All posts by Joseph

Ready for Accumulating Snow on November 1st!

It seems that accumulating snow is happening earlier and earlier in the fall season here in the northern Illinois Chicago area.  Over the last 20 years, we were considered “lucky” (from a plow contractor’s perspective 🙂 ) to get accumulating snow as early as mid-to-late December, but the last few winters have proven otherwise.

From our company’s point of view, accumulating snow in November is now to be expected.  Even though snow and ice service planning, operational improvement and efficient route creation never stops and truly happens year round, being fully operational and ready to successfully service our clients properties on November 1st.  is now the rule, not the exception.

Please contact our company, Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc., for more information on our snow and ice management service offering and to receive a professional and fully detailed seasonal winter service agreement custom created specifically for your property.

Thank you for visiting our site and have a great winter season!

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When growing grass, soil preparation is EVERYTHING!

Whenever repairing or installing a new lawn from seed or sod, one very important aspect of the planting process is soil preparation.  Besides using premium fresh site-specific grass seed or sod, avoiding the hot and dry season (if possible) and ensuring routine irrigation, the better the initial soil preparation is, the better the outcome will most certainly be.

Here are a few soil preparation tips that will ensure success when planting grass from seed and/or sod.

GRASS SEED

Before planting grass seed over an existing weakened stand of grass, be sure to core aerate first to open the existing soil, relieve compaction and allow for improved seed-to-soil contact.  Better yet, mechanically power rake the lawn first (spring or fall preferred) to scarify the soil surface and to remove debris and excess thatch.  Once dethatched, core aerate (single or multiple passes ok) then spread grass seed over prepared surface by walk behind drop/broadcast spreader or plant seed directly into soil via mechanical slit-seeder.

If planting grass seed across bare ground be sure to cultivate/roto-till the existing soil first.  Before adding any/all amendments, starter fertilizer or additional top soil, for large open widespread areas, use a front or rear tine tiller to cultivate the soil to a depth of 2″-4″ first.  For small spot-repair areas use a steel rake, cultivator or even a Garden Weasel to cultivate the soil manually.  Once all bare soil areas have been cultivated and soil compaction has been broken, rake loosened soil to level and grade adequately across site to ensure proper drainage, etc..

Add pulverized top soil (as/if needed) to further improve/elevate areas targeted for eventual seed planting to complete.

SOD

Assuming that we are starting with a bare ground situation where all existing unwanted grass has either been manually, mechanically or chemically removed prior to new sod installation, bare compacted soil needs to be adequately cultivated before new sod can be successfully grown.  Again, just like when planting grass seed across large open areas, roto-tilling is the preferred method of soil preparation.

Once all bare soil areas have been roto-tilled/cultivated (depth of 2″-4″ ideal), add amendments, fertilizer or additional pulverized top soil to prepare the site for new sod installation.

Take your time, be thorough in your soil preparation and you will have a beautiful new lawn in no time!

Please be sure to consider Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. for your next grass planting project.  We are happy to answer any questions you may have and help any way we can.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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5 tips to ensure a trouble-free buried gutter downspout drain system

Whenever planning to install new or modify an existing buried downspout drain, you need to be very aware of solid debris that can easily enter your buried drainage system and cause future problems.  Whether it’s leaves, small branches, tree acorns/seed, asphalt roof shingle granules or any other debris that can enter your downspout by way of unprotected/uncovered gutters, a buried downspout drain system will eventually fail unless certain precautions are taken.

Here are 5 tips to ensure a trouble-free buried gutter downspout drain system.

1). Create an air-gap below your downspout (between downspout outlet and catch basin inlet).  It is always a good idea to leave a bit of space (1″ to 4″+/-) between the end of your downspout and entry point of buried drain system to allow water to escape downspout if in the event your buried drain system becomes inoperable.  We have seen many poorly designed buried downspout drains over the years that were direct connected (no air-gap) and eventually became clogged due to a lack of regular maintenance or by having no debris protection (atop roof gutters and/or atop buried drain inlet).

2). Reduce entry of large debris into buried drainage system by installing a grate covered catch basin at inlet point (ground level).  Not only will most large sized debris get stopped from entering buried drain system via catch basins grate cover, but smaller sized debris that manages to pass through will settle to bottom of catch basin (instead of inside pipe) where it can be easily removed at some point in the future.

Cut-Off Buried Downspout Drain Pipe Almost Completely Clogged With Debris From Unprotected Gutters Above

3). Add a catch basin filter for extra protection against unwanted small granular sized debris from entering into buried drain pipe.

4). Clean sump base of catch basin (and optional filter) annually to ensure long term buried drain system success.  Most downspout catch basins can be easily cleaned out by simply unscrewing the top grate cover and shoveling out or vacuuming any/all settled debris that has accumulated in sump of catch basin.

5). Occasionally inspect top of catch basin (once per month recommended) to ensure the grate cover is free and clear of debris.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any exterior residential drainage improvement needed at your Chicagoland area property.  Thank you for visiting our site and we look forward to being of service to you!

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Make it stay with biodegradable stakes!!

Whenever installing seed germination blanket, weed control fabric or other landscape related materials requiring temporary attachment to the underlying soil, consider using a biodegradable stake in lieu of the industry standard steel staple.

4″ Steel Staple

Here are a few benefits to using a biodegradable stake over a conventional steel staple.

4″ Biodegradable Stake
  • Greater holding power
  • Will hold to soil for up to 18 months before completely disappearing in soil
  • Can penetrate the hardest soil
  • Safer than steel staples for people, pets and machinery
  • Approved by DOT’s, engineers and conservation bodies
  • Plastic free and biodegradeable
  • Can store indefinitely in dry warehouse conditions

Purchase biodegradable stakes here: https://amzn.to/2NplhAH

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any lawn, landscape or snow related service needed at your local area property.  We are happy to help any way we can and at any time.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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Bagworms = Arborvitaes worst nightmare!

When unsuspecting arborvitaes are invaded by bagworms, it is often times a total loss for the individual evergreen under assault.

Bagworm caterpillars feed on specific types of evergreen foliage (arborvitae, juniper, cedar, spruce, cypress, etc.) and may partially stress or completely kill the host evergreen in relatively short order if left unchecked.

Once a suitable host is found, bagworm caterpillars get busy building protective hanging sacks out of needles and other nearby plant material to cover themselves, coming out to feed.  The sacks hang from branches and are usually brown in color (look like small pine cones once the plant material used dries out).  Female bagworms mature as small caterpillars and never leave their individual nest sack, while adult male’s eventually fly-away as moths (August/September).  Both the mature male and female die shortly after mating at the female’s sack.  A mature female bagworm caterpillar can fertilize up to 1,000 eggs before dying within her cocoon.  Bagworm eggs overwinter in the female sack and hatch in May.  Larvae exit the cocoon by lowering themselves down/out via a self-generated thin silk thread.

BAGWORMS very survival hang’s by a thread!

Only a single generation of bagworm eggs are produced each year.  Bagworm feeding can be quite devastating to the host plant if left unchecked.  Manual removal of any/all bagworm sacks is recommended whenever possible.  If manual sack removal is not an option then a properly timed insecticide application (late June/early July) by a trained and qualified professional is highly recommended to control the overall bagworm larvae population in the effected evergreen trees.

Thank you for visiting our site and please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any service requests or questions you may have.  We greatly appreciate the opportunity and look forward to hearing from you in the very near future.  Have a great day!

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Bishop’s Weed……………….. friend or foe???

Bishop’s weed (aka goutweed, snow-on-the-mountain, ground elder, etc.) can take over your garden if you are not careful.  While the perennial plant itself looks fairly attractive, the challenge lies in it’s invasive growing nature.

The plant will quickly spread into just about any open soil area not bound by pavement on all four sides!!  This ground cover plant will spread, and spread, and spread………..

Bishop’s weed is nearly unstoppable!!

 

Bishop’s weed is considered a noxious weed in many states.  Just something to consider when deciding whether or not to offer a few of your Bishop’s weed plant’s to a neighbor or family member.  A non-selective herbicide (glyphosate) may be used to control the plant, but multiple targeted applications over several growing seasons may be required.

Please contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions you may have or to discuss your next landscape improvement project.  We greatly appreciate the opportunity and look forward to helping any way we can.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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Poison Ivy in ALL the wrong places…………………………….

Poison Ivy found growing up a brick wall
Poison Ivy growing up a utility pole

Over the years we have been very fortunate to provide lawn and landscape related services at thousands of area properties.  Based on routine and somewhat unexpected customer demand, we have become a local source frequently called upon to properly identify and recommend effective poison ivy removal strategies (short and long term).

Poison Ivy found growing up a tree located near residential front entry
Poison Ivy growing through walls and exiting roof of a back yard shed

Besides being found just about everywhere in a landscape setting, we find that poison ivy is very comfortable growing vertically.  Very comfortable!!  In fact, if left alone over time, poison ivy loves growing directly up mature trees, wooden utility poles, fences and even walls of houses (usually intertwined with other desirable climbing vines – in particular).

Poison Ivy found growing through a wood fence

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any poison ivy related concern you may have.  We stand ready and able to help any way we can.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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Take a look at that Forsythia over there, it’s trying to tell you something………..

Spring is finally here!!

A sure sign that spring has finally arrived is when the forsythia bushes bloom and take on an awesome yellow color.  Even though the forsythia’s great vibrant yellow color only lasts a few short weeks, here are a few lawn and landscape related special events that it’s bloom usually signifies.

  • Soil temperatures are beginning to warm above 50 degrees+
  • Cool season turf grasses are finally beginning to grow.
  • Perennial broadleaf weeds, especially dandelions, are coming out of dormancy and are springing back to life!
  • Crabgrass seed will begin germinating in open, bare soil areas in the very near future.  Try to apply a grassy weed preventer at this time.
  • The odds of accumulating snow and/or sub-freezing temperatures are becoming less likely to occur from this point forward.  Winter is over!!
  • Lawn and landscape clean-ups, dethatching and core aeration should be well underway.
  • Irrigation systems are being opened/turned-on for the season.
  • Even though turf grass seed should be ideally planted in the late summer/early fall for best results, if planting in the spring, now would be the time to do so (next 4 weeks +/-).

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any lawn or landscape related improvement project you would like completed.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great spring and summer season!

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What exactly is mechanical slit-seeding?

Slit-seeding is a mechanical process of rebuilding a thinning lawn by planting premium site-specific grass seed directly into the soil, through an existing stand of turf grass, by way of specialized machine.  Here is a brief video of a slit-seeding machine planting grass seed in a residential yard.

 

 

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions you may have or to schedule lawn renovation services at your property.  Thank you for visiting and have a great day!

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Never be without your straps and chains!

Whenever the need arises to move heavy material or equipment, you need to be sure to safely secure your payload to the transport vehicle of choice.  A properly secured load will not only ensure your own well-being, but the safety of everyone else that happens to be sharing the road with you that day.

A successful delivery begins and ends with a secure payload!

Here are a few basics to keep in mind the next time you need to transport something large or heavy.

  • Have plenty of heavy duty ratcheting straps, transport chain and ratcheting chain binders (payload dependent) to secure the load to the transport vehicle.  The more readily available – the better!
  • Be sure the vehicle or trailer used to transport the item(s) is up to the task (adequate braking ability, sturdy loading platform, available vehicle payload weight rating is adequate, multiple tie-down points available, etc.)
  • Whenever possible, try to keep the majority of weight down low to avoid tipping or load shift while in transit.
  • Before strapping or chaining down an item, be sure to remove any/all delicate, poorly fastened or already loose items that can easily fall off or become damaged while in transport.
  • Plan your delivery route to avoid unnecessary diversions.
  • If inexperienced, try to schedule large deliveries when the weather is cooperating and in your favor.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions, comments or ideas as to how we can further improve our service offering.  We thank you for visiting our site and wish you a great day!

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