Recommended Ice Melt Material……… Thunder Melt!

If you are responsible for winter maintenance (ice melting and plowing snow) at a northern Illinois commercial property, I highly recommend taking a look at this particular bulk ice melt material to properly service your property.

It is not very often that a material has a lasting impression on me (bulk deicing salt inPacocha - Stainless Steel V Box Salt Spreader Truck particular), but this this experience is different.  After many years of storing, grinding and even milling down frozen clump-prone untreated rock salt in preparation of spreading eventually, along comes a treated salt product that really surpasses all other bulk ice melt materials we have used to date.  It’s called Thunder Melt and is sold by Conserv FS.  It melts snow and ice very effectively and truly remains granular and machine spreadable no matter the sub-freezing temperature.

Material details for your review:

  • Cut application rate by 25%-30%
  • Safe surface faster and lasts longer with less product used
  • Resistant to wind and bounce
  • Non-caking and does not clump or clog application equipment
  • Delivered in semi truck loads of 22-24 tons (only)
  • More effective at lower temperatures than straight sodium chloride
  • Formulated with patented corrosion inhibitor
  • Sold and delivered by Conserv FS

Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc.Please contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. for all your snow and ice management related needs.  Thank you for taking the time to visit our site.  Have a great day!

 

 

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Improved Snow Management Services: Provide unobstructed on-site areas to adequately accommodate snow plowed piles

Whenever visiting a new prospective snow and ice management property, one of the first things we quickly notice is if there are any plants, fences, sprinkler heads and/or any other obstructions located within anticipated plowed snow stacking areas.

Pacocha - Skid Steer Loader with Containment Plow

Plentiful OPEN and UNOBSTRUCTED snow piling areas usually translate into maximum snow clearing efficiency and reduced cost of overall service.

Here are a few important details that if implemented, will further improve the quality of snow and ice management services currently performed at your property.

  • Prepare a formal plan with your snow removal service provider that indicates acceptable on-site locations where any/all plowed snow can be staged.
  • Avoid (or relocate) delicate ornamental fencing and non-critical signage located adjacent to plowed drives, roads, parking lot and sidewalk areas (if possible).Pacocha - Entry Snow Drift Removal
  • Ensure irrigation system components (heads, risers, etc.) are installed properly below the soil surface to avoid shovel, snow blower or snow plow contact/damage.
  • If plants must be installed within the 4′ wide (or less) areas surrounding snow plowed or ice melt treated surfaces, be sure to choose salt tolerant/hardy/sturdy plant varieties that can tolerate winter related stress.
  • Be sure to install snow marker stakes (at least 2′-4′ tall) along the edges of inconspicuous parking lot and sidewalk areas targeted for snow removal.
  • If possible, place mobile garbage containers/dumpsters in an area that will not interfere with planned snow piling, stacking or staging areas.
  • If property has limited parking spaces available (overall), be sure to use traffic cones or other temporary markers to ensure no vehicles park within specified parking stall spaces needed for snow staging/piling.

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Please remember that when hiring a qualified contractor to clear snow and ice from your site, it is very beneficial (for the property owner and contractor alike) if adequate open space is made readily available for shoveled, pushed or plowed snow.

Please contact our team at Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. for any snow and ice removal services needed at your northwest suburban Chicago area property.

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

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A fruit bearing perennial TOXIC WEED that has many unique uses dating back hundreds of years!!

One day a client asked if I would stop by his property to look at a few small projects he needed taken care of.  So during my property visit I noticed a very striking plant.  The client indicated that he did not plant it and asked me if I knew what it was.  I just shook my head and said I could not identify the plant off hand.  The plant had grown quite nicely in a small bed space just behind his house to a height of about 5′ tall, had beautiful deep red-purple colored stems and awesome long strands of berries.  I took a few pictures and performed a Google Image search later that evening.  It turned out that the mysterious plant was called Pokeweed and has a very long detailed history.

Pacocha - Pokeweed 3

I was amazed that this perennial “weed” had grown to be such a beautiful mature plant.

What really interested me besides the very unique color and berries produced by Pokeweed was that all parts of the plant itself are considered toxic and not recommended for human, pet and/or livestock consumption.  However, pokeweed berries and it’s dried roots have been used in herbal remedies, for red food coloring and even to make ink and dye.

Pokeweed Facts and Folklore:

  •  The common name ‘pokeweed’ originates from the Native American word for ‘blood’, referring to the red dye that can be made from the fruit (however, the color is difficult to fix). Some of the other common names, such as ‘inkberry’ and ‘inkweed’, refer to this use.Pacocha - Pokeweed 1
  • Juice from pokeweed berries was once used to ‘improve’ the color of cheap red wine.
  • Supporters of President James Polk wore pokeweed twigs instead of campaign buttons during the 1845 campaign.
  • Medical researchers have isolated a protein (pokeweed antiviral protein or PAP) from pokeweed that is being used to try to inhibit the replication of the HIV virus in human cells.
  • Roots, leaves and berries of common pokeweed were used medicinally by Native Americans and early settlers to treat a variety of conditions from hemorrhoids to headaches.
  • The young shoots and leaves of pokeweed have been eaten as greens (‘poke sallet’), boiled with the water changed several times prior to consumption. The taste is described as similar to that of asparagus or spinach. Berries have been used to make pie. However, ingestion of any part of common pokeweed cannot be recommended
  • Pacocha - Pokeweed 2

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions, comments or ideas on how we can be of further assistance to you.  Thank you for taking the time to read our blog and have a great day!

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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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