Monday, June 17, 2013

Are Arizona’s insects damaging your valuable plants and trees?

Over the course of several years, many of our communities in the Phoenix area have been attacked by grubs, aphids, mealybugs, psyllids, spider mites and other plant damaging insects. When this occurs, it usually affects a large portion of the plants throughout the entire neighborhood or community, requiring an immediate emergency treatment. In the majority of cases, this emergency treatment is effective, however there can be significant expense and recovery time involved. 

The Arizona Certified Landscape Professionals and ISA Certified Arborists at ProQual Landscaping have come together to provide a proactive solution for our communities and their bug problems. This  proactive treatment approach is providing many benefits to our Landscape Management customers. 
Some of the benefits are as follows:
  • Proactive treatment is a fraction of the price!
  • Treatment produces long term results for the vitality and growth of plants and trees
  • These treatments are safe for the environment
  • ProQual Landscaping warranties all services, therefore you don’t have to worry… your community is in the hands of Arizona’s leading landscape professionals!

If you suspect insects are damaging your properties, give ProQual Landscaping a call today at: 480-456-0608 or visit us online at:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Should I stop water to all my plants and trees in winter?

It's a question many homeowners and community managers are asking around the valley at this time of year. Our advice is not to stop watering your plants and trees through our Arizona winter but instead it's preferable to water less frequently and more deeply. Twice a day for 5 minutes is actually too often and too little. If you have established trees that become dormant in the winter then you will only need to water them once a month in December and January. But remember ... they need to be watered deeply! Ideally down to approximately 3 feet in depth. For trees that have been planted more recently and smaller perennials, they require watering more often. We suggest every 6 to 10 days and depending on the size of the plant you should go from 6" to 1' deep. Before you start watering your plants and tress in the winter you may want to get a soil probe to accurately let you know how deeply you've watered, and how long it takes to get that deep. Simply push the probe into the soil and it will stop where the water stopped ... easy right?!
If you have any questions about your plants and trees we would be happy to answer them on our Facebook page.

Monday, October 22, 2012

AACM's 8th Annual Phoenix Trade Show

If there's one thing we love about the landscaping industry it's the partnerships we enjoy in business. Whenever we have the chance to get together with clients, partners or vendors we always have a blast and on Friday at the AACM 8th Annual Trade Show things were no different!

We made sure we got there early to set up and of course our staff were all wearing our signature green colors that you have come to know so well. Once attendees started to arrive the fun really got started! 

The theme for this years show was TV Timewarp, so what did we do? Well of course we had to give away 2 Toshiba 40' HDTVs! So as you can imagine we had quite a few people wanting to sign up for the chance to win that bad boy. We also got a whole bunch of people hitting the Like button on Facebook and scoring a $10 Starbucks card for their efforts ... hey, we were in a generous mood!

Sounds like a good time right? Oh, it was indeed and we have the photos to prove it!

And the winners of the Toshiba 40" HDTVs ... Darin Fisher of Vision Community Management and Jeff Gilmore of Y Cross Management Group!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Overseeding my backyard with winter rye seed

Everyone knows I work at a landscaping company, so every October I get the question… “What’s the best way to overseed my lawn”?

At ProQual Landscaping, we manage over 500 acres of common area landscaping, at 105 Homeowner Associations and Commercial properties throughout the Phoenix Valley. Commercially overseeding 200 acres of grass is much different than overseeding a residential yard, so I thought I’d blog about the process I use to overseed the 1,000 square feet of grass in my backyard.

What is overseeding, and why?
There are several regions throughout the United States that experience an extreme difference in temperatures, where the same type of grass doesn’t survive year-round. With extreme highs of 110+ in the summer, and lows below freezing in the winter, Phoenix is located in one of those regions. Parks and lawns in Phoenix are planted with a very durable/heat tolerant Bermuda grass base. This type of grass survives our hot Arizona summer months, but once the nighttime temperatures get into the low 70’s, Bermuda grass begins to go dormant. With that being the case… we must “overseed” this Bermuda grass base with a grass seed that will thrive during our cooler winter months. We do this with a Perennial rye seed. See the “How To” below to learn more about this process.

How To Overseed my backyard Bermuda lawn with rye seed

In a commercial environment we use large tractor riding style lawn mowers that can mow 7 acres per hour, large spreaders that can handle 100+lbs of seed at one time and commercial grade irrigation systems that have capabilities far more than any residential system. For my backyard project, I will be using a standard gas powered push mower, a line trimmer and a handheld spreader. 
My visit to Home Depot
When to Overseed
Just when your Bermuda grass is looking its best… it’s time to start the overseeding process! Yes, it is difficult to say goodbye to your summer grass, but if you don’t say goodbye to it, it will eventually say goodbye to you.
Typically the best time to do this is during the month of October, or when the nighttime temperatures drop into the low 70’s.
Bermuda lawn before overseeding process
Preparing to Overseed
Preparation is the key to success. During this step you will prepare the area to be seeded, using a multi step process.
1.       2-3 weeks prior to overseeding. Turn your irrigation down to once a week and start to lower the mow height of your Bermuda grass.
2.       The week before overseeding. Turn your water completely off.
3.       The week of overseeding. Final mow and “scalp”. During this process, you want to lower your lawnmower height, taking the Bermuda grass down as low as possible. Remove as much of the debris and grass clippings as you can.

Apply seed
Now that you have a nice prepared surface to work with, it is time to apply a perennial rye seed. This can be found in bags at your local Home Depot, Lowes or Ace and should be applied 10-15 lbs per 1,000 square feet. My yard is right about 1,000 square feet, so I will be applying 15lbs with a handheld spreader.
Note: if you have any corners or hard to reach places, hand application might be the best for these areas. 
 Fertilizer and Top Dressing
Applying a starter fertilizer and top dressing to your seed is not necessary, but I consider it to be my “safety blanket”. I am used to having Account Managers, Foreman, Landscape Crews and Irrigation Technicians looking over our customers 24/7 to ensure the best possible results. Unfortunately I don’t have that same luxury in my backyard, so I use a starter fertilizer and top dressing. The top dressing really helps to provide the best growing environment, in case my scalp wasn’t perfect, and helps my newly planted seed retain the moisture it needs to germinate.

For my 1,000 square foot area, I used 4 bags of Top Dressing and 5lbs of Starter Fertilizer. I applied this with a wheel barrow, shovel and handheld spreader. I then raked it out nice and even.


Adjusting Irrigation Controllers
During the seed germination process, it is imperative that the seed stays moist. This requires you to program your irrigation controller differently than you would normally, with 4-6 start times, and shorter run times. For instance, I set my timer to run 6 times each day, starting at 8am and ending at 6pm. Note: Some residential controllers don’t allow you to set 6 start times on the same program. Get creative and set up 2 programs, with 3 start times each.
Here is a good programming guide:
Start times: 6
Spray heads: 3-5 minutes per cycle
Rotor heads: 10-12 minutes per cycle
Now what?
Now it is time to sit back and watch the grass grow… literally. For the next 2-4 weeks, your grass will be germinating, to create a beautiful overseeded winter lawn.


  • Keep an eye on your moisture control. If your ground appears too dry, turn the water up a few minutes. If your ground appears too wet, turn the water down a few minutes. 
  • If you see a spot where seed doesn’t appear to be coming in, spot seed that area. You can do this by hand applying some seed, and covering it with a light amount of top dressing.

**10/10/2012 - Update**
So now after 10 days, my rye seed has germinated and is now ready to be mowed. I will be turning back the watering slightly, by removing a few start times, and having the water completely off on my mowing day.


Stay tuned for updates on the progress of my seeding, along with watering and fertilization tips for maintaining your winter lawn.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Many Different Ways to Connect with ProQual

We are excited to announce a number of new ways that Proqual Landscaping is expanding in the exciting world of Social Media. In the last couple of weeks we have launched an enhanced Facebook page, a newly designed Twitter profile, arrived on the hot new thing that is Pinterest and expanded our company LinkedIn profile. This is just the beginning of many efforts designed to let you know what's going on here at ProQual and to make it easier for you to get in touch with us and give us any feedback you have on our services.

As the number one Social Network worldwide we know many of you are using Facebook to stay in touch with friends and businesses. On our new page you will be able to stay up to date with new services we offer, check out our photo albums and learn about the amazing plant life we have here in Arizona. 

What can you say in 140 characters? A surprising amount! ProQual is on Twitter to let you know what we are doing and where we are doing it, but we also use it to be an active member of our communities here in the valley. We love living here and appreciate our amazing weather (OK, we will forget about July and August!), great sports teams and all round awesome outdoor lifestyle. On our Twitter profile you will be as likely to see tips for managing your own desert landscaping to seeing the latest Cardinals score!

WOW, talk about the new kid on the Social Media block! In January 2012, comScore reported the site had 11.7 million unique users, making it the fastest site in history to break through the 10 million unique visitor mark! Now ProQual has arrived on Pinterest to share the best of the web with you. So what will you find on our boards? Well, we hope it's more than just pretty photos. We are building a profile on Pinterest to become a useful tool for you to get ideas for your backyards, see the best of Arizona and even have a smile or two :-).

Some people call it Facebook for business. Others have named it the most important networking tool of the 21st century. We have found it to be a great way to connect with our existing clients and potential clients, as well as using the website as a way for people to easily learn more about ProQual through our LinkedIn company profile. We are working to get all the profiles of our key staff optimized so that whomever you meet from our company you can connect with them on LinkedIn.

OK, so I think we saved our favorite until last. We LOVE Instagram! If you are not familiar with the photo sharing service that is designed for use on smartphones then we encourage you to download the app ASAP. Instagram allows us to be anywhere, on a job, at an event or even hiking Camelback Mountain and take a picture that we can instantly share. This app is truly designed to show off the beautiful landscaping work we do for our clients as well as the amazing views we see every day here in the valley. You can follow us by searching @proqual on Instagram. 

Which social media platform do you use the most? Let us know your @handle in a comment below!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Desert Spoon…

The large stalk that grows from the center of the Sotol Yucca or “Dasylirion Wheeleri” have a distinct silhouette resembling the shape of a spoon when seen at a distance. These yucca plants were a staple to early Native Americans in the Southwest. They used them for a variety of cordage and basket weaving materials. The center stalks were harvested when they were young, green and succulent for food.

There are many varieties of these yucca plants across the Southwestern deserts. If you take a drive out of the Phoenix metro area in any direction, you will soon find this to be one of the most common native plants in our Sonoran desert. While mostly referred to as a cactus in error, they are actually more of grass and part of the lily family.

Dasylirion Wheeleri or “Desrt Spoon Yucca”

ProQual Landscaping is a complete landscape management solution for commercial properties in Arizona. We specialize in Apartment and multi-housing communities as well as HOA landscaping. Visit the ProQual website or call: 480-456-0608.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Save and Conserve With Smart Water Management

Save and Conserve With Smart Water Management
Phoenix, Glendale, Mesa, Arizona

Weather sensing, self-adjusting
SMART Water Controller
Desert communities like Phoenix Arizona and surrounding cities continue to experience growing concern as the demand for precious but limited water resources continues to rise. Multi-housing communities, home owner organizations and large commercial complexes with common area landscaping are looking for ways to conserve water resources and reduce monthly water utility bills. The quickest way to make a significant impact on water management practices is to install smart water controllers as an integral part of the overall landscape management plan.

Smart watering technology was originally put in place only on large commercial properties and golf courses that had their own small weather stations on site. Now, with most local weather stations feeding their data to various internet weather sites, this weather data is available to smart watering controllers through a simple wireless internet connection.

So, what really makes a water controller smart? Several added features make a controller truly smart.

Scheduling: Like other systems, these controllers have the ability to turn valves off and on at programmed times. But, a smart controller can also calculate weather conditions and adjust to optimize water usage.

Remote access: You can manage controllers from anywhere an internet connection is available.

Alerts: Controllers can measure flow and detect system anomalies like a leak or line break and alert the irrigation technician.

Evolving: The latest smart controllers can evolve as technology changes and improves with periodic updates.

The cost savings of implementing smart water can be huge! Most properties near Phoenix experience a minimum of 20% savings and some as high as 35-40%. After converting to smart controllers, the return on investment time is approximately one year in most cases. In arid regions, smart water management just makes sense as water utility prices continue to rise while the price of technology is decreasing.

These smart irrigation systems require smart and experienced landscape professionals to properly implement and get the most value from them. Once a new system in place, it is important to maintain a close relationship with an experienced landscaping contractor. Smart controllers are not a set-it-and-forget-it solution, proper training and real in-the-field experience play a big role in the long-term success of your smart irrigation plan. If you are searching for a water conserving, cost saving solution for your property, get in touch with your landscaping contractor to audit your current watering and irrigation plan. There is a better way to manage you landscaping when it comes to water use and distribution.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Purple Prickly Pear…

Yes, they really are that color! Purple Prickly Pear cactus or "Opuntia santa-rita" is native to the Sonoran desert and grows in clumps that usually reach about four feet high and five to six feet wide. During the warm summer months, the color is a blue/gray shade, their unique purple/pink color becomes more pronounced in the cooler winter months.

Like other prickly pear varieties, the pads are covered with sharp tan spines. Their yellow and red flowers bloom in the late spring. Purple Prickly Pear in Arizona also produce a reddish purple fruit in the summer.

Opuntia santa-rita or "Purple Prickly Pear"

Let Arizona's finest commercial landscape team enhance your property 
with a complete landscape management plan - 
Call ProQual at: 480-465-0608 to get started.

Monday, July 2, 2012

WEATHER ALERT! Phoenix Rainfall down -476%!!!

Year to date in 2012, the Phoenix Valley has only received 0.52" of rainfall. This is -2.48” (-476%) under the normal average year to date rainfall total of 3.0" for the Phoenix Valley.

At ProQual Landscaping, Arizona Water Management is a key focus of our business. Water is necessary for a healthy landscape, but over-watering is just a waste of money. With triple digit temperatures and hardly any rainfall, our Commercial Landscape Management customers are using more water to achieve adequate results. 

The 2011 North American monsoon season was the hottest on record and one of the driest here in Phoenix, Arizona. We are hopeful that the 2012 monsoon season will bring us the rainfall we have been lacking!

Stay posted for rainfall totals and weather updates.

2012 Rainfall totals: (as of 7/2/2012)
2012 Phoenix Valley Average (Phoenix Rainfall Index): 0.52" (-2.48" from average)

Monday, June 25, 2012

What Kind of Cactus is That...?

Cholla Cactus

Whenever someone visits Arizona, they are always surprised at the many diverse and unique varieties of cacti and other desert plants in our landscaping. In the movies, all they ever seem to show are the Giant Saguaros that Arizona is so famous for. I once met a Japanese tourist in the Phoenix airport and his two main objectives in visiting Arizona were to see a Giant Saguaro in "real life" and to see the Grand Canyon. He couldn't wait to get out and experience the Sonoran desert that he had seen in so many american western movies.

As we drive through the streets of Phoenix and the surrounding cities, it is surprising how many of our street names are derived from cacti and other local plants. Ocotillo, cholla, sagebrush, greasewood, I have noticed so many of these names. But... how many of us can really put a plant with a name? In the weeks to come, we will be featuring unique varieties of common Arizona plants on this blog so we can all learn a little more about our beautiful Arizona desert.

Check back soon to put a name to all of those plants you've wondered about for years!

Questions about Arizona Landscaping? Contact ProQual today: 480-456-0608