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Pruning Trees in Winter

There IS a benefit to your trees being bare and somewhat desolate-looking during this time of year:  your dormant trees are gathering up strength to really put on a spectacular show when the warmth of Spring finally arrives.  However, this is when you should lend a helping hand in the form of pruning; new growth has to be encouraged, and when the trees are bare, the branches are easier to see and to handle, not to mention the harder ground allows for easier access to the tree.   Though its usually best to wait until the coldest part of the Winter has passed, (February through March is usually the best time to prune trees), it is not imperative to do so only in that window.  For flowering trees, it’s critical that you prune while the tree is still dormant.  If you prune after blooms have started to form, you could be limiting its blooming potential in the Spring.  Some species, such as maple, walnuts and birches, may excrete sap.  While this is not dangerous to the tree, it can be unsightly, so it’s best to prune when the weather is colder and the sap is not as likely to “bleed.” It’s important to remember that every branch should be removed for a reason.  Each cut has the potential to change the shape of the tree substantially as well as its ability to bloom if it’s a flowering tree, so pruning should not be done without a “plan.”  Dead, diseased and damaged branches should be removed as soon as possible, both to prevent the spread of potential disease and for safety’s sake.  Dead branches can easily fall in the slightest crosswind and cause personal injury or

Hunker Down for Winter and Prepare for Spring

Though there really isn’t much lawn maintenance required in the Winter months when the ground is often frozen, there are some important precautions to take with your lawn so that when the weather DOES begin to warm, your lawn will be ready for the beautiful show-off that is Spring.   Hopefully you’ve remembered to disconnect your garden hose before the first frost, but if not, disconnect as soon as possible.  Any extra water left inside the hose will freeze and cause the lining of the hose to crack.  Also, any additional ice will put pressure on the pipes connected to your house and this could lead to very costly repairs you were not anticipating.  Ornamental concrete birdbaths should also be emptied, since any water left in the basin could lead to cracking.   Now that everything has become dormant or has died, take advantage of the “cleared” landscape and evaluate not only the plant placement but the soil around it.  Is there erosion?  Make a note of it, this is something to tackle once the danger of frost has passed.  If your plants are dormant and the Winter has proven to be colder than usual, consider adding another layer of mulch.  Even though we’re halfway through Winter, it’s not too late to protect your investment and add a little extra blanket to the perennials you’re hoping to see again in Spring.   Again, take advantage of the fact that the ground is “cleared” and take a look and see if there are roots damaging any part of your hardscape or your home’s foundation.  This is the time to take notes and talk to us about what will need to be rectified once the danger of

Holiday Decorating Tips Using Your Winter Landscape

The tradition of bringing the outdoors in during the Winter months dates back thousands of years, and as the holidays approach and the weather changes, aside from being a terrifically beautiful way to remind us of the outside, it makes your home truly live and breathe natural beauty this holiday season. First things first:  take a look around your landscape and see what you have that could work indoors.  You have to consider what stands the best chance of surviving indoors, where the heat and lack of humidity of central heating can dry it out prematurely.  If you have holly, ivy, pine trees or spruce, as well as magnolia trees, these make great candidates for indoor decorating.   However, make sure to choose greenery that looks healthy to begin with.  Pruning correctly is critical, make sure you cut where they start growing. Incidentally, it’s not only greenery that would work.  Bare branches can look lovely clustered in vases as well, so don’t limit yourself, you might find the perfect vase fillers laying on the ground! If you love the look of berries, keep a close eye on whether they shed, quite a few of them can be poisonous to children and pets. It’s often safer to opt for artificial berries that can be attached with green floral wire to your cut stems or branches. If you plan on decorating with green cuttings, make sure you keep them fresh as long as possible by keeping the ends dipped in tepid water.  Inserting them in moist floral foam when displaying on your mantle and keeping them out of the way of your heating vents will also prolong their life for the holiday season.  If you decide to use

The Beauty of Hardscape – Functional and Aesthetic Solutions for Your Landscape

How many hours have you spent worrying about the slip sliding away of your sloping lawn, as well as dreading the resulting moist or marshy land from poor drainage? If you’ve had issues with your landscape that require constant TLC in the Spring and Summer now is the time to consider installing hardscape features that will solve these issues as well as maximize the beauty and usable space of your yard.  A landscape professional such as Sunrise Landscape and Design will be able to evaluate the extent of the problem and recommend both a functional and aesthetic solution. Why not enjoy the changing of the seasons instead of worrying about the problems in your landscape? If your home is built on a slope, you are, or will soon be experiencing erosion.  The soil on a slope is not compact, but rather loose and unstable, which can lead to serious issues for your home’s foundation.  The installation of the correct type of hardscape can prevent long term damage.  A retaining wall will keep the soil where it should be, as well as add a decorative element to your yard.  They can be built tiered or accented with bushes, plants or flowers.  Depending on the height of the wall, they can also serve as integrated seating.  When you can make a retaining wall functional as well as a beautiful feature, you have a win-win as a homeowner. Then, there’s drainage.  Even a small amount of rain can cause you to be knee-deep in swampland. If you have a drainage issue, the longer it is ignored, the more severe the damage to your home’s foundation or landscape can be.  It’s easy to disregard the potential problem when the

Loudoun Times 2017 Fall Guide to Homes

Be sure to read the article on Sunrise Landscape + Design in the 2017 Fall Guide to Homes from Loudoun Times.  For easy readability, we’ve reproduced it below.  You can see the full guide here.  Sunrise is featured on pages 24-25.   Sunrise Landscape Partners with Clients to Achieve Success By Kristin Crosby Water features promote relaxation and can hide noise In 1986, Joe Markell decided to start a landscaping business with an old pick-up truck, two mowers, and one employee.  Over 30 years later, Sunrise Landscape + Design has grown much larger than its humble roots.  Markell has an impressive array of trucks and landscaping equipment and more than 40 employees serving every inch of Northern Virginia.   The Sunrise name has actually been in the Markell’s family for over seven decades.  His great grandparents ran Sun Rise Dairy in the Herndon area, and his grandfather and father operated Sunrise Amoco on Route 7 in Reston.   Sunrise Landscape + Design is all about upholding the family legacy with quality and value.  “Our goal is to keep customers for life,” says Markell.  The company prides itself on partnering with customers and creating relationships with them.  Not only is that the best way to meet and exceed expectations, but it also allows them to satisfy the needs of every client.   Sunrise offers a wide variety of landscape management services, from lawn care and fall cleanups to core aeration and pruning.  On the design side, they “can visualize what customers want in a way that functionally works,” says Markell.  They work on everything from patios and retaining walls to water features and landscape lighting.  Sunrise also works on both residential and commercial properties

Planning for an Outdoor Fireplace/Fire Pit

Fall is a time abundant with warm and cozy associations.  Do you see yourself bundled up in a sweater, with a warm mug of something delicious, enjoying the cool and crisp air?  Chances are, this image includes an outdoor fire.  Whether you imagine an outdoor fireplace or a fire pit, there are several factors to consider in the planning, and as in most things landscape, location, location, location is first on the list. How trafficked is the area in which you are planning to place your fireplace/pit?  Should it be on a deck, or patio adjacent to your home?  An outdoor fireplace or fire pit will extend your home’s living space, making it an area you can enjoy almost year around, not to mention increase your home’s property value.  Keeping in mind how you like to entertain will help you figure out what is the best placement for either a permanent structure or a portable one.  For example, if you have a pool, you might want to consider placing the fireplace or fire pit nearby; your friends and family will gravitate towards it after a dip.  On the other hand, if you have smaller yard, you might want to put it closer to your house and let the surrounding landscape be a strong supporting player.  Whatever you decide, size and scale is always important.  Sunrise Landscape and Design has lots of ideas and we are happy to help you pick the best location for what you want. It’s also important to really think about how you will use your fireplace/fire pit.  An outdoor fireplace or fire pit will immediately become the focal point of your landscape.  The warm glow of a fire is always inviting. 

Trees – Superstars of Fall Landscaping

One of the great joys of Seasonal change is being able to look out your window and see it happen right before your eyes.  The most beautiful and decorative way to display seasonal color is through the proper placement of trees.  Although they may require a bit more time and care initially, in the long run, they are easier to care for than flowers or shrubs.  The practical benefits of trees include, reduction in storm runoff, providing your home with shade that could save you money on your cooling bills, reducing noise pollution, and producing about 260 lbs of oxygen per year!  The aesthetic benefits carry tremendous value as well.   A well-rounded landscape will have at least one specimen that can showcase each season.    Let’s look at a few options to spark up your Fall. The Maple Tree These are the royalty of the Fall foliage tour.  Folks are apt to drive hundreds of miles to take a look at the stunning color array of these trees.  A fast-grower, the maple tree is an excellent shade tree, and the smaller version, the Japanese Maple, with its deep red leaves, makes for a lovely landscape in both Summer AND Autumn. The River Birch Gorgeous color in Fall, but what really makes it a star attraction is its beautiful bark.  They are also very tolerant of wet areas in your landscape, which makes it a very versatile tree if you have drainage issues. The Sunburst Honey Locust Say hello to a fast-growing resilient tree that would not only look great in front of your home, but does so in the face of little to no watering, tolerates road salt and keeps its leaves, which makes for less of