Frequently Asked Questions
Why do my bougainvilleas and lantanas not look as colorful as I see elsewhere?
Certain plants including Bougainvillea and Lantana require abundant sunshine. All homes have a shaded side and the plant material in those areas will typically receive little to no sunlight during the daytime hours. Generally the plants are healthy; they just don’t have the same color display as others that are exposed to more sunlight. If you have a shady spot in your landscape, be sure to plant those plants that are more tolerant of the shade.
I have a bermuda grass lawn and do not over-seed it during the winter. Do I need to irrigate the grass to keep it healthy?
Bermuda grass is a warm season grass and will typically go dormant during the months of December through April when soil temperatures are below 60 degrees. Keep in mind that just because the grass appears dead on top of the ground doesn’t necessarily mean that the plant doesn’t need continual care during the winter. Use a small shovel or screwdriver to open up the first couple of inches of soil to check the moisture content. You want to maintain even moisture content during the winter. Typically, you will run an irrigation cycle once every week to two weeks.
Why are there times during the year when the bermuda grass is looking poorly?
There are two times of the year when certain maintenance practices will cause the grass to look unhealthy. During late summer around the end of September or the beginning of October, landscapers are beginning the process of over seeding the bermuda grass with rye grass. This process allows the grass to remain green during the winter. During the spring, the grass may again look poorly as the winter rye grass begins to die because of the hotter temperatures. During this time, the bermuda will emerge from winter dormancy and green up for the summer.
Why do the landscapers cut back the shrubs to the ground in the landscape?
Throughout the year, we will perform “cutbacks” or thinning of the plants. The season will determine which plants will be done each maintenance cycle. As plants mature, new growth will occur at the outer parts of the plant and the lower branches will become sparse. Because of this, cutbacks are done to help rejuvenate the plant from the base upward and provide for a healthier, colorful plant. Only certain plants will be cutback at any one time and recovery by the plant is typically rapid.
Why don’t the landscapers trim the shrubs into more uniform “balls” like I see in other communities?
The residents in certain communities have chosen to have the landscape maintained in a more “natural” appearance. This doesn’t mean wild or minimal maintenance. To the contrary, this approach requires just as much time to maintain as a more tightly trimmed landscape. Most desert plants do not respond favorably to manicured maintenance and will deteriorate in health over time resulting in loss of flowering, increased potential for disease or insect damage and premature death. The “natural” approach provides for a much more aesthetically pleasing landscape.
Can I address my landscape concerns directly with the landscapers or ask them to perform some “special” services to the landscape around my home or to them.
While we strive to address all resident concerns and/or requests as we hear of them, we ask that these requests be addressed first with Community Management first. They will coordinate the requests with us with any actions that are to be taken. We are however, always happy to speak to residents and answer any general questions they may have regarding plants and the landscape.
The weeds in my yard always seem to be out of control. How do the landscapers control the weeds in the common areas?
Control of weeds in granite areas is always a challenge. We utilize a combination of manual weed control and chemical control to minimize the problems related to weeds. For minor weed infestations, manual removal is typically a quick and efficient way to control weeds. For a more wide spread infestation or for problematic weeds such as bermuda grass or nutsedge, we utilize a combination of pre-emergent and post-emergent chemicals. Pre-emergent herbicides are applied to granite areas to control the weeds before they emerge from the soil. Post-emergent chemicals allow for the control of weeds after they are already growing. Use of two pre-emergence chemical applications annually should be successful in controlling weeds year round. Applications should be timed to occur around February and August to take advantage of needed rainfall to be activated. For the do it yourselfer, your local home building store can be a good resource or contact a local pest control provider for a larger area in need of weed control.
Why do we loose so many trees during wind storms?
Monsoon storms can be very damaging to the trees in our area. Even the strongest tree can fall victim to the power of storm winds. There are however, practices that can be followed to minimize the chances of your prized trees being damaged during on of these storms.
- Prune trees to maintain a good structural balance. Remove dead, diseased, or insect-infested branches and thin the canopy to allow wind flow through the tree.
- Ensure proper rooting development of the tree by encouraging the roots to grow outward from the base of the tree. Drip emitters should be moved outward away from the trunk as the tree matures following the growth of the canopy of the tree.
- Maintain a constant soil moisture content of the soil by adjusting the irrigation controller based upon the seasonal needs of the tree. Don’t let the soil dry out and don’t overwater. Both will actually increase the likely hood of the tree being damaged during a storm.
My mesquite trees grow so fast that I can’t keep up with the pruning. Is there someway to control the growth so I’m not trimming so much?
Mesquite trees are naturally a fast growing tree. However, as is the case with many plants, the more water you provide to the trees, the faster they will grow. Remember, you want to maintain adequate soil moisture content but not so much that the soil is saturated. Use a small shovel or screwdriver to check the top few inches of soil. Look for a wet feel to the soil but the ability of the soil to “crumble” in your hand. Typically, during the summer months irrigation should occur 2-3 times per week and during the winter once to twice every 2 weeks. Keep in mind this is for irrigation systems with trees only. If you have shrubs on the same valve, this may not be possible.
I want to plant flowers in my flowerbed in front of my home. What type of flowers should I plant and when do I plant them?
The answer will depend upon the season. In the deserts of the Southwest, we typically have a warm season and cool season. The choice of flowers will depend upon that season. During the winter months, you would want to plant flowers such as geraniums, snapdragons, pansies and petunias. During summer, choose flowers more tolerant to heat including lantanas, celosia, zinnias, and vinca. Summer annuals should be planting in April and winter annuals in October. Your local home building supply store should have seasonal flowers in stock for the given season.
What should I do if I see a landscape emergency such as a water leak?
If you should see any type of landscape emergency such as an irrigation leak or a tree down in a street, the best course of action would be to call your community management company. They will typically have an emergency contact available to take the information as to the type of emergency and location. They will then contact us and speak to the person on call and provide them the information. It is important to provide as much information as possible to assist us in finding the problem and taking care of it in a timely fashion. It is also helpful if the contact information is provided to us of the person calling in the emergency should we have any questions.
What schedule do the landscapers follow and when can I expect them in the common landscape areas around my home?
Our crews follow a strict maintenance schedule so that we can ensure that all areas of the community are serviced. Schedules will vary from community to community but you can check with your community manager for details for your location. During each cycle, we will perform certain tasks that are necessary to maintain the landscape. While we strive to maintain this schedule, emergencies, storms and other unforeseen circumstances will slightly alter this schedule.
Why aren’t the shrubs trimmed each time the maintenance crew goes through. They may trim one type of plant but not another and it looks inconsistent.
We follow horticulturally sound practices that encourage plant health, longevity and flowering. As such, we strive to trim plants based upon these practices. As not all plants have the same growth habits and flowering times, the season will dictate when we will trim. However, this timing will not be taken into concern if a plant is causing a safety or clearance problem.
When should I fertilize my grass and what fertilizer should I use?
Bermuda grass should be fertilized 3-4 times annually as needed. Early spring when the grass is coming out of dormancy, mid summer and early fall are generally times to consider fertilization. This is dependent upon many factors including irrigation practices, soil conditions and nutrient levels of the soil. Without sending a soil sample into a local labor for a costly analysis, it is sometimes difficult to know what fertilizers we should use. For best results, use a fertilizer with a nutrient content in a ratio of 3-1-2. This ratio relates to a number found on the fertilizer bag label and indicates the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium found in the fertilizer. These are the most important nutrients needed for healthy plant growth. There are many blends of fertilizers on the market and each has a purpose. When in doubt, ask your local nursery or home building supply store.
How do I program my irrigation controller?
This is a difficult question to provide a definitive answer to for the simple fact that there are many different types of controllers and watering situations that need to be considered. While each controller has the same basic function, the process to program it will be different. In general, the following are the key areas to keep in mind.
- Controllers will usually have multiple programs that allow for different types of irrigation methods. You can have one program for grass, one for shrubs and one for flower pots all on the same controller and provide just enough water for each plant type.
- Within each of the programs, you can specify how much time the water will run for each valve in the system. You may want to run a drip valve for 1 hour in duration while a grass sprinkler valve may run for only 10 minutes.
- You can then indicate how often each of the programs will run. Typically, you can irrigate as often as three times per day or as little as once per week.
Do I ever need to adjust my irrigation controller after it has been programmed?
It is important for the health of your landscape to only water what the plant needs for healthy growth. Under-watering can cause stress to the plant which leads to susceptibility to insect damage and disease, stunting and premature death of the plant. The same can be said for over-watering plants. That doesn’t even take into consideration the cost to you in the way of big water bills.