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Frequently Asked Questions


  • How often should I water my landscape?

Water needs are dependent on the local environment and are influenced by many factors including soil permeability, current humidity and the water requirements of your individual plants.  It is best to water early in the morning and the length of time should be based on recent weather conditions.  Most new irrigation systems have easy ways to alter the clock’s run settings for a change in weather, and many offer devices such as rain sensors or the ability to link with your home computer to be controlled remotely.  General ideas: 

Obviously, if it is raining, turn off the water until the rain stops, to both conserve water and prevent your landscape from becoming a muddy mess.

In the heat of the summer, plants will want water more often.  Observe your plants foliage to determine if they need more water – leaves will droop and look less perky and under more extreme stress, turn brown and dry.  

If plants have been recently installed, they tend to want more frequent watering until established. (This is because generally they have been nursery grown and are thus more sensitive to the change in attention.)

  • How is Ground Effects a "Green" company?

Here at Ground Effects we believe that it is not enough to simply follow the minimum laws regarding conservation of the environment.  A successful landscape and a healthy ecosystem go hand in hand.  Shortcuts that damage the environment will shorten the lifespan of a landscape and create future problems.  We take the extra measures and time to protect the environment and encourage our Clients and Contractors to utilize the most natural methods possible to solve garden problems.  Soil erosion is a serious problem that can lead to disastrous consequences for already established construction, so we always properly direct water run-off.  Our design emphasis prevents water waste utilizing drought tolerant plantings and intellegent irrigation design. 

  • What can I do about the leaves on my plants (especially citrus trees) turning yellow?

Leaves on many plants, especially citrus trees and plants like camellias or gardenias tend to get yellow in color when the chemistry of the soil around them is unfavorable.  Many of these plants are acid lovers and unfortunately in southern California the salts and alkalis tend to dominate the mix and deprive the plants of their ability to absorb nutrients.  The imbalance in the soil reduces the intake of iron, which causes the leaves to turn yellow.  The situation can be remedied by using a combination of acid fertilizer (ex. Azalea and camellia fertilizer) with an easily absorbed chelated iron product.  A general rule of thumb in gardening is to never mix fertilizers, so when applying the fertilizers, mix each product into the soil separately.

  • What should I have my gardener do during their weekly visit?

Your unique landscape and the capabilities of your gardener will influence what is accomplished during the weekly visit.  Beyond the normal lawn mowing and clean up, some general things to consider having done are the following:

Prune excess foliage growth and pinch off/cut spent flower spikes – doing this before they go to seed encourages the plants to flower again and reduces the chance of the plants reseeding throughout your yard

Monitor watering system 

Fertilize where necessary

Pull weeds


  • How can I reduce the squirrel and insect populations in my landscape?

In a well-balanced and healthy environment, nature’s creatures will and should be present.  If you happen to have an over abundance of these furry little beasts or they are over-eating your costly and nice looking plants, we recommend trying several things.  A company called Bioplex makes a natural Woodchuck repellant that we have found to be effective.  Another suggestion is to try a mix of Tabasco and chili peppers sprayed onto and around the plants that are being attacked. While not really dangerous to you, it is a shock to the taste buds of the pest. If you are having trouble with insects, try a citronella based product, usually sold as candles. And finally, if these things don’t help, try calling a pest control company and have them come battle with the beasts.

  • How can I get rid of weeds?

Getting rid of weeds is like the eternal cat and mouse game.  They will always come back and unfortunately the more you have, the more you get.  It is important to control weeds early and often.  The most environmentally friendly way to deal with them is old fashioned pulling.  When you are pulling the weeds out, try to pull or dig the entire weed out (the roots too, not just the green part above ground) There is less chance of the weed coming back if there is none of it left in the ground. 

  • How much will it cost?

Doing any work in your yard costs money.  How much is entirely dependent on your wants, needs and funds available to devote to your outdoor environment.  Construction costs in landscape are generally higher than people imagine, but creating a nice change in your yard is not impossible on a small budget.  Building elements in the landscape like pools and large hardscape elements such as built in BBQ’s and new patios are usually the most pricey parts of the project.  Firepits, furniture, and water features can fluctuate in price dramatically depending on the design, but can be great and still cost effective if selected carefully. And most importantly, plants obviously have the impact and importance in the landscape. The great thing about plants is that they grow (and it is generally better for the plant to be planted when it is younger and has a less established root system).  To save money and maximize the spread and success of the planting, purchase smaller, and thus less expensive, plants at the beginning.