Category Archives: Yard Care

Fun Citrus Facts

Arizona is one of only four states, including California, Texas and Florida, able to grow citrus in the United States.  Citrus trees are an important part of the Phoenix area sights and smells. Stroll around the neighborhood, especially in February and March, and enjoy the sweet scent of citrus blossoms in the air.

Fun Citrus Facts

  • The first citrus tree in Arizona was planted in 1889 by William J. Murphy to supply the miners in CA to combat scurvy.
  • Citrus production in Arizona peaked around 1970 with 80,000 acres in production
  • Due to urban development, only about 20,000 acres are now in production in Arizona
  • Citrus are considered Evergreens as they keep their green leaves year round
  • There is more fiber in an orange than in most other fruits and vegetables
  • One lemon contains a full day’s supply of vitamin C with 33% in the peel.
  • Grapefruit can help lower cholesterol.
  • A citrus tree blooms while also bearing fruit
  • Citrus fruits can be left on the tree without becoming over ripe. Fruit does not continue to ripen once picked. The longer citrus fruit ripens on the tree, the sweeter and less acidic it will be.
  • Most trees flower in February and March.
  • With proper care, a citrus tree is capable of producing fruit for over 50 years. Proper care includes good quality root stock selection, correct planting in the right location, proper water and fertilizer, and protection from diseases, pests and harsh weather.

Care of Citrus Trees

Planting:

Citrus trees can be planted year-round but the best months to plant are March, April and October.

Watering:

Citrus trees fare the best if they are heavily watered and then allowed to dry out between drenchings. Typically, trees will need to be watered every one to two weeks in summer and every three to four weeks in the winter. Try not to water trees a little bit every few days to avoid salt build up in the soil.

Fertilizing:

Citrus trees should be fertilized in March, June and September. Do not fertilize after October as it encourages tender new growth during winter when there is danger of frost.

Pruning:

Prune citrus trees to eliminate sprouts, remove weak, crossing or dead branches, or to allow more light in the tree canopy. February through April are the best months to prune citrus in the Phoenix area. Protect exposed wood from the sun using a citrus whitewash.

Contact Goodman’s Landscape Maintenance at (602) 861-1144 for your citrus care needs.

Facts provided with help from Greenfield Citrus, Arizona Cooperative Extension, and Arizona Experience.

Leave Your Tree Removal to a Professional Team

Chilean Mesquite

Trees in the landscape of your desert home add beauty, create shade, attract wildlife and increase value to your property. With the abundant sunshine here in Phoenix, the tree that once seemed to be the perfect addition to your yard may need to be removed. Although it may be a difficult decision, there are many reasons to consider it.

Reasons for Tree Removal

  • Dead or dying tree
  • Tree that requires too much maintenance or is too messy
  • Tree that have been damaged in a storm, such as struck by lightening
  • Tree is growing too close to power lines or buildings
  • Making room for other features such as a pool or BBQ
  • Water bill is too high
  • Making room for a new tree

Use a Professional for Your Tree Removal Project  

Removing a tree is a big project and must be done safely. Tree removal professionals who are licensed, bonded, and insured, have the necessary skills and equipment to handle the project. In these photos, Goodman’s Landscape Maintenance crew members are hard at work removing a large Chilean Mesquite tree. Note the special safety equipment used in the removal of the tree. The crew will also haul away and dispose of all debris.

Managing Your Olive Trees

Olive trees are a truly beautiful tree native to the Mediterranean that thrive here in the Phoenix area providing much needed shade. They are very hardy trees which are drought tolerant, disease and fire-resistant. They can grow nearly 30 feet tall and as wide.

olive treeOlive trees produce abundant fruit which is high in oil content and contains a staining pigment. As the fruit ripens, it falls to the ground, staining walkways and can be tracked indoors, ruining carpet and other surfaces. The olive tree flowers in the spring and many people are highly allergic to the pollen produced.

To avoid the mess and possible allergies, it is important to spray the olive trees with a growth regulator. To be most effective, the best time to spray the trees is beginning in January prior to the tree flowering, preventing both fruit and pollen production.

If you would like your Olive Trees sprayed this season, please contact us  at (602) 861-1144 or email customerservice@glmaz.com.

 

Why Should You Prune Your Roses in Winter?

roses-2011-02-01-lytle-rose-bush-cut-backsA rose bush that is not pruned will still continue to grow and bloom but its growth will not be as vigorous, stems will be shorter, and flowers smaller. The Arizona Rose Society recommends pruning back rose bushes by one third in September and by half in January. January pruning forces the rose bush into a short period of dormancy. This short period of dormancy stimulates new growth in spring and more flowers in summer.

Rose bushes pruned in January will have improved plant vigor, growth of new canes and higher quality, larger blooms. Pruning also helps to maintain the plant within the allocated space with enough space between bushes.

The most desirable bush form is a V or U with canes growing from the bud union or ground, rose-pink-tipupward and outward with a slightly open center.  Proper pruning includes removing all foliage on each bush, cutting out all spindly or crossing branches, and removal of dead wood to open the center of the bush so the sun reaches bud onions.

January is a good time to plant new rose bushes. Roses should also be fertilized this month. Give Goodman’s Landscape Maintenance a call at (602) 861-1144 and we can help with pruning and new rose bush installation.

Don’t worry! Pruning in January will result in roses blooming at the end of March into April and May.  The roses will come back lush and more beautiful than ever!

Top 5 Landscape Lighting Issues for Arizona Homeowners

Adding outdoor lighting is a great way to make a well-designed landscape stand out even more. Not over doing landscape lighting is important because having too much lighting can be quite distracting. Highlighting only the right areas is all you need to really make your yard shine. When you add landscape lighting to any property, there will be added maintenance that is needed each year in order to keep it looking and working as nice as it did the day it was installed.

In no particular order, below is a list of the top 5 landscape lighting issues that Arizona homeowners we provide landscape maintenance for face each year.

1) Broken Landscape Lighting Bulb – Just like with your light bulbs in your home, the bulbs for your landscape lighting will last a certain number of hours. The longer the bulb is certified to last, the more expensive it typically will be.
broken landscape lighting bulb

2) Missing or Broken Light Fixture Cap – There are a variety of light fixtures available for landscape lighting. As time goes on, there is a high probability that a few of your fixtures may break, so having a couple of extras in storage is a great idea when you can’t find that hard to find part 5 years later.
MIssing light fixture cap

3) Lighting Transformer Meltdown – As landscape lighting transformers get older, they sometimes tend to be prone to melting in the Arizona heat. It is always a good idea to hire someone with the experience to handle these types of repairs.
Melted lighting transformer

4) Broken Well Lighting Fixture – Well lighting fixtures are great to put behind or in front of a tree because they are easy to angle. However, sometimes, rocks, and other things get stuck in them pretty much making them useless. It is best to take them out of the ground and take it a part to clear everything out.
Broken well light fixture

5) Deteriorated or Melted Landscaping Wire – Landscape lighting wire exposed to the Arizona elements can sometimes melt or simply deteriorate. Replace the wire with new wire and your lighting system should be back to working condition.
landscape lighting wire melted

If you run into any problems with your home’s landscape lighting or you are interested in getting an estimate on adding landscape lighting to your yard, don’t hesitate to give Goodman’s a call. We are here to help. We provide landscape services in Peoria, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale, Paradise Valley, and surrounding areas.

Palm Tree Pruning and Trimming in Phoenix, AZ

Palm trees are common in Phoenix, Arizona because they are beautiful and they grow well in our climate. There are over 2,000 palm tree species around the world (that are known). However, in Arizona we usually see only around 18 of them.

One draw back to having Palm Trees in your yard is the maintenance that they require in order to keep them healthy and looking beautiful. As you probably know, palm trees can easily get out of control when they are neglected. Their dead leaves begin to form a “skirt” that most homeowners find unattractive. Depending on what kind of palm tree you have in your yard will determine how difficult and how much maintenance they will require. Some palm trees can grow up to 100 feet tall, so we do not recommend that you try and trim them yourselves. As you can see in the before and after picture below, our professional palm tree trimming staff is able to help you with those really high palm trees that are out of reach for homeowners.Palm Tree Trimming Before and After

Below is another palm tree pruning before and after picture by the Goodman’s professional team. Although this palm tree is not as tall as the ones in the picture above, it is still tricky to trim because it is just high enough that a typical latter won’t be able to reach. Note: If you are trimming palm trees yourself, it is important to have gloves, safety goggles, and a helmet to protect your self from the spikes and falling debris (it gets quite messy).

Palm Tree Pruning Before and After

If you don’t plan on cutting the palm trees yourself, make sure that you hire a landscaping company that has the knowledge and expertise to trim your palm trees correctly. Palm trees that are pruned too often or improperly could lead to a reduce in their vigor, transmit diseases harmful to the tree, reduce the overall health, affect cold hardiness, and lower the ability for the tree to handle high winds in storms.

The next time you need your palm trees trimmed in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and surrounding areas please contact us to get a free estimate. There is no palm tree too high for us to climb. We look forward to hearing from you and earning your business.

December Plant and Critter of the Month

Plant of the Month – Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgessil)

Christmas Cactus bloomingThis tropical hybrid traces it’s heritage back to the coastal regions of Brazil, where it’s parent’s are found growing between large tree limbs or in steep rock crevices that have collected debris.

Available in a wide variety of colors they come in red, purple, orange, pink, fuschia, cream as well as other colors.

Christmas Cactus FlowerThis plant requires indirect light (direct light will harm the plant), well drained soil and humidity to thrive. For the best results, place it where it will receive indirect light, but no light during the night (not even artificial light). Select a spot that meets its needs, and it will reward you for years to come!

planter bucketProper potting is similar to Orchids. The inner basket should be a type that allows the soil to absorb water from all sides (as pictured to the left) and allow for excellent drainage. The outer pot should be water tight, and allow some space around the inner pot. Put about 1 inch or more gravel or rock at the bottom of the outer pot so that the inner basket is not sitting directly on the bottom of the outer pot. To generate humidity, add water to about 1/2 the depth of the rock in the outer pot periodically. Use your finger to guage your watering schedule. If the top 1 inch of soil is dry, it’s time to water again. Do not water from the top, remove the inner pot and soak the plant so water absorbs evenly through soil.

In the right environment this tropical beauty can flower several times a year, but the key to getting it to bloom during the holiday season is to water less frequently. Also make sure it gets at least 12 hours of darkness (that means no natural or artificial light), and locate it in coolest spot in your home, but not near entry doors or where vents blow directly on it.

Christmas CactiAfter the holidays let it rest for about 30 days. Keep it in cooler temperatures, limit its water and make sure it gets its dark time. It is ok if it appears weak and loses a few leaves or joints during this period. Do not pinch back or shape until March or early April. Repot every 2 to 3 years in Feb, March or April, like it’s parents, this plant does the best growing in a confined space with good drainage. With proper care, this plant is long lived and can be handed down from generation to generation.

Critter of the Month – Northern Cardinal

Male Cardinalfemale cardinalThese birds do not migrate, and the female cardinal is one of the few female North American birds who actually vocalize in song. Most female North American birds do not sing. Their main food source is seeds and fruit, however they do supplement their diet with insects. The male is extremely territorial, but never more so then during mating time. He will even fight his reflection in a window for hours on end! The most common sound Cardinals are identified by is a metallic sounding “chip”. However, if you listen, you may also be privileged to hear clear, slurred whistled phrases of several phrase types which male and female combine into different songs.

How to Prevent Frost Damage in Phoenix Winters

Frost DamageMost people in the Phoenix Metropolitan area do not pay much attention to cooler temperatures until they start to see damage in their landscape. This can be a costly error in judgment as severe cold damage can be mitigated by simply covering plants on the few days when cooler nighttime temperatures are forecasted. According the University of Arizona, the average first frost date ranges from November 21st to December 12th and the average last frost date ranges from February 7th to April 3rd.

Professional Grade Frost Prevention

Goodman’s sends out a yearly frost damage alert to our customers in late October, early November advising them to pay attention to forecasts. A majority of our longer term customers have purchased professional grade frost cloth from us at some point, and store them in the off season for use on cooler nights. The advantage of professional grade frost cloth is that it can be left on for longer periods of time, thus avoiding the labor of taking it off after daybreak and putting it back on in the evening.

Frost Damage PreventionIf you have a lot of cold tender plants in your yard, you may be aware that putting on and taking off frost cloths can involve hours of time…particularly if you are installing them correctly. Proper installation means covering the plant from top to bottom, as shown in these pictures. Make sure that the cloth drapes down and is not tied at the base. Last year we had several people call after seeing damage, only to find out all suppliers were out of frost cloths. This resulted in a huge amount of plants needing to be replaced in the Spring.

Tips for Frost Damage Treatment

If you start to notice your plant’s fruit, leaves, shoots, stems, flowers, and/or flower buds dying during the winter season, you can most likely attribute it to frost damage. Some people might have the desire to prune the frost-damaged plant right away, however, this is not recommended because it could stimulate new growth that would be exposed to frost damage again. Also, even though the leaves and stems are damaged, they are still helping to keep warm air near the plant. It is best to prune during the spring when the plant has already started to show new growth. If the entire plant seems damaged and the new growth is only at the root level, you will probably need to either cut down the existing dead plant to make room for the new growth or replace the plant all together.

Do not use smudge pots, mulch, or chemicals to try and keep your plants warm. As mentioned above, investing in professional grade frost cloths is the best way to prevent frost damage.

Do Your Plants Have Frost Damage?

If your landscape has experienced frost damage this winter, please contact Goodman’s today for a free estimate on replacing your plants with frost-damage tolerant plants. We can also provide you with a landscape maintenance plan that will keep your yard looking beautiful and fresh. We also provide landscaping in Scottsdale and surrounding areas.

Happy Thanksgiving – Irrigation Part and Plant of the Month

Happy ThanksgivingWith sincere thanks and deeply felt gratitude to all of our customers, everyone at Goodman’s Landscape Maintenance join in sending you and your family our wishes for a bountiful and very Happy Thanksgiving!

We are grateful for all of the amazing work that everyone does here at Goodman’s and to our customers. We wouldn’t be here without your continued support!

Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora)

Other names include: Mescal Bean, Texas Mescalbean, Frijolito, and Frijolillo. This evergreen shrub or small tree grows to about 12 feet high, it has smooth bark, and its dark green oval leaflets are 1-2 inches long. It blooms from February to April, and it produces Wisteria-like lavender-blue flowers in 4 to 8 inch clusters. The silvery gray 1 to 8 inch seed pods open when ripe exposing red seeds. These small tree often times produce multiple trunks. Keep them in full sun or light shade. They tolerate Arizona alkaline well-drained soils. When moving a Texas Mountain Laurel, make sure to not disturb the root ball.

Texas Mountain Laurel

All parts of the Texas Mountain Laurel are toxic, however it’s the seeds that pack the highest concentration. If ingested, among other symptoms, you can expect to see profuse salivation, weakness, impaired vision and a slow heart rate.

Why is it in our landscapes?

It’s small size, Wisteria-like blooms, grape Kool-Aid / grape bubblegum scent and overall ornamental appeal make it a popular plant for small spaces. Avoid planting in areas where children or pets spend unsupervised time.

Irrigation Valve Solenoid – Irrigation Part of the Month

A solenoid is a component of a solenoid valve. Its basic function is converting electrical energy to mechanical energy. A small electrical current is sent to the solenoid spring, causing the spring inside to essentially become a tiny magnet. Coiling tighter as a result of the magnetic field it pulls a tiny piston backward, sealing off the hole that allows air into the chamber. With the release of air pressure, a diaphragm is pushed aside by incoming water which passes through the valve to feed the irrigation lines. When the programmed amount of time ends, the electrical feed is halted and the process reverses. You can usually tell a solenoid is malfunctioning because it’ll make a distinct “click” and hum or vibrate when it is activated.irrigation valve solenoid

How to change a broken irrigation valve solenoid:

  1. Disconnect both wires connected to the solenoid.
  2. Turn solenoid counter-clockwise until free of the valve.
  3. Screw in new solenoid by turning clockwise, hand tighten only, be careful not to over-tighten.
  4. Connect both wires to new solenoid using waterproof wire caps.

Goodman’s Landscape Maintenance has full-time irrigation repair and installation crews that are ready to help you with your next project. Contact us to learn more about our irrigation services in your local Phoenix and Scottsdale area.

The Benefits of Lawn Aeration in Phoenix, AZ

scottsdale lawn aeration

Lawn aeration is the best way to facilitate gas/air exchange and water/nutrient absorption. Soil compaction and other soil conditions that occur naturally over time can make it hard for your lawn to thrive without periodic aeration.

To compound the problem, thatch buildup can act as a barrier preventing water and other crucial nutrients from penetrating to the lawn’s root zone.

Aeration works best when a machine specially designed for this task is used (a mechanical core aerator). The machine removes small plugs of soil and places them on top of your lawn, leaving holes that allow nutrients and water to reach the root system.

The process strengthens and invigorates the roots, resulting in a thicker, healthier lawn. While some of our customers request that the plugs be removed, we do not recommend it. The soil from the plugs contain beneficial fungi and bacteria that aid in the decomposition of the thatch layer and are considered a valuable top dressing for your lawn.

grass aeration scottsdale

How do you know if you need to aerate your lawn? Well, the obvious answer is that if you notice that your lawn isn’t in tip top shape. Another method is to dig up a section of your grass with a shovel to about 5 or 6 inches deep to see if the grass roots are further than 2 inches deep into the soil. If they don’t, then your lawn would benefit from lawn aeration. It is common for grass areas that are exposed to a lot of foot or vehicle traffic to need aeration more than other areas because it is more likely to become more compacted. It isn’t recommended to aerate a lawn that has been sodded or seeded within the last year of planting.

Water your lawn thoroughly for one or two days before you plan on aerating in order to help the aerator penetrate the soil more easily. Make sure you mark various sprinkler heads and other objects that might get in the way of the aeration. You only need to go over your lawn one time with the aerator.

For Arizona residents, aerating winter grass in September to October is a good time because it allows your grass to break dormancy and the grass is actively growing. For summer lawns, it is good to aerate around the months of May and June.

Let Goodman’s Landscape Maintenance help you with your lawn and grass aeration this winter. Call today to learn more about our various Paradise Valley, Phoenix, and Scottsdale landscape maintenance options.