Category Archives: Landscape Improvements

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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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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Ideas to relieve standing water from your lawn and landscape

If proper site drainage is lacking at your property and continuous rains routinely cause the ground to become fully saturated, standing water will almost certainly occur.

Especially across low lying lawn and poorly drained plant bed areas, if surface water is left to stagnate for long periods of time, non-tolerant plants may fall victim to the negative effects of excessive soil moisture (root decay/wet-feet).

Here are a few ways to relieve standing water at your property.

  • Redirect existing roof downspouts and/or sump pump outlet pipes to flow toward alternate non-problematic areas (if possible).
  • Raise the soil grade within low-lying flood prone areas.
  • Install an underground drainage system to properly relocate, store and/or further improve the natural process of ground water percolation.
  • Replace impermeable paved surfaces with porous materials.
  • Fine tune your irrigation system to prevent over watering (soil type and natural rainfall frequency dependent).
  • If you suspect a neighboring property is the direct cause of your drainage problem, begin a direct discussion with it’s owner and/or the local government to find a beneficial solution.
  • If poor drainage cannot be improved for whatever reason, consider planting species that can tolerate wet soil conditions.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions you may have.  We greatly appreciate your time and look forward to being of assistance to you in the very near future.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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A tree that has no equal – the majestic Bur Oak!

Bur Oak Deeply Furrowed Bark

There is one very special oak tree that I just love seeing in my day-to-day travels, the Bur oak.

Wow…. what a beautiful and majestic tree!

The Bur oak is from the white oak family of hard wood trees and can live well over 200 years.  It’s bark is deeply furrowed and acorns sport a very unique hairy cap.

When you find a Bur oak acorn on the ground, look up.  Take a look at one of the most beautiful oak trees you will find in our area.  Young, smaller sized wild growing Bur oak trees are difficult to transplant due to their very substantial tap root, but if you can wait a few years and have a few viable acorns you can plant your very own oak tree from seed.

The tree can grow well over 70 feet tall and is ideally suited to grow in a vast open area.  However, with that said, we have a few clients that have several very substantial Bur oak’s that are happily growing right alongside their homes and driveways.  Whether the trees came before the house or the house before the trees, I don’t know, but what I do know is that their landscapes are truly one-of-a-kind.

In my opinion, these substantial trees add so much character to a landscape that their is simply no comparison. If you are fortunate enough to have towering mature Bur oaks growing on your property, consider yourself very lucky.  Besides having to clean up occasional acorns and an abundance of leaves in the fall you will find no better shade tree.  If you have the foresight and space available on your property, be sure to look into planting your very own Bur oak tree.  Your kids and grandchildren will be very grateful you did.

Bur Oak Acorns

Please be sure to consider Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. for your lawn, landscape and snow management needs.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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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 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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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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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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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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