Frequently asked questions
How much does a service call cost?
It’s $95 for the first hour, then we pro-rate our time and add in materials.
Can you service or repair my sprinkler system even if somebody else installed it?
Do you give estimates?
Do you do both residential and commercial work?
Do you provide a maintenance service agreement for irrigation systems?
Yes, for start up of irrigation systems in the spring and winterization in the fall. An advantage of being in our service program is that we will call you to schedule these services at the appropriate times of the year.
When should my system be winterized?
Before the first hard freeze, usually in November.
When should my system be started in the spring?
After the last hard freeze, usually in March.
My controller is not working – what can I do?
Check to be sure the outlet is working and check the GFI button. If the outlet is not working properly, call an electrician. If the outlet is working OK, call our office to schedule a service call.
Irrigation system Winterization and Spring Start Up
In Oklahoma, our winters have enough cold days that your irrigation system will need to be winterized. Winterization consists of turning off the water at the shutoff valve before the backflow preventer and draining the water out of the backflow preventer. Emptying the main line and lateral lines is not necessary as our winters are not severe enough to freeze the water in the pipes. If your backflow preventer is installed underground correctly or has heat tape, it will not need winterization.
Typically, we begin winterizing irrigation systems in early November. If your Grooms sprinkler system is less than one year old, we will automatically come out and winterize your system unless you call and ask that we do not. We will leave a Grooms flag at the backflow preventer to alert you that the system has been winterized.
When temperatures warm up in the spring, you’ll need to turn your system back on. Grooms can perform a spring start up, which includes de-winterization as well as a full system check. The crew will check for broken irrigation heads and adjust heads as necessary. We also offer a yearly service agreement that includes winterization and spring start up.
Plants should be trimmed to maintain proper size and aesthetics. Some trimming of certain plants will improve the appearance of your landscape. As a general rule of thumb, its best not to remove more than ¼ of the green growth on the plant at a time to keep it healthy. Heavy trimming for large shrubs and trees should be done in the winter when the plants are dormant or less active.
Ornamental grasses should be trimmed to 1/5th of its mature size in early spring. Every several years ornamental grasses should be dug up, divided into several smaller plants, and then re-planted. The excess parts of the plant can be planted in another location or discarded.
Holly should be trimmed about every six weeks during the growing season to maintain its appearance and desired size. If you would like the plant to reach a taller height, only light trimming is necessary to maintain a desirable appearance. Keep in mind that evergreen plants are growing at all times.
Crape Myrtles should be trimmed after new growth emerges in April and May. The previous winter will kill some branches, but this will not be distinguishable until the plant has put on new leaves. Trim off any dead at this time. Also, throughout the summer and fall suckers will emerge from the base of the Crape Myrtle. These can be pruned at any time. Crape Myrtles typically look their best if they are trimmed up about 1/3rd of the plant. The practice of trimming Crape Myrtles in the same place every year as they are typically treated in central Oklahoma is unnecessary and unhealthy for the plant.
Perennial plants such as Rudbeckia, Artemisia, Purple Coneflower, and many others can be trimmed back near ground level over the winter or in early March. They will send up new growth in the spring.
Nandina plants typically do not require much trimming, but occasional trimming can make them look their absolute best. Standard Nandina can be trimmed back to the ground if the top has numerous leggy stems that detract from the appearance of the plant. Trim back to the ground in the spring and the plant should re-emerge denser a few weeks later. Dwarf type Nandina, such as Firepower or Gulfstream, usually don’t require much trimming, but sometimes keeping the plant a desired height may be important. If this is the case, trimming at any time with pruners or hand shears to the desired height can be done.
Weeds can detract from the overall appearance of the landscape. The first year after planting is the most critical for weed prevention as plants begin to develop. The disruption of soil during landscape construction can encourage weed growth, so it is important to maintain weeds from the beginning. To prevent weeds from emerging in the first place, the use of a pre-emergent such as Amaze or Preen, mulching, and allowing desirable plants to cover the soil will help.
Bermuda grass will occasionally creep into landscape beds. It is critical to remove it as soon as it is discovered. Two methods of removal include manual pulling and/or spraying with an herbicide. Round-Up can be used as long as the spray does not make contact with any desirable plant material. Ornamec or similar products can be used to spray Bermuda grass within ornamental plants, but overall it is less effective than Round-Up.
It is important to fertilize trees and shrubs at least once a year to help them grow to maximum desirability. The best time to fertilize is in early March. A second application of fertilizer can be added in late May. The best fertilizers to use release nutrients slowly like Osmocote Plant Food.
Pests and Insects
Maintaining healthy plants with proper watering and fertilizing will help with many pests, including fungus and insects. Certain plants are more susceptible to insects than others, and after time you will begin to see patterns. In hot, dry weather, insects such as spider mites will have a rapid increase in population. If not controlled, mites can kill new growth on evergreens and cause early leaf drop on deciduous shrubs. Spraying water on the foliage of plants infested with spider mites can give partial relief, but sometimes a chemical spray is needed. If you are not sure of the cause of your plant problems, an expert may need to be consulted.
Aphids can cause distortions to the shape and appearance of leaves. Aphids are hard to see, but sap dripping from the tree or shrub may be the residue from the insects.
Also, be on the lookout for chewing insects feeding on your valuable landscape plants. They can defoliate shrubs and certain evergreens very rapidly. Often, chewing insects can be left alone if the damage is not great. On more valuable plants or for more severe infestations an organic or chemical insecticide may be required.
Organic mulch is especially important during hot, dry summer months, as well as during the winter. Mulch helps with moderating soil temperatures, protecting plant roots, maintaining soil moisture, deterring weeds, protecting tree trunks from damage by mowers and trimmers, and enhancing the attractiveness of your yard. Over time, mulch around your landscape plants tends to get compacted and will decompose, resulting in the use of more water and weaker plants.
Good mulch can consist of shredded cedar, shredded cypress, or shredded hardwood. A layer of mulch that is 1-3 inches deep is best. Any thicker and the plant roots can begin growing in the mulch layer instead of the soil, making them susceptible to drought as well as freezing temperatures.
Check the existing depth of mulch before adding more. Keep mulch a couple of inches away from the trunks of trees and shrubs, because this can lead to rot. Plastic should not be used as mulch material, because it does not decompose and can hold excess moisture and heat. Do not use a plastic layer under mulch because the plastic will not allow water to penetrate down into the soil layer.
Links to helpful websites – OSU Fact Sheets
Tall Fescue Home Lawn Care: http://pods.dasnr.okstate.edu/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-2299/HLA-6420web.pdf
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