winter landscapes

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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

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,

Snow Removal: What Does it Take?

Snow removal in the Northern Virginia area is all over the place as far as snow totals and what is a "normal" year.  We have been plowing snow and managing ice for 25 years. One thing I have learned is that there is no such thing as "normal" when it comes to winter weather.  The individual snow totals can be anywhere from 1"-30"  as we have seen over the past few years.  The snow can be wet and heavy or dry and light which changes how you deal with it.. A lot of customers don't understand what it takes to be ready for snow even before the first flakes fall.  I would like to let you know what goes on behind the scenes here at Sunrise Landscape + Design prior to a snow event: First we have to send out contracts to our prior customers as well as to new customers or potential customers that will fit in our route.  After the contracts are in we have to determine that we have the proper equipment  and supplies to service those contracts.  If we need to add a plow you are looking at $5000+, snow blowers $1300, brooms $1600, salt spreaders/sanders can run $2600-$8000.  Loaders and trucks can be anywhere from $40K-$80K.  Even used equipment is $30+K and you never know what you are really getting.  Add snow shovels (minimum of 20-30 units to service out current contracts), rain suits for the guys (24-30 sets), and parts to fix any damaged machines from last year.  That is just the start; now we need to make sure we have enough sand and deicing materials in stock for at least 2 storms.  That equates to approximately 30 tons of sand