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,

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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,

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

The importance of a healthy well maintained lawn for curb appeal in Boise, Meridian, Eagle, and Nampa, Idaho

The housing market in the Treasure Valley is red hot and perhaps you have thought about jumping on the band wagon and putting your house up for sale.  Before you rush to put up that sign, you might want to consider the condition of your lawn.  A well-maintained yard can not only add actual dollar sign value to your home but also generate interest.  There are many would be buyers who prefer that the lawn and landscaping of any prospective home is healthy and mature and believe that a well maintained lawn reflects on how well you have cared for and maintained your home as well.  We often talk about a home having curb appeal, but the truth is that first impressions are important!

At Organic Solutions! Inc., we have been in the business helping homeowners achieve a beautiful and healthy lawn for over 17 years in the Boise, Idaho area and have firsthand knowledge of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to caring for your lawn.  If you want to make a good first impression to home buyer’s here are some of common mistakes you will wish to avoid:

Improper irrigating - One of the mistakes we see is that people tend to either overwater or underwater their lawns.  Remember that turf grasses actually do better if managed on the dry side rather than wet.  If you overwater and your grass is constantly wet your grass roots will become deprived of oxygen and become more susceptible to disease.  Less frequent but longer periods of watering will promote deeper roots that will help your lawn weather the heat.  One of inch of water per week is recommended for healthy grass.  And remember that if you are watering, it is best to do it the morning between 6am and 10am to avoid as much evaporation as possible and give the lawn time to dry out before nightfall.

Forgetting to fertilize – Your lawn like any living organism requires the right nutrients to be strong and healthy.  It is important to recognize that adding nutrients and organic material to your lawn will help enrich your soil and in turn produce healthier conditions for your grass to not only survive but thrive in.  Fertilizing also helps to address the issue of weeds.  People commonly assume that they only need to treat the weeds in order to have a beautiful lawn.  The reality is that grass with a strong healthy root system will grow more dense and be more capable of fighting off weeds and turf diseases naturally.

Blunt Mower blades – dull blades do more harm than good when it comes to mowing.  A dull blade actually tears the grass and injures the blades resulting in trauma that can lead to stress and disease.  Sharp blades make a clean cut that will minimize blade trauma and reduce stress on your lawn.

Mowing the same way each time – people are creatures of habits and we tend to do the same thing the same way each time we do it but this can actually be a bad thing for our lawn.  If you mow in the same direction each time you mow you can actually mat down the grass and inhibit growth.  It is better to vary the pattern each time so that you get a clean cut and a healthier lawn.

Cutting the lawn too short – When grass is cut to short it allows the sun to reach through to weed seeds and cause them to germinate and grow.  Also, shorter grass tends to have a shallow root system which makes it more susceptible to heat and drought.  In general you should never cut off more than a third of the grass height per mow and your grass should be between 2 ½ inches to 3 ½ inches tall.

Failing to finish – there is more to having a beautiful yard than mowing the lawn.  It’s important to make sure that your yard has a neat and well cared for appearance.  Don’t forget that you will also need to invest some time each week trimming and edging around your lawn.  And always check and make sure that you haven’t left clippings laying around on the hardscapes.  You may want to invest in a leaf blower to make clean up easier and ensure that your yard always looks clean and neat.

Avoiding these mistakes can make a difference on the impression any prospective buyer will have of your home.  At Organic Solutions! Inc., we recognize that not everyone has the time or the proper equipment to maintain their yard on a weekly basis.  If you would like to ensure that your home makes a good first impression, contact us for a free estimate on any of our lawn care services from fertilization to weekly mowing.  We can be reached by phone, 208-884-8986, or by email,

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Friday, July 14, 2017

Why a professional lawn care program is beneficial to your lawn in Boise, Meridian, Eagle, and Nampa, Idaho

As we approach the midpoint of the summer season, we begin to field those phone calls from people who are noticing the weeds cropping up in their yards.  Unfortunately, in the heat of summer is the worst time to treat for weeds.  One of the reasons that hiring a good lawn care company to care for your lawn all through the growing season is that they know the best possible times to apply fertilization and weed control.  With this in mind we thought we would examine some of the reasons that consistent lawn care from a professional might be your best bet for maintaining a healthy lawn. 

Applying products to your lawn can be tricky business. Not only do you need to know what to apply, but you need to know when and how much to apply.  At Organic Solutions! Inc., we have the knowledge and experience to know how to treat your lawn appropriately for the best results.  We also have the tools and training that will provide your lawn with an even application.  Uneven applications of products can result in uneven color and growth as well as uneven success, meaning more weeds and pests in areas that received no application or minimal weed control/fertilization.

Fertilization schedules are important for a variety of reasons.  In the spring proper fertilization will help your lawn come out of winter dormancy and to replace the nutrients that have been lost.  After the first application it is recommended that fertilization take place every 4 to 8 weeks thereafter and especially in the fall.  The fall application of fertilizer will help fortify your lawn and build up the roots to withstand the winter ahead. 

Organic fertilization will help your soil be the best possible foundation to support a healthy lawn and a healthy lawn is less likely to have problems with weeds.  But sometimes, despite good health, weeds, disease, and insects can all play havoc on your lawn.  In Idaho, we often see problems with crabgrass and billbugs and there are ways to prevent this type of activity if the right applications are made in the spring and fall. 

At Organic Solutions! Inc., we have several packages that will give your lawn the nutrition it needs throughout the growing season.  We can also aid in the battle to keep turf disease, pests, and weeds from becoming a problem in your Idaho landscape.  If you would like an estimate on our lawn care programs, give us a call, 208-884-8986.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Tips for keeping your lawn healthy in the summer heat in Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Nampa, Idaho Landscape.

The heat is on is the Treasure Valley and people’s lawns are showing signs of stress.  We have provided some tips below to help you keep your lawn healthy in this hot weather.

Water – One of the mistakes we see is that people tend to either overwater or underwater their lawns.  Remember that turf grasses actually do better if managed on the dry side rather than wet.  If you overwater and your grass is constantly wet your grass roots will become deprived of oxygen and become more susceptible to disease.  Less frequent but longer periods of watering will promote deeper roots that will help your lawn weather the heat.  One of inch of water per week is recommended for healthy grass.  And remember that if you are watering, it is best to do it the morning between 6am and 10am to avoid as much evaporation as possible and give the lawn time to dry out before nightfall.

Mowing – It’s important to keep your blades sharp, a clean cut will heal faster than grass that is damaged by dull blades.  Remember that longer is better in the summer heat.  If you normally cut your grass to 2.5 inches, raise the height to 3 inches.  This will help the lawn stay cooler and develop stronger roots to withstand the stress of the heat.  If possible, return clippings to the lawn by using a mower that mulches rather than bags the cut grass.  The clippings will actually act as a fertilizer as they decompose. 

Fertilization/Weed Control – In the heat of summer fertilization and weed control should be limited by need because of the heat.  If your lawn has issues with insects or weeds it will definitely benefit from treatment.  If your lawn has been properly treated in the spring and fall it will tolerate the heat more easily.  Season long care of you lawn that includes fertilization and weed control will produce a healthy lawn that is able to withstand the stress of extreme heat.

If you lawn is stressed from the heat and dry make sure you limit activity.  When you walk on a dry lawn you can actually damage it and it won’t spring back like a well-watered lawn.

If your lawn still doesn’t seem to be thriving in the heat even with healthy practices (watering, mowing, and fertilization/weed control) it may be time to consider overseeding.  Fall is the best time to seed your lawn and there are many seed varieties available to fit the conditions of your lawn, whether your property gets lots of sun or shade, has high traffic, or sandy soil.  Picking the right seed is important in order to meet the conditions of the lawn as well as match the existing turf.

 At Organic Solutions! We have been in the business of helping people in Boise, Idaho and the surrounding areas keep their lawns healthy since 2000.  If you need help with weekly mowing, sprinkler repair, or weed control/fertilization, give us a contact us for a free estimate on our services, by phone, 208-884-8986, or by email,

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Friday, July 7, 2017

Tips on preventing mosquitos in your in Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Nampa, Idaho Landscape.

Mosquitoes aren’t just a nuisance they can be carriers of some very serious diseases.  In Idaho we have had several confirmed cases of people being infected with the West Nile Virus.  West Nile can cause serious illness in people of any age but those over the age of 50 or who have underlying medical conditions are especially at risk.  West Nile symptoms can be very serious and painful and last for days to months.  West Nile can also be neuroinvasive and infect the brain causing seizures and paralysis and in rare cases even death.  Because of the risks it important to limit exposure to mosquitoes and do all that you can to keep your property from being a mosquito breeding ground.

If you are planning to be outside when and where mosquitoes are active (generally they are most active between dusk and dawn) make sure to wear repellent containing DEET, Picaridin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus which are all EPA-approved repellents.  It is also recommended that you wear clothing that covers up your skin and to cover baby strollers and carriers with mosquito netting.

To prevent mosquitoes from ruining an evening get together on the patio, you can place a simple box fan nearby to blow mosquitoes away from you and your guests.  They are unable to fly against strong wind currents.

To prevent mosquitoes from coming inside, make sure that you have screens on your windows and doors and repair when torn.  Also check and make sure that you have adequate seals on your doors.

The best thing that you can do to prevent mosquito bites is to do all that you can to prevent mosquitoes from hatching on your property.  Mosquitoes like to lay their eggs in standing water, especially water that has collected dead leaves, grass clippings, or any organic material. They will not lay eggs in water if it is too clean.  The amount of water that they will lay their eggs in can be as small as a bottle cap.  

With this in mind here are some common objects and places that produce mosquitoes:

Rain Gutters – when rain gutters are clogged with leaves they can hold standing water as well.

Swimming pools – swimming pools of all sizes need to be kept clean and covered when not in use.  Pool covers can also be breeding sites for mosquitoes, so make sure they are fastened tight.

Tires – if you are storing tires, put them in the shed or garage so that they don’t fill with water.  Any tire swings should have a hold drilled in the bottom to allow water to escape. 

Garbage Cans – like tires, keep them inside or drill a hole in the bottom.

Flower Pots – Even small drain dishes on a flower pot can hold enough water to produce hundreds of mosquitoes

Tarps – Always keep tarps tight on boats, RV’s, or other items so that they don’t have depressions that can fill with water.

Boats - If you boat isn’t covered, turn it upside down so that it won’t collect water or remove the plug in the bottom of the boat so that it can drain.

Wheel Barrows/Buckets - Make sure to check for standing water and keep them turned over to prevent water collecting in these type of items.

Vegetation – Overgrown vegetation can also contribute to mosquito breeding.  Yards with well-trimmed lawns and vegetation have fewer places for mosquitoes to hide and breed. 

Bird Baths/Dog Bowls/Troughs – any outside water containers should be emptied frequently and filled with fresh clean water.

Irrigation – Do not over-irrigate your lawn and landscape not only can it lead to tremendous hatch offs of mosquitoes it can also contribute to other fungal and plant diseases.

As the weather warms up the mosquitoes will reproduce more rapidly.  If you suspect that there are potential mosquito production areas on or near your property call your local mosquito abatement district for recommendations. 

At Organic Solutions! Inc., we want you and your family to have a safe, happy, and healthy summer.  We can help you have a well-manicured and healthy landscape.  If you need help with lawn mowing, trimming, pruning, or weeding, give us a call for a free estimate, 208-884-8986 or contact us by email,

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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Drip Irrigation systems for conserving water in Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Nampa, Idaho

Irrigation water is an extremely important resource in Idaho.  In the treasure valley, not only do the farmers rely on irrigation for their crops, but many residential neighborhoods use it to water their lawns and gardens.  Access to irrigation water can be limited by drought and as demand grows with an ever increasing population, water conservation is becoming a hot topic in our area.
At Organic Solutions! Inc., we are always looking for ways to offer the best services and products that are also environmentally responsible.  One of the ways in which we help homeowners have a beautiful yard and conserve water at the same time is by installing Drip Irrigation lines. 

Drip irrigation (also known as trickle irrigation) is a form of irrigation that allows water to drip slowly to the roots of plants.  Drip irrigation was commercialized by Israeli engineers in the 1950’ as a way to deliver water directly to the plant and eliminate waste through evaporation.  Compared to other types of irrigation (sprinkler or flood/furrow irrigation), only the immediate root zone of each plant receives water. 
Here are some of the benefits of a Drip irrigation system:
Efficiency – water goes right to the roots which means less run-off and evaporation
Versatility – Drip irrigation systems can be adapted to any landscape.  A drip system can be installed for containers on balconies, in rows in large garden beds, on sloped areas where other forms of irrigation are difficult, and flexible enough for an odd shaped lot or garden bed.
Savings – You can save up to 50% of your annual water bill as compared to other forms of irrigation.  In comparison you can also save money on the energy it takes to run the system.
Conservation – not only do you save water with drip irrigation but you also conserve soil by limiting loss to erosion.
Reduces pests and weeds – Drip systems reduce pests, weeds, and fungal growth that are promoted by surface water or by wet foliage.
Drip systems operate quietly which is both a pro and a con.  The disadvantage to a quieter operation is that you can’t tell by sound if it is operating like it should.  One of the main problems with drip systems is that the emitters can easily become clogged, especially if using untreated water.  Filtration is needed to help keep the lines free from blockages.
A drip system isn’t your best choice for a large lawn area but can be used in conjunction with a standard sprinkler system.  For a large or irregularly shaped yard, you can water the main area with standard sprinklers and then use drip emitters around the edges and drip lines in the garden beds.  With today’s timers you can easily regulate the amount of water that each section receives.
A properly installed drip irrigation system will save you money and help the environment.  It will also provide your plants with the water they need, right where they need it most.  If you would like information on installing a drip irrigation system, give us a call, 208-884-8986, or contact us by email,

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