Saturday, February 3, 2018

10 Things to do for Your Yard In February

10 Spring Landscaping Tips from Ralph Edge

With winter close to being gone, anyone who hasn’t already done your landscaping for Spring should act quickly to do so. We have put together a list of the Top 10 Landscaping Tips for Dallas landscapes to help you prepare, yet these are time sensitive, so act quickly.

Top 10 Landscaping Tips for Dallas and the Surrounding Area:

1.Use dormant oil for scale until buds pop

This should be done soon as it will burn the plant once it gets too hot.

2.Spray roses for black spot and leaf mildew

Both are prevalent during cooler weather and high humidity, so do so now.

3.Prune or cut back liriope, mondo, “monkey grass”

These are ground covers that come out of winter looking ragged and need a nice haircut. Dallas area property owners are sometimes amazed at how a nice pruning is often the best landscaping tip for their Dallas landscapes.

4.Trim summer bloomers (crepe myrtles, lantana, and other)

Plants that bloom in summer have yet to set their buds, so trim them now. DO NOT, however, trim the Spring bloomers. It is too late for Spring bloomers.

5.It is a good time to fertilize Rye and Fescue

Both are cool season grasses and now is the time for fertilizing them. Do not fertilize dormant grasses (brown grasses) as this just encourages weed growth which is not good for your lawn.

6.Check your sprinkler system (on a warm day)

Seriously, wait until its a warm day so that you do not rush. Take your time to review every sprinkler head. Enjoy the weather. Look for leaks in your sprinkler systems. Look for sprinkler heads that do not pop up all the way. Watch for sprinkler stations or zones that are not coming on.

7.Veggie starts if you have not done so…Onions, Potatoes, Strawberries

You are almost late on this landscaping tip, so do so quickly. Strawberries are really starting to kick in right now.

8.Excellent time to mulch and prepare for Spring (bed cleaning is always fun)

For landscaping your beds, make sure to clean them first. Don’t just throw mulch on top of the beds as this is not good for them at all. Turn the soil to get more air flowing through the soil.

9.Clean your mower and take care of your blade

Prior to using your mower for landscaping thoughts, make sure to get any caked on grass cleaned off and sharpen or replace your blade. Not cleaning your mower and sharpening your blade can promote disease growth.

10.Clean all your tools and spray with a 1 to 10 solution of bleach, let dry, and then coat with WD-40

Friday, August 8, 2014

Hear the Smile

Hear the Smile


Take a moment to think about this statement “in everything we do, we are communicating something to someone.” Considering the validity of that statement and the research that shows somewhere between 85 and 93 percent of all communication is non-verbal, what are we communicating?

Since communication is the catalyst for our ideas, theories, interpersonal relationships, and the very basis of our quality of life; and 80 plus percent is non-verbal, then it is entirely possible we are communicating opposite of what we want or intend to.

Our expressions can promote, anger, joy, puzzlement, or agreement. The clothing we wear can “say” I am a brash, no holds barred individual or a French cuff could “say” I am smooth and sophisticated. The cars we drive and how we drive them, the music we listen to or even the movies and books we talk about communicates who we are. How aware are we of the effects of our communicating and how can this be used to our advantage? It is possible a smile or positive body language can help turn a new prospect into a new client, it is a good, strong, and positive step in any sales process.

A professional salesperson/manager is a master of human behavior and communication. The professional is prepared, engaged, and focused, they know their client and how best to communicate to them.  They know how to mirror their client’s body language, speech, and tonal patterns. A masterful sales person is creating an environment through multiple avenues of communication, which encourages bonding and rapport with the client. People buy from people they like and they buy more than once.

The better we communicate, the more successful we will be, this is a proven fact. Ronald Regan our 40th president was both beloved and feared (by his enemies), he was often referred to as the great communicator. Ask yourself today, how well do I communicate? Am I a one faceted communicator? Can you create the impression that you need to, for success in today’s environment?

You are the only one that crafts the impression you deliver!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Start of Water Conservation

Water Conservation Tips by Ralph Edge

Now That We Have Water Supply, What is the Proper Water Use for Landscaping in Dallas

Texas Licensed Irrigator Ralph Edge Shares Watering Tips for Water Conservation and Proper Water Use

Well the lakes are full and some lakes are even opening the gates to allow the current water supply to adjust to slightly below full. So hey, let’s end the water restrictions and start watering and fertilizing to get us back into the same mess we were in before.
Wow! I am sure I have already made some new friends. You know… even at the height of the drought I had neighbors that watered to the extent that water supply ran down the street and into the storm drain some 250 yards away – poor water use in general.
Water conservation is just that, conserving the resources we have while we have them. So we must be smart with our water supply and make sure our water use is in the appropriate areas at the appropriate times for the appropriate purposes. Like my dad used to say..”It is too late to shut the barn door after the cow has left the building!” The simple fact of the matter is, we have more people in the Dallas area now than we did 10 years ago and basically the same amount of water supply. The city’s infrastructure is straining to keep up and our water use is at record rates. Unfortunately, we see no reason to stop – except with water restrictions. So what can one person do to help with water conservation and how does it impact landscaping in Dallas?

Let’s take the simple solution of proper irrigation scheduling. Take the example of adding 1 inch of water per week at the height of summer, just one inch. If a normal irrigation spray head has a precipitation rate of 1.1 to 1.5 inches per hour, then through simple deduction, we know that spray head will need to run about 1 hour or 60 minutes to achieve 1 inch of water delivered to your lawn and seriously, that will be plenty.
So how do we accomplish that? With our heavy alkaline clay soils that spray head should not run more than 7 minutes at any one run time. Otherwise, the rest of the water supply will run down the street and into the storm sewer – not good water use. If your lawn has a dramatic slope, then the run time will be even less. Repeat the term “cycle and soak” over and over again, that will be your new mantra.
Cycle and soak is the art and discipline of irrigating just enough for the soil to absorb the water supply with minimal run-off. Consider the situation of the two day a week watering schedule Mondays and Fridays as an example - start times of 2am, 4am, 6am, and 8am each run being 7 minutes. So 4 run times of 7 minutes each, equals 28 minutes and times 2 for 2 days of watering….Wow! No run-off and your plants look better than they ever have…Why?
Well glad you asked…The time between the run times allowed the soil to absorb the water supply without unnecessary run-off and the plant actually received more water than a straight 40 minute runtime. Why is this? Once again, 7 minutes to the yard and then 33 minutes of water down the street – again, a poor water conservation plan.
Cycle and Soak allows the vast, I repeat the vast, majority of the water to go where it needs to go and that is to your turf and to your plants and not to the storm sewer. No matter how much you water the storm sewer or the side walk, they will never get bigger or greener – and I know this is not where you want your water supply going.

Water conservation is not simply doing without water, water conservation is the proper utilization of water that allows for the growth of your landscape and the reduction of the amount of water used….how can that be so simple?

Thanks for Stopping By..................................and Remember  "Enjoy the Life"

Ralph Edge

Monday, March 19, 2012

Planning and Design

Planning and Design
Part One of the Seven Elements of Xeriscaping

The fundamental element of Xeriscape design is water conservation. Landscape designers constantly look for ways to reduce the amount of applied water and to maximize the use of natural precipitation.

         Using graph paper, draw an aerial view of your property, another way to do this is by using “Google Earth” it will measure and give you a view you have not seen before, begin your plan with the following considerations

·         Orient the plot by marking down north, south, east and west. Include any limiting features such as trees, fences, walkways or structures. Note areas of sun and shade, which will help you, establish zones of differing water needs. You'll want to group plants with similar watering needs for most efficient water use. The term for this in irrigation “talk” is hydra- zoning, by using this method of water distribution you can capitalize on your local areas water restrictions, and keep your new plantings alive at the same time

·         Study the natural contours and drainage patterns of the land. These contours can be easily developed into terraces, which add visual interest and help reduce soil loss and erosion due to rain or irrigation. Terraces can be as little as 3" and still offer visual appeal; terraces over 12" will require considerable support, such as rock walls or timbers reinforced with steel stakes. Also consider areas under trees where the grass will not grow no matter how many times you re-sod it, so expose those massive roots (gently) and fill in around them with different sizes and colors of river rock, the trees will like you for it and you will not be stressing over your bare dirt.

Rain Garden
 Another consideration in studying the contours of the property, do you have a low spot that always seems damp and boggy and fills with rain water, turn it into a permeable rain garden with bog loving  plants, make use of those areas that you would normally shy away from and let nature water them.

 Bubble Diagram
·         Consider the planned use of each area within the plot. Areas for seating, walkways, visual barriers, dining or play should be defined and incorporated into your plan. In the world of landscape we call this a bubble diagram… very, very helpful in designating and planning  you next home improvement adventure

 ·         Areas to be left as turf should be designed to be easily mowed. Curved swaths are usually better than straight runs with sharp turns. Narrow swaths can be difficult to water with conventional sprinklers. When choosing your turf area stay away from water hogs… grasses that demand heavy watering and high nitrogen fertilization, a grass that has to be mowed every other day with a special reel mower…I mean really, is that what you want to be doing with your spare time?

·         Larger plantings, such as shrubs and trees, can be positioned to provide natural heating and cooling opportunities for adjacent buildings.  When choosing a tree think….”Mature Growth”….if you live in a zero lot line house with a 20 by 20 foot yard area do you really want a tree when, in its adult life, has a span of 40 feet and a height of 70 feet. That kind of tree, while perfect in a rural setting or large lot setting will be nothing but a headache for a smaller property, it is not the right plant.

Xeriscaping is all about conserving the resources we have available, we do that by making good decisions about what, where, when, and how we plant and design our landscape.

Thanks and Enjoy the Life  

Ralph Edge

Texas Certified Master Nursery Professional # 5330

Texas Certified Landscape Professional # 577

Texas Licensed Irrigator #13733

Texas Licensed Backflow Assembly Tester #12012

Texas A&M and EPA Certified Irrigation Auditor

Texas Dept. Of Agriculture Commercial Applicator

Friday, March 9, 2012

Grass Roots Water Conservation.....

Water Conservation

One of the largest topics in the very near future (now) will be water conservation. Many cities and states are experiencing potable water shortages as we speak.

Many think this is another tree hugger fantasy, or the Southwest version of Save the Whales. Did you know that a little over a hundred years, ago paddle wheel steamers were traveling up and down the Rio Grande between Texas and Mexico? They were very similar to the ships that were navigating the Mississippi River; well today you can almost walk across the Rio Grande.

We have more people, more concrete, more residential turf areas than we have ever had before and whether we like it or not, water has become our most precious natural resource.

So there are some very simple ways of conserving this precious resource, in this blog we will deal with the basics of water usage in the landscape irrigation arena.

Watering in longer cycles or zone runs, does not mean more water for your grass, in fact just the opposite. After 7 minutes of run time on most spray heads the water is running down the street and provides little in the way of benefit to your starving yard. So………….Cycle and Soak:

Try this Irrigation Scheduling method for watering your lawn

and landscape. For fixed and pop-up spray sprinklers,

Use the Cycle and Soak water 3 cycles a day, 4 to 6 minutes each cycle.

Schedule start times one hour apart. If you have rotating sprinklers, water 3 cycles a day, 10 to 12 Minutes each cycle.

You will this is more effective than the standard 15 minute runs we have all been used to, the infiltration rate of our North Texas clay soils are such that more water runs off and down the street than into the root zone…….Try this idea to remind you of cycle and soak…think of a brand new sponge, just out of the wrapper, have you ever tried to clean your kitchen counter with a dry sponge? It just smears the mess around on the counter but get that sponge a little wet and it works much better…Think of your lawn as a dry sponge and you have a limited amount of water to use and you do not want any running down the street…Cycle and Soak…That is your new mantra.

Okay…got cycle and soak?…..Next, think of mulch for your flower and shrub beds. Mulch can reduce (by up to 65 %) the evaporation of moisture from that bed area…who knew??

Seriously, you spend time and dollars watering make sure it stays where it is needed and where you intend it to be. Pine straw, cedar, hardwood, shredded pine, eucalyptus….the choices are endless…just use an organic product that can decompose and add organic matter back to the soil, the plants will love you, the earthworms will love you and you will be the hero of your block…….(well maybe)

Enjoy the Life

Monday, February 27, 2012

There is That Quote Again !!!!

Well........As most of you know I do not promote motivation articles, seminars, movies, books, or whatever....but I recently received this article in my e-mail and promptly avoided it. A day later someone forwarded me a copy of the article and asked me to read it as it had "spoke" to them. I did read it then and have read it several times since then. Did it speak to me? No...I would say it shouted, thundered, clapped...well you get the idea. I spent 20 plus years in retail and I cannot tell you how many times I have had my clerks demeaned, ridiculed, and demoralized for being just that a clerk, trying to help someone else. this article is from a man named Jim Paluch of JP Horizons, Read and enjoy!!

Ralph Edge

There Is That Quote Again!

"Your life is a direct reflection of how you treat people."

If you have been to a JP Horizons event, you may remember that I always have a variety of quotes rotating up on the screen as people come into the room. I have been on the speaking trail quite a bit over the past couple of months and have had the chance to read those quotes many times. Or, maybe I should say, read one of those quotes quite a bit. It just seems like every time I look up at the screen while mingling around the room or preparing to get started, the slide that always catches my attention is the one that I quoted at the opening of this newsletter: "Your life is a direct reflection of how you treat people."

It has grabbed my attention so often lately that it's really caused me to do a little self-assessment and consider the question, "How am I treating people, and how would my life be different if I could make even a small improvement in this area?"

When we take the time to ask ourselves a sincere question, one that we really are open to the answer that may follow, we need to be prepared, because the answers will follow. Go ahead and read that last sentence again if you have the time because there are a couple of key points in it. If we ask a sincere question, the answers will come. The humbling thing about asking this question for me and the whole situation of being drawn to it is that the quote is out of my first book, Five Important Things. I made that quote up, and here I am, 15 years later, wondering how much progress I have made in this area. Well, the answers started to come. A little sketchy at first, but over a couple of days they seemed to come clearer and clearer, whether I wanted them or not . . . Hold on, you are going to get a little bit of self-disclosure from the road, yet I will also give reference to some things that I have gone back to read and consider. Things I have written in the past. I am thinking that if I wrote the quote that has started this whole reflective process, then maybe some of the other things I have written could bring about more insight.

- Jim Paluch

Doing Their Job

One of the interesting things about traveling so much is you get to meet a lot of people who are right in the middle of doing their jobs. Hardworking people such as Continental airline ticket agents and gate agents, rental car agents, cab drivers and shuttle bus drivers, hotel front desk clerks, banquet managers, audio/visual technicians, waitresses, business center workers, and a host of other people that I can come in contact with. I started asking myself the question, "How am I treating these individuals that are just trying to get by in what may not be the most rewarding positions at times?"

Well, I really did not like the answers that followed from that little constant voice running dialogue in my head. "Do you remember that a/v technician that you went nose to nose with just because you didn't like his prices? Or how about the ticket agent who just could not get you on the plane as a standby, no matter how gold or elite you felt your frequent flyer status was? She probably should have sat you in the corner for a timeout." Sometimes that inner dialogue can really let you have it if you are willing to let it speak. It could probably go on with more examples than I want to admit, but I will just let you in on one more just so you get the picture. ". . . how about that waitress, you know the one who started crying, in front of Beth and your sons several years ago, just because you had to give her a two-minute seminar on customer service, and conclude with, 'Now come on, get your head in the game.' And, oh yeah, how did you feel when her manager came out and asked you what you said to his waitress who is in the kitchen crying?" Now before I tarnish an image so badly that there may never be another person showing up for a seminar, let me just say, it does not happen frequently, but the question at this point is, "Is even once acceptable?" I don't think so, and I guess it is what I was thinking about when I wrote this little piece of "fiction" in Five Important Things and then forgot again many years later in the scene described above.

Doing Our Job

How about when you or I are right in the middle of doing our job? Is that an easy time to appreciate people? You know, when our customers are depending on our service or product. Sometimes we can be so focused on doing a good job that we lose focus on the privilege of having a job to do. I realize over the years that there were times that I could have been more responsive and more appreciative of being a resource, yet there have been times that I've fallen short. I could have been a little more responsive to my clients' needs and maybe just genuinely appreciative of them and their role in helping people as well

Choices and Follow Through

One last thought on this topic of how we treat people, and it goes back to the Five Important Things book as well. Important Thing Number 2 is "APPRECIATE PEOPLE" and it's at the core of treating people great. If we treat people great, and if we believe in the quote at the start of this newsletter . . . just think how tremendous our life will be! I was glad to read through them again and remember what inspired me to write these thoughts in the first place.

What a great wake-up call for me when I realized this quote "Your life is a direct reflection of how you treat people" was in my face almost every day over the past two months. Maybe the reason I kept seeing it on the screen was because I needed a good reminder and maybe I was supposed to write this newsletter so I could re-examine how I treat others. What if I was supposed to write it for you too, the reader? What if you are feeling right now like it was just for you? How will you treat people in the next hour or throughout this day? How will you and I treat others for the rest of the week, month or throughout this upcoming year? However we choose, we can count on seeing its reflection in our lives.

If you want to learn more about the power of PEOPLE SOLUTIONS THAT DRIVE BUSINESS PERFORMANCE, contact:

JP Horizons Inc.

8119 Auburn Road

Painesville, OH 44077

Phone: (440) 352-8211

Fax: (800) 715-8326


web site:

Enjoy the Life and Thanks for Stopping by

Ralph Edge

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Toad Lily

Okay I want to start this off by saying I have yet to plant this little beauty, but it is one of the first plants to go in my somewhat ravaged garden this spring. It will need some shade, moist rich soil and yes, some water, perhaps I will use gray water since that may be all I have...due to the drought....But  we cannot let a little thing like the biblical proportion type drought stop us committed gardeners.

Many feel we should be committed but that is a whole "nouther" story. While sifting through articles about the infamous Toad Lily I found a really good one from a retired extension horticulturist in Arkansas, so I will include it  a little later on. The "Toad" will over winter as far North as Chicago....and yes I have readers that far North, only God knows why.......So, let us learn together....

Now would it not be great to have this cool little plant growing and blooming in our garden, and during one of our "Wine and Cheese Parties",  we casually proclaim to it's admirers "Oh Yes, that is my Toad Lily, very sought after in it's native Asia" . Of course I don't know if wine from a box and string cheese in plastic tubes is "haute cuisine". Oh Well, enjoy the pictures and the article.

Toadlily, Tricyrtis hirta, is one of a dozen species of Asian herbs of the lily family that are found in the Himalayas, China and Japan. This species grows 2-3 feet tall with gracefully arching stems arising from an underground root system. It has 4-inch long clasping leaves that are covered with a coat of fine hairs, hence the species name, which means "hairy."

A variegated form is available with each leaf delicately edged with an eighth-inch halo of yellow.

The genus name Tricyrtis is from Latin and translates as "three convexities." It refers to the three match-head sized swollen nectary glands at the base of each flower. The flowers are borne singly along the stem, where each of the alternate leaves attaches to the stem.

Established toadlilies may have as many as two dozen of these 2-inch wide flowers splayed out along the stem when they come into bloom in early October.

Individual toadlily blooms have six petals that are splattered with brownish purple blobs on a white background, giving an overall lavender effect. It’s from these spots that some English gardener made the connection with toads and burdened the lovely plant with its unfortunate moniker.

Above the petals, the anthers extend outward and surround the three-branched stigma, giving the sexual part of the flower the look of the octopus ride at the county fair, but of course somewhat smaller. If pollination occurs early enough before frost, an erect capsule will form.

Tricyrtis seems to be one of those plants that got misplaced in the plant shuffle of the 20th century but seems to have been recently rediscovered. While Bailey and other garden writers described it almost 100 years ago, nobody seemed to carry it until recent years. About 1990, Wayside gardens began featuring the plant, and today it’s fairly common in garden centers and nurseries. Dan Heims, a West Coast propagator, lists almost 40 cultivars of the various species.

Heims, who spoke at the 2000 Arkansas Flower and Garden Show, is one of a select group of serious plantsmen who have been traveling to Japan to acquire new and interesting plants from Japanese specialty nurseries. He tells of the Gotemba Nursery in Japan where hundreds of different toadlilies can be purchased by the rabid collector for prices up to $150 per plant.

Heims’ nursery specializes in tissue culture propagation and has introduced some of the best new types and is making them available to American nurserymen.

Toadlilies must be grown in the shade. They are excellent companion plants to hostas and other inhabitants of deep shade. Fertile, well drained, uniformly moist organic soils are most to their liking, but they will tolerate lesser soils so long as they don’t contain too much clay. Extended droughts will cause tip and marginal leaf burning. While the foliage will die with the first hard freeze, they are perfectly winter hardy as far north as Chicago. New plants can be had by springtime division or by terminal cuttings taken in the spring from new growth. Slugs occasionally mar the beauty of the foliage but are not usually serious.

By: Gerald Klingaman, retired

Extension Horticulturist -

Thanks  for Stopping By and Enjoy the Life

Ralph Edge