Thursday, June 29, 2017

Homeowner Association rules and the importance of a well maintained lawn in Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Nampa, Idaho

Statistics show that currently one of out every five Americans live in neighborhoods that are under the rules and regulations set forth by a Homeowners Association (HOA).  HOA’s were formed in the 1960’s as private homeowners sought to preserve the quality and integrity of their housing developments.  Most of those who live in community’s with HOA’s are happy with the protection of home values and curb appeal that the HOA provides.  But there are those who have had negative run-ins and felt that their HOA overstepped their bounds and abused their power.  
Typically an HOA is formed by a developer of a neighborhood and as people buy homes within that community they join this association through a legally binding contract when they buy their home.  The rules by which the HOA are governed are contained within the CC&R’s (covenants, conditions, and restrictions).  These rules are not voluntary but as a homeowner you are legally obligated to follow them.  The rules that are found in the CC&R’s cannot violate state or federal laws regarding fair housing and access.  But they can determine what color you paint your home, what kind of fence you can use to enclose your backyard, and even the size of flag you can fly and how it is displayed.
So what happens if you decide to ignore the rules that are within your neighborhood CC&R’s? For example, what if you decided you didn’t want to mow your lawn anymore, what can you HOA do about it?
The HOA is responsible for enforcing the rules in the CC&R’s and if the rules state that your lawn cannot be more than 6 inches in height and you violate that rule they can take action to remedy the situation.  All HOA’s have procedures in place to deal with rule violations.  Usually the process begins with a notice from the HOA regarding the violation and a time frame in which the violation must be dealt with.  They usually provide several written warnings and give ample time before they move onto more drastic measures which can include suspending neighborhood privileges, fines, prosecution, and foreclosure proceedings.
Some HOA’s even have the power to resolve the issue at the homeowners expense.  Meaning that the HOA could hire a lawn care company to mow a lawn of a property owner who is not in compliance and that property owner would legally be required to pay the bill, which usually amounts to four or five times what a typical mow job would cost.
Sometimes HOA’s are seen as intrusive but the CC&R’s of a neighborhood are mean to protect each individual property owner and the value of their property.  One house in disarray can lower the value for the whole neighborhood.
At Organic Solutions! Inc., we understand the value in having a well maintained lawn.  We offer a wide range of services that can be customized to fit your needs and fulfill the requirements of your HOA.
Some of our services include:
Weekly lawn mowing which includes trimming, edging, and blowing;
Fertilization and weed control packages
Spring and fall clean-up, weeding, trimming, etc.
Tree care and maintenance
Insect Control
Sprinkler Turn-ons, blow-outs, repairs, and maintenance
Landscape design and installation
Snow removal
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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Tips for Regular Irrigation System Checks in Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Nampa, Idaho

Proper watering is crucial to keeping your lawn green and healthy looking.  As the temperatures heat up, you may start to notice brown patches in your lawn because of problems with your irrigation system.  If you have an automatic sprinkler system we have some tips on how to locate problems as well as preventative checks to keep the system running properly.
At the beginning of the watering season and periodically thereafter check the controller or timer.  Replace the backup battery, upgrade or install add-on sensors, and clean weather sensors as needed.  It is recommended that you adjust your timer monthly to account for changes in heat and weather.    A typical lawn should receive 1 to 1 ½ inches of water weekly through infrequent and deep watering. You can’t determine if your lawn needs more water by simply looking at the grass, instead you must look at the soil.  Take a sample of the top six inches of soil and if the soil is moist and sticks together it is receiving enough water.
Check your sprinklers often to confirm they are spraying properly.  Look for tilted or sunken sprinklers and fix to avoid brown spots.  Clear away grass, dirt, or weeds from sprinkler heads.  Check for clogs and clean the filters.  Make sure they are not overspraying onto hardscapes, houses, or fences which can cause damage to said surfaces as well as waste water.   Also make sure that your sprinklers do not cause excessive misting which can be caused by high water pressure and can be remedied with a pressure regulator at the beginning of the system or at the source with pressure-regulating heads or pressure-compensating nozzles.
Check the irrigation valves to make sure they are functioning properly and look for leaks.  Valves tend to be a source for constant leaks in the system.  A worn out diaphragm in the valve assembly results in water seeping down the irrigation pipes to the lowest sprinkler head.  If you notice a sprinkler head that always seems to have a little flow of water or even moss growing around it, it is a good indication of a problem at the valve.
You should probably flush irrigation lines and filters once or twice a year (even more if you have untreated water).  You can do this by finding the “end cap” which should be at the furthest point from the valve box.  Open the cap and let the system run to flush out any debris that could be clogging the line.  Make sure you turn off the water before you recap your line. 
You also need to make sure that the backflow prevention is functioning properly.  More and more cities are requiring that you have your system checked by a certified backflow inspector in order to keep city water lines free of pollutants.

Regular maintenance of your irrigation system can help to avoid major malfunctions down the road.  At Organic Solutions! Inc., we recognize that today’s irrigation systems can be difficult to set, maintain, and repair.  If you would like one of our expert team members to walk you through your system, check for appropriate coverage, and make repairs, call us today, 208-884-8986.  And remember that we also do end of season sprinkler blow-outs and beginning of season sprinkler turn-ons as well.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Tips for mowing in the hot days of summer in Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Nampa, Idaho

Mowing your lawn in the heat of summer increases your risk of heat related problems such as dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.  Certain age groups such as young children and older adults as well as people on certain medications are more susceptible to heat related illness.  Because of the seriousness of developing these issues, we have put together the following safety prevention tips for mowing your lawn on hot summer days:

Plan to mow in the early morning hours (after the lawn has dried from any morning watering or dew) or later in the evening but avoid mowing in the hottest part of the day

Drink plenty of fluids, avoid drinks containing caffeine and alcohol.  It is recommended that you drink 8 ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes in extreme heat.

Wear light-colored clothing made from breathable fabrics.  Multiple layers of clothing will trap in heat, so wear loose, single layer clothing.  Long sleeves and pants will not only protect you from sunburn but also from mosquito and bug bites as well as any debris that could be tossed up by the mower.  Wear a wide brimmed hat or sun visor.

Wear sunscreen.  If you get sunburned it will make it harder for your body to cool itself

Take frequent breaks in the shade or air-conditioning and if you have a large yard use one of your breaks to snack on something salty or eat a small meal.  When your done mowing eat a banana to boost your potassium and to boost your energy you might try some orange or tomato juice.

You may be tempted to try and hurry through and get the job done because of the heat but working slowly is better, exerting yourself too much will just dehydrate you faster.  If your grass has gotten long between mowing it will also mow better if you take it slower.

If the heat is an issue for you and your health, you may want to consider hiring a professional lawn care company.  At Organic Solutions! Inc., we can help you stay out of the heat and still have a beautiful well maintained lawn even in the dog days of summer.  For a free estimate on our weekly mowing service, call, 208-884-8986, or email,

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Pros and Cons of Sod, Seed, and Hydroseed in Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Nampa, Idaho

When it comes to putting in a new lawn we frequently get asked if the best course of action is to sod, seed, or hydroseed?  Our answer really depends on many factors involved in the conditions of the landscape we are dealing with as well as the budget considerations of the client.  

Here are some pros and cons for each of these methods:

Grass Seed:  Grass seed is the easiest and least expensive option for the do it yourselfers.  You can plant anytime from April to September as long as you can get enough water.  It is the slowest to green and takes several months before you can play on the grass.  Seed is also vulnerable to birds and wind and this may cause you to have to reseed certain areas the next season.  It’s recommended that you cover the seed with mulch or straw to protect the seeds from the elements.

Hydroseed:  Hydroseed is more expensive than grass seed but still a cheaper option than sod.  It usually requires a contractor to install, since there is special equipment involved in application.  You can apply hydroseed from March to October and it needs a lot of water.  It grows fairly quickly, greening up within 4-6 weeks.  You can’t play on the grass for 3 months in order to prevent damaging the roots.

Sod:  Sod is the highest priced option and can be done by a contractor or as a do it yourself project.  The advantage of sod is that you can plant anytime and that you have instant grass.  With sod you will still need lots of water, especially in the hotter months or you can get shrinkage.  There are some care considerations at first but minimal wait time to play on.  One downside to sod is the limited varieties of grass available.

No matter which choice you make, lawn site preparation is the same and extremely important to the success of your new grass.  If your replacing an existing lawn, you must kill it off first.  The ground will need to be tilled and amended, for example you will need to add organic matter such as compost, manure and quality topsoil to improve the clay soil.  The organic matter is also important in helping new grass roots absorb the nutrients in the soil.  It’s also recommended that you test the ph balance in the soil in the planning process so that adjustments can be made.

The goal is to have at least 4-6 inches of well-prepared soil, which includes starter fertilizers which are higher in phosphorous than a typical balanced fertilizer (although a different ratio may be required depending on soil tests).  Once the soil is ready it is graded to allow for drainage away from buildings and to provide a nice smooth surface for the grass.  Taking shortcuts in this process can lead to problems down the road with your new lawn. 

Once your new sod, seed, or hydroseed is installed there are critical care instructions to follow, especially regarding watering.  Not following through on this post-installation care could result in less than desirable results.

If you are considering replacing an existing lawn or putting in a lawn for a new construction, give us a call, 208-884-8986.  One of our team members can meet with you and discuss the best options for your landscape needs.



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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Prevention and treatment of Leaf Blight in Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Nampa, Idaho Lawns.

Over the past few blogs we have been identifying many of the common turf issues that can threaten your lawn.  Today we will be looking at Asochyta leaf blight.  Asochyta leaf blight an infection caused by a variety of fungi.  Many grasses are at risk of this blight but Kentucky bluegrass which is the most common form of turfgrass in the Boise, Idaho area is especially susceptible. 

Leaf blight comes on quickly and causes large brown or bleached looking patches to appear in the lawn.  Though the exact environmental trigger that causes leaf blight is unknown it generally occurs when the weather is alternating between very wet and very dry or when there is frequent irrigation during periods of hot weather.  It can also be found on drought – stressed turf.  Mowing the grass too often, too short, or with dull blades can contribute to the severity of leaf blight by injuring the grass and producing more wounds that are prone to infection.

Leaf blight spreads downward from the tip towards the base.  With a good magnifying glass you can see the minute yellow to dark brown/black flask-shaped spots which are the asexual reproductive structure, or fruiting body, in fungi.  If you do find leaf blight remember that because this fungus doesn’t attach the crowns or roots that it rarely kills the grass so you have no reason to panic.

Unfortunately Asochyta leaf blight is hard to treat with a fungicide but with good lawn practices your turf can recover.  Make sure that you are following good irrigation practices, which include infrequent but deep watering that occurs in the early morning or before noon.   Applying a balanced fertilizer can help strengthen grass but care needs to be taken not to apply too much nitrogen in the spring.  Keep mower blades sharp and mow when the lawn is dry to avoid spreading spores. If you do have blight increase the time between mowing to allow time for grass to heal and cut the grass just slightly shorter (2.5 to 3 inches) so that it doesn't get too long between mowing. Remember to never remove more than 1/3 of the blade at each cutting.  

It can take several weeks for your turf to recover from an asochyta leaf blight outbreak.  But the good news is that with the right conditions recovery almost always occurs and with cooler temperatures in the fall most cases of leaf blight will disappear allowing for a full recovery from even the most severe cases.

At Organic Solutions! Inc., we can help you implement the right lawn care practices to help prevent and treat outbreaks of Asochyta leaf blight.  Give us a call today for a free estimate on lawn fertilization and mowing packages, 208-884-8986. 

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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Annual Bluegrass weed and how to keep it from overtaking your Lawn in Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Nampa, Idaho.

As we begin to approach summer more and more lawns will begin to show signs that they have Poa Annua or Annual Bluegrass.  Contrary to its name Annual Bluegrass can be found in both annual and perennial varieties.  Annual bluegrass is a weed that for a short time looks like Kentucky Bluegrass, except it is slightly lighter in color and has a courser texture.  In late spring, early summer, Annual bluegrass will develop short seed heads.  As the weather gets hotter the weed will start to die off, leaving empty patches in your lawn.
Annual Bluegrass is very common and most lawns will have some signs of it.  But it doesn’t take much for this little problem to become a big nuisance.  One of the biggest contributors to Annual Bluegrass is mowing the grass too short.  When you cut your lawn at a height of 2 inches or less you are actually damaging the lawn turf (typically Kentucky Bluegrass) and encouraging the growth of the Annual Bluegrass weed.  When Kentucky Bluegrass is cut higher at the recommended 3 to 3.5 inches in the summer months it will be healthier and develop deeper roots enabling it to discourage the Annual Bluegrass. 
As with consistent mowing practices, good irrigation practices are also important in controlling Annual Bluegrass.  When a lawn is over watered it will encourage weed growth.  One of the biggest mistakes we see in the lawn care business is irrigation systems that are timed to go on every day for 20 minutes or more.  Kentucky Bluegrass, which is the most common lawn grass we see in the Boise, Idaho area, prefers deep infrequent watering around 1 to 1.5 inches a week.  Early morning watering is best so that the lawn can have time to dry out and discourage disease and fungal growth as well as weeds.
If you have a problem with Annual Bluegrass in your lawn it is advised that you bag your clippings.  This will prevent the seeds (at least some of them) from going back into the soil.  You can also remove the weeds before they go to seed and overseed in those areas with the appropriate turfgrass.
It is also recommended that you have your lawn treated with a pre-emergent herbicide that will keep the seeds from germinating.  Preemergent should be applied in late summer or early fall to be effective as Annual Bluegrass germinates when the weather turns cool and will continue to germinate over the winter.
A dense healthy lawn will make it harder for Annual Bluegrass to germinate and take root.  At Organic Solutions! Inc., we use the safest and most effective products available to improve the health of your lawn rather than just treat the symptoms.

For a free estimate on lawn care that will control the growth and spread of weeds such as Annual Bluegrass, give us a call, 208-884-8986, or email,

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Common Causes of Brown Spots and Patches in your Lawn in Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Nampa, Idaho.

June is usually the month where people start to notice that they have brown, bare, or dead patches in their lawn.  Diagnosing the cause of such spots can sometimes be elusive but we have assembled the following most common causes of lawn damage and demise:

Irrigation Issues – Most frequently browning of the lawn is caused by inadequate watering.  If only a certain section of lawn is turning brown it may be that you need to repair or adjust your sprinklers.  Over-watering can also cause brown patches in the lawn.  Proper irrigation practices are very important for the health of your lawn.  It is recommended that you water deeply but infrequently and early morning hours are the best.

Pet Damage – Lawn burn is caused by the urine of pets, typically dogs.  Dog urine has a lot of nitrogen in it.  Concentrated nitrogen will typically leave a round brown or dead looking spot in the lawn.  To combat lawn burn you can water down the areas after the dog urinates to dilute or you can train your dog to do their “business” in a less visible part of your yard.  You can also do some research on pet supplements and dog food that are formulated to decrease the strength of the nitrogen output.

Over fertilizing – Too much fertilizer can cause lawn burn so care is needed to avoid over spraying.  If you have spilled fertilizer or any other chemical on your lawn, water immediately to dilute.  Fertilization applications require knowledge of when and how much to apply in order to achieve the best results and not do more harm than good.

Improper Mowing – Lawn scalping can occur when you mow your grass too short.  Mowing with a dull blade can injure your lawn by tearing the grass rather than cutting it cleanly. And if you allow your grass to grow too long through inconsistent mowing the crowns of the lawn grow to a higher level and then when you do mow you damage the crowns which can cause that area of the grass to die off. 

Fungal Disease – Fungi typically create round patches of brown grass that continue to grow or multiply with new spots forming.  A good fungicide treatment is required to rid your lawn of this problem.

These are just a few of the common issues associated with dead, patchy, or discolored grass.  At Organic Solutions! Inc., we can provide the solutions you need for your lawns problems.  If you would like to receive an expert diagnosis and treatment plan from one of our experienced team members, please contact us!

Phone:  208-884-8986

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