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Leaf Removal Tips- Oakton and Fairfax, VA

leaf removal Oakton and Fairfax, VA

Earlier this month we discussed the importance of removing leaves from your Northern Virginia lawn. This week we’ll give you leaf removal tips for Oakton and Fairfax, VA, but these tips also apply across Northern Virginia and beyond!

While we all enjoy the beauty of a Northern Virginia fall – the brilliant oranges and reds of maples, dogwoods, and oaks – those once-beautiful fall leaves completely cover our lawns when the season ends. It’s important to clean-up those falls leaves to allow your lawn to breathe and prepare for the dormant season.

Sunrise has a number of fall leaf clean-up tips for Oakton, Fairfax, and across Northern Virginia:

Mowing

The use of a mulching lawn mower is very effective in returning nutrients to the soil and providing weed protection. Make sure to insert the mulch plug into the mower and drop the mower to the lowest setting (just above the grass). Then mow as you normally would, with a second pass at an opposite angle to mulch the leaf clippings into the grass.

Leaf Blower

This leaf removal tip is great if you have a large yard. Leaves can be blown into garden beds, providing a natural cover for the winter season or into manageable piles for removal. Make sure to wear ear protection when using a blower – the majority of blowers can be very loud.

Tarps

Tarps can be used in conjunction with a blower or rake. If you live in a community that picks up leaves with vacuum trucks, a tarp is an easy way to transport large piles of leaves to the curb for pick up.

Bagging

Shredded leaves make great mulch or compost. Leaves are naturally rich in trace minerals that are beneficial to your garden and lawn. They are also a great source of carbon which helps to balance the nitrogen in your compost pile. Use the bagging option on your lawn mower to shred the leaves and then simply add to your garden beds for mulch or to your compost pile.

One final leaf removal tip

Make sure to remove leaves when the weather is good. Rain will make the leaves heavy and more difficult to manage.

If your Oakton or Fairfax, VA fall leaf clean-up tasks are too large or you simply don’t have the time, contact Sunrise and we’d be more than happy to help!

Have more to tackle than leaves this fall? Check out our full fall landscaping service offerings in Northern Virginia.

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Leesburg Leaf Removal: Why is it Important to Rake Leaves?

Leesburg leaf removal services Northern Virginia

It’s the time of year for leaf removal in Leesburg and across Northern Virginia.  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!

Leaf removal is crucial for the health of your landscape.  Below are our top reasons to grab that rake and get moving on your leaf cleanup!

Leaf removal keeps your Leesburg grass happy

Leaf debris can smother turf and even kill some of the new grass that you just planted this year.  Wet matted leaves cut off the air supply to your turf and block the sunlight your grass needs to store energy for growth. Save your yard by keeping it clear of leaves, especially over the winter months.

Leaves can be dangerous

For safety reasons, it’s smart 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 can also mask other hazards such as holes or items that can cause you to trip and fall.

Leaf removal enhances the look of your winter landscape

Removing leaves enhances the aesthetic of your landscape, preparing it for some beautiful Leesburg snow in the winter. Keeping your yard and plant beds free of leaves gives them a clean look and increases your home’s curb appeal. This beauty is even further increased if your pristine Leesburg landscape is surrounded by natural woods or tress.

Collected leaves can be re-purposed for mulching

Leaves can be a great form of insulation around tree and shrub roots over the winter.  The leaves prevent the soil from drying out and keep the roots warm and moist so they can stay healthy.  Over time, the leaves break down and provide nutrients to help the trees and shrubs grow.

As the leaves fall this autumn, make a plan for leaf removal. Our experts at Sunrise Landscape and Design are happy to help! We offer a range of fall services in Leesburg and across Northern Virginia. Contact us for a personalized quote and enjoy the beauty of the season without any of the worry of leaf clean-up!

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Creating a Safe Lawn for Halloween – Fairfax County, VA

fire pit design safe lawn for halloween fairfax va

Creating the perfect Halloween Haunted House can be a spooktacular experience! Remember that ghosts and goblins of all ages will be running through your yard to fill their bags up with treats as they race from house to house. Crafting a scary yet safe environment can mean the difference between a hauntingly good time and someone actually getting hurt. Follow these tips to create a fun and safe lawn for Halloween night.

Light your lawn

Lighting is one of the most important aspects of creating a frightening ambiance. A well-lit yard with low voltage LED lights can light your walkways and sidewalks, and are economical to install and maintain. Compliment your LED lights with Jack-O-Lanterns with glow sticks inside or use battery powered lights to illuminate your yard without introducing a fire hazard. Also check to make sure that your outdoor lights are working, including flood or sensor lights.

Clean up hazards

In addition to setting up lighting, make sure to clean up your yard before the big night. Clearing potential hazards ensures a safe lawn for Halloween visitors of all ages. Remove all tripping hazards like children’s toys, hoses, and bikes. Mark any exposed tree roots to make sure every child in costume can see them; especially those with masks as part of their outfit. Leaves should be raked away from sidewalks and curbs so everyone can identify where the drop off is between sidewalk and street.

Keep pets away from the door

Pets can be cute dressed up in costume for Halloween, but it is best if they are leashed so they do not inadvertently jump or bite someone. Also, some children are highly allergic to dogs and cats so do not let Fido or Kitty help answer the door. Little kids, especially, may be frightened of your pet.

Create a fall clean-up plan

Halloween can be a fun night for trick or treaters of all ages. Creating a spooky yard can be exciting, but remember that keeping the kids safe on your property is your responsibility. Sunrise Landscape and Design can help identify tripping hazards and lighting issues across Fairfax County and Northern Virginia to create a safe lawn for Halloween. Contact us for a personalized quote.

Whether you need landscape design, like fire pit installation, landscape lighting, and patios, or lawn maintenance services such as lawn mowing, fall clean-up, and leaf removal, we will work with you to make your landscape beautiful….even on Halloween!

Check out our fall services to get your lawn ready for this spooky season!

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Core Aeration and Overseeding – Fall Lawn Care

Fall core aeration and overseeding lawn care

Fall is coming! After a hot and humid summer and predictions of a very cold winter, it’s time to create your game plan for putting your yard to bed. Fertilization, core aeration, overseeding, and pruning are all crucial ares of fall lawn care to include on your checklist.

Fertilize

Summer may have created burn or brown marks throughout your lawn due to the high heat and humidity. Fall is the perfect time to feed your lawn to give it a healthy start for next spring. Fertilizing during September and October preserves your lawn’s roots while replacing nutrients that were depleted this summer.

Core Aeration and Overseeding

Along with fertilization, core aeration allows nutrients, water, and air to reach the grass roots by piercing the soil with small holes and removing soil plugs. Core aeration is done during these first fall months to help the grass roots produce a robust yard in the spring. Typically the best time to aerate in Northern Virginia is mid-August to mid-October.

Overseeding is the spreading of grass seed onto existing lawn. This introduces new species of grass seed that are more drought tolerant, disease resistant, or more aesthetically appealing. The right blend will allow different species to take over when another is struggling, keeping your lawn looking full and healthy through the harsh winter and into next year. This annual seeding is best done in the fall, between mid-August and mid-September.

Pruning

Finally, don’t forget to trim back plants and bushes, and plant fall bulbs such as daffodil and tulips to enjoy next spring. Remember to prune correctly, as you can do more harm than good if it is not done properly.

If you’re ready to tackle your fall checklist, contact us for a range of Northern Virginia fall lawn care services, including core aeration and overseeding, and fall clean-up packages.

For informational videos on pruning and core aeration and overseeding, visit our Educational Videos page.

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Fall Lawn Renovation

Front Lawn Renovation Northern Virginia Landscaping

Fall is the perfect time to rehabilitate your lawn. Lawn renovation can give your landscape the boost it needs to survive the winter and come back stronger than ever in the spring. It eradicates weeds, improves nutrition, and establishes new grass in areas that badly need it. If you would like a vibrant, healthier lawn, then lawn renovation might be exactly what you’ve been looking for.

How do I know if I need to renovate my lawn?

You are a good candidate for lawn renovation if:

  • 20-40% of your lawn is bare, dead, or covered by weeds
  • Thatch – the organic layer of decomposing stems and roots at the soil surface – is greater than ½” thick

When is turf renovation a bad idea?

If your lawn has severe issues, it may be past the point of restoration and in need of replacement. If you have any of the following problems, consult a landscape professional before you waste precious time and energy trying to restore your lawn:

  • Over 50% of the lawn is dead or covered in weeds
  • Soil is unreasonably compacted
  • Previous efforts to alleviate thatch have been unsuccessful

How do I renovate my turf?

1. Get a soil test

A soil test will give you invaluable information about what’s going on under your lawn. Virginia Tech’s Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences offers a $10 soil test (http://www.soiltest.vt.edu/) for Virginia residents. They analyze your sample and provide a nutrient breakdown in return, detailing exactly what your grass needs for optimum health.

2. Replenish soil moisture

If you are coming off of a dry summer, soak your lawn to a depth of 6-8″ before you do anything else. The immersion will make the renewal process easier and more effective.

3. Remove weeds

Pull or kill weeds with an herbicide. Since most herbicides require up to two weeks to act, this step needs to be completed well in advance of seed application.

4. Enrich topsoil

The easiest way to enhance topsoil is to add compost to it. Other necessary nutrients that your soil needs will be listed in your soil report. If you choose not to do a soil test, adding nitrogen is always a good place to start.

Also take this time to fill in any holes or uneven spots in your yard.

5. Choose the right grass

Consult a knowledgeable source about what grows best in your climate. If your property has areas that vary from swampy to parched, or sunny to completely shaded, you may need to consider a mix of different grasses to complement your landscape.

6. Equip the soil

Rake or aerate the soil to break up thatch and remove debris.

7. Apply seed

Seed via hand or a spreader. It is best to go over an area in two different directions to make sure that seed hits at various angles.

If you are seeding on a hill or a place that experiences erosion, make sure that you cover the seed with some mulching material or weed-free straw to ensure that it stays in place.

8. Water

While you don’t want to drown your new seeds, you want to make sure that they stay moist. Water lightly twice a day – just enough to wet the surface of the soil.

9. Fertilize

Approximately four to five weeks after you seed, add phosphorous, potassium, and other nutrients to your turf based on your soil test results. If you haven’t purchased a test, you can use a standard fertilizer product.

10. Mow

Mowing actually encourages your new grass to grow, so once it is tall enough (3-4” tall), cut it with a sharp blade. Dull blades can rip new growth out by the roots, so be careful.

Make sure that you don’t cut your lawn shorter than 2-3”, depending on your grass type. If you cut it too short, the turf will burn up in the sun.

Your newly revived lawn will help block out noise pollution, improve the air you breathe, and increase your home’s curb appeal – along with many other benefits. If you think that your Northern Virginia turf needs to be revitalized but aren’t sure if you can tackle the project on your own, contact Sunrise today. We’d love to help.

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Fall Core Aeration and Overseeding

As the cooler weather arrives, now is a good time to start thinking about what lies ahead for your landscaping. Two important maintenance practices should happen this season in Northern Virginia: fall core aeration and overseeding. Even though some homeowners ignore these steps, they are arguably the two most important things you can do to enhance the quality of your lawn this fall.

What is core aeration?

fall core aeration and overseeding

Core aeration is the process of removing tiny plugs – or cores – from your lawn. Usually done with a machine, the cores are roughly ½ to ¾ of an inch in diameter and 1 to 6 inches long. The holes are typically 2 to 6 inches apart, depending on the aeration machine used.

Another method of aeration called spiking involves pushing spikes into the ground without removing any cores. We do not recommend this method because it actually contributes to further lawn compaction and not aeration.

Why should you aerate your lawn?

Core aeration eases turf compaction. In Northern Virginia, the majority of our soil is mixed with native red clay. This clay is dense and heavy, making it hard for water, nutrients, and air to flow into the ground. Aeration lessens that density and makes it easier for the grass to get what it needs to grow. Basically, it gives your grass room to breathe – and eat and drink.

Aeration also solves the problem of heavy thatch. Thatch is the blanket of tightly connected roots, stems, and leaves – both living and dead – that lays on top of your turf, just below the grass blades. Thatch is beneficial to your lawn when it stays thinner than ¾ of an inch. However, once it gets thicker, it actually harms your grass. The blanket blocks out sunlight, obstructs water and nutrients, and promotes disease. Core aeration breaks up the thatch and allows essential water and minerals into the lawn.

What is overseeding?

Overseeding is the practice of sowing new seed into your existing grass. A mechanical slit-seeder cuts tiny furrows for planting the seed through the thatch, or after core aeration. If performed along with core aeration, a cyclone-type seeder spreads the seed.

Why should you overseed your lawn?

As turf ages, it becomes more susceptible to diseases and insects. When you overseed, you can mix newer turfgrass varieties into your lawn. In addition to being disease and insect resistant, these new varieties have been engineered to withstand:

  • Drought
  • Heavy foot traffic
  • Shade

This new grass will make your lawn healthier and more stable as a whole, which means less watering and less fertilizing. It will also make your turf look fuller and thicker.

It is important to include fall core aeration and overseeding in your landscape maintenance tasks. They are well worth the time and effort to keep your Northern Virginia lawn healthy and beautiful. Contact Sunrise Landscape & Design to schedule your fall maintenance or visit our Core Aeration and Overseeding page for more information. Your lawn will thank you.

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Best Trees for Fall

One of the great joys of fall is being able to look out your window and watch the colors change right before your eyes. Planting some of the best trees for fall will create a beautiful and decorative way to enjoy the changing season. Although they may require a bit more time and care initially, in the long run trees are easier to care for than flowers or shrubs. There are many practical benefits to planting trees. Trees reduce storm runoff, provide your home with shade that could save you money on your cooling bills, reduce noise pollution, and produce about 260 lbs of oxygen per year. The aesthetic benefits carry tremendous value as well. Let’s look at a few of the best fall tree options to spruce up your yard this season.

Already ready to plant? Contact us for planting and other fall landscaping services. 

 

red fall maple tree leaves

The Maple Tree

These trees are the royalty of the fall foliage tour. Some folks drive hundreds of miles to look at the stunning color of these trees. The maple tree is a fast-grower and an excellent shade tree. The smaller version, the Japanese Maple, with its deep red leaves, creates a lovely landscape in both summer and autumn.

fall river birch trees with orange leaves

The River Birch

The River Birch turns a 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 versatile tree if you have drainage issues.

The Sunburst Honey Locust

This fast-growing, resilient tree would not only look great in front of your home, but requires little to no watering, tolerates road salt, and keeps its leaves, which makes for less of a mess. Its foliage starts out yellow, then turns light green and then back to yellow for fall. Pair this with a Japanese Maple and you have an Instagram-worthy landscape, with some practical benefits to boot.

yellow fall leaves on maidenhair ginkgo biloba tree

Maidenhair Trees (Ginkgo Biloba)

Maidenhair trees (Ginkgo biloba) are rock stars in their ability to adapt to small spaces and tolerate pollution. They are not easily susceptible to disease and are rarely attacked by insects. The beauty of their leaves is legendary, green in spring to gold in fall. However, the male species of the tree is highly allergenic so, when planting, be sure to stick with the female variety which does not produce pollen.

Arborvitae Trees

Aside from looking lush year-round, these trees act as a living privacy wall. Using vegetation to create “fencing” is an ecologically friendly, lovely, and subtle way to create boundaries. These trees are also extremely low-maintenance, requiring only basic feeding and watering, and occasional pruning for shape.

 

Trees provide much more than aesthetic beauty to your landscape, they are tremendous “givers” to the environment. If you were to plant a tree today, in five years your energy bill could decrease by 3%, according to the Center for Urban Forest Research. Mature trees also increase property values. Landscaping on the whole is a worthwhile investment in your home, but this is especially true when there are mature trees involved. Planting some of the best trees for fall colors this season will continue to provide both environmental and aesthetic benefits for years to come.

 

About us:

Sunrise Landscape and Design is Northern Virginia’s best landscaping company, offering a full range of landscaping services. Our landscape and design services include hardscapes, water features, irrigation, and landscape lighting. We also offer property maintenance services that will keep your landscape vibrant and healthy year round with mulching, edging, fall turf care, seasonal cleanups, lawn mowing, and tree care. We serve the following locations: Ashburn, Belmont Ridge, Brambleton, Broadlands, Centreville, Chantilly, Great Falls, Herndon, Lansdowne, Leesburg, McLean, Oakton, Potomac Falls, Reston, South Riding, Sterling, Vienna, Aldie, and Willowsford.

Ready to enjoy the colors of the season by planting some of the best trees for fall? Schedule your fall landscaping services with us.

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Fall Landscaping Tips

With summer coming to a close, most yards can benefit from fall landscaping services. Northern Virginia is known for incredible fall seasons and this is also when grass “powers up” by absorbing moisture and nutrients to prepare for its dormancy in winter. Taking care of your grass in the fall will have a huge impact on how beautiful it looks in the spring.We compiled a list of fall landscaping tips to help you prepare your grass this season.

Need help preparing your yard for the winter? Schedule your fall landscaping services with us.

Backyard patio and landscaping services in Leesburg

Tips for preparing your grass for the fall and winter

Rake

Grab that rake and attack those leaves. You’ll notice that leaves don’t wait until the official start of Autumn to fall in Northern Virginia. You’ll find your lawn scattered with tree confetti as early as August. As soon as they begin to fall, rake. If leaves are left on the ground for too long, they will become matted down with rain and begin to suffocate your grass and possibly lead to fungal disease in your lawn.

Aeration and Overseeding

Contact us about soil aeration. We have the equipment and expertise to properly prepare your soil. This service is crucial to allow the soil to absorb water, fertilizer and nutrients. Again, this will be needed through winter so that when the first thaw of spring arrives, your lawn will be ready to thrive. Don’t forget to water! You won’t need as much water as during the summer months, but grass still needs water to survive through the winter.

Fertilize

Fall is the best time to fertilize. Though the growth of grass slows down considerably in the fall, the roots continue to thrive.  Applying the right mix of fertilizer during the fall is essential to building food reserves and strengthening roots for the upcoming year. A proper, even coat of fertilizer now, will yield big results in the spring.

Mow

Don’t put away that mower! Lower the blade and continue to mow, as necessary through the fall and winter; this will result in less brown patches.

Trouble spots?

Bald grass spots should be fixed during the fall. Spreading a thick layer of a mixture of organic mulch, grass seed and fertilizer to the spots that your grass seems to have abandoned, and watering thoroughly, will make a huge difference in the rebirth of your grass in the spring. Additionally, overseeding, or planting grass seed directly on existing soil is another way to improve the density and color of your lawn in Spring. Overseeding is best done in conjunction with soil aeration. Visit our core aeration and overseeding page for more information on this service.

Grass isn’t the only thing in power-up mode during fall and winter. Weeds are too. This is the time to attack them with herbicide. Dandelions have no place on the lush green lawn you’re cultivating for spring.

Northern Virginia Lawn Services

Following these fall landscaping tips will keep your yard healthy and prepared for the coming winter months. If fall is a busy time of year for you, contact us! Our team of experts is standing by to provide fall landscaping services tailored-made to your property. The time and effort you put into your yard now will help ensure a gorgeous yard in the spring. Our services are available in the following locations: Ashburn, Belmont Ridge, Brambleton, Broadlands, Centreville, Chantilly, Great Falls, Herndon, Lansdowne, Leesburg, McLean, Oakton, Potomac Falls, Reston, South Riding, Sterling, Vienna, Aldie, or Willowsford.

About us:

Sunrise Landscape and Design is Northern Virginia’s premier landscaping company offering a full range of landscaping services.  Our landscape and design services include hardscapes, water features, irrigation and landscape lighting.  Our property maintenance services will keep your Northern Virginia landscape vibrant and healthy year-round with mulching, edging, garden cleanups, lawn mowing, tree pruning and mosquito/deer control.  Contact us today for all your landscape and lawn care needs!