While the Dog Days of Summer are officially mid-July to mid-August, here in Missouri, the climate is anything but predictable. Most Summers are blazing hot! And even though the Dog Days are usually behind us by late August, the occasional heatwave can extend the summer season well into September. 

If you live in the midwest, you know that during these hot summer months, it rarely rains, leaving most of our yards dry, brown, and scorched. You might be wondering what, if anything, can be done to keep your lawn green and healthy. 

That’s where we come in! At Stork Landscaping, we have years of experience in maintaining healthy lawns, regardless of the season, and we want to share some of those insights with you. 

Here are a few strategies we recommend to keep your lawn healthy through the hottest months mother nature has to offer.

1. Watering

Obviously, watering your lawn is the first thing people think of, but there are a few things to be aware of when watering your lawn in the hot summer months. It’s always best to water your lawn in the early morning hours; the earlier, the better. When watered in the heat of the day, the water drops can act as a magnifying glass, amplifying the effects of the sun’s harmful rays on your grass. Additionally, the watering loses its effectiveness in the heat of the day.

On the other hand, night time watering invites pests and potentially harmful mold to spread across your lawn. Early morning hours are best.

Lastly, it’s better to give your lawn one, deep watering once a week than it is to provide a daily shallow watering. 1 to 1.5 inches is most beneficial for your grass to stay strong and healthy, whether through rainfall or irrigation. A good rule of thumb is to water your lawn for 20 minutes twice a week. Homeowners with timer-based sprinkler systems should account for rainfall to avoid overwatering their lawns.

2. Mowing for Maintenance

Right behind watering, mowing is the second most significant factor in keeping your lawn healthy during the Summer. It’s easy to allow grass to grow too tall and it’s just as easy to mow them too short. Where’s the fine line, you ask? The answer is between 3 and 4 inches.

In the early Summer, 3 inches is best because it decreases the number of weeds and shorter grass calls for less water. But if you cut the grass too short, it will attract more pests and have more trouble maintaining itself through photosynthesis, a process by which the grass uses sunlight to synthesize foods from carbon dioxide and water. Shorter blades of grass mean less photosynthesis.

As the Summer progresses, however, the grass needs to be kept slightly longer, approximately 4 inches. The longer length provides better shade and helps keep the lawn lush and green.

3. Feeding and Fertilizing

Just like anything else, your lawn needs nutrients to remain healthy all year long, especially in the Summer. It’s essential to feed your lawn with grass food regularly. Regular feedings will help keep your grass healthy, strong, and lush. 

Keeping your lawn thick is a key defense against weeds and the heat. Thick grass keeps the soil cooler, fighting against the heat and, the thicker grass will crowd out unwanted weeds. 

Lastly, it’s important to differentiate grass food and fertilizer. During the hot, Dog Days of Summer, we recommend that you avoid fertilizing on days that exceed 85 degrees. As we’ll see in a minute, fertilizing is best done in late Spring as a means to feed your lawn before the Summer heat or in the fall as a way to replenish your soil and your root system.

4. Proactive Pest Control

Depending on where you live, you could experience a wide variety of pests and insects that may feed on your lawn. Some flying insects may lay eggs in your yard and, when hatched, the young insects will feed on your grass’ roots. Other insects, like grubs, may also join in on the feeding frenzy. 

To keep these pests under control, be sure to use a liquid or granular topical treatment on your lawn.

5. Watch Out for Fungus and Bacteria

While properly watering and mowing your lawn decreases your chances of your lawn contracting fungal or bacterial issues, these issues may still arise.

As mentioned above, be sure to avoid overwatering your lawn. Wet and damp conditions can create a perfect environment for bacterial and fungal growth. Aim to mimic natural rainfall by watering once or twice a week for 20 minutes at a time. 

Next, as the summer months wear on, you might consider bagging and exposing of the grass clippings. If bacteria and fungus are present on your lawn, leaving these clippings can help the problems spread across your lawn.

Post Dog Days Strategies

While this could be an entire post of its own, we did want to leave you with a few things you can do when the Dog Days of Summer are well behind us.

Once Summer is over, your lawn’s nitrogen needs will be at their highest. Again, avoid fertilizing on days that exceed 85 degrees, but be sure to replenish your lawn during the late Summer. This will help build a durable turf and help develop the root system, making them more weed-, pest-, and drought-resistant for the future. This feeding will be the most crucial, as it will prepare your lawn for the Fall and Winter seasons.

The last thing we recommend post Summer is seeding. Seeding your lawn will help repair damage caused by drought, pests, and disease, and whether it appears to need it or not, seeding is a great idea pre-Fall. Be sure to match your seed to the conditions of your lawn. Seed varieties are available for various conditions such as sandy or rocky soil, high-traffic areas, and even shady, low-light areas.

At Stork Landscaping, we want you to have the most beautiful lawn on the block, and we help these tips and tricks help you do just that. But if you ever need more specific lawn advice, soil testing, maintenance, or support, give our experienced team of experts a call.

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When we think about retaining walls (you don't? We have retaining wall dreams over here), we already know their main purpose: to hold back earth. You know, to retain it from eroding or structurally failing. It's a simple concept that has been around for thousands of years, and something that, as homeowners, often take for granted on our property.

A retaining wall can provide a break from higher property to a driveway, stairs, sidewalk and so on. It provides support and protection for part of your yard, and is often made from brick, stone, concrete and similar materials. We see them everywhere, but do you ever think about what's going on behind the brick?

Not just functional. Sure, a retaining wall holds up the dirt. But they can be beautiful creations that really accentuate the entirety of your property. The curves and angles of a well-created retaining wall add flair and depth to your yard, and create a feeling of clean lines and borders and provide separation between yard and paved area.

Hire a professional. A retaining wall is something that must be built correctly, to allow for proper drainage and to make sure the structure itself can support the pressure and weight of the earth behind it. It's greatest enemy is gravity, and we take in all of the facts and figures and create a functional and beautiful structure that adds value to your property, as well as protecting your investment for many years.

At Stork Landscaping, we know that everyone has different tastes, and that's why not every retaining wall is the same. There is a wide variety of materials that can all be used to create a secure and functional wall, from raw stone to concrete. We've worked with a lot of different media, all to create the wall that YOU want to see!

Make sure you check out our Hardscapes page to learn more about our retaining wall possibilities, and contact us today if we can help you create a beautiful space!

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We think of our home as our castle, our kingdom, our wonderfully private and special place, right? Your backyard is an extension of your home, and thus should have as much love shown to it as any area of your house. Whether your space is intimate or large enough for a wedding reception, here are some great ideas to freshen things up and gain some new perspective on your sacred space.

First, pro tip: A backyard upgrade doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. The right lighting, accent pieces, furniture and, of course, landscaping changes can make a big impact on your space. A little sweat equity, and you’ll be on the right track to a fabulous summer space!

Start With A Deck Or Patio.
When you step into your backyard, are you stepping into grass, or sometimes even mud? A deck or patio adds instant appeal to a backyard, creating a place of sanctuary. A concrete patio or wood deck can be built to pretty much any size, and gets you out of the grass while not disconnecting you from nature. Accent your space with larger plants or flowers for some color and life. Design is only limited by your budget and imagination!

Can’t Make Permanent Changes? Keep It Temporary.
Maybe you rent, or perhaps you’re dressing up your AirBNB space. Think of elements that can be changed out seasonally or otherwise in these types of spaces. Outdoor rugs are built for the conditions and are an easy way to freshen up the environment with color and design. Coordinate that with some good outdoor furniture and accents for a look that is comfy and able to clear out if needed.

Speak Softly With Lighting Accents.
More and more outdoor spaces are getting the “accent treatment,” utilizing custom lighting. Draping outdoor string lights from a fence, trellis or pergola across your living space gives it a starry-night feel that will have you feeling comfortable and relaxed. Strategically placed lanterns or torches help with accented, soft lighting.

Also, consider how the light plays during the day, too, and use shade to help condition your space. Patio furniture with shade elements or even a pergola with a swing and a fan can change your whole perspective on your time outdoors.

Make A Splash With Water Features.
When we say “water features,” there are a ton of great options. Fountains, pools, waterfalls… We can really make a lot of liquid magic happen within your space! Smaller options can adorn your patio area or be tucked away in a garden, ready for discovery. Showcase a water feature with larger elements to create a centerpiece around which you can structure the rest of your space. Be sure to take time to understand the maintenance requirements, or just call us for help!

Don’t Let Fences Foil Your Fun.
A fence, by design, creates privacy; privacy from the outside world. Use some creativity to make your fence as much a part of your inside world as the rest of your backyard.

Some creative ideas include a fence mural. Whether you’re handy with a paintbrush or want to open the space up to someone who is, a mural can depict any number of things and is sure to brighten up your backyard horizon. More of a naturalist? Butterflies, bees and other native insects that love what you’re doing make a great addition to your fence artwork. Maybe you’d like to have family names, quotes, or pictures? You be you, and we’d love to see what you’ve done!

Another neat idea is to drill holes in the fence and place multi-colored marbles in the holes, securely. Sunlight shining through the marbles creates a magical, rainbow effect across your yard. 

Keep It Comfy.
Comfortable seating, ample table space and temperate features like a fire pit or shade cover make any backyard space much better. Be sure to get equipment that is geared for outdoor space. Have room for a hammock? Then you have room for a dandy spot for reading or just taking in some fresh air.

Remember that you don’t have to have everything out in your space, all the time. A large wooden table top might not be convenient all the time, but if it’s easy to store, it’s an option when you want to take dinner outdoors. Having an outdoor storage container or shed will help keep things organized and maximize your space’s enjoyment.

There are loads of great ideas on how to dress up your space, from backyard theaters to portable bars to playgrounds for the kids, but at the end of the day, all it requires is your imagination and quality worksmanship. We would love to help you plan a makeover for your backyard, starting from the ground up. Just give us a call. Whatever you do, enjoy some backyard time this summer!

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"Mom, I'm bored!!!" Ah, the sweet sounds of summer; right, parents?

Are your kids content to sit on the couch, face-first into the tablet/phone/TV? We have some great suggestions for you to really engage your kiddos in what nature gives us outside. You don't need a big budget-- heck, you don't even have to leave your yard!

The long days and great weather provide a great opportunity to ditch the typical time-wasters and get outside for some family-friendly activities from toddlers to teens that not only bring you together, but also provide beauty and bounty all summer long!

Bringing In The Harvest

It's no secret that raising your own food in a garden is rewarding for a number of reasons, but bringing your kids in the loop will help them appreciate the labor it takes to farm, and you'll see their pride when they are able to harvest their own vegetables!

You don't need a lot of space to have a good garden. What is key is using an area appropriate for the plants you want raise-- proper light exposure, good soil and regular watering. You can start with a small plot, or even just set a tomato plant in a pot on the porch! You can pick up raised garden kits from most home improvement stores, and there are a variety of options to create an easy-to-maintain garden space. 

It's important to find high-interest plants that the kids will be able to see develop, as well as have an interest in eating the fruits of their labor. Cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and strawberries are all fun to watch develop from plant to bloom to fruit.

Share in the labor! Teach your children how to properly set the plants, and when and how much to water them. Be sure to show them how to properly use and store the garden tools, too.

Your garden doesn't have to be all about the food, either; flower gardens are a fun way to bring some color and energy to your living space. If you have room, set up a wildflower plot and create a natural space that attracts butterflies and pollinators. It's fun to watch them enjoy your creation! For more tips on teaching kids to garden, click here.

Repurpose and Recycle

With summer sports, vacation plans, increased daycare costs and everything else that's going on, summer can tap your budget, but you can create wonderful things from items you already have around the house.

Remember when the kids were little and played in that little turtle sandbox? Now it's just sitting in the yard, yearning for toddlers while your pre-teens are off doing other things. Let's repurpose that cute turtle for a small herb garden, flower bed or edible garden! Have the kids make signs, designating what plants are what, and before you know it, that little turtle will feel the joy of your kids' attention once more.

Save several milk jugs and you can use them to create an herb garden. It's a great way to reuse plastics and create a space for some fresh summer herbs that go great with your favorite recipes! Check out this blog at Grillo Designs for the how-to.

Create An Alien Landscape

Small succulents, cacti and carnivorous plants create a "whoa, cool" factor with kids and adults. Their unique coloration, growth patterns and structures make for an other-wordly look that can really dress up a space, indoor and out. 

The popularity of these unique plants has risen over the last several years, too, and so it is easier to find growers with a wide variety. Check out your local farmer's markets as well as gardening stores for some smaller, unique plants. Let the kids pick them out, and then use a larger planter to create a landscape full of plants, stones, characters and pretty much anything you want! The plants are easy to care for, but make sure you follow the directions for lighting and watering. Before you know it, you will all create new micro-worlds for everyone to enjoy!

Do It For The Insects

We talked briefly about a wildflower garden for butterflies and bees; check with your local conservation department for tips and tricks on what works best in your area. Chances are, they even have some seeds to help you get started!

Beyond the wildflowers, however, there are other projects you can create to attract beneficial insects to your yard. One super-cute idea comes from HGTV, and that is a ladybug hotel! Click here for the how-to.

There really is a limitless supply of ideas out there to engage with your kids and enjoy the outdoors this summer. You take pride in your home, yard and garden, right? Share that love with your children, and pretty soon you'll see that pride reflected in them as well. So much to do; now get out there and have an adventure!

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One key element to any beautiful lawn and landscape is proper irrigation, and if you want to do it right, it’s so much more than a spray from a hose. An irrigation system customized to your lawn helps with more than saving time and labor, but also provides the peace of mind in knowing that your lawn gets that consistent watering it needs to look gorgeous.

We can come up with a plan customized to your needs to provide optimum irrigation while maintaining an efficient system. Of course, you can count on Stork Landscaping for the service after the sale and installation, too. We completely service your irrigation system from tip to tail, spring start up to winterization. You’re in good hands here!

While you can learn more about our irrigation systems here, today we wanted to talk to you about the next generation of irrigation control systems, the Rain Bird LNK wifi module. Rain Bird has been on the cutting edge of water system technology for over 80 years, and this latest innovation is, well, science fiction brought to life.

So, what is this space-age technology going to do for you? How about automatic seasonal adjustments? How about setting multiple start times and unique durations for each zone? How about adjustments for weather changes? And you can do it all FROM YOUR PHONE.

The Rain Bird app (for iPhone or Android) gives you total control over your landscape from anywhere in the world. Take control of your irrigation system, and maximize savings on your water usage, too.  Wanna see how it works? Check out the video below:

From Stork’s perspective, upgrading to the Rain Bird LNK is a fairly easy installation, especially as we are opening your irrigation system for the spring start up (yes, it’s nearly that time of year again!), but they can be installed at any time thoughout the year. You’ll need a fairly new irrigation system for the Rain Bird LNK to be compatible, like a Rain Bird ESP-Me or ESP-TM2.

For more info on the Rain Bird LNK wifi module, visit their website here. If you have been thinking of updating your system, this is a great time to do it with this new tech available!

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As you look out at your lawn today, do you see bare spots, weeds and brown patches? Are you worried about what kind of shape it'll be in when it's time to mow again in a couple of months? Don't fret, friend:


Why Invest In A Yearly Fertilization Program?

Beautiful lawns are planned and created. In Southeast Missouri, there is no perfect grass. A high quality, customized lawn fertilization program is an essential part of every great looking lawn, and we are ready to create your perfect program!

Grass needs nutrients to thrive, and most lawns in Southeast Missouri are malnourished. Bare spots, weeds, and brown patches are all signs of a struggling, nutrient starved lawn. For soil to be as rich as possible, it must have three key elements:  Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. Using just the right amounts of each of these at just the right time is an essential ingredient to achieving that healthy, green lawn that will cause some major yard envy from your neighbors.

Why Stork Landscaping?

Anyone can do basic lawn care, but only the expertly trained, state-certified technicians at Stork Landscaping can provide you with the healthy, green lawn you've been dreaming of. We'll customize a 5-Step fertilization plan specifically for your lawn that gives it the right amount of nutrients on the right schedule.  We are locally owned and operated, serving Southeast Missouri for 20 years.

Environment Friendly

Stork Landscaping cares about our environment. All our products are approved by the EPA. We are also happy to offer a 100% organic lawn care program that has a big impact on your landscape while being gentle on the environment.

Custom Treatment Plan

No two lawns are created equal. Here at Stork Landscaping, we take the time to do a soil test and assess the current state of your lawn to recommend the best treatment plan. Our technicians are trained to identify problems in your lawn, crafting a customized solution. Our team will work closely with you throughout the process to ensure you understand your specific growing environment as well as the proper expectations for your results.

Our Guarantee

All our fertilization treatments come with a satisfaction guarantee. If you're not 100% satisfied, we'll make it right. It's that simple!

Ready for Yard Envy? Check this out.

Are you ready for your yard to be the envy of the neighborhood? Sign up for our 5-Step fertilization program before March 8, 2019 and receive your first application free. Fill out our quick interest form, and we'll be in touch with more details!

Contact us today to learn more about our lawn fertilization services or to book a free quote. 573.803.0046

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Looking Ahead

Happy New Year! If you’re like most people living on planet Earth, the new year makes you reflect on moments from the previous year as well as look forward in anticipation of the year ahead. In your life, you focus on the current “season” you’re in, working to persevere through the tough times, and, hopefully, learn to better appreciate the good times while you’re still in them.

In the same spirit of thinking ahead, your lawn needs preparation for the coming weather seasons, too. Spring will be here before you know it, and good spring landscaping will set the tone for the rest of the year.

Good landscaping involves big picture thinking.

So where do you start when planning for the future? By looking at the now! Does your home currently have a deck, patio, children’s play area or even a water feature?

If not, which do you want the most? For now, let’s say your priority is to add beautiful landscaping around your deck.

Here are some questions you might ask yourself:

1. Do I want formal or informal style?
2. What are my favorite colors?
3. Will I want to maintain the landscaping myself?
4. What do I like most about my yard/deck area that I can build on?

No matter which project comes first in your mind, making a list like this will help you to better strategize your approach, as well as spark creativity around your main ideas. Getting your project in scope is just the start to planning a new landscaping feature. It might seem like a lot of work, but don’t worry.

One thing that won't change with each new year is that we are always here to help!

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions!

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Ugliest Sweater Wins

Spoiler alert: Christmas is almost here! 

While we have been celebrating the season in one way or another since finishing our last bite of Thanksgiving dinner (yes, we believe in waiting to celebrate until the proper time) there is one newer tradition we decided to embrace for the first time this year. That’s right we’re rocking our UgLy Christmas Sweaters. 

The tradition of wearing an Ugly Christmas Sweater has been around for over 10 years and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down so we decided to fully embrace the festive fun. 

Here are a few of our favorite ugly "beauties":


We already can't wait to see next year's sweaters!

Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Thankful for Thank Yous

The month of November is always a great time to look back at the first ten months of the year and reflect on what you are thankful for. After all, there is an entire holiday dedicated to it.

We at Stork Landscaping have so much to be thankful for year-round, including our employees, community and of course, our wonderful clients!

Good thing for us, the feeling is mutual. Here are a few reviews we are proud to have received over the past few years.

I love what Stork Landscaping created for the front of our home. They sent out a whole crew that hit the ground running & all worked together like a fine tuned machine. We are super happy & hope soon to have them back out to do our backyard. I would highly recommend Stork Landscaping, they are a top quality business & you definitely will not be disappointed.”-Susan T

Very professional, full service outfit that provides services from conceptual design, to install and maintenance of soft/hard scales and irrigation. Stork landscaping provides customers with cost conscious designs/installs that meet or exceed customer expectations. I would recommend them to anyone in need of a simple landscape facelift all the way to a full design and install of a custom dreamscape.”-Jaris H

Amazingly fast turnaround on small residential projects, 10/10 would recommend!”-Jenny M

I did a complete renovation on my landscape and Stork Landscaping was amazing. From the design to the construction phase, the customer service and quality of work, the experience was outstanding. I highly recommend Stork Landscaping!!!”-Cindy G

For us, these notes aren't limited to kind words written in a card. They translate to years of enjoying your landscaping and to us hoping it becomes the backdrop of many happy memories. How could we not be thankful to be a part of that? ;)

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As the leaves begin changing colors and falling off the trees at a rapid pace, it can be hard to imagine adding new plants to your yard or garden. However, autumn is actually the best time of year to show off your golden thumb.

Why Autumn?

There are quite a few benefits to planting during this season. Check out our top 4 list below!

1. Warm Soil

The temperature of the soil in your yard is probably not something you think about often (if ever). However, if you are considering planting, it is very important. Why? Because temperature helps regulate seed germination/growth and ensures that available nutrients get to your plants, causing them to sprout successfully.

2. Active Roots

While the Earth’s soil is still warm, roots can actively grow up until the ground starts to freeze for the next season. Getting an early start on planting also means your wildflowers will bloom earlier, and first-season perennials can actually show their flowers. When this happens, the Jones’ will want to start keeping up with you. ;)

Example: If you plant in the month of October, your plants have a substantial 7 to 8 months to grow and dig their roots deep into the ground. On the other hand, waiting until April or May would leave you will only 2 months before that Missouri summer heat hits us all.

3. Increased Moisture

Increased moisture is an amazing benefit to planting during autumn because it means less upkeep for you. The cooler weather eliminates evaporation, requiring less water than if they were planted in the spring. The shorter days also mean that photosynthesis slows down.

4. Get a Jump Start to Spring Growth

We hit on this a little bit already in point two, but spring bulbs like tulips and daffodils actually need to be planted in the fall and require an overwintering time to provide spring blooms.

Other Autumn Advantages

In addition to the scientific reasons you should plant before the autumn season ends, here is a list of other benefits to consider:

-Autumn’s cooler temperatures eliminate that need to take a second shower after a full day of planting in the summer heat.

-Late season is usually bargain time at garden centers that are trying to sell the last of their inventory before winter

-Plants love the fall, too. Their leaves aren’t stressed by the scorching sun like they are in summer, and cooler temps lessen the demand for water from the roots.

Winter will be here before you know it, so get planting!

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