<span>August 2019</span>

  • How to Make Your Dog and Lawn Coexist

    Can you make your dog and lawn coexist? Well, it’s a question many pet owners have, particularly those who really care about their landscaping and their furry family members. There are nearly 43.35 million households with dogs, averaging 1.6 canines per home, or about 36.5 percent of all homes in the United States, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

    We love our pets and there’s plenty reason why. Dogs provide unconditional love, a whole lot of cuddly companionship, and even household and personal protection. But what about the dreaded brown spots left on your lawn? You try so hard to keep the grass well maintained, green and nicely cut, but still, you’re battling your dog’s call to nature, especially when it comes to urine. The good news is, yes, you dog and lawn can coexist.

    About those Lawn Brown Spots

    There are plenty of unexpected landscape, outdoor living costs, but this isn’t one many homeowners really think about. When you adopt or rescue a puppy or dog, you don’t really consider how it’s natural bodily function will interact with your lawn. That is, until you begin to see brown spots dotting your grass, here and there. These are usually attributed to “acid” in a dog’s urine, but that’s not actually the case. It’s the nitrogen which is produced due to protein breakdown of a canine’s diet.

    Dog owners usually love having big yards where their pups can enjoy romping through the grass. Unfortunately, you may have noticed that it’s not always easy to keep your lawn green after Lassie does her business. Getting doused in dog urine can be a death sentence for your lawn, but there are actually several ways to prevent your pup from killing the grass. —Dog Food Insider

    A dog’s diet is high in protein because it’s what helps to keep healthy. And, a lot of protein means a whole lot of nitrogen — quite similar to those nitrogen-rich liquid fertilizers so commonly found at seed and feed stores and home improvement retailers. While your lawn does need nitrogen to keep the grass healthy, it only needs a certain amount. Too much nitrogen will damage and eventually kill your grass.

    How to Make Your Dog and Lawn Coexist

    If you want to have your dog and lawn coexist, you need to do a few things. First and foremost, you should know which poisonous plants to avoid putting in your yard. This will help in preventing emergency trips to the veterinarian’s office and it’s also a way to help keep children and even adults safe. Dogs naturally love grass. Your yard is the perfect play and relaxation space. It’s full of interesting smells and a place to bask in the sunshine. Your dog loves the lawn, but not in the same way you do. When nature calls, your dog doesn’t rush inside to the nearest bathroom, after all, his or her waste space is right under his or her paws. Here’s how to deal with the situation:

    • Dilute urine immediately. Although it’s cumbersome, you should immediately dilute the urine by watering the grass to lessen the impact of the nitrogen. Just a ten second application of water will do a lot to prevent the nitrogen from harming the grass. It’s not exactly convenient, but it will do much to alleviate the problem of brown patches.
    • Create a pee-proof space. If you don’t want to incur the trouble of watering every time Fido does his business, build a pee-proof space, like a gravel, mulch, or artificial turf area. Though this will have an initial cost and take some time to train your dog to use this area exclusively, it’s one of the best ways to keep your lawn free of brown spots.
    • Plant a different type of grass. Here in Sarasota, Bermuda grass is quite common for residential yards. But Bermuda, like Kentucky bluegrass, is sensitive to nitrogen. Although both Bermuda and Kentucky bluegrass need some nitrogen, more of it will cause browning.
    • Don’t fertilize as much. Another thing you can do to reduce or eliminate brown spots is to fertilize less. The combination of nitrogen in fertilizer and urine is just too much for most grasses. However, if your lawn needs fertilizer, try applying it only to areas without urine.
    • Give your dog supplements. This isn’t exactly a great solution, but it will probably help quite a bit. You can speak with your vet about giving your dog supplements which reduce nitrogen levels. Your vet will be able to tell you what’s safe and what to expect.

    If it’s time to update your landscape or add replace your lawn, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are a full-service, professional landscape design company and serve all of Sarasota, including near Bayfront Drive, around Rolling Green Golf Club, along Longboat Club Road, and elsewhere.

  • 6 Common Sprinkler System Problems

    While it’s cool outside and the grass is dormant, now is the time to check your sprinkler system for any problems. You might already know about specific issues or have a strong suspicion there’s something awry. Whatever the case, while the mild winter provides you with plenty of outdoor comfort, it’s time to take advantage of the weather and look at your lawn irrigation system.

    How to Know when it’s Time to Replace a Lawn Irrigation System

    Much like troubleshooting a swimming pool pump, an irrigation system is relatively straightforward. Though it does have several components, its operation is based on very simple principles. This means most problems are easily identifiable and not difficult to fix. With just a few common tools and a little patience, most repairs are do-it-yourself scenarios. But sometimes, it’s best to replace the whole irrigation system.

    An automatic lawn irrigation system is the best way to keep your lawn looking fresh and green. Correctly designed and programmed, it’ll deliver the right amount of water to your yard— no more moving the sprinkler! But like any other system, it occasionally breaks down or requires maintenance. The good news is you can handle 90 percent of the repairs yourself, even without in-depth knowledge of the system. We’ll show you how to identify and fix the most common problems. Don’t be intimidated by the prospect of working on a system that involves both plumbing and electricity. The pipes are plastic and much simpler to repair than the plumbing in your house. —The Family Handyman

    Generally, a residential lawn irrigation sprinkler system will last, on average, about 10 to 15 to 20+ years. But this depends on how much use it gets, climate, and a number of other factors. Here in west-central Florida in sunny Sarasota, sprinkler systems get a lot of use. So, if your irrigation system is in this age range, it’s at least worth considering replacing it. One strong indicator replacement is smart is when repairs become more and more expensive. If the system is in need of constant repair, it’s generally time for a replacement.

    6 Common Sprinkler System Problems

    Sprinkler system problems typically occur in three locations: the heads, lines, and valves. Other common problems occur with the programmable control unit. These are generally due to mis-programming (user error) and can easily be fixed by resetting the system and starting over. Your irrigation system should water in the right places, distribute water evenly, and follow a proper schedule. But, these goals won’t be accomplished if there are issues with the system. Here are the six most common sprinkler system problems:

    • Broken sprinkler heads. Sprinkler heads break for a two different reasons: wear and tear and mechanical damage. Over time, sprinkler heads wear out and this causes improper watering, leaking, and other issues. Also, lawn equipment and other mechanical damage may occur. Fortunately, replacing sprinkler heads isn’t difficult. But, be sure to replace with the same type, when necessary.
    • Low water pressure. One sign there’s low water pressure is the sprinkler heads don’t pop up when the system is activated. This results in poor distribution and is generally caused by a leak in the head itself or the lateral line. But, it could also be due to poor design layout, resulting in less efficient water delivery to the head(s).
    • Check valves. Irrigation systems are equipped with check valves, which are located in the lateral lines. These prevent water from leaking out, which in-turn allows for a faster startup time and stops run off when the system runs through its timed watering schedule. Replacing the head usually fixes this particular problem.
    • Blocked heads. Brush overgrowth, fences, exterior walls, and other objects can block sprinkler heads. Repositioning the heads generally solves this problem. But it might be necessary to make other changes to the system’s layout and target areas.
    • Clogged nozzle. Sprinkler heads can become clogged with dirt and debris. When this occurs, it results in poor coverage. Cleaning the heads generally solves this problem. Another solution is simply to replace the nozzle with the same model.
    • Leaks. This is perhaps one of the most difficult problems to detect. An irrigation system might seem to function normally for some time before a leak is detected. In other instances, it’s very obvious there’s a leak in the lateral or other lines. Low water pressure is an indicator when there’s no water spewing from the ground.

    If it’s time to update your landscape or add more features, like a new deck, just go ahead and contact us. We are a full-service, professional landscape design company and serve all of Sarasota, including near Bayfront Drive, around Rolling Green Golf Club, along Longboat Club Road, and elsewhere.