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78c977e0-aaf1-4b09-e384-14ea8e375091-thumbIt’s no secret that Virginia and Maryland winters are often exceptionally harsh. What newcomers might not realize is how wicked weather affects hardscape design, construction and maintenance. For example, hardscape construction plans must take into account natural frost heaving, snow loading, foot traffic, snowmelt potential and sidewalk cleaning methods. Otherwise, the pavers could end up grossly discolored, severely cracked, uneven, flooded and in serious need of replacement. In addition, rock retaining walls added to a hardscape design could fall over unexpectedly, collapse, develop unsightly bulges or otherwise crumble apart before a property owner’s very eyes.

To help counteract the ground shifting that occurs during our region’s winters, it is not uncommon for professional construction crews to install support features below the frost line, use floating foundations and alter an area’s soil composition. In certain spots, it’s also necessary to add special polymeric sand. Once professionally put into place, it tends to act as an immovable, stabilizing force for the surrounding hardscape elements. Of course more has to be done to protect a Virginia or Maryland’s hardscape than that.

Covering pavers with special sealants will minimize water absorption, salt burns and related deterioration. However, property owners must take other precautions too. For example, its best to avoid exposing hardscape to metal snow shovels, wire brushes, snow chains, metal-spiked shoes and ice removal products that contain caustic chemicals or dyes. All of those items have the potential to significantly weaken hardscape, thereby making it increasing vulnerable to frost heaving and other winter damage.

To learn more about choosing hardscape designs that are tough enough to make it through a Mid-Atlantic winter, please contact us at the Chapel Valley Landscaping Company. We have been designing, constructing and maintaining hardscape throughout the region for years. Plus, we’ve won several awards and received countless, glowing testimonials from customers for our efforts.

c8e72b01-7577-482c-be02-8fb205cd04a1-thumbWhen many homeowners think about water management, sprinkler systems and rain catchers come to mind. Although they are often part of a comprehensive approach towards year-round landscaping, they’re not the only issues. It’s important to take snowmelt into consideration too. Breaking down the snowmelt process into parts and addressing the problems associated with each one is often the best way to proceed. Let’s start with a look at pavement melt.

Pavement melt, as you’ve probably guessed by now, involves the snow that accumulates on a home’s concrete walkways, steps, pads, driveways and patios. It is frequently tainted by contact with products like rock salt, kitty litter and sand. Therefore, it can damage certain man-made surfaces as well as kill plant life and contaminate water headed for a residential property’s containment system (e.g. rain barrel or retention ditch). The same may be said for roadside and roadway melt that may back up, or otherwise run on to residential properties.

We can’t forget about snowmelt that occurs and pools in low areas throughout a residential property’s grassy areas either. It sometimes contains unwanted chemicals and minerals as well. For example, if year-round landscaping materials contain artificial dyes and preservatives, they could leach into the snowmelt then transfer to other areas.

Finally, there are occasions when rain falls on top of accumulated snow. Depending on the snow’s consistency, placement and amount, it could cause residential properties’ drainage systems to become overwhelmed. As a result, water could end up rushing into cellars, crawl spaces and other areas that should be kept dry.

Thankfully, water management measures that can reduce, eliminate or redirect the various types of snowmelt we just mentioned are available. To learn more about them and other year-round water management techniques that may improve residential properties, please contact us. We’d be pleased schedule a consultation and offer our advice.

35c2b303-2302-4d4a-d243-198422ba1fd4As a homeowner, you know how important your landscaping is. This is because your landscaping provides curb appeal, making your home beautiful, attractive, and welcoming. However, knowing all the rules about plant health care can be difficult, time consuming, and just a hassle. If you have trouble with your landscaping, you may consider planting these plants that are considered "indestructible":

  • Black-Eyed Susan: The black-eyed susan flowers are typically a beautiful yellow color, adding beauty to your yard. Also, these flowers require little care or feeding since they take everything that they can from the soil in which they are rooted. 
  • Coneflower: The coneflower is great at controlling erosion in the soil that it surrounds. This means that with coneflower, you don't have to worry too much about re-soiling your yard. This is because the roots of the coneflower weave together to hold the soil in place. 
  • The Day Lily: The day lily is a beautiful flower that can withstand a number of different conditions, making it the perfect year round flower. The flower can withstand drought, floods, and even your neglect, which means your time can be saved from having to take care of your landscaping. These flowers are usually best to use in flower beds that are exposed to a great deal of sunlight where nothing else can survive.
  • Sedum: Sedum is great because it is a succulent, which means that it doesn't need any watering except from the rain. The plant becomes tall in the spring because of its thick roots, but it still remains beautiful all year long.

Overall, these plants are considered indestructible for a reason; that being that they don't need much time and care since they take care of themselves for the most part. If you need extra help caring for the landscaping of your home, please contact us. We specialize in helping with the maintenance and care of our customer's landscape. 

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If the trees on your business’ property are developing frost cracks, shoddy commercial landscape maintenance may be to blame. After all, not all trees crack under Old Man Winter’s hand. The ones that do, tend to have defects that may be either inherent or man-made. The inherent defects may be avoided by choosing only the best trees for commercial landscape installation and the man-made ones may be circumvented by taking the right amount of care.

For example, let’s say that while performing commercial landscape maintenance tasks in the fall, someone accidentally damages the base of a tree. The tree may have enough time to generate wound-wood before the winter season kicks into high gear but it’s likely to be weak in certain spots. Examples of potential weak spots are the wound’s perimeter and areas where the ends of the replacement bark meet one another. With that said, prolonged warming and freezing cycles will undoubtedly weaken those areas even more, thereby increasing the potential for frost cracks to occur.

Of course trunk injuries are not the only man-made problems that can increase a tree’s risk of falling victim to frost cracks. Wounds created during the pruning process and branches that may have broken due to insect activity, heavy snowfall or disease are prime spots for frost damage to occur too. Therefore, it’s important to hire a commercial landscape company that will do everything in their power to provide high quality trees and prevent man-made damage.

They are not the only preventive actions that may be taken to guard against frost cracks. Oftentimes, applying special wraps and treatments to promote wound healing may help as well. To continue discussing frost cracks and how proper, commercial landscape maintenance may help keep them at bay, please contact our Chapel Valley team. Maintaining plant health year round is one of our commercial landscaping company’s specialties.

Recently, Chapel Valley Landscape Company acquired All Seasons Ground Management, a commercial landscaping company located in Norfolk, VA. In 1980 Bob and Betsy, former ASGM owners, opened All Seasons and since then it has grown rapidly and has gained a tremendous reputation. All Seasons Ground Management has serviced some of the best known businesses and organizations in Hampton Roads, setting a great foundation for Chapel Valley in this market.


Chapel Valley is dedicated to their newly acquired clients and will make sure they are taken care of. To ensure a smooth transition for them, Chapel Valley will work closely with Bob, Betsy, and the rest of the All Seasons team. By joining resources with ASGM, Chapel Valley can better help their clients in the Hampton Roads metro area; by reaching their goals on time, more efficiently and at a competitive price.


Chapel Valley's professionalism, attention to detail and responsiveness to clients' needs and concerns has been the foundation of their growth and has enabled them to become a leading full service landscape contractor in the Mid-Atlantic region. Although Chapel Valley continues to grow, the company still remains and operates as a family-owned business.

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Winter is the warmest season,

Oh, you say you want a reason?

Is it warm when snow piles high and wide?

It is if you are bundled up inside. (Winter Kids Poems)

We all know how nice it is to be bundled up inside while looking out at the grey clouds and snow of winter. Our plants want the same feeling and it's not too late to bundle them up.

Winter plant health care means clearing plant beds of leaves and weeds so your plants have enough nutrients to live through the winter. You will also want to cut back your perennials so the plant can focus on keeping the roots alive and not have to think about keeping the plant part alive. 

Winter plant care also means being sure your plants are bundled up so roots stay warm when the snow and ice pile high and wide. You will want enough mulch to protect the crown of the plants. There are several types of mulch to choose from. The key is to be sure the mulch is free of weeds and that if it is lightweight, you somehow ensure it will stay covering your plants. Most people recommend four to six inches of mulch if you live in an area that will be very cold this winter.

You might not have thought about those issues with winter plant health care, but it isn't too late. Just take some time this December and bundle up your plants. You can do it yourself, or you can contact us. While you stay warm inside, we can come and be sure your plants are ready for the winter season.

4870794a-4f68-4928-e5e9-3851d38bb171Have the plants throughout your business’ landscape started to wilt? Did their leaves turn dull and are the shrubs showing signs of gumming? If so, the problems could be caused by improper commercial irrigation as well as ineffective, snow and ice management. Why? All three may contribute towards creating a wet soil environment that’s conducive for the development of root and crown rot.

In our years of commercial landscaping experience, crown and root rot tends to occur when the soil stays overly moist and warm for extended periods of time. Poor drainage and undesirable soil content has the potential to create the excessive moisture. As for the snow cover and ice, they often help warm up the soil and can also cause tissue damage to occur. With that said, there are steps that may be taken to prevent winter rot from devastating commercial landscaping.

First, make sure that your commercial irrigation system is up to snuff. It should be designed to keep water off of tree trunks and plant stalks plus reduce incidents of soil saturation. In addition, your business’ watering schedule should match the plants needs and not create situations where plant stress is likely to occur.

Second, ask about having your soil amended and aerated as needed. It will go a long way in helping get rid of excess moisture. The same may be said for installing drainage systems, which are designed to pull excess rainwater and snowmelt away from delicate vegetation.

Third, be proactive by choosing high quality, healthy plants that are known to resist root rot and assorted diseases. Doing so will help give the landscape a fighting chance of surviving the ravages of winter at least relatively unscathed.

Fourth, at the first signs of root rot, take action. Depending on the weather conditions and the plant itself, there may be a window of opportunity to make temporary corrections. For example, it may be possible to remove some of the moisture or damaged areas before the rot situation progresses past the point of no return.

To learn more about the afore mentioned preventive measures and other ways to get a handle on winter rot, please contact us at Chapel Valley Landscape Company. Our list of services includes, but isn’t limited to commercial irrigation, water management, plant health care, snow and ice management.

3d96f785-0241-400e-822d-4a7ba0db3682Did you know that:

  • Green roofs can decrease energy use in the winter months by 10 percent?
  • In the summer, the temperature on a green roof can be as much as 59 degrees cooler than other roofs?

Wow, that hopefully got your attention, it did ours. When we learned that information, we knew we needed to start talking about green roofs.

What is a green roof? A green roof is a roof or part of a roof that is covered with plants. 

Please don't stop reading! We aren't talking about burying a building in the ground. We are talking about putting a waterproof membrane on top of a building and strategically placing plants.

For example, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute has a flat roof. On top of that roof is a walkway through some fantastic gardens of flowers and other perennial plants. 

The green roof accomplishes several things:

  • Workers have a place to walk and rejuvenate themselves to continue working. Providing this type of space will enhance the workplace and will increase productivity.
  • Energy use is decreased.
  • The company is contributing to a cleaner environment by having plants instead of just asphalt on top of the building.

So, now that we all agree a green roof is a great addition to any building with a flat roof, there are a few other things we want to reassure you about.

1. If you are worried about plant roots damaging the roof and interior ceilings, don't worry. We will also add a root barrier and use plants that don't need a deep root system.

2. If you are wondering about who will water the plants, we will also talk with you about installing an irrigation system. The system will be your back up for when there isn't enough rain.

If you are as interested in green roofs as we are, please contact us and let's talk about the possibilities for your building.

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It happened while we were all asleep,

Snow had fallen - six feet deep.

The temperature was ten below,

All the roads were blocked with snow.

No school today, the tv said,

Stay at home in your cozy bed.

So I quickly dressed

And jumped on my sled. (Caryn Yacowitz)

Do you remember the days of hoping for snow days when we were supposed to stay inside, but instead enjoyed playing in the snow because there was no school, just as the child talked about in this poem? Snow days meant fun and were free of worries.

But, we aren't children anymore and snow days can mean extra residential landscape maintenance. Whether the snow is 6 feet or barely covering the ground, we still need to be sure we have prepared for it. If we prepare for it, then we can enjoy the snow days and have those days of no worries.

How can you prepare for it? 

First, by making sure your gardens have adequate mulch and have the right type of mulch for your plants. Mulch will protect the plant roots and help the ground stay at a more constant temperature.

Second, you can be sure your landscaping includes lighting that will shine through whatever depth of snow you might get. You want to be able to clear paths to and from the house and have them safe for others. That includes being sure the paths are free of weeds and any cracked stones or cement is repaired.

Third, you can contact us and let us help you be sure your landscape is ready for whatever type of winter might come so you too can enjoy the snow days or just the extra cool days, just as the child did in the poem.

ec5d7daf-8f93-4af0-feaf-f5d67715a56eWhether you live in Washington, D.C. where the annual snowfall is around 23-inches or Baltimore, Maryland, where it’s not uncommon for the white stuff to get just as deep, one thing is certain. Commercial landscape maintenance is going to involve snow plows, shovels and lots of deicer each year. So are you ready for the first Nor’easter to hit? If not, you’d best hop to it before November arrives. That’s when the first snow storm is predicted to slam into the Capital Building and whip through the Inner Harbor. And the storm totals are only expected to pile up from there. So with that and the two state’s slip and fall laws in mind, it’s far better to be proactive than reactive.

Our Chapel Valley management team makes being proactive easy for existing and new clients. That’s because we provide round-the-clock, continuous service during Maryland and Virginia’s snow storms. Plus, we know what snow and ice removal efforts can do to plants, hardscapes and green roofs. Therefore, we take all of the precautions necessary to ensure that neither property nor people sustain irreparable damage in the process. That may include using eco-friendly, anti-slip and deicer products like sand, peanut shells, crushed egg shells and potassium chloride.

In addition, we can work with Maryland and Virginia firms to ensure that other commercial landscape maintenance issues are addressed before winter sets in too. For example, green roofs that have their own irrigation systems and are often exposed to strong winds and will certainly need to be winterized. That often involves tending to the beds, setting up wind breaks, emptying rain barrels and draining drip irrigation lines. Taking steps to prevent vegetation from creating ice dams may be necessary as well.

To speak with our team of commercial landscaping maintenance experts about managing your Virginia or Maryland business’ snow and ice removal, please contact us.

d610e189-de42-4ec3-d51f-7e3f6e6dce14-thumbWinter plant health care does not have to be complicated. It is easy to do yourself, or contact us and let us do it for you. In case you want to do all or some of it yourself, let's talk about it.

Fall is a good time to clean out the dead leaves, the dead annual plants, and any vegetables you planted that have stopped bearing. Cleaning these out gives the rest of the plants a chance to get the nutrients they need and keeps dead plants from harboring diseases that might hurt other plants.

If you have perennials, now is the time to cut them back. Cut to about an inch off the ground. Don't just leave what you cut off - dispose of it so it doesn't create problems in the spring.

After you have cleaned out your flower and vegetable beds, it's a good time to add a mixture of soil and compost. Adding it now gives the plants an extra boost of nutrients. The beneficial soil insects and worms will incorporate this into the soil so you have rich soil beds for spring growth. This mixture of soil and compost is also great for lightly spreading on your lawn. The rain will move it into the ground to add nutrients for spring growth.

This is also a good time to plant flower bulbs. The bulbs will grow roots and be ready to bloom in spring.

Now the final step. Add a thick layer of winter mulch to protect against frost. You don't want mulches that are heavy and suffocate the roots. Instead find a lightweight mulch at your local garden shop.

See, it's not complicated and we know you can do this. However, if you would like help, we are more than happy to help.

597c32c2-5d5a-47f2-b0a9-234047220a3e-thumbAs the parade of flowers and colorful shrubs wind down for the season along with searing summer temperatures, we find ourselves at the crossroads of entering the cool season. Once the traditional autumn cleanup is concluded, there are exciting residential landscaping projects just perfect for the coming cool season that many savvy gardeners anticipate.

While one may be tempted to regard the winter garden as barren, some gardeners are actually excited to see the bones of their garden. This is the perfect time to take advantage of the cool season's respite from tasks that require one's attention during the season of sun to forge ahead with landscape design dreams.

Autumn and winter are an ideal time for installing hardscape features that most gardeners have little time for in the season of sun. Since concrete sets better in cooler weather, the cool seasons are most appropriate for projects that require the laying of concrete such as pathways, water features, pools, and the footings for pergolas and trellises.

Some gardeners also see the cool season as an opportune time to make sweeping changes in their planting designs since moist soil is much easier to maneuver. This is an ideal time to lay weed barriers over unruly sections of the garden and cover them with rock, mulch, or even create a raised planting bed. The amended soil in new planting beds will have ample time to compost and marinate over the winter providing optimal planting conditions in the spring.

Many gardeners also appreciate the easy accessibility of our landscape crews along with attractive reduced prices that are sometimes available in the typically slow season of winter. Why not contact us and share your landscape ideas so we can turn them in to plans and then realities for the coming new year.

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Around the holidays, it is not uncommon for many home and business owners to ask us about including poinsettias in their properties’ landscaping. And knowing how beautiful the festive plants are, we don’t blame customers for asking about them. However, most are quite surprised when they learn how much work is involved in keeping the plants healthy year round. So this week, we wanted to touch upon some plant health care basics:

Even though poinsettias are widely associated with snowy Christmas scenes, they are actually not cut out for cold weather. Classified as tropical plants, they typically need to be in environments that maintain air temperatures within the 55 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit range. Otherwise, they could perish rather suddenly.

Maintaining a certain air temperature range is not all there is to it. Poinsettias also have very specific needs when it comes to everything from natural sunlight, fertilizer and water to repotting, pruning and flowering. For example, allowing the plant to receive too much sunlight could prevent it from blooming and may burn up its leaves. That said, it is sometimes difficult to get the plant to produce beautiful flowers in time for the start of the winter holiday season.

In addition, by their very nature, poinsettias are prone to developing a variety of diseases that could spread out to other plants. The rather long list includes, but doesn’t cease with bract spot, gray mold, powdery mildew, scab, crown gall and bacterial stem or leaf rot. So in essence, failure to properly maintain a few poinsettias could feasibly cut a swath of devastation through a property’s other flower beds and require aggressive chemical treatments to reverse the situation.

To learn more about keeping poinsettias and other seasonal plants healthy, please contact us. We specialize in residential and commercial landscaping, irrigation, water management and more.

Having an outdoor space can be one of the most rewarding parts of owning a home. Often, a lack of vision is all that stands between an empty yard and a vibrant space. How satisfied are you with your landscape? Does the look and feel create the atmosphere you're going for? Does it function well, providing an extension of your indoor living space? Does it offer the privacy (or the social gathering space) you would most desire? For every stage of the landscape, there is much detail and planning. If you envision more for your landscape, now is the time to develop a plan.

There are many elements that come together to make an outdoor environment exciting, inviting, relaxing and enjoyable. Whether it's creating unique play areas for children and adults, extending the outdoor living space with fire or water features, or constructing beautiful pathways and trellises that line colorful cutting gardens throughout your property, to be exceptional, your landscape can excite, engage, and inspire your senses.
Where to begin? Focus on what you would like to achieve in your outdoor space. Not sure? Don't worry—we can help you through the process by discussing your needs and wishes to help you develop a vision of your own.

If you're ready to start your landscaping project, give us a call. We will discuss your property, schedule a complimentary on-site design and planning consultation and help you envision new possibilities for your outdoor spaces. Call Chapel Valley today: (410) 924-5400


POTENTIAL LANDSCAPE ENHANCEMENTS TO HELP INSPIRE YOU:

● Built-in stone fire pits create a unique and private family gathering space.
● Pergolas, paths and trellises invite visitors to explore and discover new areas of the landscape, offering strong focal points and creating shelter for quiet relaxation.
● Water features provide a healing and tranquil experience—fountains or waterfalls running over rocks delight the senses.
● Arrival courts create welcoming and elegant spaces to receive guests.
● An outdoor kitchen allows the joy of cooking to be outside while gathering with friends and family.

Blair Residence 5   Blair Potomac Siegel Residence 

  

Each year the Landscape Contractors Association (LCA) and Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) give professionals in the landscape industry the opportunity to enter their projects for the chance to win an award. Over the years Chapel Valley has received multiple awards through both organizations for their outstanding landscapes- this year we received 2 awards through PLANET and 4 through LCA for the following properties:

1. Center Park, Arlington, VA

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Center Park received 2 awards: PLANET Merit award for Commercial Landscape Contracting and LCA Distinction award for Commercial Landscape Maintenance.

In 2008, Chapel Valley began to work on Center Park as the landscaping contractor. Like any commercial project, this one was big and involved a strong team to complete. After a successful installation, Chapel Valley has continued to maintain the commercial property.

Center Park has had a great impact on the people who use it. Before the project started the land served as no purpose-now there is an open, landscaped, urban space with room for people to walk their dogs, relax, skateboard, etc.

2. Post Carlyle, Alexandria, VA

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Post Carlyle received 2 awards: PLANET Merit award & LCA Distinction award for Commercial Landscape Maintenance.

Post Carlyle is a beautiful commercial property located in the city of Alexandria. The property offers its residents beautiful courtyards for relaxation and rooftop terraces for enjoying sunset views of Old Town. Lovely Gardens, outdoor seating, grill stations, and a pool are all things you can find when you walk through the courtyard. To keep the courtyard in top shape, Chapel Valley has done an extensive job in terms of landscape maintenance.

3.Private Residence, Woodbine, MD

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4. Private Residence, Woodbine, MD received a LCA Decade award for Residential Maintenance

It is clear the owner has a great appreciation for flowers and plants when you first arrive to this property. Throughout the property you will come across many elements that come together to make the space inviting, relaxing, and enjoyable. The comprehensive year-round maintenance plan includes: weekly mowing, edging, and weeding; integrated pest management; a five-step turf program winter pruning and cut backs; seasonal color rotations; design, installation, and color rotations of over 15 pots; and a professional gardener on site once a week.

As you can see, Chapel Valley has done an amazing job of maintaining this property for over 10 years. To have a garden like this, you must have the experience of a trained horticulturist.

Private Residence, Potomac, MD 

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Private Residence, Potomac, MD received a LCA Decade award for Residential Maintenance

This is one of those special properties where the landscaping is maintained precisely to create a stunning first impression. The 6.5 acre estate is used for entertaining, relaxation, and family gatherings. Chapel Valley has managed to keep this property looking flawless for after 10 years of maintenance.

The comprehensive maintenance plan utilizes a team of certified specialists in horticulture, irrigation, and gardening. The scope of work includes: spring and fall cleanup; seasonal color rotations; integrated pest management; weekly mowing, edging, and weeding; hand pruning; monthly evaluations; irrigation maintenance; power washing; and snow removal.

TIPS FOR ALL BULBS:

  • Plant bulbs at least six weeks before ground freezes
  • First frost dates are approximately October 15th - November 15th
  • Water bulbs after planting
  • Water is especially important right after planting to ensure that the plants develop a strong root system before going into winter dormancy. Though standing water is not good for bulbs, sufficient water is necessary to get them growing.

 

WHY BULBS ARE PLANTED IN FALL-They require a long period of cool temperature to spark the biochemical process that causes blooming.

TOP BULBS TO PLANT IN FALL: Crocus,Tulip, Daffodils, Grape Hyacinth, Hyacinth, Allium, Dutch Iris

*Mary M, property manager and expert horticulturists, has a few words of advice to add when planting fall bulbs.

CROCUS

If you want an exciting sign from nature that spring is near, then you should plant Crocus bulbs. This amazing bulb has the ability to push through snow and bloom, giving the dreary late winter landscape a touch of color. We suggest planting Snow Crocuses, because are they are the first to bloom. Also, they naturalize, meaning they spread and come back year after year with an even larger display.

Light Requirements: Full sun, half Sun
Bloom Time: Late Winter

*Mary’s Tip: “Crocus is great for planter pots; plant along the edge of the pot, because they will bloom and be out of the way before other bulbs bloom.”

TULIP

Tulips are one of the most popular flowers in the world and are a great bulb to plant. We suggest planting a Grand Mix of Perennial Darwin Tulip Bulbs, because they are tall, tough, and come in a mixture of colors. Plant them once and you will have them for years! Bring character to your garden by using this colorful mix as a border to your flower beds.

Light Requirements: Full Sun, Half Sun/Half Shade
Bloom Time: Mid Spring

*Mary’s Tip: “When mixing colors, be sure to use similar height and bloom time to get the best effect.”

DAFFODILS

These flowers are known as the symbol of spring due to their popularity. We suggest using Double Daffodils, because they are super easy to plant in the fall and are tolerant to any type of soil, as long as it is well drained. Daffodils are perennials and if conditions are favorable, their bulbs will naturalize over the years, giving you more flowers every spring! Also, deer and squirrels avoid eating Daffodils making them a good choice in areas where these pests are a problem.

Light Requirements: Full Sun, Half Sun/Half Shade
Bloom Time: Mid Spring

*Mary’s Tip: “For decorating in pots, you can use some of the shorter varieties and mix with Grape Hyacinth or Tulips.”

GRAPE HYACINTH

These bulbs are perfect if you want an easy and pretty way to cover large areas of your landscape; they are simple-to-grow, durable, and are fast to spread. We suggest planting Muscari Armeniacum, because they are inexpensive and look great when paired with Tulips and Daffodils. If you decide to plant these, take note that their foliage will come up during the fall. This is a great benefit, because it makes fertilizing easy, unlike other bulbs that don’t show any exposer.

Light Requirements: Full Sun, Half Sun
Bloom Time: Mid Spring

HYACINTH

If you are looking for a flower with a powerful scent, then this is the one. The sweet, lingering, fragrance of a Hyacinth makes it one of our favorites. To create a beautiful and formal display, we suggest putting your hyacinth bulbs close together in groups of 3, 5, or more. To ensure proper health, make sure these are planted in a spot with good drainage. Although these can withstand full sun, it is best to plant them in areas with available shade.

Light Requirements: Full Sun, Half Sun/Half Shade
Bloom Time: Mid Spring


*Mary’s Tip: “For a long display time, try planting Crocus, Daffodils and Tulips in complementary colors. Grape Hyacinth shows up well with short yellow Daffodils. Hyacinth and other bulbs can be planted with Daffodils to bloom simultaneously or with Tulips to extend the bloom time in an individual bed.”

ALLIUM

Make a statement in your garden, by planting Allium Globe Master’s. These bulbs are notorious for their colossal size, because the flower heads can bloom up to a foot across! Some other characteristics include their distinct smell of chives and lavender color. We suggest planting perennials around the Allium’s base, because the foliage becomes unattractive overtime. When it comes to choosing the placement of the bulb, consider planting the giant Alliums in groups of several bulbs, set very close together. Also, they should be placed behind surrounding plants or bulbs, because they are very tall.

Light Requirements: Full Sun, Half Sun/Half Shade

Bloom Time: Late spring to early summer

DUTCH IRIS

The Iris is a subtle reminder that summer is right around the corner. It is a very elegant flower that is most popular in purple. They are easy to grow, deer resistant, and are perfect for any garden or flower arrangements.

Light Requirements: Full Sun, Half Sun/Half Shade
Bloom Time: Early Summer

Over the years, we hear some of the same questions from new homeowners and experienced ones alike. It’s hard to know all best practices for fall landscaping maintenance, so we’ve compiled a list that will hopefully provide some useful tips that will be helpful for you.

SHOULD I WORRY ABOUT PRUNING MY TREES AND SHRUBS?

Actually, unless you are a landscape expert, pruning should be avoided between August 15th and September 30th. Pruning plants during this time will stimulate new growth, which is bad because the plants are trying to go dormant. This process can cause trees and shrubs to be severely weakened.

DO I NEED TO AERATE OR OVERSEED MY LAWN?

If you intend to have a lush and thick lawn next year, then it is beneficial for you to overseed this fall. Overseeding helps cool-season lawns heal from damage that has been caused over the summer. The earlier you do this, the better, because you want to give seed time to germinate and mature before the winter season. To ensure proper germination, it is best to aerate the lawn before it’s been overseeded; this allows for better seed to soil contact which is critical to germination.

DO I NEED TO FERTILIZE MY LAWN?

It is important to fertilize two times in the fall at the proper rates: early October and early November. The application of phosphorus during this time period will help stimulate root growth before the grass goes dormant for the winter. The nitrogen in the fertilizer will help the lawn green-up faster in the spring and it’s more likely to be resistant to plant disease and drought.

WHEN SHOULD I WATER TREES?

If your trees are newly installed, then they should be watered up until the first frost. It’s not likely you will have to worry about watering your mature trees in the fall; only water them if they are in a severe drought or are showing signs of stress.

WHY IS IT NECESSARY TO REMOVE/SHRED LEAVES ON THE LAWN?

During the fall is when cool-season grasses are the most active. This is why it is necessary to remove or mulch the leaves in your lawn. Doing this allows the turf to breathe and have access to the sun. Mulching the leaves with a mower is highly suggested, as it allows the organic matter to return to the soil and keeps leaves out of the landfill. Mulching will assure healthy turf and will prevent fungal diseases such as snow mold, which can be caused by, among others thing, from piles of leaves.

HOW DO I CONTROL THE WEEDS IN MY LAWN?

If you want to control weeds in your lawn, then it is important to put down an application of broadleaf weed control in the fall. The weeds will absorb the chemicals through the foliage but leave the turf intact.

If you plan on overseeding your lawn in the fall, it is beneficial to apply the weed control a minimum of two weeks in advance. This allows the grass seed to germinate without competing with interfering weeds.

HOW SHOULD I MOW THE LAWN?

Cool season turf should be kept at a height of 3 to 4 inches throughout the year. A tip from our property management team is to mow the turf at about 2 1/2 inches for the last cut of the season. This will help prevent disease. It is important not to mow the turf too short because as the majority of the nutrient intake comes from the leaf blade. Proper horticulture practice is to remove only one-third of the turf blade at any given time.

DO I NEED TO WATER THE LAWN?

It is essential to water your lawn during dry conditions even in cooler temperatures; this keeps it healthy and promotes new growth. It’s also important new seed stays moist. Proper watering during this time will help the grass during winter months and continue until the ground begins to freeze.

996c6f08-a414-4c25-931e-0f44e1e9716a-thumbWrap your head around this for a moment. By all accounts, there are over 400 million acres of trees in America and many of them drop their leaves in the fall, including the oak. Now remember that each mature oak tree alone has the potential to drop about a ton of leaves every autumn. When you do, it will be easy to see that at this time of year, leaf disposal is at the top of most residential landscape maintenance lists. So what’s a homeowner to do when faced with tons of fall foliage?

1.) DIY Concrete Stamping Accents

For starters, homeowners may want to consider experimenting with DIY concrete stamping. It involves laying leaves, vein side down, on top of freshly poured concrete and letting them sit like that until the concrete begins to harden. Once the leaves are removed, their imprints will remain forever in place. So some crafty folks like to use the technique to make everything from homemade stepping stones and decorative stair ledges to artistic risers.

2.) Kiddie Crafts for the Holidays

While our residential landscape team is on the topic of DIY activities, it’s important to mention that kids can use fall foliage to make stuff too. For example, little kids may enjoy making leaf rubbings and collages. Older ones may want to coat the leaves with wax and incorporate them into seasonal decorations. There are typically a lot of leaf related crafts for kids posted online. Thus, finding a great one to complete with the family shouldn’t be hard to do.

3.) Scarecrow Families

In addition, you could opt to let the kids go “old school” and use the lawn debris to make one-of-a-kind scarecrows. In our families’ opinions, it’s a classic seasonal activity that no matter how much time passes, never totally goes out of style. To bring it into the modern age, simply create scarecrows that resemble characters or celebrities that today’s kids would clearly recognize.

4.) Natural Lawn & Garden Mulch

Our residential landscape maintenance professionals also suggest saving some of the leaves and incorporating them into garden mulch. In our experience, they’ll mix well with store bought manure or fertilizer too. Therefore, don’t be afraid to toss them into homemade potting soil mixtures or compost teas as well. If you start now, there may just be enough nutrient packed soil to start those seedlings in the spring.

5.) Hire a Professional

Lastly, consider calling our residential landscape maintenance professionals. We can dispose of as much or as little fall foliage and other lawn debris as you like for an affordable price. Plus, we can make your autumn lawn into something that will leave everyone else nearby envious. To learn more about our professional lawn services and have a team take care of your residential landscaping tasks in the fall months ahead, please contact us today.

45c97544-be6e-417a-df8d-b38795881038Utilizing proper landscape lighting on your property can provide you and your family with many benefits. These benefits go above and beyond simply adding useable light to your homes exterior. Landscape lighting can add to the functionality, safety, and beauty of your home. Furthermore, professional landscape lighting can help your house to stand out from the other homes in your neighborhood. Here are just a few of the many reasons why you should consider landscape lighting for your property.

Security

Adding lighting to your property can help to increase your homes security. Oftentimes, when prospective robbers are scoping out a neighborhood, they will look for the home that seems as if it will be the easiest for them to get in and out of without being spotted by anyone passing by. Thusly, by adding lighting to your property you will make your home more visible at night, which will help to deter criminals.

Safety

Landscape lighting can also help to improve the safety of your property at night. When your property, particularly the pathway leading to your front door, is dark at night, you and any visitors to your home may be at risk of injury due to low visibility. Simply adding pathway accent lighting can help to improve the safety of your walkway. If you use decorative pathway lights, this can also add a visually pleasing aspect to your home’s exterior at night and make it stand out from others on your street.

Beauty

Professionally designed landscape lighting can go beyond simply being functional. This lighting can help to highlight your homes architecture, and it can help to highlight its landscaping at night. Landscape lighting can truly help to add to your homes beauty and curb appeal at night, which will make it stand out in your neighborhood.

Implementing landscape lighting on your property can help to make your yard functional, beautiful, and safe at night. Having this lighting installed can help to transform your outdoor space, and it can alter the way your home looks at night. Contact us to find out more about the benefits of having landscape lighting installed on your property.

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When most people think of preparing their properties for the colder nights ahead, thoughts of covering plants and rolling up the garden hose come to mind. Although they are two actions that should certainly be taken, there is much more involved in protecting one’s commercial landscaping and hardscapes from the weather than that. For instance, commercial irrigation systems must eventually be winterized.

Ideally, commercial irrigation systems should be winterized before the first light freeze occurs. That’s when temperatures dip down to around 32° Fahrenheit.  Understandably, the date of the first light freeze will vary. However, some parts of Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia have a history of experiencing their first light freeze in late September or early October.

To get a better handle on when a particular area is likely to experience its first freeze, consider using The Old Farmer’s Almanac’s First and Last Frost Dates Calculator. It takes all of the existing weather history available for each zip code in America and utilizes it to come up with an estimated date. The Weather Channel also maintains a first freeze map, only their version is not as specific as the one folks will find through The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

The type of commercial irrigation system that is in place will clearly dictate which winterization techniques should be used and how long the entire process will take. In general, one of three main techniques is used. One method relies on manual drainage methods. The other two procedures involve the use of automation devices or compressed air equipment.

Once the water is drained out of the entire commercial irrigation system, attention must be paid to its electrical or battery operated components. Otherwise, frost and other cold weather elements could damage the electrical system or create a fire hazard. To learn more about winterizing commercial irrigation systems and preparing properties for the cold weather ahead, please contact us today.