It’s much too hot and way too dry…….. will my lawn be ok?

The first cool-season lawn areas to show signs of heat related stress will likely consist of Kentucky bluegrass and fine fescue grass plant varieties.  Lawn areas that are not routinely watered, experience full-sun exposure or are found growing atop shallow heat-retaining objects (sewers, utilities, compacted materials, etc.) or alongside curbs, sewer covers, sign posts, etc. will go dormant first when temperatures hold in the mid-to-upper 90’s and moisture is non-existent.

In most cases, as cooler temperatures return and routine rainfall becomes the norm, your lawn will awaken from it’s dormancy and return to it’s beautiful self all on it’s own and without any additional help.  However, depending on the total duration and severity of the heat/drought experienced, season-end lawn repairs by seed may be needed to rebuild any/all lost lawn density.

Here are a few seasonal lawn care tips to remember when we experience severe heat and dry conditions

  • Try to keep foot, bicycle or vehicle traffic across all heat effected lawn areas to a bare minimum.
  • Water regularly all season long to ensure dormant-prone grass plant varieties thrive and survive.
  • If a routine watering program is not possible for any reason, do not begin to water your lawn sporadically after your lawn has already gone dormant.  Just let your lawn come out of dormancy on it’s own, over time and as cooler weather and routine rainfall allows.
  •  Mow lawn high (3.5″+/-) all season long for best overall grass plant health and to encourage critical root development.
  • Core aerate lawn every fall to relieve soil compaction and allow for improved air/nutrient/water flow to your lawns root zone.
  • Incorporate the planting of drought-tolerant cool season grass varieties into your seasonal lawn improvement program.

Please be sure to let our team at Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. know if we we can be of help or answer any questions you may have.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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Weeds are growing in my newly seeded lawn …….. what to do?

When planting a new lawn from seed (in particular), soil is normally added, amended, cultivated and/or aerated to provide optimum seed-growing conditions.  Lightly cultivated soil is critical for new grass seed germination and eventual plant/root development, but also happens to be the “open door” needed for any/all competing nearby weed seed to flourish.

Here are a few precautions that can be taken to lessen the possibility of unwanted weed growth within your improved soil/new lawn area.

1). If attempting to grow grass within an area that already has a large population of weeds (broadleaf, grassy or grass-like weeds) consider applying a selective or non-selective herbicide to all unwanted growing vegetation a few weeks before soil preparation/seed planting takes place to completely eliminate the problematic weeds found (roots and all).

2). Plant grass seed in late summer/early fall to avoid increased spring season weed seed competition.

3). Use a premium blend of site-specific grass seed that contains 0% weed/noxious weed seed.

4). Consider mechanical slit-seeding (when existing site and soil conditions allow) to plant new grass seed directly into the soil through an existing stand of turf grass.

5). When planting grass seed in large lightly cultivated soil areas, consider covering all newly planted areas with seed germination blanket to lessen the exposure to wind-blown weed seed, feeding birds, etc..

If all precautions were taken, but a few problematic broadleaf weeds still happened to grow within your newly seeded areas, no problem at all.  Here are a few simple steps that can be taken to eradicate the unwanted weeds found growing in your prized new lawn.  If a small area, just manually pull any/all weeds found as they appear.  If a larger area, spot treat the visible broadleaf weed foliage with a selective liquid herbicide to completely eliminate the weed (root and all).  As lawn density builds over time, weed competition will become less problematic due to less bare soil exposure.

Just remember, planting or repairing a lawn from seed is not a quick proposition and without it’s fair share of short term challenges (maintenance, irrigation, environmental conditions, etc.).  However, it is our continued opinion that planting a site specific lawn from premium disease resistant grass seed is the very best way to grow a healthy stand of turf grass that will eventually prove worth the wait.  Please consider Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. for your next lawn improvement project.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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Mechanical Slit-Seeding = Best Way to Rebuild a Thinning Lawn

Slit-seeding is the mechanical process of planting premium site-specific grass seed through an existing stand of turfgrass, directly into the soil.

Unlike general over-seeding where a spreader is normally used to simply broadcast seed over a lawn (hoping grass seed will eventually reach soil to begin the germination process), mechanical slit-seeding ensures critical seed-to-soil contact by slicing through the lawn and planting the seed directly into the soil.  Mechanical slit-seeding is best performed in late summer/early fall, but can be completed in the spring as long as NO crabgrass prevention herbicides are used (pre/post slit-seeding).  For even better results, core aerate the targeted lawn areas before slit-seeding and apply a granular seed starter fertilizer (high in phosphorus) shortly after.  While slit-seeding may not be the most efficient or cost-effective way to plant an entirely new lawn from bare soil, the process really excels when rebuilding an existing lawn that has declined from such issues as disease, heavy physical use, drought, etc..

Mechanical slit-seeding provides excellent seed germination rates and should be incorporated into any professional long-term lawn improvement program.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any lawn care or mechanical slit-seeding questions you may have.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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Contractor’s LEGOS!!

Whenever a contractor has to store bulk material in a somewhat orderly and cost effective manner (temporary or long-term), he often turn’s to stackable concrete blocks to meet the challenge.  These 2′ x 2′ x (3′ or 6′) long solid interlocking concrete blocks can be readily moved and set in place with a capable loader/forklift (3,000 lb lift capacity minimum – block size/weight dependent) and a few capable men.  The majority of these concrete blocks have a built-in (poured in place) steel rebar lifting point strategically placed at the center of each block.  Just attach a high strength chain outfitted with a lifting hook and you are all set to move and posistion the block.  These blocks can be stacked 3 courses+/- high as long as the ground below proves stable enough and all blocks are staggered to properly off-set ends of each block (vertical joints should not line up when stacking blocks beyond two courses high).

Depending on the bulk material being stored, a roof can be built atop the bin to provide additional protection from rain and snow (deicing salt, top soil, etc.).  Thank you for visiting our site and as always, please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions pertaining to your lawn, landscape and snow management needs.  Have a great day!

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No Chicago area snow cover means NO SNOW MOLD for your lawn…… YES!!

March 20, 2015 – Snow Mold Found Within Lawn Area Located Between Two Residential Driveways

Since we have had absolutely no snow covering the ground over the past few winter months, experienced a fairly steady rise in soil temperatures recently and have had only occasional rainfall, you can be fairly certain that your Chicago area lawn will have little chance of suffering through a gray snow mold outbreak for this 2017 spring season.

Early Spring of 2012 – Shade Prone Lawn Area Last to Melt Snow

Gray snow mold is an early spring season turfgrass disease that usually occurs shortly after a cold and snowy winter. Normally begins when soil temperatures warm well before any/all lingering snow cover melts away.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions or assistance you may need for this 2017 growing season and beyond.  Thank you for visiting!

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Can you help me get this stuff out of here?!?

Ever wonder where you can go to get rid of a few old tires, construction debris, asphalt shingles or even an old unsalvageable appliance you happened to have laying around your residential property?  We’ll, if you happened to reside in the northwest suburban Chicago area, wonder no more, I have just the place for you!

It’s called The Glenview Transfer Station and is located in Des Plaines, right across the street from the Maryville Academy.  Their address is 1151 N River Road  Des Plaines, IL.  60016  – (847)724-9205 or email: info@swancc.org.  The facility is managed/operated by the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC).  Try to contact them directly before you stop by, especially if your first time at the facility, just to make sure they can take the particular type of waste/debris you need to dispose of.

Please find a list of their current residential disposal rates located just below (as of 1/29/17).
Residential Waste: $73.00 per ton ($36.50 minimum)
White Goods: $25.00 per item (refrigerator, washer, dryer, etc.)
Asphalt Shingles: $45 per ton (no minimum)                               Roll-Off Rental Program:  $299.00 per container (10′ x 7′ x 4′  – 2 to 4 tons of material)                                                                       ** Please Note: Household hazardous waste (paint, cleaning products, motor oil or automotive batteries), any type of landscape waste, concrete, asbestos roofing shingles and materials or medical/liquid wastes are NOT accepted at the drop-off by residents.**

If by chance the job of loading/transporting/unloading unwanted residential construction waste, old appliances, etc. is not quite for you, don’t worry, just give us a call.  Our team at Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc.  would be happy to help any way we can.  Thank you for visiting and have a great day!

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Happy 2017!

We would like to say thank you for a wonderful 2016 and wish you and your family nothing but the best for 2017.

Happy New Year!

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Oak Tree = Living Heirloom

It seems that the older I become the more I appreciate trees that manage to survive the test of time.  Oak trees in particular are hardwood trees that can easily outlive us by several generations.  

pacocha-large-oak-tree

Please find a few distinguishing traits that may help you select and plant just the right oak tree for your property.

  • Oak trees are divided in two main groups, white or red oakpacocha-red-and-white-oak-tree-groups
  • Oak trees are deciduous hardwood trees
  • There are nearly 60 different oak tree varieties that are native to the United States
  • White oak leaves have rounded lobes where red oaks generally have leaves that have pointed lobes
  • Oak trees first produce acorns after they reach 20 to 30 years of age
  • White oaks generally have lighter gray colored bark where red oak trees have dark colored bark
  • Fall transplanted oak tree sapling

    Fall transplanted oak tree sapling

    Oak trees can live several hundred years

  • Oak trees have a very substantial tap root that grows deep underground. Most lateral growing oak tree roots are found just under the soil surface (18 inches +/- deep @ 6 to 7 times width of tree canopy)
  • Oaks can grow to become 60 to over 100 feet tall
  • Oak tree canopies can spread 40-70 feet wide
  • White oak trees are slow growers, only 1 foot +/- per year. Red oaks can grow up to 2 feet per year
  • Oak trees like well drained soils
  • Ideally, try to plant an oak tree at least 20 feet away from houses and other structures.
  • Never plant an oak tree under power lines.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions you may have or if we can help in any other way.  Thank you for visiting and have a great day!

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What is this so called nimblewill you speak of?

Nimblewill is a warm season perennial grass that has a tendency to grow in patches and is occasionally found growing in poorly drained soil and lightly shaded lawn areas.  Nimblewill is considered a weed grass and is never planted on purpose.  Nimblewill can spread by seed and/or by it’s lightly rooted spreading stems (stolons).

pacocha-nimblewill-growing-in-lawn

You can easily notice a lawn that has nimblewill growing in it during the early spring and late fall months (in particular).  Once cooler temperatures and first frost occurs, nimblewill will die back to the ground and change from it’s normal bluish/green summer color to a straw-like tan color.

pacocha-patches-of-dormant-nimblewill-grass

Once identified and only when the target plant is actively growing (May thru August), nimblewill can be completely eliminated by spot applying a selective or non-selective herbicide.  Shortly after the treated nimblewill areas have completely died back (14 to 21 days post non-selective herbicide application), any/all necessary steps can be taken to complete the final lawn repairs needed (additional top soil, grass seed, etc.).

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions or service requests you may have.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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Seed Germination Blanket ………… NEVER plant a new lawn from seed without it!!

pacocha-installing-seed-germination-blanketWhenever starting a new lawn from seed, it is highly recommended to cover all improved bare soil/seed planted areas with germination blanket for best results.  Seed germination blanket is a bio-degradable, wood fiber stranded mat-like material that is sold by the roll (4′ or 8′ wide x 150’+/- long) and often times includes nylon netting for strength.  Use germination blanket to cover any/all large seed planted bare soil areas.pacocha-stapling-seed-germination-blanket-to-soil  For smaller lawn repairs (+/- 10 square feet), a simple peat moss covering is still preferred.

Here are a few reasons why you should use seed germination blanket when planting a new lawn from seed.

  • Protect newly planted seed from blowing wind, feeding birds and even heavy rain down pours.pacocha-rear-of-back-yard-lawn-repair-seed-germination-blanket
  • Steel staples (4″ to 6″ long) provide secure attachment of blanket to soil below.
  • Reduce air-borne weed seed from ever contacting soil.
  • Great soil erosion protection (prior to grass establishment in particular).
  • Achieve fantastic seed germination rates!
  • Clean overall appearance.
  • New grass grows directly through blanket covering, no need to remove.
  • Retains water to further aid in seed germination/plant root development.
  • Unwanted debris can be easily blown off blanket covering with little chance of seed disturbance.

pacocha-fitting-seed-germination-blanket

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions or if there is anything we can do to be of additional help.  Thank you for visiting!

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MUSHROOMS are growing in my lawn ………. why my yard??

Every growing season, especially after heavy ground saturating rains, mushrooms start to appear in select lawn and wood mulched landscape bed areas.  Wherever dead buried organic material exists you will eventually find some type of mushroom growing near by.

Pacocha - Multiple Mushrooms Growing in Lawn

Mushrooms are simply the visible top growths extending from buried fungi in the soil below.

Pacocha - Mushroom Growing in Lawn

One way to possibly stop (or slow) new mushroom’s from growing is to remove it’s buried food source.Pacocha - Clusters of Mushrooms Growing in Lawn

Here are just a few of the organic food sources that will eventually lead to new mushroom growth: dead buried roots, buried wood, thick layers of wood mulch, under wood piles, old tree stump areas, etc.

Pacocha - Mushrooms Growing in Mulch Covered Bed                  Pacocha - Single Upright Mushroom Growing in Lawn                Pacocha - Red Colored Mushrooms Growing in Plant Bed

Please be sure to let our team at Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. know if we can be of additional help or answer any questions you may have.  Thank you for visiting and have a great day!

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Boo……. THISTLE …….. Boo ……….. GO AWAY ALREADY!!!

Anyone that has had a run-in with thistle around their yard knows how tough this broadleaf weed is and how difficult it is to completely eradicate.  With it’s deep and wide spreading root mass and sharp pointed prickly foliage, it will not pull out of the ground easily (or completely) without a fight.  Pacocha - Thistle Foliage Close UpThe only effective and proven way we have found to completely kill mature thistle (in particular) is by applying a selective or non-selective (site dependent) systemic herbicide directly to it’s foliage.  Often times several spot herbicide applications are needed over the course of many growing seasons (3 to 5 years) to completely kill thistle found growing in a regularly maintained lawn (in particular).Pacocha - Large Thistle Found Growing in Bed Along Walkway

Tips on controlling and keeping thistle out of your lawn and landscape.

  • Thistle can have a biennial or perennial life cycle (specific thistle variety dependent)
  • Never plant a new lawn or create new gardens without first completely eliminating any/all resilient thistle plants first.
  • When applying a systemic herbicide, allow plenty of time (4-8 weeks) for the liquid herbicide (selective or non-selective – site dependent) to translocate through the entire plant (from foliage to root mass) thus ensuring a complete kill.
  • It is much easier to chemically eradicate thistle when therePacocha - Thistle Growing in Lawn are no other desirable plants (manicured turf grass, ground cover, vegetables, etc.) located in close proximity to the unwanted weed.
  • Always eradicate thistle found in lawn areas AND adjacent plant bed spaces.  Since thistle spreads by seed, rhizome and/or cut root segments (variety of thistle dependent) it will continue to spread anywhere it can unless totally eliminated.
  • Thistle seed can remain viable in the soil for up to 20 years!!
  • If you have a bird feeder in your yard, try to avoid using bird feed that includes thistle seed.
  • Continue to monitor your property for young thistle plants and try to manually remove them whenever possible.  If manual removal is no longer a feasible option, spot treat them with a systemic selective (lawn areas) or non-selective (areas where no other desirable vegetation is located) herbicide before the plant is allowed to flower and set seed.Pacocha - Multiple Thistle Growing in Lawn
  • Canada thistle (in particular) is considered to be a noxious perennial weed in Illinois and should be controlled by the land owner whenever found (Illinois Noxious Weed Law – 505 ILCS 100/)Pacocha - Thistle Growing in Lawn Adjacent to Plant Bed

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions you may have or to schedule an on-site consultation.  Thank you for visiting and have a great day!

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What is a pop-up drainage emitter anyway?

Pacocha - PVC Drain Fitted with Pop Up Drain EmitterWhen installing an extended underground downspout or sump pump drain, it is always a good idea to direct excess discharged water away from your foundation and into a water safe area several feet away (open lawn area, french drain, dry well, etc.).

Pacocha - Pop Up Emitter AttachmentA great way to finish off the open outlet point of a buried corrugated or PVC drain pipe (directed to an open lawn area – in particular) is with a pop-up drainage emitter cover.  Unlike a standard round grate type drain cover which may allow soil and small debris to flow back into the buried pipe, Pacocha - EZ Flow to Corrugated to Pop Up Drainage Emitter Covera pop-up emitter is a clean looking alternative that remains closed until passing water pressure forces it open.  They blend nicely into any lawn area (green color) and are the perfect outlet cover for any 3″ to 6″ diameter buried drain pipe installation.

Thank you for visiting our site and please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions or service requests you may have.  Have a great day!

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Tri-Color Beech …… what a unique tree!!

Pacocha - Tri Color Beech TreeIf I have to name one tree as my favorite, it has to be a European Tri-Color Beech.

Pacocha - Tri Color Beech Tree LeavesThey are such beautiful trees with their colorful variegated leaves (sometimes pink-white-purple-green or rose colored) which make it a complete stand-out in the landscape.  They like part shade and do not fare well in full sun exposed areas.  Try to avoid mid-day sun (in particular) when deciding where to plant.  Due to their somewhat shallow root system, slightly moist well drained soil becomes critical to their long term survival.  They are slow growing trees, but try to give them adequate space to grow and spread out a bit (Max 30′ height – Max 20′ spread).  Pacocha - Tri Color Beech Trees at NurseryBe sure to purchase from a reputable nursery for the best quality plant possible.

If you can find just the right spot in your landscape, I highly recommend planting a European Tri-Color Beech tree!Pacocha - Tri Color Beech Tree Leaf Close Up

Thank you for visiting and please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions you may have.  Have a great day!

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Proper Routine Mechanical Lawn Maintenance = A Happy Lawn!!

One way or another, if you are the proud owner of property that happens to include a lawn, you need to understand that it will require a certain level of on-going mechanical care in order for it to be healthy and survive for the long term.Pacocha - Dense Lawn

We are asked many times a year from new potential clients (in particular) whether or not our company provides bi-weekly lawn mowing service (once every two weeks), and the answer is simply NO.  Your lawn needs to be maintained/mowed/cleared of debris at least once a week when it’s actively growing for best results.  If you wait too long (2 weeks or more) you will likely end up cutting away too much of the new top growth (well beyond 1/3 of grass plant – recommended limit per mowing) which translates into the plant placing all of it’s remaining energy into top side leaf recovery and not critical root development.Pacocha Turfgrass Root Zone  Just by looking at a lawn from the curb, I can tell whether or not it is being properly mechanically maintained on a routine basis.  A lawn THAT IS NOT MAINTAINED ON A ROUTINE BASIS is usually light green in color, has heavy broadleaf weed populations (dandelion, clover and creeping charlie especially – sometimes even thistle), they are thin and contain multiple bare spots from past injuries and/or stress.When a lawn has a shallow/inadequate root mass it suffers in so many ways.  The grass plant needs to develop a substantial root zone in order for it to survive the occasional challenge from extended periods of drought, weed seed competition for any/all bare soil, compacted soil from foot traffic, disease, insect invasion, cutting too short, fallen leaves left atop/smothering lawn, etc.Pacocha - Lawn Repair by Seed 5-22-14

The bottom line is maintain your lawn properly all season long for a great, healthy stand of turfgrass that you can be proud of.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions you may have or if we can help in any way.  Thank you and have a great day!Pacocha Landscaping Services Logo

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NEXTDOOR……. the private neighborhood network that everyone can use!

Just a few weeks ago I was told about a pretty unique private website called Nextdoor.

Nextdoor is a FREE local social network that was exclusively created for our unique neighborhoods (across the United States) and the individual residents that choose to reside in them.

Whether it be local classifieds, crime and safety, urgent alerts, free items, event announcements, lost and found, etc. the usefulness of this website appears to be positively growing each and every day.

I have found that even a brief visit to the site can translate into a greater sense of neighborhood awareness.  If you have just a few minutes to spare, check the site out for yourself.  I think you will be pleasantly surprised!

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

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NO WINTER VACATIONS!!

Pacocha - Weather Forecast UncertaintyWe just had quite the winter weather experience here in the Chicago area.  Weather forecasters were predicting anywhere from 5-10 inches of snow for our area.  Over the past 3 or 4 days, all we heard from the major news networks was to prepare for a major winter storm that was heading our way (high winds, heavy snow, etc.).  Ok, fine by us.  We are ready, let’s do it!!  We’ll, fast forward 12 hours and we had basically no accumulated snow on paved surfaces (barely a trace in a few areas), temperatures remained slightly above freezing and the forecasters proved to be entirely wrong yet again.  Of course, no big deal either way.  However, a day in the life of a snow management professional is one that has no guarantee.

Our customers rely on us to make trusted service related decisions while “babysitting” winter weather from November thru early April.  Our clients expect prompt service all winter long and whenever the need arises.

Snow Management Professionals take NO WINTER VACATIONS!  

Pacocha - Snow Melting on Contact - Above FreezingWhether we experience a fast moving ice storm overnight or a multi-day blizzard, we are expected to be properly equipped, ready and able to act in a very timely manner.

On behalf of our team at Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc., we would like to thank our valued clients for yet another wonderful winter season and we look forward to earning your business well into the future!

Thank you for visiting and have a great day!

 

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Calcium Chloride ……. when only THE BEST will do!

Pacocha - Walks Cleared of Snow and Calcium Chloride AppliedDepending on actual pavement and ambient temperatures (+/- 32 degrees) at time of application, you can effectively melt light snow and ice (up to 1″+/-) within a very short period of time.  With just a single application, calcium chloride is very effective at eliminating the formation of ice on pedestrian and vehicle traversed pavement.

Pacocha - Calcium Chloride Treated Walk Main EntryCalcium chloride is not perfect, but it is considered to be the finest form of deicing material available (in it’s pure granular pellet form – in particular) due to it’s ability to easily melt snow and ice at very low temperatures (-25F).  It also creates relatively low environmental stress to nearby plants, lawns, etc. (compared to sodium chloride – rock salt) and can be purchased in small or large quantities at a relatively fair price.  A 50lb. bag of calcium chloride normally comes in a very durable plastic bag that can be rolled closed for long term storage (as/if needed).  As long as the calcium chloride material remains dry (stored in it’s original plastic bag if possible and not left open to attract moisture from the atmosphere), it will remain active, granular and ready to spread whenever the need arises.

Pacocha - Manually Handling Calcium ChlorideManually spreading calcium chloride by hand (directly from plastic bag or a 5 gallon plastic bucket wearing PVC coated gloves) is the preferred approach for small paved areas.  However, large area applications will require the use of a walk behind rotary/drop type spreader or a vehicle mounted material spreader for best results.

Areas best served by the melting power of calcium chloride are:

  • Pacocha - Basketball Court Area Treated with Calcium ChlorideDriveways
  • Small Parking Lots
  • Sidewalks
  • Entry Ways
  • Patios
  • Ramps
  • Staircases
  • Loading Docks
  • Frozen Gutters and Downspouts
  • Brick, Cured Concrete, Asphalt, etc.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. to learn more about our ice melt application programs and other snow related services.

Thank you for taking the time to visit our site and have a great day!

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Happy New Year!!

It has been our great pleasure helping so many wonderful people in 2015.  We thank you for the opportunity and would like to wish you and your family a healthy and happy new year!

May 2016 be your best year yet!!

From your friends at Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc.

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Transplanted young EVERGREEN trees………………… The gifts that keep on giving!!

Pacocha - Northern WisconsinJust a few weeks ago I was very fortunate to not only experience a beautiful part of northern Wisconsin for the very first time, but was also blessed by being able to bring a piece of the tranquil northwoods home with me.Pacocha - Northern Wisconsin 5

Pacocha - Northern Wisconsin Yound SpruceA long time friend not only allowed my cousin and I to stay at his wonderful Wisconsin property for a few days, but also very graciously allowed us to harvest/transplant a few young evergreen trees (spruce, fir and pine) that happen to grow wildly on his property for our own yards back home.

Wow, what a very special gift!

Pacocha - Northern Wisconsin Transplanted Spruce TreeEvery day I lookPacocha - Northern Wisconsin Transplanted Fir at these fantastic small evergreen trees I can’t help but think of the great time we had and the overwhelming generosity of my friend and his family.

Thank you once again Rob for the wonderful evergreen gifts you have shared with my family……. we greatly appreciate it!!

 

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INSTALL A CATCH BASIN FILTER and say goodbye to clogged buried downspout drains forever!!

The beauty of a buried landscape drain system is that it remains normally hidden fromPacocha - 12 x 12 Catch Basin Leaves Atop sight while automatically relocating excess stormwater that runs off a roof, large paved surface or any other impermeable area.  Most residential drainage systems revolve around single or multiple buried drain lines that range in size from 3″ in diameter on up to 6″+ diameter (4″ drain pipe being most common – excess storm water dependent).  Not only are there different pipe diameter sizes to considerPacocha - 12 x 12 Catch Basin Cover Off, but also different materials as well.  Depending on site conditions, amount of water to relocate, distance to extend across and location of pipe outlet (to daylight), one will need to choose between flexible plastic or solid PVC pipe.  The most widely used types of drainage pipe are plastic corrugated, plastic corrugated and perforated, PVC solid, PVC solid and perforated.

One major problem with buried residential drainage systems that relocate water from an Pacocha - 12 x 12 Catch Basin Cleaned and Rinsedunscreened and unfiltered water source (downspouts connected to gutters with NO overhead leaf gutter guard protection in particular) is that debris can easily make it’s way into the buried pipe(s) and create clogs.  As the buried pipe(s) become clogged, water flow at the outlet point can be reduced to a trickle and/or become stopped entirely.  As you can imagine, without routine inspection and a thorough underground drain pipe cleaning (via vacuum, forced air or high pressured water jet), unnoticed clogs may lead to other serious problems around your property.  Common problems like standing water, leaky basements, ice damming along roof edges, overly saturated plant material or even washout of nearby mulch or once compacted pavement base materials can be experienced when water flows into areas where it is not welcomed.

A solution for clogged buried drain pipes has recently become available and is Pacocha - 12 x 12 Catch Basin Filter Installedmanufactured by a company called NDS.  They have created a simple catch basin filter that comes in two different sizes to fit their common 9″ and 12″ square shaped catch basins. Catch basins are commonly used under existing downspouts to funnel water underground to/through attached drain system.  The NDS catch basin filters are removable and cleanable.  They efficiently prevent dirt and debris from entering/cloggingPacocha - 12 x 12 Catch Basin Cleaned Filter Installed Covered to Complete your underground drainage system.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. for help with any residential landscape drainage related challenge you may currently have.

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

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Mulberry Tree ……….. the UNINVITED one!!

There is one type of problematic fruit bearing deciduous tree that grows wild, grows fast and often within inaccessible areas surrounding our Chicago area properties…… the mulberry tree!Pacocha - Mulberry Growing Within Low Growing Arborvitaes

The mulberry tree is rarely purposely planted by man in our area.  It tends to grow in any location where the soil is left undisturbed and is frequented by birds and animals that eat the tree’s fleshy fruit and “deposit” its remaining seed to the soil below.  The problem we landscape professionals face is when a mulberry tree happens to grow directly within evergreen bushes, deciduous hedges, inches away from foundations, along retaining walls or even within chain link fences they become very difficult to remove.  An unchallenged mulberry tree will eventually dominate the area it’s growing within and take on the appearance of an unruly out of control 20’+ tall tree-like weed.  However, once a property owner finally decides to remove the uninvited mulberry tree (and it’s stump), even at the cost of likely damaging the adjacent obstacle (plant, fence, retaining wall, etc.), the tree will certainly lose and will become all but a distant memory.Pacocha - Mulberry Growing Along Base of Chainlink Fence

As you can imagine, we highly recommend the complete removal of any/all wild growing mulberry trees located on your property while they are still relatively small in size and easy to physically remove.  This early visual identification (physical removal) strategy will help limit possible future property damage, instantly improve the overall appearance of your landscape and eliminate the need for non-selective herbicide applications to eradicate the problematic tree.

Pacocha - Mulberry Growing Within Arborvitae    Pacocha - Mulberry Growing Under Spruce Tree

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions or comments you may have in regard to the information listed above.  Once again, thank you for visiting and have a great day!

 

 

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Watch out for RUST…….. ON YOUR LAWN!!!

Yes, lawn rust!

When we hear the word rust we usually think of deteriorating steel or iron somewhere in our local surroundings.  However, you may be interested to learn more about a common lawn disease that shares the same name.  Whether it be the tell-tale sign of your shoes turning orange when walking across the lawn or the lawn taking on a semi-faded orange color, your lawn is likely dealing with this common late summer fungal related disease called lawn rust.

Pacocha - Lawn Rust on Shoe

Here are a few lawn rust specifics for your review.

  1. Shoes become orange colored when walking across the lawn (orange/brown/rust colored powder sticks to shoes)
  2. Lawn takes on a temporary rusty color (entirely or in patches)
  3. Usually found during late summer/early fall season Pacocha - Rust on Blade of Kentucky Bluegrass
  4. Very common when lawn has gone dormant (partially or fully)
  5. Disease very likely when high humidity AND high temperatures are the norm
  6. In severe cases, rust disease may thin overall lawn (although not very common).  Plant premium site-specific grass seed to rebuild lost density as needed.
  7. Core aerate and/or mechanically power rake all lawn areas to break down/remove problematic excess thatch
  8. Perform infrequent watering and continue lawn fertilization (nitrogen in particular) to speed recovery

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions or service requests you may have.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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Our new FAQ page!

Please check out our new frequently asked questions page on our website.

As always, please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. for any lawn, landscape or snow removal services needed at your property.  Thank you for taking the time to visit our site and have a great day!

 

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Strange dark green colored circular shaped ring found on my lawn = FAIRY RING DISEASE

With the abundance of rain we have enjoyed over the past few months, you may have noticed a few odd looking circular shaped dark green colored rings (3′ to 10′ +/- in diameter) located across your lawn.  If so, you are not alone.  In all likelihood, the saturated soil below your lawn has initiated a very common fungal based disease called Fairy Ring.

Pacocha - Fairy Ring 1

The first signs of Fairy Ring disease are usually the appearance of dark green colored circles, arcs and/or mushrooms across the lawn’s surface.  Of course, the mushrooms are a reliable sign that an abundance of buried decaying organic material is in the soil (old tree roots, stumps, etc.).  As the fungi break down the excess organic matter in the soil nitrogen is produced giving the lawn located just above/around a healthy dark green color and a decent growth spurt (beyond surrounding non-affected lawn areas).

Pacocha - Fairy Ring 2

If Fairy Ring effected lawn areas prove to be seasonally persistent at your property and grass fails to grow/survive, then you may want to consider removing a 6″-10″ layer of soil located just below the plagued lawn areas, add clean topsoil and plant premium grass seed to repair the specific areas.  There is no guarantee this soil replacement approach will be 100% effective, but may be worth the investment over the long term if your lawn continues to struggle.

Pacocha - Fairy Ring 4

In most cases, just by power raking (mechanical dethatching) the entire lawn in the spring, mowing frequently and providing routine lawn fertilization will increase the vigor/growth rate of the entire lawn and adequately conceal most Fairy Ring outbreaks that may occur over the course of a growing season.

Pacocha - Fairy Ring 3

Please contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any lawn care or lawn repair services needed at your property.  Thank you for visiting and have a great day!

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Poison Ivy growing on your property? We can help eliminate the problematic vine once and for all!

As summer approaches and we spend greater amounts of timePacocha - Poison Ivy Along Residential Driveway and Down Spout outdoors, be on the lookout for troublesome poison ivy that may be growing on your property.

Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. offers effective poison ivy removal solutions for the greater Chicago and surrounding northwest suburban areas.

Services offered:Pacocha - Poison Ivy Growing Atop the Roof of a Back Yard Shed (3 of 4)

  • On-site poison ivy identification
  • Non-selective targeted liquid herbicide applications
  • Physical poison ivy removal (post non-selective herbicide application only)
  • Off-site disposal of any/all poison ivy vegetation physically removedPacocha - Poison Ivy Growing Through Wood Fence from Neighbors Property
  • Lawn and/or landscape restoration services (post poison ivy removal)

Please be sure to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have.  Thank you for visiting and have a great day!

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Tree and stump recently removed? Heaping pile of wood chips left atop your lawn? ……….. Repair your lawn now by following these few simple steps!

If you recently had a tree removed from your property and it’s stump ground down, this information may prove beneficial to you.  Please find a few steps listed below that will ensure a successful lawn repair.

1). Be sure that any/all tree stump and large roots (above and below grade) get mechanically ground out via stump grinder.  Usually a stump grinding depth of 12″+/- Pacocha - Tree Stumps Removed 1(below final grade) is adequate to eventually grow grass atop area.

2). Remove any/all wood chips and other woody root material from the area.  Any/all excess wood chips possibly left in the hole (strongly discouraged by the way) will decompose over time and will steal much needed nitrogen from the grass plants.  Excess wood chips and other root material left will also increase the chance of settling in the area.

3). Remove any/all elevated soil and grass that may exist around the previous stump area.  The goal will be to level the entire area (as needed) to a satisfactory degree before new Pacocha - Tree Stump Removed 3grass is planted.  A somewhat flat soil grade is worth the extra effort now to ensure less mower scalping of elevated lawn areas and will eliminate the “pitcher’s mound effect” so often found on sub-par lawn repairs made across previous tree/stump areas.

4). Begin to add soil to fill the hole.  Try to compact the soil (every 2″-4″ added) to slow down short term settling within the area.  Regardless, expect slight soil settling within the area over the first few years.  Additional soil may need to be added to fill in low spaces that form over time.  The majority of soil settling takes place in the first 5 years +/- following a tree/stump removal.Pacocha - Tree Stump Removed 2

5). After additional soil has been added and raked to meet the surrounding grade, plant premium grass seed, apply a granular starter fertilizer and cover with either peat moss or seed germination blanket to complete the repair.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions or service requests you may have.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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Oh no…… my lawn has SNOW MOLD!!

Now that the snow has finally melted and warmer temperatures are upon us, many lawns are showing signs of a common fungal disease called snow mold (gray snow mold in particular). Pacocha - Snow Mold 2Snow mold occurs when spring conditions allow warm unfrozen ground that was recently covered by melting snow to activate an existing pathogen.  The issues start when a pathogen is present, spring temperatures are between 30-40 F and the soil/turfgrass is fairly saturated.  Snow mold may be found in lawn areas where drainage and air-movement is poor and especially where snow has been piled and/or is slow to melt. Damage can be as minimal as just a few small circular shaped yellow/matted down lawn areas or more widespread (conditions dependent).  As the lawn dries and warmer weather moves in the disease becomes dormant until the next opportunity arises (late fall/early spring). Pacocha - Snow Mold 1Damaged lawn areas should be repaired by first raking the problematic areas (very important), add a light layer of topsoil (as/if needed), plant a premium disease resistant grass seed blend and finally cover the repaired lawn areas with a light layer of peat moss to complete.  After the lawn repairs have been completed and soil temperatures warm beyond 50 F your lawn will rebuild its lost density and look as if a problem never existed.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any lawn related questions or concerns you may have.  We would be very happy to help!

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Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. – Commercial Snow Removal Services

 

Please contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. to learn more about our extremely reliable commercial snow and ice management services.  Thank you for visiting our site!

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Excellent Winter Weather and Snow Accumulation Forecasting Websites

Here are a few fantastic websites that provide very detailed winter weather forecast information so you can prepare well in advance for winter’s worst.

1). Weather Underground 

2). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 

3). AccuWeather

4). The Weather Channel

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any snow or ice removal service request you may have for your greater Chicagoland property.

Thank you for visiting!

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A few tips to further improve your next treated wood timber landscape installation project

Even though concrete block seems to be the most commonly used construction material for raised beds and retaining walls in the residential landscape, I personally find wood (treated wood timbers in particular) to be superior in many ways.

For starters, not only is wood a completely renewable resource, but a properly installed treated wood structure (including adequate drainage) will easily last 20-25 years.  In my opinion, a beautifully designed and constructed wood timber planting box, retaining wall, etc. is far more natural in appearance and complementary to adjacent plant material than its concrete counterpart.  I realize that an argument can be made in that concrete block installations are more expensive because they are to be considered “forever” where wood will eventually deteriorate over time.  This point is absolutely correct in that the concrete block itself will likely outlast it’s owner!  Pacocha - Wood Preservative Freshly Applied to Cut Timber EndsHowever, it is my experience that even a professionally installed concrete block wall (with suitable drainage) will eventually shift from long term exposure to seasonal water freeze/thaw cycles, nearby expanding tree root growth, nearby excavation/digging, etc. making it’s segmented formal installation approach somewhat less desirable both visually and structurally when failure finally occurs.  Even though treated wood timbers do not easily lend themselves to curved type/designed landscape installations like segmental block units can, they still get my unabashed vote in the landscape design process whenever possible.

Here are a few tips to extend the life and improve the quality of your next wood timber installation project.

Pacocha - Soil Excavated - Ready for Stone Sub Base– Use properly treated wood timbers rated for direct soil contact according to the American Wood Protection Standard (UC4A – Ground Contact General Use)Pacocha - Ground Contact AWPA U1 UC4A Wood Timber Tag

– Use large dimensioned properly rated/treated wood timbers whenever possible.  By choosing a minimum sized 6″ x 6″ treated wood timber (in lieu of 3″ x 5″, 4″ x 4″ or 4″ x 6″ timbers) will be less likely to warp and twist over time.

– Apply a suitable preservative to all end cuts made during the installation process.

– Prevent “always wet” soil conditions below/around wood timber structure by installing suitable drainage improvements wherever necessary.

Pacocha - Applying Wood Preservative to Cut Timber– Use a suitable stone sub-base below initial course of wood timbers to further improve water drainage and to strengthen the overall installation.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. for assistance with your next wood timber installation project.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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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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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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Yellow Nutsedge: The problem “grass like” weed that will not leave your lawn without a fight!

If there is one persistent type of unwanted vegetation that is very difficult to control in most lawns it has to be the “grass like” weed named yellow nutsedgePacocha - Yellow Nutsedge 1 (aka yellow nutgrass).  This weed makes itself visible from mid to late summer and tends to love sun exposed wet soil lawn areas.  Yellow nutsedge is a warm season perennial plant that grows from underground tubers (nutlets) and spreads via underground horizontal creeping stems called rhizomes.  These underground tubers can easily survive many years in the upper foot of soil if negative site conditions are left unchanged.  Pacocha - Nutsedge DiagramEven though yellow nutsedge plants resembles turfgrass from afar, a closer look reveals the truth about this stubborn “grass like” weed.  The leaves of the nut sedge plant are stiffer and thicker than most grasses, are V-shaped (cross section) and grow in sets of three from the base.  Yellow nutsedge can be controlled non-chemically and chemically.  The easiest way to eradicate small colonies of yellow nutsedge is to maintain a thick lawn and simply pull the nutsedge plant out of the ground as soon as you see it.  Special care should be taken to also remove the underground tubers/nutlets (if possible) for best long term control.  Another common non-chemical way to eradicate yellow nutsedge is to improve the drainage of the effected turf grass area.  Since yellow nutsedge loves wet moist soil, a simple drainage improvement or reduction in irrigation can eliminate this particular weeds ability to flourish.  The final way to control yellow nut sedge is chemically.  Pacocha - Yellow Nutsedge 3It is very common to require multiple herbicide applications over many growing seasons to achieve desirable results.  Please contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. to evaluate the overall condition of your lawn and to discuss the possible need for chemical yellow nutsedge control.  Thank you for your time and we look forward to being of assistance to you!

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Before digging in Illinois be sure to call 811, JULIE 800-892-0123 or CHICAGO DIGGER 312-744-7000 to avoid buried utilities

Whether you are preparing to install a tree, pond, hedge, drainage system, new concrete or even a road side mailbox be sure to call 811 (or your local One-Call system) to learn if there are any buried utilities (electric, natural gas, communication cables, drinking water, sewer, etc.) nearby that will need to be avoided.Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc.

  • JULIE, INC. 800-892-0123 – www.illinois1call.comHours: 24 hours, 7 days – Advance Notice: 2 working days minimum – Marks Valid: 28 calendar day

Different paint colors will be used to mark the various underground utilities found on your property.  It is very important to have a good idea as to what these colors represent.

  • RED: Red markings identify electric systems including high voltage and low voltage Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc.power lines and wires.
  • YELLOW: Yellow is used to designate the approximate location of pipe systems which carry natural gas, oil, steam and petroleum products.
  • ORANGE: Orange marks identify the approximate location of communication type cabling networks.
  • BLUE: Blue marks identify the approximate location of pipes carrying drinking water.
  • PURPLE: Purple is used to mark reclaimed water, irrigation and slurry lines.  In many Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc.cases these lines go unmarked by 811 notification services due to being on private property and owned by property owners.
  • GREEN: Green marks identify the approximate location of sewer and storm sewer pipes as well as other drain lines.
  • WHITE and PINK: White and pink are the only two colors in the APWA color code that do not designate the approximate location of underground lines on a job site.  White is commonly used to indicate proposed excavation and pink to mark temporary survey markings.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions or service requests.  Thank you for visiting our site!

 

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Which local flying insect loves stagnate water found in catch basins, rain gutters, plant containers, ditches and can spread disease as it feeds on blood?

Culex Pipiens or better known as the Northern House Mosquito!

I think we can all agree that mosquitoes are a nuisance pest that can make any considerable time spent outdoors very problematic.  As the weather warms and as routine rains occur prepare to encounter the dreaded mosquito.  Unlike tiny Midge flies that do not bite, mosquitoes (female Culex Pipiens in particular) can blood feed and spread diseases like West Nile Virus, St. Louis encephalitis, La Crosse encephalitis and other diseases.  Pacocha - Northern House MosquitoThey routinely lay eggs in temporary stagnate pools like catch basins, ditches, marshes, clogged rain gutters, planters and even in old water filled tires.  Basically any location where clean or polluted water can accumulate undisturbed for less than 2 weeks is all it takes.  Mosquitoes have 4 life stages; Egg, Larva, Pupa and Adult.  Since only the female mosquito blood feeds (sucks blood), it is critical for the female mosquito to acquire the needed protein (via blood) to produce eggs (50-400 eggs at a time).  Please keep in mind that female blood sucking mosquitoes not only feed on humans, but birds and animals as well.  Once mosquito eggs are laid they become larva in only 3 days.  Mosquitoes complete their life cycle (egg-larva-pupa-adult) in 7-10 days.  unexpected-effects-usa-drought-mosquitoEven the most effective mosquito control program cannot completely eliminate mosquitoes.  Mosquito populations can be reduced by eliminating breeding sites (if possible).  Mosquito bites and disease can be prevented through properly maintained window screens, protective clothing and repellents (containing DEET 10-30% most effective).  Mosquitoes are less attracted to white clothes than to dark colored clothes.  wheelbarrel full of waterControlling mosquito larva (primarily by removing stagnate water or by utilizing a larvacide) should be the primary goal of any mosquito management plan.  Control of adult mosquitoes can be accomplished by applying residual barrier treatments to reduce mosquitoes resting in vegetation during the day or by ground applied fogs (adulticiding) at dusk.  Even the best adulticide program will eliminate no more than 30% of the total adult mosquito population.  poolcoverwithwaterA good seasonal larvacide program is needed for best local area mosquito control.

 

 

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Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for a healthy lawn and landscape!

Integrated Pest Management is the process of continually scouting for lawn and landscape related pests and injury.  Pests can be defined as a weed, disease, rodent or insect that can cause injury.  When managing the health of your lawn and landscape it is very important to understand the goals of Integrated Pest Management.  The two primary goals of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is to protect the environment and provide economical pest control up to the economic and aesthetic thresholds that you the property owner specifies.  It is very important to be able to identify what exactly a pest is, if the pest is susceptible (or non-susceptible) to control and if a pest is injurious to the desirable managed plant or not.  Pacocha - Grubs Found Just Below TurfThere are four primary control measures that are routinely used in IPM; Cultural, Mechanical, Biological and Chemical.  Cultural control involves growing the desired plant to be healthy through proper fertility, planting, plant selection (less susceptible plants), mulching and mowing.  Mechanical control is physically eliminating a pest by cultivating, pruning, hoeing and weed pulling, hand picking or burning and burying.  Biological control utilizes living organisms such as predators (lady beetles, spiders, insect-feeding birds), parasites (parasitic wasps, tachinid flies, etc.) and diseases (B.t. bacteria, Beauvaria fungus).  Lastly chemical control features the use of pesticides that are primarily quick, effective and short-term.  It is highly recommended to consider non-chemical methods first.  When applying pesticides you will need to consider any/all environmental impacts, proper timing and location of application.  Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc.Resistance can be experienced from continual use of same mode-of-action pesticide.  Please contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. for professional lawn related care in the greater Chicago and surrounding northwest suburban area.  Thank you for taking the time to read our blog and we look forward to being of service to you in the very near future!

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Chicago area underground flood control systems, sewer repairs, emergency utility work and the necessary landscape related repairs that follow!

The damage done to a mature lawn or landscape (in particular) after a major sewer repair, drainage improvements or new flood control system has been installed can be minimal or quite extreme.  Plant material, lawns, irrigation systems, retaining walls, pavement and low voltage lighting can be damaged or completely destroyed when underground construction takes place near by.  Other matters like extreme soil compaction and severed mature plant root systems are very common issues as well.  Flood control systemDepending on the initial soil excavation depth, size of equipment used, property location, type of underground repair performed and amount of construction spoils left behind will normally dictate the cost of landscape restoration services required.  One of the main cost drivers (besides labor and materials) of residential landscape restoration work (post sewer/flood control improvements) is the amount of excess stone/debris that is left behind.  When hiring an underground repair contractor it is always a good idea to be aware and to discuss who exactly will be responsible for the cost of removing excess fill/debris (off-site) if needed.  If the excess fill Pacocha - Elevated elongated mound post underground constructionmaterial that is left behind is somewhat desirable (soil or sand) and lacks large pieces of unwanted stone, bricks, concrete, etc. than it can be easily re-purposed/relocated on-site to reduce overall restoration costs.   Some examples of how to use these excess materials may be to elevate a low lying plant bed area, create a new raised planting bed or to fill-in multiple low/sunken lawn areas that are in need of repair.  In addition, please keep in mind that it is very likely that ground settling will occur after deep soil excavation work has been performed.  Pacocha - Elevated mound post underground constructionDepending on how well the underground contractor compacted the back-filled soil/stone will determine the amount of ground settling to be experienced in the future (1-3 years post landscape repair).  Please contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. to assist in evaluating and providing the necessary lawn and landscape restoration services for your Chicago or surrounding northwest suburban residential property.  Pacocha - Low area ready for additional top soil and boxwood relocation

Thank you for your time and we look forward to being of assistance to you in the very near future.

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Having just the right cutting edge on your snow plow can make all the difference!

As a Chicago area snow and ice management contractor for nearly 20 years, we have grown quite accustomed to the effectiveness of steel edged snow plows, shovels, blowers, etc.  Steel is the most common and in many cases lowest cost material to use at the bottom of a snow clearing piece of equipment.  Pacocha - Steel Shoe and Wing Reinforcement on Sectional Snow PusherThe reason steel is the go-to trusted material for scraping, plowing and even lifting snow is it’s great durability, performance and availability.  Another great aspect of steel is that it can be repaired fairly easily by welding two broken pieces together, straightened when bent by applying intense heat and if needed quickly replaced.  Even though steel edged snow removal tools have earned their place in the snow fighters “tool box” over the years, you should be aware of other great materials that can provide excellent snow and ice clearing, but also provide very minimal wear or scratching of the surface being cleaned.  The other materials that make for great snow removal cutting/wear edges are solid rubber and polyurethane.  Rubber blades offer great abrasion resistance.  As you know rubber blades are more flexible and elastic than metal blades,Pacocha - Rubber Snow Plow Edge therefore absorb impact, shock, and conform easily to the pavement surface.  Rubber will reduce damage to the surface being cleared, making it the ideal choice for use on parking garages, brick pavers, cobblestone, or any other sensitive uneven surface.  Rubber (in my opinion) is the fastest wearing material when used commercially on a vehicle operated snow plow.  The other material is polyurethane.  Polyurethane provides improved abrasion characteristics over rubber and most metals.  Even though polyurethane is very Pacocha - Polyurethane Edge on Pull Snow Plowexpensive, it is also very resilient, and therefore absorbs impacts and conforms to the surface being plowed quite nicely.  Polyurethane cutting edges reduce equipment wear by minimizing blade and equipment vibration.  Polyurethane cutting edges are very quiet in operation, making them ideal for use in residential areas and hospitals.  Even though rubber and polyurethane cutting edges certainly have earned their place for clearing snow across the greater Chicago and northwest surrounding suburban area, my favorite material remainsPacocha - Steel Cutting Edge on ATV Snow Plow to be steel for the excellent proven results it produces year after year.  Please contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions or snow and ice management service requests you may have.  Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!

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On-Site Storage of Snow Fighting Equipment and Ice Melt Materials = Ultra Reliable and Cost Effective Chicago Area Snow Plowing and Deicing Services

If you demand nothing less than prompt, efficient and cost effective snow and ice management services at your larger Chicago area commercial, industrial or multi-family residential property then plan on providing ample on-site unobstructed short term winter storage space for your contractor’s dedicated snow clearing equipment, vital hand tools and needed ice melt materials  If the scope of work at a particular property is large enough to benefit from on-site equipment or ice melt material storage then it is very likely that a team of dedicated snow and ice fighting professionals will be exclusively assigned to your property for the entire winter season as well.  The winning combination of on-site dedicated/staged snow fighting equipment, adequate supply of ice melting materials on hand and a team of dedicated snow fighters equal the very best in prompt and cost effective service.  In most cases only a few unused parking spaces will be needed to stage a dedicated plow vehicle or other needed piece of snow fighting equipment.  However, it can be very cost effective for the client (if space allows) for a steel storage container to be placed on-site so the contractor can store it’s critical snow fighting equipment, supplies and ice melt materials securely and out of the weather.  It is very common for contractors to store various sized skid-steer loaders (Bobcat’s), snow plows, snow blowers, ice melt materials (bulk or bagged), ATV’s and spreaders in these steel constructed on-site secure weather protected storage containers.  Steel storage (overseas or conex) containers come in many sizes.  It is very common for a container to be 8’ wide, but can be specially constructed up to 10’ wide. Containers can be up to 9.5’ tall and range in length from 8’ all the way to 53’ long.  Many containers have two full width opening doors at one end (only) but can be leased or purchased with double doors at both ends of the container.  The mobile shipping containers are normally delivered to a property via flatbed roll back truck or trailer where they are placed in the exact location of choice.  When ready to remove, the containers need to be emptied of their contents and are easily lifted by a truck or trailer mounted steel winch, pulled atop a flatbed, secured and trucked away.  There are many companies that specialize in the rental and/or sales of steel storage containers.  The best container companies will have good inventory, offer fast delivery/pick up and will readily customize a container to best suit your needs.  Before hiring your next snow and ice management contractor be sure to discuss the possibility of on-site equipment or material storage at your property.  On-site storage is a great way to add value to most seasonal snow and ice management agreements. Please contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any snow and ice management need, question or concern you may have.  Thank you for your time and we look forward to being of service to you!

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Whether you say fall or autumn one thing is for sure…. It’s time to clean the fallen leaves!

Here in northern Illinois it seems that as soon as the summer heat is gone we move quickly into the much needed plant loving cool and rain prone fall season.  After experiencing one of the hottest and driest summer’s on record, fall could not come soon enough.  It continues to amaze me how our plant filled landscapes in particular visually transform from late September through November.  From the beautiful leaves on trees, shrubs and vines changing color to summer stressed lawn’s growing green once again, the fall season is just awesome!  As beautiful as the fall season is there is one part of it that many people despise and cannot avoid……..cleanup of fallen leaves!  When it comes to raking and removing fallen leaves and debris from your property it cannot be stated enough that weekly cleanings are best.  As you know not only do different tree and shrub varieties lose their leaves at different times of the fall season but we also must contend with adverse weather conditions which will routinely delay fall cleanup related work.  We can only expect that ever increasing strong winds, heavy rains and even sleet and snow storms will make any previous delay in cleaning fallen leaves into a huge time consuming nightmare.  Just like shoveling or plowing snow from a sidewalk or driveway, it is best to clear the leaves from your property as they fall (a little at a time) instead of waiting for some future date when every leaf will have fallen from every nearby tree.  Not only will your lawn thrive if leaves are not left to smother it from above, but your neighbors will truly appreciate your hard work if fallen leaves and debris are not left to blow onto adjacent properties or are allowed to clog shared storm drains.  If you need help cleaning your leaves this fall season please contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. for prompt and professional service.

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Do I have grubs? My lawn is under attack from skunks, crows and raccoon’s!

If you are one of the unlucky few this summer season that has discovered grub related lawn damage than please read on.  Everyone loves a beautiful healthy lawn that makes a property stand out, but you should know that your lawn can be destroyed in just a few days if white grubs (in particular) are allowed to feed freely on your lawn’s root zone.  Grubs are the larval stage (four stages of development = egg, larva, pupa and adult) of various scarab/flying beetles that call your lawn and landscape home.  The main beetle varieties found in Northern Illinois are the masked chafer and Japanese beetle.  Several other beetle varieties include Asiatic garden beetle, European chafer, green June beetle, May and June beetles and Oriental beetle.  Grubs can be described as dirty white colored, soft bodied, and robust with a brown head and six well-developed legs, with exception of green June beetle grubs, which do not have well developed legs.  When the turf is lifted to expose the grubs, they usually will be lying on their sides in a C-shaped position.  The life cycles of the above mentioned beetles are completed in 12 months with the exception of the common May or June beetle, which has a three-year life cycle.  Adult beetles lay eggs in the ground during the summer.  As soon as grubs hatch, they start feeding on the lawn roots until cold weather drives them two to eight inches deeper into the soil where they overwinter.  As temperatures warm in the spring, the grubs move up from the lower soil regions and resume feeding near the surface until they become mature and pupate from May through early-June.  Later emergence can occur and is dependent on local weather conditions.  Heavy white grub infestations can destroy grass roots, causing the affected area to become spongy, which allows the sod to be rolled back like a piece of carpet.  Even though grub infestations are not always obvious, damage is routinely discovered in spring (April or May) and late summer and fall (September and October).  When you see grub eating skunks, raccoon’s or crows in your yard you need to inspect your lawn to see if grub populations are beyond 5-10 grubs per square foot.  Please keep in mind that grubs do not typically appear in shade lawns.  Since adult beetles usually lay eggs in full-sun green lawn areas with adequate moisture, if your lawn is dry, dormant and/or poorly rooted you will have little risk of grub damage.  It is highly recommended to prevent grub damage by applying a preventative insecticide such as Imidacloprid (Merit) between late June and the beginning of August seasonally.  However, if no preventative insecticide is applied and a grub outbreak is discovered than a curative insecticide like Trichlorfon (Dylox) is highly recommended to prevent large scale turf damage.  If significant grub damage has occurred, the lawn will need some renovation work in early fall or the following spring to rebuild lawn density.  If you suspect your lawn has grubs, please contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. to schedule an on-site visit to have our team professionally analyze your lawn and offer control and repair recommendations for your review.

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Take your pick……… Choosing the best snow plowing and ice control contract for a Chicago winter!

The winter’s in Chicago and it’s surrounding suburbs have become very unpredictable to say the least.  Even though meteorologists do their best to provide “forecasts” of anticipated winter weather, we just never know for sure.  As property owners we must prepare well in advance for winters worst to ensure our residential, commercial or industrial properties are kept clear of snow and ice.  Even though every property is different and service expectations vary, here are several common ways to purchase snow and ice management services .

  • Unlimited Seasonal Contract: Any/all snow plowing, shoveling, ice melt applications, etc. will be performed for a fixed non-fluctuating seasonal fee.  Normally invoiced in full at beginning of season or monthly (November – March).
  • Limited Seasonal Contract: Limited number of snow plowing, shoveling and/or ice melt applications will be performed before incurring an additional predetermined fee (per service, per accumulated inch, per hour, etc.).  Normally if service exceeds specified limited contract quantities (number of service visits, applications, snow accumulation, etc.), client will be invoiced for additional predetermined fees at the end of a calendar month, season, etc..
  • Per Inch: Snow plowing and/or shoveling services are performed and depending on actual snow accumulation at time of service (determined on-site or by third party meteorologist), client is invoiced for each individual snow clearing visit at the predetermined contracted rate (i.e. 1″-3.9″ = $10.00, 4.0-7.9″ = $15.00, 8.0-11.9″= $25.00, etc.)
  • Per Application: Ice melt applications are made before/during/after winter precipitation has occurred.  Client is invoiced for each individual ice melt application property visit made.  Depending on site conditions, budget, temperatures, etc. multiple ice melt materials are commonly used (sodium chloride, calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, etc.)
  • Per Event: Any/all snow plowing, shoveling, ice melt applications, etc. are performed and invoiced at the end of a snow event.  Usually each “event” is defined as continuous snow fall beyond 2″ and within a 24 hour period)
  • Time & Materials: Any/all snow plowing, shoveling, ice melt applications, etc. are performed and invoiced according to predetermined hourly and/or material rates.
  • As Needed Only: Any/all snow plowing, shoveling, ice melt applications, etc. are requested by the client normally after winter precipitation has occurred.  Pricing for needed services are normally provided just before work begins on-site.  In my opinion, this is the most unpredictable and most expensive way to purchase snow and ice management services.
  • Any combination of the above
As always, our team at Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. remains at your complete disposal 24/7/365.  Be sure to let us know if we can provide winter related service information for your residential, commercial or industrial property.  

 

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Sod Webworm: Weakened or drought stressed lawns beware!

If you maintain a lawn that happens to benefit from full sun exposure (not shaded) and has become weakened from heat and drought stress you need to be aware of sod webworm and the damage it can cause.  This small sod webworm caterpillar (5/8″-1″ in length) can chew off leaves and stems of your cool-season grasses including Kentucky bluegrass, most fescues, perennial ryegrass and bentgrass.  It will cause general lawn thinning, followed by small patches of brown and finally leaving behind closely cut/cropped areas.  A lawn that is healthy and well irrigated will often tolerate and recover from sod webworm scalping.  Weak or drought stressed lawns that have been clipped short by sod webworm may be killed via sun exposure to the crowns of the plant.  Adult sod webworm moths (lawn moths) are small whitish, dull gray or tan colored moths that hover over turfgrass at dusk.  As these small sod webworm moths flutter across the lawn females drop eggs during flight that settle in the upper thatch layer of your lawn.  As many as 500 eggs are laid during a life span of usually less than 14 days.  Depending on temperatures, eggs hatch in 4 to 20 days and the larvae develop through usually 6 to 8 larval stages in 4 to 7 weeks.  The larvae are beige, gray, brown or a greenish color (depending upon species) with a brownish head.  The older larvae chew down foliage around their burrows mainly at night.  Most sod webworm have two generations per year.  Sod webworm are fairly easy to control on a curative, as-needed basis.  Insecticide controls are directed against the feeding larvae, not the moths.  A healthy, vigorous turf, balanced fertility and adequate irrigation during dry periods will enhance your lawn’s tolerance to sod webworm feeding.  As always, be sure to contact a local lawn professional to help identify sod webworm, evaluate treatment options and analyze if lawn repairs will be needed.

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Poison Ivy………… Leaves of Three, Leave Them Be!

If you ever came in contact with poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac you know exactly the type of painful skin irritation one can experience.  It begins with severe itching of the skin.  Next the skin becomes inflamed and blistering occurs.  In extreme cases oozing sores develop.  Normally poison ivy rash can last anywhere from 1-3 weeks.  With awareness and the ability to properly identify these noxious plants you can avoid direct contact and thereby prevent the inevitable skin rash.  Poison ivy, oak and sumac are among the plants that produce a resin called urushiol which is the cause of the annoying allergic rash.  Direct plant contact is needed to release the urushiol oil.  Be sure to stay away from forest fires, direct burning, or anything else that can cause the oil to become airborne such as a lawnmower, trimmer, etc.  Urushiol oil can stay active on any surface, including dead plants, for up to 5 years.  Poison ivy is not contagious and will not spread if rashes are touched or rubbed.  However, since urushiol is sticky and resin-like it can be spread to other parts of your body or other people if left on your hands, clothing, gear, etc.  Poison ivy and oak have 3 leaves per cluster and poison sumac has 7-13 leaves on a branch.  Since poison ivy and it’s rash causing relatives commonly grow within other vegetation, it is very difficult to notice.

Often times it is only shortly after the rash has started on your skin that you realize recent contact was made.  Since poison ivy is a very persistent plant, it is difficult to completely eradicate.  Be sure to protect your skin with appropriate gloves, long sleeve shirt, pants, etc. when manually removing poison ivy, oak or sumac.  Pacocha - Poison Ivy Vine Attached to Wood Fence Growing Along BaseOne proven way to eliminate poison ivy is to apply a non-selective herbicide (Glyphosate) per labeled application rate to completely kill this unwanted plant.  As always, be sure to contact a professional to assist in plant identification and removal of poison ivy, oak or sumac by manual or chemical means.

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Your Lawn is Under Severe Water Stress!

When watering your lawn, you should really strive to water enough to wet the entire root zone.  The most common error committed by people is light irrigation.  Too little water too often encourages a multitude of problems such as shallow root system.  The ever changing need for watering depends mainly on your soil and of course, the weather.  Determining the type of soil you have is really helpful when determining beneficial watering schedules.  If you have a clay based soil watering to 1.25″ +/- is just about right.  However if your soil is more sandy or loam than anywhere between 1/2″ – 3/4″ is fine.  Try to remember that rainfall is no guarantee and should not be relied on as the single source of moisture for your lawn.  Light showers merely wet the surface.  Short down pours do the same.  Most of the water is lost in runoff before it can soak in to the soil.  A lawn will use as much as two inches per week in hot, dry weather – a fraction of that when it is cooler.  If you decide your lawn needs water, you should put on enough to wet the entire root zone as specified above.  If you can, avoid late afternoon or evening irrigation.  Grass that stays wet for a long time favors development of diseases.  However, do not avoid watering at these times if this is the only time you can water.  The important thing is water.  Avoiding late afternoons is secondary to providing the needed water to your turfgrass.  In heavy clay soils prevent watering to the full recommended amount at one time, frequent watering may be necessary to avoid surface runoff.

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Types of Herbicides: Non-Selective VS. Selective

You need to know the difference between a non-selective and a selective herbicide before you perform or authorize any herbicide application on your property.

A non-selective herbicide kills all actively growing vegetation by contact or by a systemic mode of action (chemical transported throughout plant). As an example Round-Up (Glyphosate) is commonly used to kill all existing unwanted vegetation growing in a poorly maintained landscaped area before planting or installing desirable seed or mature plants shortly after. Residual weed control (pre-emergent herbicide, soil sterilants, etc.) should be considered when choosing the correct non-selective herbicide needed for a particular site specific vegetation control task at hand.

A selective herbicide kills only certain target plants (as specified on product label) and leaves behind all other plants virtually unscathed (dosage and timing of application dependent).  Most selective herbicides used on turf (in particular) are systemic in nature (chemical transported throughout plant).

A decision will need to be made if only a select few unwanted broadleaf weeds, grasses, vines, etc. need to be eliminated or if everything growing in a particular target area will need to be controlled.

As always, please consult an industry professional for proper target plant identification and best available control options (organic, synthetic, contact, systemic, dosage, mechanical, cultural, etc.) before any/all pesticide applications are performed.

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The stubborn grassy weed with a strange name………….. Quackgrass!

Quackgrass is a perennial grassy weed that is very difficult to eradicate from a lawn.  This persistent grassy weed can take over your lawn or invade open soil spaces rather quickly if left alone.  Quackgrass grows from seed and underground rhizomes (roots) that lie dormant overwinter but quickly revive each and every spring.  In the spring time (in particular) this problem weed grass usually grows faster and taller than other surrounding grass plants.  The reason this weed is so difficult to control is due to its resistance to selective herbicides that are routinely used in seasonal lawn care programs.  Even though we can quickly eliminate other unwanted grassy and grass-like weeds in lawns like crabgrass, barnyardgrass, foxtail, nutsedge, etc….. just not quackgrass – It lives on!  The best way to eliminate quackgrass is by applying a non-selective liquid herbicide like Round-Up (glyphosate) directly to the unwanted weed grass when it is actively growing (spring or fall).  Please keep in mind that this non-selective herbicide needed to eliminate quackgrass will also kill any/all desirable grass, plants, etc. that are allowed to come in contact with the herbicide.  It is a good idea to choose the right applicator (small paint brush, hand sprayer, back pack sprayer, etc.) that you can easily control to lessen the amount of excess turf damage.  If the quackgrass outbreak is very small in overall size than a paint brush (very tedious) or small hand sprayer (faster but expect grass damage as well) will do the trick.  However, if quackgrass has spread across your entire lawn than a larger back pack or tank sprayer should be utilized to make the application (please consult a professional for best results).  As you can imagine a lawn replacement/repair plan must be in place before making the decision to apply Round-Up to your quackgrass plagued lawn.  After waiting generally 14 days or so (post round-up application) you can repair the dead previously treated lawn areas by seed or sod to complete.

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Would you like to apply a crabgrass preventer to your lawn or plant grass seed……… please pick just one!

The challenge we turf grass managers face every spring season (in particular) is that in order to prevent the annual unwanted grassy weed called crabgrass from growing in a lawn we either need to maintain great turf grass density to stop undesirable crabgrass (seed) from ever germinating in open soil or we need to apply a preventative herbicide to create a short lasting “barrier” that will stop any/all crabgrass seed from growing or fully maturing.  Even when we have decent overall lawn density and have applied a pre-emergent crabgrass herbicide there is still a strong possibility that crabgrass will grow in weakened lawn areas like those found in heavily compacted soil areas, lawn areas cut too short (usually along curbs, roads, walks, base of trees, etc.), areas that are exposed to extreme heat for long periods of time or lawn areas that were simply left bare (not repaired) from growing seasons past.

When a granular pre-emergent crabgrass herbicide is applied it will generally provide between 6-10 weeks of crabgrass protection.  The life of this synthetic “crabgrass barrier” is dependent on the amount of rain or irrigation following the application and the amount of possible soil disturbance that takes place (post application).  The lower the amount of soil surface disturbance or lessor water applied will extend the life and effectiveness of a crabgrass pre-emergent herbicide application.

No grass seed should ever be planted in a lawn that recently had a pre-emergent crabgrass herbicide applied (+/- 6-10 weeks post application).

The majority of crabgrass pre-emergent herbicides will not allow desirable grass seed to germinate over the course of its effective 6-10 week life span.  The crabgrass herbicide has no way to distinguish between unwanted crabgrass seed and desirable grass seed.  We highly recommend applying a crabgrass pre-emergent herbicide in the spring and planting grass seed mid-August through September especially in full sun exposed lawn areas where crabgrass is more prevalent.

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Shatter your soil for a better lawn!

A great way to increase air, water and nutrient flow to your lawn’s root zone is by performing core aeration.  Core aeration is a mechanical lawn improvement process where motor driven cylinder-like spoons are plunged into and shatter the soil thereby relieving compaction and reducing thatch build up.  Half inch diameter or so plugs of thatch and soil are actually pulled from the ground during this process.  The soil cores are normally left atop the lawn to simply decompose over time and to return great organic material back into the soil.  It is very common to core aerate heavily trafficked lawn areas twice per growing season (spring and late summer/early fall are recommended).  Plan on aerating your lawn before over-seeding for improved grass seed to soil contact.  Promote deeper and healthier turf grass roots by incorporating core aeration into your seasonal lawn management program.

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Plant a fence!

Wood, metal and vinyl are all common materials to construct a new fence from but there are many limitations you should consider.  Many cities will specify a maximum fence height (3’-6’), limit the areas of your property where a fence can be installed and further limit the type of materials that your fence can be constructed of.  In case you are not aware of these city specific fence installation details, they will be explained to you when applying for a fence installation permit or easily accessible when researching the zoning regulations/municipal code for your area on the internet.

I understand that there are many times when a conventional hard material fence is the best choice.  A wood, metal or vinyl fence is best when you have young children to protect, pets to retain or even a swimming pool to secure.

However if your goal is to shield a nearby neglected adjacent property from view, create a formidable impassable barrier or to further enhance a line of sight view from a point on your property than consider planting a live screen instead of installing a fence.

Here are a few additional benefits and details to consider when planting a live screen on your property.

  • Live screen plant material can be trained, trimmed, pruned, supported, etc. to occupy precisely the right area in need of physical or visual shielding.
  • Depending on the budget and planting space available, a visually complete live plant screen may take several years to grow and fill in.
  • Choose multiple evergreen plants (foliage remains green year round), deciduous plants (loses foliage at end of growing season) or a combination of the two for best site specific results.
  • Be careful to choose the correct plant material that will not likley outgrow the limited space available (under low hanging power lines, near driveways, along sidewalks, close to neighbor’s property, etc.) for best long term results.
  • In most cases there are very few (if any) height, choice of plant material or planting location restrictions from local zoning/municipal authorities.
  • Be sure to remember that the larger the plant is at time of installation, the more expensive it will likely be (greater material, delivery and installation costs).
  • Neighborhood metal, wood or vinyl fences are easily duplicated and are very common.  A well thought out plant material screen is very unique and will increase in value as time passes and as plants have a chance to mature.
  • Maintenance on either a hard material fence or a live plant screen varies greatly (heavily dependent on environment, installation and selected site specific materials used) and should be scrutinized during the beginning planning stage to determine the right choice to satisfy your long term needs.
  • Visit a few reputable local nurseries to see the various types of screen plants available (upright arborvitae, spruce, upright juniper, privet, viburnum, cotoneaster, honeysuckle, etc.).

Hopefully this information will prove useful to you when determining your property specific screening or fencing options.

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Is it only snow plowing that I need?

There are many properties that require more than one form of snow removal to achieve the best results.  As many of us know, snow can be mechanically plowed, pushed, lifted, blown, hauled away or even instantly melted as conditions dictate.  It is very important to understand that each of these snow removal methods requires a degree of site specific knowledge and operational expertise to be effective at just the right time.

Here are just a few factors that help us determine the best method to clear snow at your residential, commercial or industrial property.

  • What is your tolerance for snow accumulation before clearing must begin?  Will snow need to be cleared instantly as it falls or only after a predetermined amount of snow accumulation has occurred (1”+)?  Is speed of snow clearing paramount to all other service factors?
  • Is there enough physical space on your property to retain cleared snow until natural melting has occurred?  If not, plans will have to be in place to relocate or elevate cleared snow higher to further maximize any space that remains.Commercial snow removal
  • Do you have a special paved surface that will be damaged if a standard steel edged snow removal machine is used?  It is very common that brick paved, stamped concrete, epoxy coated concrete or even regular asphalt paved surfaces will become scratched due to repeated passes from steel edged snow removal equipment.  One should strongly consider using a specialized piece of snow removal equipment(plow, blower, bucket, pusher, etc.) that has a rubber or polyurethane cutting edge to avoid this problem.
  • Is your site open for business 24 hours a day/7 days a week or only during select times during the week?  This site specific detail along with your tolerance for fallen snow accumulation will further determine the necessary equipment and snow clearing approach needed to meet or exceed your expectations.
  • Will snow piles have to be placed or relocated near existing storm sewers or drainage retention areas to safely carry away excess water as snow melting begins?  Often times specialized machines will be needed (loaders, skid steers, blowers, etc.) to relocate existing piles of snow to alternate on-site or off-site areas best suited for the excess drainage water that melting snow creates.
  • Will it be a problem if snow piles become just too large in size on your property?  Some of the reasons that existing piles of snow may need to be reduced in size are that they block the safe view of an adjacent road way, block the sight path of a critical sign, ongoing melting of snow may cause a reoccurring refreeze/ice situation atop adjacent pavement, take up needed parking spaces, etc.  Again, specialized snow relocation equipment may be needed to handle this task.

Please be sure to keep Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. in mind when evaluating your present and future snow and ice management needs.

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The damaging power of ice!

Many of us carefully travel atop slippery icy surfaces every winter with great care and awareness.  We do our very best to lower the possibility of a slip and fall or vehicle accident by applying various forms of ice melters to our roads, sidewalks and bridges to convert dangerous ice to manageable surface water.  However, we need to really consider the power of ice and the damage it can cause when water is allowed to freeze when becoming trapped or simply left to stagnate in non-temperature controlled areas like exterior sump drains, foundation mounted water supply lines, roof gutters, non-drained buried lawn irrigation lines, buried down spout drain lines, garden hoses left outside, rain barrels, etc.

What happens to water if it’s not allowed to expand when frozen?

Here are a few simple steps to avoid ice related property damage and it’s corresponding repair.

  • Clean out all leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts often to allow for proper draining.
  • Be sure to properly pitch exterior sump pump drain lines to allow water to flow out and not remain stagnate in pipe.
  • Blow out or vacuum all debris that may have become trapped in buried down spout extension drain lines.
  • Prepare your lawn’s sprinkler system for winter by removing all the water from the irrigation system and equipment by using pressurized air.
  • Drain water from all portable/stationary pumps and water holding tanks before freezing temperatures move in.

By taking these few simple winter related precautions will allow our drainage and water control systems to function as they were intended and with minimal additional expense.

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What exactly is a lawn and landscape spring cleanup anyway?

A seasonal spring cleanup is a one-time property visit to prepare your lawn and landscape for the up and coming growing season.

Normally our spring cleanup service includes the removal and off-site disposal of any landscape related surface debris, windblown trash, fallen twigs, etc. that may have accumulated over winter in plant beds, atop paved surfaces and across all lawn areas.  We will also cultivate the soil or wood mulch covering within specified plant beds, cut back various perennial plants, perform initial lawn mowing, all pavement will be mechanically edged and blown clean to complete.  It is also very common to perform mechanical lawn dethatching, core aeration and lawn fertilization in addition to a spring cleanup.

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A few proven ways to rebuild lawn density

Lawn renovation is the process of rebuilding your lawn’s density by mechanical and manual means.  To begin we normally core aerate all lawn areas to relieve soil compaction and allow for improved air-water-nutrient flow to the existing lawn’s root system.  After all lawn areas have been aerated, we will mechanically slit-seed across all existing thin/stressed lawn areas.  Mechanical slit-seeding is the process of planting site specific premium grass seed directly into the soil by slicing through a weakened stand of turf grass.  This service ensures great seed to soil contact which translates into excellent germination rates.  After all existing lawn areas have been mechanically slit-seeded, we will apply a granular seed starter fertilizer that is especially high in phosphorus to all lawn areas to further enhance the seed germination process.  Next we will repair all remaining completely bare (little or no grass) areas by delivering and installing additional top soil (1/2”- 1”), plant premium grass seed and install seed germination blanket or peat moss covering to complete the bare area repairs.  The absolute best time (in my opinion) to perform these services will be from mid-August through September.  Actually, it is only during this time of the growing season that we have optimum seed growing conditions (warm soil temperatures, less weed competition, little chance of frost or freezing temperatures, adequate natural rainfall and cooling temperatures).   The spring season will be the next best time of the year to renovate a lawn, especially for lawns partially covered by shade tree canopies.  It is only in the spring season that trees have not yet fully grown their leaves and greater seed germination/plant vigor can be derived from this short term abundant sun light.  Lawn renovation services in addition to properly scheduled mechanical maintenance, lawn fertilization, weed control and insect management will greatly enhance any failing stand of turf grass over a short period of time.

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Planting a new lawn by seed vs. sod

My professional opinion on the use of sod is that I will recommend it only when absolutely necessary. The reason we like growing a lawn from seed over sod is that we can choose the best blend of turf grass seed for the specific site/conditions at hand. Please keep in mind that most commercially grown Kentucky Bluegrass blend sod is meant to be installed in areas that have 70% + sun exposure throughout a given day. One important factor rarely exposed by most sod resellers. When the choice is made to grow a new lawn by seed you will need to intentionally “over prepare” the soil and nurture the seed for optimum germination and deep root establishment to ensure great long term results. Sod on the other hand can be simply laid on a “sub-par” soil surface and kept alive as long as there is adequate and routine irrigation available. Other factors that can easily stress poorly rooted sod are everyday foot traffic, pet waste, intense heat, insect activity, minimal watering, excessive watering, fungus, sub-par mechanical maintenance, etc. Even though seed will take a growing season or two to fully establish and reach the density levels you are looking for, you will have great long term results with lower maintenance costs thereafter. Sod on the other hand will look great instantly and usually require a greater initial financial investment, but will also continue to cost more over time to maintain (rebuild fading sod density due to limited initial grass variety selection, avoiding constant fungal related threats, continual need to break through dense thatch layer, etc.). The average sodded lawn retains a non-native soil layer that routinely causes poor air/water/nutrient flow to the lawn’s root zone below. In many cases we are forced to break down this “soil barrier” by performing multiple core aerations, mechanical slit-seeding, power raking/dethatching, etc. each and every growing season to maintain acceptable turf density.

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How may I help you?

Thank you for taking the time to review my lawn, landscape and snow management related writings.  My promise is to share relevant experiences, observations and practices used to produce the very best lawn, landscape and snow related service outcome possible.  My name is Joe Pacocha and I began Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. in 1993.  We perform professional seasonal property maintenance, renovation and installation services across the north side of Chicago and surrounding northwest suburbs.  We continually strive to earn the respect and trust of our customers by exceeding their expectations.  It is in our client’s complete satisfaction that we derive our passion to continue learning and generate increased value within all services that we perform.  How may I help you?

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