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February 2010 FloraTerra News

Issue No. 1

The "Sustainable" Landscape of Tomorrow

What does Sustainable Landscape mean?

Today, we are beginning to hear a lot of talk about creating sustainable landscapes, but what exactly does it mean? Compared to the older, high water use landscapes of yesterday, the sustainable landscape considers the goals of:

  • Low Water Use
  • Lowered Green Waste Generation
  • Low Pesticide/Fertilizer Use
  • Control of Water Run Off
  • Uses less Energy and Results in Less Pollution
  • Harmonious with Surrounding Environment
  • Long Lasting

    How do we create the Sustainable Landscape?

    Study Site Conditions

    Soil type and drainage patterns are considered. Soil may be amended to improve characteristics and lessen the need for frequent supplemental applications of fertilizer and amendments. Slope and drainage patterns are considered to reduce water waste and contaminated water run-off to storm drains.

    Select the Right Plant Material

    The right plant material for the site is selected, including the use of native and drought tolerant plant material. Plants should be well suited to site conditions where weather, soil type, drainage, potential pests, and other site factors are analyzed.

    Plants are selected for insect and disease resistance to minimize the need for and frequency of pesticide application.

    Future growth and ultimate plant densities are planned in ways to minimize heavy pruning and green waste generation.

    Shade Tree placement is considered as means of cooling hard-scape and building surfaces.

    Mulching

    Mulching with various materials such as bark, compost, gravel, or other materials is considered to help retain soil moisture.


    The use of modern filter fabrics under mulch allow water to penetrate evenly into soil and can greatly reduce weed germination, meaning fewer weed control chemicals need to be applied.

    The use of Recycled Materials is considered wherever possible.

    Water Use

    Planting designs consider "hydro-zones" where plants with similar water requirements are grouped together.

    Irrigation systems utilizing low flow Drip and bubbler headsare used when possible to maximize efficiency.

    "Smart" Irrigation controllers (solar powered if needed) are used to apply water to current ET rates in the precise amounts of water needed to keep plant material vibrant and healthy through changing seasonal weather patterns.

    Landscapes are designed that consider costs and energy to maintain.

    Renovating Older Landscapes

    By choosing compatible low water use plant alternatives, olderlawn or groundcover areas can be converted to beautiful seasonally flowering drought tolerant, insect and disease resistant shrubs, trees, and ornamental grasses.

    Inefficient "overhead spray" irrigation is converted to efficient drip irrigation systems. "Smart" Irrigation controllers (solar powered available) apply water to current ET rates in the precise amounts of water needed to keep plant material vibrant and healthy through changing seasonal weather patterns.

    Surfaces are covered with mulch, cobble or bark.

    This results in the "sustainable landscape"; landscapes that are attractive, last a long time, save water, and use less fertilizer and pesticides to maintain. The converted landscape has less water run-off and resultant damage to curbs, parking lots and other surfaces. A new sustainable landscape is harmonious with the natural environment, and most importantly will conserve water and save money.

WINTER MAINTENANCE TASKS

We often think of "the growing season" as the time for landscape maintenance. While there are certainly many landscape activities to address in the spring and throughout the summer, the winter season can actually be a key time to prepare the landscape for the upcoming growing season.

What are some of the more important landscape maintenance tasks to be completed in the winter to best prepare the landscape for spring and a new growing season?

Leaves and Debris

Once the final leaves have dropped, it is important to clean accumulated leaves and debris from the landscape. Left too long, excessive leaves and debris can lead to turf and plant damage. Landscapes should be "clean" going into the spring.

Tree & Shrub Pruning

Winter is the best time to prune deciduous trees. Pruning out of dead or diseased wood, structural pruning, building clearance, etc. are best accomplished at this time. Not only will this prepare trees for the upcoming growing season, it can also relieve weight and lessen wind resistance making it less likely that trees will be damaged due to saturated soils and high winds. Shrubs are structurally pruned for health, shape, and size control in preparation of spring growth.

Insect Control Treatments for Trees

The winter can actually be an effective time to treat trees for damaging insects that will become active later in the year. Trees may be injected with a systemic insect control treatment such as "Merit". The material is taken up into the tree and sets up protection from insects that become active in the warmer months to follow. This is a preventative measure that can be done now to avoid the mess and damage to sidewalks and vehicles caused by the dripping of sap and honeydew. It has the added benefit of being a more environmentally friendly practice than spraying.

Deep-Root Tree and Shrub Feeding

During the winter, trees and shrubs may be fertilized via deep root injection. This is an effective method for getting nutrients to the root zone of plants and allows for the more precise placement of fertilizer than surface application. Fertilizer is then available for the plants trees when active growth begins in the spring.

Groundcover Mowing

January through March is a good time period to consider the mowing down of groundcovers such as ivy. Groundcovers such as these will benefit from biannual mowing to reduce height, rodent habitat, and promote healthy re-growth.

Regenerative Pruning

Over time shrubs may grow larger than intended for their location. Some might think that these older, larger plants should be replaced, however, many shrubs may be severely pruned back during the winter and may be expected to "re-generate" in the spring. This method can extend the useful life of some plant material and prove less costly than plant replacement.

Pre-Emergent Weed Control

March is a good time to consider the application of pre-emergent weed controls. Pre-emergent weed controls are applied to groundcover and bare soil areas at this time to prevent the germination of summer annual weeds. This is also the time to consider pre-emergent weed control for turf grass for those lawns where crabgrass has been a problem in the past.

WINTER MAINTENANCE TASKS

We often think of "the growing season" as the time for landscape maintenance. While there are certainly many landscape activities to address in the spring and throughout the summer, the winter season can actually be a key time to prepare the landscape for the upcoming growing season.

What are some of the more important landscape maintenance tasks to be completed in the winter to best prepare the landscape for spring and a new growing season?

Leaves and Debris

Once the final leaves have dropped, it is important to clean accumulated leaves and debris from the landscape. Left too long, excessive leaves and debris can lead to turf and plant damage. Landscapes should be "clean" going into the spring.

Tree & Shrub Pruning

Winter is the best time to prune deciduous trees. Pruning out of dead or diseased wood, structural pruning, building clearance, etc. are best accomplished at this time. Not only will this prepare trees for the upcoming growing season, it can also relieve weight and lessen wind resistance making it less likely that trees will be damaged due to saturated soils and high winds. Shrubs are structurally pruned for health, shape, and size control in preparation of spring growth.

Insect Control Treatments for Trees

The winter can actually be an effective time to treat trees for damaging insects that will become active later in the year. Trees may be injected with a systemic insect control treatment such as "Merit". The material is taken up into the tree and sets up protection from insects that become active in the warmer months to follow. This is a preventative measure that can be done now to avoid the mess and damage to sidewalks and vehicles caused by the dripping of sap and honeydew. It has the added benefit of being a more environmentally friendly practice than spraying.

Deep-Root Tree and Shrub Feeding

During the winter, trees and shrubs may be fertilized via deep root injection. This is an effective method for getting nutrients to the root zone of plants and allows for the more precise placement of fertilizer than surface application. Fertilizer is then available for the plants trees when active growth begins in the spring.

Groundcover Mowing

January through March is a good time period to consider the mowing down of groundcovers such as ivy. Groundcovers such as these will benefit from biannual mowing to reduce height, rodent habitat, and promote healthy re-growth.

Regenerative Pruning

Over time shrubs may grow larger than intended for their location. Some might think that these older, larger plants should be replaced, however, many shrubs may be severely pruned back during the winter and may be expected to "re-generate" in the spring. This method can extend the useful life of some plant material and prove less costly than plant replacement.

Pre-Emergent Weed Control

March is a good time to consider the application of pre-emergent weed controls. Pre-emergent weed controls are applied to groundcover and bare soil areas at this time to prevent the germination of summer annual weeds. This is also the time to consider pre-emergent weed control for turf grass for those lawns where crabgrass has been a problem in the past.


Follow-up Links


FloraTerra.com

FloraTerra Landscape Announces New Talent On Board!

FloraTerra is proud to announce the addition of Clint Christman and Nancy Schafer to our team of talented Landscape professionals.

Mr. Clint Christman has over 30 years of Landscape Management experience working for some of the top landscape companies here in the Bay Area. Clint holds numerous Industry licenses and designations including California State Contractor's License, Certified Landscape Professional, Certified Water Auditor, Professional Landscape Designer, Qualified Applicator's License, and Certified Grounds Management Professional. We are proud to have Clint Christman on the FloraTerra team and welcome him on board.

Ms. Nancy Schafer is a business development, marketing, and sales professional with over 20 years experience selling landscape maintenance and site related services to professional Bay Area and property and facility managers. Over her career, Nancy has stayed involved on many levels with our various Bay Area property management associations such as BOMA, CREW, IFMA, ACREM, and others. We are delighted to welcome Nancy Schafer to FloraTerra. Nancy is a welcome addition to the FloraTerra Landscape business development and sales team.

FloraTerra Landscape Management Professional Services


Full Service and Reduced Cost Landscape Maintenance Programs:

tailored to the specific requirements of your property and your budget...for consistent quality, responsiveness, and support of your.

Landscape Enhancement and Renovation Projects:

with focus on conservation to renew older, outdated, high water use landscapes...for curb appeal and cost savings.

Irrigation Repair and Water Management Services:

pruning, Insect and Disease Control, Fertilization, Tree Care Plans...to keep the most valuable components of your landscape healthy and safe.


Additional Property Management Related Services:

  • Day Porter Services
  • Parking Lot Sweeping
  • Power Washing
  • Seasonal Flower Display
  • Stump Grinding, Root Pruning
  • Nuisance Fruit Control (Olives, Plums, etc.)
  • Drain Installation
  • Erosion Control
  • Water Feature Maintenance
  • Ground Cover Annual Mowing
  • Hand Watering of Containers
  • Turf Renovation - Aeration, De-Thatch, Over-seeding, Sod Installation
  • Pre and Post Emergent Weed Control of Non-Landscape Areas
  • Flower Bed Installation
  • Rodent Control
  • Irrigation System Repairs and Upgrades
  • Back Flow Device Certification
  • Sidewalk, Curb, Concrete, Asphalt Repair
  • Retainer Wall Installation or Repair
  • Soil Lab Testing

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