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Lawn Maintenance – Loudoun County, VA

Lawn maintenance Loudoun County, VA

As the end of the year approaches, it’s time to think of New Year’s resolutions. Why not make lawn maintenance a part of your plan for 2020 in Loudoun County?

Winter is the best time to start

Winter is actually the best time to sign up for a lawn maintenance contract. Now is the time to get organized and commit to activities that will enhance and enrich your life. Establishing a lawn maintenance contract now will put your mind at ease for the rest of the year. Your Loudoun County lawn and landscaping needs will be taken care of, and you can enjoy results without worrying about the time and effort required to maintain the landscape you want.

Lawn maintenance includes seasonal clean-up

A lawn maintenance contract may offer multiple levels of lawn care. As you begin to plan your year, think about the types of service you will want. Seasonal clean-up is a very labor-intensive and time-consuming task that really enhances the beauty of your landscape.

Seasonal clean-up is usually in the spring and fall in Loudoun County and may include removing debris from mulch beds such as leaves, branches, spent perennials, and weeds, as well as edging, mulching, and cultivating the beds. As you lay out your plans for the year, be sure to include what you need to meet the goals you have for your landscape.

It’s more than just mowing

Lawn care involves more than just mowing. The maintenance of a well cared for Loudoun County lawn may include core aeration and overseeding, trimming, edging, weed control, lime application, and more. Again, think about the goals you have for your lawn and how a lawn maintenance contract will help you to meet those goals.

Contact us for a quote!

Sunrise Landscape and Design is more than happy to help you lay out your plans and select a Loudoun County lawn maintenance contract to meet your landscaping goals for the year. We make it easy for you by breaking your payments into 12 equal installments over the course of the year. You can rest easy knowing your 2020 goals for your landscape and lawn will be taken care of. Simply enjoy the results.

View our year-round lawn maintenance packages here.

Looking for a custom landscape maintenance plan? Contact us for a personalized quote. Happy 2020!

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Leesburg Leaf Removal: Why is it Important to Rake Leaves?

Leesburg leaf removal services Northern Virginia

It’s the time of year for leaf removal in Leesburg and across Northern Virginia.  Did you know that 75% of our fall waste stream is leaf debris?  Most municipalities and even some private collection stations take this leaf debris and compost if for future use in planting or mulching around trees and shrubs!

Leaf removal is crucial for the health of your landscape.  Below are our top reasons to grab that rake and get moving on your leaf cleanup!

Leaf removal keeps your Leesburg grass happy

Leaf debris can smother turf and even kill some of the new grass that you just planted this year.  Wet matted leaves cut off the air supply to your turf and block the sunlight your grass needs to store energy for growth. Save your yard by keeping it clear of leaves, especially over the winter months.

Leaves can be dangerous

For safety reasons, it’s smart to remove leaves from driveways, sidewalks, and other hard surfaces. As many of you may have found out, leaves are slippery, especially when wet!  Leaves can also mask other hazards such as holes or items that can cause you to trip and fall.

Leaf removal enhances the look of your winter landscape

Removing leaves enhances the aesthetic of your landscape, preparing it for some beautiful Leesburg snow in the winter. Keeping your yard and plant beds free of leaves gives them a clean look and increases your home’s curb appeal. This beauty is even further increased if your pristine Leesburg landscape is surrounded by natural woods or tress.

Collected leaves can be re-purposed for mulching

Leaves can be a great form of insulation around tree and shrub roots over the winter.  The leaves prevent the soil from drying out and keep the roots warm and moist so they can stay healthy.  Over time, the leaves break down and provide nutrients to help the trees and shrubs grow.

As the leaves fall this autumn, make a plan for leaf removal. Our experts at Sunrise Landscape and Design are happy to help! We offer a range of fall services in Leesburg and across Northern Virginia. Contact us for a personalized quote and enjoy the beauty of the season without any of the worry of leaf clean-up!

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Walkways and Patios – Great Falls and Leesburg, VA

Herndon Great Falls Leesburg backyard patio and walkway

A beautiful walkway and a “come stay a while” patio are a wonderful addition to your Great Falls or Leesburg home. They also increase your property value.  Your walkway is the first impression people will have as they approach your home; it should harmonize with the surrounding landscape and serve as a snapshot of your home’s personality.  A patio, on the other hand, is an extension of your living space where you can create an oasis within your property.  Paying attention to the design of both of these elements can pay great long-term dividends.

Walkways

A beautiful, well-maintained front walk increases curb appeal immediately, adds value to your home, and makes coming home each day a more pleasant experience.  Who couldn’t use THAT at the end of a long work day?  Aside from being unsightly, cracked and damaged walkways present an inherent danger to you, your family, and anyone who approaches your front door.  Beauty and safety need to be taken into account when deciding whether to repair or replace your Great Falls or Leesburg walkway.  This is where consulting an expert is critical.  A proper evaluation must be done to weigh the cost of repair versus the need to replace completely based on cracking, chipping, and potential soil erosion.

Replacing Your Walkway

If you decide replacing your walkway is the best option, it’s important to consider the types of materials available.  Crushed stone and gravel are inexpensive and easy to install, though the gravel will scatter and need replenishing from time to time. Be sure to add solid edging to contain the stones. This option, though inexpensive, may require more upkeep than your lifestyle will allow. Also, gravel paths are very difficult to keep clear when it snows, which we get our fair share of in Great Falls, Leesburg, and across Northern Virginia.

Brick, flagstone, and pavers are the longest-lasting option and visually the most striking.  A brick walkway can last over 100 years.  However, because of their longevity and the level of craftsmanship required to lay and prep the site, they can be the most expensive.  However, repair is fairly easy and economical since you can replace individual stones as needed.

You can also kick your walkway up a notch by adding landscape lighting.  Lighting can make a huge impact on curb appeal in addition to providing safety and security.  If you’re not able to use lights that require wiring, you can opt for solar fixtures instead.

Patios

A patio is an extension of your Great Falls or Leesburg living space so location is an important consideration.  How much sun will your patio receive?  How’s your view?  Are there large trees nearby that could suffer root damage or damage the patio?  Is there privacy?  Does sound carry?  If you’re planning to use your patio for outdoor entertaining and dining, you will want to have it close to the house, as it will increase the likelihood that you will use it.

The key is to design a patio that allows for easy flow between the indoors and outdoors.  There are endless design options to explore. You can make the space feel like a room by adding a pergola, use an existing wall of your home as a partial enclosure, wiring it for electricity and gas, etc.  In the planning stage, assisted by your landscape expert, you can play with options, deciding first and foremost, what size and scale will fit your needs and your budget.

All of these options can be explored with the help of a landscape professional at Sunrise Landscape and Design; we can help you plan what you see in your mind’s eye, with our eye towards what is the best suited for your existing landscape and fits within your budget.  With Sunrise Landscape and Design, we can make your vision a reality!

Contact us to get started on planning your perfect Great Falls or Leesburg patio or walkway. See more information on our Northern Virginia patios, walkways, and other hardscape options on our Hardscapes and Structures page.

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Small Yard Design Tips – Leesburg and Ashburn, VA

Small yard design tips Ashburn and Leesburg, VA

Create an outdoor oasis in a small space with our small yard design tips.

Tiny homes and spaces are becoming more popular in a time when people are trading large for small in order to have more money for travel and other life experiences. While Sunrise provides lawn maintenance and design services for yards of all sizes, we recognize that many people in our area are living in retirement communities and communities where large yards are not the focus, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create an outdoor oasis even in a small space.

We asked our amazing landscape designer, Alex, to share a few tips with our followers on ways to maximize a small yard and we have shared them below.

  1. Consider how you want to use your space.

    Do you entertain? Do you want a quiet place to read? Do you enjoy gardening? Are you looking for more privacy? All of these questions can be used to help hone in on what your ideal outdoor space should look like, and how it should function. Once you have a clear vision for HOW you want to use your space, the next step is planning.

  2. Make sure you do your homework.

    Small yards tend to have more utility lines running through them, so ALWAYS make sure you have lines marked before starting work and consider challenges such as drainage; watch for downspouts, and your neighbors’ downspouts, so that you can accommodate for how that may impact your small yard design plans.

  3. Plants are your friend.

    Sometimes a fence is not an option, or not in the budget, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have some privacy. Evergreens such as Emerald Green or Degroot Arborvitaes give great, quick privacy screening without a huge permanent footprint. Consider mixing in an evergreen hedge using Laurels or Boxwoods and for a splash of color, sprinkle a flowering tree (such as the Crape Myrtle) into your small yard design plan.

  4. Consider hiring a professional.

    While designing an outdoor space can be enjoyable for some, it can often lead to feeling generally overwhelmed with the number of options that are out there, and the challenge of overload when looking at Pinterest or other design sites. A professional landscape designer can work with you to bring your vision to life by providing helpful drawings for HOA approval, while making suggestions that will maximize your space and budget. Landscaping services don’t have to break the bank and working with a professional can often save you money in the long run with helpful recommendations.

Ready to start creating an oasis in your small Ashburn or Leesburg yard? Contact us for a personalized quote and small yard design from our team of experts.

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Healthy Lawn Maintenance- Loudoun County, VA

Healthy lawn Loudoun County, VA

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

1) Test your soil.

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

2) Choose a blend of quality seed.

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

3) Help the seed contact soil.

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

4) Water.

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

5) Fertilize.

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

6) Plan Ahead.

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

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

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

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Landscape 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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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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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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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.