Commercial Landscaping News - October 2013


Winterizing Your Irrigation System

The irrigation systems that help to manage the gardens and greenery of large properties are extensive undertakings in their own right. Over the winter months, these yards of piping and pumps are at risk of damage from ice, should conditions drop below freezing.

In a drip irrigation and sprinkler system, water remains in the network of pipes under the ground. When the temperatures drop, this standing water can freeze and expand. While some irrigation pipes are designed for a bit of expansion, they are not ice proof and can split. The majority of irrigation piping is not flexible at all, and these PVC pipes are especially prone to cracking in freezing water.

To prevent possible damage to expensive irrigation systems, it is best to winterize the system by removing the standing water from the pipes before turning the system off for the winter months. Removing the water can be done manually if the system is designed to accommodate a manual extraction, or it can be blown out using compressed air. For commercial properties, the large scale of the irrigation systems and the dangerous possibilities of blowing water out of the systems means this is a job best left to professionals.

Landscape Associates can help winterize and maintain your irrigation system. Contact us for an appointment today!

Planting Bed Maintenance

The fall months provide an excellent break in the heat and also in the rapid growth of many summer plants – including summer weeds. This makes the fall an ideal time for maintenance on your planting beds. Now that the peak growing season is done and the less ideal months of winter not quite upon us, it is prudent to clean and prepare beds for the winter and the next growing season.

Standard fall maintenance includes pruning and disease control. Weeds and moss can be removed from the garden and prevented by adding a thick layer of mulch. The mulch will also help to protect the roots of plants during the colder months of winter and potential freezes.

Before laying new mulch, however, also prepare and feed the soil by raking, clearing and fertilizing. This may also be the ideal time to restructure the garden to be sure that the bed is properly draining. With careful pruning, and perhaps the addition of bright seasonal annuals, your beds can be as attractive in the fall and winter as they are during spring and summer.  

Let Landscape Associates work with you to prepare your landscapes for fall and winter. Contact us today.

Invest In Fall Curb Appeal

While improving your individual planting beds, take a look at the bigger picture of your property. This is an ideal time of year to work on curb appeal as well as simply preparing your landscaping for the winter months.

Look for opportunities to improve the appearance of your landscaping by renovating the turf and clearing out or laying down sod. Replace plants that have become overgrown or unattractive, and remove or cut back those plants that have grown wildly over the summer months.

Put down a new layer of mulch to improve the appearance of your beds and to also protect the roots of plants during the winter months. Finally, with the rest of your chores complete, consider adding some bright seasonal colors with mums or pansies in your garden or in containers. Eye-catching urns or planters on a porch, patio or near a door are cheerful and a great way to improve the appearance of your business from the road, and the changes are relatively simply to make.

Planting Bulbs for the Spring

The spring months may be six months away, but some of the season’s prettiest flowers, including nodding tulips and sunny daffodils, require some advance planning. Get started now on planting bulbs in gardens and flower beds if you’re hoping to have the cheerful blooms appear in March or April.

While planting hardy bulbs carefully for cultivation over the winter, also look for the bulbs of plants that are unlikely to survive the harder months of winter.

These are traditionally annuals in a climate that experiences an annual freeze, but you can salvage your plants and enjoy the bright greens of caladium or elephant ears again by digging up bulbs now and replanting them after you are past the worst freezes.

Dig up your caladium, gladiola and dahlia bulbs carefully. Dust the bulbs off and carefully dry them before storing the clusters of bulbs in a location where they are likely to remain protected from wildlife, freezes and wet conditions. When replanted in the warmer months, these bulbs will again grow alongside the tulips and daffodils you’re having planted now.



Preparing Your Lawn for the Winter Season

Whether your lawn is fescue, Bermuda or zoysia grasses, this is the peak season to begin preparing your lawn for the colder winter months. Of course, the type of grass that you have on your lawn will determine just how you prep it for the winter.

Fescue – A cold weather grass, fescue typically dies out over the summer months. The heat and fungus that develop in the heat kill out the fescue, and if you’re hoping for a bright lawn in the cooler months of the year, this is the time to aerate and then reseed your fescue. Aerate and reseed at the same time between now and October to provide the ideal growing conditions.

Bermuda – A hearty summer grass, Bermuda thrives in the hot months of summer and fades during the colder months, only to come back strong in the spring of every year. Bermuda does not need to be reseeded as it regenerates itself, but you can overseed your Bermuda lawn with winter grasses to thicken your lawn and produce a brighter color during the winter.

Zoysia – Another grass that thrives in milder temperatures, zoysia can fade in the coldest months of the year. To enjoy a green lawn year round, consider overseeding your zoysia grasses with cold weather grasses now to provide a lush green lawn all winter long.

Call Landscape Associates for fall aeration and overseeding services, to keep your lawn looking its best this fall and winter.

Fall Blooming Flowers 

The rich colors of fall are perhaps the best part of the season, but it is not just the leaves changing in the trees that create these beautiful tones. You can add a tremendous amount of fall color to your landscape and garden by planting fall blooming flowers.

The most popular types of flowers for the fall include the purple hues of aster, chrysanthemums in a wide variety of colors, and the deep tones of sedum and Mexican sage. These hearty perennials can be planted and nurtured all year so that as the bright colors of summer are starting to fade, the richer tones of fall come through in your containers and gardens.

When selecting fall blooming flowers, you can easily arrange for newly potted mums to enjoy just for a single season, or you can plan your fall colors for every year by arranging your garden to bloom in different seasons. Potted fall flowers are simple ways to add boosts of color immediately, and you can easily move the potted plant into the garden when you change décor as well.

Call Landscape Associates to add seasonal color to your landscape this fall. 

Pest of the Month: White Grubs

White grubs have the look of fat little worms, but they are actually the larva stage of beetles. These junebugs and the other beetles you see around your home in the summer months have laid eggs that create the white grubs that can easily grow into a serious problem in the fall and winter.

While white grubs aren’t poisonous or at all harmful to people, they are very harmful to grass and lawns – especially if they appear in high numbers. When the grubs begin to feed, they can actually sever the root systems of the grass. Without roots, the grass dies and leaves patches of dead brown. You may even be able to roll up the patches of grass since they have very little actually holding them to the soil without roots.

To rid yourself of a white grub problem, you will need to treat your lawn with the pesticide designed for this particular variety of pests. The good news is that it is usually a topical application followed by a deep watering. The pesticide will filter through the grass to kill off the white grubs and prevent the continuation of the beetle and grub cycle as well.

Let Landscape Associates be your pest authority. Call us to help handle any pests in your lawn or outdoor areas.

Landscape Tip of the Month: September

Leaf Removal to Keep Your Turf Healthy 

While you may only get a handful of trees that turn out truly beautiful foliage this fall, you will likely still wind up with a yard full of leaves. Deciduous trees lose their leaves at different times throughout the winter months and when the trees shake off the leaves, they settle into a carpet on your lawn.

While crunching through leaves might be terrific fun, leaving those leaves in place on your lawn can actually cause damage to your grass in the long term. If you have just a handful of leaves on your lawn, your grass will be fine, generally. But if your trees produce a thick carpet of leaves, the matted leaves will block sunlight and air from circulating correctly.

The loss of sunshine and air will cause any plant to wither and die, and this is exactly what you can expect from your grass. In the case of leaves, the best defense against damage is to have the leaves collected on a regular basis to avoid the thick piles which can lead to problems.

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Landscape Associates – serving our customers with our attention to detail.





Trees and Shrubs for Fabulous Fall Color

While we think of the spring and summer months as a time of vibrant color and thriving plant growth, the fall can be just as beautiful with warm, rich tones as the seasons change once again. Planning your landscaping around fall plants can yield a stunning result that will last for many months and make your property warmer and more welcoming as well.

When selecting trees to plant at any time of the year, pay attention to the colors of their fall foliage. Having trees that turn beautiful shades of yellow, orange and red will make any landscape more interesting and attractive. Trees are not the only element in your garden that can show bold colors, however. Many shrubs and bushes will also have leaves change color.

Pairing these plants together to compliment the warm tones with some darker evergreens will be a dramatic statement and a delicious pop of color along a side walk, in front of a building or around a water feature. Rather than looking just for the orange and red tones that characterize fall, mix in darker tones as well such as those evergreen boughs or perhaps some darker strands of purple or even brown elements like decorative grasses to create striking notes of color and add depth to your plantings.

Call Landscape Associates for your fall landscape. We can design a landscape for you that will add color and drama to your property every autumn for years to come.

Fall Aeration & Overseeding 

The hottest months of summer are not ideal for planting, but once the cooler months of fall roll around, it’s easy to get excited about being outside again and enjoying your outdoor spaces. The cooler  weather and reduction of blistering midday sun make the fall months an especially good time to work on lawns and grass.

Over the hot months of summer, a layer of dry grasses builds up down near the ground in your lawn. This thatch makes it a challenge for grass to thrive. The process of aeration removes spikes of grass and digs holes down into the yard to help remove thatch and allow nutrients and water to once again reach the roots of the soil effectively.

Once the yard has been aerated, a process called overseeding is used to fill those left-behind holes with new grass seed. Often a second variety of grass is used to help thicken the lawn and fill in patches that may have been left behind over the hotter summer months.

Call Landscape Associates for core aeration and reseeding services for your lawn this fall. 

Pest of the Month: Tent Caterpillars
While many landscapes include plants designed to draw caterpillars and butterflies, there is definitely such as thing as too much of a good thing. The tent caterpillar does not grow into a beautiful butterfly. It develops into a moth, and the caterpillars can appear in terrific numbers in your garden or landscaping and cause a serious damage.

Tent caterpillars build large nests of silken strands spread between  branches in trees and shrubs. In addition to unattractive nests, when they emerge, the caterpillars will destroy large quantities of foliage on plants. This creates a double problem. The bare patches in plants are unattractive and often the ugly nests of the tent caterpillar fill in the open spaces creating a significant eyesore.

Removing tent caterpillars requires a great deal of preventative maintenance. During the cooler months of the fall and winter, when the nests are most exposed, remove the tents and with them the egg sacs of the caterpillars. To remove an infestation of caterpillars that have already hatched, garden pesticides can help to reduce or remove the problem insects completely.

Let Landscape Associates be your pest authority. Call us to help handle any pests in your lawn or outdoor areas.

Landscape Tip of the Month: August

Landscaping to Conserve Energy

It may not be the first thing to pop in your head when you think of saving money on energy bills, but landscaping can have a huge impact on how much you spend heating or cooling your properties ever month.

The biggest helper in terms of energy conservation is a mature tree. A tree that stretches out enough to shade the roof of a building can reduce temperatures in that building by as much as ten degrees in the summer months when air conditioning bills can soar. A deciduous tree will then lose its leaves in the winter months allowing the sunshine to fall on the roof helping to trap heat inside the building and reducing heating costs.

Vines and shrubs can also work as excellent insulation against the outside of walls. By growing vines along the walls of a building, the plants can help to insulate the walls themselves and the cracks found there against winter winds. A wind break, or a row of tall shrubs or trees planted in a line, can effective stop or reduce cold winds in the winter as well, reducing gusts and helping keep your heating costs down as well.

A windbreak can be built far from the home to protect wide areas of land or a row of thick hedges can be planted closer to a building to work as both insulation and protection against the wind. This is particularly effective on the north and northwest side of properties where colder winds tend to blow.

Fall is a great time to plant trees, and it’s just around the corner. Call LAI Pros for the right placement of new trees.

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Landscape Associates –  serving our customers with our attention to detail.



July 2013 LAI Pros Newsletter



Looking Ahead To Next Year

The peak season for planting is in the spring. What most people don’t realize is that most trees and shrubs should be planted in the fall months. It is the best time to have new landscaping put into place and in far less time than you might in the spring. Chrysanthemums are a great fall look to add to summer beds until the winter annuals go in at the end of October. Consider adding spring-flowering bulbs. The bulbs must also be planted in the fall for spring bloom.

Contact us for planning for your budgets for the next year. We will meet with you and quote your proposals for landscape enhancements, shrubs and trees for the following year.

Call or email us for an appointment today!

Invest In Container Gardens

A very easy way to make changes to your curb appeal and to boost the impact of your investment is to invest in stunning containers. A bit of ivy planted in the ground is not very striking. But trail that ivy from a stone container near the front doors and you have a totally different level of beauty and appeal. 

You can use containers around your property with special attention on the entrance. Containers are a good resource regardless of how much space you have to work with. If you have a wide porch, large containers, and even clusters of containers working down the porch stairs are stunning. 

A smaller porch or entryway might benefit from a more vertical arrangement with a tall, narrow container and plantings. Best of all, you can leave the containers in place and rotate your plants as the seasons change. 

Let Landscape Associates work with you to integrate beautiful container garden into your landscapes. Call us today.

Weathermatic Computerized Water Conservation Irrigation System
Water bills can be staggering – especially those for large properties in the summer months. But one company is trying to do more to reduce not only your water bill, but the actual amount of water that is being wasted every time you run your sprinkler system. 
Weathermatic realized that most property owners are overwatering by at least 38 percent when they turn on the sprinklers. And those sprinklers are accounting for half of the total water bill for the property. To help monitor and control water usage, Weathermatic created the SmartLink system.
The SmartLink system uses specialized sensors and web-based controls to actually determine when landscaping has been adequately watered. This feature will determine the optimum amount of watering based on the soil conditions and efficiency. The web-based controls also allow you to shut the sprinkler system off remotely at any time to avoid watering in the rain, or during times of local watering restrictions.
With all of the features working on the Weathermatic system, commercial sprinkler systems can be set to avoid watering during freezes, to water specifically to suit weather conditions, and sprinkler controls can be set remotely. Finally, all watering data is reported in real-time so that property owners can see the savings add up. 
Landscape Associates can help set up & maintain a comprehensive irrigation system. Call to schedule an appointment today.

Invest In Fall Curb Appeal

The cooler months of fall are excellent opportunities to start planning ways to spruce up your property’s curb appeal. Often, you can get serious bang for your buck in terms of plants, and with a bit of fall color, you can add a tremendous amount of appeal to your building’s exterior over the next few months.


Rose Rosette Disease
While many rose varieties are hearty enough to withstand just about anything Mother Nature throws at them, there is one disease that can cause significant trouble for certain varieties – including the Knockout roses that are so popular for their durability and drought resistance.
Rose Rosette disease has been around since the 1940s, but it has taken more than fifty years to make its way to the southern regions of the United States. The disease is common on multiflora roses, but can appear on any variety. 
The disease is spread by mites that are only visible on new plant growth using a magnifying lens, and the infection is most common in the spring. Even if you can’t see the mites, you may see other signs of infection including red leaves, small leaf growth, excessive thorns and rapid stem elongation. 
There is currently no cure for rose rosette disease. If you find plants on your property infected with the disease, they must be dug up and removed – including roots. This will help stop the spread of the disease to other plants, which is all that can be done to preserve your landscape. 
If you suspect this disease is present in your landscaping please call us today for an evaluation.

May 2013 LAI Pros Newsletter

Ideas for a Small Space

Often when we think of gardening, we envision large spaces full of pathways and greenery. While these gardens are beautiful, they are often unrealistic for those individuals with small yards or even no green space at all.

If you’re working in a small space, you do have an advantage over the larger areas. Small spaces are often less expensive to work in and you will be able to complete your tasks quickly – giving you more time to enjoy your space. Ideas to consider in your small space might include any of the following:

A Fire Feature – Fire features including a fire pit, a chimera or a full scale fireplace can make your space feel cozy and give it function as well. Arrange your fire feature in a place where you won’t be obstructed by trees or other fire hazards. Then prepare seating around your fire pit to enjoy in all seasons.

Edible Garden – In your small space, you can easily grow plenty of your own vegetables and herbs. Use a combination of containers, window boxes and small planting beds in the spaces that you do have available. Raised garden beds are an easy way to bring in planting space as well.

Garden Retreat – If you’re working with only a bit of space in the backyard, make that space very cozy by planting tall shrubs around your garden to block out a lot of the view outside of your space. Surround the center of your space with plantings and leave the center available for seating or a small stone patio.

Break Up the Space – Another simple trick to making a small space look larger is to split the space visually by using planting beds. Giving small areas of the yard specific purposes makes the whole yard look larger and server greater functions as well.

Container Gardening

If space is a serious consideration or if you’re looking to spruce up your patio, a container garden offers you tremendous possibilities without the need for large expanses of land. In a container garden, you’ll be planting in any number of pots and containers that are easily arranged for space limitations and aesthetics.

Planting in a Container Garden

You can plant just about anything in a container garden so long as your plants don’t outgrow their containers. Many containers are home to flowering annuals, evergreen perennials and, of course, several varieties of vegetables and some fruits. A container garden is the perfect place to grow herbs and kitchen vegetables such as cherry tomatoes and peppers.

Where to Create Your Garden

Provided it gets enough sunlight, a small patio can be an idea spot for a container garden. The containers are easy to reach for care and maintenance. Position your sun-loving plants like herbs and most annuals where they can receive at least six hours of sunlight every day – this may mean moving a bit outside of a covered patio. Shade tolerant plants will be easier to house near the walls of your home.

Caring For a Container Garden

Container gardens are easy to set up – pots of various size are all you need for your plants. But the care of those plants will ultimately make or break the success of the garden. As the weather grows warmer, containers lose moisture much faster than the ground. This means that a container garden may need watering every day to maintain optimum growth and beauty.

Landscape Tip of the Month: Core Aeration

May is the perfect month to schedule one of the most beneficial things you can do for your lawn –   core aeration. Core aeration improves rooting, enhances fertizlier and water uptake, accelerates thatch breakdown and improves the rooting of your grass. This is something you can do yourself if you wish to rent the equipment. Why bother? Call LAI to schedule that beneficial Core Aeration today. It’s truly landscaper’s secret to a beautiful lawn.

Pest of the Month – Bees

The word ‘bees’ brings to mind two distinct images. There are the lazy bumbling bumble bees that meander through your garden spreading pollen and love around your flowers and then there are the smaller bees that can appear in swarms and act aggressively. It’s an easy assumption that nobody really minds big honey bees – they aren’t particularly dangerous and they can do excellent things for your garden.

It is often other sorts of bees that can cause mischief in your garden and make it difficult to enjoy your outdoor spaces this summer. If you find yourself swarming with too many bees, be aware that in general there are no real “bad” bees. All bees help to pollinate and do important work for our environment. That being said, you might want to encourage them to go pollinate somewhere else – especially if you are allergic to bee stings.

When attempting to remove bees of any kind, try to remove them without harming or killing the bees. Bees are diminishing in number around the world, and this isn’t a good thing for agriculture. To remove bees from your garden, you can try a few different things to help them move on.

Move Garbage Cans – Bees enjoy the sweet smell of rotting food. If your garbage cans are close to your garden or patio, move them far away to draw off the bees. Be sure to check for spills and other sweet smells that may draw bees to your area.

Lure Bees Away – If you simply want the bees to get away from your patio or favorite sitting spot, try luring them away with fruit. Place sliced fruit in a paper bag. The smell of the fruit will attract bees. Every day move the fruit farther away to draw the bees away from their original location.

Remove the Nest – If you can locate the nest for the bees in your yard, you may have better luck getting them out of the way. Many bees nest in the ground, so covering your garden beds with mulch will help to drive out ground-nesting bees. Bees can be very dangerous, however, so it generally best to call in a professional to help exterminate or remove the bees to a safer location for both you and their colony.


Strawberry-Glazed Fruit Salad Recipe

Strawberry-Glazed Fruit Salad

1 qt. fresh strawberries, halved

1 can (20 oz.) pineapple chunks, drained

4 firm bananas

1 jar or pouch (16 oz.) strawberry glaze

In a large bowl, gently toss the strawberries, pineapple and bananas. Fold in glaze. Chill for at least 1 hour. Serves 6-8.


Landscape Associates, Inc.

Serving Alabama, Nashville, Chattanooga, Atlanta and Northwest Georgia


April 2013 LAI Pros Newsletter

Open up Irrigation Properly

Most commercial properties include irrigation systems. While these help to keep the property looking lush and green, they can be problematic if the system is poorly maintained. If your irrigation system seems riddled with sprinkler heads that don’t open properly, it’s time to do some maintenance on your system.

Most of the time when a sprinkler head doesn’t pop up fully, it is a pressure related problem. To open up the line, you’ll need to find and check each of the valves for your system. Start with the heads that don’t pop up fully. Check to be sure that they are set to maximum flow. If they don’t get enough pressure they won’t pop up fully. Then check the remaining valves of the system to be sure that they are fully open and allowing water to flow freely.

If the sprinkler heads are still sticking, it may be dirt or sand stuck inside the moving parts. To fix this, while the sprinkler is on, step on the head to push it gently back into the ground. Then move so that it can pop up again. Repeat this a few times to clean out the casing.

Call Landscape Associates now to schedule your irrigation system maintenance.

Water Features

A popular addition to any commercial property is a water feature. In the case of larger yards and landscaping, water features are most likely going to be large – not the small fountains that homeowners add to patios. Consider setting up a large fountain in a community area or even installing a pond or large waterfall style water feature.

These structures will require ongoing maintenance, of course, but they will add a new depth not only to the décor of your property, but to the overall feel of the outdoor spaces as well. Residents will enjoy sitting by the water in common areas, especially if landscaping and seating around the water feature is well maintained.

Let Landscape Associates work with you to design a beautiful water feature – large or small – for your property. Call us today.

Landscaping Maintenance without Disturbing the Residents

Maintaining your landscaping can be an ongoing challenge in a commercial property. Finding the best time to mow and use loud hedge trimmer or weed eaters presents something of a problem – residents tend to complain, often loudly, if maintenance occurs at the wrong time.

 The biggest consideration here is sleep. While there are residents asleep around the clock in a residential property, there are certain hours when the majority of residents expect quiet. If you follow the sleeping schedules of young children, you’ll be accommodating most of these routines. This would mean doing landscaping work after 8 am when the majority of residents should be awake and finishing up for the day before 7 pm when babies start going to bed.

Outdoor Living

Building community in your commercial space is easy when you include outdoor living spaces. Among the best features to include for residents you’ll find:

Firepits – A great way to bring people together, invest in a large fire pit and seating and then let your residents enjoy spending time together in the evenings or have special events around the fire, especially on cooler evenings.

Kitchens – An outdoor kitchen or grill makes it easy to have a gathering for your residents. You can easily provide the outdoor kitchen for community use or you can rent it out for a small fee or deposit to help cover the cost of installation and maintenance.

Play Areas – A play area or several play areas around your commercial property will encourage families to spend time out of doors and possibly be a deciding factor for new residents looking for a space that is fully family friendly.

Landscape Associates can help optimize your property for full  return on every inch of living space. Call to schedule and appointment today.



April 2013 LAI Pros Newsletter


Water Features

There is nothing that makes a more peaceful sound than a water feature in your garden or yard. Water features come in all shapes and sizes, and the feature you choose will not only need to match your garden décor and arrangements, but also be one that you can maintain easily.

A small fountain is far more easily maintained than a pond. Many fountains simply plug into a standard outlet and recycle the same water around the cycle. These water features need refilling from time to time but little else. A larger water feature, including ponds and large fountains, will require much more maintenance. Once you’ve selected the best water feature for your garden or yard, you can enjoy the sights and sounds of the water as you relax, work or play.

LAI Pros can schedule a consultation to help determine the best place for your water feature. Call us today.

Outdoor Living

As spring settles in, the party and everyday life easily moves outdoors. Features outside help set the scene and create an entire outdoor living space that you can enjoy during the day and well into the night as well. Among the most common features of an outdoor living space you’ll find:

Firepits –Build or buy a fire pit for your patio and you can have your own sing-alongs and marshmallow roasts or just sit back and enjoy the romance of the dancing flames.

Kitchens – With a fully functioning outdoor kitchen you can host grills and outdoor parties or just enjoy the warmer weather and spring breezes while you sample new recipes on the grill.

Play Areas – For the youngest members of your family, having an outdoor play area gives your children a space of their own, and a chance to exercise and enjoy the out-of-doors as well.

Are you ready to enjoy your newly designed outdoor living area? Call us today to schedule a consultation.

Landscape Tip of the Month: Staking

Not all trees need to be staked. In fact, it may be better to not stake your tree if it’s otherwise healthy and planted in normal conditions. But if you have a tree that is top heavy, planted in windy conditions or prone to be hit by children or pets, staking it will help it to grow safely in one place.

To stake a tree, decide first if you’ll need one or two stakes. Small trees just need one stake to hold the tree upright in the wind or offer balance. If your tree has a truck more than three inches in diameter, however, you’ll need to put two stakes on the tree opposing each other. Use soft material to hold the tree to the stake as this will allow the tree to grow normally.

Baked Coconut Shrimp

Baked Coconut Shrimp


1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup shredded coconut
1/3 cup bread crumbs or panko crumbs
2 eggs
2 tablespoons water
1 pound medium or large shrimp, deviened and tails off

Instructions: Set up a dredging station for the shrimp by adding the flour to a shallow bowl, mix the coconut and bread crumbs together in another shallow bowl, and beat the eggs and water together in another separate, shallow bowl.

Grease a large baking sheet. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Coat each shrimp in flour, then egg allowing the excess to drip off and then coat with the coconut mixture using your hands if needed to press them onto the shrimp. Designate one hand for dipping in egg and the other for the dry ingredients. Set them on the baking sheet. Repeat until all the shrimp are coated.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes depending on the size of your shrimp until golden brown and shrimp are cooked through. Serve with avocado dressing for dipping, in tacos or in a salad.

Pest of the Month – Lawn Fungus

Lawn fungus is very common in the South and if left untreated, can destroy your lawn.  The best defense is a good offense. Avoid fast release forms of nitrogen fertilizer as fungus attacks lush new growth. Water early in the mornings to give the moisture plenty of time to dry out. Keep lawns mowed on a regular basis at the proper height as lower than recommended encourages fungus.

The most common form of lawn fungus is commonly called brown patch. If you see widening circles of dead or dying grass on your lawn, treat the entire lawn with a fungicide as fungus usually spreads and treating just the visibly affected areas may not be enough to prevent continued problems.

Landscape Associates experts in lawn and pest problems can help you with all types of lawn problems. Call us immediatly if you suspect fungus in your lawn.

How to Prune Azaleas after Bloom

Pruning azaleas can be tricky. If you fail to prune at the right time, you might wind up with a giant blob of green in your yard with no flowers at all next spring. Pruning azaleas is actually simple once you know the right way to approach the task.

Trim your azaleas about three weeks after they finish blooming. This gives the plant plenty of time to develop new blooms for you to enjoy next year. Wait too long and you’ll cut off the flower buds and wind up with a green shrub. Use hand trimmers and cut the branches back to slightly different lengths to create a “cloud” shape. This will give your azaleas the most room to bloom next year. When pruning, cut back to the stem as leaving large bare stumps on the branches can cause dead wood and draw insects as well.

Call Landscape Associates to make your lawn and garden “summer ready.”

Choosing Summer Annuals

These are the months when we start to choose spring and summer annuals. These bright plants add color to a garden, but making the right choices can be tricky. When you’re choosing annuals for your garden, select plants that have been stored outside. This will prevent any shock tender young plants may feel if they have been inside and out of the heat of the day.

Also select annuals that show little or no root at the bottom of the container. Once a plant outgrows its container, you can expect it to be stressed when you plant it as the roots will be broken and must be regrown. When planting, gently remove the annual from the packing pot and spread the roots before placing the flower in the ground. Be sure to water frequently initially as this is the care these colorful plants received at the nursery.

Landscape Associates loves to help it’s customers select and plant annuals. Call us today to come out and design a beautiful annual garden for your enjoyment.

Avocado Buttermilk Dressing

Avocado Buttermilk Dressing

(Dip for the coconut shrimp)


3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 – 1 lime, juiced
1 avocado
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro or parsley
coarse salt

Instructions: Add the buttermilk, 1/2 of the lime juice, flesh of the avocado, sour cream, cilantro and about 1/4 teaspoon salt to a food processor or blender. Process until smooth. Taste and season with more salt and lime juice if desired. Refrigerate.

March 2013 LAI Pros Newsletter

What Do You Do If You See a Problem?

The best, and most frustrating, thing about a garden is that your space is always changing. About the time you get everything ideally planted, pruned and in bloom, insects move in or a neighbor’s new addition creates a patch of shade unexpectedly. When you see a problem in your garden, you’ll need to take action.

Shade – If your sunlight pattern changes, many of the plants you’ve selected may have to change along with it. Sun-loving plants won’t grow in the shade and vice versa. Some shade you may be able to adjust yourself, perhaps trim away branches to allow more light through, but more commonly you’ll simply have to adjust your plant selection to accommodate.

Traffic areas – People must move through your garden, and the best way to do this is to give them pathways to follow to avoid stepping on sensitive plants and grass. Use stones, gravel or even mulch to designate a particular path to follow through the yard to increase traffic flow.

Fungus – Prevent fungus by keeping your garden well drained. Add compost and if you spot fungus in your garden, try an organic fungicide first with copper or sulfur as ingredients. If those don’t work, try a full chemical fungicide to treat the problem.

Insects – Some plants are natural insect fighters, but insects are almost guaranteed to show up in your garden at some point. Mix coffee grounds into the soil and you’ll be able to keep many away. Chemical or organic pesticides are another good choice to beat bugs. 

Thatch – The thick mat of clippings and cuttings can suffocate your lawn. Fight back by de-thatching. Use a metal rake and drag it through the thatch to gather it up and clear it out.

Caring for Blooming Bulbs

Your hard work from the fall and winter is paying off with the appearance of blooms from long dormant bulbs. Blossoms from bulbs appear in the spring months and the blooms last through the middle of the summer months. Enjoy the flowers in your garden now and cut them as they start to fade, or perhaps before they fade if you’d like to enjoy the flowers in a vase. In some cases, clipping flowers as they fade will encourage the plant to continue producing flowers throughout the season.

When the growing season is over, the foliage will wither and die. It’s important to allow the plant to die completely without cutting or removing the foliage. This will give your bulbs the very best shot at appearing again next spring and summer for more color and beauty without the need to replant the bulbs in the fall.

Landscape Tip of the Month

Now is the time to test your irrigation system and make sure it is in good repair.  Inspect all the valves and valve boxes checking for any lawn intrusion that may block the sprinkler heads. Slowly turn on the main valve to fill the system. Once the system has water in it, turn on each zone and check each sprinkler head in each zone is working and positioned properly. Make any adjustments needed. If you have a rain sensor, uncover it and finally, reprogram the controls. If you have a battery back up – replace it now.

Too much to do? Call Landscape Associates for a routine irrigation system check up.

Pest of the Month: Fleas

Fleas are tough to get rid of, but when you suspect a problem with fleas in your yard or home, you must immediately act if you’re going to beat the issue. Fleas hatch in cycles, so a single treatment won’t be enough. Start by spraying the yard every three weeks for a 12 week cycle with an insecticide. Be sure to also treat the inside of your home as well on a similar schedule to avoid giving these pests anywhere to hide.

Stay alert to insect activity in your yard as fleas can come back on wandering cats or squirrels, even after you’ve spent weeks getting rid of the pests. The earlier you treat for fleas, the fewer products you have to use, generally, which makes the treatment easier and less expensive as well.

Landscape Associates is equipped to handle fleas and other lawn pests. Call us today to schedule an appointment.

Now is the Time for Blooming Evergreens

Holly, one of the most famous evergreens is currently in bloom. The flowers of an evergreen shrub are small and pale yellow in most cases. They have a slight, pleasant odor and the cheerful blooms may not be large, but they are significant enough to get the attention of your local bees.

Bees love holly blossoms, and if you have two holly bushes, you may be working toward some berries in the fall and winter months. To get berries from your blooming holly bushes, you’ll need both a male and female. While in bloom, the male bushes have yellow pollen on the flowers.

The female plant has only the white petals without a bit of yellowish pollen. Of course, if you have only one holly bush, you can enjoy the flowers now and you may still be able to enjoy berries if your neighbor has the male bush as bees don’t discriminate on property lines.

Landscape Associates lawn maintenance crews can help prepare your shrubs and lawn for the upcoming warm weather. Call to schedule and appointment today.

Roquefort Pear Salad Recipe

Roquefort Pear Salad

1 head leaf lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
3 pears – peeled, cored and chopped
5 ounces Roquefort cheese, crumbled
1 avocado – peeled, pitted, and diced
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup pecans
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons prepared mustard
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste
  In a skillet over medium heat, stir 1/4 cup of sugar together with the pecans. Continue stirring gently until sugar has melted and caramelized the pecans. Carefully transfer nuts onto waxed paper. Allow to cool, and break into pieces.
  For the dressing, blend oil, vinegar, 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, mustard, chopped garlic, salt, and pepper.
  In a large serving bowl, layer lettuce, pears, blue cheese, avocado, and green onions. Pour dressing over salad, sprinkle with pecans, and serve.


February 2013 LAI Pros Newsletter


A Glossary of Landscaping Terms

What good are landscaping articles and websites if you don’t understand the terminology? Knowing the proper terms of landscaping and gardening goes a long way to understanding and improving your own green spaces.

Annual – A flower or shrub that is described as an “annual” is one that appears or blooms for only one growing season. It blooms all season but doesn’t come back the next year. Annuals must be replanted every season or every year for continuing color.

Perennial – A perennial is a plant that grows and blooms throughout the year. Most perennials bloom either in the spring, summer or fall before becoming dormant in the winter. Then, in the spring they reappear during their blooming period with more color.

Irrigation – Irrigation has to do with the control and placement of water. Irrigation systems are the networks of hoses, pipes and drains that are put into place in your yard or garden to deliver the right amount of water to the plants and grass at the right time.

Aerate – To “aerate” is to open up the ground or garden to more airflow and exposure to things like fertilizer and water. When you aerate a yard, you simply poke holes through the grass into the dirt using a special spiked tool. 

Prune – To prune is to simply cut back growth. You might prune away the dead branches and flowers on a plant that is past its growing season or prune back bushes to stay in a desirable shape throughout the year, for example.

drawing of a crape myrtle prior to pruning

Don’t Murder Your Crape Myrtles

There is a term known among gardeners that is used very frequently this time of year – Crape Murder. Even if you’re not actually a gardener, you probably know what Crape Murder is because you’ve seen all of your neighbors do it, all of the local businesses do it and even some ill-informed gardening companies do it. Crape Murder occurs when you cut off all the branches of a crepe myrtle in the spring – leaving the plant as a stump in many cases.

Crape myrtles are ornamental trees destined to grow up to fifteen or twenty feet. The branches that many people cut off every year are supposed to grow and become thick and sturdy so that they can support the brilliant flowers that bloom on these plants annually. Unfortunately, when you cut off the branches and force new wimpy branches to grow anew, you’re depriving your crepe myrtle of proper support and the branches tend to lean, often dramatically, reaching to the ground because the skinny new branches can’t support the weight of the blooms.

When you go to trim your crepe myrtles, don’t hack off all of the branches. Instead, trim away the branches that are overlapping and thin out the middle of your crape myrtle so that light can reach all the portions of your tree. A good rule of thumb is this – never cut back a branch or limb larger than your largest finger. Take about 2/3rd off the longest branch from last year. Your plant should never look like you’ve lopped the top of it off.

Let Landscape Associates handle the treatment of your Crape Myrtles. They will thrive under our care and add beauty and color to your home.

Landscape Tip of the Month

Monkey grass is a versatile and popular ground cover in the south. To keep it healthy and looking its best, it should be pruned and cut back in late winter or very early spring before new growth starts. The easiest way to cut back Monkey grass is to set the lawn mower on the highest setting and cut the grass. This will remove the dead and yellow leaves from last season and give your Monkey grass a fresh start for the summer months.

Pest of the Month: Fire Ants

Fire ants. The very word makes most of us cringe. Painful bites and tremendous mounds can make gardening or mowing the yard a challenge. In many areas this is a year-long problem.  When dealing with fire ants, you have a few options to handling the problem, although it’s likely that you’ll continue to face trouble with the ants regardless of your solution – they are generally good at staying alive one way or another.

To treat for fire ants, first decide if you want to go with organic solutions or the chemical variety. The organic solutions, which usually include things like dried molasses and citrus peels, can dissuade ants from being in a particular area, but they are generally not as effective as the chemical treatments for eliminating ant colonies completely. Chemical treatments are usually sprinkled onto the mound directly or across the yard as a whole. Depending on the strength of the treatment, ants may be gone in as little as few hours.

Some ant treatments encourage ants to move while other options prevent the ants from reproducing by making them sterile. Still others poison the ants and eventually wipe out a colony as a whole. When using chemical ant treatments, it’s also important to remember that the strong poisons are also dangerous for household pets, other forms of wildlife and young children as well. Be sure use precaution when handling ants not only to prevent painful bites, but to prevent accidental poisoning as well. 

Landscape Associates is equipped to handle fire ants and other lawn pests. Call us today to schedule an appointment.

February Rose Pruning

February is the best month to begin trimming your roses. While it can be a bit nerve-wracking to start making big cuts on your favorite rose bushes, understand that roses are very resilient and they will grow back bigger and better than ever, even if you over prune them a bit now.

When pruning roses, your goal is to remove the weaker stems and the rangy look that can develop over the high growth season of the summer months. Look first at the bottom of the rose bush. The thick, healthy canes, or stems, of the plant should be left to support future growth. The thinner canes that crowd around the thicker canes can be pruned back.

Once the canes have been trimmed out from the bottom, prune away the crossing branches near the top of the plant. You want to finish your pruning with a rose bush free of overlapping branches future, healthy growth.

Landscape Associates lawn maintenance crews can help prepare your shrubs and lawn for the upcoming warm weather. Call to schedule and appointment today.

Quick and Easy Mexican Chicken

Quick And Easy Mexican Chicken Recipe

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 pinch each salt, black pepper, ground cumin

Preheat oven to 375. Heat a greased skillet to medium.  Rub chicken pieces with salt, pepper and cumin and add to hot skillet. Brown on both sides and cook until no longer pink. Transfer to casserole dish, top with salsa and cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes until cheese is bubbly and starts to brown. Serve over rice or buttered noodles.




January 2013 LAI Pros Newsletter

Why hire a Landscaper?

While anyone can dig a hole and put a plant in it, not everyone is blessed with the proverbial “green thumb” necessary to make those plants grow up strong, healthy and beautiful in your garden. In fact, it’s very possible that without research, the plants may have been positioned incorrectly for the maximum benefit of sun, shade and light positioning in your yard or garden.

Sometimes what we think may work is not always the case. A commercial landscaper will know what is right based on climate, shade or sunny, soil charactertics. A commercial landscaper may actually save money for you by planting the right plants for the location and not just guessing what is right. A professional  is knowledgable about the best and most attractive plants for your area as well as the best tricks and tips of the trade to make the plants look amazing in your space.

Often, creating something astonishing means you must go beyond just planting greenery.  A commercial landscaper is also adept with  stonework, water features and other distinctive aspects necessary to turn your yard into a true showpiece.

Spring is just around the corner – call Landscape Associates to help you turn your lawn into a showpiece!

Don’t forget….! 

The colder weather is the perfect time to get out in the garden. This may not be the ideal season to clip flowers, but it the ideal time to clean up your garden and landscape beds to prepare for the spring and summer months.

Start your clean-up efforts by clearing out any overgrown areas or weeds. Clear out dead branches and plants – being careful not to throw out perennials that will bounce back in the spring. Trim down your bushes and other non-blooming plants using a trimmer or clippers. Be sure to shape the hedges so that the sun can reach the lowest branches to avoid spots or bald areas.

Then, finally tackle your trees and ornamental plants by pruning these plants to clear away over growth, unattractive areas and to shape the plant overall. Be mindful, however, not to prune any early spring-blooming plants like azaleas or lilac as you may prune away your blossoms and hurt the plant. Wait until after they bloom to prune.

Call LAI to schedule your final winter clean up and get ready for spring!


Start preparing now for spring!

While you might look out the window and see the grays and rain of winter, you should be thinking about color, and lots of it. This is the perfect season to start planning your garden for spring, and if you’re interested in color early in the spring, this is the month to start turning over the soil and planting bulbs.

To prepare your garden beds for the spring, you’ll need to do a bit of work first. Clean up the beds by pruning existing plants wisely. Then, turn over the soil and work in fertilizer or compost. If your soil is not ideally balanced for your favorite plants, you may also need to add specific types of fertilizer to add or decrease the pH balance.

Finally, once your soil is soft and ready – even if it’s still cold – start digging for bulbs. Be sure to plant the bulbs for flowers like lily or crocus 5 – 6 inches below the surface of the soil with the tip of the bulb pointing up. You’ll start seeing green shoots about six weeks later.

Landscape Associates can take care of all your spring garden projects and help plan for a stunning lawn this summer. Call us today!


Pest of the Month: Deer

They are cute and movies have been made about them. However, deer are some of the largest pests in a garden due to their size and current population levels. Deer are persistent, and they are able to do quite a bit of damage to succulent new plants in a short amount of time. Deer enjoy grazing, and they do not see the distinction between your garden and their typical habitat in the nearby trees. In fact, they likely prefer your garden since there is more variety and the plants are especially tender.

Many home owners (often those without extensive gardens) encourage deer on their properties as they are attractive animals to watch. This can prove to be especially challenging for neighbors who do not enjoy visiting deer as the deer make no distinction between homes. There are two options available to prevent deer in the garden. The first is to plant items that naturally repel or are unappealing to deer like yarrow or sagebrush. The second option is to deter deer from entering your garden completely.

Deterring deer can be as simple as putting up a fence around your garden. There are also many different commercial and homemade deer repellents gardeners use to scare away the deer or offend their sense of smell. Finally, the sound of a dog barking or other “human” noises like a radio playing may be the ticket to getting the deer away from your hard work.

Landscape Associates has the tools and products to help keep deer and other pests from your garden. Give us a call today!

Pork Carnitas
(recipe adapted from Cooks Illustrated)
4 pound boneless pork butt, fat trimmed and cut into 2 inch cubes
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 onion, peeled and halved
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
2 Tb fresh lime juice
2 C water
1 medium orange, juiced and keep the spent halves

1.  Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat to 300 degrees.  Combine all the ingredients in a large Dutch oven, including the spent orange halves and juice.  Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, uncovered.  Once it simmers, cover pot and transfer it to the oven.  Cook until the meat falls apart when prodded with a fork, about 2 hours.
2.  Remove the pot from the oven and turn on the broiler.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the meat from the pan and place it on a large foil-lined jelly roll pan.  Remove and discard everything from the pot except for the cooking liquid.  Place pot over high heat on the stove and boil until thick and syrupy, about 20 minutes.  You should have about 1 C of liquid remaining when it is finished.
3.  While the liquid is reducing, use two forks to pull each cube of pork into three equal sized pieces.  Once the liquid has become a syrup, gently fold in the pieces of pork into the pot.  Try not to break up the pork any further.  Taste and add additional salt and pepper.
4.  Spread the pork back onto the foil lined pan and evenly spread the meat around so there is a single layer of meat.  Place the jelly roll pan on the lower middle rack of the oven and broil until the top of the meat is well browned and edges are slightly crisp, about 5 to 8 minutes.  Using a wide metal spatula, flip the pieces of meat and broil the other side until well browned and edges are slightly crisp, 5 to 8 minutes.  Serve immediately in a tortilla with all your favorite toppings.

(Thank you My Kitchen Escapedes.)