Boise is already a beautiful city but when October comes around, its beauty can’t be explained in words. These pictures taken by our own Bonnie Longie give you a glimpse, but we recommend you spend an autumn day in Boise & enjoy it for yourself!
Cabbage, kale, & pansies. In a trendy vegan restaurant, you might find these ingredients in a salad. In an even more trendy landscape company like Pro Care, you’ll find them in our flower beds sprinkled with a healthy dose of chrysanthemums for color. Just because the weather is cooling off, it doesn’t mean you have to have drab flower beds in the fall. Here are some ideas for your flower beds & planters this fall!
Some people don’t know what “aerating a lawn” means but those who do swear by it. An aerator is a machine that pulls plugs from the lawn to open thousands of little chambers within the soil. The machine deposits the plugs on the top of the grass, which to the untrained eye might look like a thousand poodles descended on the lawn for potty time. Fortunately the plugs breakdown over the course of just a couple of weeks. The benefits of aerating are many:
- Lower water consumption – the new pockets allow water to more easily infiltrate the soil, reducing pooling & runoff.
- Root development – roots need both oxygen & space in which to grow. Healthy roots make your lawn more resistant to heat stress, drought, insects, diseases, & weeds.
- More efficient use of fertilizer – fertilizer prills land closer to the roots for better absorption.
- Less compaction – Boise, Nampa, Meridian, & virtually all Treasure Valley soil is high in clay. Clay soil particles are very small & bind together, leaving little room for air, water, & root. An aerator quickly & effectively helps reduce compaction.
- Thatch reduction – thatch is the spongy layer of plant tissue just above the soil & below the grass blades. Less than 1″ of thatch is fine but more than that can bind up nutrients & breed diseases. Aerating helps break through the thatch layer & reduces it over time.
We like to aerate in the early spring & again in the fall. You can also apply seed to a thinning lawn or fertilize just after aerating.
“What about sprinklers? Won’t aerating damage them?” If your sprinkler pipes are buried more than 4″ deep (& they should be), they will be safe from the aerator’s tines. For sprinkler heads, most are visible when walking by them but for added safety, you can flag the sprinkler heads before aerating.
If you haven’t guessed by now, Pro Care’s experts are BIG FANS of aerating. Call us today (208) 288-5589 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment.
Why do we blow out sprinkler systems before winter? Because the expansion of freezing water can burst pipes, damage valves, & destroy expensive backflow devices. The result: hundreds or thousands of dollars in repairs, not to mention the potential for flooding next spring when the sprinkler system is activated. Although Pro Care’s sprinkler services are exclusive for our commercial clients, we’re happy to share our processes so homeowners can winterize their sprinkler systems the same way we would.
- Turn off water at the source. If you’re using city water, this will be a one of two valves about 3′-4′ underground near your backflow device (the other valve is the drain, which should already be closed). If you’re water comes from a homeowner association’s pump station, you’ll likely have just one valve connecting to it. Turn it off.
- Attach hose from air compressor.
- Open one sprinkler valve at a time while running your compressor. This can be done at your sprinkler controller or manually in the green valve boxes in your yard. Water will spray from nozzles, followed by mist. If you have rotor heads, close the valve before the mist runs out to prevent the gears from overheating or becoming damaged.
- Make note of any breaks, leaks, or malfunctioning heads. These will need to be repaired before activation next spring.
- When all zones are winterized, turn off the compressor & disconnect the hose. If using city water, open the drain valve next to the main (make sure you don’t accidentally open the main valve or you may have to redo the steps above). Also, open the test-cocks on the backflow device to 45 degree angles. This will allow what little water remains to easily drain out.
- Turn off the sprinkler controller.
You’re set! Now enjoy your favorite beverage knowing that your sprinkler system is put to bed for the year. Here are a few more tips:
- If you plan to rent an air compressor, reserve one early as they’ll be in high demand in the fall.
- Winterize your system before Halloween. You never know what November will bring. The polar vortex that enveloped the Treasure Valley for a week in mid-November 2015 caused a lot of damage to sprinkler systems that hadn’t yet been blown out.
- If you decide to hire one of the many unmarked trucks towing an air compressor through your neighborhood, do so with caution. Some of these are not professional companies & may not answer your calls or emails if they make a mistake that causes damage to your system. This is particularly true if the issue doesn’t manifest itself until the following April when you activate the sprinklers.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at email@example.com.
KBOI-TV interviewed Pro Care VP Kevin Allen & Production Manager Bonnie Longie about Pro Care’s three decade history of caring for some of Downtown Boise’s most impressive & important features: its flower planters. Click on the picture to see the story.
When Pro Care was founded in 1987, it’s President, Rodger Erstad, met with Downtown Boise Association Board Member, Joan Carley. Together they conceived an idea to add 12 flower planters in the Grove area at the heart of the city. Each year thereafter, a few more were added. Now, 500 gorgeous flower planters adorn Boise’s streets from Jefferson St to Myrtle St and from 3rd St to 13th. At least 44 city blocks are decorated with these planters. Surrounding properties have taken notice & added planters of their own, with Pro Care servicing approximately 150 of them. Pro Care has installed literally hundreds of unique species & varieties of flowers. We take copious notes throughout the year to document how each flower responds to the spring, summer heat, & cool autumn nights. We use this information to focus on plants that perform well in a variety of conditions. We also bring in at least 2 dozen new varieties each year from surrounding states.
Not only are Downtown Boise’s flower planters important to the city, they’re important to a family. The program started with Rodger & has been continued through his son, daughter-in-law, & niece, not to mention dozens from our Pro Care family who get up at 4:30 in the morning to care for these planters!
The next time you’re downtown, please take a moment to enjoy these stunning flowers before winter arrives!
Summer is extremely tough on plants. The heat, insects, weeds, water, etc. Autumn is an important season to help your lawn, trees, shrubs, & flowers recover, not only for the current season but to prepare it for next spring & summer, too.
Pro Care VP Kevin Allen shares tips with Ammie & Katie, co-hosts of Idaho-living. The segment can be viewed here:
Projects – fall is the ideal time to install a fire pit or plant a tree.
Trees/Shrubs – they’re likely shaggy coming out of summer. Cooler weather allows you to trim & prune your plants more aggressively if needed, to keep them better contained to their area in your yard. If you’re going to fertilize at all, fertilize in the fall. This is because plants use nutrients differently throughout the year. In the fall, plants are building roots. Strong roots makes plants more resistant to stress, diseases, & pests.
Lawn – just like with trees & shrubs, we focus on building strong roots. The trifecta of lawn service is: aerate, overseed, & fertilize.
Perennials/Annuals – most perennials will start to decline upon the first frost of the season. Let the above-ground tissue die back before cutting it off. This allows nutrients to return to the roots which gives your perennials the ability to jump out of the ground at the break of spring next year. Fall is also a great time to plant bulbs like tulips, daffodils, hyacinth, & crocus. Since those won’t emerge until next spring, consider planting stunning color combinations of mums, cabbage, kale, & pansies over the top. Most years, pansies also re-emerge in the spring offering a beautiful blanket of color beneath your emerging bulbs.
Sprinklers – if you’ve recently relocated to the Treasure Valley from a warmer climate, don’t forget to winterize your sprinkler system in October. While Pro Care only offers this service for its commercial clients, we’re happy to refer homeowners to companies who can assist. If you own or rent an air compressor, you may blow out the lines yourself. TIP – if you have rotor heads (those that rotate around as they spray), be sure not to run air through them for too long. They use water to lubricate their gears so if you blow every drop of water out of the lines & keep running the compressor, you risk damaging the gears.
So if you’re yard or landscape looks worse for the wear coming out of summer, invest some time & energy into it this fall. It’s a beautiful time of the year be in the garden!