Just a few locations we have found and eliminated the problematic POISON IVY vine

Poison Ivy growing along the base of a back yard chain link fence.

Poison Ivy growing along the base of a back yard chain link fence

Poison Ivy growing within a stone covered bed space just off driveway edge

Poison Ivy growing within a stone covered bed space just off driveway edge

Poison Ivy growing along the edge of a wooded residential area facing a roadway

Poison Ivy growing along the edge of a wooded residential property facing a roadway

Poison Ivy growing within a perennial bed just behind a house

Poison Ivy growing within a perennial bed just behind house

Poison Ivy growing within ground cover located across front of house

Poison Ivy growing within ground cover located across front of house

Poison Ivy growing within AND through a back yard shed (1 of 4)

Poison Ivy growing within AND through the front side of a back yard shed (1 of 4)

Poison Ivy growing within AND through the rear corner of a back yard shed

Poison Ivy growing within AND through the rear corner of a back yard shed (2 of 4)

Poison Ivy growing atop the roof of a back yard shed (3 of 4)

Poison Ivy growing atop the roof of a back yard shed (3 of 4)

Poison Ivy growing within AND through a back yard shed has now grown into a neighbors yard through a wood fence (4 of 4)

Poison Ivy growing within AND through a back yard shed has now extended into a neighbors yard through a wood fence (4 of 4)

Poison Ivy growing along the base of a residential air conditioning unit

Poison Ivy growing through a residential wood fence from neighbors property

Please contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. for assistance identifying and removing poison ivy from your northern Illinois property.  Thank you for visiting!

 

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Three basic types of turfgrass weeds

The basic definition of a weed is any plant growing in a place that it is not wanted.

The three basic types of weeds found in managed stands of turfgrass are grassy weeds, grass-like weeds and broadleaf weeds.

1). Grassy Weed (Creeping Bentgrass, Quack Grass, Orchard Grass, Crab Grass, Nimblewill, etc.): Similar growth habit as desirable turfgrass. Grassy weeds are monocots, meaning they produce leaves one at a time.  Leaves are usually narrow and veins within the leaves run parallel to one another.

2). Grasslike weed (Yellow Nutsedge and Wild Garlic): Are not true grasses, but belong to the sedge and garlic families. From afar look similar to grasses, however sedges have triangular stems and develop from nutlets.  Wild garlic leaves are hollow.

3). Broadleaf weed (Dandelion, Plantain, Clover, Thistle, Spurge, Violet, Creeping Charlie, etc.): Have net-veined leaves that are normally wider than grass leaves.  Broadleaf weeds are dicots, meaning they produce leaves in pairs.  Usually color and flowers make broadleaf weeds very easy to identify.

Only after unwanted weeds have been properly identified can a suitable control plan be implemented.  Please contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any weed identification challenge or control requests you may have.

Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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5 Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Control Methods

The goal of any successful lawn and landscape management program is to optimize (not maximize) pest control over time.  A pest is any insect, mite, nematode, rodent, fungus, weed, or other organism that is problematic to humans, structures, plants or animals.  Integrated pest management often combines non-chemical and chemical control methods to reduce economic and aesthetic losses from pests.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Control Methods.

Cultural ControlThe continual improvement of plant health so it can successfully compete against pests (soil preparation, fertility, proper planting, plant selection, mulching and mowing).

Mechanical ControlThe physical elimination of a pest (cultivating, pruning, hoeing, weed removal, mowing and hand picking).

Biological ControlThe use of living organisms to lower pest populations (predators, parasites and pest diseases).

Preventative ControlThe act of preventing the initial entry and spread of pests (quarantines, inspections and certified seed).

Chemical ControlThe application of a pesticide to reduce a pest threat (to be used only after proper scouting has confirmed pest populations to be large enough to warrant chemical control).

Please contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any lawn and/or landscape related pest concern you may have.  Thank you for your time!

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When planting cool season grass seed…………. timing is key!

When planting grass seed it is not enough to properly prepare the soil, fertilize, choose a premium site specific grass seed, cover large seedbed areas to protect/retain moisture and routinely water.  In addition to each of the critical steps mentioned above, grass seed must be planted when soil temperatures are expected to reach/remain at 50 degrees or above to successfully germinate.

Pacocha - Lawn Repair by Seed 4-26-14

Ideally, grass seed should be planted in late summer/early fall (late August thru September) for best results. Late summer/early fall is a great time of the year for planting grass seed (non-shade areas in particular) due to cooler air temperatures, lawns are coming out of dormancy, soil temperatures remain warm and there is very little chance of frost or prolonged freezing temperatures.  In addition, rainfall becomes more routine and we experience less weed seed proliferation/competition for open exposed soil areas at this time.Pacocha - Lawn Repair by Seed 5-22-14

Spring grass seed planting (late March through mid-May) is great for shade tree covered lawn areas (below large and dense deciduous trees in particular).  It is only at this time of the year that you can really enhance the seed germination/root development process by taking advantage of additional sun exposure that happens to make it’s way through the early spring leafless tree canopies above.

Regardless of the season you decide to plant grass seed, you will need at least 4 hours of sunlight per day, soil temperature of at least 50 degrees and routine irrigation to successfully grow turfgrass from seed.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. for all of your grass seed planting and lawn care related needs.  Thank you for visiting and have a great day!

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Rabbits have eaten my bushes this winter!!!

Pacocha - Rabbit Damage 2Pacocha - Rabbit Damage 6After such a cold and snowy winter here in the greater Chicagoland area, it turns out that deciduous and evergreen bushes were not “off the menu” for feeding rabbits.  Since the majority of our ground was covered by a heavy blanket of snow for several months, rabbits were forced to eat above the snow layer wherever possible.  When feeding, rabbits can gnawPacocha - Rabbit Damage 7 the bark and small stems completely Pacocha - Rabbit Damage 5off of desirable plants and bushes within their reach.  Rabbits can reach food sources that are located up to 18″ above ground/snow cover (while standing on their hind legs).  When food is in short supply, rabbits will eat tree and shrub bark that is relatively young and thin.  Most deciduous and evergreen shrubs that have been targeted by hungry rabbits will recover over time by producing new replacement shoots.  It is a good practice to prune away the girdled branches just below the gnawed bark area for best long term plant health.  Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions or concerns you may have.  Thank you for taking the time to visit our site and have a great day!

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Mark, flag or map all shallow buried utilities BEFORE core aerating your lawn to avoid possible damage

Pacocha - AeratorAs winter ends and spring finally starts, many property owners will have their lawn’s core aerated.  Core aeration is the mechanical process of repeatedly penetrating the lawn/soil with a machine that removes a great many soil cores (1/2″ diameter x 2″-4″ deep) to further improve air, water and nutrient flow to the lawn’s root system.  Core aeration is great for relieving soil compaction and improving grass seed germination rates (when overseeding Pacocha - Aeration Soil Cores- pre or post aeration).  Even though core aeration is quite beneficial for your lawn’s health, the mechanical process itself can be very detrimental to any/all shallow (< 6″) unmarked underground utilities that are not avoided.

Here are a few of the most common underground “non-exposed” utilities that must be marked, flagged and/or mapped before core aerating your lawn.Pacocha - Underground Electric Dog Fence

  1. Sprinkler heads that have been overgrown by grass
  2. Shallow buried internet/tv cable lines
  3. Shallow buried “invisible” pet fencing systems
  4. Shallow buried electrical power lines (non-conduit encased in particular) feeding post lights, pond pumps, etc.
  5. Shallow buried landscape drainage or downspout extension linesPet fence wire_in_trench
  6. Grass covered landscape drain outlets, grates, pop-up emitters, etc.
  7. Lawn covered access covers for underground flood control systems
  8. Shallow buried low voltage wiring (landscape lighting, holiday decorations, irrigation system sensors, etc.)

Please remember, if the operator controlling Pacocha - Underground Drain Line with Pop Up Emitterthe core aerator cannot see an obstacle across the lawn or has not been informed of it’s shallow underground existence, there is a very good chance that the steel tines below the core aerator will contact, break or severe the hidden buried object.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha landscaping Services, Inc. to learn more about the process of core aerification and it’s many benefits.  Thank you for your interest!

 

 

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A few proven ways to reduce labor, save money and increase the quality of your residential lawn and landscape management service

Over the last 20 years or so I have had the privilege of performing lawn and landscape related services at several thousand Chicago area properties.  As you can imagine, there are many time consuming variables on each individual property that can either add or lessen the total number of seasonal man hours needed to properly service a lawn and/or landscape.Pacocha - Open Lawn Area Nicely Stripped

Here are a few ways to lower the cost of professional lawn and landscape care by reducing the labor needed to produce it.Pacocha - Narrow Back Yard Passage Further Obstructed by a Concrete Stoop

1). Increase the width of entry into your back yard (if possible).  Common commercial walk behind mowers are 36″ wide and require a clear opening that is at least 38″ wide  to safely pass through.  It is very common to spend 30% less labor when using a 36″ walk behind mower (or larger) over a standard 21″ push mower.  In addition, a 36″ wide (or greater) commercial mower offers a far superior quality of cut and finish over a small 21″ push mower.Pacocha - Multiple Above Ground Elongated Drain Lines

2).  Relocate or bury any/all misdirected downspouts and sump pump outlet pipes that happen to cross into heavily traveled lawn or property passageways.  Additional time is usually needed  to disconnect (where applicable), work around and/or lift maintenance equipment over aluminum, PVC, plastic, etc. drain pipes to complete a routine maintenance visit.Pacocha - Underground Drainage Improvements

3).  Reduce watering schedules during cooler spring and/or fall rainy seasons (in particular).  We highly recommend the creation of a custom watering schedule that can be routinely adjusted (+/-) throughout the course of each and every growing season.  Over watering a lawn usually stimulates unwanted excess top growth and over saturates the soil which leads to poor grass plant health. Increasing levels of lawn stress and maintenance labor are normally the case when “ever-wet” conditions exist.Pacocha Water Irrigation System

4). Create larger “flowing” lawn areas instead of multiple small hard to reach turf areas (wherever possible).  When planning what mowing equipment will be needed to properly service your property, it is very beneficial (improved quality of finish with less labor needed) to have lawn areas that are wide enough to reach by commercial mower (36″+ wide generally preferred).   As you may or may not know, a small hand held grass trimmer(aka line trimmer, weed eater, string trimmer, etc.) is a piece of equipment that is used to trim growing grass along, around or within areas that are difficult to reach by conventional lawn mower.  Hand held line trimmers rarely allow for the quality of cut that a lawn mower can produce.Spring Cleanup - Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc.

5). Add a layer of wood mulch across any/all open bare soil plant bed spaces.  Not only will wood mulch provide beneficial moisture retention for your plants, but a decent 2″ +/- layer of shredded wood mulch will slow down unwanted weed growth and make your overall landscape look fantastic.  Great amounts of landscape maintenance labor can be saved by creating an environment that lessens the possibility of weed seed germination and survival.  Whether it be mulch covered plant beds or a dense lawn, the goal is the same, do not let weed seeds germinate in sun exposed open soil.Pacocha - Large Open Lawn Area Post Lawn Care Application

6). Mulch grass clippings.   The mulching of grass clippings are a great way to add beneficial nutrients to your soil and reduce the additional labor and disposal fees generated from removing green debris off-site.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions, comments or service requests you may have.

Thank you for your time and have a great day!

 

 

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How much does 1 cubic yard of deicing salt weigh anyway?

Here is a little experiment our team at Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. did to quickly verify how much rock salt (by weight) would fit into a 1 yard loader bucket.

Pacocha - Bagged Salt to Equal 1 Ton - 40 Bags of 50 pound salt bags Empty 1 Yard BucketWe started by filling the 1 yard bucket with 50lb. bags of rock salt (our known weight constant).

Pacocha - Filling Bagged Salt in Bucket to Equal 1 Ton - 40 Bags of 50 pound salt bags

Bulk deicing salt generally weighs about 80 lbs. per cubic foot (1 cubic yard = 27 cubic feet) which equals 2,160 lbs. per cubic yard or just over 1 ton.

Pacocha - Almost Filled Bucket with Bagged Salt to Equal 1 Ton - 40 Bags of 50 pound salt bags

The moisture content of salt will also play a part in it’s overall weight at any given time.

Pacocha - Filled Bucket with Bagged Salt to Equal 1 Ton - 40 Bags of 50 pound salt bags

We filled the 1 yard material bucket with 40 bags (50 lbs. each) of deicing rock salt.  Since of course 2,000 lbs. equals 1 ton, we can quickly rationalize (without the use of a scale) that generally speaking, 1 ton of deicing salt can easily translate into 1 yard of material by volume.

Pacocha - Bagged Salt to Equal 1 Ton - 40 Bags of 50 pound salt bags Full

40 – 50lb. bags of Diamond Crystal Winter Melt (Rock Salt – Halite) placed in a 1 yard material bucket pictured.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. for more information on our extremely reliable Chicago area snow and ice management services.

 

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Trust, but verify! Snow, sleet and ice accumulation reporting by a third party certified meteorologist.

A very important part of our customer service approach at Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. is the ability to keep very detailed records of any/all services performed at a client’s property (snow and ice management services in particular).  Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc.Whether it be an itemized invoice to indicate the exact services performed during each individual winter event, time related records to verify when services were performed or even quantifying the amount and/or type of ice melt material used, we insist on providing our valued clients this information so they can continually determine the value of any/all services rendered.  Pacocha - VBox Salt SpreaderIn addition to all of the winter service related operational detail our company stores and maintains, we also employ the services of Murray and Trettel, Inc. (Weather Command staff of professional certified meteorologists).  The team over at Murray and Trettel, Inc. provides our company with a snowfall accumulation report by event to verify any/all snow or ice accumulation that occurs on any given date.  Pacocha - Snow Accumulation ReportThe detailed snow and ice reports indicate the average amount of snow that has accumulated on a per city basis, start and stop times of each snow event and even a seasonal snow accumulation total by city.  Please be sure to contact our team at Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. to assist with any commercial, industrial or residential snow and ice management need you may have.  Thank you for reading about our company and have a great day!

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On-site ice melt material storage for maximum application efficiency!

Pacocha - Bulk Treated Salt Being Dumped at a PropertyEvery winter, property owners, managers and of course contractors rely heavily on the ability to melt troublesome snow and ice from our paved roads, parking lots, driveways and sidewalks.  A common snow and ice melting practice includes the application of specific granular and/or liquid ice melt materials (sodium chloride, calcium chloride, potassium chloride, etc.) directly to paved surfaces either before, during and/or after a winter precipitation event.  Ice free pavement can be readily achieved with the right ice melt material, calibrated application equipment and proper timing.  A great way to ensure the best application timing and to reduce the cost of ice melt materials applied is by maintaining adequate seasonal ice melt supply directly at the property being serviced.

Pacocha - Loader at entry of steel salt storage containerHere are a few proven ways to store granular ice melt materials (bulk or bagged) at your commercial or industrial property.

1). Temporary steel storage container (also known as a shipping container or conex box). Sizes vary from 10′ to 53′ in length, 8′-10′ in width and up to 9.5′ tall.  Containers can be rented or purchased.

2). Unused garages or sheds.

3). Temporary bulk material bin made from Pacocha - Stacked concrete block salt bindry stacked precast concrete blocks.  Blocks normally come in sizes from 3′ to 6′ long and are 2′ wide and 2′ tall.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any winter service related questions you may have.  Thank you for reading our blog and have a great day!

 

 

 

 

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