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Chapel Valley Blog

National Collegiate Landscape Competition/ Summer Interns

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the National Collegiate Landscape Competition, an event that brings together landscape industry leaders, students, professors, and potential employers from all over the country. From March 16-19, representatives from Chapel Valley traveled to Mississippi State University to meet with students who are interested in joining our summer internship program.


At Chapel Valley, we look for candidates who are interested in an internship that highlights all of our departments, including: installation, maintenance, water management, estimating, design, sales, and marketing. All play an important role in our company, and it’s fundamental for our interns to know how.

Chapel Valley’s program is designed for students to have a wealth of hands-on experience that allows them to learn proper techniques in a safety-minded, friendly environment. To ensure that our students receive guidance and support throughout their internship experience, each are assigned a Chapel Valley team member as a mentor. This type of exposure is mutually beneficial, refining students’ skill sets for their future careers, as well as providing Chapel Valley with talented hiring options in the future. Here’s a quote from one of our interns from last summer:

“Interning with Chapel Valley was a fun and rewarding experience. It allowed me to use the skills I learned in the classroom and apply them on the field.”
-Josh, Summer 2015 intern from Virginia Tech

Earth Day is approaching. Have you thought about your green efforts?

Every year, Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 by people all over the world in an effort to protect the planet and environment. As a landscape industry leader for nearly five decades, it is our responsibility to help preserve our world’s natural resources. One way we contribute is through community service. We strongly believe in helping the community maintain and create landscapes that contribute to the overall well-being of the environment.

Last year, Chapel Valley partnered with the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) for an Earth Day project that beautified the Buchanan Gardens Apartments. We cleaned up trash, sprayed poison ivy, and removed dead trees that were hazardous. Next, we spruced up the lot with an assortment of plantings near the management office—these included Knockout Roses, Clematis, Hemerocallis, and Nepeta. This year, we are partnering with APAH again to install a vegetable and cut garden.

Please let Chapel Valley know if you are ever interested in partnering for a community service project– we would love to hear about it!

EARTH DAY FACT: More green space within a city’s boundaries can improve the urban environment.

What are the benefits to adding plants & trees?

  • Decrease pollution by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the air
  • Help remove chemicals and bacteria from water in the ground.
  • Absorb sound and help with noise pollutions
  • Reduce energy consumption by countering the warming effects of paved surfaces
  • Hold soil in place, keeping sediment out of lakes, streams, storm drains, and roads
 Post Tysons Corner commercial landscape award
 Residents can enjoy a surrounding green landscape while laying by the pool
 Post Tysons Corner commercial landscape award virginia
 The courtyard offers residents an exceptional space to relax

Recently Chapel Valley client, Post Tysons, received an award from the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) and the Landscape Contractors Association (LCA) for commercial landscape management.


Spread over 16 acres, Post Tysons Corner is a beautifully wooded community of courtyard and garden apartments. The site is located in the heart of the Tysons Corner submarket of northern Virginia, making it a highly prospective site for tenants.
Post Tysons offers its residents exterior spaces with ornate fountains and grills, a resort-styled pool, tropical planters, and colorful flower beds.


Post Tysons Corner is one of seven ‘Post Properties’ that Chapel Valley services. Last year, Post Carlyle Square, located in Alexandria, VA also won a National and Regional award in commercial landscape management.


Post Properties is known for their first-class properties and it is our mission is to continue to help them maintain their stature for high-quality exterior spaces. By winning an award for their site, Chapel Valley has helped them strengthen their reputation, and has given them an additional opportunity for marketing—especially to the important millennial market who are looking to work and live in urban areas that offer exceptional green space and amenities.


Interested in winning an award for your commercial property? Let your property manager know and we will have someone from our marketing team contact you.

See the other award-winning properties Chapel Valley has won in previous years.

Chapel Valley always strives to be a better company, and one way we do this is through proper training. Before fall flowers are installed, our branch trainers and crew teams receive additional training to ensure that everyone is performing to the same high standard. This approach allows all of our clients to receive the same quality commercial landscaping, no matter what location they are in. Our fall flower installation program is broken into three steps: bed preparation, installation, and protection.

  • Step1 commercial landscaping fall
    Preparing the bed is the most important step during training. Before plant material is installed, each bed is cleared of old plant material, loosened with a rototiller, applied with pre-emergence, and fertilized.
  • Step2 commercial landscaping fall
    Crew members learn what section of the bed to plant the flowers, how deep to plant them, and how far apart to plant the flowers. During this step, we emphasize that crew members plant flowers in a triangle pattern or scattered spacing, not in rows. This helps disguise any foliage that is unhealthy or has died, and makes the flowers look more natural as they grow in.
  • Step3 commercial landscaping fall
    After installing the flowers we mulch and water them. Mulching provides protection for the upcoming winter season and watering helps establish the plants in their new environment.
  • violas or pansies fall flowers
    Pansies and Violas are the perfect plant to add life to your winter landscape. They look similar, but are different. Pansies are surprisingly durable and winter hardy, offering larger colorful blooms, however Violas, whose blooms are a little smaller but plentiful, have a better resistance against the cold.

Following these simple steps, will provide color and consistency throughout the season.

 

 

 Project Olmsted Winner
Chapel Valley's Baltimore Branch Manager receiving the award.

This summer Chapel Valley won the “People’s Choice Award” from Project Olmsted, a new summer-long exhibition of planting beds designed in the tradition of celebrated landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.

The beds are located in the historic Sherwood Gardens, located in the Guilford Community in Baltimore, MD. The design was created by Chapel Valley’s in-house designer and was maintained by their branch located in Linthicum Heights.

The “People’s Choice Award” was chosen by the communities homeowners and visitors who came to the garden.

Rose rosette Knock Out Rose Alan Windham website

Image of Rose Rosette by Alan Windham, Professor at UT Institute of Agriculture

Over the past few years, roses have made a comeback in commercial landscapes thanks to the Knock-Out Rose and the Double Knock-Out Rose; they are both resistant to black spot disease and powdery mildew, and are able to produce blooms throughout the growing season, making them favorable for urban environments—until recently.

Landscapers are concerned, because of two environmental factors that are causing health problems to these cultivars of roses. One being rose rosette, a disease that is incurable and spreads very easily—two good reasons why landscapers need to keep an eye out for it.

Once detected, the rose bush should be removed and rid of immediately; doing this will help prevent nearby roses from being infected. However, this can be difficult because symptoms can look similar to ones caused by herbicide damage. It is best to determine damage during the spring when new growth is present.

Symptoms include:

• Increased growth/rapid elongation of shoots
• Abnormal red discoloration of shoots and foliage
• Witches broom appearance from new growth (prolific clustering of small shoots)
• Overabundance of pliable thorns
• Deformed buds and flowers
• Lack of winter hardiness
• Increased susceptibility to other diseases, such as powdery mildew.

How do you control this disease? The mite, Phyllocoptes fructiphilus, transmits the disease to the roses and by controlling them with an insecticide, the rose’s chances of being infected are lower. Another way to control rose rosette, is by removing multiflora roses that are within 100 yards of the landscape. Multiflora roses are wild and typically grow in weeded areas on roadsides and pastures; they are highly susceptible to rose rosette, and can increase the chances of spreading of rose disease in commercial landscapes.

The other culprit causing health problems in Knock-Out Roses is the Sawfly. Landscapers are seeing an increase in sawfly population, which is likely from the large amount of plantings installed this year. Roses attract sawflies because they make a great incubation spot for their larvae. The best way to control sawflies is to use an insecticide, only when larvae are present.

Chapel Valley highly suggests for their clients to have an integrated pest management program included in their yearly maintenance plan. Our team of certified experts will take preventative actions to control diseases that spread easily. Contact us for more information on our landscaping services.

Aeration and Overseeding

Aeration and Overseeding are two of the most important practices that can be done to maintain a healthy lawn. Aeration is performed to solve two problems: soil compaction and thatch. Lawns naturally have compacted soil, and when it's loosened, the roots can plunge deeper into the ground to find vital water resources; this essential during times of stress. Thatch is the buildup of dead grass material that lies between the zone of green vegetation and the soil surface; it accumulates when the turf produces organic debris faster than it can be broken down. By eliminating excessive thatch, the turf will be less vulnerable to pests and disease.

Overseeding is performed with aeration to fill in bare areas of the turf and to thicken existing turf. Excessive foot traffic, pet waste, environmental factors, heat, and lack of water are all factors that lead to the breakdown of grass. When this happens, your grass has hit its peak and needs to be replenished. When overseeding is performed, at least 6 types of turf type should be used. By doing this, the lawn has a better chance of resisting disease. Overseeding and aerating will also fight unwanted weeds such as crabgrass, nutsedge, and broadleaf. By having a lush lawn, the weeds have less of a chance to grow.

Creating the Best Planter Display on the Block

Large planter pots make quite the statement when placed on sites with little to no space for landscaping. Implementing large containers with an assortment of overflowing flowers is eye catching and can serve as a great focal point for your commercial site.

Believe it or not, there are rules to designing planter pots. You need to use flowers that look good in a pot (opposed to the ground), thrive under the same conditions, and that have a tasteful color palette. Despite how great large planters look, plenty of things can go wrong. Here are some tips for creating the best planter pots on the block-

1. Combing the right plant material

There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the right plant material for your pots. The most important aspect is environmental conditions; use plants with the same water, soil, and sunlight requirements. Using plants that are cohesive will ensure a successful pot.

Space is another thing to consider. Plants will change shape as they grow; understand that they will look much different a few months after they are installed. You do now want your planter to look overcrowded, so make sure that you choose plants that won’t compete with one another.

2. Distinct Textures

Use lots of color and texture to make your planter stand out.

Color is huge when it comes to planters; the more, the better! Mixing bright and subtle colors, does an excellent job of attracting people’s attention. Instead of using different hues of one color, add a variety of colors that work together.

There is a variety of flowers and leaves with textures that are waxy, shiny, fuzzy, or prickly. By using multiple textures, you won’t have to worry about your plant material blending and looking too much alike.

3. The three-ingredient recipe: filler, spiller, and thriller

You will always have an exceptional planter when you use this simple three-ingredient recipe: filler, spiller, and thriller.

Fillers are good for adding mass to the overall composition of the planter, they also add a textural contrast or colorful counterpoint. Examples of filler plants include: begonias, coleus, impatiens, Persian shield, plectranthus, heliotrope, and dusty miller.

Spillers are excellent for creating a “waterfall” effect. These plants cascade over the side of container, softening its edges and giving a more natural look. Some great spillers are: alternantheras, bacopas, golden creeping Jenny, helichrysum, sweet potato vines, or callibrachoa.

Thrillers are the star of the pot; they are tall, drawl the most attention and are typically vertical (upright). These typically have the most outstanding qualities. A helpful tip is to start your planter with the thriller in the center, and build around it. Examples of exceptional thrillers include: fuschsia, canna, purple fountain grass, taros, calla pennisetum, or phormium.

4. Have Self-Watering Planters

Using self-watering planters give your plants a better chance of looking good all season long. They also dissolve issues related to moldy roots or plant disease. Self-watering planters reserve water at the bottom of them, allowing the roots to soak up water when needed. This is very helpful in the summer, when the heat index is high.

Day of Service at Moveable Feast


Last Friday, team members from Chapel Valley volunteered at Moveable Feast, an organization in Baltimore that provides nutritious meals and other services at no cost to people who are sick and need support. The day of service at the organization included carpet cleaning, waxing floors, painting walls, power washing kitchen floors, van detailing, handyman repairs, and preparation of 500 flowers (donated by Chapel Valley). The service saved the organization $10,000 in repairs, which can now be used towards more meals for sick people.


Chapel Valley was told that after one of the deliveries, Moveable Feast received a call from a client who started crying on the phone; he said he had been so lonely and depressed. He said the flowers gave him the ‘pick me up’ he needed to get through his day.


If you would like to learn more about Moveable Feast visit them at http://www.mfeast.org/

 

Chapel Valley Landscape Designers

Chapel Valley has in-house landscape designers to support our teams in enhancements, upgrades, design-build, and any other design-related projects. Ideally, we want clients to use this to their advantage. Common landscaping upgrades will not only improve appearance but will also reduce future maintenance costs. We understand that landscaping can be a costly investment, however, this is not a problem; our landscape designer can create long-term plans that work within budgets to meet your specific needs.

Want to separate your sites from the competition? Try upgrading your curb appeal to draw more attention to your site. Our landscape designer will produce an intricate design, with colorful and unique plant material to make it stand out from the rest, which in return will leave a lasting impression.

 

2015 Planter Pot Contest

This will be Chapel Valley’s 2nd annual Planter Pot Contest, held between our employees and the general public to submit photos of their best planter pots. This is a great competition for those who want to show off their creativity, and win $100.

To enter the competition, upload your best photos to www.chapelvalley.com/planter-pot-contest . Once they are submitted, we will upload them to our social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag . The contestant with the most “likes” will win. #CVLCplanterpot2015

Tips for winning:
• Have lots of color, to make your planter ‘pop’
• Have a variety of plants to add texture and depth.
• Promote your planter by advertising your photo on your wall from our page.

Lunch & Learn with Chapel Valley

Want to learn more about specific landscaping topics? At Chapel Valley we offer a program that includes a short introduction to your team, a lunch of your choice provided by us, followed by a presentation on 1-2 topics that you are interested in learning more about.

From our Lunch & Learn’s, you will learn valuable information that will help you manage your properties even better. This program gives your team the opportunity to be more educated on landscaping; by having an interactive education session, you can ask questions and get an answer right away.

Topics to consider for the upcoming fall season are: over-seeding & aerating, fall flower enhancements, fall clean-up, snow removal, and rejuvenation pruning.

To schedule a Lunch & Learn at your office email: susanh@chapelvalley.com