Preparing Your Landscape for Winter

9/6/2018

The transition from summer to winter can be a tough one. The days are shorter, the air is colder, and you’ll probably be spending a lot of time indoors. Unfortunately, not only are you affected by the seasons changing, so is your landscaping. You need to start taking steps now to prepare for the new season. Here are our top landscaping tips for the changing seasons. First Things First: Focus On Your Lawn Your lawn is the largest part of your landscape, meaning that it requires the most care and attention. As with most trees, shrubs and other plants, your grass won’t actually grow during the winter. Because of this, many people tend to ignore their lawns until spring. After all, there’s not much you can do for your lawn once the grass starts to die, right? Wrong. Late summer to early fall is actually the most important time for taking care of your lawn. This includes taking important measures to ensure your grass is as healthy and full as it can be once spring returns. One of the absolute best things you can do to improve the overall look and health of your lawn is to have it aerated once a year, and the best time to aerate is in fall while the grass is still green. Aeration provides a number of benefits that will both improve its health and ensure it is able to better fare the cold winter months. Aerating involves removing small plugs of lawn and soil or poking holes deep into the lawn, which makes it easier for water and nutrients to penetrate deep into the roots. The process also helps to break up compacted soil that will otherwise seriously impact the overall quality of your lawn. It’s best to perform aeration in tandem with fertilization since it ensures that the fertilizer can much more easily reach the roots. If your lawn has any bare spots, fall is also the ideal time for spreading grass seed. This way, all of those seeds should germinate as soon as the warm spring weather hits to ensure your lawn looks fuller and healthier before next summer. Still, seeding in any bare spots won’t just improve the look of your lawn, but it can also help to make...

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Landscape Tips To Maintain Healthy Grass All Year

9/28/2016

Healthy grass can be maintained all throughout the year; however, it will require some amount of effort. The best way to maintain a healthy lawn is to work from the bottom up. Below are some landscaping tips you can you to achieve healthy grass year round: Establish a Substantial Soil Foundation. Grass thrives well in soil that contain a neutral pH. It is also important that the soil has the right amounts of potassium salts, phosphorus and nitrogen for the region. If the soil is not right, there will be problems throughout the year. Additionally, you will be wasting money on soil amendments like fertilizers that will not work properly. This is because the soil is too alkaline or too acidic. Less is More. Start your lawn care in February or April, depending on where you live; in southern parts of the United States, February is ideal for starting lawn care. During these times, the temperature of the soil supports weed growth but the unwanted plants is yet to get a foothold. Begin a six-week schedule for applying lawn chemical. This should start with a fertilizer containing a pre-emergent herbicide. You can move on to using a straight fertilizer with a high content of nitrogen. Spot-spray on separate, selective weed as required. Invigorate Your Lawn. Correct mowing and edging are also great methods of maintaining healthy grass year round. An extremely dense lawn might require spring dethatching. This enables the soil to breathe and allows nitrogen exchange, which is a good place to get your lawn started. Buy or rent a power rake to avoid breaking your back with a manual rake. Clean up is very important. Blow or sweep away excess fertilizer from driveways and walkways on the grass. This will prevent the chemical from being washed into public...

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Springtime Tips For Your Outdoor Patio

4/4/2016

As the days lengthen and get warmer, homeowners begin turning their thoughts to their outdoor living spaces. Those areas can take a beating during winter, necessitating a springtime cleanup in order to get the space ready for summer entertaining. Now is the time to assess what needs to be done, while the weather is warm enough, but well before you’ll use your patio daily. By following these tips now, you’ll ensure that your patio will be bright and inviting for the coming season. Trim Dead Branches and Sweep. Prune broken or dead branches from bushes and trees near your patio and sweep away leaves prior to washing the area to make the job easier. Whisk Away Dirt and Grime. Winter winds can bring mud, leaves and other debris onto your patio. Chances are your furniture, if left outside, also is looking dingy. One of the first things that patio lovers should do is thoroughly clean the patio surface with a hose and broom. Mix dish washing soap with warm water in bucket and then spray furniture with a hose. Scrub chairs and sofa with a nylon scrub brush and then thoroughly rinse. Let the furniture dry off in the grass. You may need to wipe water that gets trapped in metal supports. Select a sunny day for your work to speed drying time. If the patio surface or furniture is particularly grimy, consider using a power washer. Assess Lighting. If you have permanent outdoor lighting, check to see that all fixtures are working. Like greenery, some may not have survived the winter. Spring is a good time to replace old bulbs with more efficient LED fixtures or even replace them with solar Tiki torches that will add a bit of fun to your outdoor festivities. If you use overhead light strands, make sure that all bulbs are working. Planters. Wooden planters fall apart after several years. Discard questionable ones and check for cracks in ceramic containers. Replace as appropriate. Food and Beverage. Light your grill to ensure that it is working properly and clean the grates before the year’s first barbecue. Consider adding an outdoor beverage center than can double as storage to make entertaining more...

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Tree Removal Safety Tips For Spring

3/14/2016

The warmer weather of spring usually brings homeowners outside to perform exterior spring cleaning. Spring time is an excellent season to remove dead growth from perennials, bush and trees. The harsh months of winter, however, can necessitate complete tree removal of dying or diseased trees or when trees have become partially uprooted because of floods. Removing a tree is dangerous work, especially if the tree in question is large. Power Equipment. One of the most important safety tips to remember in tree removal is to exercise caution around the tools used to remove dead and dying trees, including chainsaws, wood chippers and even manual tools such as axes. Always exercise caution around these tools with their sharp edges. Anyone removing trees should wear proper safety equipment, including a helmet and face shield or safety goggles to guard against falling or flying debris. Heavy gloves and protective clothing made of Kevlar that covers the extremities are also essential to help avoid or reduce injuries. Workers should even consider wearing ear protection to avoid damage to the inner ear that can occur after repeated exposure to chainsaws. Falls. One of the biggest hazards to tree removal is climbing up on ladders, particularly for very large trees. Upper extremities must be lopped off first. Weak limbs at as bad support systems leading to falls. Always make sure that the limbs chosen can support the required weight. Electrical Lines. Another hazard involving tall trees are electrical lines. When removing high tree branches that are near electrical wires. Electrocution is a very real possibility when the proper steps are not taken. In addition, never let spectators into the immediate area as you never know what will happen. Felling the Tree. Another huge hazard occurs when the tree in question is finally brought done. Trees, especially those that are large, often do not fall the way that even seasoned professionals think will happen. Always be ware of where tree trunks may fall as they will not always fall where you think. Make sure that no one is in the immediate area so no mishaps will occur. The best course of action is to let professionals do the job. Contact Ohio Valley Group for safe and efficient tree...

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2016 Landscape Trends

2/15/2016

2016 Landscape Trends

With a new year comes new trends, and landscape is no exception. Check out our list of the biggest landscape trends for 2016. Landscape for Health: Scientific studies have consistently proven that trees, flowers, plants, birds and nature overall, increase health and wellness for self, society and the planet. Plants are clean air filters, oxygen machines and wellness prescriptions. Trees absorb 1/5 of carbon emissions, reduce electricity consumption and increase mental health. Pops of Color: This year, trending color palettes- ranging from vintage and muted rustic to teal and pink- show off personality in plants, flowers and outdoor products. Pops of exploding color like pink and teal give a fun, fresh and vibrant feel. Pink and teal [or turquoise] complement each other wonderfully. Conversely, rustic and natural color palettes create a vintage, homey feel. Light pastels and faded denim evoke feelings of comfort and give a re-imagined contemporary look. Outside Entertainment: In 2016, the party is moving outside! “Garden-tainment” is the new buzzword for 2016. Think outdoor televisions and music systems; outdoor lighting to keep the party going outdoor living, cooking and entertainment areas. Compact and Low-Maintenance Plants: No-fuss cacti and succulents are ideal for consumers who seek attractive, low-maintenance plants. Tiny and easy to grow succulents in bold containers are ideal. Bed-Head Gardens: Purposefully un-styled outdoor spaces intentionally designed by working within the natural landscape creates an effortless but beautiful landscape with an “anything goes” attitude. Create “bed-head” meadows and natural habitats by using native plants to increase diversity, balance and ecosystems. Native plants require less water and fertilizer because they are well adapted to the local climate. Create an “Agri-Hood”: Edibles incorporated into the landscape provide not only beauty but health, farm-to-table food. Take this trend to the next level with custom chicken-coops and bee-keepers. LED’s Rule the Landscape: Enhancing outdoor spaces with lighting is increasingly popular and the use of color-changing lighting is becoming more common place. LED products offer better architectural integrations and concealment, offer less maintenance due to their longer rated...

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Visit The Great Big Home + Garden Show!

2/4/2016

Even though certain parts of the country are in the midst of snow and cold temperatures, spring is just a short time away. To get into the spirit, you may consider visiting The Great Big Home + Garden Show,  presented by 84 Lumber. You can learn how to make improvements to your home’s interior and exterior so that it is ready when warm weather hits. Show Exhibits- This year, over 600 exhibitors will be under one roof. To get a few landscaping and gardening ideas, there will be 19 feature showcases. Guests can explore various “celebration” themed gardens and learn how to create the perfect atmosphere for any holiday or special occasion. If you are looking to plan your dream home, many custom builders will be available to discuss some ideas. For example, Blossom Homes is just one business that can offer unique inspiration to create a one-of-a-kind house. Guest Speakers and Celebrities- It is always fun to meet celebrities. At this year’s show, visitors will delight at learning tips from some of the most well-known television personalities who deal with home improvement issues. Karen Laine and Mina Starsiak, from HGTV’s “Two Chicks and a Hammer,” will be explaining how they transform rundown homes into stunning remodels. Also, Jason Cameron, from DIY Network’s “Man Caves,” will be sharing his advice on how to gut a home and revamp its backyard. If food is your passion, Stafanie Paganni will be on-hand for a special cooking presentation. She is recognized from Food Network’s second season of “Sweet Genius.” Other Features- Besides the speakers, garden showcases, and cooking demos, guests will have a chance to win numerous contests and promotions. Thanks to American Family Insurance, you could win a prize worth over $15,000. Also, you have the opportunity to win a smart home security system, a television, outdoor fire pit, and many other fabulous prizes. The Great Big Home + Garden Show kicks off at Cleveland’s IX Center on February 5, 2016 and wraps up on February 14, 2016. Admission is $15 at the door, or tickets can be purchased online for $12. Children and seniors receive a discount. To get some helpful home ideas, including landscaping and gardening tips, visit all the exhibits so that you are ready to spring into...

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