Tag Archives: #landscape design

Dodge Winter Lawn Damage

Dodge Winter Lawn Damage
Winter conditions can present a wide range of challenges to your lawn and landscape, but there are precautions you can take to protect your lawn, as well as your trees and shrubs, from seasonal harm.

Preventive steps from the lawncare experts at TruGreen can help your lawn survive the winter season’s harsh elements.

Snow Plow Damage

Install brightly-colored boundary markers along the edges of paved areas to help protect lawn and shrubs from snow plow and snow thrower blades. Lightweight wooden stakes, at least four feet tall with bright reflective tape and brightly covered fiberglass rods, serve as good markers. Avoid heavy metal, fence posts and other large objects, as they can pose a hazard to snow plow operators.

Cold Temperature Stress

More so than any other season, trees and shrubs are vulnerable to changing weather conditions during the winter. Wide temperature fluctuation and extremely low temperatures are the biggest factors of tree stress, meaning your trees are more susceptible to things like frost cracks, sunscald and winter burn.

Keep twigs and limbs from breaking under the weight of ice by carefully brushing away, whenever possible, any snow load from plants, which will reduce the weight on the limbs and decrease the damage. Placing a burlap cover around shrubs such as boxwood and yews will help reduce winter desiccation.

Proper fertilization can help keep your trees and shrubs healthy well into spring, and allow them to better tolerate winter. A service can help with tree and shrub services customized to meet your landscape’s every need, including applications to control overwintering insects, pests and mites.

Freezing Temperatures

Damage to plants, shrubs and trees as a result of sustained low temperatures can typically go undetected until spring or early summer, when plants fail to produce new growth. To help prevent damage, maintain a two- to three-inch layer of mulch to help protect the crown and roots from weather extremes.

Winter Dehydration

During the colder months of winter, plants cannot replace moisture lost from leaves and needles. This leads to “dehydration” – technically known as desiccation. To help avoid this problem, maintain proper watering late into the fall, or water during periods of winter thaw.

Ice Melt

Ice-melting agents, such as rock salt and products containing calcium and magnesium chloride, may accumulate in the soil and cause damage to plants. Use extreme care when applying ice-melting agents to prevent damage to your plants or concrete surfaces.

Source: TruGreen.com.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2017. All rights reserved.

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High Tech Homes

It’s High Time for High-Tech Homes

More houses are turning into high-tech hubs of connectivity and convenience. Technology, in fact, has become one of the improvements most requested by homeowners, reports the Remodelers Council of the Greater Houston Builders Association (GHBA).

According to Matt Sneller, owner of Sneller Custom Homes and Remodeling in Spring, Texas, a low-voltage cabling and wiring infrastructure is the core of a connected home. The infrastructure supports everything from the alarm and audio systems to the HVAC and telephone.

Cameras are also a component in the connected home, says Bill Riley, owner of Bicycle Bungalows in Houston, Texas. Riley reports more of his clients are replacing costly security systems and monitoring services with self-controlled cameras.

LED lights are another sought-after, high-tech feature, due to their energy efficiency. Sneller recommends consulting with a cool lighting system company that offers products with geo-fencing technology, as well as smartphone control capability.

Appliance manufacturers have also joined the connected home club, now producing apps that allow homeowners to wirelessly control their appliances, and even take stock of the items within them, adds Riley.

According to Rob Douglass, owner of Texas Custom Patios, no high-tech home is complete without a connection to the outside. Douglass suggests installing a universal system that controls both indoor and outdoor features, such as a flat-screen television or surround-sound.

Source: Remodelers Council of the Greater Houston Builders Association (GHBA)

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

Tree Evaluation Part 2

Is It Time to Evaluate Your Trees? Pt. 2

By John Voket

In our last segment (Is It Time to Evaluate Your Trees? Pt.1), we introduced risk assessment measures homeowners might consider taking for the trees on their property. In this segment, we’ll dig into the methods and qualifications needed to carry out an assessment.

An arborist certified by the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) (TreeCareTips.org) can be beneficial when determining the safety of the trees on your property. The arborist, guided by ANSI A300 standards, will systematically evaluate your trees for risk in three levels.

Level 1: The arborist will view the tree(s) in question, whether in person or through photographs.

Level 2: The arborist will complete a 360-degree, ground-level observation of the tree or trees in question, examining the roots, trunk and crown for structural defects.

Level 3: The arborist will perform advanced diagnostic procedures, which may include extracting samples for lab analysis.

The arborist’s risk assessment method may vary between the following:

1. International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Tree Hazard Evaluation Method
2. ISA Tree Risk Assessment Best Management Practice (BMP) Method
3. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service Community Tree Risk Evaluation Method

The first method is impractical when assessing one or a few trees on a residential property—in a recent study, it was determined the method “runs the risk of being misused by commercial or consulting arborists who inspect individual trees in a residential setting.”

The same study revealed the third method, though adequate, may sacrifice detail, especially with regard to the tree’s condition and site history.

The second method, according to the study, is most appropriate for residential properties. It develops a list of multiple targets for a single tree, generating a “flexible, yet standardized means of coping with multifaceted assessment scenarios.” The disadvantage to this method, however, is the time needed to complete the assessment, the study found.

Consult with your arborist to determine which method will be suitable to assess the trees on your property. He or she may combine facets of two or three to carry out a comprehensive evaluation.

Evaluate Your Trees Part 1

Is It Time to Evaluate Your Trees? Pt. 1

By John Voket

Having the trees on your property inspected regularly can help identify distress or decay before it becomes critical—and costly.

The Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) (TreeCareTips.org) recommends hiring a trained arborist to conduct a formal risk assessment. Several risk assessment methods exist, but three are the most widely accepted in North America:

• International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Tree Hazard Evaluation Method
• ISA Tree Risk Assessment Best Management Practice (BMP) Method
• United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service Community TreeRisk Evaluation Method

These methods are employed most often by tree care professionals, municipal forestry programs and government agencies. Before hiring an arborist, discuss which method will be used to evaluate your trees.

After the assessment, the arborist may give you a written or oral report with recommendations to mitigate any risks your trees may pose. Generally, there are three ways to reduce risk: removing the tree, treating the tree or treating the site. More than one option may be used depending on the situation, according to the TCIA.

An assessment is a wise step to take even if your trees appear safe, the TCIA adds. It is best to have a professional verify the safety of the trees on your property, especially if they hang over your house or other structures on your property.

In Pt. 2, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of each assessment method.

 

The Top 6 Landscape Design Trends for 2016

Lux lighting and edible arrangements are on the rise this year, according to the National Association of Landscape Professionals’ list of the top landscape design trends for 2016, a gathering of data based on current consumer demands and lifestyle trends, as well as broader horticultural, architectural and design factors.

“The latest trends reflect the desire to bring the indoors out — to create comfortable landscapes that are both functional and beautiful,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs, NALP. “At the same time, we’re seeing a shift toward sustainable landscapes that reflect a renewed sense of mindfulness for the Earth and its ecosystems.”

Specifically, NALP anticipates increased consumer interest in and adoption of the following six trends:

outdoor-space-6

  • Fully customized outdoor living spaces. As more and more homeowners entertain outdoors and make the most of time spent outside, landscapes have become extensions of interior spaces, complete with furniture and appliances. Beyond basic decks and patios, more landscapes this year will be transformed into full-service kitchens with brick ovens and grills, comfortable living and dining rooms featuring fireplaces and firepits, and romantic canopy bedrooms. Themed spaces, such as yoga gardens or bocce fields, further personalize outdoor retreats to fit homeowners’ interests.
  • Lighted and high-tech landscapes. A natural extension of the outdoor-lighting-2outdoor living trend is equipping these landscapes with creative and functional lighting and technological enhancements. Dramatic and boldly colored lights, twinkling accent lighting in walkways, backyard Wi-Fi and TV installations are just some of the ways gardens are getting tech-savvy in 2016.
  • Eco-friendly and native gardens. “Naturescaping” — selecting and growing native plants to attract birds, insects and wildlife — is one method landscapers will continue to employ in 2016 to appeal to an increased interest in developing environmentally conscious landscapes. Busy homeowners seek simply beautiful landscapes that are easy to maintain, and naturescaping encourages the use of low-maintenance perennial native plants and innately manages water runoff. The installation of solar-powered lighting or energy-efficient LED lights is another way landscapes will go green this year.
  • Edible landscapes. The demand for low-maintenance options has made container gardens, which often do not require extensive care, grow in popularity. When combined with a preference for the natural and organic, a new trend emerges: edible landscapes. Fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables add texture and color variety to landscapes, while providing a fresh supply of delicious ingredients. Not limited to individual home gardens, edible landscapes will be planned and planted by landscape developers in neighborhoods and community residences in 2016.
  • Freshwater features. The techniques used to manage storm water will not be hidden in 2016. Rain barrels, rain gardens and stone retaining walls add stunning dimension to lush landscapes, while serving an important purpose of collecting, cleaning or stopping water. In fact, water and other non-plant features, including sculptures or pottery, are becoming focal points in landscapes.
  • Soothing hues. For the first time, Pantone, the authority on color and provider of color systems and technology for color communication, has announced the blending of two colors — Rose Quartz and Serenity — as its Pantone Color of the Year for 2016. Expect these soft, nature-inspired pink and blue hues to bloom in gardens this year as heritage rose bushes, Catherine Woodbury daylilies, Angelique tulips, blue lace delphinium, French hydrangea and others.download

For more information, visit LoveYourLandscape.com.