734-213-6911 | 4100 S. Maple Road Ann Arbor, MI 48108

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  1. Automatic sprinklers watering grassYour home’s sprinkler system is responsible for helping your lawn look its absolute best. During the cold winter months in Michigan, many sprinkler systems are put through a lot of harsh temperatures and weather before the springtime arrives. Once the spring arrives and you haven’t properly protected your home’s sprinklers, you might find that you have to replace pipes or the entire system altogether. There are several ways and methods for you to protect your sprinkler system this winter.

    Helpful Tips on Protecting Your Home’s Sprinkler System
    Protecting the sprinkler system is the first step in preventing any major problems from happening to it over time. If you do not properly protect the system before and during the winter, the pipes could freeze underground or in the system itself, causing the entire system to need major repairs once the
    thaw comes along. Here are just some tips on how to protect your home’s sprinklers from freezing damage.

    1. Make Sure the Timer is Off
    The timer on the sprinkler system should be turned off before the winter hits your area. If the timer is never turned off, you will find that the sprinkler system tries to kick on and run water every single day, and this can cause a number of freezing problems within the pipes in no time at all.

    2. Turn off the Water Valve to the System
    It is not a good idea to consistently run the sprinklers throughout the winter. Keep in mind that your lawn is going to go into its dormant stage during the colder months of the year, so watering is either not required as often or at all to keep the lawn looking good. You are also going to want to avoid letting water run through the pipelines to the system because this can cause an underground freeze. Most sprinkler system pipes are dug a lot shallower than what you’d find for a home.

    3. Drain Water from the Pipes
    Even if you turn off the sprinkler system, water is still going to be found within the pipes. You should always drain and blow the pipes of any remaining water before the winter hits home. You can do this by blowing air through the line until there is no more water present.

    Keeping your home’s sprinkler system running well all spring and summer long is essential to keeping a gorgeous lawn. Unfortunately, many homeowners do not know how to properly protect their home system before wintertime hits, and so the entire system freezes and then thaws, creating massive underground pipe bursts and issues with the sprinklers themselves. When you protect and prepare the system for the upcoming winter, you’re doing something that is seriously going to benefit you for the entire year. It is important that you prepare for this winter task well before the freeze hits your area, since you want the lines to be cleared of water before they can actually freeze.

    Keep your lawn looking beautiful with maintenance services from Twin Oaks Landscape.

    Find us online at http://twinoakslandscape.biz/, visit us in Ann Arbor, MI at 4100 South Maple Road, or call us at (734) 213-6911.

  2. Labor Day Michigan

    Floral FlagLabor Day weekend celebrations in Michigan include a lineup of art fairs, live concerts and community celebrations that honor ethnic traditions. Michigan’s European roots lay the foundation for events that celebrate Polish culture, and also honor medieval traditions. While most of the carnivals in Michigan take place over the winter season, a few Labor Day events feature carnival rides and offer a street fair atmosphere with old-fashioned amusement rides.

    Arts, Beats and Eats

    The Arts, Beats and Eats festival features approximately 150 musical acts, plus 150 artist booths and 45 food booths from local restaurants. More than 225,000 visitors attended this Labor Day festival in 2009. The event celebrates local and regional artists and raise money for local charities. Past musical performers have included Brian McKnight, The B52’s, Rick Braun and Martina McBride.
    Arts, Beats and Eats 17 Water St. Pontiac, MI 48342 248-334-4600 artsbeatseats.com

    Detroit International Jazz Festival

    The Detroit International Jazz Festival is a Labor Day weekend tradition held along the Detroit River. Since 1980, the festival has showcased world-class entertainment with a lineup of jazz, gospel, blues and R&B artists from around the world. Attendees can enjoy a weekend jam session, educational workshops and presentations in the Jazz Talk Tent, and watch a fireworks show over the river each night. The Detroit International Jazz Festival is free for all attendees.
    Detroit International Jazz Festival 660 Woodward Ave., Suite 13 Detroit, MI 48226 313-447-1248 detroitjazzfest.com

    Michigan Renaissance Festival

    The Michigan Renaissance Festival starts in August and runs through October, and attracts approximately 250,000 people each year. Labor Day festivities include stage acts by dance ensembles and theater performers, with live music, an arts and crafts showcase, beer tastings and competition, and jousting matches. Attendees can explore a 17-acre village with reproductions of Renaissance-era buildings and see hundreds of juried art displays throughout the course of the event.
    Michigan Renaissance Festival 12600 Dixie Highway Holly, MI 48442-8416 248-634-5552 michrenfest.com

    Michigan Peach Festival

    The Michigan Peach Festival starts on the Thursday before Labor Day and is held in the village of Romeo, approximately 20 miles northeast of Troy, Michigan. Festival highlights include a car show, floral parade, 5K run and the crowning of the Peach Queen. Attendees can enjoy carnival rides, visit food tents serving deep-fried peach pie and cake, sample beers from around the world, and enjoy live music and entertainment each day. Events take place on South Main Street and at various locales in downtown Romeo. The event is organized by the Romeo-Washington Chamber of Commerce and the Romeo Lions Club.
    Michigan Peach Festival Romeo, MI 48065 586-752-4436 peachfestromeo.com

    Hamtramck Labor Day Festival

    The Hamtramck Labor Day Festival celebrates Polish traditions with ethnic-food samplings, a Polish Day Parade and carnival rides for the whole family. The four-day event starts on the Friday before Labor Day and includes live music, polka dancing, children’s activities and the annual Pierogi Eating Contest. Attendees can participate in a karaoke contest and purchase traditional Polish food from local restaurants that have a booth at the event.
    Hamtramck Labor Day Festival Downtown Hamtramck, MI hamtramckstar.com

    SOURCE:  USATODAY August 2015

  3. Before Labor Day To-Dos

    Are you still trying to cross off things on your “summer bucket list” before the kids go back to school?

    Did you take that family vacation?  Did you get to that yard project done?   With Labor Day less than three weeks away…there is still time to doGardening Jobs both…create a vacation spot right in your own backyard and/or cross off a few of those pesky maintenance tasks.

    Here’s a list if you need a little help:

    Patio Re-Sealing – get your paver patio a fresh coat to brighten it up

    Out with the old…and in with the new plantings.  This time of the year there are great deals on perennials.

    Start assessing your time, tools and energy for the big job ahead of raking up those fallen leaves or shoveling that snow.  Is it better to hire it out or do-it-yourself?

    Apply that final round or two of fertilizer to your lawn, preparing it for the cold season ahead.

    Adjust your irrigation system for the cool days to come, make sure you have your system winterization service scheduled.

     

     

     

     

  4. Irrigation Weather Monitor

    It’s a good year to install this product!

    The Solar Sync ET sensor is an advanced weather sensor that calculates evapotranspiration (ET) and adjusts Hunter controllers daily based on local weather conditions. Solar Sync measures sunlight and temperature, and uses ET to determine the correct seasonal adjustment percentage value to send to the controller. The controller then uses its programmed run time and adjusts to Solar Sync’s seasonal adjustment value to modify the actual irrigation run time for that day. In addition, the Solar Sync ET sensor integrates Hunter’s popular Rain-Clik™ and Freeze-Clik® sensors providing quick response in shutting down your irrigation system during rain and/or freezing conditions.

    The Solar Sync is compatible with most Hunter controllers and applicable to residences, businesses, and municipalities alike.

    The Wireless Solar Sync System is simply and easily installed on any compatible Hunter Irrigation controller (see Owner’s Manual to verify

    compatibility). The Wireless Solar Sync Sensor measures solar radiation and temperature and calculates the daily evapotranspiration (ET)
    factor for irrigation. This represents the amount of water lost by the plants due to local climate conditions, which needs to be replaced by
    irrigation. The Wireless Solar Sync also includes Hunter Rain-Clik™ and Freeze-Clik ®sensors that will automatically shut down the irrigation
    system during rain events or freezing conditions.
    Enter a mid summer watering program in your controller per the programming instructions in the Owner’s Manual provided with your
    controller. The Wireless Solar Sync Sensor sends weather data and applies it daily to the controller’s water schedule by adjusting the
    controller through the seasonal adjust feature.
    This Owner’s Manual applies to the following kits:
    WSS: Wireless Solar Sync kit for Hunter Pro-C, PCC, ICC, and I-Core controllers
    WSSSEN*: Wireless Solar Sync kit for Hunter ACC and X-Core controllers
    *Note that WSSSEN does not include the Solar Sync Module. The ACC and X-Core controllers have the Solar Sync software built in and do
    not require the Solar Sync Module. Therefore, the WSSSEN should be used with the ACC and X-Core Controllers.
  5. Bullmastiff Dog Laying On A PatioHow do you get people to pay attention to important issues? You need a slogan. Catchy slogans have long been used, not only to bring attention to commercial products, but also to focus attention on public issues. At Michigan State University, research scientists and extension educators are teaming up to alert Michigan residents to potentially damaging invasive forest pests. Ideally, this project will increase the chances of detecting these serious pests early, before they get a solid foothold in Michigan forests or urban areas.

    It’s probably safe to say that many research scientists are not very comfortable when it comes to creating effective advertising slogans or jingles. Few scientists can compete with advertising professionals who have already coined and copyrighted phrases, even if those phrases could be easily applied to other efforts, such as protecting Michigan from invasive forest pests.

    For example, soon after the 9/11 terrorism attack in New York City, federal anti-terrorism experts began using the slogan If you see something, say something to encourage citizens to report suspicious activity. That phrase, however, would be also be helpful in communicating with Michigan residents, who might notice an unusual insect or problem on a tree in their yard or woodlot.

    Are there good alternatives to that federal slogan? How about “If your tree looks sick, tell someone – quick!” or maybe “If you see something of a different sort – then don’t hesitate – please report”. These may not be quite as catchy as the federal anti-terrorism slogan, but they still convey the importance of reporting unusual symptoms or weird insects that seem to be affecting the health of a tree, woodlot or forest.

    Most Michigan residents have some experience with invasive forest pests. When gypsy moth populations periodically flare up, millions of hairy caterpillars will feed on the leaves of oaks, birch and other hardwood trees. Emerald Ash Borer, the most destructive forest insect to ever invade North America, got its start in southeast Michigan and has already killed hundreds of millions of ash trees in forest and urban areas. Unfortunately, still other invasive forest pests are poised to enter Michigan and once established, can cause further damage to trees in our landscapes and native forest ecosystems.

    Thanks to funding from the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program, educators and researchers at Michigan State University are launching a statewide effort to help residents learn about the risks and impacts of invasive forest pests. Entitled “Eyes on the Forest: Invasive Forest Pest Risk Assessment, Communication and Outreach,” this project links research, outreach and communication activities through the MSU Department of Entomology and Michigan State University Extension.

    Three major invaders will be targeted, including Asian Longhorned Beetle, which attacks maples and other species; Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, and Thousand Cankers Disease of walnut. Populations of these three pests are established in other states and in eastern Canada. All three can kill their host trees and could be devastating if they become established and spread across Michigan.

    One unique aspect of this project will be the creation of a network of Michigan Sentinel Trees across the state. This effort will rely on an extensive network of trained volunteers who agree to adopt an individual tree, then periodically monitor and report on the condition of the tree over time. The more pairs of eyes out checking trees, the more likely it is that new pests or other problems will be detected early, before substantial damage occurs.

    So as the saying goes,“If your tree looks sick, tell someone – quick!” Or is “If it you see something of a different sort– then don’t hesitate to report” catchier? Either one is useful if alert citizens help identify and report potential invasive forest pest problems before they get a real foothold in Michigan.

     

    SOURCE:  This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit http://www.msue.msu.edu.

  6. Outdoor PatioEveryone dreams of a gorgeous deck that is made from an exotic wood that truly stands apart from every other deck in the neighborhood. You may have visions in your head of a deck made from teak or cherry. The deck in your head is beautiful, exotic woods will not stand up to extreme temperature changes in Ann Arbor MI. A composite deck will stand up to the weather changes you see in the northern United States, and the deck is much easier to maintain from year to year.

    #1: Weather Changes

    Composites are created from an amalgam of other woods that was pressed together from other woods in the factory. The composite decking you use has no natural grain, and there are no gaps in the wood that will allow for cracks. The extreme weather changes in Ann Arbor from winter to summer will crack a normal deck, and a deck made from exotic woods would fall apart. You can avoid problems with the deck by using composites.

    #2: Painting And Staining

    A composite material is much easier to paint than traditional wood, and the wood takes stain much better than a traditional wood. A natural deck takes three or four coats of stain, but a composite structure will take the stain in one or two coats. Paint sticks to your deck much more easily, and you can choose any color you like. Problematic colors for traditional colors can be used with composites, and you will have an opportunity to decorate your home any way you like.

    #3: Maintenance

    A deck made from composites does not accept dust and dirt as easily as natural wood. Natural wood has grooves and grains that will get dirty easily, and it is very hard to clean up the grains in the wood. Composites will sweep clean easily, and you will learn quickly that the deck does not need heavy cleaning. You can avoid pressure washing your deck, and you can bring out a broom once a week to sweep.

    The snow that falls in the winter will not seep into the wood, and the color of the deck will not change unexpectedly. You can expect the deck to be the same color as it was last summer, and you can sweep away snow quickly from the smooth surface.

    #4: Damage Potential

    The furniture and foot traffic on your deck will damage traditional woods easily. Some hardwoods are not that hard at all, and the furniture alone will cause indentations in the wood. A composite material will not break down under the strain of consistent use, and you can keep your furniture on the deck all year. Let all your guests on the deck, and enjoy using the deck all year without reservation.

    Your home in Ann Arbor MI deserves a composite deck that will stand up to consistent use every year. You can paint your deck, clean it up and maintain it with almost no effort. Your neighbors will love visiting, and your family will have an outdoor haven to relax in.

    Construct the perfect deck, patio, walkway or porch with custom hardscaping services from Twin Oaks Landscape. Find us online at http://twinoakslandscape.biz/, visit us in Ann Arbor, MI at 4100 South Maple Road, or call us at (734) 213-6911.

  7. WEED MANAGEMENT FOR PONDS

    Weed management in a pond begins with proper maintenance of the body of water in question. Beautiful Classical Design Garden Fish Pond Gardening Background

    Recent advances in data collection, chemical and non-chemical treatments, equipment and education have given us more tools to manage bodies of water.

    Beyond proper maintenance of a pond, consider these steps of weed control:

    1. IDENTIFY THE WEEDS SPECIES.  This is important in choosing the right herbicide or algaecide.
    1. TAKE OXYGEN READINGS prior to any application to determine if levels of oxygen are high enough to prevent adverse effects to wildlife and plants from the chemical application. Applications should be postponed if the oxygen level is 5.8 ppm or lower.
    2. CHOOSE THE PROPER HERBICIDE/ALGECIDE based on the mandates of the label, including extent of vegetation, weed species controlled, current of proposed water usage, oxygen levels present, and other environmental conditions.
    3. KEEP THE BODY OF WATER in question free of organic matter. Lawn clippings and other organic matter that inadvertently enters ponds are frequently overlooked by both lawn specialists and homeowners. The simple act of mowing too close to a pond and allowing clippings to get into a pond encourages algae growth
  8. There are many systems in your home that you probably rely on every day without giving them much thought. Like your water heater, you likely assume that your sump pump will be there to save the day when necessary. Unfortunately, the truth is the sump pump in your Ann Arbor MI basement may be getting ready to fail when you need it most.

    More than 60% of homes in America have water damage or basement water problems. Your sump pump works tirelessly day and night to pump out water that seeps in once it reaches a certain level. Most homeowners don’t realize their sump pump isn’t working until water starts to back up oReplacing The Old Sump Pump In A Basementut of the sump pit, at which point you may be dealing with thousands of dollars in property damage.

    Don’t let yourself fall into the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality. It’s important to regularly check your sump pump to make sure it’s working like it should and keep an eye out for the following warning signs that sump pump replacement is in the near future.

    1. The sump pump cycles on and off frequently
    If your sump pump is frequently cycling on and on, even during a heavy rain, it’s a sign that something is wrong. The problem may be simple, such as a float switch that isn’t adjusted properly and causing the pump to turn on when there’s just an inch or two of water. While this may not seem like a big problem, it does cause your sump pump motor to burn out too quickly. Once the motor burns out, sump pump replacement is the only option. The problem may also be a sump pit that’s just too small for the water volume it receives.

    2. Your sump pump has a long run time
    When your sump pump turns on, take the time to listen for awhile. If it runs for a long time, or several minutes, it may mean that your sump pump is under-powered for the water volume or the distance it needs to pump water away.

    3. Your sump pump makes loud noises
    During normal operation, all you should hear is a quiet hum or a slight thumping noise when the sump pump turns off. If you hear loud motor noises, the device likely has a burnt bearing and getting ready to fail completely. You may even hear a grinding noise or rattling, which means that the impeller is jammed or damaged. If a burnt bearing is the problem, sump pump replacement is the only solution.

    4. You have a pedestal-style pump
    This is a very outdated style of sump pump that’s still seen in some basements in Ann Arbor MI. If your pump sits above the water in the sump pit on a tall pipe, you may have already noticed it’s very loud, prone to getting knocked over, and not built very well. This type of pump should be replaced with a newer, more efficient model.

    5. Your sump pump doesn’t turn on when it should
    If your sump pump isn’t turning on, you may have a stuck float switch. Switches that hang along the side of the pump are prone to getting stuck, while vertical floats with flimsy plastic brackets often break. If freeing the switch doesn’t work, it’s time to replace your sump pump.

  9. Choose the right plant for the right place whether you have too much water or not enough.

     

    AUTUMN SAGE

    Salvia Greggii is one of the most reliable and easy-to-grow drought-tolerant perennials. There are many varieties of the species available and bloom colors range from pure white to pink, to coral, to deep red. As plants become semi-woody, they are often used as small shrubs in warm climates. Plants can grow approximately 3 feet tall and spread to 5 feet wide. Autumn sage begins blooming in early spring and continues until a hard frost.

     

    SEDUM

    AS A GROUP, SEDUMS can be relied upon to be sturdy performers in hot and dry landscapes. These hardy succulents are available in assorted sizes, shapes and foliage colors. ‘Blue Spruce’ is a variety particularly good for use as a low-maintenance groundcover along sidewalks, driveways, retaining walls and containers. This variety offers up a unique silvery-blue foliage color. Plants require a full sun location with well-draining soil. Once established, plants require little supplemental water and are highly tolerant of reflected heat.

     

    ROSEMARY

    KNOWN AS ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR culinary herbs, rosemary also performs as a lush, evergreen landscape shrub or cascading trailer. Plants are drought-hardy once established and very tolerant of the intense reflected heat. Can be used in very low-maintenance plantings without supplemental irrigation.

     

    BEARDED IRIS

    THIS STUNNINGLY BEAUTIFUL “BULB” also happens to be one of the most reliable drought-tolerant garden plants. The large rhizomes produced by bearded iris plants allow them to not only survive, but thrive under extended periods of drought. Once established, bearded iris do not require supplemental water. However, a bit of supplemental water now and then will result in more flowers.

    YELLOW FLAG

    UNLIKE BEARDED IRIS, IRIS PSUEDACORUS is a water-lover. Yellow flag is used to clean waterways as absorbs heavy metals. Plants can spread aggressively, creating dense clumps of foliage. However, when planted in rain gardens that periodically dry out, their spread will be slowed. Plants produce bright yellow blooms in spring or summer atop sword-like foliage.

    GOOSENECK LOOSESTRIFE

    AS WITH MANY PLANTS well-suited to a rain garden, Gooseneck Loosestrife, Lysimachia clethroids, can be an aggressive spreader depending on your location. However, if you have room to spare, they make quite an impressive display. Their long racemes of small with flowers curve as they mature, creating a gooseneck-like appearance. Plants establish easily in the rain garden and perform best in moist to wet soils.

    MAIDEN GRASS

    SOME PLANTS HAVE THE ABILITY to perform double duty in the landscape by tolerating both drought and wet conditions. Maiden grass, a species in the genus Miscanthus, have that ability. This makes them perfect for use in rain gardens that may experience big swings from very wet to very dry and back again. There are many varieties available that offer up different foliage types, colors and plant sizes.