An Idea turned into a Tradition: Giving back to Sycolin Creek Elementary School

Giving back and educating the Loudoun community are two core principles infused into the team at Sunrise Landscape + Design. One of the opportunities to give back came while dropping off Dillon, son of Sunrise Owner, Joe Markell, off at school. In 2009 Dillion, attended the two years old Sycolin Creek Elementary School where the grounds were bare. There were no trees to sit under and read a book or to offer shade to those students that were too hot from the summer sun.  With an idea and a desire to give back to their community, Sunrise Landscape + Design decided to donate trees and shrubs to Sycolin Creek Elementary School and teach their students about proper planting, pruning and the benefits of planting trees for their school. Now in their fifth year, the dedicated team at Sunrise Landscape + Design just completed their annual Arbor Day plantings at Sycolin Creek Elementary. Over the past five years, Sunrise has donated two Saucer Magnolia’s, three Kwansan Cherry and Willow Oak Trees, three Zelkova’s, a Maple Tree and a new bench for the front of the school. An idea has become a tradition that everyone involved looks forward to each year! Are you interested in Sunrise Landscape + Design’s Education and Community involvement programs? If so, Contact Us to learn more! Contact Sunrise Landscape and Design, Northern Virginia’s premier landscaping company for all your lawn maintenance needs.  We are a full service landscape contractor serving Northern Virginia's Fairfax County and Loudoun County.  Whether you need landscape design with water features, landscape lighting, walkways and patios or lawn maintenance services such as lawn mowing, mulching turf care, leaf clean-up or garden clean-up we work with you to

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 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

Spring Will Come!! Are You Ready?

While that may be hard to believe since we have been enduring below average temps and what I call a more “typical winter” in terms of snow, before you know it the daffodils will be blooming and the birds will be singing!  With a winter as we have been dealing with there will be a lot of clean up and preparation required for your landscape so it looks and functions for the warm weather to come.  Here are a few things to consider: 1)   Look at your overall landscape.  Are there changes or improvements you would like to make?  Now is a great time to get ahead of the rush. When everyone else is waiting for it to get warm you can plan on making changes and get started so you don’t have to wait when everyone is busy!         2)  What were some of the problems you had with your landscape?  Were there drainage issues, insect problems, or some shrubs that were overgrowing the space?       3)    Larger scale projects add value to your home or property.  Do you need a patio in the backyard to allow you and your family the ability to come together and spend time enjoying what your property has to offer?  Adding enhancements such as patios, front walks, and low voltage lighting can actually add real value to your property that can also help you sell if you ever decide to put your house on the market.  Most of these projects will add more to the value of your home dollar for dollar.   4)     Evaluate the drainage on your property.  Poor drainage can result in costly repairs and cause problems down the

Deer Salad

More often than not these days, my plant palette is affected to some degree by the presence of deer in our area. It’s hard to believe, but a little more than a hundred years ago, deer were on the verge of extinction. Now, as winter approaches, as other sources become scarce, a good number of the plants on your property will become very appealing as deer ‘salad’. What can we do about this problem? Deer fencing is an option although a height of 7’-8’ is needed to be effective. Deer repellants are another option and often make sense in in a few selected areas. There are also sound, water and lighting devices designed to scare the deer away. Perhaps the best solution presents itself at the design stage. While it has been said that no plants are deer-proof, there is plant material that is less desirable and through an original design incorporating these choices the deer will often look elsewhere for their dinner. I have collected many deer-resistant plant lists over the years and the Rutgers Cooperative Extension has an easy to use website for this purpose as well. Sunrise landscape + design has professional and reliable personnel that will install deer fencing or apply deer repellant for you, as well as creative designers who can develop landscape plans with deer in mind. So, if you've grown tired of feeding the deer, give us a call at 703-544-0028 and we can work together to find a solution to your problem.

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.

Winter is a Great Time to Prune!

Not many people are thinking of their landscapes during these winter months.  However, it is a great time of year to actually do some things in your landscape that will make everything look better during the growing season.  Pruning of your trees and shrubs is one thing that can really improve the overall appearance as well as the long term health of your plants.  Structural pruning of your ornamental trees is actually better to do in the winter when the foliage is not on the tree.  It allows you to see the branching so you can remove weak or rubbing branches as well as dead or dying wood. Shrubs can also be shaped, structurally pruned and reduced in size if necessary.  All of this can be done during the winter months prior to spring growth.  For evergreens a rejuvenation pruning can be done in late winter, early spring, and can actually improve the overall appearance and fullness. Perennials, in my opinion, add some interest to the landscape when they are left standing as they go into dormancy.  They provide food and cover for birds, rabbits and other wildlife throughout the winter.  Grasses are particularly interesting through the winter.  Their form, how they flow in the wind, and the contrast of the plant when it snows add to the overall look of your landscape.  With that being said, as we go through the winter, perennials and grasses get beaten down by the snow and other elements and at some point can be cut back closer to the ground.   Certainly in the spring most all perennials should be cut back before their new growth get's going.  It helps make way for the new growth and removing the dead,