Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Sod lawn installation- RTF Tall Fescue or Perennial Rye

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

When considering a lawn renovation or lawn replacement, you need to think about what you want the end result to be. If you are thinking of renovating an older lawn you need to be sure the results will be what you are expecting. Will the ground be level? Is the existing soil good enough to support the new seed? So many times after homeowners renovate a lawn, they are unhappy with the results.
There is some new options available for Sod Installation. The standard for many years was to use of 3-Way Perennial Rye Sod. It looks great when it is installed, but usually during the first winter about 1/3-1/2 of the grass dies back creating a very thin lawn in the spring. Since Perennial Rye does not fill in bare areas on it’s own, you will have to reseed your new lawn. This is like a lawn renovation the first year after planting your new sod. If you don’t reseed, then something else will grow in those bare areas, such as an unwanted native grass or weeds!

RTF Sod LogoThe “OTHER” option is RTF Tall Fescue. This newly developed sod has many benefits over the perennial rye. It has a deeper root system, making it more drought tolerant. It has a wider blade that makes the lawn more shade tolerant and more lush green. If the lawn gets bare spots from fertilizer burns, spilled gas from the lawn mower or from your dog, it will fill-in easily, since this type of grass grows with rhizomes, which knit the sod back together. Also the density of the RTF Tall Fescue is good for keeping out the weeds and other native grasses.


When considering a lawn renovation or a lawn replacement you can call on The Grounds Keeper, Inc. to give you all your options, to help you make the best decision for your landscape. (360)518-1394.

This article was written by Todd Moser. Todd is the Founder and President of The Grounds Keeper, Inc. since 1990. Todd’s experience in Residential and Commercial Landscape has built the platform of his business, along with his selection process for highly qualified Crew Leaders that have been with The Grounds Keeper, Inc. for well over a decade. If you need a quote on Sod Lawn Installation, we invite you to call us at (360)576-4119 or Email

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Sprinkler System Repair – Irrigation System Service Vancouver, WA

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

In the Pacific Northwest, early Spring / Summer weather can make it challenging to give the lawn just the right amount of water, depending on if it may rain that day or not. The best way to resolve this problem is by installing a rain sensor. The rain sensor will shut off the system when it rains and will turn it back on after the weather dries out. In the Summer heat keeping our Cool Season Perennial Rye Grass green is a challenge when the daytime temperatures reach 80 degrees and the evening temperature stays up above 65 degrees, this begins to stress the lawn. Additional water is needed to keep the grass from getting “Hot Spots”. Hot spots are areas in the lawn that have become hydrophobic after being extremely dry for several days. When this happens, we need to soak these areas with water to force the ground to absorb the water. Using a Sufactant will help the water start soaking into the lawn again.

Hiring an Irrigation Technician to perform a Spring Irrigation System Start-up is a good place to start. An experienced irrigation technician is up to date on the latest technology in new sprinkler heads and nozzles to get the best coverage along with water-saving efficiency.

In the event you need to have an Irrigation Technician come out and do Irrigation System Repair, it will most likely be more cost-effective than trying to figure out what parts to buy and how to install them, rather than trying to repair it yourself. A reputable irrigation service will usually have all of the parts needed in his truck to do the service call.

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The Grounds Keeper, Inc. offers services in:
Vancouver, Ridgefield, LaCenter, Woodland, Battle Ground, Brush Prairie, Camas, Washougal, Washington

As the season comes to an end, you should consider having the sprinkler system winterized. This service can save you from having expensive irrigation repairs and parts, due to having your pipes freeze if they are not winterized.

This article was written by Todd Moser. Todd is the Founder and President of The Grounds Keeper, Inc. since 1990. Todd’s experience in Residential and Commercial Landscape has built the platform of his business, along with his selection process for highly qualified Crew Leaders that have been with The Grounds Keeper, Inc. for well over a decade. If you need Irrigation Services we invite you to get a quote from us at (360)576-4119 or Email


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Planting Projects, Specimen Trees, Screening Hedge

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

hedges2A great way to add beauty to your landscape is to plant specimen trees. By doing this it adds value to your property over time. Landscaping upgrades typically pay back double the initial investment, when it comes time to sell your home. Some examples would be to plant Japanese Maples, such as a Bloodgood Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’, Acer shirasawanum ‘Autumn Moon’, Acer shirasawanum ‘Aureum’, Emporer 1 Acer palmatum ‘Wolff’, Coral Bark Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’, Acer palmatum ‘Sumi nagashi’, Acer palmatum ‘Crimson Queen’, Acer japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’ (also called ‘Maiku jaku’), Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’.


By using Landscape Design on your property you can add value. Some examples would be to create privacy on your property. A Screening Hedge can also block something that you would prefer not to see, like a neighbors window or a parked motor-home, for example. Hedges are also a good way to buffer an East wind or to create a sound barrier to block out road traffic noise. By strategically placing a tree to shade your house from the setting sun, you can save on air conditioning costs.

By planning ahead, you can buy smaller trees and let them get bigger over time. Once these trees have matured, your property will have increased in aesthetic value as well as functional value.

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Bronze Birch Borer and How To Control It

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014


It’s time to treat for the Bronze Birch Borer. Above is a picture of the Adult Borer. The 2nd image is of the Pupa stage of the larvae. The 3rd image is the damage the larvae has done when they feed on the cambium layer, just before they begin to emerge from the bark of the tree.

This Eastern Washington insect can be found wherever birch is grown as an ornamental. Because of an increase in the planting of Birch as a shade tree, the insect is expanding its range into Western Washington.

If these Birch Trees go untreated, the Birch Borer could kill all the Birch trees in our region. Please be responsible and treat for this pest. This treatment can be done with a deep root injection of an insecticide, that when properly timed will kill the borer when it begins to feed on the cambium layer.

By being proactive, we can help stop this damage caused by the Bronze Birch Borer. If this goes untreated, we may have to find alternative trees to replace all of our beautiful white bark Birch trees.

The best way to keep the Bronze Birch Borer out of birch trees is;
1. Adequate water is a key factor in maintaining birch trees. A deep watering, once every couple of weeks during dry weather will help maintain soil moisture levels and minimize the stress that invites the bronze birch borer.
2. Mulch is very beneficial for birch because it reduces the soil temperature and retains the moisture levels. The addition of 3 inches of Compost or Bark under the drip line can be very beneficial, by holding in moisture and promoting healthy fibrous roots.
3.Proper fertilization can be beneficial aswell. It is important to know that too much nitrogen will increase your birch trees susceptibility to Bronze birch borer, by increasing succulent growth. Do not fertilize birch trees that are showing symptoms of bronze birch borer, especially if water is limiting their growth.

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Top dressing your lawn with compost can give you an amazing result

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Lawn Renovation; top dressing with compost, aerate, thatching and machine seeding.

After a long cold winter in the Northwest, your lawns can suffer. With proper renovation you can make your lawn look even better than the previous year. Aeration is a good start to help get oxygen to the root system, reduce compaction and to give the root system a chance to push new growth. Thatching is another way you can eliminate the dead thatch layer which will encourage the lawn to push new growth and also help new seed to make contact with the soil. Machine seeding lays the seed in small slits into the soil layer, insuring good soil contact, which in turn will give you the highest percentage of germination.

Top Dressing lawns has been done in the golf course industry for years. Now you can have a top dressing machine apply compost to help you with the nutrient levels, and building up a soil profile that will encourage your lush green lawn to flourish.

Please watch the video above to see how this process works. Top dressing with Sand is another option for wetter lawns. This will build a soil profile that drains better and remains firmer under wet conditions. (NOTE; The video shows the same machines we own, but this video is for the machine dealer’s marketing. We will update and repost our crews doing an actual lawn renovation this spring.)

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Bark Mulch or Compost Mulch Vancouver WA

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Mulching beds in residential landscapes and commercial landscapes is a critical component of the plants health and vigor. By incorporating organic mulch, also know as compost, into the soil you are creating microbial activity in the soil. This provides nutrients to the plants. This will help the plants be more tolerant in periods of hot weather and insect pressure.
Having available moisture for your trees and shrubs can help them ward off insect pressure from Bronze Birch Borers, Spider Mites, Aphids, Lace Bug and many other insects.
Mulch has the ability to retain moisture and feed the plant with it’s high nitrogen content. Having a 2″-3″ layer of mulch over the tree roots can help the tree to have available moisture throughout the day. To take mulching a step further, we recommend applying Bark Dust over the compost-mulched roots to create additional moisture retention, which moderates soil-temperature fluctuations.
Mulching your landscape beds is one of the quickest, and easiest ways to beautify a landscape. In addition to making the landscape look beautiful, it also helps control weed germination in the landscape.
In cold temperatures, mulch protects plants roots from the cold waether and helps prevent frost damage.
Using compost adds nutrients to the soil as microbial activity breaks down the compost.
There are many varieties of Bark Mulch and Compost available. Some of the Bark products are Dark Hemlock, Fresh Ground Medium Fir (a very fragrant fir smell), Dark Fine Bark Mulch (resembles compost, but doesn’t encourage weed germination).


  1. As you can see in the first image there are many variations of Bark Mulch with variations in the size
  2. In the 2nd image we are showing other options besides Bark such as Red Lava Rock, Pebble Rock and Crushed Gravel.
  3. In the 3rd image we are showing how temperatures need to be monitored during the processing of the compost. If the compost overheats, it can kill some of the beneficial microbes.
  4. Here we have a photo of a perennial garden that is mulched with compost. As you can see the plants are very lush green and thriving.

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What to look for when hiring Landscape Maintenance Company

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

As Landscape Management becomes increasingly popular, it’s important that you know what to look for in a professional Lawn Maintenance Company. Knowing how long the company has been in business is a good starting point. To be sure the Lawn Care Company has the expertise to be pruning the plants in your landcape and trusting them to keep your lawn healthy and weed-free, the landscape company should have at least 10 years experience in providing Landscape Maintenance Services to be able to satisfy Residential Landscape Maintenance clients expectations.


The Landscape Company should have specialist for:

  • Lawn Fertilzation Programs.
  • Tree and Shrub Disease and Insect Control.
  • Sprinkler System Repair and Maintenance.
  • Special Services Dept. for Landscape Enhancments Project, such as One-time Clean-ups, Barkdusting beds, Planting Projects Etc.
  • Lawn renovation specialists, with Topdresser machines.
  • Certified Backflow Testers for Backflow Assembly Testing.
  • Low Voltage Lighting Specialist for Installation and Repair along with knowledge of the New LED Low Voltage Lighting options

You should be able to find a company with experienced employees, that can provide quality service and charge a fair price. They should answer their phone when you call and handle special requests in a timely manner.
By checking reviews and testimonials of potential landscape maintenance companies that you are considering to hire, you can get a feel for their reputation as professionals in the Landscape Industry.

The Grounds Keeper has been servicing Residential Landscape Maintenance customers for over 23 years. Our Crew Leads all have more than 10 years in Landscape. We have Licensed Pesticide Applicators, Irrigation Repair Specialists, Landscape Enhancement Crews, State-of-the-Art Lawn Renovation Techniques which Utilize Topdressing Machines, Certified Backflow Testers and Low Voltage LED Lighting Specialists.

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How to Control European Crane Fly Larvae

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

Timing is critical to control the lawn damage that Crane Fly Larvae can cause.
Todays insecticides don’t have the persistence of Organophosphates of the past, but they are better for the environment. To get complete control we recommend 2 applications, 3 weeks apart.


When temperatures get up in the 50 degree range the European Crane Fly comes up in the soil profile to feed on our lawns.
By treating for this in a timely manor, you avoid the risk of turf damage from the Crane Fly Larvae that feed on the roots of your lawn.
If the larvae get there before we do, the roots will be damaged, making it difficult for the turf to get the nutrients and water it needs. This could require lawn renovation, such as aeration, thatching, machine seeding and topdressing

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Low Voltage LED Lighting, Vancouver, WA

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Have you ever walked through a Landscape with Low Voltage LED Lighting that shine on Trees, Plants, Pillars, Sidewalks and Pathways? It is a dramatic sight to see! This is a great way to improve your outdoor living space. And the technology just got better… way better!

LED and Halogen Defined:

1. LED is defined as Light Emitting Diode. An LED bulb consists of a bank of smaller, energy efficient lights.

2. Halogen is an incandescent lamp filled with halogen gas. Halogen bulbs consist of a single bulb with one element.

What are the differences between LED Landscape Lighting and Halogen or Incandescent Landscape Lighting?


This is probably the biggest difference between the two lighting categories. By far, LED lights have a much longer lifetime than their halogen counterparts. LEDs can last up to 35,000 to 50,000 hours while Halogen bulbs last between 2,000 and 6,000 hours. That is a significant savings in electricity, replaced bulb expenses and labor costs.

Energy Efficiency

Halogens are known for emitting extreme heat, therefore they are not energy efficient. LED bulbs run much cooler than Halogen / Incandescents making them the Energy Efficient choice. LED fixtures will be more expensive when purchased, but will save the home owner money in a short amount of time. Think about where you may use a 20 watt halogen, you can now use a 3 watt LED. A 10-light LED only uses 30 watts. LEDs are proven energy savers!


LED Landscape Lighting is the best option. The ease of LED fixture installation is totally worth the initial cost of the LED fixtures. As with normal Halogen/Incandescent lighting, you have to worry about voltage drop when installing several fixtures in your system. Fluctuations with voltage can reduce the usable life of a bulb. With LEDs, you don’t have to worry about it and there is no fancy wiring involved!



The Grounds Keeper, Inc. Vancouver, WA. Has been providing Professional Landscape Services for 23 years, covering Vancouver, Ridgefield, LaCenter, Woodland, Battle Ground, Brush Prairie, Camas and Washougal.

IMPORTANT!! Always use a Licensed, Bonded and Insured Landscape Contractor when having Low Voltage Landscape Lighting Installed.

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Lace Bug in the Pacific Northwest

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

Lace Bug has been in the State of Washington and Oregon since 2009. Increasing in their populations, this pest has devistated Rhododendrons and Azaleas in the Pacific Northwest. The Rhododendron-Lacebug has one generation per year. The Azalea- Lacebug has several generations per year, which is making it difficult to keep up with the damage they are doing to the Azaleas in our area.


Lace Bugs are a sucking pest. This causes stippling and bleaching of the leaves on infested Rhododendron and Azalea leaves by late summer. Adults and nymphs leave the underside of the foliage with a dark excrement. Thrips and other plant pests also produce both leaf stippling and dark excrement. Examine the lower leaf surface to determine what type of insect is causing the leaf damage. Mites also stipple leaves, but mites do not leave the dark excrement. Miticides cannot control Lacebug. It is important to use insecticides that target the pest you are trying to control.


Provide proper cultural care so plants are vigorous. No treatment will restore stippled foliage, which remains until pruned off or replaced by new growth. If damage has previously been intolerable, monitor plants early during subsequent seasons. Take action when populations begin to increase and before damage becomes extensive.


Natural enemies of Lace Bugs include Assassin bug, Lacewing larvae, Lady Beetles, jumpingspiders, Pirate bugs, and Predaceous Mites. These predators should appear in sufficient numbers when lace bugs become abundant. Their preservation, however, is an essential part of a long-term integrated pest management program. Mulching soil with an organic compost material, shading plants from afternoon sun can discourage populations of Lace Bug. If applying pesticides, using only short-persistence materials such as oils and insecticidal soaps. This will protect the beneficial predators and parasites, keeping the natural biological control in place. Hiring a Licensed Pesticide Appplicator is always a good idea if your’re not familier with these products, and how to handle them.


Grow plants well adapted to the site. Plants in hot, sunny locations are more likely to have more Lace Bug pressure than plants in shady areas. Provide adequate irrigation to improve plant vigor. Prune out damaged foliage if the discoloring is intolerable. Do not remove more than a small percent of a plant’s branches during one season and use good techniques so that pruning does not injure plants.

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