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Lawn Care Blog

Water Efficiency

December 29, 2017
Author:
Brad Bippus

What is Water Efficiency?

Water efficiency is the smart use of our water resources through water-saving technologies and simple steps we can all take around the house. Using water efficiently will help ensure reliable water supplies today and for future generations.

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Usa An EPA WaterSense Partner - AZ Irrigation & Maintenance

December 27, 2017
Author:
Brad Bippus

All too often, landscape irrigation can waste water—up to 1.5 billion gallons every day across the country. WaterSense irrigation partners can help you reduce your water consumption, save money, and maintain a healthy and beautiful landscape. These professionals are certified through WaterSense labeled programs for their expertise in water-efficient irrigation technology and techniques.

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H20 Tips

December 26, 2017
Author:
Brad Bippus

Sustainable irrigation begins with knowledge. AZ Irrigation & Maintenance wants you to try some simple strategies to reduce the amount of water you use, improve your overall landscaping health, and save money while using water more intelligently.

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Installing Irrigation Flow Meter in Flagstaff

September 7, 2017
Author:
Brad Bippus

Unboxing and installing the Hunter Hydrawise flow meter for your irrigation system. We will be connecting it to the new Hunter HC wireless controller.

Today’s video is going to be about installing an irrigation flow meter in Flagstaff.

Here is our flow meter. Going to open it up.

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Using a Toner to Identify Irrigation Wire in Flagstaff

August 29, 2017
Author:
Brad Bippus

So in the project we have e whole gauge of wires. We are working at a big ranch and we are going to use a toner to identify irrigation wire in Flagstaff, tons of wires and controllers all over. This particular zone we wired it up with another one. I’m going to use a toner, because there is a free wire coming into the valve box. Hook up the toner and go back to the controller to find the wire coming into the box as long as it’s connected. Wish me Luck!

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Should I Water My Plants In the Winter

November 1, 2016
Author:
Brad Bippus

Often this is not even a question that is asked. But, because the weather in Northern Arizona is unpredictable, watering can be necessary. This is a primary concern if you’ve just planted your plants, trees or shrubs this year. If you have new trees and shrubs, you should be watering your plants every 3 to 4 weeks. Of course, this is only the case if we have no rain or snow. Because it is not recommended to turn on your irrigation system during the winter months, you should be using a hose or a bucket of water. Sadly, you will have to go back to the cave man era of watering during the winter season.

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Winterizing fertilizer in Flagstaff

October 18, 2016
Author:
Brad Bippus

Cool Season Lawn Fertilizer For Winter

All lawns in Flagstaff are cool season type grass.  This is done because the grass needs to be dormant during winter. The weather in Flagstaff is just too cold does not allow for any type of warm season grass. Cool season grasses include Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, sheep fescue, blue fescue, blue grama and a few others that are not typically found in lawns.

When researched, gardeners found no benefit to adding extra phosphorus and potassium in fall to COOL-SEASON grasses.

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Pine Needle Clean Up In Spring And Fall

October 4, 2016
Author:
Brad Bippus

Cleaning up pine needles in your yard can be an arduous task. Some people refer to pine needles as pine straw which is simply another term for the same thing. We do recommend that you clean your pine needles after the fall drop which is generally in late October well into November, Followed by another cleanup in March or April.  One of the main reasons to clean up your pine needles in the fall is to create less work in the spring. If you can pick the pine needles up relatively soon after the fall then they won’t have time to decompose. If you have a lawn, you should pick up the pine needles as soon as you can. Say every week or every other week if possible. The chemicals in the pine needles will not only suffocate the lawn, but toxic chemicals to your lawn.

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AZ Irrigation & Maintenance Reviews

September 20, 2016
Author:
Brad Bippus

We don’t like to TOOT our own horn very much. But in this blog we’re going to dig into the reviews we’ve gotten from are very happy clients. First off, I  should say that we do not have any customers. We only have clients! Clients are people who we have relationships with.

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How Much Does It Cost To Mow My Lawn In Flagstaff AZ

September 6, 2016
Author:
Brad Bippus

How much does it cost to mow my lawn in Flagstaff, AZ?  If you’re looking for a task to take off your To Do list, mowing is one that is affordable.  Do you want to look for a reliable contractor, one the shows up on the day they say that they will show up, and has a procedure for any weather delays?  Generally, if it is raining on the day that you want us to mow, we will mow it the next day.

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Turn Your Irrigation System Off In An Emergency

August 23, 2016
Author:
Brad Bippus

Oh no, there is a leak in your irrigation system! Now you need to turn your irrigation system off for this emergency.  Before you panic, try to turn your irrigation system off at the easiest point. That is going to be at the backflow. See picture below.  On the back flow there are two ball valves. Generally these ball valves have blue, yellow, or red rubber handles. Try to turn one of these valves clockwise 90°. If that doesn’t work try the other ball valve. (See photo below showing where the ball valve is)   You will find a video link to explaining all of this and how to turn your irrigation system off at the street later in this post.

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Xeriscape Style Lawns Flagstaff AZ

July 26, 2016
Author:
Brad Bippus

Xeriscape style lawns are a great way to save on maintenance costs and water.  Much care has to be taken into account in placement of the lawn and soil preparation. There is no easy way to install the xeriscape lawn.  In Flagstaff there is no business that grows blue fescue or sheep fescue sod. You can only create this type of lawn using seed.   So the initial upfront effort and cost will be going into prepping the soil for these three types of grasses and the initial care of the the establishing the lawn.

The long-term advantage with these lawns is they have less maintenance costs.  These maintenance costs would include mowing and trimming of the lawn and watering.

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Smart Controller Using Hunter Solar Sync

June 28, 2016
Author:
Brad Bippus

The Hunter Solar Sync weather sensor is an advanced sensor for your irrigation system. It measures the evapotranspiration rate on a daily basis and then adjust your controller per those conditions. Create a smart controller using Hunter Solar Sync, couple them together and it creates a smart controller. The Solar Sync will only work with new or late model Hunter controllers. It will not work with older controller Hunter controllers or with a different brand of controller.

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Irrigation Rain Sensor

June 14, 2016
Author:
Brad Bippus

The rain sensor is a device that is installed to automatically turn your irrigation system off when it rains. The irrigation rain sensor can be either wired or wireless. The wired rain sensor is a less expensive product then the wireless. Though it will take a little bit longer in labor to install it. While both sensors are effective, a wireless rain sensor has a cleaner look. For a wired rain sensor you have to run a wire from the irrigation controller up to the rain sensor which needs to be high up on the house. The sensor will need to be installed in the gutter or eve that has exposure to the elements. For example, don’t install a rain sensor on an eve that is covered up buy a large tree or it will not accurately record the precipitation levels.

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Fertigation Organic Fertilizing Solution

May 31, 2016
Author:
Brad Bippus

Fertigation Organic Fertilizing Solution

Simply put, fertigation is a process which fertilizer is dissolved and distributed in your irrigation system to the plants via sprinkler heads and drip emitters.  Applying organic fertilizers is very simple using the fertilization system.  It is your best organic fertilizing solution.

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3 Common Lawn Diseases In Flagstaff

May 17, 2016
Author:
Brad Bippus

3 Common Lawn Diseases In Flagstaff

We experience 3 common lawn diseases in Flagstaff.  The most commonly used lawn turf is Kentucky bluegrass, which is what we will be referring to in this post. With our high altitude and cool weather, the spectrum of diseases is much lower than warmer areas of the country.  This is good news for us.  You can basically whittle down the diseases to three.  Luckily, they are all very easily treated and diagnosed.  See what we have to say below:

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When To Fertilize Lawn In Flagstaff

May 3, 2016
Author:
Brad Bippus

What Kind of Lawn Do I Have?

It’s easy to get spring fever as winter concludes and the days start to warm up.  Many folks begin to think of gardening, green lawn grass, and landscape improvements in March.  Most retailers encourage us to do so by stacking pallets of lawn fertilizer in front of their stores and garden centers. Spring door hangers, flyers, tv, newspaper, and radio ads feature lawn care products and fertilizers.  The enticement of spring is so strong that many people assume April is the best time to fertilize lawns.  But this may not be the case!!

First we need to figure out what type of lawn you have.  Most Flagstaff lawns are comprised of cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass and turf type fescue blend.  If your lawn needs an irrigation systems and looks like golf course grass, then you have either Kentucky bluegrass or the fescue blend.  There are other types of lawns  that include sheep fescue, blue grama, and blue fescue grasses.  But our focus here will be cool season grasses that most homeowners use for their lawns in Flagstaff.  These other types of grasses will be covered a future blog.

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What Fertilizer To Use In Flagstaff

April 19, 2016
Author:
Brad Bippus

What brand of fertilizer is not important.  The most important factors in fertilizing your lawn are:

  • Use a slow release fertilizer
  • Timing of fertilizer application
  • Apply the proper rate of fertilizer

Every bag of complete fertilizer will contain 3 numbers that refer to nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, in that order. Nitrogen is the most needed element because it influences grass growth and color.Phosphorus is most important for newly established lawns, and becomes less important later on. Potassium is needed more often than phosophorus is, but less often than nitrogen is. Potassium increases the lawn’s tolerance for stress.

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What is Thatch?

April 5, 2016
Author:
Brad Bippus

What Is Thatch?

Thatch is comprised of leaves, pine needles, stems, other organic debris,  living and dead grass.   It is that layer between the soil and base of your grass stems.

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When To Turn On My Irrigation System in Flagstaff?

March 22, 2016
Author:
Brad Bippus

The timing of turning on your sprinkler system can be a very tricky endeavor because we have such warm and lovely days in the spring and very cold freezing temperatures at night.  So you will want to be watering your lawn and plants in the spring when it’s nice and warm. You will not be watering as much in the spring as in the summer but if it’s been a dry winter your grass, plants, and trees  do need water.

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What Does It Cost to Turn On My Sprinkler System?

March 8, 2016
Author:
Brad Bippus

Most landscape contractors charge between $55 and $85 plus parts, for a residential irrigation system. Usually, the price to turn on the sprinkler system is the same as winterizing.  Depending on the size of your system, if it’s small, it will be on the lower range of this price. The upper end of the price range would include a large residential system. Of course, there are other factors besides just how many zones you have.  These factors include: how close is your home to other homes that a company will be servicing.  If you’re in the neighborhood with a high density of other clients for that particular business, then the price will be reasonable. If your house is out-of-the-way and takes a long road trip to get there, then it could cost more than $85. There could be a trip charge plus the charge for turning on the system.

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What Kind of Aerating is Best for My Lawn Core Vs. Spike

February 23, 2016
Author:
Brad Bippus

It is very important to select the proper style of aeration for you lawn.  Aerating your lawn is one of the best thing you can do for it. There are a couple reasons that it is helpful.  When you aerate, you are allowing air to get down into the soil.  This is great for the roots and it decreases the compaction of the soil. With a less compact soil the fertilizer and water applied is more effective and efficient.

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Best Vines For Flagstaff

February 9, 2016
Author:
Brad Bippus

Fortunately or unfortunately, there are very few vines that grow well in Flagstaff because of our high elevation. There are only about six that do well.  The best vines are:  English ivy, Virginia creeper, Arizona honeysuckle, clematis, silver lace vine, and Canyon grape.  One thing to keep in mind when picking a vine for your yard is, just because it can grow here, does not mean it is the best vine for Flagstaff.

English ivy is to be used only in very specific situations.   Normally, we do not suggest using is the English ivy. It can be very aggressive growing into any sort of minor crack you have in your house and cause quite a bit of damage.  But if you have a chain link fence or another type of fence that you want to cover up, this would be a great vine for that.

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How to prune dormant trees.

January 26, 2016
Author:
Brad Bippus

Before we talk about the best time to prune deciduous trees, let’s clarify what one is.  What is a deciduous tree?  A deciduous tree is one that loses its leaves in the winter time.  Trees are losing their leaves in response to cold, change of sunlight duration, and sometimes drought.  When there are no leaves on the tree, they are not dead, but have become dormant.

Why would you want to prune a dormant tree?

  1. Less chance for bark to tear
  2. Less likely to have excessive amounts of sap.
  3. Gives time for recovery before the bud break in spring.
  4. It’s much easier to see the branch structure of the tree without the leaves covering up and hiding the branches.
  5. Less likely to stimulate unwanted growth on the tree.
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Salting Your Driveway - Pro Advice

January 12, 2016
Author:
Brad Bippus

What kinds of salt should I use on my driveway to assist in removing it?  A very popular method of removing snow and ice from your driveway and sidewalk is using salt.  This is commonly referred to as deicing.  There are the a few different kinds of salts used for deicing.  We offer residential snow services, click here.

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Why Is My Stop and Waste Valve Leaking

December 31, 2015
Author:
Brad Bippus

Why is my stop and waste valve leaking?  Short answer: It is worn out.  

The stop and waste valve, or isolation valve, for your sprinkler system allows the water to be turned off while your water supply to the house is not affected.  Why is the stop and waste valve leaking? This valve will wear out with time.  Depending on the quality of valve, the incoming water pressure and water quality, a stop and waste valve typically last 15 years plus or minus 5 years in Flagstaff, AZ.  Some areas of town have exceeding high water pressure which places a lot of strain on the valve when in the off position.  In those areas, the valve will last 10 years on average.

Two types of leaks

There are two different types of ways these valves leak.  The most obvious way it leaks is through the waste hole. When the valve is turned off the water leaks through the waste or drain hole. Sometimes these holes can get plugged

with plant roots. When they do get plugged with plant roots, you will see water coming out he opened test port on the back flow. Otherwise, you can look down into the standpipe and see water cumulating at the bottom.

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What does it cost to winterize my sprinkler system?

December 8, 2015
Author:
Brad Bippus

There are two main methods of preparing your system for winter.  Most of the time winterizing with the air compressor comes in between $55 and $85 for a residential irrigation system. Depending on size of your system, if it’s small, it would be on the lower range of this price. At the upper end but the price range, it would include a large residential system. Of course, there are other factors besides just how many zones you have.  These other factors include: how close is your home too other homes that a company will be winterizing. If you’re in the neighborhood with a high density of other clients for that particular business, then the price will be reasonable. If your house is out-of-the-way and takes a long road trip to get out there, then it could cost more than $85. There could be a trip charge plus the charge for winterizing.

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City of Flagstaff, AZ Outdoor Water Restrictions

November 17, 2015
Author:
Brad Bippus

The City of Flagstaff has implemented a Water Strategy Level One conservation strategy.   This is an effort to save water on outdoor watering activities and landscapes.   The main rule in figuring out your watering day is based upon the last number of your address.  Is it even or odd???

If your address ends with an odd number, you’re allowed to water Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. If your address ends with an even number you’re allowed to water Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.   Now, there are certain times and one specific day that you are not allowed to water at all unless you have a permit from City Hall or a commercial application exemption.

It is a little confusing on how they came up with a strategy to remember these rules that correspond between the even and odd numbered addresses and the corresponding weekdays.  I haven’t been able to come up with a good strategy to remember this.  Actually, I have a printed copy taped to my clipboard, so I can just look it up.  But if you’re inclined to remember one type of numbering system, there is one method that I can figure out logically.

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What is an irrigation backflow preventer used for?

October 27, 2015
Author:
Brad Bippus

There are two extremely important reasons that your irrigation backflow prevented is used for on your irrigation system. One of the reasons is to protect your potable water supply against back pressure.   The second reason is to protect your potable water supply against back siphonage.  Your backflow preventer needs to be installed before all of your irrigation components.

Your backflow device is THE key component in protecting your water supply for your family and you.  The chemicals used on your lawn and other outdoor contaminants cannot get back into your drinking water with a properly functioning back flow.  These harmful contaminants can get into your sprinkler lines through drip emitters, through the sprinkler heads, when you repair a leak in one of your pipes,  or when you repair any other part of your sprinkler system and get dirt into it.

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Why You Need To Winterize Your Sprinkler System

October 19, 2015
Author:
Brad Bippus

The best thing you can do to protect your irrigation system during the cold months is to properly winterize it in the Fall.  There are two main methods for preparing your system for the winter.  Using the air compressor method or using a gravity drainage method.

Winterizing with an air compressor

This method is the recommended for the vast majority of sprinkler systems.Wearing proper eye protection is a must.  Take extreme care when using an air compressor.  Too much pressure can break pipes and components, leading to costly repairs.  On the flip side, small air compressors in the 1-3 HP range do not have enough volume to blow out the pipes.  An air compressor with a rating of 80-100 CFM will be sufficient for piping under 2 inches in diameter.

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