Wednesday, 30 October 2013
Dormant Season Pruning

As I had mentioned a few weeks ago, fall is a great time to trim back some shrubs.   But, what about those Junipers and that “Ogre” of a shrub I had mentioned earlier.   

Junipers take very well to being trimmed during the dormant season.  While some prefer the formal sheared look, I prefer a more natural hand prune for Junipers.  This allows air and light to still reach into the center of the plant which promotes growth from the center and reduces what I call the “thick/thin” layer.  By “thick” I mean very dense growth that does not allow you to see into the shrub.  By “thin” I mean this green layer is generally only a couple inches thick.  So if you trim these couple inches off of this particular shrub you are only left with only sticks.   If you have had the unfortunate experience to do this type of trimming then you realize that Junipers do not respond well.  Also if a branch dies in a sheared Juniper, the hole that is left sticks out like a sore thumb.  Hand pruning takes a little practice, and as the saying goes “practice makes perfect”.

Now that over grown shrub in front of your window.   Depending what type of shrub you have will determine how drastic you can trim it back.   The best time of year for a rejuvenating prune is during the dormant season before shrub would generally leaf out.  While some shrubs do respond to being cut to the ground, I generally prefer a more selective pruning by thinning out some canes and trimming back the remaining canes.  A general rule is to remove about 1/3 of the canes.  However, there are some shrubs that just may not be worth trying to prune and just need to be replaced. 

If you need any help with dormant season pruning just let us know.


Posted on 10/30/2013 1:31 PM by Steve Gray
Wednesday, 16 October 2013
Fall Leaf Clean-up

            It’s getting to be that time of the year when all the leaves are starting to fall.  Even though big piles of leaves can provide entertainment for children, it may be necessary to clean them up.  If enough leaves fall on your yard that you have a hard time seeing the grass, then a leaf clean up is in order.  Leaves left on the grass can smother the turf and cause dead spots in your yard.  It is true that leaves can provide nutrients for the turf and can be used as mulch, but too many leaves can be harmful to the grass.

            There a couple different ways to go about cleaning leaves.  The old fashion way would be to simply rake them into piles and haul them away.  Some prefer to use their mower with a bagging attachment to bag up the leaves.  There are also blowers that can assist with leaf clean up.  Some blowers have a shredder vac system that can suck up the leaves.  This method can be time consuming on large areas, but can work well for detailed clean up in landscape beds.  The key is to find the method that works best for you.

            We use a combination of methods in our leaf clean up service.  We use blowers for the landscape beds.  Rakes and tarps are used to haul off the big piles.  Mostly we rely on our mowers to do the bulk of the work.  This has proven to be the most efficient method for us.  If you are tired of struggling with leaves, then let us do the work for you.  We can assist you no matter how big or small the job may be.  We can do one big clean after everything is down or we can do multiple clean ups throughout the fall.  Give us a call today to schedule your fall leaf clean up service!

Posted on 10/16/2013 10:42 AM by Brett Scott
Thursday, 3 October 2013
Sprinkler System Fall Winterization

To avoid freezing damage to your sprinkler system, it is critical to winterize the system each fall.  Below are the proper steps for winterizing a self draining sprinkler system installed by Rothwell Landscape, Inc.  It is important to do this correctly to protect your investment. Please contact Brent to be placed on our fall winterization schedule.

  1. Locate the six inch round valve pot lid usually located near the water meter. 
  2. Remove the lid by placing a finger in the hole and pulling up.
  3. Using a flashlight, look down the PVC sleeve and locate the cross handle of the shut off valve.
  4. Place the irrigation key down the sleeve and in between the cross until you feel and see it catch on the cross.
  5. Turn the key CLOCKWISE several revolutions until the valve handle no longer wants to turn.
  6. Turn the key another ¼ of a turn to ensure valve is shut completely off.
  7. Remove the key and replace the valve pot lid.
  8. Locate the rectangular valve box.
  9. Remove the lid by placing a screwdriver, shovel, or other strong, thin tool at one end of the box in between the green lid and the black rim of the box itself.
  10. Pry the lid open by pulling back on the tool until the lid latch releases.
  11. Once the lid is removed, locate the four test ports of the backflow preventer.  These are usually sticking up on top of the device and have black rubber covers on them.
  12. On the side of these test ports is a flat blade screw slot.  Using a short handled, flat blade screwdriver, turn each screw ¼ of a turn in either direction.
  13. Remove the black rubber covers by unscrewing them counter-clockwise.
  14. Turn the two blue handles to a 45-degree angle by turning them in the direction of the flow of water.
  15. Replace the valve box lid.
  16. With the normal runtimes still programmed, turn the control box to the AUTO position for one week. This will continue to cycle the electric valves without any water passing through them, thus helping to release the pressure in the pipes and allow the system to drain properly.
  17. After one week, turn the control box to the OFF position.  Your system is now properly drained for the winter.


Posted on 10/03/2013 10:06 AM by Brent Rothwell
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