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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Our first 20 years in business…………. Thank You!

As my company Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. nears it’s 20 year business anniversary, there are so many positive thoughts that race through my mind.  First, I can’t believe it has been 20 years already! Since 1993, at the age of 19, my business began as a sole proprietorship that was operated out of my parents Des Plaines, IL. garage.  Thank you Mom and Dad for “dealing with me” during those critical start-up years!  Family Picture 4th of JulyAfter selling many of my personal belongings, my car, stereo, etc. to fund my new business venture, I was on my way and there was no turning back.  There were so many things to learn, but the shear excitement of starting a new landscape enterprise and being in business for myself was just too irresistible!

One thing is for sure, if it were not for the many great people that trusted and educated us along the way, there would be no Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. today.  From all of our valued clients, trusted staff, my understanding wife, my loving daughters, supportive family, vendors and close friends……..I owe everything –  Thank you!

Here’s to another 20 years of serving our customers, family and community to the best of our ability!

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Pine, Fir and Spruce Trees….. Do you know the difference?

Even though all evergreen trees are routinely called “pine trees” by the casual observer, there are other unique species that deserve to be called by their proper names.  To begin, we can differentiate between evergreen tree species (conifers) by identifying them as being either a Pine, Fir or Spruce tree.  Pacocha - western yellow pine treeSome of the distinguishing characteristics of the three conifers are their needles, cones and bark.  First let’s discuss the needle differences between the three evergreen trees types.  Pine tree needles are normally carried in groups of two or more (2, 3 or 5 per cluster) and are 1 to 3 inches long.  Fir and Spruce needles are individually attached to the branch and are only 3/4 to 1-1/2 inches long.  Pacocha - Spruce with conesA spruce tree needle will roll easily between your fingers (four sides to each leaf/needle) and is somewhat pointy where a fir needle is more flat (having only two sides) and a bit softer.  All conifers shed their needles and normally do so in the fall.  Since all conifers produce cones, it is another great way to differentiate between the three.  Pine cones are quite woody with a rigid feel.  Spruce cones have thinner and more flexible scales than pine cones (usually growing down – pointing toward the ground).  Pacocha - Manchurian Fir Abies holophyllaMature Fir tree cones grow upward (pointing toward the sky).  Since the bark of all conifer trees vary greatly, it is not a very reliable way to identify an evergreen tree.  Pine tree bark tends to be smooth when the tree is young, but becomes flaky and reddish-brown colored as it ages.  The bark of a Spruce tree is usually rough and becomes furrowed and scaly as it matures.  Fir trees have somewhat smooth bark that is often grayish when young, yet becomes furrowed as it matures.

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BEWARE…… Poison Ivy may be closer than you think!

Pacocha - Poison Ivy Along Residential Driveway and Down SpoutAs we experience another great summer season, I have been contacted by many area residents that have confirmed poison ivy contact on or near their property.  Anyone may have a chance encounter with poison ivy especially if you enjoy gardening, camping, walking or running along a local trail or even while repairing your back yard fence.  Pacocha - Poison Ivy Growing Within Residential Perennial BedReally, the locations where poison ivy can spring up are vast and ever expanding.  Since birds routinely spread poison ivy by seed after eating it’s berries, there really is no fertile soil that is off-limits to new poison ivy growth.  Not to mention that poison ivy contact is very normal for outdoor roaming animals as well.  Even though it appears that dogs and cats are primarily protected by their furry coats, Pacocha - Poison Ivy Growing Alongside a Rose Bush in A Residential Back Yardpetting a dog that has just run through a patch of poison ivy is a common way for people to come in direct contact with the toxic oil resin (urushiol) that poison ivy emits.  I highly recommend learning how to identify poison ivy so you can take the necessary actions needed when spending quality time in the great outdoors.  Please contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. to help identify and create a plan to eliminate anyPacocha - Poison Ivy with Berries Growing Along a Chain Link Fence troublesome poison ivy that may be growing on your greater Chicago area property.

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Trumpet vine is a beautiful flowering vine that can quickly outgrow it’s surroundings. Gardeners beware!!

Pacocha - Trumpet vine over taking a screened in roomIt’s hard to believe that such a beautiful plant as trumpet vine can appear so non-threatening when first planted, but quickly become a nightmare in your landscape if you are not prepared.Trumpet vine utility pole If left unchecked, trumpet vine will attach to and overtake almost any nearby desirable plant or surface (both horizontally and vertically) within it’s reach.  If you are looking for a plant to cling to and conceal an unsightly structure, pole, fence, etc. on your property, than trumpet vine is the plant of choice.

Trumpet vine over taking a deck Just be careful not to plant trumpet vine too close to your house, deck, garage, power poles, desirable bushes, etc. or you will need to invest many hours pruning or even removing this amazing vine.

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Coarse Textured Grass Variety That Can Handle the Heat and So Much More – Tall Fescue!

If you are looking for a lawn that can tolerate extreme heat, drought and even heavy foot traffic, than turf-type tall fescue is for you! Pacocha - Tall Fescue Turf Tall fescue is a cool-season grass that loves sunny or even partially shaded areas.  Tall fescue is commonly mixed with other turf grass varieties when planting a durable high-traffic lawn.  Tall fescue grows in dense patches, is deeply rooted, dark green in color and is commonly viewed as a weed grass to many discerning residential turf management professionals.  In comparison to desirable blue grass and rye grass, tall fescue has very wide leaf blades and is very coarse in it’s overall appearance (especially older tall fescue varieties).  Older tall fescue varieties can be routinely found in mature residential lawns, along roadsides and parks.

 

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