Thank you for your interest in Blade to Blade. We know your landscape is a source of pride and we value this by delivering to you a quality product with outstanding service. Our approach to maintenance provides a well balanced approach to lawn care to maximize resources, health and performance. We don’t look to be the cheapest in town, only to be the best. We know you have many choices of service providers and we feel that you will find the greatest value with us. As we seek not only to provide but also to educate and inform so that the customer will understand and appreciate the services we offer. We look forward to serving you and solving your pressing landscape issues!
Before we get started we must have a fundamental understanding about the local climate. We live in a “high plains desert”, we have poor soil and we have a really short growing season. It is critical to remember that while certain plants will grow here, we are in essence creating an artificial, man-made environment that has no natural way of sustaining itself with out direct human intervention. In a nutshell, if you neglect the needs of your landscape, it will ultimately fail you and rob you along the way. A healthy lawn requires a certain level of commitment to the basics, which when adhered to, will allow your turf to reach it’s potential. Your level of participation and cooperation in our system will play a huge part in your landscapes success. While there are many challenges to our lawns here strict adherence to some basic rules will help you achieve the lawn that you have always wanted. A great looking lawn is not an event or a singular service, but an ongoing, year-around effort. We have created our landscapes to provide us with an element around our home that provides us with comfort and joy. We have identified nine critical areas that are necessary for effective landscape management. We call these the “9” steps of landscape success. We have crafted a system of service that addresses these needs and yields a complete and balanced landscape. Below is a description of the “9” stepsand their importance.
To be clear, to have a successful landscape the “9” steps will need to be adhered to in order to maximize the health and appearance of the lawn. This will mean cooperation on your part to make sure that these steps are followed, especiallywatering. Failure in theses steps will reflect in the finished product- the mowing.
STEP #1- IMPROVE YOUR SOIL!!! We have an inherent problem in El Paso County and that is a lack of organic material in our soil. We either have too much sand or too much clay and very little organic material which helps add to the lawn’s ecosystem and helps to break down our thatch. Organic material, or the lack of it is the reason for much of our problems. In a sandy soil, there is an inability for water to remain in the soil without draining into the ground. This sandy condition is also what aggravates the thatch levels in our lawns. With little or no biological activity, the thatch cannot decompose at a healthy rate. Good topsoil helps balance thatch production and helps to retain water. It is likely that your lawn is suffering from a lack of good soil. There are two ways of correcting this problem, by amending the soil via topdressing, adding small amounts of soil over time. The other method is to add soil prior to laying the sod, tilling it into the ground.
STEP #2- CONTROL YOUR THATCH!!! While there are several species of cool-season grasses that will grow here, the one that is preferred and most planted is Bluegrass. Bluegrass is a thatch-type lawn, meaning that it produces and accumulates a layer of dead root growth on top of the soil in the form of a mat. While this serves to protect the lawn, absence or excess causes moisture retention problems and water absorption issues. One extreme will cause lawn stress and the other will cause lawn fatigue. Either of these two conditions will cause you to waste a tremendous amount of water. Healthy lawns will have a thatch level which is in between ¼” and ½” in depth. While lawns that have a thatch in excess of ½” are manageable, at some point the cost of dealing with a thick thatch will not be cost effective and disease will set in. At this point you will have to either power rake the lawn, or you will have to replace the lawn. Proper thatch levels can be kept in check by following proper horticultural practices such as- not over watering, not under watering, not over fertilizing and not cutting the lawn too short, all of which encourage excess thatch production.
STEP #3- USE YOUR IRRIGATION SYSTEM EFFICIENTLY AND EFFECTIVELY!!! As mentioned previously, we live in a “high plains desert”. With a yearly precipitation average around 17” per year, much of your landscape will depend on you supplementing it with additional moisture. This is most effectively accomplished with an underground sprinkler system. This will alleviate you from the task of manually watering your landscape and will improve your efficiency. To get even more efficiency you may want to consider utilizing an Evapotransporation system , or ET for short. This will scrutinize water usage even more utilizing a controller which uses current meteorological date to improve water management. One thing is for certain though , if you do water properly you will diminish problems. The average Bluegrass lawn will use in between 45” and 50” of water throughout the entire year. As you can see, we only receive about a third of the moisture needed for a healthy lawn from precipitation. The remainder will be totally upto you to provide. Properly maintained sprinkler systems will eliminate much frustration and regular preventative sprinkler checks will diminish catastrophic events. Below is a graph which illustrates the gravity of proper irrigation.
STEP #4- CULTIVATE YOUR SOIL, AERATE!!! One horticultural practice that is imperative and often neglected is the regular occurrence of core aeration. Core aeration is a process where a plug, or “core” is extracted from the soil. This core is typically the size of your thumb and can vary in depth depending on soil compaction, soil compaction and moisture in the soil. The act of aeration is one of the best things you can do for your lawn and is probably one of the only services that actually pays for itself in water savings. There are five principles to core aeration: It maximizes water penetration into the soil, It improves air circulation to the roots, It fights soil compaction, It manages thatch levels in the lawn and It promotes new root growth around the core holes
STEP #5- PROVIDING PROPER NUTRITION- FERTILIZE!!! Plants utilize nutrients to grow, tolerate stress and maintain healthy root structure. Just like any living thing, proper nutrition is essential for healthy life. If you do not provide these nutrients stress and disease will take hold and eventually will come plant death. Keeping in mind that we are creating an artificial environment that will not typically thrive or even survive without direct human intervention, application of key nutrients becomes imperative. In a natural environment, meaning one existing in an ecosystem, plants rely on natural mechanisms to provide needed nutrition. In most man made landscapes these mechanisms do not exist.
STEP #6- MAINTENANCE- CUT THE LAWN PROPERLY! Assuming all of the aforementioned topicsare being addressed in a proper manner, the next step in proper landscape care is maintenance. Bluegrass lawns are a cool season and rapidly growing grass under certain circumstances. Bluegrass lawns are a rapidly growing grass and under certain circumstances can grow in excess of 5 inches per week (If you are experiencing less than two inches of growth per week, it is due to improper watering habits and possibly poor fertilization). For this reason we cut on a weekly schedule. Waiting to cut the lawn every two or three weeks can cause severe stress, and severe thinning of the lawn and will increase the watering and fertilization needs. While the lawn will not grow as quickly in the heat of the summer (Bluegrass is a cool season grass that does best in between 45º & 80º) as it will in the spring or early fall, neglecting to cut it on a regular basis will be more expensive in the long run.
STEP #7- WEED & PEST CONTROL. While we are spared a lot of insect damage due to our elevation, we still get our fair share of insects and other pests that create lawn damage. Much of this can be avoided by again making sure that proper moisture is given to trees, shrubs and turf to allow the plants to protect themselves. At times you may be required to combat these pests to avoid costly damage to your investment. In regards to a healthy lawn, proper care is the best defense against weed infestations, but even healthy lawns will require weed control to eliminate competing weeds with available resources. Weeds are an indication of stressed areas within turf, these weaknesses should be addressed along with proper weed control applications.
STEP #8- REPAIR AND REHABILITATION. Despite our best efforts, from time to time things will die and need to be replaced. While proper care will eliminate much of this, replacing dead plants, propagating new growth repairing existing plants will be a necessity when such events occur.
STEP #9- KEEP IT CLEAN AND CLEAR. As trees, shrubs and plants grow, they invariably will need to be pruned, or their exfoliated waste will need to be collected and disposed of. Much of this activity takes place out of the growing season when stress on plants is at its lowest, it can be performed anytime during the year.
All of the previously mentioned areas of maintenance concern have been addressed in service packages that meet all maintenance demands and budgets ranging from basic service packages to more comprehensive, performance minded service plans. We can draft a plan to meet your needs and your budget.