Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Keeping weeds out of your gravel in Boise, Nampa, Eagle, and Meridian, Idaho

Having a gravel sidewalk, pathway, or driveway can add a lot of rustic charm to your home and is definitely more economical than other hardscape options such as pavers, asphalt, or concrete.  Gravel is not only more budget friendly but is also more environmentally friendly than many hardscape options because it allows for drainage.  But the one drawback that gravel has is that it can also become overgrown with weeds.

To avoid weeds in gravel there are a few steps you can take before you put gravel in.  It’s a good idea to turn the soil and check for and remove any weeds or plant life that is visible.  You can then put down some protective mulch or a fabric weed barrier before you lay the gravel.  A weed suppressant material is generally very effective in stopping weeds from growing but over time, especially with heavy use, the fabric can become damaged and small punctures form, allowing weeds to come through.  Airborne weeds can also grow on top of the fabric. 

Another option before laying your gravel is to “brine” the pathway with salt or a mixture of salt and vinegar.  The only downside to this organic method of weed control is that it can negatively impact grass and gardens nearby.  There are also preemergent herbicides that can stop weeds from germinating.

The thicker the gravel the less likely weeds will be able to break their way through.  It is recommended that you use a 3 to 5 inch layer of gravel to prevent weed growth.  Make sure that your gravel areas stay dry and that you are not allowing irrigation water to run on the gravel.  Water will facilitate weed growth.

If your gravel area is already in place and weeds are starting to become a problem there are some options.  If the area is relatively small you can pull the weeds by hand.  If you have a weed barrier in place, you may need to use a special tool such as a corkscrew or long bladed trowel to pull long rooted weeds out with minimal damage to the barrier.  Raking your gravel regularly can also help remove surface weeds.

As a full service lawn care and landscaping company, Organic Solutions, Inc., can help you prevent weeds before installing gravel or we can help you tackle the problem grass and weeds that are encroaching on your existing gravel pathways or driveways.  To speak to a professional about your particular concerns and to receive a free estimate, contact us today!  

Phone: 208-884-8986

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Friday, August 25, 2017

End of summer tips for maintaining a healthy lawn in Boise, Nampa, Eagle, and Meridian, Idaho

As August begins to wind down and our thoughts turn to fall, it is a good time to work on maintaining your lawn so that it will be healthy and better able to endure the cold months ahead.

Tips for maintaining a healthy lawn:

Watch for weeds – pulling weeds when you first notice them will not only help prevent more weeds but will also keep the weeds from sapping your lawn of the nutrients and moisture that it needs.  If weeds are an issue there are herbicides that can be used in cooler weather or consider a fall preemergent to help reduce seeds in the spring.

Mow properly – maintain a high setting on your lawn mower through these last warm days of summer will keep the tender blades shaded and reduce evaporation of water.  Do not mow grass if it is really dry as this will stress out your lawn even more.

Water – Water deeply and infrequently.  As the nights begin to cool, you can drop your watering to 3 times a week.  Make sure you water in the morning to avoid loss to evaporation and provide more water to the roots.

Fertilize – Adding fertilizer will help the health or your soil and your lawn and give it the best chance for making it through the winter.  Make sure you avoid applying fertilizer on those hot August days that reach over 85 degrees.

Grasscycle – Consider keeping the clippings on the lawn rather than carting them away.  The nutrients in the clippings will not only feed the roots but help to keep moisture in the soil.

Seed – Sprinkle grass seed in bare patches and areas that don’t seem to be thriving.  You will need to make sure that the seed gets plenty of water, watering daily until it sprouts.

Keeping a lawn healthy and beautiful requires consistency and vigilance.  At Organic Solutions! Inc, we have been in the business of providing excellent lawn care services since 2000.  If you would like to receive a free estimate on weekly mowing, lawn fertilization and weed control, sprinkler installation and repair, and/or seeding, please contact us, by phone, 208-884-8986, or by email,

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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Battling Nutsedge in your Boise, Nampa, Meridian, and Eagle lawn

Nutsedge is a pesky perennial weed that doesn’t play around.  Although it is sometimes called Nutgrass, it is technically not a grass but rather from the sedge family.  As the summer heats up nutsedge becomes more evident, with its light green color and unusual triangular blades that grows faster than the rest of your grass. 

More often than not we see nutsedge in neighborhoods that were once farm ground.  Not only is nutsedge a problem in agricultural fields but it is also easily spread when topsoil is added during new construction.  It can also be spread when planting ornamental plants from nurseries. 

What makes this perennial weed so invasive is the small underground tubers called nutlets that grow underneath the soil.  One single nutsedge plant can produce hundreds of tubers in the summer.  Frost will kill the above ground part of the plant in the winter but the tubers will survive and germinate throughout the spring and summer. 

Once your know your lawn has nutsedge you will have to become aggressive in combating it.  If you choose to tackle this weed by hand it is recommended that you use a digging tool rather than just pull the weeds.  You will need to dig deep, as far as 14 inches down in order to remove the nutlets and seeds.  Any remnants of this weed will re-spawn new growth.  Fill any holes you create with compost.

There are chemical treatments available for nutsedge but it is important to remember that as with most weeds, that chemical herbicides are just treating a symptom rather than the problem.  When nutsedge is flourishing in your grass it is usually because of compacted soil, overwatering, and/or lack of nutrients in your soil.

The best defense against nutsedge as with most weeds is to practice the principles for a healthy dense lawn.  To begin make sure that you are not mowing your lawn too short, a short cut will only encourage nutsedge growth, mowing at a higher setting will help your lawn grow better. 

Besides mowing, applying fertilization will not only address a lack of nutrients in the soil but an organic fertilizer will also naturally aerate your soil and help to combat the issue of soil compaction.  Soil compaction could be one of the causes for the swampy environment that nutsedge thrives in. 

Overwatering is one of the most common causes of nutsedge problems in Idaho lawns.  Idaho is naturally a desert environment and the modern sprinkler system has done wonders to help us water our lawns efficiently.  Unfortunately many people believe that their grass needs to be watered constantly, especially in the hot days of summer.  Actually your lawn will be healthier and nutsedge and other weeds will be less likely to survive if you water only a couple of times a week.  Deep, infrequent watering is better for your grass and better for the environment.

At Organic Solutions! Inc., we can identify nutsedge and recommend the best ways to eliminate this voracious weed from your lawn.  Our fertilization and weed control programs are scientifically designed to help you have nutrient rich soil to encourage deep root growth for a beautifully dense turf that will naturally fight off weeds and other turf diseases. 

If you would like an estimate on any of our lawn care or landscaping services, give us a call, 208-884-8986, or email us,

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Creating a clean edge for your lawn in Boise, Nampa, Eagle, and Meridian, Idaho

When it comes to aesthetics and design, well-defined lines create a finished look and when it comes to your landscape, edging is an important part of creating a beautifully manicured appearance.  Besides enhancing the appearance of your outdoor space, edging will help prevent grass from invading your flowerbeds.
Here are some tips for creating a crisp looking edge in your yard:
Outline your edge – This step is only necessary if you are creating a new bed.  With a garden hose or rope, mark your desired lines.  Remember that curved lines are more natural and are easier to maintain than straight lines. 
Cut your edge – Using a spade, half-moon edger or other tool designed for edging, refresh your existing edge.  For new edges, Cut straight down between the lawn and garden bed about 6”.  Then make another cut at a 45 degree angle toward the garden bed and away from the lawn until the two cuts meet.
Remove Turf – You can easily remove the loosened turf by hand.  If you have a compost pile, flip the turf chunks upside down and they will naturally die and become excellent mulch – if you place the grass right side up in the pile it could root and grow rather than decompose.
Create a trench – as you remove the turf, shaking off excess soil, you can mound the soil uphill towards the garden bed.  This trench is important for water to drain and soil to fall into as well creating a nice clean look.
Hone the Edge – for extra clean lines, use hand shears and cut any remaining grass blades along the vertical edge.  You can also do this step a couple of times during the season to keep your edges looking neat and manicured or use your trimmer each time you mow. 
Mulch the Bed – The final step is to add mulch to your edge as well as the garden beds.  Garden beds needs about 2 to 3 inches of mulch which will help keep in moisture and suppress weeds. 
Besides the traditional trench edge, you can also use decorative edging such as bricks, stones, and fencing material or more permanent edging such as metal rails, concrete curbing or mortared bricks and stones.  Finding materials that complement your existing home and landscape will enhance the overall effect and beauty of your outdoor spaces.  

At Organic Solutions! Inc., we can help you create a professional looking edge to your landscape as well as give you a healthy, dense, and green grass.  If you would like an estimate on any of our lawn care or landscaping services, give us a call, 208-884-8986, or email us,
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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 indicates an infestation on the perimeter of the house. 

If earwigs are present in your home it is 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,, 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,

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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.
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
Value program
*5 balanced lawn treatments
*Selective guaranteed weed control
*Crabgrass pre-emergent
*1 surface insect treatment
*Complimentary service calls
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,  You can also find more information about our company and services on our website,

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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,

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