Lime and Moss Control

Spring is approaching, time to prepare! It’s easy to let our minds grow dormant over the cold winter season, which in turn allows us to forget about our lawns and gardens for the moment. But now, as the snow is melting and the weather turns warmer, it’s time to turn our attention back to our yards. Moss will have found an easy time to sneak in over the season, and your soil may be lacking in the calcium it needs to flourish properly, which is why now is a great time to look into spreading garden lime onto your garden and lawns.

Agricultural lime, more commonly known as garden lime, is a soil additive that is created by grinding down limestone, and is very high in calcium. Garden lime’s primary purpose is to assist with high acidity levels found in the soil by increasing the soil’s pH balance. By doing so, it also allows for calcium and magnesium to find access to the plants, which helps them grow and flourish.
Some tips on figuring out whether or not your soil actually needs lime is by conducting a soil pH test, or by paying attention to the other kinds of plants that are growing in the area. Plants such as heather, rhododendrons, and camellias will flourish in soils that have high acidity, whereas legumes will have a much more difficult time growing. By applying lime to your garden soil, it will also increase the work-ability of the soil. However, not only is lime beneficial to your plants and garden, it also can play a major role in revitalizing your lawn after a long winter.

We all know how easy it is to become indifferent towards your lawn over the winter, which also makes it easy for moss to get a head start on you. Thankfully, if moss has completely overtaken your lawn already, early spring is the perfect time to get started on it’s removal!

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Much like the plants that were earlier discussed, moss either thrives, or ceases in certain conditions. When grass is over watered, frequently in the shade, not aerated or de-thatched often enough, this creates the perfect environment for moss to grow and spread like wildfire. There are many tactics to go about moss removal; including aerating, de-thatching, seeding thin areas, and fertilizing – but often times, the most effective strategy is simply to lime the grass. When the acidic soil starts to control the amount of nutrients and calcium that finds it’s way into your grass, it leaves little loopholes for the moss to sneak in. Just as you would with your garden, test the soil’s pH balance to address it’s acidity level. If the pH is below 6, the soil is acidic. Purchase a lime that is calcium-based, and spread it on your lawn twice each growing season for best results.

If winter has managed to get a few steps ahead of you this season, fear not! Early spring is the perfect time to get started on preparing your lawn and garden for your best growing season yet. For questions, quotes, and estimates, please contact Landscape Away and we would be happy to assist you in your Springtime garden endeavors!

Post Storm Tree Care

Post-Storm Tree Care
It’s no secret that the Fraser Valley took a hard-hit with the devastating ice/wind storm. And with all that wind and ice came a whole lot of destruction. We have seen the outcome of our recent winter blast, and it has not been friendly to the trees in the area. That is why we wanted to discuss the importance of having a professional examine those trees, and assess whether they are able to be saved, worth being saved, and how to determine whether or not they are dangerous.

The very first thing that you should be on the lookout for is hazardous trees and branches. Trees that are leaning with roots beginning to pull should be called in about right away, particularly if the tree is angled on a path towards housing, fences, vehicles etc. The second thing to be on the lookout for are the dreaded “widow maker” branches. These branches are detached from the tree, but tangled up in the remaining branches. A simple gust of wind or a shake of the tree can send these branches dangerously crashing down.

Winter Damaged Tree

So, you’ve found a tree on your property that you’re hoping to be able to save… the first step would be to call a professional. Then, there are a series of steps and questions that we explore to determine what trees can be repaired, and what trees need to be removed. For example, trees that have the following characteristics would likely need to be removed:
Trees that have large splits or are missing large branches.
Trees that have more than half of their branches or limbs missing.
Trees that are leaning, or have uplifting roots that are threatening give way.
Trees that have cracks in the main branches.

However, that’s not to say that any tree with broken branches is beyond saving. Often times, smaller, cracked branches and limbs simply require some cleaning up. Stressed and minor damaged trees that have arms missing from them just need some good pruning. Remember to continue feed and water these strained trees, as their chances of recovery is much better with quality nutrients in order to survive and thrive!

The reason why it is so imperative to have a professional called in right away to assess these damages is because people often opt to take matters in to their own hands, and often make the wrong decisions. Whether it be loping off branches that are still viable, removing trees that could still flourish, or dangerously removing branches that they are not equipped to handle… it is always best to call an expert and get their opinion.

We are available and prepared for all quotes, assessments, and tree removals here at Landscape Away, and are happy to help with the post-storm damage here in the Fraser Valley! Call us today!

One of the most exciting Holiday traditions in our house is heading out to one of our local farms here in Chilliwack and picking out our Christmas Tree.

The tree signifies the beginning of the season for us and as a Landscaper I tend to take the tree choice rather seriously. Looking for a tree that is in good health and will be able to last the whole season inside without issue. Nothing worse than a withered tree, dropped needles and weakened branches as the big day arrives. Not to mention the fire risk of a tree that has gone past it’s time.

So as I head out to pick our our tree with my family I thought I would share a few tips on how to select your tree. Regardless of where you buy it, there are some important tips you should consider before you select your tree.

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Tree Tips:

  • Know your trees; pines and firs have soft needles and are better for families with smaller children. Spruce trees have much hardier needles, but those needles are sharp and can hurt when you come in contact with them.
  • Freshness is key; bend a needle in half with your fingers.  Firs should snap Pines should bend. Reach into the tree and grab the inside of the branch, pull your hand towards you, a few needles in your hand is normal, a lot of needles in your hand – keep looking for a different tree, especially if it is early in the season.
  • some trees will darken and even go a grey when the start to dry out.

You’ve picked you tree, now it’s time to head home.  be sure to secure that tree to your vehicle with proper tie downs.  You may even want to tarp it if your going a long distance or on a highway or freeway to protect it from the elements. Getting it home safe is half the battle!

Setting Up Your Tree

  • Regardless of whether you have purchased a fresh cut, pre cut or live tree there are some very important care techniques that you need to do to ensure the health of your tree.
  • If you have purchased a cut tree, be sure to freshen the trunk by cutting off about 1/2 an inch at the bottom, to open up the tree to take on water and keep those needles fresh and holding needles!
  • Have your stand pre-prepared before you go get your tree, so you can get that tree in water as soon as you get it home.
  • Measure your roof and ad the height of your tree stand before you head out – nothing worse than getting home to find out the tree is to tall or big for the space.
  • Cool is key:  All those pictures of trees next to the fireplace with a roaring fire are just a tree disaster waiting to happen.  Be sure to have your tree in a cool place away from heat sources.  Not only is this a safety issue, but also will help the longevity of your tree.
  • Keep your tree watered: The first few days the tree will take on more water as the new cut absorbs moisture.  If you have a live tree, bringing it inside tends to make them thirsty.  So be sure to check water 2x a day – make a habit of doing it morning and evening.  One tip I have is to put a protective barrier between the based on your tree stand or container and the floor.  That way you can avoid water damage to your flooring.
  • If you can – secure your tree to a wall, you can use transparent fishing line and tie it mid tree to keep it from being unbalanced. Not a bad idea if you have little ones or pets that might be tempted to rock the tree.

 

1 gallon tree stand

Stands / Containers

Tree stands are not what they used to be.  There are so many great products on the market that keep your tree secure and upright.  Take a look at a few on the market and see if maybe it is time to upgrade your stand.

Here are a few options:

Santa’s Solution Extreme Tree is a great stand that is easy to use and will have your tree set up in less than 5 minutes.

Home Depot Carry’s this 1 gal. Large Tree Stand.  It is easy to use and has a foot lever that helps with easy set up.  The manufacturer says 2 minute set up!   That fact that it holds a gallon of water is also a great feature…making it easier to keep that tree fresh!

Need something even bigger!  check out the 2.5 gallon XXL Tree Stand.  One of the more pricier ones on the market, but definitely worth the money if you are looking at a having a large tree.

Happy tree hunting everyone!  Merry Christmas from all of us here at Landscape Away!

Merry Christmas

With winter idly approaching, what you do in your yard during the mellow, fall weather prepares your garden for success in the spring! Here are four of the best, basic tasks that you need to complete before the first frost hits to ensure that your personal oasis will be awaiting you when it comes time for the flowers to bloom.

1. Dethatch that grass!
As thatch is a cumulative layer of bits of dead grass and organic matter that separates the soil and the green grass, de-thatching is the important process of removing this matter before it becomes a problem. Although some thatch in moderation is not necessarily a bad thing, it can eventually become harmful to your lawn as it makes it more difficult for the roots to grab on to the fresh soil. Convex and power rakes may be used in the dethatching process, and can often be rented from your nearest hardware store. It is best to do this work in cooler weather and when the soil is mildly moist, which makes Fall the perfect time!

de thatch

2. Give your lawn the nutrients it needs.
Fertilizing your lawn in the fall is the perfect opportunity to take some proactive steps in your landscaping care. Taking care of your grass in the cool seasons keeps it growing longer and healthier, making it a lot easier for your lawn to have the nutrients that it needs to liven up again in the spring time. Fertilizing your grass now means effortless revival once the snow melts.

 

Pruning

3. Prune, prune, prune.
Fall is one of the best times to correct some of those overgrown bushes. Once the leaves and blooms have fallen off, you can see much more clearly just where either the mistakes of the last pruning sessions were made, or simply where more attention needs to be. In addition, removing dead or broken branches with infections not only allows for a more aesthetically pleasing aspect to your yard, but leads to a healthier plant in the spring with no further rot or disease.

Fall Maintenance Package

Even though the sun is out and the heatwave is finally here, you might be noticing those leaves starting to drop around you. Now is the perfect time to start thinking about booking your fall maintenance package from Landscape Away. Our special fall package includes fall thatching and re-seeding for only $99!

Unsure what thatching is? Thatch is the building up of material that can include things like dead grass, leaves and stems. The removal of thatch involves using a rake or power rake depending on the size of your lawn and pulling the material out from the grass. This is important because a build up of thatch in your yard can prevent growth of grass and can cause your grass to become unhealthy. When thatch is removed it encourages grass to thicken and helps to make it stronger!

 

It's All About The Maintenance

 

Re-seeding is a vital part of helping your worn out lawn return to tip top shape! Re-seeding is just simply spreading grass seed over an existing lawn. As your lawn gets older, thinning is normal, especially if it’s used quite often. Re-seeding helps to encourage growth and thickness with your grass.

If you’d like to read some tips on the re-seeding process check out this quick 5 step program on Reader’s Digest.

You can also find some more information on the thatching process here.

So what are you waiting for it’s time to book your fall package now! Contact us!

At Landscape Away we see a lot of backyards and one thing that dates a home, no matter what you have done to update the inside, is dated landscaping.  Recently a client asked us to remove the 90’s style landscape ties to update the look of their worn out staircase to match the rest of their renovations.  It was a pretty straight forward job, removing the old landscape ties that screamed 1990’s, replacing them with updated square ties that fit much better and create a cleaner look.

 

 

 

We cleaned and re-used some of the existing concrete stone and re-surfaced the steps with sand and a level.  We took the opportunity to re-compact the staircase as preventative maintenance and to ensure a strong finished product. What a difference the staircase has made to their back yard!  No longer a dated eyesore, the new staircase will last for years to come.  A job like this took half a day with our crew and was well worth the time and effort.

 

 

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It’s always a good time to start thinking about updating the landscaping at your home.

Give us a call and see how we can help bring your landscaping from the 90’s to the present day!

With the crazy housing market that is happening throughout the Fraser Valley we’re sure that everyone is thinking about selling their home for the best price. If you’re one of the few that’s decided to take the plunge and put your house up for sale it’s a good idea to think about how landscaping can help to stage the outside of your home and provide you with the best selling price.
landscaping

Potential home buyers will gain their first impression of your home from it’s curb appeal. Landscaping your home can sometimes be overlooked and it’s during selling where landscaping can play a huge part in your asking price. A well maintained and landscaped yard can add at least 10% to the asking price of a home. So it’s important to make sure that your yard is looking good! Some quick tips on fixing up your yard can be found here on HGTV.

When thinking about selling your home, renovations are often the first thought. Maybe I should update the kitchen, or paint the bedrooms? Landscaping should also get the same attention. Maybe I should add some shrubs or cut those large trees down? It’s important that the outside of your home matches the inside, a well maintained home should be taken care of on the outside and the inside. More tips on how to get your yard into selling shape can be found here on Western Living Magazine.

Landscaping for selling your home doesn’t have to be drastic either. A quick once over by our team at Landscape Away will have your yard up to shape in no time. If you’re currently selling and looking to add some value to your home give us a call and get a quote!

Get a quote!

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When it comes to security most people turn their attention to alarm systems to deter criminals but landscaping also provides a lot of options for home security. A well placed plant, a good viewpoint and some strategically placed bushes can help keep criminals out of your yard and in turn out of your home. Landscaping is where we can help you to burglar-proof your home!

Tall trees are great for shade however these can help burglars to reach upper stories where you may be more likely to leave your windows open or unlocked. When planting trees you want to make sure they are far enough away from your home so that they don’t provide easy access to your windows! Another great reason to keep trees away from your home is that it can prevent the tree from uprooting your foundation as it grows.

A good thing to watch out for is placing shrubs/bushes near doors, this can provide a lurking area for burglars. Keep shrubs in this area short or place smaller plants there instead. This is especially important for back doors, as this is usually the first place that thieves will look to enter your home. By keeping your entry ways clear this helps to prevent thieves from finding an easy hiding spot, without one of those they will most likely continue searching for an easier target. Another great landscaping tip is to place rocks and stones strategically throughout your yard, for tips on this check out Better Homes & Gardens!

A good way to ward off intruders is to plant roses under a window. The thorns on the roses can prevent intruders from trying to pry open a window or climb in. However make sure to not overcrowd your window, you want to have a good vantage point to look out into your yard. This allows you to see everything that’s going on in front or back of your home. There are some good tips ways to prevent crime through environmental design here on the RCMP website.

Be Cool This Summer

Cool ways to beat the heat this summer.

 

With the rain that’s been falling throughout the Fraser Valley these last few weeks summer might be the furthest thing from your mind. However summer is fast approaching and now is the time to turn your yard into the perfect summer hangout spot. We have some great ideas on how to prepare your outdoor space and keep cool during the summer heat wave!

 

Shade Trees – May’s record temperatures is a good indication of what lies ahead for us this summer. The global warming trend has changed the way we plant and prepare for summer here on the West Coast and more and more emphasis is being placed on staying cool. One great way to stay cool and still enjoy the outdoors is to plant shade trees. These types of trees can help to drop the temperature by up to 10 degrees under their canopies. Finding the right spot and maintaining your tree properly are crucial to making sure it thrives and maximizes it’s cooling effects. These trees can also reduce the heat reflected from paved areas, like concrete patios and driveways. As a bonus, shade trees attract and sustain wildlife and trees can even help to increase your property value! For some help on selecting the perfect tree for your yard check out this guide from Brian Minter.

 

maple tree crown in the sunlight

maple tree crown in the sunlight

Plants –

Now that you have created some much needed shade, working plants into the mix will help to not only create some colour and ambience but also promote cooling.  You need plants that with thrive in all that new shade and there are plenty of options out there:

Fuchsias love the shade and can help to hold moisture in the areas they are planted.  Allowing them to benefit other plants around them.  Planted off the ground because of their cascading foliage fuchsias create added shade for the garden life below.

 

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Auntie Dogma’s Garden Spot

 

Perilla – plants (Perilla is a herb of the mint family) have great ground cover and offers much of the same benefits of those above.  Added bonus is that the plant can be harvested for cooking. For more edible plant options you can find a complete list here  There’s bound to be something that works for you!

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Cooling Snacks –

Another way to keep yourself cool this summer is to be prepare cold salads, icy drinks and traditional summer treats like frozen yogurt and homemade ice cream.  Planting the right edibles like berries, fruit trees and mint you can make all sorts of variations of the above?  Check out this simple recipe for deck side Strawberry Mojito’s from Vanilla And Bean. Load up on mint in this recipe, the perfect ingredient for summer as the menthol triggers cold receptors in the skin, producing a cooling effect! Which makes it the perfect excuse to mix up some mojitos!

 

Strawberry Mojitos

Recipe found on vanillaandbean.com

 

Hopefully these tips can help to make your summer a cool one!

If you have a rental property the idea of landscaping has probably crossed your mind at some point. You may have thought about doing the work yourself but become overwhelmed at the idea of taking on the extra work project. Or maybe you have multiple properties and this is just not an option for you. This is where a landscaping company comes in and the many reasons as to why you should hire one for your rental property.

 

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Time Management –

When hiring a landscaping company it ensures that your property is kept up and is always looking the best that it can. It can be a lot of work to maintain a garden, especially if your rental property comes with a lot of land. You may not have the time to maintain the property and your renter’s may not be willing to take the time to do it right either. Lets be honest here, in most cases renters won’t take as good of care as a home owner, and we all know what happens to our west coast foliage left un-attended. A landscaping company takes this pressure away from you.

 

Landtime

Preventative Maintenance –

Not only saving you time but money.  As a tenant may not take the same care as a homeowner would, often things get left un-done or unattended to.  Over grown or rotting foliage can promote an issue with pests.  Falling leaves can clog water ways and gutters that have the potential to back up on the home owner and cause damage. A landscape company would be able to alert you to these potential issues before they become a costly repair.  Especially important if you are managing properties out of town.

 

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Happy Neighbours –

Having a well maintained garden and yard also helps to keep your neighbours happy too. No one likes to live next to a property that is not maintained to same standard as theirs, so if your property isn’t well taken care of your neighbours may start to complain. With your landscaping company maintaining the property this will help to prevent your neighbours from becoming unhappy.

 

Happy Neighbors

 

Security –

Security is a BIG positive to hiring a landscaping company. It will allow you to have an extra set of eyes on your property. This can help to make sure that your property is still in top shape whether your property is currently vacant or has renters living in it. With busy schedules it can be tough to find the time to check up on your property and that’s where a landscaping company can benefit you. An extra set of eyes to notify you of anything that might be suspect happening in your rental property can ultimately save you a lot of grief.  Acting as a deterrent to those renters that have less than good intentions with your property, sometimes by just letting potential renters know that landscapers will be on site weekly, will filter out un-desireable tenants.

 

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Having a great looking yard can also help to increase the amount of your rent. You can work the costs of your landscaping into the rent as most renters will be willing to pay more to live in a good looking property over a run down looking one.

Hiring a landscaping company has many benefits and these are just a few of them. Paying that little bit extra a month to have your property maintained by professionals can only benefit you and your rental property in the long run.

Call us for a Free Quote on your Rental Property Maintenance.  Landscape Away