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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.

96d84960-d6bb-404b-cbf0-89246bbc2edc-thumbRed, yellow, orange, brown - leaves are falling all around. See them dance in the cool, fall air. Rake them and pile them and bag them with care.

That popular poem reminds us that fall will be here soon. With fall comes beautiful leaves on the trees and eventually on the ground. 

You have three choices with your residential landscaping and those leaves.

#1: You can leave them on the ground. If you leave them on the ground, then:

  • Your neighbors might be upset as your leaves blow into their yards.
  • Your lawn will start to die because the leaves will hold water and start to create rot. You will start to notice bare spots where the leaves were the thickest.

#2: You can rake the leaves and either dispose of them, or put them in garden areas to help control the leaves. Just be careful to not kill your plants with too many leaves. But, the leaves might blow away and your neighbors might not be happy about that. This option means a lot of hard work for you.

#3: You can hire quality residential landscaping that includes leaf removal. Most companies will remove the leaves after the trees are bare. At the same time, the companies can inspect your lawn and ensure it is healthy.

So, as we started, fall is coming and if there are lots of trees in your yard or near your yard, the leaves are coming too. They are beautiful and will be beautiful in your yard. 

But, before they fall, contact us and let's talk about the best time to remove those leaves before they start hurting your lawn.

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.

blog-commercial-irrigation-alexandria-va

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.

70a46fed-20de-4de8-85c8-f7dd561b0a2cWith temperatures throughout Maryland slowly starting to cool, our commercial landscaping team’s thoughts are turning towards fall tasks. Are yours? In our experience, it’s a great time to get select plants, shrubs and trees into the ground. Plus, it’s ideal weather for deadheading, transplanting, applying winter mulch, separating perennials and filling landscapes with autumn colors.

If you do decide to change up your commercial landscaping and add a pop of fall colors, keep in mind that there are different combinations to choose from. Three of the combinations that our commercial landscaping team often recommends are complementary, monochromatic and analogous. In our experience, they tend to be the most appealing to the eyes' of passersbys.

The first color combination that our commercial landscaping team prefers is rooted in the theory that opposites attract. Thus, it involves combining landscaping materials that are on opposite ends of the color wheel. For instance, orange pumpkins may be placed near blue asters and coral bells. Orange colored hardscapes and blue outdoor lighting could be factored into the commercial establishment’s space as well.

The second previously mentioned combination that our professional landscaping team favors involves sticking with one color and its various hues. For instance, commercial property owners may want to incorporate yellow pine benches and yellow stone crop near their walkways or stick with various shades of red perennials and brick pavers.

The third and final combination of note relies on the use of colors that are adjacent to one another on the wheel. Excellent examples would be businesses that opt to combine red-orange, orange, yellow-orange and yellow flowers into their landscape. The same could be said for autumn displays that have blue, blue-violet, blue-green and violet color schemes.

To learn more about dressing up your commercial landscape in time for the onslaught of autumn customers, please contact us today. We presently provide highly rated landscaping services in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

commercial-landscaping-5-fab-ground-cover-plants-for-green-roofs-in-dc-washington-dcHave you decided to include a green roof as part of your DC firm’s commercial landscaping plans? Has the decision got you wondering which ground cover plants would require little maintenance and look fabulous? If so, you may want to think about utilizing one of the following five:

1.) Sedum (Assorted Varieties)

Sedums are among the first ground cover plants to consider for commercial landscaping projects in DC. Their leaves have the ability to retain water. So they are perfect for those businesses looking to rely on storm water for irrigation. Of course there are many different sedums to choose from. The list of flowering varieties that would work well in DC’s hardiness zones includes, but is not confined to ternatum, stoloniferum, lanceolatum, telephiodes and album.

2.) Delosperma

Speaking of succulent plant genus with many varieties, don’t forget about delosperma. They are known for their humidity sensing, hygrochastic capsules and long-lasting, iridescent blooms. Species that tend to thrive in DC’s climate are the tiffendell magneta, ecklonis var. latifolia and cooperi.

3.) Asian Dunce Cap

Asian dune caps would also work well with green roof projects. They are herbaceous perennials that thrive in full sun and dry soil. In addition, they typically produce beautiful flowers in the fall and have lovely silver-gray leaves. Just make sure that you have them periodically checked, and treated for, aphid invasions.

4.) Fame Flower

We’d also recommend the flame flower. It’s also a herbaceous, flowering perennial that would look stunning incorporated into DC’s commercial landscaping. Only this one tends to flower in the mid summer. For the best results, place it in green rooftop areas that feature sandy soil and perfect drainage.

5.) Hawk Weed

The last ideal ground cover plant on our list today is hawk weed. Don’t let the name deceive you. It is actually a member of the sunflower family. So you can count on it to produce attractive flowers too. To learn more about these and other great ground covers for commercial landscaping projects in DC, please contact us.

 

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plant-health-care-pros-can-help-property-owners-deal-with-bluegrass-billbugs-fairfax-vaThere are a handful of occurrences that are guaranteed to ruffle the neck hairs of property owners in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. One of them is a bluegrass billbug invasion. They can literally turn a lush lawn or healthy field full of crops into a barren wasteland in what seems like no time at all. Good thing our plant health care experts know what it takes to win the battle against these wicked weevils.

The first order of business is to set up linear or pitfall traps. The traps will help confirm that an invasion has taken place and let the property owner know how bad the situation may have already become. Depending on the type, adult billbugs are anywhere from ¼-inch to 7/18-inch in length. The bluegrass variety tends to be 5/18-inches long. The majority of the adult species have puncture marks on their pronotums and wing covers. They may also sport a brown, gray, black or yellowish hue.

As for the larva, they may be up to 3/8-inches long and the pupae that follow are often up to 2-inches long. They tend to range in color from white and cream to a reddish brown. Most of the species’ lay their eggs during May and June, so the larvae often appear in July and August. By early September, they enter the pupae stage and emerge as adults shortly thereafter.

Overwintering understandably starts once the temperatures drop. Thus, the best time to address a billbug invasion is while they are in the adult stage. However, they may be confronted when they are in the larval stage too. The list of treatment options includes, but is not limited to insecticide granules and sprays. For additional information on handling bluegrass billbug invasions, please contact our plant health care pros today.

 

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august-plant-health-care-baltimore-mdAugust bring hotter weather which means it can be more difficult to keep the plants in your landscape looking healthy. That is why plant health care is a primary concern for many people, especially in August. So, what can you do to keep your plants healthy and keep your landscaping looking great?

1. Water your plants. They might need extra water during the hotter days. If you are in an area with water restrictions due to drought, first water the newly planted trees and shrubs, then the perennials that you planted this year. Then water the lawn, although with water restrictions, you probably cannot water your lawn. If you planted annual plants, those should be watered last.

2. Weed your flower beds. Continue to weed the flower beds since you don't want the weeds using the water and nutrients the plants need. It might be hot, but don't give up on weeding.

3. Monitor insects. Keep monitoring for insects. It might be hot, but those insects rarely give up, even in the heat. So, take some time while you are watering to check for those pesky insects that can damage your plants.

4. Wait to prune. Pruning is not advisable during the hot August days. Your plants are already working harder to live, you don't want to give them something else to deal with.

Wondering about specific plants in your landscape and how to best take care of them during the hotter August days? We'd love to help, just contact us and let's work together to keep your landscape looking great.

 

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the-benefits-of-green-roofs-columbia-mdGreen roofs have been gaining popularity in recent years as more people have become aware of the ecological benefits that these roofs can provide. However, many homeowners are still unaware of the many benefits of green roofs. Furthermore, many homeowners are skeptical that they can make a difference in their neighborhood by turning their roof into a green roof. The fact is, however, that there are many benefits that a single green roof can provide. Here are just a few of the many reasons why you should consider converting your roof to a green roof.

Improves Air Quality

Green roofing vegetation helps to filter out dust, smog, and CO2 out of the air. The plants on green roofs help to remove these harmful particles and elements from the air, and help to replace them with cleaner oxygen. While more homes with green roofs in your neighborhood would help to improve air quality in your town, even a single home having a green roof could help to remove harmful materials from the air.

Improves Noise Protection

It is well known that plants act as natural sound insulators, and it is for this reason that many individuals plant large plants and hedges around their home when they live near a highway and/or in a noisy neighborhood. For this reason, it should come as no surprise how beneficial green roofs can be in further improving a home’s noise insulation. Green roofs can be particularly helpful for homes that live under a flight path as the vegetation can help to keep out noise from the planes above.

Greener Construction

Green roofs can be further beneficial to the environment in that they often make use of recycled products and renewable resources in their construction. This helps to save valuable resources, and it helps to lessen the effect production of the products for these roofs have on the environment. This makes these roofs green in their construction as well as in their implementation.

Green roofs can be extremely beneficial for the environment in your local community. In fact, these are just a few of the many benefits that green roofs provide. Contact us to find out about more of the ways in which green roofs can help the environment as well as to find out about having your roof converted into a green roof.

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Building a green roof is a more complex process than building a standard roof, and this is because you will actually be using your roof for a multitude of purposes. It is ideal to take your time with this kind of decision-making as you do not want to regret any decisions you make with designs for green roofs.

The Type of Roof It Is Going to Be

If you are interested in heavier plants and heavy growth, you need to understand that this will be an intensive roof that is able to handle 30 pounds or more within a single square foot. However, there are still limitations in regard to what you can grow on a roof, so you should express your ideas and concerns to professionals that deal in the industry of constructing green roofs. For homeowners that are looking to grow lightweight plants, an extensive roof may be all that is necessary for their green roof, which means every square foot can withstand a weight of 18 to 22 pounds.

Retaining Storm Water

When you have a sloped roof, you will notice that water can descend rather quickly, which can leave some plants with excessive water and others with not enough. It is important to combat this with a thought-out irrigation system, which can be done with careful planning by placing plants that need a lot of water towards to the bottom of your roof, and plants that do not need much at the top.

Types of Plants to Be Planted

Since having a green roof means growing plants on your roof, you need to decide what kind of plants are going to be grown. For instance, while you should avoid plants that have sprawling root systems, there are still plenty of herbs and vegetables that can be grown with ease and great success.

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73459fa0-f9f6-4286-c952-e7ab76b7d36dWhen it comes to the overall appearance of a home, landscape and hardscape must work together. While a homeowner can have a beautiful garden, a garden can only look as good as its surroundings. It is essential not to forget about the importance of hardscape design on your property. Although it can be a little overwhelming with the amount of options you have for hardscape, having patience is the key.

Take Advantage of Storage Opportunities

Although you may be thinking of functional space in your backyard, you will most likely need to store items outside, so you might as well do it in an attractive and functional manner. For instance, you can store gardening tools with wall hangers, which eliminates the amount of horizontal space consumed. Using this method works in quite a few ways, such as planting a wall-mounted garden. If you decide on customs designs for your yard, you should really look into multi-purpose options to add storage.

Stick with the Relative Scale of Your Home

While it is fairly easy to make use of a small backyard by minimizing the size of everything, this can lead to an awkward appearance to your backyard as it does not mesh with the rest of your property. It is best to stay within relative scale, which means wide stairs, large fire pits, or outdoor fireplaces. As long as you are able to have enough moving space and are able to get the functions you want for your yard, there is absolutely nothing wrong with going large on your property.

Avoid Solid Fencing

Although you may think that a large wood fence can give you boundaries to work with, this can actually make your property feel smaller than it really is. As an alternative, you can use open fencing, such as a white picket fence to separate your property from other properties and public space. While this may not provide the same amount of privacy as various types of fencing, this does provide safety for children, pets, while also enhancing the appearance of your property

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Intern Outing Graphic
James Reeve, CEO (top left); Jackie, LA intern (top right); Jackie, Amanda, Hayley, Caddy (bottom left); Chris (bottom right)
 
Last Friday, the 2014 summer interns had an eventful day with Chapel Valley; they attended our new team training event, played mini golf, and went to the Frederick Keys baseball game. It was a successful day of learning and fun, and we were happy to show the interns our appreciation for choosing us to work with. The outing gave mentors and their interns the opportunity to build a stronger relationship, which is one of the goals of the program. We are a company that hires interns, which is another reason why we spend time with them outside of the office in a more relaxed environment. Chapel Valley’s culture is special, because our people do what we love and it shows; we love plants and landscapes and strive to stay abreast of the latest methods, techniques, and products that are good for clients properties and the environment. 
 
 
As a landscape industry leader for over 45 years, Chapel Valley has made the preservation of natural resources a top priority. As a result, we have focused our efforts on lowering our impact on the environment which has led us to our most recent purchase of mulching mowers and Toyota Prius’. 
 
Running a landscape company, it is our duty to meet with new and existing customers, as well as visit property sites on a regular basis.  Given the vast amount of time spent on the road to fulfil these responsibilities, we have provided our high mileage drivers with a Toyota Prius to reduce gasoline consumption. Another way we have reduced our fuel consumption is by placing our satellite offices geographically close to their corresponding maintenance branch. Our innovation to sustain green has not stopped here and we will always look for ways to reduce our carbon footprint. 
 
For those of you who don’t know, due to Maryland’s lawn fertilizer law that took effect on October 1st, 2013, lawn fertilizer products have been reformed. The law claims that lawn care professionals must follow regulations for the amount of fertilizer used on turf because the nutrients in them were harming the Chesapeake Bay.  Nitrogen and Phosphorus are the key ingredients found in fertilizer and are also the nutrients that keep your lawn looking nice and green.
 
When this law took place we knew we had to make a change to keep our lawns maintained appropriately. After doing some research, we made two business decisions to help Chapel Valley Landscape make a positive impact on our turfgrass program.  First, we partnered with a high-quality, local contractor to apply fertilization and weed control to client’s turf.  This partner is not only well respected in the Mid-Atlantic area, they pride themselves on developing appropriate application programs that minimize the approved ingredients to surpass the law’s requirement and to surpass our customer’s expectations of a healthy turf.
 
Next, we invested in upgrading our entire fleet of mowers and added mulching kits to each mower. Mulching mowers are different because they leave grass clippings on the lawn. Because grass clippings are high in nitrogen, this is one of the best ways to return nutrients to the soil. With new nitrogen laws in effect, we use this method to keep your lawn looking fresh, green, and healthy. The mow height of your lawn is also a factor that we keep into consideration. We leave the mow height around 4 inches, because if it were cut any shorter, then the roots would not be as deep. 
 
In addition to the benefit to the turf quality, mulching kits also reduce the large amounts of yard waste and energy required to handle landscape debris at dump locations.  Mulching kits provide an additional benefit of keeping grass out of landscape beds and tree rings, plus the reduction in possible flying debris that comes out the side of a typical discharge style mower. Here at Chapel Valley we are happy to make these improvements and we value that we can satisfy our customers and save the environment at the same time! 
 
Summer Garden
 
 
During the summer, our gardens are at risk for two different types of climates: severe drought or excessive rain. It is important to maintain your plants health correctly if your gardens are exposed to either of these conditions. Staying informed about possible weather situations and best practices for preventative maintenance could be what makes or breaks your garden or turf this summer. 
 
Severe Drought: When there is no precipitation for days or weeks and it’s extremely hot out 
 
•Due to lack of water, plants will become stressed and go dormant. 
•If not properly irrigated, grass will turn brown.
 
Maintenance for Severe Drought: 
 
•Water plants either early in the morning or late in the evening.
•If watered during the middle of the day, droplets can function as collecting lenses and focus the sunlight directly on the leaves, thus burning the foliage.
•Soak your turf for multiple hours, 3x a week – this is better than watering it every day for short periods, because the water will reach the roots.
 
Rainy Season: When there are rainy days and hot humid nights 
 
•This climate doesn’t allow the turf to dry out.
•The moist environment can cause harmful diseases to develop.
•Diseases include: Dollar Spot and Brown Patch.
 
Maintenance for Rainy Season 
 
•Using a “fungicide program” prior to the rainy season will help this problem. 
•The program starts in May and includes 4-5 treatments, depending on the climate. 
 
 
Jenn Giunta Newsletter graphic
Our Alexandria office has the pleasure of frequently performing commercial maintenance in our nation’s capital. With that honor comes the challenge of finding parking, navigating traffic and finding the right plants for each environment. Learn more in this interview with Jenn Giunta, our Alexandria Branch Manager.
 
Q: What are some unique challenges that you experience?
Jenn: Some unique challenges include excessive use on properties caused by everything from regular use by residents to dogs to pedestrians. This wear and tear on the landscape requires extra upkeep.  
 
Q: How is maintaining commercial properties different than residential?
Jenn: When treating commercial properties the structure is much different than residential maintenance. It is challenging because it requires a comprehensive mentality. Additionally, horticulture in the city differs from residential because you really need to know the plants and their characteristics. Also, you need to be a great investigator and problem solver.
 
Q: Being in DC, how do you approach sites that deal with a lot of traffic?
Jenn: When trying to find parking we may work with the properties themselves to find possibly, an alley or a load dock. If that isn’t possible we may partner with a nearby building. When there isn’t a clear space for parking we just figure it out! Our men are crafty, smart and creative when it comes to parking. We’ve learned what roads you can and cannot park on. It’s important to know the layout of the city for jobs like these.
 
Q: How do you maintain plants in a harsh environment?
Jenn: For harsh environments, such as high winds, microclimates and heat islands there are a multiple elements to consider. One important element is picking the right plants for the right location. Different plants thrive in different locations so something for a shopping center or a corporate business may not be right for apartments or condos. 
 
Q: What are some ways you determine the right plants for the location?
Jenn: To choose the right plants we often take clues from existing plants in the area. We also do background research and speak with the property manager or engineer of the building. Sometimes trial and error is necessary to find the right plants for your location.
 
Additionally, we take into consideration take into consideration foreseeable events such as wind, as well as unforeseeable such as dog traffic, environment, microclimates and heat islands.
 
Q: What are some difficulties you face in the court garden?
Jenn: Some difficulties in the court garden include the amount of light exposure and lack of sunlight due to shadows from surrounding buildings, as well as very distinct microclimates.
Another difficulty we have is the location of the courtyard. If it’s on a roof or the only entrance is through a lobby we make sure that all our staff are wearing booties on top of their shoes to prevent dirty floors.
 
Q: What drives your success
Jenn: The major element of our success is our people. Our team thrives because of the people. Our highly trained staff works together effortlessly, communicating to each other and property managers every step of the way.
 

 

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BBQ success is usually thought of as the type of sauce used. After all, there is a song written about BBQ.

In the mountains of Tennessee, they like a smoky sauce.

But over there in ole Memphis, a dry rubbed rib is boss.

The folks down in Georgia can't make up their mind,

You can give it to 'em sweet or spicy, and they'll say "that tastes alright."

But, we think BBQ success is in the landscape lighting. Once you have that great sauce that everyone wants to taste, how is it served? Is it served outside with porch lights that give off a little circle of light that attracts bugs? Or can you only serve your BBQ sauce in the daylight because you don't have night lighting?

Whatever the case is, landscape lighting is the key to your great BBQ. Go ahead, create your great sauce, and contact us to make your event a success. We will come to your residence and help you decide where you want guests to enjoy your BBQ. Then we will install subtle lights that help them enjoy your sauce and enjoy the conversation of friends.

We can help you light pathways so friends can walk and enjoy your BBQ sauce, or we can help light up niches with tables so friends can sit. We will help you create a moonlight effect from your trees to add to your gathering of friends. If you have a pool, we can create lighting so people can enjoy a swim after eating.

This summer, create your great BBQ sauce, but don't forget the landscape lighting that will make it a great BBQ time with friends. After all, BBQ'ing is not just for the south. BBQ is a summer American tradition for all to enjoy.

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1975dcd2-48f8-4ad0-9763-b223b206697aSpring has come and gone, the flowers are all blooming and the grass is green. We are now approaching the hotter summer months were there is fun in the sun, BBQ parties, and swimming. You might enjoy the warmer weather, but to your plants this can be a stressful time. Here are some suggestions to help with your plants health care during these hot months.

  • Check your sprinklers - If you have an automatic sprinkler system, check that it is functionally properly. Having a professional take a look at it is a good idea. 
  • Provide some shade - Having some big shade trees in your yard not only gives you a place to get out of the heat, but also your plants. 
  • Deadhead and trim - Help keep your plants happy by removing old spend blooms and dead branches. This will allow for good airflow around and through the plant.
  • Keep the pest away - Your plants will already be stressed from the heat, they don't need pest stressing them more. Look closely at your plants weekly so that you can catch little intruders early. 
  • Small plants are more vulnerable - Smaller and newly planted plants are more vulnerable to the heat and are at greater risk of stress. Take special care with these to keep them from being burned.
  • Mulch - Having a good mulch around the base of your plants will help keep the soil cooler and retain more moisture.  


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On June 17th, 5 members from Chapel Valley had the pleasure of mingling and dining, at the Great Arboretum cookout. The event is held annually each year in June, when the Arboretum grounds are in full bloom. Attending the cookout is a great way for our team to stay involved with people who share the common interest of supporting the gardens and programs at the Arboretum. Each year a different state is honored, and this year, they proudly presented Missouri. 
 
If you are not familiar with the U.S. National Arboretum, it is administrated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s, Agricultural Research Service; to provide the public need for scientific research, education, and gardens that conserve and showcase plants to enhance the environment. The Arboretum is very valuable, because it plays an important role of preservation.  Our founder, J. Landon Reeve, is very passionate about the Arboretum, and contributes by being an officer on the board of directors.