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Fall Lawn Care – Core Aeration and Overseeding Tips

The cooler fall season is the best time for getting your turf ready for the winter and next year's growing season. There are 3 key areas of focus for Fall Lawn Care to help you get a thick, lush, beautiful lawn. They are core aeration (to relieve soil compaction), seeding (to fill in bare spots) and fertilization (to give the turf the nutrients it needs to grow). For this article we will be focusing on Core Aeration and Overseeding. Core Aeration is simply the removal of small soil plugs, or cores, out of your lawn. The most effective way to do core aeration is mechanically with a core aeration machine designed to do this type of work. A Core Aerator machine extracts soil plugs and deposits them on your lawn. The holes left from the cores are usually 1-3 inches deep. The function of the core aeration is primarily to relieve soil compaction. A few other benefits are the ability to get air, water and nutrients down into the soil and into the roots of the turf. It also allows for good soil to seed contact for improved seed germination. The best time to aerate your Northern Virginia lawn is from mid-August to mid-October. Overseeding is the action of spreading grass seed onto existing turf areas. Seeding annually in the fall allows you to introduce different varieties of seed that are more disease resistant, more drought tolerant or just better aesthetically in your lawn. A good blend allows the different types of seed to take over if another variety is struggling. Overseeding is an easy way to keep your lawn looking healthier, greener and thicker for the remaining year and the next. The best time

What is Lawn Disease?

Lawn disease is a common problem with essentially any grass type.   In Northern Virginia, the most common type of grass is Turf type tall fescue. Microscopic living organisms such as fungi, bacteria, phytoplasmas and a specific type of mold called pathogenic fungi are the most common types of disease that will cause havoc and destruction to your lawn. The severity can depend on how you manage your lawn. However, for lawn disease to begin, other factors are necessary for its development. Environmental conditions such as humidity must be in place for the disease to grow as well as your specific type of grass must be susceptible to the specific organism. Although you may have these types of pathogens embedded in your soil, if the grass type will not foster disease growth and the environmental conditions are not in place, you may not see a sign of the disease until it is too late. Brown patch and large patch are two of the most common signs of lawn disease and although they have similar qualities, each one develops in different environmental conditions. During the summer, when the daytime air is hot and humid, and the overnight temperatures are at or above 70 degrees, brown patch disease becomes active. During spring and fall, when the temperatures become cooler, this is when large patch disease is most dynamic. It may be difficult to identify the type of disease your lawn has when it first appears. Both brown patch and large patch begins as a small circle but quickly can become larger depending on the severity if the environmental conditions. As the diseases progress, the circle becomes brown and discolored yet the size of the patch varies greatly with

Spring Cleaning – To Prune or Not To Prune? That is the Question..

March is right around the corner and with that comes thoughts of baseball season, March Madness and of warm, spring weather. Its’ our time to come out of hibernation; replace our snow boots for flip flops (maybe) and assess how things look as the winter thaw subsides. What this means for you, that it is time for spring cleaning both inside and outside your home. Your yard, trees, plants, bushes and remnants of your garden, all take a beating during the winter months. In order to have golf course type lawns this summer, you must start preparing your property now. The first thing we recommend is to take inventory of what your turf, trees, bushes and all plants look like. Do you have dead spots throughout your turf, tree limbs hanging down and broken, damage to shrubs and plants; what areas do you need to focus on? Next, eliminate dead turf and turn over your yard and add new soil and seed. Water the area daily to promote growth. During this process you will see downed tree limbs, loose dirt and leaves. Remove these items from your lawn so they do not hinder new growth. During the spring cleaning process, it is also important to prune bushes and cut back trees to encourage progress. However, specific species should be pruned at different times, so do your homework before becoming Edward Scissor Hands on your plants. Pull weeds from your garden and flower beds and prepare the area with new soil by turning it over just as you did your lawn. Sketch out a flower design for your beds; one in which the colors compliment the exterior of your home or attract certain types of butterflies

Winter is the Best Time to Sign-up for a Lawn Maintenance Contract

As the end of the year approaches, it is time to think of New Year’s resolutions.  Why not make lawn care a part of your plan for 2015?  Winter is actually the best time to sign-up for a lawn maintenance contract.  It is the time to get organized and commit to activities and strategies that will enhance and enrich your life.  Establishing a lawn maintenance contract now will put your mind at ease for the rest of the year.  Your lawn and landscaping needs will be taken care of and you can enjoy results without worrying about the time and effort required to maintain the lawn and landscape you want. A lawn maintenance contract may offer multiple levels of lawn care.  As you begin to plan your year, think about the types of service you will want.  Seasonal clean-up is a very labor intensive and time consuming task that really enhances the beauty of your landscape.  Seasonal clean-up is usually in the spring and fall and may include removing debris from mulch beds such as leaves, branches, spent perennials and weeds, as well as edging, mulching and cultivating the beds.    As you layout your plans for the year, be sure to include what you need to meet the goals you have for your landscape. Lawn care involves more than just mowing.  The maintenance of a well cared for lawn may include, core aeration and overseeding, trimming, edging, weed control and lime application among others.  Again, think about the goals you have for your lawn and how a lawn maintenance contract will help you to meet those goals. Sunrise Landscape and Design is more than happy to help you layout your plans and select a lawn

Benefits of a Lawn Maintenance Contract

Your landscape is a “living” investment and like a financial investment it can be extremely beneficial to let the experts manage your investment.  Lawn maintenance contracts can take the worry and uncertainty out of lawn care through all seasons and through all types of challenges. A lawn service may include many levels of care; each level should be evaluated based on your specific needs.  A basic lawn maintenance contract may include mowing, trimming, edging and blowing of grass clippings throughout the seasons on a weekly basis or as often as needed.  The benefit of a basic lawn service may simply be the time it saves you.  Your time is valuable and this level of service will allow you to spend the time it takes you for basic lawn maintenance elsewhere. More advanced levels of lawn service will not only free up your time, but will provide you the expertise that may be needed to maintain your landscape.  Lawn care is not just mowing.  Advanced lawn maintenance contracts may include care to address lawn challenges such as broadleaf weeds and grubs.  It may also include services to enhance the beauty and health of your lawn such as fertilization, core aeration and overseeding. In addition to lawn care, a lawn maintenance contract can also provide basic and advanced levels of care for your garden beds.  Spring and fall clean-up can be extremely time consuming and require specialized knowledge for maintaining trees and shrubs.  A basic service may include seasonal cleanup, tree pruning and mulching while a more advanced service may also include ornamental tree pruning and garden visits. Leveraging the experience and expertise of a landscaping company such as Sunrise for your lawn maintenance can save you

Winter Lawn Care

The late Fall and early Winter months may not seem like the time you would need to focus on lawn care, since the dormant season is approaching, but actually this is an ideal time to prepare your plants and lawn for next year’s growing season. There are a few things you can do to ensure a healthy landscape during the Winter months. Plants have particular seasons when pruning is most beneficial. By ensuring you prune during this time, you ensure that your tree or shrub will grow healthy and maximize its fruiting potential in the warmer months. Light pruning can be done at almost any time of year, but any major work should be reserved for the season each species prefers. Pruning deciduous trees, (trees or shrubs that lose their leaves seasonally in Winter) when they are dormant (no leaves), will help them grow to their full potential in the Spring. Pruning is a gradual process and not a one-time event. Our experts at Sunrise Landscape and Design are carefully trained to prune your trees and shrubs according to specific pruning techniques for each species. For example, Winter pruning is recommended for young deciduous trees and shrubs. How much to prune depends on how fast the tree is growing and how crowded the branches are. Mulching is also recommended before frost and snow covers your landscape. Mulch your planting beds at a depth of 1.5 – 2 inches. It’s not only aesthetic but also acts as a shield against harsh winter weather. This depth keeps the roots of your plants warm, but be certain not to cover the trunk of the shrubs or the tree trunks, because the mulch holds moisture and can cause trunk

Leaf Removal is Important to Your Lawn

Yes it is that time of year where leaf clean ups and removals are going on all around us.  Did you know that 75% of our fall waste stream is leaf debris?  Most municipalities and even some private collection stations take this leaf debris and compost if for future use in planting or mulching around trees and shrubs!  For many landscape companies leaf clean ups and removals are a service that is provided to their clients for many reasons: 1)      One big reason to remove excessive leaf debris from parts of your landscape is that it can smother turf and actually kill some of the new grass that you just planted!!!  Wet matted leaves can not only cut off the air supply to the turf-grass plant but they also block out the sun which the leaves need to turn into energy for food storage in the root areas for the upcoming growing months.  So save your turf and get the heavy leaf accumulations off the grass over the winter months.  During the growing season it is not an issue due to the turf being mowed on a regular basis.  And by the way it is great for the soil and the turf if some of the leaves are chewed up and returned to the soil.  You just want to make sure the leaves don’t smoother the turf blades! 2)      For safety reasons it may be good to remove leaves from driveways, sidewalks and other hard surfaces as many of you may have found out; leaves are slippery, especially when wet!!!  Leaves also can mask other hazards such as holes or other items that you cannot easily see which can cause you to trip or fall.

Fall Landscape and Lawn Maintenance

Fall Lawn Maintenance Your yard, just like our calendar year, has four distinct seasons of lawn maintenance. Now that it is Fall, it is time to prepare your lawn for the long Winter by tackling a few tasks that will help keep your lawn healthy until Spring returns. Fall lawn care includes aeration and over-seeding. Both of these activities should start in the September/October time frame. Be sure to over-seed new lawn or spots that need refreshing and if you have not done so already, fertilize your lawn as well. Another important aspect of Fall lawn maintenance is to keep your lawn free of leaves. In conjunction with raking your leaves consistently, you can mulch them with your lawn mower, and then apply your fall feeding. Raking or mulching the leaves is essential because the leaves will block sunlight from reaching the grass blades and therefore thin your grass. It also won't harm your grass to mow it in the colder months, keeping in mind the "1/3 rule”, and don't mow it if it is wet. Apply weed-and-feed to your lawn, to both feed it and control weed growth during the colder months. In addition to lawn care, be sure to take care of the rest of your landscape. If you have a garden, cut back perennials and plant Fall hardy annuals replacing your Summer blooming plants with mums, pansies, or flowering cabbage. Anything you cut can be used in a compost pile. Remember to dig up and store any non-hardy bulbs. Fall is a great time to plant a tree or shrub as well. There's less shock, and the roots start growing early in spring. These tips, along with consultations with our

Invasion of the Emerald Ash Borer

The Emerald Ash Borer is a non-native pest that entered the United States in the early 2000’s. Since then it has spread through several states, including Maryland and Virginia. From my observations in both Fairfax and Loudoun County, this pernicious beetle is well-established and active in destroying native species of Ash trees. Most commonly we see Green Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) and White Ash (Fraxinus americana) in our area. The beetle is a striking bright green color, and the adult insect is aptly names “emerald”. However attractive, the life cycle of this insect includes a larval stage boring through the bark and wood of ash trees, and it is this aspect of the insect that is killing trees. I have seen many local trees in commercial and residential sites with severe dieback, decline, and even outright death. Once a tree is infested, it may take 2-3 years before it begins to show obvious symptoms. Treatment with systemic insecticide after the borers have begun colonizing a tree can slow the decline, but is unlikely to completely control the problem. The best control method is prevention. If a home or business owner has Ash trees on their property, or needs help identifying a tree, it would be a proactive approach to have a professional horticulturist or arborist take a look to see if there is any current infestation. If trees are showing signs of several years’ damage, it may be best to remove the tree and replace with a different species. If an Ash tree is not yet having issues, a professional can treat aggressively with a systemic insecticide, usually in the form of a soil drench. This type of product can provide protection to a valuable ornamental

Increase the Value of Your Home

Maybe you are hopeful that with the housing market improving you will be able to sell your home to upgrade or relocate in the less-than-distant future. How much impact will that patio or hedge you’ve been considering have on your ultimate home value? More than you think! There are many elements that can impact home sales and values. The Northern Virginia area has a somewhat unique set of circumstances that contribute to the end result. The overall economy has changed conditions somewhat over the last few years. That being said, there is some data that indicates how important it is to have an attractive lawn and landscape to maximize your investment in your home. The Washington, D.C.-based American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) suggests you should invest 5 percent to 10 percent of your home’s value on landscaping over the course of time you live in your home.  There is good reason to believe that you will recuperate most if not all of that investment when you sell. A study reported by the Horticulture Department of Auburn University stated that there was a consistent increase of 5-11% in perceived home value when homes with good landscaping versus comparable homes with nonexistent, fair, and poor landscaping. These results were consistent through seven different states included in this study. Design sophistication, the type that only seasoned landscape professionals consistently provide, and appropriate plant size were named as two of the most important elements that affected potential buyers’ opinion of a home’s worth. It isn’t just the actual price of the home that is impacted, but the amount of interested potential home-buyers, bids, and the speed of the sale. If two homes on the same street are in