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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.

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Fall Core Aeration and Overseeding

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

What is core aeration?

fall core aeration and overseeding

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

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

Why should you aerate your lawn?

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

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

What is overseeding?

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

Why should you overseed your lawn?

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

  • Drought
  • Heavy foot traffic
  • Shade

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

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

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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!

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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!

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What are those bumps on my 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.