

Q. When can I stop mowing? 
A. Turf’s natural growth cycle slows down in the fall prior to becoming dormant in the winter. As growth slows, mowing frequency diminishes. Once growth ceases, mowing is no longer required. 

Q. Why should my lawn be aerated? 
A. Aeration loosens compacted soil and increases the availability of water and nutrients; it enhances oxygen levels in the soil, stimulating root growth and enhancing the activity of thatch-decomposing organisms; it reduces water runoff; and it increases the lawn’s drought tolerance and improves its overall health. We suggest that your lawn be aerated twice each year. 

Q. Do you flag irrigation heads when aerating? 
A. Unless other arrangements are made, CM’s will flag your irrigation heads if CM’s aerates your lawn. The irrigation heads should always be flagged before aerating. 

Q. Why should I aerate before over seeding my lawn? 
A. Aerating will open up the soil for the seed, increasing the percentage of seed that will contact the soil, increasing seed germination rates. 

Q. Why should my lawn be power raked? 
A. Power raking will reduce thatch, the accumulation of dead and decomposing grass material. Small amounts of thatch can improve wear tolerance and surface saliency, and reduce water loss and soil temperature fluctuations. Excessive thatch reduces the effectiveness of fertilizers, watering and pest controls and provides a habitat for disease and insects. Power raking will also help restore the turf following harsh winters. We suggest that your turf be power raked if thatch accumulation exceeds one-half inch. 

Q. How often should my lawn be power raked? 
A. Generally, when thatch accumulation exceeds one-half inch.

   

Landscape Bed Maintenance


Q. When is the best time to prune perennials? 
A. Most perennials are pruned back after the first initial spring bloom and some perennials are not pruned at all. Perennials are meant to provide color, whether it is green foliage or shades of a bloom, all year round. It is normal for groupings of perennials to grow together in a landscape bed. 

Q. What should I expect from a landscape bed maintenance visit? 
A. If plants are small, then any grooming that takes place on a regular basis should go largely unnoticed. The goal of bi-weekly bed maintenance is for the plants within a bed to be properly pruned and weed content kept to minimum. Some plants have a natural wild look to them. The goal with these plants is to keep them from invading the plant space of others while allowing them to keep their native appearance. 

Q. What should I do about rodents or other pests eating my plants? 
A. With insects, it is a simple as spraying on an insecticide product such as Diaznon. If rodents, such as rabbits, are the problem, there are a variety of cures that can be tried to varying degrees of success. You can call us regarding your specific rodent problem or we also suggest a call to the Douglas County Extension Agency. You can also visit their website at http://douglas-sarpy.unl.edu/. 

Q. Am I over-watering or under-watering my shrubs and perennials? 
A. If a plant is under watered, the plant roots will be brown and the texture of the leaf will crusty and flake off at touch. If the plant is being over watered, the roots will be yellowish and the texture of the leaf will still be smooth but wilted nonetheless. There can be other factors such as soil content or solar exposure that can have detrimental effects on plants as well.

 

Tree and Shrub Care


Q. Do I need to fertilize shrubs and trees? 
A. Yes. Trees and shrubs develop better when they are getting the nutrients they need. CM’s offers a four step plant health care program for trees and shrubs. The program includes a fall and a spring deep root fertilization program and two mid-year disease and insect applications. We also offer rust prevention sprays for ornamental crab trees, insect and disease control for evergreens, and a host of other stand alone plant health care services. CM’s can customize a plant health care program to supply the fertilizers and nutrients your plants need. 

Q. Do I need to prune shrubs and trees?
A. Pruning allows trees to grow more evenly, without dangerous low branches or crossing branches that may damage the overall health of the tree. Shrubs need to be pruned on a regular basis to keep them from overgrowing. Pruned shrubs will grow more vigorously because the damaged parts are always being removed, allowing more sunlight to reach to inner part of the plant. Pruning will also reduce the risk of disease by removing dead material. CM’s offers bed maintenance and pruning programs for every landscape.

Q. When should my shrubs be pruned? 
A. Non-blooming shrubs can be pruned beginning in mid-May, and continuing through October or any time undesirable growth is present. Sometimes the best time to prune non-blooming, woody, spring shrubs is close to winter, when you can see crossing branches, etc. Blooming shrubs should be pruned a few weeks after the bloom period. Pruning shrubs at the wrong time of year will potentially prune off the next set of blooms. 

Q. Why are there brown spots in my shrubs? 
A. Brown spots in certain shrubs, especially fitzers and yews, can be caused by winter burn. Winter burn occurs when the shrubs are pruned close to the occurrence of a hard freeze and the exposed stems and foliage are shocked. If the brown sections are pruned back, they will soon fill in with greenery.

 

 

Irrigation

Q. How much and how frequently should I water?
A. Water needs vary depending on several factors such as sun exposure, type of turf, soil composition, slope of the terrain, seasonality and the type of irrigation heads. Watering needs vary from turf to landscape as well. During the early spring and late fall, your lawn may need only 0.5 inch of water per week but, in the very hot and windy conditions of summer, this may increase to 2 inches per week. Rotor heads will apply approximately 0.33 - 0.5 inches of water per hour. Spray heads will apply approximately 1.75 – 2 inches of water per hour. This is why your rotor zones will usually need to water 3 - 4 times longer than your spray zones to provide equal precipitation rates. There are entire books written on soil absorption rates and plant coefficients, so we normally recommend some general guidelines coupled with common sense. 

Q. How do I program and adjust my controller?
A. Part of our job is training you to program and adjust your controller. In most cases, this is done before we leave your property. Also, most controllers have a set of instructions on the inside of the controller door. The owner’s manual serves as a complete guide to operating the controller. Go to www.hunterindustries.com and www.rainbird.com if you would like to visit the manufacturers’ latest information about controllers. 

Q. What do I do if it rains?
A. You do not have to do anything if you have a rain sensor installed. The rain sensor will shut off the system when the designated amount of moisture is collected in the sensor. If you do not have a sensor, turning the dial on your controller to the “off” position will shut off your system. 

Q. When can I turn on my irrigation system each year?
A. The system can usually be turned on towards the end of April or when temperatures consistently exceed 32 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Q. Is my system a self-draining system?
A. If you do not have sprinkler heads with check valves installed, the system is self-draining to the extent water will naturally flow out of the heads due to the slope of the terrain. The valves are self-draining as they have a reverse pressure drain in the valve box. The drain opens up when the water is shut off. If you do have heads with check valves installed, the system is not self draining. Either way, we strongly recommend having the system completely winterized and evaluated each year. 

Q. Should I drain and blow out the system?
A. Yes! It is good idea to have CM’s drain and blow out your system at the end of every watering season. Please call our office at 738-1718 to schedule this service. Our systems include drains, but blowing out your system insures there is no water left in the system and that all your lines, valves, and PVB will be ready for spring. If you do have heads with check valves installed, the system is not self draining. 

Q. Can I expect to see changes in my water bill?
A. The answer depends on your current practices. If you are not watering currently because you do not want to or are unable to drag hoses, then the answer is yes. If you currently water your lawn in the evening or afternoon when it is windy and hot, or leave your sprinkler running for longer than necessary to accommodate your schedule, then you are potentially wasting water. Various environmental conditions limit the amount of water the turf receives or can absorb at any given time. The beauty of your new irrigation system is that it can be programmed to apply the correct amount of moisture to each turf zone at the time of day when the temperatures are lower and winds are minimal. This will maximize the effectiveness of the water you are using. Although seeding and turf renovation projects will require watering beyond normal requirements, the application of the water can be just as efficient at that time as well. 

Q. Will the installation cause damage to my yard?
A. There will be minor damage to most turf areas. Before beginning the job, we will tell you if we expect any areas to incur noticeable damage. Areas with shallow tree roots will usually need complete renovation after a sprinkler system installation. Generally, if a new irrigation system is used as directed, the yard is able to repair itself in as little as three weeks. 

Q. What type of equipment is used?
A. Most residential properties will require the use of a pipe puller that makes a ¼ inch path in the turf as it vibrates the polyethylene (poly) pipe into the turf. Some larger residential properties and commercial projects require a trenching machine to allow crews to place and glue polyvinyl chloride (pvc) pipe. Shovels are used to dig holes for heads and to connect pipe. 

Q. How do I adjust the irrigation heads?
A. We adjust your system for you as part of the installation and will review your system for adjustment as needed. Many systems operate for years without requiring adjusting. Your system is under warranty for one to ten years, depending on the system you purchased and should require minimal adjustment on your part; however, we try to show you how to adjust your heads before we leave your property. 

Q. Do you flag irrigation heads when aerating?
A. Unless other arrangements are made, CM’s will flag your irrigation heads if CM’s aerates your lawn. The irrigation heads should always be flagged before aerating. 

Q. What type of pipe is used?
A. CM’s mainly uses poly pipe in residential applications. It is very durable and expandable. PVC pipe is used in some residential and commercial projects. 

Q. What is the depth of the pipe?
A. We install the poly pipe between 8” – 14” deep. Swing pipe may be 4” - 6” deep. PVC pipe may be installed as deep as 4’. 

Q. Will the pipes crack or freeze?
A. Poly pipe expands significantly, so small amounts of water can be tolerated and most lines drain to the lowest head on the zone. However, the vacuum breaker or backflow preventer, copper pipe, or PVC pipe around the valve box may crack if they are not winterized. That being said, any system where the heads are installed with check valves will crack and freeze if not winterized as check valves will cause the poly lines to retain water. 

Q. What are the green boxes buried in the yard?
A. These are your valve boxes. It protects the valves and wiring and keeps them accessible. 

Q. What are valves?
A. Valves are part of the system’s electrical components. Valves are wired to the controller. When the controller directs a valve to open, water flows to a specific section of your yard. 

Q. What is a check valve?
A. A check valve is a device that is installed in a sprinkler head that keeps the water from exiting the head when the zone is not running. Heads with check valves prevent the water from draining out of the sprinkler heads when the system is not in use therefore conserving water and preventing low head drainage or puddles. 

Q. What is a pressure regulating stem?
A. A pressure regulating stem is installed in a spray head to keep the head operating at 30 psi instead of the 65 psi or greater that the main water line is able to supply. Spray heads are manufactured to operate at 30 psi and any greater water pressure is lost in fine mist and does not reach the turf. Installing pressure regulating stems can more than double the water/money savings by using less than 50% of the water the main is able to supply. 

Q. What is the copper tubing extending from the house to the ground?
A. This is the copper that leads from your valves to your pressure vacuum breaker (PVB.) The PVB prevents water from flowing back into your potable water supply once it has passed by the device. Some systems may be installed with a reduced pressure assembly (RP.) The RP serves the same purpose as the PVB but is used in situations where a PVB will not adequately protect the potable water supply. 

Q. Where do I call for repairs or with questions about my irrigation system?
A. Please call our office at 738-1718 with questions or repairs. www.hunterindustries.com and www.rainbird.comvaluable resources as well. 

Q. When is the best time to water my lawn? 
A. In the early morning hours unless other circumstances such as seeding, turf renovation, or the syringing of turf to minimize the incidence of fungus. 

Q. How much moisture does my lawn need? 
A. Most lawns need from 1” to 2” of moisture per week during the hot and windy summer months. During the cooler spring and fall seasons, ½” of moisture per week is sufficient. There are entire books written on soil absorption rates and plant coefficients, so we normally recommend some general guidelines coupled with common sense. Watch our web site and newsletter for watering tips. 

Q. How frequently should I water my lawn? 
A. It is a good idea to water less frequently with longer watering times. For example, water on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday long enough to put down at least a ½ “ of water each day, depending on the season. Again, there are entire books written on soil absorption rates and plant coefficients, so we normally recommend some general guidelines coupled with common sense. Watch our web site and newsletter for watering tips.