5 Rules for New Sod

new sodHaving a home you’re proud of is a big deal, but having a yard that gives off that good first impression can be an even bigger deal. For some, grass doesn’t always grow greener on their side of the fence but have no fear because sod is here! Sod is an excellent way to make your yard look like it’s always had a field of green grass. However, there are a few top tips to follow to make sure your sod maintains its value and keeps your yard looking pristine. Here you will find the top 5 rules to follow after having your new sod installed!

  1. Always remember that sod is decomposable and it must be installed into the lawn immediately upon arrival. You can’t let it sit there until the weekend, or when you may have a free moment. If left rolled and untouched, heat can build up in the turf and cause severe damage, and that means no pretty grass and a lot of wasted money.
  2. Keep it moist! No one likes that word, but it’s an important one when it comes to sod care. When installed, make sure to thoroughly saturate the sod until it’s soggy to walk on.  You won’t be drowning anything as it’s near impossible to damage sod with water. This irrigation must be done deeply, at least 6 inches into the soil (hence the soggy part). Even after installation, you must make sure your sod is  frequently watered, up to 6 sprinkled showers a day. The only time to cut back on watering is right before it’s time to mow, so it gives the soil ample time to firm.
  3. Wait two weeks to mow! It takes an estimated 14 days for the sod to be mowed (unless it’s installed in the colder months of winter – which it takes longer then). When mowing, also make sure to mow high as to not put added stress onto the new sod.
  4. Stay off the lawn! To help make sure the sod adjusts properly, it’s best to avoid any  food traffic on the newly laid areas until after the first mowing. This can cause dents and spotting along the grass.
  5. And lastly, though it was said before, it bears repeating, water – water – water! Chances are if something is off with your sod, it’s because it’s not getting enough water. Not rooting? Edges turning colors? Mushrooms??? All usually a water issue. Once watering becomes deeper and less frequent, these little nuisances go away on their own so long as the water intake is right.

Follow these simple rules to keeping your grass looking great, and you’ll always win over any guests, even before they step foot inside!

Planting Mature Trees

mature tree plantingFinding a new perfect home, in the perfect neighborhood, on the perfect street is a once in a lifetime thing. For those lucky enough to experience this, it’s a joyous occasion! Perhaps so joyful you want to throw a lovely outdoor party in your new backyard. That’s when you realize; it’s a big open yard – not a single tree! Not a lick of comforting shade for your guests to saunter under, and planting seeds won’t get you anywhere fast. Well, why not rely on an already mature tree to be placed in your new lawn? It’s very possible, and you can turn your yard into a small forest overnight!

It’s almost like magic, to see an area transform in days with trees that are mature, rather than small plants that will flourish in many years’ time. Trees used for such purposes are explicitly grown  for replanting and are typically grown in large wooden boxes. Many retail nurseries carry various trees in all shapes and sizes to accent your yard with.

Make sure you have the right help handy! Planting mature trees is a very hard working job, and it is not recommended as a do it yourself project. The weight of the trees alone is typically too much for one person, even with the smaller 24-inch boxes. It is also essential that you have a clear path from the transport vehicle to the planting spot. The closer the better, as you’re not going to want to tear up your lawn by dragging the box, or tree itself, to the desired area. Another reason you’re going to want professional assistance, the tree(s) you’ve purchased, were not cheap and should be handled with care and planted correctly. Broken limbs (tree and human) and damage to the tree itself is not something you want to deal with when beautifying your yard.

So to make sure your housewarming party is a hit, keep your guests cool with some shade courtesy of your newly planted mature trees!

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Can my lawn bounce back from the cold winter?

florida winter grassDon’t be alarmed if your lawn is looking rough after this year's brutal winter. Between brutally cold temperatures and drying winds, your turf probably took a beating this year. It will most likely come back alright, but some great care can prevent any future problems, reverse damage and let your grass grow tall and green. 

Once those temperatures stay steady in the cool 70’s, assess how much of your yard has been browned due to frost or cold temperatures. If there are any brown patches, dig up the patches and fertilize the soil and put in new grass seeds or new sod. Cheaper options out of the two would be to place new seeds, as sod could get costly. When the new sod or seeds are put in, make sure to water your grass regularly. Make sure not to over water the grass as they could make it turn brown also. 

When that new grass begins to show, you can begin to mow the lawn. Only take a few inches off the grass as it cutting off too much could be bad for the roots of the grass and damage it. If you’re going to fertilize, the best fertilization to use is a high potassium fertilizer, as it helps the grass grow with the strength and nutrients the roots need. If you’re not getting the green you would like for your lawn; you could try turf colorants. Turf colorants are used for golf courses and are safe for your lawn. Don’t try it with any paint for your local hardware store, because turf colorants are chemically made safe for your grass.

Your lawn can bounce back from the winter that has just passed; it takes a lot of care and work. At the end that green, healthy lawn you will see will let you know that the hard work and effort you put in was worth it. 

Florida deep freeze; will my landscaping survive this harsh winter?

florida winter plantWhile it may be “nothing” compared to our neighbors up north, we Floridians do in fact experience cold weather and even freezes! I know, it’s tough for us to put away the flip-flops, but more importantly, we want to keep our tropical, beautiful, sun-loving plants alive.

So, fellow Floridians here’s how to implement some simple proper planning and care that makes a life or death difference for our landscape plants:

First of all, plan ahead:

Our meteorologists do their best to predict future temperatures within at least a few degrees, give or take. So if they’re telling you a freeze or frost is predicted for your area, do the right thing for your plants and cover all of them with frost blankets so you’ll be prepared ahead of time.

Keeping your plants healthy during cold weather gives them an edge on faster recovery when it warms up. 

Don’t fertilize when it’s cold.

Applying fertilizer encourages new growth, which means newborn baby plants - and newborn baby plants are much more susceptible to damage and injury from the cold. Postpone fertilization until spring or move them to a protected area. 

Cover your plants the right way!

Throwing a cover over the top of your plants is not enough to give them the protection they need. During a hard freeze, your covers should entirely cover the plant all the way to the soil. This way, the ground heat is trapped beneath your plant. You might even want to add an electric light bulb underneath the cover for extra heat. If your cold-sensitive plant is too large to wrap completely, use several layers of newspaper of cloth to wrap the trunk. Remember to remove the covers once the outside temperature rises above freezing. 

If you waited too long, no worries.

If, despite your best efforts, your plants are still damaged by the cold, don’t rush to prune away the damages. Instead, wait for spring. Your cold-injured plants will still sprout below the damage, so you can see exactly where to prune.

Do's and Don'ts of Great Curb Appeal

Nicole Stevens

villages curb appealFirst impressions are so crucial in many different aspects of life. From relationships to jobs, even to home owning, a good first impression is an important one. Imagine any of the times you’ve driven through nice neighborhoods, potentially looking for a new place to rent or even buy. You drive slowly, taking a mental note of the nicer homes and speeding up a bit past the not so nice looking home; ones with overgrown lawns and faded/cracked mailboxes and a for sale sign out front. Would something like this hold an importance to a potential buyer? Absolutely! It’s called curb appeal, and it’s a crucial part in a buyer’s decision to purchase or not. Here are a few tips to make sure your curb appeal is far from appalling.

  • DO make sure you keep your lawn neat and clean! An unkempt lawn is an indication of laziness in how the home looks, so it can leave potential buyers wondering how bad the inside might look compared to the tall grass outside. This includes trimming any hedges that may grow alongside the home/property.
  • DON’T crowd your front yard area. This includes any lawn ornaments that could obstruct the view of the front door (or just look plain tacky) and flower assortment, specifically annuals. If you desire a floral presentation in the front yard, consider planting perennials as they last much longer and add color and beauty to the yard.
  • DO shine some light on the situation! If you have a driveway or partial sidewalk leading up to the front door, a few small solar lights to stake in the floor will help light the way when walking from vehicles to the front door in the evening.
  • DON’T make your front door a mystery. Your front door should stand out and be obvious that is the main entry way into the home. The entrance in the home should be a warming invitation and not a guessing game between a side or back door to the home.
  • DO keep an up to date mailbox. Or at least a sturdy, clean one. A broken, bent, warp or paint chipped mailbox is another indication of laziness in the upkeep of the exterior of the home. Upgrade the mailbox to one that’s weather resistant, and closes securely.
  • DON’T go too “out there” with the paint job. Everyone always remembers the random brightly colored house in the middle of a neutrally painted neighborhood, but it’s not always a potential buyer’s cup of tea. It provides a shock effect anddefinitely grabs the attention of lookers, but it is rare you will find someone in the market for a bright pink home. Stay within the pattern of the neighbors, neutral colors are safest – grays and beiges being most popular.
  • DO take the extra step and power/pressure wash the driveway/surrounding sidewalk and possibly the exterior of the home (professional help may be required with that last part). It will show the home is well taken care of and that the curb appeal extends all the way to, well, the curb itself!

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What Your Neighbors Are Saying About Mansfield Landscaping

Steve from Mansfield Landscaping did a great job in helping us design our landscaping. Ron and John did an excellent job in seeing that the design was carried out and the final result was way beyond our expectations. They should be very proud of the work that they have completed for us. The entire crew was very hard working, friendly, dependable and polite. They did a great job with the clean up after the project was completed and the job was completed exactly when Steve said it would be done. Excellent and well run company.

Peworchik in Fernandina

Recently we decided to change our “blah” landscaping to something more “Outstanding” and maintenance free. After contacting several companies we met with, and, chose “Mansfield Landscaping”. They were able to provide not only exceptional advice but expert workmanship and changed our “humdrum” property into a “vibrant and exciting garden spot. Not only are we personally pleased with the services provided by “Mansfield Landscaping”, but we also wholeheartedly endorse and recommend their services to anyone in need of landscaping.

Robert and Carole

We discovered Mansfield Landscaping through our friends in the Village of Hadley. They gave us a good review of Steve's work, so we decided to visit his showroom/nursery. We are from Minnesota and know NOTHING about palm trees! We were looking for an education and lots of information about Florida landscaping.

Steve was so great with us! He showed us many different varieties of palm trees, along with plants that do well in this area. He also has an excellent display of both stone walls and rock--you can really see the different colors so you know what you are getting.

Later that same day, Steve came to our villa, came up with a plan and gave us an estimate. Three business days later, his crew showed up with a truckload of between 70 and 80 plants and the palm trees we wanted. Steve brings many, many plants to the job so you can select the ones you want--which is a real advantage, in my opinion.

The crew finished the job on time, and did an outstanding job! We had both our front and back yards done, so there was a lot of dirt on our concrete. They cleaned up everything and did a great job at that also!

Our job was completed a week ago, and since then, Steve has been back at least 3 times to check on what we think, how everything looks, and to make sure we are watering like we should be. His follow-up service is excellent.

EdandLinda (www.talkofthevillages.com)

I have moved 8 times all in FL and have put in a lot of landscaping. The landscaping Steve Mansfield did at my present home is the best ever. On a scale of 1 to 10, Steve and his employees are a good 10.

Jan and Drew Harris (The Villages, Keystone Villas)

We have just completed a large landscaping job with Steve Mansfield and are totally pleased and impressed with the quality of the work, the overall appearance and the end product. The job was completed within a week of the estimate and far below other estimates. With those estimates the jobs could not have been started for over a month, at a much higher cost. We went to the nursery with our outside pictures and chose the specific trees we wanted in our yard. This was a long process, but well worth the effort. Steve likes to talk, but he estimated the job that we wanted with the exact trees we wanted to our total satisfaction.

Turtle (www.talkofthevillages.com)

We could not believe Steve told us if we did not like the job, he would take it out with no extra cost to us. How could we go wrong? Our landscaping has added tremendous value to our home. You owe it to your yard to call Steve.

The Griffins (The Villages, Mallory Square)

Mansfield Landscaping LLC sets the benchmark for professional landscaping and exemplary service. Having received horticultural awards for my self-designed/created gardens and hardscape in Pennsylvania, I met my match with Steve Mansfield. I conveyed my ideas, wants, and needs for my Floridian garden/landscaping project. It encompassed a very large challenging space (front and rear of home). Steve took the task at hand adding enhancements and making it more than what I thought it could be. The attention we and this project received from Steve, Ron, the foremen, crew and Lynn (customer service rep) was outstanding. Their expertise, service, and dedication to this project was beyond what was expected. Steve's work ethics and professional attention are commendable. Once you meet Steve, you'll have no reason to look elsewhere. His word is 'gold'. We invite you to our home to see our beautiful lanai setting (garden and patios) and front landscape.

Regis and Vera Painley (The Villages)