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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!

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Spring Landscaping Tips – Great Falls and Northern Virginia

Baby Deer Smelling Spring Landscaping Flower Garden Great Falls

Even though we’re still thinking about snow, it’s a good time to start preparing your Great Falls or Northern Virginia spring landscaping to-do list. You can call it a spring cleanup or simply summer prep, but if you fail to take some action before blooms arrive in a few months, you’ll see that your landscape will quickly get out of control. The more work you get done now, the easier your lawn and garden will be to maintain the rest of the year. Sunrise Landscape and Design’s spring landscaping cleanup services will help prepare your landscape for the spring and summer months.

  1. Strategize.

    Before you move a muscle, you should decide how you want your landscape to look this year. If you need a little inspiration, the internet is full of beautiful and creative ideas. Do you want to make any significant changes to your landscape? If so, decide now so that you can avoid putting effort into areas that you’ll be transforming in a month or two anyway. If you need some assistance, Sunrise’s landscape design professionals are ready to help!

  2. Plan.

    We cannot emphasize enough the importance of planning. If you are adding annuals, new shrubs, or even trees to your yard this year, map out where you want them to go. Keep the size of the plant at its maturity in mind; no one wants a tree growing into the side of their house or a bush covering a beautiful front window. Also, think about plant textures, colors, and heights while plotting out your garden beds. Mixing things up will make your beds more attractive and balanced.

  3. Edge.

    Make your landscape look more polished and refined by creating a strong border between your garden beds and your lawn. It also helps keep grass out of your garden! Once the ground starts to thaw, dig down three inches at a 45-degree angle to establish a solid edge around your beds.

  4. Prune.

    Did you know that many plants can be pruned during the winter? Do a little research, but you may be able to knock out most of your pruning before spring is even in the air. Get rid of the three “D”s when cutting back your perennials: damaged, dead, and diseased. (Make sure you don’t cut off any of the buds that are waiting to blossom. They won’t grow back until next year.)

  5. Clean up.

    After you’ve pruned and edged, now it’s time to rake up all that debris to create a clean slate for spring. Don’t forget to look for toys that may have settled into your lawn over the fall and winter. If you have a compost pile, all those leaves and small branches will make an excellent addition.

  6. Block.

    Put a pre-emergent on your garden bed and lawn to stop weeds before they begin to germinate. However, if you are planning on seeding or installing sod in the spring, skip this step for your lawn. Otherwise, you can apply a pre-emergent up to three times per year to help prevent weed growth. If random weeds still pop up, try a homemade weed killer to wipe them out before they get a chance to spread.

  7. Feed.

    You want your plants to be as healthy and hardy as possible so that they can endure whatever Mother Nature throws at them this year. If you fertilized your lawn in the fall some of that fertilizer is probably still there. You can wait until late spring to apply a slow-release nitrogen to liven up your turf and make it greener.

  8. Mulch.

    After applying your pre-emergent,  add up to three inches of new mulch to your beds and around your trees. Mulch helps block weeds and holds in moisture, so it’s important to get a good layer on before the summer heat hits. If you have some old mulch, consider removing it completely before putting new mulch on top. Old mulch can hide insects and disease, so sometimes it’s best to discard it altogether.

  9. Examine.

    Even if you winterized your lawn mower, now is a good time to take it out and make sure that it’s in good working order. It’s an excellent idea to have your blades sharpened every spring just to make sure that you are cutting your grass shoots and not tearing them. Torn shoots brown at the tips, giving your lawn a sickly appearance. In addition to inspecting your blades, adjust your mower height to a minimum of two-and-a-half inches if you have cool-season grasses. If you have warm-season grasses, you can go as low as half an inch – depending on your variety.

  10. Manage.

    There’s nothing worse than planning the perfect landscape only to have it serve as a buffet to local wildlife. If pests are an issue in your area, implement wire mesh or fencing to make sure all your hard work doesn’t end up in Bambi’s belly. For more information on our special deer control services, visit our DeerPro page.

While you’re trapped inside, avoiding freezing rain or howling winter winds, close your eyes and imagine how you’d like your Great Falls or Northern Virginia landscape to look this year. With a little effort and planning, you can achieve the picture-perfect yard of your dreams in 2019. It’s only a to-do list away.

Contact Sunrise for help with your Great Falls and Northern Virginia spring landscaping tasks.  We can tailor a program that fits your budget and landscape. Preparing your landscape now allows you to enjoy its maximum growth and beauty in the spring and summer.

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Snow Removal Tips

Snow removal Sunrise Northern Virginia landscaping

This last big snow was a good reminder of how harsh winter can be in Northern Virginia. As we continue to clean up, Sunrise Landscape and Design offers the following top ten snow removal tips for safely managing the snow on your property.

1. Stay on top of the snow

When anticipating a large amount of snowfall, it’s best to shovel every 3-5 inches. Don’t wait for the snow to stop falling – keep shoveling every couple of inches, especially when it’s a heavy wet snow. You’ll save time (and your back) by doing a couple of inches at a time.

2. Push, don’t lift, and if you lift, use your legs

This may be seem like traditional advise, however, when it comes to snow removal, this is important. When you push the snow to the side, rather than lifting, you exert less energy and place less stress on your body. If there is too much snow and you need to lift onto snow piles, use your legs and not your back. Using your legs will save your back from injury.

3. Warm-up

Shoveling snow is exercise. It’s important to stretch your arms, legs, and back to prevent injury, especially with heavy snow. Be sure to drink lots of water and take breaks when needed. To reduce fatigue while shoveling, switch off between shoveling left-handed and right-handed so that you work different muscles.

4. Avoid ice picks and other tools

Resist the temptation to use ice picks and other tools to remove snow and ice. These tools can easily destroy your driveway and other landscape features such as walkways and plants.

5. Prepare before the snowfall

Mark off the driveway, walkways, and plant beds with poles, flags, or stakes before the snow storms hits to keep oriented in your snow-covered landscape.

6. Attack ice with salt, sand, or kitty litter

When the shovel just won’t cut through the ice, rock salt can be used to help break it up. Be careful when using rock salt because it can eat away at concrete and damage your driveway. Rock salt is not effective in temperatures under 12 degrees Fahrenheit. Calcium chloride is a great alternative to rock salt. It maintains its ice melting properties in below-zero temperatures. It is also less harmful to the plants in your landscaping and less irritating to pets’ feet. For those areas where the ice or slippery snow just won’t budge, use sand or kitty litter to provide traction.

7. Don’t shovel snow out into the street or walkways

Although you might think the snow plow coming through can handle it or the side walk crew can shovel it, it can actually make the job more difficult and costly when your piled up snow turns to ice. Safely place shoveled snow in grassy areas.

8. Pick the right shovel

High strength plastic shovels are strong, light-weight, and easy to use. They are also less prone to freezing and release the snow better than metal shovels.

9. Take care of your plants

Make sure you don’t bury your plants in snow. When avoidable, try not to shovel or throw snow on your plants. Each time you go out to shovel, take a tour of your landscape. Use a broom to knock snow or ice off of leaves, needles, and branches. If your plants are bent over from heavy snow, shake the snow off when possible. If your shrubs and plants get too loaded down with snow, leave them. You’ll do more damage trying to remove the snow than letting them recover on their own.

10. Pay attention to your surroundings

Don’t get so focused on the task at hand that you don’t pay attention to your surroundings. When shoveling snow near streets, be mindful of traffic – other cars may not be able to see you over the snow piles and may not have enough traction to stop or maneuver safely.

With more snow in the forecast, Sunrise Landscape and Design is ready to help you with your Northern Virginia commercial snow removal. Our snow plow operators are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We’ll make sure your street, parking lot, driveway, and sidewalks are kept clear of snow and ice. Contact us to discuss your commercial snow removal needs or visit our snow removal page for more information on our Northern Virginia commercial snow removal services.

Sunrise Landscape and Design is Northern Virginia’s premier landscaping company, offering a full range of landscaping services. Whether you’d like to get a head start on spring landscape planning, landscape design, or landscape maintenance, our expert team is here to help you create the property of your dreams. Contact us today for all of your landscape and lawn care needs!

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How to Prepare Your 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.

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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.