Category Archives: Landscape Maintenance

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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How to Identify an Oak Tree

The first step to begin identification of an oak tree is to determine whether the tree is from the white or red oak family of trees.  You can identify which group your oak tree belongs to by looking at it’s leaves, acorns and it’s bark.

Red Oak Group Characteristics:

  • Leaves have pointed tips
  • Acorns are round in shape and have a flattened overlapping/scaled cap
  • Bark is fairly dark in color and often appears as ridged/furrowed
  • Fast growing
  • Members of the red oak group of trees include – Northern red oak, Black oak, Pin oak, Shingle oak, Red oak, etc.
Red Oak Tree Leaves and Acorns
Red Oak Tree Bark
Red Oak Tree Acorns

White Oak Group Characteristics:

  • Leaves are rounded at tip of each lobe
  • Acorns are oval/elongated and have a bumpy faced cap that is usually 1/3 or so it’s overall length
  • Bark often appears to be light colored and scaly in appearance
  • Slow growing
  • Members of the white oak group of trees include – Bur oak, Post oak, Swamp White oak, Eastern White oak, etc.
White Oak Tree Leaves and Acorns
White Oak Tree Bark
White Oak Tree Acorns

Oak trees are fantastic hardwood trees that can live for hundreds of years and provide awesome shade for all to enjoy.  Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any comments, questions or service requests you may have.  We greatly appreciate your visit to our site and look forward to being of service to you.  Have a great day!

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Natures Oddity…………. Slime Mold!

Slime mold can be found growing atop organic decaying material (wood mulch in particular) when hot and humid weather is the norm (June – August).

Slime mold can be white, light cream, brown or even yellow in color.

When found growing atop wood mulch, slime mold can be easily removed by just scooping it up and throwing it away.

 

 

Try not to dispose of slime mold in your compost bin to avoid further possible on-site spread.  Normal routine cultivation of wood mulch will keep slime mold growth at bay.  Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any lawn, landscape or snow management related questions you may have.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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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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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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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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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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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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