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DECEMBER 2020

IN THIS ISSUE:

Master Plan Today for the Spring of Your Dreams

Color Me Curious…Did You Know?

Plant of the Month

It’s Time for a Tree Check-Up

Managing Snow and Ice During a Winter Event

A look ahead at January

Helpful Blogs


Master Plan Today for the Spring of Your Dreams

Can you imagine building a house without any plans? How would you know if the end result fits your needs or if it is within your budget without a plan? Once upon a time, there were probably plans for the landscaping at your property. Those plans probably showed what plants to use and where to put them. They may have also outlined proper planting techniques and diagrammed play areas or outdoor seating spaces too. But I bet those plans are long gone now. And things in the landscape have grown, died, or changed. So now what do we do to make sure that the original design intent is kept in-tact while elevating the exterior grounds to a new level at the same time?  Read more…

Color Me Curious...did You Know?

Color Me Curious...Did You Know?


When leaves change colors, it’s a sure sign that fall is here. Bright red, clear yellow and vibrant orange dot the skyline as the landscape prepares for a long winter’s nap. But why do leaves change color and how come every tree isn’t the same?
Well, yellow, and orange pigments exist in the leaves all year round. During the growing season, these warm colors are masked by green chlorophyll which produces sugars to feed the tree. When the days get shorter, chlorophyll production declines and the other colors are free to appear. But if you see red leaves, that’s a sure sign that cooler weather is on its way because red pigments are only produced when the temperatures begin to drop.
Whoa Nellie!

The Plant of the Month will
make you say "Whoa Nellie!"


It’s no coincidence that we chose an evergreen tree for our December plant of the month, the Nellie R. Stevens Holly. While most everything else in the landscape is dormant, evergreens fill the landscape with year-round color. Often used to create a natural screen or plant buffer, the Nellie’s natural pyramidal shape and deep green glossy leaves also make it versatile enough to be a specimen plant in the landscape.  Bright red berries appear each winter and are a holiday decorator’s dream. The berries also provide food for wildlife in the winter, and the foliage provides shelter from winter weather for birds, squirrels, and other small animals.

It's Time for a Tree Check-Up

Tree Check-Up
It’s no secret that trees provide tons of benefits in the landscape. Whether they are supplying shelter to wildlife, combating climate change, or producing oxygen, trees are as functional as they are beautiful. But they can also be dangerous. Fallen trees and limbs can cause thousands of dollars in structural damage to buildings, not to mention possible injury, lost revenue during repairs, and replacement cost of the tree itself. Regular tree assessments can catch changes in a tree’s health before it becomes too serious to treat and before the tree becomes hazardous.
One of the best times to assess the health of a tree is during the dormant season. It may seem like spring would make more sense – when the landscape is actively growing, but the opposite is actually true. Think about how much more of the tree we can see without the leaves. What may look like something cosmetic could actually be a sign of something bigger below the surface and winter is a good time to take a look.
Some signs that your trees may not be in tip-top shape:
  • Trunk decay or missing/loose bark
  • Oozing wounds
  • Holes or evidence of boring insects
  • Unusual growths (think fungus and mushrooms)
  • Broken, dangling, or cracked branches suspended in the canopy
  • Narrow branch angles
  • Uneven growth or slowing growth rate

Managing Snow & Ice During a Winter Event

Snowflakes falling in the moonlight and lightly dusting the sidewalks and streets is a beautiful image…unless you are a property manager. Snow can quickly turn from being a beautiful miracle of nature to a huge liability if not properly managed. Planning ahead can make managing a winter weather event less of a headache. Can’t make it to your property? Have your contractor or on-site personnel shoot over some photos or video so you can see if additional service is required.

Getting Ready for That Winter Weather:

  • Communicate – Do you know your contractor’s mobilization plan? Do your residents or tenants know your plans? Communicating prior to the storm helps you be prepared to share information and you can set expectations for service.
  • Pre-Treat – Do you know that pretreating for snow and ice can save you money? Light snow accumulations can be treated almost entirely with ice melt and never need a plow. When ice melt is on the surface prior to the precipitation falling, it helps PREVENT the snow from sticking. As snow continues to fall, the brine mixture that is now on the ground helps to keep the melting process going.
  • Create a Slip, Trip, and Fall Plan – Slick entryways and wet floors can be as dangerous as snowy sidewalks. Place weatherproof mats in places where heavy foot traffic occurs and be prepared to post signage and mop often if floors are wet.
  • Double-Check Downspouts – Sometimes downspouts can be blocked by debris. When the snow melts from the roofs, backed up downspouts could cause indoor leaking issues. Be sure before a storm that they are unobstructed to allow for that melted
snow to run away from your buildings.  And make sure that they are pointed  away from walkways where run-off could easily refreeze and cause icy conditions.
  • Prepare On-Site Staff – Small amounts of icemelt, a few shovels, some cones, and caution tape are great tools to keep on hand for winter. Many times, on-site personnel are able to respond to isolated occurrences of ice or refreeze faster than a contractor and that helps prevent costly slip and falls.
  • Manage the Snow, Not the Budget – Treating snow and ice is costly – no doubt. But slip and falls, lost business, and property damage are also expensive. Delaying services or not doing them at all can result in accidents and lawsuits, and it makes your contractor’s job harder. Plows can only push snow – they can’t lift it. If too much snow accumulates before plowing occurs, machines have to be brought in to clear the pavement. When ice melt isn’t used at the proper rates, snow can easily stick to hard surfaces resulting in slick conditions. Ice that forms when snow is packed down from pedestrian traffic and vehicles is extremely difficult to remove.

A Look Ahead to January

Rejuvenate Your Landscape with Dormant Pruning

Rejuvenate Your Landscape With Dormant Pruning

Bring the Landscape Inside

When It’s Too Cold Outside…Bring the Landscaping In

Light The Night with Landscape Lighting

Light the Night with Landscape Lighting

Helpful Blogs:

New Year's Resolutions

New Year's Resolutions that Benefit Your Landscape

With every New Year comes the opportunity to start fresh, creating the mind space to put ideas and improvements into motion. Resolutions shouldn’t be reserved strictly for the individual, it is easy to apply the same mindset to your career or commercial property. Make it a goal to accomplish these three things this year, and the overall image and outward appearance of your commercial property will surely benefit.

Ice Melt - Is It Safe for Pets?

Ice Melt - Is It Safe for Pets?

Winter weather presents many challenges for commercial property owners and managers. Keeping guests, residents, and employees safe and keeping the property accessible to emergency personnel are the primary goals and ice melt plays a critical role in an effective winter weather strategy. But what about pets and other animals? Are the products used to melt ice on asphalt, concrete, and other hard surfaces safe for our four-legged friends?

Winter Pots that WOW!

Winter Pots that WOW!

Partnering with a good Snow and Ice Management company can take the headache out of severe winter weather for any Property Owner or Manager. If you have never had to hire a snow contractor, or if you have had unsuccessful experiences in the past, here is a surefire checklist for hiring a qualified and competent company who will be by your side through the toughest winter weather.

Building Owners and Managers Association Associated Builders and Contractors Metro Washington Property Management Association Snow & Ice Management Association International Council of Shopping Centers Washington Metropolitan Chapter Community Associations Institute Apartment and Office Building Association of Metropolitan Washington
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