Category Archives: Property Evaluation

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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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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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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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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