Friday, May 18, 2018

Preventing and Treating Billbug damage in Boise, Eagle, Meridian, and Nampa Idaho.

In Idaho one of the most common but misdiagnosed issues that people have with their lawn is the damage done by billbugs and their larvae.  The problem is that the damage that billbugs cause isn’t seen until mid to late summer and people often associate the patchy brown spots in their lawn with disease or summer dryness rather than the work of this very resilient creature.

Adult billbug beetles are one of the most difficult pests to control because of their armor-type body which makes it more difficult for insecticides to be absorbed.  They tend to winter on or near lawns that were infested the previous year.  The adult billbugs are active in the spring but most of the visible damage that occurs to the lawn happens after their larvae, known as grubs, are hatched.  Billbug grubs feed on grass roots and stems and cause extensive damage that causes dead brown patches in your lawn.
To determine if you have billbug activity in areas that appear drought stressed or patches of yellow or brown, grab the grass plants by the stem and give them a slight tug.  If there is billbug activity the grass will come up easily and you will most likely find small grains of sand-like material at the base.  This material, or frass as it is known, is the droppings from the insects. 
The earlier you can treat for billbug infestation the more damage you can prevent.  At Organic Solutions! Inc., we apply billbug control in the late spring before the grubs are able to hatch.  We also apply organic fertilizer which helps to reduce the likelihood of billbug infestation.   Keeping your lawn properly irrigated and fertilized will also help it recover from billbug grub damage.
If you would like to prevent billbug problems in your lawn give us a call to find out about our lawn care programs and let the experts take the guesswork out of diagnosing and caring for your lawn.  We can be reached by phone, 208-884-8986, or through email,
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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Patience and Persistence result in a healthy and beautiful yard in Boise, Eagle, Meridian, and Nampa Idaho.

Hal Borland wrote, "Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience.  Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence."

Patience and persistence are qualities that many of us struggle with in our culture today.   We have become unaccustomed to waiting in a world of fast food, express lanes, and high speed internet.  Many frustrated homeowners don’t realize that attaining that perfect emerald green lawn takes a lot more than regular mowing but a lot of patience and persistence as well.

Having a beautiful lawn requires persistent dedication as well as a whole lot of effort.  Not only is consistent mowing and trimming a must, it also take regular fertilizations and the ability to troubleshoot and treat each problem as it arises.

Often time homeowners in an effort to beautify their lawns will resort to quick release fertilizers that may contain harmful chemicals as well as can contribute to even more problems for your grass if over watered.  They may not realize that there are organic options available that are safer for the environment as well as for their family and pets. 

For homeowners who are looking for a “green” alternative, organic fertilizers, with a little patience, can actually outperform the more toxic options over the long run.  Organic fertilizer is made up of living organisms that over time will naturally aerate your lawn and prevent having to manually aerate. It also releases nutrients at a slower pace and over a longer period of time than synthetic fertilizers which improves the health and quality of the grass.

A lawn care system that incorporates organic fertilizer may take longer to see results because they work by actually building up the health of the soil.  Having healthy soil full of good nutrients will help your lawn grow stronger and denser so that it can naturally fight off weeds and diseases.  But this natural approach may take time and patience to achieve, depending on how unhealthy your lawn was to begin with.

If you would like to have a beautiful lawn that is also safe for you and those you love, consider the long term benefits of an organic lawn care system.  At Organic Solutions! Inc., we pride ourselves on eco-friendly products, friendly and consistent service, and the persistence to help you achieve the lawn of your dreams.

Contact us today for a free estimate.  We can be reached by phone, 208-884-8986, by email,, or through our website,

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Friday, April 6, 2018

Landscaping problem areas beneath the trees in Boise, Eagle, Meridian, and Nampa, Idaho

One of the common complaints we hear in the lawn care and landscaping business in the Boise, Idaho area is the difficulty of growing grass underneath the trees.  This has a lot to do with the type of grass, the amount of shade, and the condition of the soil as well as the root system.  There are some grasses that do better than others, at Organic Solutions, Inc., we can help you find a grass that will work for your particular situation or if you are tired of trying to mow or trim underneath your tree(s), there are some alternatives to grass or bare ground that make an attractive solution.

One option is to find a groundcover to replace the grass under your tree.  You have to be careful when choosing a groundcover, making sure that it does well in the shade and soil conditions.  You also need to consider how aggressive the ground cover is and if you need to contain it in a formal garden bed. 

Using plants and/or mulch around the base of a tree can benefit the tree if done correctly and be pleasing to the eye as well.  If you decide to mulch you should not go deeper than 2-3 inches and make sure that the mulch does not actually touch the base of the tree.

Mulching or using a ground cover are easy options but maybe not as interesting as adding plants and flowers.  If you decide that you want to a focal point around the base of your tree by adding plantings, there are some things to consider.

One should always be cautious about planting around mature trees to avoid damage to the root system.  Some trees are more sensitive to root and soil disturbance than others.  For example a beech or a dogwood is less tolerant than a poplar or a crabapple.  You many need to do some research on your particular tree before you decide what to plant and how.

You may need to trim the lower branches before planting, not only to make it easier to work in that area but also to provide more sunlight, even shade tolerant plants need some sunlight. 

One of the mistakes many people make when deciding to plant a garden beneath a tree is to build up the soil and make a raised bed.  This change in soil depth can be detrimental to a tree.  It is better to disturb the soil only where you are planting. 

When considering the type of plant or flower, make sure that it won’t grow too tall or spread out too much.  It is recommended that you purchase the smallest size of the plant you are choosing so that you only need a small hole to plant it in.  This makes it easier to tuck the plants in between the roots. 

You will most likely have to sever some small roots to plant but if the root is larger than 1 ½ inches in diameter it is best to leave it and dig beside it.  To avoid damaging the trunk, plant at least 12 inches away.  You can fill the hole in with some organic matter.  After you have installed the plants, water the entire area to allow for settling.  Then you can spread mulch over the area if you would like, no more than 3 inches deep. 

Once your chosen plants are in the ground they will need some care as they will be competing with the tree for nutrients and water.  You will need to water weekly unless you have a lot of rain and you may need to spot water if the tree seems to be absorbing all the moisture.  You should avoid fertilizer the first year so that the roots of the new plantings will develop, especially if you have chosen perennials. 

Adding compost or other organic matter such as manure can help replenish the nutrients and help the soil retain moisture better.  Make sure to keep the depth of the organic matter under 3 inches.

Planting with these cautions in mind, you will soon have a shade garden that is beautiful to behold as well as beneficial to the tree.

If you would like to meet with one of our experienced team member's to talk about shade friendly turf or landscaping options for your mature trees, please contact us.  We can be reached by phone, 208-884-8986, or by email,
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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Spring lawn Care steps for a healthy and beautiful yard in Boise, Eagle, Meridian, and Nampa Idaho.

Today is the first day of spring on the calendar and many homeowners are wondering if there are steps they can take now to ensure a beautiful lawn this summer. 
Below are some of the recommendations to help prevent or minimize common problems as well as increase the health or your yard in the spring:

Take a survey or your trees and hedges.  Do they need pruning or shaping?  Now is the time to decide whether you want to take this on yourself or hire someone to do them for you.

Are there depressions in your grass where puddles are forming after a rain?  Low spots will cause poor drainage which can lead to lawn weeds, lawn pests and lawn diseases.  This is another good time to practice organic lawn care. To level out the area, take compost and mix it with top soil.  Put the mixture on any areas with low spots.  Take a rake and level out the area.

Clean up any leaves or branches, dog waste, or other items that may have accumulated on your lawn or in garden beds through the winter.  (Remember that yard waste makes great compost).

Apply Pre-Emergent to you lawn in early spring to prevent crab grass and other problem weeds from germinating.

Apply fertilizer to your lawn in mid-spring to give it the nutrients it needs to be healthy.  Healthy grass Is able to resist diseases and weeds better as well as just plain looks better.

Mow and Trim your lawn.  It is recommended that the first mowing of the season be short (2 to 2 ¾ inches) which will help eliminate dead grass.

A lush green lawn in summer begins with planning and implementation in the spring.  At Organic Solutions! Inc., we can design a plan that will keep your grasses and landscape healthy through each season of the year.  Contact us today for a free estimate.

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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Pruning tips for your trees, shrubs and flowers in Boise, Eagle, Meridian, and Nampa Idaho.

At Organic Solutions! Inc., we are gearing up for Spring and getting ready to start our spring pruning and clean-ups.  Pruning is an art as well as a science, knowing how to prune as well as when to prune can make all the difference on how well your shrubs and trees grow and thrive. 

For the novice pruner, a good place to start is to remove dead, diseased, or damaged stems/branches in order to prevent disease or insect infestation.  After these have been removed, pruning should focus on removing crossing branches, water spouts (vigorous shoots that grow straight up from the trunk or side branches) and suckers (those shoots that develop beneath or near the ground).

Proper pruning techniques are important but there are rules of thumb that need to be observed as to when to prune.  In today’s blog, we will highlight some of the best times to prune for a variety of flowers, edibles, shrubs, and trees.

Flowers look best when you remove the old and fading flowers, a process known as deadheading.  This process allows them to put more energy into blooming rather than going to seed, and in many cases result in even more blooms.  Annual flowers don’t need a lot of pruning, but you can prevent sprawling and help the plants to look more dense by removing some of the long, bare stems.  Perennial flowers can become tall and leggy and flop over, when this happens you can try shearing them back to 6-12 inches above ground which will help them to branch out and become stockier.

Edibles, such as berries and grapes also require pruning.  Grape vines require extensive pruning to keep them productive.  It is best to prune grapes during the dormant season.    Bush berries such as blueberry, gooseberry, and currant bushes are most productive when one third of the oldest stems are cut to ground level in winter.  Cane berries such as raspberries and blackberries typically grow on stems called canes which don’t fruit until its second year of growth.  As these canes fruit and die a new years growth is also developing that will fruit the following year.  After the cane has finished bearing they won’t bear again need to be removed.  You can also pinch back the tips of the first-year canes when they reach about 3-4 feet in order to cause the cane to branch.  An exception to this rule are Everbearing type of raspberries.  This variety will develop fruit on first year canes.  Don’t pinch them back but allow them to flower and fruit.  In winter you can remove the stem tips of the canes that bore fruit so that it will produce a crop the following spring and then you can remove that cane completely.

Shrubs that don’t produce showy blooms such as barberry and burning bush can be pruned almost anytime except in late autumn.  If you want to do major pruning on these bushes, it is best to wait until the shrub has gone into dormancy in the winter.  Shrubs such as boxwood and privet are often sheared to form a hedge.  To maintain good growth, shear the new growth frequently during the early part of the growing season.  It is best to keep the top more narrow than the bottom so that the upper branches don’t shade the lower branches.  Stop shearing hedges about 6 weeks before the first frost. 

Spring-flowering trees and shrubs such as lilac and rhododendron bear flowers on wood formed the previous year.  The best time to prune them is in late spring as soon as they finish blooming.  If you wait you will end up removing flower buds and decrease the amount of bloom for spring.  It is a good idea to remove some of the oldest shoots all the way to ground so that younger stems can grow and bloom. 

Summer-blooming trees and shrubs such as butterfly bush and crape myrtle produce flowers on new growth from the current season.  It is best to prune these in the winter when dormant or in early spring before new growth.  You can even cut them all the way to the ground in late winter and they will still bloom that summer. 

Roses such as climbers and old garden varieties that bloom only once a year should be pruned after they finish blooming.  Repeat bloomers including hybrid tea roses and modern shrub roses are pruned mostly to retain shape or remove winter damaged canes.  If they do become overgrown, cut them back in early spring.

Trees come in all shapes and sizes and each variety has specific pruning needs.  For deciduous trees such as oak, linden, and ash they should be pruned when they are dormant in winter.   Some trees such as maples, birches, elms, and dogwoods are known to produce heavy sap flow when pruned in winter.  This sap may be unsightly, but doesn’t harm the tree.  But if you desire you can prune these varieties when their leaves have fully expanded in the summer.

Deciduous fruit trees (apples, crabapples, peaches, pears, plums, and cherries) should be pruned in midwinter.  Although it may remove some of the flower buds, it will open up the tree and allow in more light for a better crop of fruit.  If you wait and prune during the growing season you can expose the tree to bacterial disease.

Evergreen trees and shrubs also have different pruning seasons, depending on type.  Most broadleaf evergreens such as holly need little pruning.  The best time is early spring, just before their growth spurt but you can do minor shaping/pruning at other times of year as well.  Needle-leaf or scale Evergreens such as juniper, cypress, yew, fir, and arborvitae are best pruned early in the growing season.  You can trim a few branch tips in midwinter for indoor decorations.   True pine trees are more particular and form buds only at the branch tips before the stem becomes woody.  For best results prune only a portion of the new growth (candle stage) before the needles have fully expanded.  Prune only about half of the expanding “candle”. 

At Organic Solutions! Inc., we can expertly prune your trees and provide seasonal clean up services to keep your yard beautiful all year long.  If you live in the Treasure Valley and would like an estimate for any or our lawn care or landscaping services, call us today, 208-884-8986

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Preventing Crabgrass in Boise, Eagle, Meridian, and Nampa Idaho.

One of the most common weed problems that we encounter in the Boise, Idaho area is Crabgrass.  Crabgrass is a difficult weed to control and sometimes impossible to eradicate completely.  Crabgrass grows vigorously in the summer heat and then goes to seed before dying in the fall.  A single crabgrass weed can distribute thousands of seeds many of these seeds will germinate the following spring.  But some of seeds will lay dormant and germinate years later. 

The most effective way to treat crabgrass is to use a pre-emergent herbicide.  When applied in the spring it will destroy the seedlings before they can sprout.  Because of the way a pre-emergent herbicide works, the timing of the application is critical.  If you apply too early the herbicide breaks down before it is needed.  If you apply too late, the seeds have already germinated and the herbicide is ineffective. 
Another way to help your lawn fight off crabgrass is to do all you can to ensure that your lawn is healthy.  This includes the following steps:
Fertilize to increase the nutrients in the soil;
Filling in bald spots by overseeding;
Irrigating correctly which means deeply and less frequently; and
Mowing consistently and not too short.

A dense healthy lawn will make it harder for crabgrass seeds to germinate and take root.  At Organic Solutions! Inc., we use organic products that actually improve the health of your lawn rather than just treat the symptoms.

To schedule spring pre-emergent or to receive a free estimate on lawncare, give us a call, 208-884-8986.

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Friday, February 9, 2018

Why hire a professional lawn care company in Boise, Eagle, Meridian, and Nampa Idaho.

A great looking yard doesn’t happen by accident it takes consistency, knowledge, and hard work to achieve that perfect green lawn that is the envy of the neighborhood.  Not only does a healthy lawn require a consistent mowing schedule it also requires fertilization.  But fertilization and lawn treatment requirements are time sensitive and unique to each lawns needs.  The knowledge of seasonal care requirements as well as how to treat the various problems that may arise can be daunting. 

Here are some of the main reasons you might consider hiring a professional lawn care company:

Consistent Scheduling.  Timing is extremely important in the care and treatment of your yard.  There are certain seasons in which some treatments are more successful than others.  For example if you want a Pre-Emergent that keeps weeds from germinating, you have a very small window in the spring and the fall in which to get optimum results.  And for a healthy lawn, regular fertilization spread throughout the growing season is recommended.

Proper Methods.  An experienced lawn tech will know what treatments work for your particular grass and the issues that may be stressing it.  They can adjust the amounts of fertilizer and the type of nutrients they use each time they come based on the needs at the time.  They will also know when and how to apply the treatments for the best result.

Healthy Outcomes.  At Organic Solutions, Inc., we endeavor to use organic products that not only increase the health of your lawn but are also safe for you, your family, and your pets.  We are continually striving for excellence in the lawn care industry and seeking to use the very best and safest products available.

If you would like to take the time and worry out of keeping your lawn fed and healthy, give us a call for a free estimate, 208-884-8986.   You can also reach us by email,, or through our website,!

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