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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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Healthy Lawn Maintenance- Loudoun County, VA

Healthy lawn Loudoun County, VA

Soon the weather in Loudoun County, VA will be ideal to establish healthy grass! The second week of August through the third week of October brings cooler night temperatures and more moisture, perfect for growing cool season turf and grass. Whether you’re looking to improve your lawn health or completely renovate with new turf, there are a few things to remember when creating healthy grass.

1) Test your soil.

Test your soil for pH and nitrogen and phosphorus content. Once you know your soil composition, you’ll be able to determine which fertilizers, and in what amounts, your lawn needs.

2) Choose a blend of quality seed.

Most lawns in Loudoun County, and Northern Virginia in general, use cool season grasses, specifically a mix of Kentucky bluegrass, ryegrass, and tall fescue. Here at Sunrise, we recommend a blend of 3 turf type tall fescues with 5-10% bluegrass.

3) Help the seed contact soil.

When overseeding, one of the most critical factors in the success of germination is seed to soil contact. In practice, this means mixing the seed into the soil in some way. Aeration, slitseeding, spiking, or topdressing are all good ways to get the seed to soil contact that is so critical to creating a healthy lawn.

4) Water.

After the seed has been spread into the soil, the next element to a healthy lawn is moisture. Providing adequate water to the seed is crucial to its success. Seed should be watered daily once spread and for the first few weeks after the seed emerges. After this point, keep the soil moist to continue to help it grow.

5) Fertilize.

Nutrition (fertilization) is the final element in maintaining a healthy lawn. Fertilization provides proper nutrition for your turf so it can grow for years to come.

6) Plan Ahead.

If you want to have success in establishing a lawn from seed, you should ideally finish before the end of October. The last week in October is usually too cold for germination to be as effective as earlier planting.

Want a professional hand in bringing your lawn back to life with healthy grass installation and lawn maintenance? Contact Sunrise today for a personalized quote!

Learn more about our lawn aeration and overseeding services, as well as our lawn maintenance packages.

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Landscape Drainage Solutions – Fairfax, VA

Drainage control solutions Fairfax, VA

If you own a home, chances are at some point weather conditions, perhaps too much rain, ice melting, or even wind, have caused drainage and erosion issues on your property. Quality drainage and erosion solutions are especially important during the heavy summer rains we get here in Fairfax, VA and throughout Northern Virginia.

How do you know if you have drainage and erosion issues? Exposed roots, gutted out areas on your lawn, or swampy and puddled sections are a clear sign that it’s time to act and stop the damage from getting worse.

This is where a professional landscaping company can help. It’s crucial to assess the issue as soon as possible to come up with the best plan for preventing further damage. The professionals at Sunrise Landscape and Design can provide an accurate diagnosis of the damage and help you make the right decision, saving you time, money and your landscape.

Add Plants

The easiest and possibly the most cost-effective way to battle an eroding yard is to plant, plant, plant! Flowers and trees act as a shield, lowering the impact of rainfall, ice, and wind that can wash away the soil. These plants and trees also help hold the dirt in place with roots that anchor the soil and soak up excess water. Be sure to plant flowers and trees native to Fairfax and Northern Virginia (we can help with that too) so you can be sure they’ll do well. Wild flowers, herbs, and shrubs are also good for blanketing areas prone to soil erosion.

Once you plant, it’s a good idea to add a layer of mulch and fertilizer. This will help the ground absorb water. Frequent mulching is key, not only because it adds an extra layer of protection and insulation, but also because it contributes higher levels to the PH of the soil.

Redirect the Water

A major hazard to your lawn’s health is when your home is on a slope and has poor drainage. Inadequate pitch or a slope in your yard will allow the water to pool and not be piped away from your property. Find where the issue might REALLY be originating before you dive deep into the solution. The solution might be as simple as redirecting a down spout or running the discharge pipe from your sump pump to a different location.

There are many creative ways to correct Fairfax drainage issues and Sunrise Landscape and Design has the experience and vision to solve the problem and at the same time enhance the beauty of your landscape.  Some of our favorite solutions include retaining walls, rain gardens, and dry creek beds.

Retaining Walls

Retaining walls can be both aesthetic and functional. While their primary purpose is function, a well-designed retaining wall can be a beautiful element in landscape design. Flower beds, terraces, stone work, and many other options are all creative drainage solutions.

Rain Gardens

Rain gardens can be created by covering a low, wet area with water tolerant plants. Perennials and shrubs that tolerate pooling water and can withstand drought are perfect for rain gardens. Make sure to locate the garden at least 10 feet away from the home to prevent water seepage into the basement.

Dry Creek Beds

Dry creek beds are an attractive way to channel water from heavy down pours and prevent those gutted out areas in your landscape. Attractive river rock, 1-1/2 inch in diameter is a great start and can be enhanced with larger decorative rocks.

Contact Us

If you suspect you have any of these issues contact us for a personalized quote. We’ll be happy to come by and help you either prevent any impending damage or stop the progress of existing wear and tear on your valuable landscape investment.

Read more about our Fairfax and Northern Virginia Drainage and Erosion solutions. 

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Summer Garden Care – Ashburn, VA

summer garden planter ashburn virginia

Gardening isn’t just a spring activity, several tasks can still be done in your garden to keep you busy all summer long. Check out our summer garden care tips to keep your Ashburn garden happy and healthy this summer.

Watering

Although we’ve had plenty of rain in Ashburn this season, it’s always a good idea to keep a look out for water stressed plants.  They’ll be the ones with turned down, curled, and limp leaves.  A lawn is dry when you walk across it and the grass blades don’t pop right back up and you can see your footprints.

It’s best to water trees, shrubs, and small plants at ground level whenever possible.  Soaker hoses are great for slowly watering your plants.  It’s better to water heavily once a week than a little every day.  This exposes roots to some dryness which makes the plants tougher and able to withstand the extremes throughout the year.  If you have an irrigation system, now is the time to turn it on and run it on a regular schedule.  Insect populations explode in the summer, especially after rain, so be sure to eliminate standing water in your yard.  This could mean turning over empty plant pots and saucers, but could also involve better drainage around your home.

Pruning and Fertilizing

Rain affects your summer garden care routine even further by causing the growth of shrubs and trees. Most, but not all, shrubs can benefit from summer pruning to reduce the amount of leaves the plant maintains and to help them air out from the center which discourages fungal problems.  Pruning benefits trees by making the leaf canopy thinner and more open to reduce the risk of storm winds pulling down the tree.  Pruning can involve removal of dead flowers which usually results in another round of flowers.  You can fertilize your annuals, herbs, and vegetables just about every time you water to keep them healthy and fed all summer long.

Sunrise Landscape and Design offers summer garden care services in Ashburn and across Northern Virginia, including garden maintenance and visits and tree and shrub care.

Contact us to schedule your summer garden care and maintenance. After all the work, don’t forget to sit back and enjoy your landscape on one of our cooler summer nights!

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Landscape Watering – Leesburg, VA

sprinkler running in the grass landscape watering

The heat of summer is coming and your landscape is feeling it! To keep your Leesburg, VA landscape beautiful throughout the hot summer months it is crucial to water your lawn and gardens appropriately. While your outdoor water usage will rise during the summer months, it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. Understanding what your landscape needs and practicing smart watering techniques can keep your landscape green and healthy well into the fall. Sunrise Landscape and Design offers the following landscape watering information and tips for your Leesburg or Northern Virginia home.

How Much to Water

Grassy areas need an average of 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week to stay green and lush. This water can come from either irrigation or rainfall, but it is important that your lawn gets a good drink.

Landscaped areas have varying needs when it comes to water, depending on the types of plants and flowers you have. It is essential to learn about your plants and their sunlight and water requirements. For example, turf grasses tend to consume the most water compared to other plants, and newer plants or trees will need more frequent watering than established ones. Shady areas that don’t get much sunlight may not require as much water or frequency. Be sure to incorporate mulch around shrubs and plants to help minimize evaporation, inhibit weed growth, and prevent erosion.

You should provide enough water that the soil isn’t dried out within an hour or two of watering. You also don’t want puddles or extreme sogginess– this means you are over-watering the soil which can be just as bad as under-watering.

Landscape Watering Tips

Take advantage of irrigation systems. Newer automatic irrigation systems or sprinkler sets can help make your watering routine easier and even take care of your lawn while you’re traveling. If you need help maintaining an existing system, Sunrise Landscape and Design can help.

Use mulch! Mulching the surface of flower beds can help reduce evaporation, moderate soil temperature, and prevent erosion. This is important for root development and increasing your water efficiency. Mulch can reduce diseases and slow down weed growth. It also looks great!

Always water in the morning. The best time to water is between 2AM and 10AM, when the winds are calm and the water doesn’t evaporate as quickly.

Water slowly to avoid run-off and let the soil dry out in between each watering session. If you over-water continuously, the plant will not be able to get the proper oxygen, resulting in drowning. It is essential to let the plant have time to breathe so that it stays healthy.

Be efficient. It is important not to waste water, even if your area is not currently in a drought. Be aware of where the water is going. Adjust your system or methods if you notice your sprinklers watering the sidewalk or areas with pooled water. Pay attention to nature. If you recently had downpours in your area, you may not need to water for a while. Being efficient with water saves money and the environment.

Keeping your Leesburg and Northern Virginia landscape lush and beautiful during the hot summer months doesn’t have to be difficult or result in excessive watering bills. Water-smart landscapes and effective watering methods are all you need to enjoy your landscape well into the fall. Sunrise Landscape and Design has over 30 years of experience in maintaining beautiful landscapes in Northern Virginia. Contact us for help in creating and maintaining your landscape! 

Want to kick back this summer? Let us take care of your lawn with our inclusive lawn maintenance packages.

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Weed Control – Great Falls, VA

Weed control Great Falls and Northern Virginia landscaping

Weeds are invasive plants that at a minimum can disrupt the appearance of a well-maintained landscape and worst case can destroy or take over your landscape. Protecting your landscape from weeds not only maintains the beauty of your landscape, it also preserves the investment of time and money you may have put into your property. Sunrise Landscape and Design has over 30 years of experience in weed control in Great Falls and Northern Virginia and offers many services to protect your landscape.

Weed Control Services

Pre-emergent Weed Control with Fertilizer: When it comes to controlling weeds, it is always best to stop them before they sprout. Once they have sprouted, their roots are well established and are more difficult to remove. The timing of applying weed control is important. If applied too early, the weather may dilute the pre-emergent and the weeds will grow unencumbered. We apply our pre-emergent weed control with fertilizer twice a season, once in early spring and again in late spring. Combining pre-emergent with fertilizer will help prevent crabgrass and other weed seeds from germinating.

Broadleaf Weed Control: Dandelions and other broadleaf weeds are among the common weed problems in lawns. They are generally easier to treat, have wider leaves, and often flower. They include thistles, dandelions, spurge, and clovers. Most lawns are spot-treated to help reduce the chemicals introduced into the environment, however if the weeds are growing throughout the lawn, then the entire lawn will be treated. If more than 60 percent of a lawn is covered with weeds, then the lawn should be considered for a complete renovation.

Garden Visits: If the thought of maintaining your landscape and controlling weeds throughout the growing seasons is overwhelming, Sunrise offers a full-service landscape care program to take care of the work for you. Garden visits offer a high-level of attention to your landscape that only a professional can provide. We provide services bi-weekly April through October and includes weeding of all mulch beds, roadside gravel areas, and weeds that have grown in the cracks on hard surfaces. These areas may be weeded manually or with the aid of chemicals. In addition to controlling weeds, this service also provides deadheading perennials, separation of different species of plants, and prevention of plants from growing over lights and other structures.

The Best Defense is a Good Offense

Whether your lawn and garden has just a couple of weeds or is overrun, the best offense is a good defense. Weeds can be one of the most troublesome issues in preserving the look of a well-maintained landscape. They can be very persistent and will exploit every weakness in your lawn and garden. Sunrise Landscape and Design’s services will help you stay ahead in the game of weed control. We use natural weed killers that are safe for children and pets. Our lawn maintenance programs ensure that your turf gets the proper mowing and fertilizing it needs to grow thick and healthy. By staying on the offensive year-round, Sunrise can help you keep weeds in check and leave you with a vibrant landscape.

For our complete Great Falls and Northern Virginia spring package options, including weed control, mowing, seeding, and more, visit our Spring Services page, or contact us to schedule your free estimate.

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Lawn Maintenance – Great Falls, VA

Lawn maintenance in Great Falls, Virginia

April is National Lawn Care Month! Now is the perfect time to bring life back to your Great Falls or Northern Virginia yard. If you want a lush, green lawn, it’s not necessarily as simple as mowing and watering. Lawn care can actually be very complicated. To help you out, here are our Seven Core Areas of Lawn Maintenance:

Soil testing

Sometimes the most important step is the one most often overlooked. Testing your soil for its pH level and nitrogen and phosphorus content will actually save you a lot of headaches in the long-run. Once you know your soil makeup, you’ll be able to figure out what types of fertilizers (and what quantities) your lawn really needs.

Fertilizing

At a minimum, you should fertilize every spring and fall. There’s ammonium sulfate and numerous all-purpose fertilizers to choose from. Make sure to use caution, though; too much fertilizer can burn your lawn, and ammonium sulfate only provides a short green boost to it. Your lawn needs a balanced diet of nutrients in order to stay green and healthy.

Watering

The frequency and amount of time you need to water your lawn is going to vary based upon your grass variety and location. Most of the time with the weather we see in Great Falls and Northern Virginia, watering deeply once a week will do the job. Deep watering encourages the grass to grow deeper roots, which helps the overall health of your lawn. If you step on your grass and it springs back up, you know that you’re on the right track moisture-wise.

Mowing

Mowing is a calculated effort. The more thought and planning you put into it, the more you will get out of it. Make sure you remove any debris from your yard before you fire up your mower. Debris is not only a safety hazard, but sticks and rocks will dull your mower blades, making your mower less effective. During the spring and summer growing seasons, mow only the top third of your grass, keeping it between 3” to 3.5” tall. Taller grass develops a better root structure and blocks out weeds on its own. When the growing season stops this fall, you can cut it back down to a shorter height.

Weeding

Nothing cuts out weeds better than a healthy lawn. Herbicides can be used, but be careful about the chemicals they may contain. Another way to help choke out weeds is to mow often, cutting off the heads of weeds like dandelions before they are able to spread.

Aeration

Those little cylinders of dirt fight soil compaction. The holes allow nutrients, air, and water to penetrate your lawn, helping your grass grow deeper roots.

Seeding

Seeding is all about choosing the right grass – or the right mixture of grass – for what you need. There are literally hundreds of grass varieties to choose from. Depending on the situation, sod may be a better option, too.

Lawn maintenance is definitely more complex than it seems. That’s why companies like Sunrise exist; we’re here to help when you can’t tackle it all on your own. Visit our Spring Lawn Services page to pick the right lawn care maintenance package for your Great Falls or Northern Virginia home. Ready to get started? Contact us today to get a quote and take the first step to a beautiful lawn you can enjoy all summer long!

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The Right Mulch for Your Northern Virginia Landscape

Northern Virginia landscape mulching by Sunrise Landscape and Design

Spring is the perfect time to begin mulching in Northern Virginia. But where to start? It seems like every year there’s a new type of mulch sitting at the home improvement store. From colored varieties to chips and shreds, it can all get very confusing. Each mulch has its benefits and its drawbacks, so it’s best to make an informed decision before you make the investment. Sunrise Landscape and Design’s spring clean-up services include the application of high quality mulch to prepare your landscape for the coming months.

Why is Mulch Important?

Mulch plays many roles in your landscape. Its most crucial features are the ability to hold in heat and moisture, which protects fragile roots from temperature fluctuations throughout the entire year. It also prevents the growth of weeds and helps to inhibit erosion. Without mulch, your garden is completely exposed to the elements – and that is not only bad for your plants, it’s also bad for your curb appeal.

Mulch Types and Details

  • Shredded Hardwood
    1. The most common mulch you’ll find around Northern Virginia is shredded hardwood. It has a natural look and blends well into any landscape. It also works well on slopes.
    2. Shredded hardwood should be spread one to three inches thick and can last up to three years when the beds are refreshed annually.
    3. Colored mulch is a popular trend. Colored versions tend to decompose more slowly than normal mulch.  Be careful of the actual color selected. Some colors clash with the natural landscape and are not appealing to most people.
  • Wood Chip
    1. Wood chips are wonderful at retaining water, and because they break down faster than shredded mulch, they boost the amount of nutrients in your soil.
    2. Wood chip mulch can last up to four years. It is also weed-free and doesn’t blow away easily.
  • Stone
    1. When talking about stone, we are usually speaking about medium to large sizes. Smaller pebbles tend to end up in your lawn, creating a projectile hazard when you mow.
    2. Stone is great for trapping heat into established perennial beds and can essentially last forever. It is also good for controlling erosion in problem areas.
    3. The downside of stone is that because of its ability to trap heat, it also makes water evaporate quicker – which means you may need to water your plants more often.
  • Pumice or Lava Rock
    1. With a vibrant color, many people like that pumice is lighter than regular stone and can retain a lot of water. It can also last forever.
    2. While it doesn’t hold as much heat as stone, it does help somewhat.
    3. Pumice is full of sharp edges, so make sure that it is only placed somewhere that doesn’t require frequent garden attention.
    4. Its weight can be a liability in areas prone to water run-off, so make sure that it’s in a flood-free area.
    5. Because of its ability to trap water, you will need to water a little longer for the water to reach your plants.
  • Living Mulch
    1. Why not use a living mulch instead of a dead one? There are many ground covers that work well as mulch; just remember to add compost to them annually to nourish them.

There are other mulch options, like straw, compost, chopped leaves, and even grass clippings, but these are generally suitable for vegetable gardens and not curb-front landscapes. Just keep in mind that you shouldn’t incorporate any mulch into your soil unless it has been thoroughly composted. Importantly, don’t use any mulch that has been treated with herbicides or pesticides on your edible plants.

Mulch Application Tips

The easiest way to tell if you Northern Virginia landscaper knows what they are doing is by looking at how they apply your chosen mulch. You can also follow these mulch application tips when applying mulch yourself.

Mulch should be:

  • Placed against edging that is two to three inches deep
  • Clear of tree trunks or plants. Your mulch shouldn’t be touching your plants directly; this is unhealthy and can actually hurt them. Those “mulch volcanos” that you see around tree trunks are a perfect example of incorrect mulching.
  • Smooth and even, with no large hills
  • Distributed two to three inches deep and free of clumps
  • Treated with a pre-emergent weed controller
  • Applied after cutbacks, leaves, twigs, and debris have been cleared from the area

Contact a Professional for Help

If you’re not sure what kind of mulch to use or how to apply it, contact our Sunrise team today. Our Spring Clean-up services include removing all debris from mulch beds, edging and cultivating beds, applying pre-emergent weed control, and distributing a shredded hardwood bark mulch. We’ll prepare your Northern Virginia landscape to encourage plant growth and keep it looking beautiful throughout the coming seasons. We’d love to give you a landscape that you’re proud of this spring!  Contact us today!