Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Keeping earwigs away from your home and landscape in Boise, Meridian, Eagle, and Nampa, Idaho


The frightful looks of the earwig have made them the source of folk lore and superstition making us believe that at least they will use their pinchers to hurt us or at worst they will purposefully crawl into our ears to lay their eggs.  Of course these tales are mostly fictional.  Earwigs could like any other insect wander into an ear canal by accident but for the most part they are fairly harmless to humans.

Earwigs have on occasion pinched but typically without breaking the skin.  Most earwig pinches happen accidently when a human sits on one or comes into contact with an earwig without their knowledge.  If you happen to be pinched by an earwig, simply wash the area to protect against bacterial infections.  Generally earwigs in North America are harmless, neither harboring nor spreading infectious diseases. 

Identifying an earwig is relatively easy since few other bugs have a set of scary looking pinchers on their tails which are known as cerci.  The cerci are used to ward of enemies, to catch prey, and are important for attracting mates.  Like the tusks of an elephant, the cerci are indicators of gender with the male earwig’s being longer and more curved.

Female earwigs will lay 20-60 eggs in an underground chamber just a few inches under the soil.  The eggs hatch in about a week and the young nymphs appear as miniature versions as they go through several molting stages before reaching adulthood 10 weeks later.  Both young and adult earwigs require a moist environment to survive.

Earwigs are primarily nocturnal, feeding at night.  They eat anything from insects to decomposing plant material to live plants including field crops.  Plants can become ragged overnight, with leaves appearing jagged and full of holes.  Most often this occurs after rainy weather which forces the earwigs to find shelter by climbing up into the plants and leaves. 

During the day earwigs find shelter under organic matter such as mulch, leaf litter, or any dark and damp area such as underneath rocks, potted plants, and sidewalks and near foundations.  You can often find earwigs clustered together in large numbers because they aren’t territorial and tend to find the same hiding places.

Because earwigs tend to congregate together they can also produce large populations rather quickly.  Since earwigs do not breed indoors, any sign of earwigs within a home usually indicated an infestation on the perimeter of the house. 

If earwigs are present in your home it usually because they have been inadvertently brought in or are seeking a more hospitable environment either because the weather is too cold or their normal shelter has become too dry. 

There are some ways to prevent earwig populations from becoming a problem on your property.  Because they are attracted to moisture you can look for ways to eliminate damp conditions around crawl spaces, faucets, vents, and along foundations.  Make sure that gutters and spouts direct rain water away from the foundation.  Make sure that all entry points such as doors, windows, and pipes are sealed with caulk or weather stripping.  Creating a clean, dry border in the immediate vicinity of the home is your best defense.  Attracting birds to your yard is also another natural way to reduce earwig populations.


At Organic Solutions Inc., we can treat the problem areas around the foundation of your home and outbuildings to limit earwig populations and keep them from getting inside your home.  If you would like an estimate for insecticide that will take care of earwigs, spiders, and other insects, contact us today.  

We can be reached by email, organicsolutionsinc@outlook.com, or by phone, 208-884-8986.


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Friday, August 11, 2017

August preparations you can do for a healthy lawn and landscape in Boise, Meridian, Eagle, and Nampa, Idaho

It’s August in the Treasure Valley and kids are preparing to go back to school.  As the summer begins to wind down it’s a good time to do some lawn and landscape preparation as well.  This month is a great time to evaluate your landscape and determine what steps will be needed to have a healthy yard next year. 
Here are some ideas of how you can use this month to have a healthier lawn and landscape:
Fertilize – Applying fertilizer towards the end of summer will go a long way to helping your lawn grow in the Spring.  At this time of year your lawn is lacking nitrogen as well as some other important nutrients.  Fertilizing with an organic fertilizer will supply your lawn with the nutrients it needs to continue to grow well as the weather cools down. 
Prune – removing dead branches and trimming up the shrubs and small trees on your yard will not only help your landscape look clean and neat but it will also prevent dead material from accumulating on your lawn and plants.  If debris builds up, it will smother any grass or vegetation and make it hard for them to grow.
Irrigate – Even though the weather is cooling down, temperatures are still high enough that it is important to ensure that your plants and lawn are getting enough water.  Early mornings are the best time to water.
Weed – As soon as you notice a weed, pull it.  If you don’t get to them right way they will go to seed.  Weeds spread quickly and if you want to prevent your lawn or garden beds from having lots of weeds next year, it is important to take care of them now.
Overseed – If you need to sow new grass, the middle of August to mid-September is the perfect time in our region.  New grass seed can be applied to bare spots or areas that are thin or dying so that it has time to germinate and establish roots before winter sets in.  Make sure that your new grass is receiving plenty of water during this critical time.
Practice Deadheading – Removing the dead or faded flowers from annuals, roses, or perennials will help maintain their appearance as well improve their performance.  Removing the deadheads will also help them to continue to bloom through the fall.
August isn’t the time to slack off when it comes to your Idaho landscape.  The more you can do now to prepare your lawn and gardens for winter the happier you will be with your landscape in the Spring. 

At Organic Solutions! Inc., we can take the hassle out of your lawn care and landscaping preparations.  If you would like an estimate on our services, please give us a call, 208-884-8986, or email us, organicsolutionsinc@outlook.com.

For more great information check out our website:  www.idahoorganicsolutions.com
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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Lawn Care programs designed for a healthy beautiful lawn in Boise, Eagle, Nampa, and Meridian, Idaho

Beautiful lawns don’t just happen by accident.  A lush healthy lawn requires planning and patience.  And part of that planning process involves seasonal lawn fertilization.  But because there is a science involved in the type of fertilizer and when it can be applied during the year, your best bet is to find a lawn care company that understands the science and can help develop a lawn care program designed with your yards unique needs in mind.
In Idaho most people have Kentucky Blue grass or another variety of cool season grasses.  Cool season grasses come out of their winter dormancy in early spring and begin to grow rapidly.  This growth slows down in the summer heat and then slowly picks back up in the fall with cooler temperatures.  In the fall most of the growth energy is focused on root growth and carbohydrate storage in preparation for winter.
A good lawn fertilization program will take the growth cycle of grass into consideration, applying just enough to keep the grass functioning properly but not cause any stress.  Organic fertilizer is a great choice because not only is safer but it is less likely to burn your lawn and it will also promote healthy soil through beneficial soil microorganisms which provides natural aeration of the soil.
Consistent fertilization will help your lawn recover from stresses and diseases as well as improve color, density, and growth.  Fertilization when accompanied by preventive insect control for billbug and other damaging insects as well as weed prevention and control measures is the best way to ensure a healthy beautiful lawn all season long.
At Organic Solutions! Inc., we understand your lawn’s needs as well as the particular needs of grasses grown in Idaho.  With this information in mind, we have developed some lawn care programs that can be customized to meet your particular needs.
Gold
Top choice
Complete program
*5 balanced lawn treatments
*Selective guaranteed weed control
*2 Crabgrass pre-emergent and weed control (spring & fall)
*1 surface insect treatments
*complimentary service calls
*priority scheduling
Silver
Value program
*5 balanced lawn treatments
*Selective guaranteed weed control
*Crabgrass pre-emergent
*1 surface insect treatment
*Complimentary service calls
Bronze
Basic program
*3 balanced lawn treatments
*Selective weed control
*Crabgrass pre-emergent


If you would like more information on our lawn care programs, please contact us today for a free estimate.  We can be reached by phone, 208-884-8986, or by email, organicsolutionsinc@outlook.com.  You can also find more information about our company and services on our website, www.idahoorganicsolutions.com.

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Friday, August 4, 2017

Five common summer lawn problems in Boise, Eagle, Nampa, and Meridian, Idaho

It is summer in Idaho and invariably between high heat, increased traffic from kids at play, and pets, our lawns are showing signs of stress.  In today’s blog we thought we would examine some of the worst summer lawn care issues and what you can do about them.

Crabgrass – Unfortunately by the time you realize you have a problem with crabgrass it is too late in the season to treat appropriately.  There are products available to kill crabgrass but care needs to be taken when applying weed killer in the summer – If the temperatures are high you may damage your lawn and cause even more problems.  You can hand-pull the weeds before they go to seed to prevent their spreading.  Your most effective means of treating crabgrass begins in the spring when you can apply a pre-emergent that will keep the crabgrass from germinating in the first place.  


Dog Issues – Dogs urine can cause damage resulting in unsightly round brown patches  in your lawn.  Dogs especially have a high concentration of nitrogen in their urine which actually burns your lawn.  The best way to prevent such damage is to water down the area immediately after the dog has urinated on it.  Another idea to keep damage to a minimum is to train your pet to only use a certain area of the yard perhaps a section that gets little use or is out of sight.  You can repair damaged sections of your lawn by removing the dead grass and replacing with a section of sod that you have purchased or removed from a different part of your yard.  Make sure you press it down firmly and water frequently, keeping it moist until it takes root.

Billbug – Damage from billbugs begins to show up in later summer and early fall when their larvae (grubs) have hatched and are feasting on your lawn.  If you have wilted or dried out patches of grass that are easily pulled up when you tug on them – it is a good indication of billbug damage.  Like the issues we have with crabgrass, by the time you know you have a problem it is usually too late in the season to treat effectively.  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.

Too much shade – When it is hot outside it is hard to think that too much shade could be a problem but you can have thin or bare spots in shady areas of your yard.  This problem can be solved by thinning tree branches to allow in more sunlight or by seeding these problem areas with a turf grass that grows better in the shade.  Seeding is best done in the fall when the climate is more moderate.
Problem Areas – If you have areas where the grass is struggling to grow you may want to discern if it lies in a high traffic area.  High traffic damage could be caused by pets that run a certain route every time they go out, kids playing near a swing set, or that route you take to get the mail or go to the shed.  If you have a high traffic area you may want to assess if there are ways to prevent the damage or if it is time to replace the lawn with hardscape walkway made out of flagstone or pavers or for larger areas like beneath a kids playset you want to opt for sand, gravel, or mulch in place of grass.


Besides these common issues there is also damage done to turfgrass in the summer through improper watering and mowing.  You can check out our previous blog articles on how to properly care for your lawn during the heat of summer.


At Organic Solutions! Inc., we can help you diagnose and treat your lawn issues as well as provide alternative landscaping solutions.  If you would like to meet with one of our expert team members to discuss your lawns particular needs, give us a call, 208-884-8986.


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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Keeping your lawn healthy in the summer heat in Boise, Eagle, Nampa, and Meridian, Idaho

The temperature gauge has been steadily reading “HOT” in Idaho and the summer heat is beginning to take its toll on our lawns.  Most Treasure Valley lawns prefer temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s and when daily temperatures are in 90’s and above they begin to shut down to protect themselves resulting in brown patches and an influx of weeds.

High heat can be brutal on lawns, especially if they are thin or unhealthy already.  Hot soil leads to crabgrass germination which loves the hot and dry weather that are typical of July and August in Boise, Idaho.  Other  heat-loving weeds such as oxallis, spotted spurge, and black medic will pop up and quickly fill in thin or bare spots in your lawn. 

The best way to keep your lawn healthy and the weeds at bay begins in the Spring when you can apply a pre-emergent and broadleaf weed control.  But if you failed to do this there are some measures you can take in the summer to contain the weeds and contribute to a healthier lawn.

One of the issues we see often in the Treasure Valley is issues with irrigation.  Over watering and under watering both cause damage to your lawn and it is important to remember that deep infrequent watering is best.  Most grasses need an inch of water per week and in the peak of summer they may need more.  It is a good idea to measure the amount of water your sprinklers are putting out to determine how long they need to run to provide just the right amount.  One simple way to measure your water is to put an old tuna can out and see how long it takes to fill up.
 
Besides inadequate watering, mowing your lawn too short is another practice that puts your grass at risk.  In the heat of summer you should keep your grass at 3 inches.  Any shorter and you are compounding the stress that the summer heat is already putting on your lawn. 

Someone said to think of summer as a time to get your lawn through a bad cold or flu.  The idea being to do all you can to prevent as much damage as possible from weeds, insects, and disease while your lawn is in an already vulnerable state.


At Organic Solutions! Inc., we know that a best offense is a good defense.  We can help you wage the battle against weeds, insects, and disease and create a beautiful healthy landscape that you can enjoy all season long.  If you would like a free estimate on our lawn care packages, contact us by phone, 208-884-8986, or by email, organicsolutionsinc@outlook.com

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Quackgrass is no laughing matter in Boise, Eagle, Nampa, and Meridian, Idaho

It might sound funny, but Quackgrass is no laughing matter.  Quackgrass (sometimes called devils grass, quick grass, and knot grass) is a perennial grass with stalky thick stems and wide hairy looking blades and is often confused with Crabgrass or tall fescue.  Even though quackgrass looks similar to these other weeds the treatment is different and so it is important to have a correct diagnosis.


Quakgrass is often planted in your lawn or gardens by birds who love the tasty seeds that this weed produces.  It can also be spread by straw bales.  Once quakgrass begins to grow it spreads rapidly and if you wait until this weed goes to seed to mow it down you can further complicate the problem.

With a prolific weed such as quackgrass you want to deal with it as soon as you notice its presence.  If you do find quakgrass in your lawn or garden bed, remove as carefully as possible, trying not to break off the roots.  If a root breaks and part of it is left in the soil it will soon grow again into a new plant so you will want to check that area frequently to remove any new growth.

Once quackgrass sets in it is one of the hardest weeds to eliminate because it is almost impossible to kill quackgrass without affecting neighboring plant life.  

Besides manually pulling up the weed there are a few options you can try.

Although it takes some time and patience you can smother or solarize the grass.  If you place dark plastic over the location and anchor it with rocks you can block out access to sunlight and water and smother the grass within 3-4 weeks.  Or if you use a clear plastic in the summer you can overheat the grass and solarize – this will also take a few weeks to work.

You can use a herbicide to treat quackgrass but because there isn’t an herbicide that will selectively treat this invasive weed, you risk killing any grass or plants around it.  Once you have killed off the weed with a herbicide you will want to make sure and seed those areas in your lawn to promote the growth of the grass you desire. 

Because of the difficulty in eliminating quackgrass once it takes hold in your lawn it is wise to remember that a healthy dense lawn is your best defense in keeping this weed from germinating in the first place.  Applying fertilizer and mowing and irrigating properly are all steps you can take to help your lawn resist this prolific weed with the funny sounding name!


If your Idaho lawn or garden is being overrun by quakgrass or any other weed and you would like assistance in eliminating them, contact us for a free estimate on our services.  We can be reached by phone, 208-884-8986 or by email, organicsolutionsinc@outlook.com.


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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

How to defend your lawn against those weeds that creep in Boise, Eagle, Nampa, and Meridian, Idaho

In our blog we have discussed some of the common weeds such as crabgrass and annual bluegrass weed and today we are going to tackle some really creepy weeds.  By creepy we mean those weeds that creep through your lawn such as chickweed, creeping speedwell, mugwort, bindweed and creeping Charlie (also called ground ivy or other name depending on region).  These creepy weeds can cause some major frustration because they are especially fast spreading and come back year after year.  Besides the annoyance factor, what you may not realize is that when these type of weeds are thriving in your lawn or garden it generally means you have more problems than you realize.

These creeping weeds as well as other weeds are opportunists which means that they will take advantage of any weakness in your turf grass, especially any thinning grass or bare patches.  They also thrive in nutrient poor soil.  The best solution to weeds is to keep your soil and your lawn as healthy as possible.  At Organic Solutions! Inc., we don’t just treat weeds because we recognize the importance of healthy soil for a healthy lawn.  A healthy lawn will grow in thick and dense and be able to resist the growth of weeds and other turf diseases. 

Herbicides are helpful against the creepy weed varieties when they have already begun to grow but in the long run it won’t keep them from coming back.  Preemergents can also help keep these creepy weeds from germinating but because of the nature of these creepy weeds you will need more than one treatment and it will work better in combination with a good fertilization schedule.  

Your best defense against these prolific creeping weeds is to eliminate them as soon as you see them by pulling them or cutting them off at the soil level and then concentrate on improving the health of your lawn.

Some recommendations for combating weeds is to raise the mower height to 2.5 to 3 inches, longer grass makes it harder for sunlight to nourish weeds and it also produces healthier grass.  Besides mowing height make sure that you are also irrigating properly, meaning deeply and infrequently, and increase soil fertility through the application of fertilizer.  All of these steps will discourage weed growth.


If your Idaho lawn or garden is being overrun by weeds of the creepy variety and you would like assistance in eliminating them, contact us for a free estimate on our services.  We can be reached by phone, 208-884-8986 or by email, organicsolutionsinc@outlook.com.

Check out our website for more great information on lawn care and landscaping:  www.idahoorganicsolutions.com

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