Managing Your Irrigation System

Irrigation, also known as ‘Irritation’, a well deserved nick name, is the topic of the day. It is hard to install, hard to repair, and even harder to manage it correctly. What a lot of irrigation consumers run into, and do not even realize, are that an incorrect amount of water is being dispersed. Some consumers, because of the lack of education, do not know how to correctly apply run-times, which days to water, and more importantly how much water an individual plant or turf area needs. It's very easy to turn on your irrigation without knowing too much about irrigation in general. But you may not know that there is so much more to it than going to the main irrigation valve and turning on your irrigation controller (which probably has the original times set from installation). More than likely, when the irrigation company installed your system, they put in generic run times that they put in for ALL installations. They will apply 20 minutes for rotors, 10 minutes for pop-ups, and 20-30 minutes for soaker hoses. While all of that sounds great and uniform it doesn't always work for all given plant material and locations. It also doesn't take into account the special needs for your property or the change of seasons. Your irrigation system plays a vital role in the growth and development of your plants and turf. It isn’t as simple as turning it off and on. A lot of plants are very picky about how much water they get, even turf. It is crucial that your irrigation system be regularly monitored and maintained for both the plant material and the conservation of water. We can claim to live in Northern

Pruning Your Landscape

Correct pruning is an essential maintenance practice for trees and shrubs in the home landscape. Pruning is not difficult if you understand the basics of how to prune. Trees and shrubs should be examined annually for pruning requirements. Too often, pruning is ignored for several years and become overgrown and often weak plants which often times will require drastic pruning in order to bring the plant to a manageable level.   We recently were performing a landscape renovation much of the landscape was over grown and had not been pruned in several years.  During the renovation there were Euonymus Alta, ‘Burning Bush’, that were completely over grown, covering the customer’s garage windows.  During our evaluation we also noticed that the plant had a lot of deadwood in the center which needed to be removed.   Our Supervisor professionally pruned the plant to a manageable level by reducing it below the garage window. During the process he found that there was another layer of plants growing underneath these monster plants which could not be seen prior to reducing them.  By reducing the plants it gave a fresh appearance to the front of the house providing sunlight to the garage.   Scheduled pruning can prevent a plant from overgrowing its space in the landscape and eliminates the need for drastic cutting of crowded, overgrown plants. It can allow for growth of plants under or adjacent to the pruned plant. Pruning can encourage plant vigor through the removal of weak, overcrowded growth. Such thinning often improves the visual balance or symmetry of the plant and provides a neat and clean appearance to your home.   Notice the vigor of these Burning Bushes upon renewal pruning.  SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL!!!!  

Tree Planting at Sycolin Creek Elementary School

Sunrise Landscape and Design donated and planted a Star Magnolia tree and 3 holly bushes to celebrate Arbor day and Earth Day at Sycolin Creek Elementary School in Leesburg, Va on April 26th. The planting this year adds to a partnership celebrated during Arbor Day that was started 4 years ago when Sunrise owners Joe and Allison Markell’s children entered the elementary school. Sydney Dunlap's third grade class was the group that was able to witness the planting, and even help by planting the new tree. The Star Magnolia was planted along the front entrance of the school and joins a Red Maple, three Saucer Magnolias and two Kwansan Cherries planted in previous years. Several children in the class have been able to participate in, and learn from, the tree planting since they were in Kindergarten in 2010. The class was able to help mulch the Magnolia and learn about protective maintenance of trees once they are planted. Sunrise hopes that by providing this service to the school it will not only improve the aesthetics of the school and the school's footprint, but will also encourage the students to be more aware of their impact on their environment and hopefully pass the knowledge they gained about proper planting to their parents and families.  Sycolin Creek Elementary Principal, Derek Racino was also in attendance.

The Cicadas Are Coming

While there are cicadas every year this is the year that we will see the most. It happens every 17 years with this brood. These insects look very menacing, but that’s where the terror ends. In fact they don't bite or sting. Once the soil temperatures reach 65 degrees they will begin to emerge and begin their mating rituals which creates a lot of noise. There have been recorded decibels of over 110 which equals a lawn mower! Cicadas are food for animals and fish. Dogs even like to eat them. While it is safe for them to be eaten they can be a choking hazard if they eat too many of them. As far as damage to your landscape goes the main thing to protect will be small or young trees. The females will deposit their eggs under the bark on the smaller branches causing damage to the branch which can die or be weakened enough to break off after the eggs hatch and fall to the ground. Young trees can be wrapped in a fine mesh and tied off at the trunk to keep the cicadas from getting to any of the branches. Dogwoods are probably the most susceptible. Spraying really has no effect as their numbers are so large and they can travel very easily. The timeframe for the hatch is usually May and lasts for about 6 weeks, so by the end of June the numbers start to wind down and by July they are gone. There may be other broods of dog day cicadas that come every year but are not usually in great numbers so they are insignificant compared to the 17 year cicadas. If you have young ornamental