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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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Benefits of Landscape Lighting in Great Falls

outdoor lighting on rock wall and walkway in great falls

As the long winter nights continue, now is the perfect time to consider installing landscape lighting. Sunrise has helped clients across Northern Virginia, particularly Great Falls, create a warm and welcoming home to come back to at the end of the day. Landscape lighting can fit any budget and makes a dramatic impact on your home at night. Take a look at some reasons to make your Great Falls home glow with landscape lighting from Sunrise:

1. Extend your living space.

Add patio lighting and a fire pit to enjoy your beautiful outdoor space year-round.

2. Spotlight your home’s best architectural features.

3. Focus on special decorative items, like fountains or statues.

4. Target a unique tree trunk or special garden feature.

We suggest using a bullet light, which is like a small spotlight.

5. Show some love to the details.

Bring focus to small landscape details, like your favorite little plants, by illuminating them overhead.

6. Beautify the functional.

Even structures like a retaining wall can become a focal point when glowing with light.

7. Be safer.

Simple pathway markers illuminate paths and direct your steps in the dark.

8. Protect your home.

A flood light is a great safety feature. Burglars stay away from well-lit homes.

9. No visible hardware required.

Well lights can be buried underground to light the underside of features with no hardware above ground.

10. Save effort.

Outdoor lighting systems are very low maintenance, just keep fixtures free of leaves and debris, and replace bulbs when needed.

11. Save money.

Even though they cost a little more, outdoor LED lights can last 40,000 hours (about 20 years) and reduce power usage by up to 20%.

12. Save time.

You can set your system to go on with an automatic timer.

13. Enjoy your efforts.

After putting so much work into making your Great Falls landscape beautiful, it only makes sense to appreciate it both day and night.

14. Increase your Great Falls home’s value.

Experts say that the value landscape lighting adds to your home is longer lasting than a kitchen upgrade or new flooring.

15. Stand out.

There’s not much better for curb appeal than a beautifully lit home.

If you are interested in adding value to your home, enhancing its security, and setting your house apart from the crowd – all with little to no maintenance – contact us today for a customized quote or visit our landscape lighting page for more information on our services in Great Falls and throughout Northern Virginia.

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The Best Time for Tree Trimming and Pruning

woman trimming pruning plants in Loudoun County

Winter is a great time for tree trimming and pruning in Northern Virginia. Believe it or not, there is a benefit to your trees being bare and desolate this time of year: your dormant trees are gathering up strength to put on a spectacular show when spring finally arrives. Now is the time to lend a helping hand by trimming trees to encourage new growth. Winter is also a good time for tree trimming because bare branches are easier to see and handle, and the harder ground allows for easier access to trees.

When to Trim in Northern Virginia

February through March is the best time for tree trimming. Though you should usually wait until the coldest part of the winter has passed, you can trim outside of this window. For flowering trees, it’s critical that you trim while the tree is still dormant. If you trim after blooms have started to form, you could limit the tree’s blooming potential in the spring. Some species, such as maple, walnuts, and birches may excrete sap. While this is not dangerous to the tree, it can be unsightly, so it’s best to trim or prune when the weather is colder and the sap is not as likely to bleed.

Trim with a Plan

When trimming trees, you should remove every branch for a reason. Each cut has the potential to change the shape of the tree substantially and affect the ability of a flowering tree to bloom, so you should always trim and prune with a plan. Dead, diseased, and damaged branches should be removed as soon as possible, both to prevent the spread of potential disease and for safety. Dead branches can easily fall in the slightest wind and cause personal injury or property damage. Any branches that interfere with visibility on your street or driveway should also be cut. Take time to access where issues will arise once leaves begin to grow again. Have a critical eye as you walk among your trees and determine whether tree trimming is necessary. Remember that thinning for the sake of it does not necessarily improve the health of a tree.

Benefits of Trimming

Trimming isn’t just beneficial in encouraging bloom growth in the spring, it can also save you money and time by managing insects and disease. Removing dead branches can help prevent disease-carrying organisms from entering your branches and spreading disease. Thinning a tree’s canopy can increase the amount of sunlight and air to your tree and landscape, also resulting in less disease.

Professionals at Sunrise Landscape and Design are carefully trained to trim trees according to advanced trimming and pruning techniques, with the uniqueness of each tree species in mind. Hiring Sunrise for your Northern Virginia tree care will leave your trees healthier, structurally sound, and beautiful for years to come!

Contact us for a tree trimming quote or to discuss other Northern Virginia landscaping needs. For more information on our tree trimming and pruning services, visit our Tree Trimming and Shrub Pruning page. 

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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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Landscape Planning for Spring

tree trimming and ornamental care spring landscaping northern virginia

Winter is the perfect time to begin planning your Northern Virginia spring landscape. During this season, your landscape is clearly visible, for better or for worse. Take a moment now to assess your surroundings and plan for any renovations and additions you might be dreaming about while hunkered down this winter. Get that Pinterest board ready and start collecting ideas!

Your barren trees and less-than-robust bushes and greenery give you the opportunity to really evaluate what changes you’d like to make before spring is in full bloom. After all, our yards are now extensions of our living space and should reflect how we enjoy spending our free time, whether we’re entertaining, designing a cozy space to spend time alone, or creating more room for our kids to play.

Think back to what worked last year and what didn’t. If you love to entertain, did you have enough space on the patio? If you have pets, perhaps they’ve worn a path in your lawn. Is there more mud than there is grass? Have you had drainage issues that may be exacerbated when spring showers start coming our way?

When considering solutions to these issues, keep the style of your house in mind. Do you want to use the same materials as your house to maintain a more cohesive look, or is now the time to try something new?

Think about the colors you’d like to see in your yard. Tying in the color of your hardscape with the surrounding plantings creates a unified look and makes your home seem in harmony with its surroundings.

There is a wealth of materials to choose from if you’re thinking of adding a patio, a water feature, or a new walkway. Knowing the difference between materials as they relate to the surrounding landscape, their longevity, and their cost as it pertains to your budget, requires thoughtful evaluation. The benefit to winter being the “down time” in the landscape design business is that there is plenty of time to discuss and weigh options, and when the weather finally cooperates, your project will be first in the queue.

Another thing to consider if you’re planning on a project that will require digging, is obtaining the appropriate permits from your town or municipality before you’re due to begin the process. Usually, it takes about 4 – 6 weeks to be issued a permit, so making decisions early will allow you to be ready to break ground when the weather finally turns. Sunrise Landscape and Design is familiar with all the permits required in Northern Virginia and can help guide you through this process.

So now is the time to gather your ideas and give us a call. Let’s sit together and plan the spring landscape of your dreams so that you can enjoy your outdoor living space for years to come!

Contact Sunrise Landscape and Design to begin planning your Northern Virginia spring landscape or visit our Winter Landscaping Services page for a full list of our winter landscaping services.

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Northern Virginia Landscape Lighting

outdoor patio with fireplace and lighting great falls

Properly lighting your Northern Virginia landscape is crucial after all of the hard work you’ve put into it. While your landscape may be beautiful during the day, if lit properly in the evenings, your property can boast a stunning wow factor. Landscape lighting involves both artistry and technical knowledge. If your lighting is installed in the right places, it can highlight the architectural features of your home and the different characteristics of your plantings and trees. In addition to adding character, it can add safety as well; a well-lit walkway is as important as having a properly constructed one. Good landscape design should incorporate elements that are functional as well as beautiful any time of day.

Most Northern Virginia landscape lighting is low-voltage because it is less costly to install and much safer to work with. You can achieve a stunning variety of lighting with low-voltage installation. You can, for example, light a tree canopy, cast a glow over a landscape feature, or aim lighting directly at your home.

Every element of lighting design includes factors such as brightness, color, and beam width. The type of bulb, the housing for the bulb, and the cables and stakes used to keep them in place are all technical aspects that determine these factors. You should choose each of these aspects for their most effective usage. Once the proper elements are in place, you can play with the light. For example, when lighting foliage, you should always include the trunk, otherwise it will look like a UFO is hovering around your yard. When aiming light directly at your home, aim for the corners or at specific architectural details you want highlighted.

Lighting a walkway is much more straight-forward. Your lighting should define your path. A nice warm glow that illuminates a walkway is both welcoming and necessary for safety. Placing your lights about 14 inches high gives off a warm glow and provides enough lighting for your family and friends to find their way.

When you’re ready to light up your life, we recommend a consultation with our professionals at Sunrise Landscape and Design. Your home and your landscaping are a big investment, and you will want a professional to offer a realistic and affordable plan for your budget and your needs. Outdoor lighting is as much about vision and aesthetics as it is about technical knowledge. With the long winter nights, now is the time to make your house the one that stands out with beautiful Northern Virginia landscape lighting! Read more about our landscape lighting services, or request a quote now.

Sunrise Landscape and Design is Northern Virginia’s top landscaping company, offering a full range of landscaping services. Our landscape and design services include building outdoor living spaces, water features, irrigation and landscape lighting. Our property maintenance services will keep your landscape vibrant year round with mulching, edging, fall turf care, seasonal cleanups, lawn mowing, and tree care. Contact us today for all your landscaping 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 Core Aeration and Overseeding

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

What is core aeration?

fall core aeration and overseeding

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

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

Why should you aerate your lawn?

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

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

What is overseeding?

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

Why should you overseed your lawn?

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

  • Drought
  • Heavy foot traffic
  • Shade

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

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

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Best Trees for Fall

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

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

 

red fall maple tree leaves

The Maple Tree

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

fall river birch trees with orange leaves

The River Birch

The River Birch turns a gorgeous color in fall, but what really makes it a star attraction is its beautiful bark.  They are also very tolerant of wet areas in your landscape, which makes it a versatile tree if you have drainage issues.

The Sunburst Honey Locust

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

yellow fall leaves on maidenhair ginkgo biloba tree

Maidenhair Trees (Ginkgo Biloba)

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

Arborvitae Trees

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

 

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

 

About us:

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

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