Category Archives: New Ideas for a Better Service

String-Trimmer Contact vs Delicate Exterior Surfaces

As of late, I have been having more and more conversations with both new and existing clients in regard to the possibility of surface damage caused by routine string-trimmer use at their properties.  When mowing a lawn, it is often the case, that any grass found growing on-site, not accessible by a conventional lawn mower will be cut using a mechanical string-trimmer (aka weed-wacker, line trimmer, weed eater, etc).

Unless improved landscape design or protective strategies are employed (targeted wood mulch placement, expanded plant bed areas, use of sacrificial contact materials, simple grass removal, etc.), contact damage is very likely.

When placed/installed directly atop growing grass or are left in very close proximity to a regularly maintained lawn, the following items or structures are commonly exposed to accidental string-trimmer related damage.

 

  • Wood Stairs, Fencing and Gates
  • Deck, Fence and Mail Box Posts
  • Tree Bark/Exposed Roots
  • Wooden or Plastic Children Playground Sets
  • Low-Voltage Light Fixtures
  • Exposed Utility Cables
  • Outdoor Furniture
  • Vinyl, Wood or Aluminum Siding
  • Air Conditioner Condensers
  • Low-Growing Annual and/or Perennial Foliage
  • Aluminum Downspout Extensions

Please be sure to let us know if you have any questions or if our team at Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. can be of help in the creation of a beautiful, maintenance-friendly landscape at your property.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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SNOW PRO TIP – Store Your Opened Plastic Bag of Deicing Salt in One of These!

When applying bagged ice melt materials to sidewalks, driveways, parking areas, etc., it is very likely that at some point along the way, once a store bought plastic bag of salt is opened, you will have unused material leftover.  Since bagged ice melt material is expensive, it is very prudent to do what you can to save the unused ice melt material in a manner so it can be used at a later date.  Simply rolling closed the open plastic bag is a crapshoot at best.  If the contents are allowed to become wet or even draw moisture from the air (hygroscopic materials – calcium chloride in particular), it will harden, clump and become nearly impossible to apply in an effective manner.

Store your open ice melt material in a plastic 5 or 6 gallon bucket WITH A RESEALABLE AIR-TIGHT LID!

Beyond storing unused ice melt material at the end of a winter weather event, keep a few additional covered buckets pre-loaded and ready to go before the storm arrives.  A bucket of salt is so much easier to handle than a clumsy, wet or sometimes snow covered plastic bag.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any snow and ice related service you may require.  We appreciate the opportunity and look forward to being of assistance to you.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

 

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What happened to our boxwood’s this past winter?!?!??

As anyone with a watchful eye on area plants and trees can probably tell you, this past winter, with it’s extreme cold (Polar Vortex!!), really took it’s toll on many deciduous and evergreen bushes.  In particular, the beautiful broadleaf evergreen, the boxwood, has been decimated!!

So many mature boxwood’s, that managed to survive for so many years, so many weather extreme’s, just could not pull through the brutally cold winter of 2018-19.

Although we can’t bring back the majority of stressed boxwood’s found today, we can learn from the experience and improve our chances for successful long-term growing of new and/or existing boxwood’s that survived last winter.

A few points to consider when growing boxwood’s in your landscape.

  • Encourage deep root growth by watering deeply, less often.
  • Keep your boxwood’s (soil/root zone) watered very well going into winter, before ground freezes.
  • Maintain a 2″+/- layer of organic water absorbing mulch around the base of your boxwood’s to further assist in retaining moisture (refresh as needed).
  • Be critical of the area you are planting/growing boxwood’s.  If deicing material is routinely applied nearby, try to limit exposure whenever possible or simply plant further away from problematic areas.  Salt (sodium chloride) dissolved in water, if concentrations are high enough, will contaminate the soil in adjacent run-off areas over time.
  • Install physical winter barriers/screens around your boxwood’s and other sensitive plants to keep deicing salt out of soil and to reduce moisture-robbing winter wind exposure (winter foliage desiccation).
  • If boxwood’s prove to be too sensitive for a particular area, try a different plant.  Choose a plant that can tolerate the specific conditions of the site for best long term results.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions you may have or for further assistance.  We would love to help anyway we can.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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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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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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3 Proven Ways to Increase Commercial Snow Removal Quality and Reliability!

After spending the last 25 years in the business of commercial snow removal, even to this day, we continue to learn and find new ways to tweak our operational techniques and further improve the level of service we provide for our clients.  Here are 3 readily available resources that if used, will help a snow removal contractor increase efficiency, improve quality and ideally, stay a few steps ahead of the storm.

1). Skid-Steer Loader: Very reliable, extra maneuverable and can clear a lot of snow in a hurry! Regardless of the brand of skid-steer  (Bobcat, Cat, New Holland, etc.), these machines run on either wheels or tracks and can quickly attach to just about any snow removal attachment ever created (universal attachment mounting plate used across all manufacturer’s machines).  Couple a sectional containment plow/snow pusher (8′ to 12′ wide) to a highly maneuverable piece of equipment like a skid-steer loader and you have a winning combination for just about any snow clearing operation!

 

2). Industrial Snow Pusher Shovel:  Simple, durable and excellent scraping ability.  These “Snow Plow/Snow Pusher” shovels are constructed almost entirely of polyethylene/fiberglass and perform flawlessly!  With only a minimal initial investment ($25-$80 each), these snow shovels come in a variety of sizes ranging from 12″ to 48″ wide and can be easily refurbished (if ever needed) with parts available direct from the manufacturer.  These shovels are especially great for clearing snow from somewhat delicate surfaces that are prone to scratching and damage from normal steel edged snow shovels (wood decks, brick pavement, stone, outdoor carpet, stamped concrete, etc.).

3). Mobile Storage Containers:  Large or small sizes readily available, own or rent, super secure and can be delivered just about anywhere.These strategically placed, on-site, all steel containers have truly revolutionized the way ice melt materials (bagged and bulk) and snow removal equipment can be stored, secured and maintained to achieve a constant state of readiness.

Please be sure to contact our team at Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any snow and ice management service need you may have.  We remain ready and able to assist any way we can.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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So what are you anyway ………….. a contractor or a mechanic?

My answer is BOTH!  Well, sort of anyway.

Being a contractor in the landscape and snow industry means you have the honor of working with fantastic people, spend your days in the great outdoors and are surrounded by, and rely heavily on equipment.  Whether complex vehicles or simple machines, the need for work producing equipment in the contracting industry is just about mandatory.

In my opinion, an aspiring contractor today must strive to continually learn (at the very least) the “inner-workings” of the various pieces of equipment used daily so that a reliable and cost-effective service can be consistently delivered to it’s customer.

If you happen to be interested in how plants grow and keeping machinery in great running condition, take a look at the landscape and snow management industry as a career.

You will never have a dull work day ever again!

Thank you for visiting our site and as always, please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. for all your lawn, landscape and snow management needs.  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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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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