Landscape Contractor / Design Build Maintain

AUG 2012

LC/DBM provides landscape contractors with Educational, Imaginative and Practical information about their business, their employees, their machines and their projects.

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Summer Landscaping Following a mild winter and low rainfall in many areas of the country, drought conditions and heat waves will make it even more difficult for landscape contractors to keep their clients' landscapes healthy. While some areas will see some relief from drought conditions, others will not. Tips For Weathering Drought To protect plants druing drought, re- member that often the simple solutions are the best ones. Top tips 1. Prioritize trees and shrubs over an- nual flowers, as they cannot easily be replaced. 2. Water where the roots are. 3. Avoid daily watering in favor of less frequent, deep watering, which al- lows deeper roots. US Drought Outlook Scattered relief may come from cold-front passages or thunderstorm clusters, but sum- mers are usually a fairly dry time of year for the central part of the nation, the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center said recently. Northern states such as North Dakota, 4. Water in the early morning hours to reduce the chances of disease and evaporation. Minnesota and upper Michigan are likely to benefit from the frontal passages due to their position close to the polar jet stream. In the Southeast, coastal portions of Geor- gia and South Carolina will likely see some improvement in drought conditions due to the greater likelihood of a tropical cyclone, meteorologists report. Indiana Drought OFFERS Good and Bad Drought Star Lingering drought, watering bans and low- maintenance requirements are making cactus more popular. Their striking flowers, unusual shapes and longevity add to the appeal. In Indiana, landscape contractors are reporting that the drought and heat are impacting their mowing and landscape installation business; but on the flip side, they are seeing increased demand for irrigation and plant maintenance. According to David George, project man- ager for Carmel-based Engledow Group, the weather has reduced business. The com- pany's mowing hours have fallen 15 percent in the past three weeks. However, watering hours are up by 20 percent and continue to increase. The Solution "We try to do holistic contracts so that even within the same contract we do more watering and less mowing," George said. Spiffy Lawn Mowing & Landscaping, in Indianapolis, is mowing at a fourth of the seasonal norm, said co-owner Scott Steeple- 8 LC DBM ton His company is staying busy redesigning the landscaping of subdivision entrances. "By the time we get them done, hopefully we'll get some rain, and we'll be out on the mower," Steepleton said. But even the ir- rigation businesses could be threatened by water restrictions. Indianapolis utility company Citi- zens Water is asking its customers to wa- ter their lawns no more than once a week. If the drought continues, Citizens Water will consider implementing mandatory restrictions, Carey Lykins, president and CEO of Citizens Energy Group, said in a release. Cactus can live for decades. "Some of these plants you can pass down to your kids and your kids can pass them down to their kids." They also are durable, surviv- ing in temperatures ranging from 100 to -40F degrees. When planting cacti, put temperature- tested plants, cuttings or seeds – preferably those native to your area – in places with southern exposures, if possible. Give them at least six hours of sun per day. Provide a bed of 8-to-12 inches of sandy soil, supplemented by granite or gravel mulch. Be stingy about watering, particularly in autumn, when the plants are evaporating away any surplus moisture. "Once cacti are established, they don't need any extra watering and only a little sup- plemental watering when it's extremely hot and dry," said David Salman, of High Coun- try Gardens.

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