Friday, 28 June 2013

Organic Weed Control

Weed control, when not done on time, can damage the entire crop. This is because when the weeds grow bigger over time and aren’t done away with, it becomes more challenging to control or eliminate them. Sticking to a schedule of removing your weeds at least once a week is a good move. However, removing weeds on your own would require the right kind of technique and the use of right tools. So, if you aren’t sure of doing justice to the DITY technique, it’s advisable to hire professional landscaping services for effective weed control. A growing trend these days is the use of organic weed control processes where you can kill weeds without using harmful pesticides. If you too would like to walk the same route, here are a few things to note.

Various Approaches to Organic Weed Control
  • Hoeing: The best way to eliminate annual weeds is to sever them from the root, just below the surface of the soil. This can be done with the help of a sharp hoe, which has found a growing number of patrons, thus replacing the traditional tools.
  • Mulch: For their growth, weeds require sunlight. By using a good layer of mulch, you can prevent its access to sunlight, thereby effectively preventing its growth.
  • Diversify the rotations: This prevents a specific weed from multiplying rapidly. You may try to modify the rotation of crops or change the time of plantation. It’s advisable to include sod crops or small grains during the rotation, as this would vary the environment for the weeds, which in term would help in effective weed control.
  • Use cover crops: Using cover crops would greatly help, as these crops compete with weeds and also offer other benefits. You may choose specific species that have rapid growth, which can also starve the weeds of nutrients and light.
  • Mulches: Thick layers of mulches also prevent light for the weeds. You can use cover crops to build a layer of mulch. Application of a weed barrier or mulch can also help you suppress weeds around trees, in beds, by borders.
  • Organic residues: Cultivating very frequently would harm the soil structure. Hence, it is essential to compensate this by using organic residues, as and when possible.
  • Feeding: It is very important to feed your crop but not the weeds. This can be done by manipulating the time and placement of fertilizers. You must apply the organic fertilizer next to the rows of crops so that they can utilize them. It is also essential to shun pre-plant broadcasting of soluble nutrients, as these are, at times, absorbed at a faster rate by the weeds than the crops that are growing slow.
  • Picking the right tools: Different sets of tools are required during the different stages of cultivation and weed removal, based on the size of the weeds. Hence, it’s important to use the right tools like rotary hoes, basket weeders, sharp sweeps, beet hoes, spyder wheels, hilling disks, etc. based on the size and stage of the weeds. At times, even combining different tools could be necessary.
  • Timing: Timing is the most important factor, as removing the weeds on time, when they are small, is extremely necessary. This is where a professional landscaping service would be of great help, as they have the expertise and experience of doing the right things at the right moment with respect to effective weed control.
Last but not the least, you ought to fine-tune the tactics of organic weed management through experimentation. You may start on a very small scale with techniques that are quite new. Identify the weeds and compare various blends of cover crops, rotation, and tools to see what is effective. If doing all these seem like an uphill task, you can always hire a good landscape company that has professionals on board, who not only understand every requirement of your crop and land, but also use the right tools and techniques for organic weed control to give you a good yield or a well maintained garden.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Is Your Driveway Crumbling? Here is the Fix

A good driveway enhances the curb appeal. Though you may have a great landscape, the exterior of your house would be incomplete unless you have a proper driveway. Apart from enhancing the overall look of your place, it also adds to your convenience and safety. Due to weather changes and environmental impacts, your driveway could start crumbling or crack up. This calls for a professional touch to fix the entire driveway to ensure that it remains functional and continues adding charm and beauty to your landscape.

About crumbling driveways

Since driveways are constantly subjected to various elements of nature, they experience cracks occasionally. These are very common, especially in very cold regions, as they freeze and melt on and off. Water also is one of the major factors that creates cracks in the driveway. The most basic solution is to fix the cracks when they have just started to occur, rather than leave them unattended until they have worsened a lot.
For a gravel driveway, cracks are not a big deal. Bumps, potholes, dips, etc. form very quickly in dirt and gravel (asphalt) driveways than the concrete ones. When it comes to fixing the asphalt as well as concrete driveways, it involves almost the same type of work. 

How to fix the driveway
  • Look for the Cracked Spots: Start inspecting each square foot of the driveway, and note down or mark the areas of potholes, cracks, or stains. Carefully look into the edges of the driveway, as it is very common for these areas to get damaged.
  • Clean the Cracks: Wherever you find grease or oil stains, just try to remove them by using hot soapy water and scrubbing them with a hard bristled brush. You may also use degreaser. Remember to remove all the loose debris as well using a broom or awl. You may also rinse way the tiny debris and let the area dry thoroughly. Using a hose with high-pressure water or a vacuum can also come handy in removing the tiny debris. It’s important to remove any unwanted weeds present in the cracks too.
  • Filling the Cracks: There are different filling products available in the market, and you should choose the product based on the gap in the crack. For instance, tiny cracks that are less than ¼" can be fixed by using liquid fillers, whereas cracks between ¼” and 1 ½” would need roll-type fillers. At times, a combination of both could be used. However, make sure to follow the instructions, and use the filling products the right way to get effective results.
  • Potholes: There are times when your driveway could have huge depressions and wide potholes. This may call for a cold patch or blacktop patch fixing. Blacktop patches are the readily available asphalt sold in bags.
  • Sealing: This is the last step. Before using the sealer, clean your driveway thoroughly from the highest end to the edges. The most important factor is to check the weather before sealing, as the sealer requires at least 3 sunny and dry days for it to set and dry completely. However, you can also use acrylic sealers, which cure very fast, and require only a few hours to set in, as compared to other sealers that take about 24 hours. The price you have to shell out would vary depending on the quality of the sealing material and quality.
Despite understanding every step of fixing your crumbling driveway, it is necessary to use the right kind of tools and follow the right techniques. To enjoy the best results and save your energy and time, the best solution would be to hire a professional landscape company to fix your driveway, as they will have experienced professionals on board who can understand the exact problem, and provide long-lasting solutions to make your driveway functional and beautiful once again.