by admin admin

How to Prepare Your Northern Virginia Landscape for Winter

Northern Virginia Landscape Sunrise Landscape and Design

Winter in Northern Virginia can be brutal on your landscape. Between snow, ice, wind, and cold, it seems like you never know which plants will make it until next spring. With a little planning and preparation, though, it is possible to winter-proof your lawn, trees, shrubs, and other plants. All it takes is a little ingenuity – and some burlap. Follow these tips to prepare your landscape for winter:

1. Fertilize your lawn

Give your lawn one more mineral boost so that it has all the nutrients it needs during the cold winter months.

2. Cut your lawn one last time

There’s a lot of debate on how short you should cut your grass for the winter. In Virginia, anywhere from two to three inches should be short enough to avoid issues with snow mold, but it’s best to ask a professional what works best for your turf type.

3. Remove debris from your yard

No one wants to run over a stick or other debris while sledding! It’s also good to get rid of sticks and branches now so that they don’t deteriorate and turn into tiny bits of shrapnel when you run the mower over them next spring.

4. Prevent animals from snacking on your plants

The lack of growth in the fall sends animals like deer and rabbits on a rampage through your garden. Cover young tree trunks with hardware cloth or fencing with very small openings to prevent nibbling. If animals have decided to snack on other plants, you can either cover them with mesh or garden fabric, or you can try an animal repellent spray.  If deer are a problem, Sunrise Landscape and Design is trained in the proper use and application of DeerPro, the only deer repellent that is approved by the EPA.

5. Prep trees for the weight of snow

Hire a professional to prune dead or broken branches from your trees; they will know what pruning works best for different tree species. Also, you can ask the professional whether or not any trees need bracing or cabling to make it through the winter.

6. Water plants, especially evergreens

Continue watering your plants until the first freeze. After that, try to water your young and broad-leaf evergreens at least once every couple of weeks throughout the winter if it’s dry.

7. Fertilize trees after the first hard frost

Once the first big freeze has made your trees dormant, fertilize them so that they are ready for growth when spring comes around.

8. Consider spraying evergreens with an anti-desiccant spray

Anti-desiccant sprays are often used on broad-leaf evergreens like holly, rhododendrons, and boxwood, to slow water loss and prevent winter burn. Make sure to read directions and avoid contact with narrow-needled evergreens, however, because anti-desiccants can poison them.

9. Spread extra mulch for insulation

For perennials that need extra protection, spread an additional layer of mulch two to four inches thick in November.

10. Wrap shrubs in burlap

Burlap also can serve as an excellent wind barrier for evergreens.

11. Protect fragile plants

If plants are extra vulnerable, create a teepee out of bamboo sticks and burlap to shield them from snow and harsh winter wind. Burlap is great because it blocks the wind, but is breathable. Wrap the trunks of thin-barked trees, like maple and cherry, with cardboard tree wrap or plastic to avoid frost cracks. Lastly, for some extra stability, try tying together branches of trees that are prone to splitting (like arborvitae and boxwood) with hosiery or another soft fabric.

12. Move some plants indoors

When in doubt, bring it indoors – or at least into the garage. Most perennials that hang out in planters during warmer months need a little extra protection from the elements.

13. Plan your snow piles

Make sure you won’t be piling snow on top of delicate plants. If you can, spread snow out after shoveling to avoid compaction in certain areas of your lawn.

14. Consult a professional about salt and deicing agents

Whatever you plan to use on your driveway and pathways will inevitably end up in your yard – and may end up poisoning your plants. Try to use calcium chloride, potassium chloride, or calcium magnesium acetate if you must use a melting agent. If not, try sand or cinders.

15. Refrain from shaking snow and ice off branches

Once the snow has landed, the damage is done. Don’t shake frozen limbs because they are brittle and prone to breaking. Allow the snow and ice to melt naturally.

Ice, wind, and snow can do plenty of damage to your landscape during the winter. It may sound like a lot of work, but a few hours spent preparing your landscape for winter may prevent days worth of replanting in the spring. If you need some help prepping your Northern Virginia Landscape, contact Sunrise today. We will make sure that all your hard work this fall is rewarded when spring rolls around.

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, landscape lighting, irrigation, and water features. Our property maintenance services will keep your landscape vibrant year-round with mulching, lawn mowing, tree pruning, garden cleanups, edging, and mosquito/deer control.

by admin admin

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.

by admin admin

Fall Core Aeration and Overseeding

Why Core Aeration and Overseeding Are Important This Fall

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.

by admin admin

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!

by admin admin

Drainage and Erosion Solutions in Northern Virginia

Winter Landscaping Projects – Drainage and Erosion Solutions

Winter is actually a great time to schedule a professional to provide drainage and erosion solutions.  One problem to solve off-season and in between snow storms is yard drainage. Not only will it help keep water away from your foundation as snow melts, but if you get it fixed in the winter, you’ll be ready for those spring storms with their heavy downpours.

French drain with rock and a bridge

French Drain

One of the most common drainage and erosion solutions is a French drain. Thought to have originated from simple ditches, the French drain is simply a trench filled with gravel or rock containing a perforated pipe that redirects surface water and groundwater away from an area. They are used to solve a variety of issues, from keeping water away from foundations to relieving groundwater pressure behind retaining walls. If you have an area of your yard that simply takes forever to dry, then a French drain may be your solution.

Grading

Sometimes grading is one of the better drainage and erosion solutions for homes in Northern Virginia. Many builders pay little attention to how they grade lots when building new homes, which is a common challenge for residents in Ashburn, Leesburg, Willowsford and Herndon, where an extensive amount of new building is happening. This could leave you with water flowing right into your basement every time it rains. Grading simply adjusts the slope of your yard to a level that will move groundwater away from your home, instead of towards it.

Swale

If a French drain isn’t an option and grading doesn’t fit the problem, then maybe you need a swale. Swales are basically ditches, or places where a landscaper purposefully intersects two slopes in order to create a place to hold water. Swales can really be as simple as a ditch, but they can also be much more complex and purposeful. They can solve a variety of dilemmas, from capturing water for agricultural purposes to stopping erosion through diversion ditches.

If one of your properties landscape issues is drainage, contact Sunrise Landscape and Design to find the drainage solution that works best for you this winter. Our qualified landscape professionals can guide you through French drains, grading, and swales, so that together, we can find the answer that is right for your property.  Winter really is a great time to address those important yard projects and prepare yourself, your yard, and your home for the wet days just around the corner.

French drain with river rock

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!

by admin admin

What are those bumps on my branches

What to do about bumps on branches

Bumps on branches, leaves or stems, that may be a range of colors and sizes, but certainly don’t seem like they are part of the plant, can be concerning when looking at your landscape. Many people mistake this condition for a fungal disease. It’s more often actually a type of insect known as scale.

There are over 150 individual types of scale insects present in the state of Virginia. Some have little to no impact on plant health. Others can severely damage or even kill valuable landscape plants, shrubs, and trees. Scale causes damage by attaching to the plant and sucking water and nutrients from its bark or leaves. This takes away from the resources available to support the growth and health of the plant. A heavy infestation can even kill an entire shrub or group of shrubs if left untreated.

Scale insects often have a very specific plant they prefer, others are more open-minded and will attach to a wide range of different groups of plants. One shrub that has drawn attention for being prone to infestation and damage by scale insects in our region is cherry laurel. This versatile evergreen plant has several forms that are common and beautiful in many applications, and it is seen all over, in large hedges for screening, and more compact foundation plantings. It’s a great plant. But yet, it is prone to a scale that attaches to the stems and in many cases causes die-back or death of plants.  Another common landscape shrub affected by scale is Euonymus. This scale is particularly unsightly as it can cover the leaves as well as stems of the plant. Both these and other common scale insects in our region do NOT have to be viewed as a catastrophe for your garden. If observed and diagnosed in a reasonable amount of time, each scale can be treated and controlled to prevent frustrating and expensive losses.

Treatment of scale varies widely depending on the type of scale and time of year. Soft scales have a soft covering over their bodies that can be penetrated by appropriate chemical controls. Armored scales secrete a hard covering over their bodies as adults that protect the scale while it feeds on your plants. This armor is impenetrable to certain common pesticides; therefore one must approach treatment in an intelligent and informed manner that is appropriate to the situation. Identifying the specific pest that you have and knowing its unique life cycle and vulnerabilities will enable you to successfully treat your problem. You can use resources provided by the Virginia and Maryland Extension services to help identify your pest and also recommended treatment. Many effective products are available for purchase and application by homeowners.

You can always count on us at Sunrise Landscape and Design to monitor your property and treat for any potential issues, such as scale. We offer a range of options to provide you with Integrated Pest Management services. Our garden visits, and IPM treatments are both aspects of care that help monitor, identify and treat problems in a timely manner so that you won’t have to worry about those strange bumps turning into big issues. We work with you year-round to protect your investment in your home and landscape. Contact us to get a landscaping quote today.