Even though all evergreen trees are routinely called “pine trees” by the casual observer, there are other unique species that deserve to be called by their proper names. To begin, we can differentiate between evergreen tree species (conifers) by identifying them as being either a Pine, Fir or Spruce tree. Some of the distinguishing characteristics of the three conifers are their needles, cones and bark. First let’s discuss the needle differences between the three evergreen trees types. Pine tree needles are normally carried in groups of two or more (2, 3 or 5 per cluster) and are 1 to 3 inches long. Fir and Spruce needles are individually attached to the branch and are only 3/4 to 1-1/2 inches long. A spruce tree needle will roll easily between your fingers (four sides to each leaf/needle) and is somewhat pointy where a fir needle is more flat (having only two sides) and a bit softer. All conifers shed their needles and normally do so in the fall. Since all conifers produce cones, it is another great way to differentiate between the three. Pine cones are quite woody with a rigid feel. Spruce cones have thinner and more flexible scales than pine cones (usually growing down – pointing toward the ground). Mature Fir tree cones grow upward (pointing toward the sky). Since the bark of all conifer trees vary greatly, it is not a very reliable way to identify an evergreen tree. Pine tree bark tends to be smooth when the tree is young, but becomes flaky and reddish-brown colored as it ages. The bark of a Spruce tree is usually rough and becomes furrowed and scaly as it matures. Fir trees have somewhat smooth bark that is often grayish when young, yet becomes furrowed as it matures.
As 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. Really, 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, petting 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 any troublesome poison ivy that may be growing on your greater Chicago area property.
Whether you are preparing to install a tree, pond, hedge, drainage system, new concrete or even a road side mailbox be sure to call 811 (or your local One-Call system) to learn if there are any buried utilities (electric, natural gas, communication cables, drinking water, sewer, etc.) nearby that will need to be avoided.
- JULIE, INC. 800-892-0123 – www.illinois1call.com – Hours: 24 hours, 7 days – Advance Notice: 2 working days minimum – Marks Valid: 28 calendar day
- CHICAGO DIGGER 312-744-7000 – www.cityofchicago.org/transportation – Hours: 6:00am.-10:00pm. – Advance Notice: 48 hours – Marks Valid: 28 calendar days
Different paint colors will be used to mark the various underground utilities found on your property. It is very important to have a good idea as to what these colors represent.
- RED: Red markings identify electric systems including high voltage and low voltage power lines and wires.
- YELLOW: Yellow is used to designate the approximate location of pipe systems which carry natural gas, oil, steam and petroleum products.
- ORANGE: Orange marks identify the approximate location of communication type cabling networks.
- BLUE: Blue marks identify the approximate location of pipes carrying drinking water.
- PURPLE: Purple is used to mark reclaimed water, irrigation and slurry lines. In many cases these lines go unmarked by 811 notification services due to being on private property and owned by property owners.
- GREEN: Green marks identify the approximate location of sewer and storm sewer pipes as well as other drain lines.
- WHITE and PINK: White and pink are the only two colors in the APWA color code that do not designate the approximate location of underground lines on a job site. White is commonly used to indicate proposed excavation and pink to mark temporary survey markings.
Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions or service requests. Thank you for visiting our site!
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. There 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. 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!
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. Depending 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 material 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. Depending 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.
Thank you for your time and we look forward to being of assistance to you in the very near future.
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.
If you are one of the unlucky few this summer season that has discovered grub related lawn damage than please read on. Everyone loves a beautiful healthy lawn that makes a property stand out, but you should know that your lawn can be destroyed in just a few days if white grubs (in particular) are allowed to feed freely on your lawn’s root zone. Grubs are the larval stage (four stages of development = egg, larva, pupa and adult) of various scarab/flying beetles that call your lawn and landscape home. The main beetle varieties found in Northern Illinois are the masked chafer and Japanese beetle. Several other beetle varieties include Asiatic garden beetle, European chafer, green June beetle, May and June beetles and Oriental beetle. Grubs can be described as dirty white colored, soft bodied, and robust with a brown head and six well-developed legs, with exception of green June beetle grubs, which do not have well developed legs. When the turf is lifted to expose the grubs, they usually will be lying on their sides in a C-shaped position. The life cycles of the above mentioned beetles are completed in 12 months with the exception of the common May or June beetle, which has a three-year life cycle. Adult beetles lay eggs in the ground during the summer. As soon as grubs hatch, they start feeding on the lawn roots until cold weather drives them two to eight inches deeper into the soil where they overwinter. As temperatures warm in the spring, the grubs move up from the lower soil regions and resume feeding near the surface until they become mature and pupate from May through early-June. Later emergence can occur and is dependent on local weather conditions. Heavy white grub infestations can destroy grass roots, causing the affected area to become spongy, which allows the sod to be rolled back like a piece of carpet. Even though grub infestations are not always obvious, damage is routinely discovered in spring (April or May) and late summer and fall (September and October). When you see grub eating skunks, raccoon’s or crows in your yard you need to inspect your lawn to see if grub populations are beyond 5-10 grubs per square foot. Please keep in mind that grubs do not typically appear in shade lawns. Since adult beetles usually lay eggs in full-sun green lawn areas with adequate moisture, if your lawn is dry, dormant and/or poorly rooted you will have little risk of grub damage. It is highly recommended to prevent grub damage by applying a preventative insecticide such as Imidacloprid (Merit) between late June and the beginning of August seasonally. However, if no preventative insecticide is applied and a grub outbreak is discovered than a curative insecticide like Trichlorfon (Dylox) is highly recommended to prevent large scale turf damage. If significant grub damage has occurred, the lawn will need some renovation work in early fall or the following spring to rebuild lawn density. If you suspect your lawn has grubs, please contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. to schedule an on-site visit to have our team professionally analyze your lawn and offer control and repair recommendations for your review.
The winter’s in Chicago and it’s surrounding suburbs have become very unpredictable to say the least. Even though meteorologists do their best to provide “forecasts” of anticipated winter weather, we just never know for sure. As property owners we must prepare well in advance for winters worst to ensure our residential, commercial or industrial properties are kept clear of snow and ice. Even though every property is different and service expectations vary, here are several common ways to purchase snow and ice management services .
- Unlimited Seasonal Contract: Any/all snow plowing, shoveling, ice melt applications, etc. will be performed for a fixed non-fluctuating seasonal fee. Normally invoiced in full at beginning of season or monthly (November – March).
- Limited Seasonal Contract: Limited number of snow plowing, shoveling and/or ice melt applications will be performed before incurring an additional predetermined fee (per service, per accumulated inch, per hour, etc.). Normally if service exceeds specified limited contract quantities (number of service visits, applications, snow accumulation, etc.), client will be invoiced for additional predetermined fees at the end of a calendar month, season, etc..
- Per Inch: Snow plowing and/or shoveling services are performed and depending on actual snow accumulation at time of service (determined on-site or by third party meteorologist), client is invoiced for each individual snow clearing visit at the predetermined contracted rate (i.e. 1″-3.9″ = $10.00, 4.0-7.9″ = $15.00, 8.0-11.9″= $25.00, etc.)
- Per Application: Ice melt applications are made before/during/after winter precipitation has occurred. Client is invoiced for each individual ice melt application property visit made. Depending on site conditions, budget, temperatures, etc. multiple ice melt materials are commonly used (sodium chloride, calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, etc.)
- Per Event: Any/all snow plowing, shoveling, ice melt applications, etc. are performed and invoiced at the end of a snow event. Usually each “event” is defined as continuous snow fall beyond 2″ and within a 24 hour period)
- Time & Materials: Any/all snow plowing, shoveling, ice melt applications, etc. are performed and invoiced according to predetermined hourly and/or material rates.
- As Needed Only: Any/all snow plowing, shoveling, ice melt applications, etc. are requested by the client normally after winter precipitation has occurred. Pricing for needed services are normally provided just before work begins on-site. In my opinion, this is the most unpredictable and most expensive way to purchase snow and ice management services.
- Any combination of the above
If you maintain a lawn that happens to benefit from full sun exposure (not shaded) and has become weakened from heat and drought stress you need to be aware of sod webworm and the damage it can cause. This small sod webworm caterpillar (5/8″-1″ in length) can chew off leaves and stems of your cool-season grasses including Kentucky bluegrass, most fescues, perennial ryegrass and bentgrass. It will cause general lawn thinning, followed by small patches of brown and finally leaving behind closely cut/cropped areas. A lawn that is healthy and well irrigated will often tolerate and recover from sod webworm scalping. Weak or drought stressed lawns that have been clipped short by sod webworm may be killed via sun exposure to the crowns of the plant. Adult sod webworm moths (lawn moths) are small whitish, dull gray or tan colored moths that hover over turfgrass at dusk. As these small sod webworm moths flutter across the lawn females drop eggs during flight that settle in the upper thatch layer of your lawn. As many as 500 eggs are laid during a life span of usually less than 14 days. Depending on temperatures, eggs hatch in 4 to 20 days and the larvae develop through usually 6 to 8 larval stages in 4 to 7 weeks. The larvae are beige, gray, brown or a greenish color (depending upon species) with a brownish head. The older larvae chew down foliage around their burrows mainly at night. Most sod webworm have two generations per year. Sod webworm are fairly easy to control on a curative, as-needed basis. Insecticide controls are directed against the feeding larvae, not the moths. A healthy, vigorous turf, balanced fertility and adequate irrigation during dry periods will enhance your lawn’s tolerance to sod webworm feeding. As always, be sure to contact a local lawn professional to help identify sod webworm, evaluate treatment options and analyze if lawn repairs will be needed.