Lawn and Landscape Blog

Watering Trees, Plants and Shrubs - Lawn Sprinkler Design Springfield MO

Watering Trees, Plants and Shrubs – Lawn Sprinkler Design Springfield MO

How to Water

Drip Systems —Advantage of drip systems is adding emitters and increasing the area watered as the plants grow, but most drip systems do not have enough well placed emitters.

Hoses — A perforated hose is a good device for watering, but can spray water in a random pattern.

Sprinklers — Your lawn sprinkler design can cover a large area but can be inefficient with plants, grass and trees because of wind and evaporation.

Watering Frequency

Water consumption rates vary among plant types. Plants that use a lot of water, such as willow trees, need more water than mature arid plants.

Root depth

Root depth has a huge impact on how often plants should receive water. For instance, deeper rooted plants do not need frequent watering periods, but somewhat surface deep roots may absorb the water faster and cannot hold the water for very long.

Watering Time

The amount of time needed to water your plants depends on your type of soil, your irrigation system, root depth, and weather. All of these characteristics of the plants can be seen by how quickly water is absorbed in the soil.


During the summer moths, plants tend to use 3 to 5 times as much water then they do during the winter. Watering your trees, plants and grass when summer is on the horizon is good practice once a week. If you have evergreen trees, in the winter they will keep moisture at their roots to keep from dying but generally the cold weather is normal for trees and plants to loose their leaves and even die.

Plant Type and Maturity

For new, young plants it is good to water them more than old established plants. After the new plants have been accustomed to their surroundings, and one year has passed it is good to start lessening the frequency of watering them. This allows the plant to adapt to lessened water and become tolerant.

Type of Soil Irrigation

Most of the time, you have multiple types of soil in your yard, but usually the top soil is what most people will see and use for their plants. However, if you have clay soil in your yard, this type holds water easily but if you have sandy soil, you should irrigate more often but less frequent.


When water stays in the ground and does not evaporate, this is a good situation to be in because it doesn’t allow the plants to be in a drought or stressful situation. 3 to 4 inches of organic or rock mulch on top of a plant root area will reduce the frequency of watering because it is holding the water near the roots.

Under and Over-Watering Signs

When under-watering occurs, the soil becomes dry, the leaves will turn yellow or brown and can even fall off. Also, old leaves are wilted which shows the lack of water. When over-watering occurs there is water standing near the plant or tree, new leaves become yellow and brittle, shoots are wilted and mushrooms start to grow.

Lawn Mowing Techniques - Lawn Aeration Springfield MO

Lawn Mowing Techniques – Lawn Aeration Springfield MO

While there can be a numerous amount of things that can affect your lawn, the three most common influences are the weather, the soil and lawn care and mowing techniques. Since the weather and soil can be quite difficult to control, proper lawn care and mowing techniques are a manageable variable that can show a big difference.

Proper lawn aeration, care and mowing techniques are vital to having a healthy lawn and landscape and usually cost a minimal amount. Coming up with lawn care and mowing techniques can never happen too early or soon. Some tips for healthy lawn care and mowing techniques are:

High Mowing

The higher the grass, the healthier your lawn will be. With the height of the grass and the depth of the roots, there is a one to one relationship, which means if you mow at two inches, your roots will have a depth of two inches. The one-third rule states that you should never remove more than one third of the high of the grass in one clipping, because it leaves the grass more prone to diseases. High mowing will add root mass and will make your lawn more disease and drought-resistant.

Variation of Mowing Pattern

Mowing pattern variation makes sure that the wheels of the mower are not running over the same areas every time. This can cause bald spots in the grass and can eventually weaken it.

Sharp Mower Blade

A good thing to remember is to keep the blade on your mower sharp. Cutting with a dull blade will leave the grass jagged, which will brown the grass quickly and will leave the grass prone to disease.

 Mulch Clippings

When people bag clippings, they are losing a lot of nitrogen they are applying when fertilizing. Leaving the clippings on your yard will help maintain soil activity. One environmental positive of not bagging mowing clippings is the landfills are not being filled with good healthy nitrogen.

Water Dry Grass

Especially during the summer months, grass needs at least one inch of water per week. Watering deeply in the morning to reduce the possibility of disease once a week is a good technique.

The frequency of watering isn’t the most important issue anymore, the amount of moisture and the timing is what matters the most.


Aeration reduces compaction, which makes root development easier. This also pulls microorganisms to the surface, which helps break down thatch and other organisms.

How to Pick a Healthy Plant

How to Pick a Healthy Plant – Yard Pest Control Springfield MO

Before going out and finding the perfect plant for you, it is good to know that, since plants can be expensive and temperamental, some plants might not work for your landscape or they might not be in season yet. Even the fully developed plants can develop problems quickly, such a yard pest control problems, diseases and damages done, but knowing how to tell if a plant is healthy may solve future problems.

Selecting A Healthy Plant

The first step before selecting a plant for your landscape, is understanding the signs of a healthy and unhealthy plant. Looking at all of the plants parts will tell you if there are any problems, and you should start with looking at the leaves. Next you should look at the growth of foliage, then disease and pests issues and finally with the roots. Here at Gabris Landscaping we can help you with any of your landscaping needs, anywhere from starting from scratch with a new house, to a yard pest control problem, to planting a new tree or shrub.

Growth of Foliage

Healthy plant growth will indicate a healthy plant. Most plants, with some exceptions including plants with multi-colored leaves, should have green leaves with even color. It is recommend not buying a plant with pale leaves. Also, it is a recommendation to avoid dry leave edges and yellowing or brown leaves on plants. Full, bright colored growth is a sign of a healthy plant. Instead of long plants, it is recommended to choose sturdy plants. If a plant looks to be pruned, this could indicate a damaged stem has been removed because it was diseased or damaged in process of growth or movement.

Disease and Pests

After looking at the leaves and growth of a plant, it is recommended to look at symptoms of diseases and possibly pests. When looking for diseases and pests, you should check underneath the leaves and where the stem attaches to leaves. At Gabris Landscaping we can help you with any problems you may encounter with your landscape with our yard pest control service. This is the location some pests stay, such as: Spider mites, Aphids, and Scale Mealybugs.


Other signs of a healthy plant are good sturdy roots. However, because roots are difficult to see when a plant is in a pot, most of the time you can tell if the plant is rootbound. you notice roots growing through the hole of the pot, the plant has been in that pot too long. When the roots are growing on top of the potting soil mix, it is a sign of a rootbound problem.

Rootbound plants are not necessarily an unhealthy plant, because it shows that the plant is growing, but it is recommended to repot a rootbound plant as soon as you can.


KY3 Feature – What to Ask Before You Hire a Lawn or Landscaping Service Springfield MO

Here’s the feature KY3 did that features Gabris Landscaping. Learn what questions to ask before you hire a lawn and landscape service so you don’t get duped.

Additional Tree Disease Resources (2015) - Tree Service Company Springfield MO

Additional Tree Disease Resources (2015) – Tree Service Company Springfield MO

(Information was obtained through a workshop put on by Simeon Wright, Forest Pathologist at the Missouri Department of Conservation in January 2015.)

For Plant Problem Diagnosis through the University of Missouri Plant Diagnostic Clinic check out:

Want to get updates and alerts about forest health issues in Missouri?

Looking for current forest health news items?

Just love trees? Want to spread the word? Check out Trees Work:

Specific Disease Information

Oak Decline –>

Oak Decline –>

Oak Wilt –>

Fire Blight –>

Bleeding Cankers –>

Ash Leaf Spot –>

Boxwood Blight –>

*Thousand Cankers Disease –>

*Thousand Cankers Disease –>

*Please be aware that “Black Walnut is ecologically and economically important to Missouri, and thousand cankers disease (TCD) is a serious threat to this resource. After reviewing symptoms of TCD, if you discover groups of walnut trees with suspicious symptoms that are not due to site disturbance or other issues, contact your Missouri Department of Conservation forester or email: …Photos can be very helpful in diagnosis.”

Missouri Exterior Quarantine Law:

If after viewing our extensive tree disease resources you have questions, since we specialize in being a tree service company, we can answer them.

Cicadas are Back in 2015 - Yard Pest Control Springfield MO

Cicadas are Back in 2015 – Yard Pest Control Springfield MO

Well folks, I’ll keep it short and sweet… the cicadas (sometimes also known as “locusts”) are back in 2015.  We actually have 2 populations emerging this year near Springfield, Missouri.  Typically they emerge in early May.  There is a 17-year cycle that will emerge on the west side of the state near Kansas City, as well as a 13 year population that will emerge on the east side of the state closer to Arkansas.  It is rare that we have two cycles emerging at the same time so expect to see quite a few flying around this year.

What does this mean for your plants and trees?  Well, basically the main thing you will notice is insect shells all over the place, but you may also find ovi-positing slits in branches from egg-laying and possible some branch flagging.  In most cases, this should not be a major concern for the trees or plants but we specialize in yard pest control even though there’s not a lot to do with cicadas.  In extreme cases, there is potential for some damage and extra stress to affected plants, but the damage from cicadas is usually not a big deal.  The phenomenon itself is just interesting to be aware of.

Some things we can expect after cicada emergence is an increase in mammal populations the following 1-2 years.  You can also expect an increase in ticks and other mammal feeding insects 2-3 years following emergence.

For more on the periodical cicadas visit: and

I would like to give thanks to Rob Lawrence, Forest Entomologist at the Missouri Department of Conservation, for the information above.  All of this information was presented by Rob during the 2015 Tree Insect and Disease Update in Springfield, Missouri.


Jeffrey R. Gabris, MBA

ISA Certified Arborist – MW5363A

Emerald Ash Borer 2015 Update - Lawn Care Services Springfield MO

Emerald Ash Borer 2015 Update – Lawn Care Services Springfield MO

Emerald Ash Borer is a type of inset that is known to be suspicious and can infest a county. While they affect a county, there are multiple homeowners that are affected in their infestation process. Because of this we offer many lawn care services to homeowners within counties that have been affected by Emerald Ash Borer. The following insect information comes from a 2015 Insect & Disease Workshop (in January) and is compliments of Rob Lawrence, Forest Entomologist at the Missouri Department of Conservation:

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Information:


To Report EAB Suspicions for your county in Missouri, take the following steps:

1.) Check the map of known EAB infested counties @

If your county is already known to be infested, you can stop there.  If not, continue on to step 2.

2.) Compare EAB signs and symptoms from brochures available at the Missouri Conservation Department or

If your signs and symptoms match those of EAB, continue on to step 3.

3.) Report your findings to your local Missouri Department of Conservation forester (See local contact box at, by phone toll-free at 866-716-9974, or @


EAB: Branch Sampling Information –>

EAB: Management for Homeowners –>

EAB: Insecticide Options (revised 2014) –>

EAB: Insecticide Potential Side Effects –>

EAB: Cost Calculator –>

Proper Planting Techniques Handout - Landscape Replacement Springfield MO

Proper Planting Techniques Handout – Landscape Replacement Springfield MO

Click Here To Download Our Proper Planting Techniques Handout

Proper Planting Techniques

  1. Choose a healthy, disease-free and pest-free plant with good structure relative to its species and if help would be beneficial we offer many landscape replacement services.
  2. Look up for wires/lights and around/down for wires, irrigation, gas, water, and telecommunications lines. .(AVOID FIBEROPTIC LINES AT ALL COSTS – EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE REPAIR COSTS)
  3. Find the top-most root and treat root defects for trees and large shrubs; (i.e. cut out stem girdling roots.) For smaller shrubs and plants pull roots out gently on root-ball to encourage horizontal growth. (Thicker root wads may need to be sliced with a sharp pocket knife or utility blade first.)
  4. Dig the depth of hole exactly the height of the root-ball (as measured from the bottom to the top-most root) and twice the width of root-ball width.
  5. Remove synthetic materials (burlap, wire basket, etc)
  6. Place plant in hole and position top root 1-2 inches above landscape soil
  7. Make sure plant or tree is straight by standing a distance away and examining it from multiple angles.  Face the fuller, healthier sides of plants and trees towards the area from which it will be most often seen.
  8. Add back soil and pack firmly around the root ball
  9. Soak planting area until full of water to push air out of any pockets
  10. Add mulch 2-3 inches thick on top of moist soil around root ball and step down gently to push soil down into any large air pockets.  Then spread mulch out around tree using proper mulching techniques.
  11. Stake and prune (only if needed)
Watering Your New Plants Handout - Water Sprinkler Troubleshooting Springfield MO

Watering Your New Plants Handout – Water Sprinkler Troubleshooting Springfield MO

Click Here To Download Our Newly Planted Shrub, Turf, & Tree Watering Practices 1 Page Handout

New Plant/Turf/Tree Watering Practices
The #1 cause of death for new plantings in urban areas is over watering, which is why we offer water sprinkler troubleshooting services and these guidelines. These guidelines are intended to maximize the successful establishment of new plants in the urban landscape. There are many exceptions to the following guidelines and plant specific research is encouraged for customers interested in the proper maintenance of their turf, plants, shrubs, and trees.
A smaller volume of water provided more frequently is preferred to larger volumes of water in smaller frequencies for the majority of your smaller plants and shrubs. Trees and larger shrubs prefer a slightly larger volume of water a little less frequently. The key is to keep the soil around the root system moist.
The use of tree bags are recommended for newly planted trees. They should be filled up every day for the first two weeks and about once a week for the following 6-10 weeks depending on weather conditions. After that trees should be watered once or twice a month for the first 1-2 years, even during their dormancy period, if weather permits.
All that said, the following schedule seems to be pretty effective during the Spring and Fall. I would increase the volumes and add in a few extra frequencies to compensate for additional water loss from the heat. Excessive rainfall should be compensated for as well.  If you are ever in doubt about proper watering practices, contact local experts which can be found at nurseries, the Conservation Department, and landscape service businesses.  If you are in the Midwest region and just need advice, just give us a call at (417) 837-1578


Jeffrey R. Gabris, M.B.A.

ISA Certified Arborist – MW-5363A


Protecting Plants From Winter Desiccation - Shrub Care Service Springfield MO

Protecting Plants From Winter Desiccation – Shrub Care Service Springfield MO

After last year’s winter, many of our customers are concerned with losing plants in the landscape from the cold weather. I thought it may be beneficial to share some simple tips to help keep your plants alive during our sporadic Winters here in Springfield, Missouri. Below you will find 3 easy ways you could be protecting your plants from Winter desiccation.

Although it may be too late for many people, the first step in helping your plants live through the seasons is selecting the correct plants upon installation. Many plants have specific varieties that can handle cold temperatures or drought conditions better than other varieties or cultivars. Making sure your plants are in the correct Hardiness Zone for our location is one way to determine if a plant is suited to survive in our area. In Springfield, Missouri our Hardiness Zone would be considered 6a.  This information should be available on the plant’s tag at the nursery. If not, usually it can be found with a simple internet search from your smart phone. Search for “plant specifications for (plant name here)” or “plant facts for (plant name here).” Some good websites for plant facts will be your local botanical center (Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder) or a university extension website (Virginia Tech University Dendrology Factsheet).

Another simple way to keep your plants healthy during the more extreme weather conditions is by keeping a fresh layer of mulch over their roots.  Usually 2-3 inches is the appropriate thickness for your mulch.  Be sure to keep the mulch away from the woody trunk or stem of your plants because it will hold moisture against the plant.  This moisture can lead to conditions such as root rot or insect infestations.  Mulch only needs to cover the roots, not the plant itself.  There are many types of mulch you can use for your plants such as wood chips, tree bark, pine needles, crushed up pine cones, processed mulches, or leaves.  The experts recommend using a mulch that is relatively proportionate to the size of your plant.  For smaller plants, go with a finer mulch (mulched leaves, processed mulch, pine needles).  For a larger plant or tree, use larger mulches (tree bark, pine cones, wood chips).  Although, for aesthetic purposes, I recommend finding a happy medium and keeping the mulch color and style uniform across the entire landscape.  Of course, exceptions are always made for areas of focus.  A different kind of mulch or gravel could be used in a pathway or around a specific variety of plants for a sleek contrast that can really make a landscape “pop”.  Aesthetics aside, mulching your plants properly can make a big impact on their ability to handle Winter weather.

Something most people don’t think about during the Winter that can make a huge difference in the survival of their plants is the occasional watering.  If you can remember to water your plants about once a month during the Winter while irrigation systems are shut off, it could literally be the difference between the life and death of some of your plants.  Of course, you will want to make sure the weather is warm enough for watering before you spend the time filling up your watering cans.  During the winter we often have a cold, dry weather in Springfield with the occasional snow accumulation.  It may seem to us that we have had all kinds of precipitation, but usually it’s not nearly what we need.  To add to the trouble, snow is usually high in nitrogen.  Nitrogen, while an important element of plant health, can sometimes dry plants out when over applied.  A little water can dilute nitrogen levels, keeping plants healthy and better able to deal with the cold weather conditions.  Be sure to water your plants when we get those few warmer days during the winter.

The plants I’ve noticed that were affected most last Winter were our leafy-evergreen plants. Some examples would be Holly, Nandina, Azalea, Photinia, and Laurel. These may be some good plants to focus your efforts on for this coming Winter. Another good place to focus your efforts would be on high value plants, new plants, and mature plants. If you are unsure about how to maintain plants in your yard, be sure to contact one of our local professionals since we specialize in shrub care service. The local Conservation Department and the International Society of Arboriculture ( are great resources for finding educated professionals in your area.

Hopefully these tips will ease some landscape concerns this Winter and save you lots of money.  Happy Gardening!


Jeffrey R. Gabris, B.S., MBA,

ISA Certified Arborist: MW-5363A


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