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Al's Hints & Tips

Welcome to our blog!

 

We love to give to our customers, and one way we can do that is by providing you with helpful tricks to maintain your yard!

By Cheyenne Wiscovitch, Aug 11 2016 05:35PM

Happy February! This is the one month a year that there is the extra spirit of love in the air. Which is exactly why you are going to “extra love” the information I am about to share with you. Do you feel guilty when it is raining and your sprinklers over-water your lawn? Or do you get frustrated when your grass starts to go brown because you forget to set your sprinkler system to run? Trust me, I know the feeling! Thankfully, with today’s technology we can rest assured that your grass is getting the proper TLC it needs.


The first type of controller is called a RainBird SST Smart Series. All you have to do is turn it on and it does the rest for you! It is very easy to manage with its bright back light, large control handle, and easy programing. All you need to provide is your zip code, allowed watering days in your city, the type of soil in specific zones, landscape slope, and how much sun is exposed in that region. My personal favorite feature that the RainBird SST Smart Series contains is the ability to measure how much water has fallen. It adjusts the sprinkler system’s running time based on how much water the grass has already gotten. Another neat feature that the RainBird Smart Series has is you are able to pre-set a specific date, up to a year in advance! This way the system won’t water your grass and guests at your daughter’s graduation party! The RainBird Smart Series also claims it will save you as much as 20% water every month.

Another smart controller is a Rachio, Iro. This type of controller is very similar to the RainBird Smart Series. It is able to save you water, which in turn saves you money. It also tracks your local weather, adjusting itself as needed. The Iro also can adjust the watering level according to the specific region type. My favorite part of the Iro, smart irrigation control is the ability to control it anywhere you go. It runs off of WIFI so if you are on vacation and forgot to fix something on the schedule, don’t worry! Just by downloading the app, you are able to have complete control over the irrigation system controller. The other neat thing about this controller is you can get your analytics month to month.


The last type of Smart Controller is made by Weathermatic. Just as Rainbird and Rachio have other controllers they make, Weathermatic also has other controllers. The one I am going to focus on is called Proline. It can water as little as 4 zones and up to 24 different stations it can be set up to water in your yard! That’s right, 24! It also detects rain and snow causing it to shut off when it has exceeded the amount of water your yard needs. It has a large backlight so you are able to see it nice and easily. The neatest part of this controller is its ability to locate a lost valve. Often times grass or bushes will grow over the valve lines. Well with this great new technology, the Weathermatic Proline controller system is able to send a signal to the missing valve. Which eliminates the hassle to go out and get a valve locator which costs lots of $$$. (I’m talking a couple thousand) The last feature I would like to mention is the ability to control the irrigation system with your phone with a program called Smartlink.


These irrigation system controllers are very modern, up to date, and easy to manage! I would look into getting an advanced system controller, especially if you like to save lots of mula ($$$)!


Al’s Helpful Tip of the Month!

Did you know?

In order to achieve the full potential of your irrigation smart system controller is to install a raincheck or a weather station to complement your irrigation system controller. Al feels that it would be unfair for him to voice which controller is best out there, well simply because they are all great! His advice would be to speak to your local professionals, let them know your needs, and allow them help you make your decision!



By Cheyenne Wiscovitch, Dec 31 2015 08:14PM

Happy Holidays & Happy New Year! Here at A.W. Professional Gardening and Landscaping, we would like to wish you and your family a happy and wonderful New Year! (We also are wishing your lawn, plants, flowers and trees a happy New Year!) We will continue to be available for your drought tolerant, landscaping, and fix-it needs you may encounter during this upcoming el-nino season.

We also would like to extend a very warm Happy Holidays to our loyal customers. We appreciate all of the business and support throughout the years.

Don't hesitate to call us, today! We would love to assist you with any of your needs. If we don't pick up, leave us a detailed message and we will call you back as soon as we are able to!

Have a wonderful start to 2016!

Warm Wishes,

A.W. Professional Gardening & Landscaping Staff

By Cheyenne Wiscovitch, Oct 26 2015 09:23PM

Happy Hallo-week!

How many of you are ready for the REAL October to get here?! Maybe there is no such thing as a real October since its Southern California. Well at least our favorite coffee houses are preparing us all sorts of yummy pumpkin treats to make us feel like its autumn!

Since it’s the month of October, I thought it would be appropriate to bring up the topic…Spiders! I definitely had a hard time doing research on these guys, since I am absolutely terrified of them. So I hope you enjoy all this spooky information I am about to present to you!

The first spider on our list is called Araneus Diadematus (Cross Orbweaver). Their size varies from 6-13 mm and is typically orange, brown, white and tan. They tend to roam around gardens, farms, and orchards during the summer and autumn season. The female spider lays an egg sack that contains 100-800 yellowish eggs. Unfortunately, she dies shortly after. These spiders are not picky about where they create their web, so they usually make it where they can. Then they eat it at night. Then in the morning they start the process all over again! Crazy!

The second one is called an Agelenopsis (Grass Spider). There are so many different types of this particular species; the size varies from 6-20 mm. Their colors are brown, tan, grey, and black. They mate during the summer to late autumn. They eat almost any type of insect that gets stuck inside their web. If they notice that the insect is too big or aggressive, it will retreat back to its “home base”, making this spider non-aggressive.

The third type of spider is called Argiope aurantia (Black and Yellow Garden Spider). It is black, yellow and brown. The female is 14-28 mm and the adult male is 5-8 mm. They tend to roam around gardens, orchards, forest edges, and old fields. They make an orb shaped web on ground level areas, such as grass and weeds. They eat their web every night and recreate it every day. These spiders will eat anything that’s in its web, even grasshoppers! Fun fact about this spider is it will shake itself in front of predators, so his body appears bigger than he really is.

The fourth type of spider is called Parasteatoda Tepidariorum (Common House Spider). His colors vary between black, brown, yellow, orange, and tan. The males are typically 5 mm and the females are typically 5-9 mm in length. These guys typically live for a year. They love to settle in the human territories. You could commonly find them in places like garages, sheds and other small places around the house. They create what is called an “intelligent web”. This means that he creates a trap line that is attached to the ground. So when his prey walks through it, he can feel the movement in his web and will attack his prey. The females will usually eat insects much larger than her. They are often mistaken for a cobweb spider.

The fifth type of spider is the Lactrodectus geometricus (Brown Widow). Dun, dun, dun…These guys sound like they would be just as poisonous as a black widow, but they are not. While they are to rabbits, and other small animals, they are not to humans. These spiders have lateral eyes that are completely separated from each other. They like to live in areas such as yards and gardens. Be sure to take extra caution with objects that have been sitting for a long time. They will eat almost anything that gets caught in its web. If you were to get caught in the web and accidently get bit…you should be able to still live! The bite spot will typically lead to some pain and swelling but that’s about it. People often confuse this spider for the Common House Spider mentioned above. Just keep your eye out for the hour glass on this guy’s back and the spiky egg sack that the spiderlings are growing inside of.


Featured SCARY SPIDER:

Here he is ladies and gentlemen…he’s tiny but mighty! This spider is called the Menemerus Bivittatus (Grey Wall Jumper). It comes in two colors-grey and black. This spider is typically found lurking on walls of a man made building hunting its prey during the day. In the hours of the night they are hiding, keeping themselves safe. They don’t spin a web, instead they like to jump and pounce on their prey. They have 2 claws at the end of their legs, which allows them to latch onto their prey, therefore, eliminating the need for a web. Their life span is usually 1 year.


I hope you enjoyed reading about some of our spiders that we get to share this great planet with! It was sure scary doing research on these guys, since every description contained a photo of them *shivers*. We hope that you are able to identify one of these guys if you ever encounter them!



Cross Orbweaver
Cross Orbweaver
Grass Spider
Grass Spider
Black and Yellow Garden Spider
Black and Yellow Garden Spider
Common House Spider
Common House Spider
Brown Widow
Brown Widow
Grey Wall Jumper
Grey Wall Jumper

By Cheyenne Wiscovitch, Sep 9 2015 12:18AM

Happy September! I hope that everyone enjoyed their summer. I know here at A.W. Professional Gardening and Landscaping, we sure did! We also hope that everyone stayed nice and cool, while saving water at the same time! I am sure you are all aware that California is experiencing the worst drought we have ever had. Luckily, you have your local & professional landscaping team ready to help convert your green grass into a beautiful drought tolerant landscape! We have been working on drought tolerant landscapes all summer long, giving us lots of experience in creating the perfect drought tolerant yard. These are photos from a job that we recently finished.


There are many ways that residents of California can save water. All you have to do is change a few things, or a lot in your yard. You control how much you want to save! Here is a list of ways you can help save water: install a drip system, change your dirt and soil to mulch and woodchips, change your sprinkler heads to low water usage sprinkler heads, add a rock garden, switch some plants with succulents, and lastly, change out seasonal plants to drought tolerant plants in your yard. (Some drought tolerant plants are listed in April’s blog). All of these landscape changes can give you water savings up to 80%. Since these landscape choices don’t require a high water demand, it will save you money in the long run.


There is no denying that this summer has been a hot one. Just as people get hot and need water, so do plants. However, since we are going into the 4th year of our drought, you might want to consider converting your existing landscape to a drought tolerant landscape to save water and money!



Before
Before
After
After

By Cheyenne Wiscovitch, Jun 2 2015 01:10AM

Ladybugs are the most widely used insects for natural pest control in commercial and residential applications. Ladybugs love to eat many different types on insects that can harm your garden. You can usually purchase them at Home Depot, Lowes, or online. They typically come in bags of about 1,000. It is key to release the lady bugs at night time in a wet garden that is infected with aphids. Lady bugs won’t fly in the dark so releasing them during the night will ensure that they will stay to eat the aphids. Ladybugs are also dehydrated when you first get them, so the wet garden is also important for their survival. If you don’t want to release your ladybugs when you receive them, you can always store them in a refrigerator. However, do not let the temperature get any lower than 35 degrees, and not hotter than 45 degrees. They will appear to be dead, but they won’t be. Once they are removed from the fridge and get warmed up, they will be fine. If you are storing them, be careful not to dry them out (dehydrating them). Spray them with water every two-three weeks. Don’t put them back in the fridge until after you have noticed that they are all dry, so you don’t end up freezing them! One last thing to keep in mind is to purchase your ladybugs that are native to your area. If you don’t want to purchase them, you can try to attract them into your garden by planting Sunflowers, Marigolds, Cilantro, Dill, and Chamomile.

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