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Early Fall Turf Care – Tips for Keeping Your Lawn Looking Great in the Fall

If you’re thinking that now is the time to take a breather on lawn care since Summer is quickly coming to a close and grass can’t possibly continue to grow this quickly, it’s time to reconsider. While grass is not growing at the speed it was in Spring and Summer, this is the time when grass “powers up” so to speak, absorbing moisture and nutrients to prepare for its dormancy in Winter. To this end, we’d like to offer some tips to prepare for a healthy lawn in the Spring, when you’ll really want to stop and smell those flowers. Grab that rake and attack those leaves.  You’ll notice that leaves don’t wait until the official start of Autumn to fall.  You’ll find your lawn scattered with tree confetti as early as August.  As soon as they begin to fall, rake. If leaves are left on the ground for too long, they will become matted down with rain and begin to suffocate your grass and possibly lead to fungal disease in your lawn. Contact us about soil aeration.  We have the equipment and expertise to properly prepare your soil. This is crucial to allow the soil to absorb water, fertilizer and nutrients.  Again, this will be needed through Winter so that when the first thaw of Spring arrives, your lawn will be ready to thrive.  Incidentally, do continue to water.  Obviously it will not be a necessary as it was in July, but keep your eyes out for dry patches. Fall is the best time to fertilize.  Though the growth of grass slows down considerably in the Fall, its roots continue to thrive.  Applying the right mix of fertilizer now is essential to building food

Keeping Your Landscape Healthy Throughout the Summer Heat

Every spring, with ambitious goals for our gardens, we plant flowers, edge, mulch, and mow and tend to our lawns in anticipation of being able to enjoy it throughout the summer months.  However, by July, the temperatures have usually skyrocketed, and what started out as lush and vibrant, may now just be a shadow of its former glory.  Surprisingly, overwatering your dead-looking lawn and wilted plants, as well as feeding them fertilizer in the hopes of resuscitating them may end up doing more harm than good. However, there are some precautions you can take to avoid losing all the beauty you worked so hard for in the spring. The most important thing to look for is dehydration.  Nothing will grow if your soil is hard and dry.  As soon as you notice any signs of dehydration, such as wilting, smaller-than-usual curly or misshaped leaves, flower buds that don’t open, more weeds than normal, or brown and thinning patches in your lawn, implement a regular watering schedule either first thing in the morning or as the sun is setting and stick to it. Most lawns need about an inch of water each week and plants require about one gallon of water for each square foot.  Always apply the water to the base of the plant to ensure the roots are getting soaked properly.  Mulching plant beds (about 2 or 3 inches of mulch) as well as the deep but REGULAR watering will help plants establish deep roots.  Moisture will remain in the soil and give the plant the extra time it needs to encourage root growth.  Make sure you keep up with weeding, a collateral “benefit” of watering regularly is that you will also be watering

The Dirt on Dirt: It’s Not All Created Equal

Dirt is arguably the most crucial factor when it comes to growing plants and grass. While fertilizers, water, and sunlight are important, dirt serves as the foundation for all growth. Not all dirt can sustain life; if you choose the wrong dirt or don’t know what’s in your own yard, you’ll be wasting your time and money trying to grow something where it simply cannot grow. By knowing what kind of soil you have, you can ensure that your spring planting turns into a full year of vibrant, healthy plants.  Sunrise Landscape and Design understands dirt and has over 30 years of experience in creating thriving Northern Virginia landscapes – contact us to get the info on your dirt! What is Dirt? Dirt is soil. It consists of organic material that has decomposed, organic material that is still decomposing, broken down rocks, metals, minerals, and even fossils. The composition of dirt varies from area to area, and particle sizes vary based on the primary component in the soil.   Why is Dirt so important to your lawn and garden? The basic function of dirt is to anchor plants by holding roots and storing nutrients and water that are essential for plant growth. The ability of these plants to thrive in a landscape depends on certain characteristics of the soil. A soil test can provide the necessary information for proper fertilization.  When the proper amount of fertilization is applied at the appropriate time, nutrient runoff is minimized, money saved and plant health is optimized.   What is a soil test? A soil test is an analysis of the nutrient content, composition, and other characteristics of soil, such as the acidity or pH level. Tests are performed

Controlling Weeds in Your Landscape

Weeds are invasive plants that at a minimum can disrupt the appearance of a well-maintained landscape and worst case can destroy or take over your landscape.  Protecting your landscape from weeds not only maintains the beauty of your landscape, it also preserves the investment of time and money you may have put into your property.  Sunrise Landscape and Design has over 30 years of experience in weed control in Northern Virginia and offers many services to protect your landscape. Weed Control Services Pre-emergent Weed Control with Fertilizer:  When it comes to controlling weeds, it is always best to stop them before they sprout.  Once they have sprouted, their roots are well established and are more difficult to remove.  The timing of applying weed control is important.  If applied too early, the weather may dilute the pre-emergent and the weeds will grow unencumbered.  We apply our pre-emergent weed control with fertilizer twice a season, once in early spring and again in late spring.  Combining pre-emergent with fertilizer will help prevent crabgrass and other weed seeds from germinating. Broadleaf Weed Control: Dandelions and other broadleaf weeds are among the common weed problems in lawns.  They are generally easier to treat, have wider leaves, and often flower. They include thistles, dandelions, spurge, and clovers. Most lawns are spot-treated to help reduce the chemicals introduced into the environment, however, if the weeds are growing throughout the lawn, then the entire lawn will be treated.  If more than 60 percent of a lawn is covered with weeds, then the lawn should be considered for a complete renovation. Garden Visits: If the thought of maintaining your landscape and controlling weeds throughout the growing seasons is overwhelming, Sunrise offers a full-service landscape

The Dirt on Turf Renovation

Fall is the perfect time to rehabilitate your lawn. Turf renovation can give your landscape the boost it needs to survive the winter and come back stronger than ever in the spring. It eradicates weeds, improves nutrition, and establishes new grass in areas that badly need it. If you would like a vibrant, healthier lawn, then turf renovation might be exactly what you’ve been looking for. How do I know if I need to Renovate My Turf? You are a good candidate for lawn renovation if: 20-40% of your lawn is bare, dead, or covered by weeds Thatch – the organic layer of decomposing stems and roots at the soil surface - is greater than ½” thick When is Turf Renovation a Bad Idea? If your lawn has severe issues, it may be past the point of restoration and in need of being replaced. If you have any of the following problems, consult a landscape professional before you waste precious time and energy trying to restore your lawn. Over 40-50% of the lawn is dead or covered in weeds Soil is unreasonably compacted Previous efforts to alleviate thatch have been unsuccessful How Do I Renovate My Turf? 1.  Get a soil test. A soil test will give you invaluable information in regards to what is going on inside your lawn. Virginia Tech’s Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences offers a $10 soil test (http://www.soiltest.vt.edu/) for in-state residents. They analyze your sample and provide a nutrient breakdown in return, detailing exactly what your grass needs for optimum health. 2.  Replenish soil moisture. If you are coming off of a dry summer, soak your lawn to a depth of 6-8" before you do anything else. The

30 Things You Could Be Doing Other Than Yard Work

What could you be doing if you didn’t have to battle the heat and bugs to keep your landscape looking well maintained and beautiful? We’ve compiled a list of 30 things you could be doing when you leave the yard work and landscape maintenance to us.   You could be… 1…antiquing. We live in an area full of antiques! Try Leesburg, Fredericksburg, Winchester, or Frederick, MD for some good finds. 2… having a water gun fight. With or without kids, there’s nothing better to beat the summer heat than an old fashioned water gun showdown. 3… reading a good book. Did you know that there are 600,000 to 1,000,000 new books published in the United States every year? 4… trying out a new recipe. Cucumber salad? Yes, please. 5… visiting the zoo. Have you seen Bei Bei, the new Giant Panda cub? How about Jetty, the sea lion? If you haven’t been out to the National Zoo lately, it’s worth the trip. 6… taking a nap. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “a short nap of 20-30 minutes can help to improve mood, alertness and performance.” 7… writing an old friend. Bring back the lost art of writing. Think of how thrilled one of your friends would be to find an actual handwritten letter from you in their mailbox! 8… trying a new restaurant. Maybe you’ll find a po-boy made of burnt ends (Sweet Nola’s in Winchester) or Whiskey Duck Nachos (Monocacy Crossing in Frederick) – whatever it is, it’ll be worth the drive. 9… riding roller coasters at Kings Dominion. Another kid favorite, sometimes it’s easy to forget that we live so close to an amusement park. If rides aren’t your thing, check out

30 Reasons to Take Care of Your Lawn

Lawn care may seem like a necessary evil at times. It’s hot outside, the gnats are swarming, and it can be miserable - we understand. At Sunrise, our job is to handle the bad stuff so that you can actually enjoy all the benefits your lawn has to offer. To celebrate our 30th Anniversary, we’ve come up with 30 Reasons to Take Care of Your Lawn: It’s relaxing. There’s nothing better than seeing a neatly groomed yard full of green grass. A beautiful landscape is a proven stress reducer. Lawns promote a sense of peace. In cities, green spaces improve community involvement and bonding. A nice lawn connects you to nature. Healthy grass lets you enjoy your gardening. If you put all your effort into gorgeous flowers but neglect your grass, no one is going to notice your hard work because of distracting bald spots and weeds. The roots of your grass help filter ground water, removing pollutants as water flows into underground aquifers. Mulched grass clippings promote organic soil matter, which is good for the environment and your turf. Lawns are great for trapping dirt and dust that would otherwise be floating around in the air. Your lawn makes oxygen for your family to breathe through photosynthesis. Lawns don’t just trap carbon dioxide, they capture and filter all sorts of greenhouse gases. Grass is great at absorbing rain, preventing runoff into streams and rivers. Grass is also great at stopping erosion when it has a strong root network. Lawns not only help with erosion, but they help with other types of land degradation like soil acidification and salinization. A lush lawn is a wonderful breeding ground for beneficial bugs that our ecosystem needs. Lawns

Seven Core Areas of Lawn Maintenance

If you want a lush, green lawn, it’s not necessarily as simple as mowing and watering. Lawn care can actually be very complicated. To help you out, here are our Seven Core Areas of Lawn Maintenance: Soil testing – Sometimes the most important step is the one most often overlooked. Testing your soil for its pH level and nitrogen and phosphorus content will actually save you a lot of headaches in the long-run. Once you know your soil makeup, you’ll be able to figure out what types of fertilizers (and what quantities) your lawn really needs. Fertilizing – At a minimum, you should fertilize every spring and fall. There’s ammonium sulfate and numerous all-purpose fertilizers to choose from. Make sure to use caution, though. Too much fertilizer can burn your lawn, and ammonium sulfate only provides a short green boost to it. Your lawn needs a balanced diet of nutrients in order to stay green and healthy. Watering – The frequency and amount of time you need to water your lawn is going to vary based upon your grass variety and location. Most of the time, watering deeply once a week will do the job. Deep watering encourages the grass to grow deeper roots, which helps the overall health of your lawn. If you step on your grass and it springs back up, you know that you’re on the right track moisture-wise. Mowing – Mowing is a calculated effort. The more thought and planning you put into it, the more you will get out of it. Make sure you remove any debris from your yard before you fire up your mower. Debris is not only a safety hazard, but sticks and rocks will dull your

Are You Getting the Most from Your Lawn Maintenance Contract?

Signing a lawn maintenance contract is an investment in your home. Not all contracts are created equal, so it’s important to read the fine print. Sunrise offers customized lawn care contracts for our customers. We understand that every customer has different needs and different goals, and we appreciate that. We offer basic lawn care, core aeration and overseeding, spring and fall clean-up, garden maintenance, tree trimming and shrub pruning, ornamental tree and shrub care, and water feature maintenance contracts. We’ve come up with 5 questions you need to ask before signing a lawn maintenance contract. If your answers to these questions are positive, then you will know that you are making a good investment. Who has the final say on what goes into your contract? Sunrise tailors each contract to the specific needs of our client. A lawn care company should not be forcing a certain type of contract on you. Make sure that YOU have the final say on what your contract includes – and doesn’t. Does the company specialize in what you need? If you are looking to maintain your garden year-round, you need a lawn maintenance company who knows about pruning times and disease treatment. If you want a water feature, work with a company who installs and maintains them regularly. If the landscaper doesn’t have experience in the services you need, find one that does. How’s their equipment? A quick and easy way to see how a landscaping company values its business is to simply look at its equipment. If it’s old, dirty, or falling apart, then they probably don’t take much pride in what they do. If it’s clean, well-maintained, and relatively new, you will know that they are treating

Sunrise Landscape and Design – What we Love About Landscaping

This year, as Sunrise Landscape and Design celebrates 30 years in business, we are incredibly thankful for the relationships we have formed with our clients, vendors, business associates and employees. We are especially proud of the work performed and the results achieved by our employees. In honor of this milestone we asked our employees what they liked about being in the landscaping industry. Their responses depict their commitment and love for the job. Enjoy what our employees have shared! 1.  Building beautiful patios 2.  Changing the view of houses 3.  The seasonality makes our work ever changing and always interesting 4.  Seeing our finished product of work 5.  Creating outdoor spaces where homeowners relax and enjoy time with nature, family and friends 6.  Helping make client’s dreams come true 7.  There are new things and new challenges throughout the year based on the seasons 8.  Creating a good design - smart horticultural choices, aesthetically beautiful lines and shapes, colors, and textures 9.  Seeing how a design comes together and how it works to really improve a customer’s property and its value 10.  Watching customer’s properties being transformed is rewarding 11.  Getting to be outdoors 12.  Using my imagination 13.  Our company employs a wide array of employees and working with them is fun 14.  Enjoying nature and how we can manipulate it to provide a beautiful landscape 15.  Seeing people happy after the completion of a project 16.  Educating clients on their landscaping 17.  There is versatility 18.  Get to wear casual clothes 19.  Get to make things pretty and be a tree hugger 20.  Find it relaxing 21.  Love working in the dirt 22.  The smell of fresh cut grass 23.  Getting to be