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AG VanGundy Landscape, Inc. & AG Landscape Materials, Inc.

SPRING – LET’S GET DOWN TO BASICS

March 31st, 2016

This past winter has been a strange one. It was warmer than most with a minimal amount of snow cover. Being able to see the lawn most of the winter has lead many of us to hope for a warm spring so that we can start working on our lawns and planting beds.

First, before the actual season begins, look at your mower and make sure it will start easily and check when the blade was last sharpened. If it’s been a while, now may be the time to drop it off at your dealer for a tune up and sharpening. That way it will be ready when you are.

After raking and cleaning the lawn and planting beds of leaves and debris, look at your lawn and try to remember what it looked like last year. Was the lawn covered in good grass or was there a lot of crab grass and weeds? If the latter, you may want to apply a fertilizer with crab grass preventer. If it was weedy, a pre-emergent herbicide would probably be the best choice. Here at A.G. Landscape Materials, we sell a Weed and Feed fertilizer that contains Trimec. However, if your lawn has a lot of bare areas that need seeding, I would not suggest either one of those fertilizers at this time. I would suggest using a straight fertilizer like our 12-12-12 Starter Fertilizer or our new 8-2-4 Organic Fertilizer. Using either of these fertilizers will help give your lawn a “jump start” in the greening of the lawn and also aid in the root development. This time of year (late March/Early April) is still a little early to plant your grass seed, as the night time temperatures are still too cold for the seed to germinate properly. Even worse, the seed may begin to germinate and then a frost could possibly hit and the chutes from the seed would freeze, burning them off and preventing further germination. Once the weather is consistently warmer, go ahead and plant your grass seed (I’ll expand on that process in my next blog). However, I would stay away Herbicides and pre-emergents as they will deter seed germination once you apply the seed. If you were fortunate to have a good looking lawn at the end of last season, I would recommend our 12-12-12 Starter Fertilizer or the Organic Fertilizer. As you are one step closer to a great looking lawn.

Your planting beds may also need a little attention prior to planting. After cleaning up the bed of debris and pruning of winter die back on your plants. Determine weather or not there is enough soil for your plants to flourish or if you need to add more. Consider using a Garden Mix. Our Garden Mix consists of 2 parts Topsoil, 2 parts Organic Compost, 1 part Sand. This makes for a great, aerated, organic soil to add to your planting beds or to plant into. If you’re not installing any new plants, you’re ready to mulch. We recommend installing mulch at an approximate depth of two (2) inches. This will give you a cleaned up more kept up planting area. I usually suggest our Premium Hardwood Bark Mulch, as it is a purer product that comes from the mills; however, our new Blended Triple Ground Mulch looks great! Of course, for those of you that like color, there is always our Dyed Red or Dyed Brown Mulch. For more natural areas or high traffic areas, our Double Ground Mulch is a fine choice. Mulching can help to deter future weed growth and also helps in moisture retention and keeping the root zone temperatures consistent and also breaks down becoming a compost like material

These early steps can help you achieve a great start on taking care of your yard this spring. Make it fun and reap the rewards.

Planting Parkway & Yard Trees

August 7th, 2014

While driving through a few of the neighborhoods here in the Chicago area, it hit me how many trees were affected by the Ash Boar and other diseases during the past years. A lot of areas lost most of their parkway trees. It looks so baron. This fall, consider planting trees in your yard and/or parkway. Fall is the absolute best time to plant trees. Planting trees has many benefits in addition to improving your landscape, they are good for the environment as they act as a natural air purifier, they can also help shade your home which can keep the cost of air conditioning your home a little lower.

If you are considering planting a new parkway tree, check with your village/town first. Many villages/towns have restrictions as to the type of tree you can plant, some villages/towns offer a tree planting program that helps offset the cost of the trees in the parkways.

When choosing your tree, do a little research. Look at your neighbors, you don’t necessarily want the same tree in your yard that they have (this will decrease the chances of spreading disease). Find out things like mature size, colors (spring, summer and fall), growth rate. Go to different nurseries/garden centers to look at the different varieties.

After deciding the location of where your tree will be planted, call JULIE at least 48 hours prior to digging so that they can locate any public underground utility wires. Mark where you are going to plant your tree with white paint. Depending on the size of the tree, dig the hole so that the top of the ball of the tree is even with the surrounding ground, the width of the hole should be approximately 6”- 1′ wider than the ball of the tree. Then re-introduce the soil that was removed, make sure the ball is level. Be sure to provide plenty of water to the tree once it’s planted. Installing mulch is a good idea, too.

For more advice or information, please contact us (A.G. Landscape Materials) at (630) 295-8190 or e-mail us through our web-site at www.agvangundy@hotmail.com.

Snow Plowing, Snow Removal and De-Icing Contract Thoughts

July 14th, 2014

We know it’s July and one of the last things on your mind is snow removal, snow plowing and/or salt applications; but really, this is a great time to plan for the upcoming winter season. You can think “level headed” about your snow removal needs and not feel rushed into your decisions at this time. July also lets you remember, as it was not too long ago, last winter’s pros and cons of your snow service provider.

Right now we here at A.G. Landscape Materials are working on our contracts for the Carol Stream, Bloomingdale, Roselle and Schaumburg areas. We will most likely be working on contract finalizing right up to the first snow fall! Now is a great time to decide if a “per push” or a “fixed rate” snow plowing contract fits your needs and/or budgets better. It is also a great time to determine or decide what level of service you will need.

Whether your needs are for a single residential or multi-family residential subdivision, a commercial or industrial lot, or a retail/restaurant center, we are up to the hardest winter challenges. We have the equipment necessary for the harshest winter weather including trucks, tractors, and salt applicators and we have the de-icing chemical inventory necessary to sell to commercial contractors throughout the Chicagoland area.

If you are in need for a competitive snow removal, snow plowing, or de-icing application contract, please call us at (630) 295-8190 or contact us through our website at www.agvangundy.com and fill out a quote form.

Repel Mosquitoes – Naturally

June 26th, 2014

Summer – truly the outdoor season for most – has begun. It’s the season of picnics, bar-b-ques, baseball games, and relaxing. But nothing ruins the outdoor festivities more than annoying insects, especially mosquitoes. Did you know that there are a lot of natural repellants you can use as opposed to the chemically filled commercial options? Here are a few:

1. Plants – there are several different plants you can incorporate into your landscape, vegetable garden or just in containers that have been known to repel mosquitoes.

A. Citronella (in the Chicago area, plant in containers). You can also make candles
with this plant, another mosquito repellant.
B. Catnip
C. Lavender
D. Lemon Balm
E. Marigold
F. Penneyroyal
G. Garlic
H Peppermint
I. Rosemary
J. Geranium

2. Try using LED Lights or Yellow Lights

3. Attract Bats – Install a Bat House on your property – Bats are known to eat 1,000 mosquitoes in a night.

4. Burn an Outdoor Fire – for added protection, add a few bunches of sage to the fire. Don’t have an outdoor fireplace? A.G. Landscape Materials can provide you with the materials you need to install an outdoor firepit along with any instructions or guidance you need.

5. Get Rid of Standing Water – This may require you to install a drain tile system – again
we here at A.G. Landscape Materials would be happy to assist you any way we can
with that. If you have a pond in your yard, consider installing an aerator to move the
water around.

Of course, there are probably other natural ways to ward off those pesky mosquitoes but these are a few simple ideas. If you try any of these, I’d love to hear your success stories.

For assistance or more information, please do not hesitate to contact us at (630) 295-8190 or through our web-site at www.agvangundy@hotmail.com

Achieving A Green Lawn – Simple Fertilization Tips

June 10th, 2014

Every year we have people ask us “What can we do about the weeds in our yard?” I have always believed that a strong, thick lawn that “chokes” out the weeds is the best way to go. In order to achieve this, here’s an easy remedy. If the lawn is only slightly weedy, I would suggest using a spot liquid killer and a balanced fertilizer like 12-12-12, which is also excellent to use as a starter fertilizer when planting shrubs, perennials, sod or seed. What I like about 12-12-12 is that the first number, Nitrogen, is low enough to control growth rate yet, it can give your lawn a good green tint. The last 2 numbers are for root growth. Using this type of balanced fertilizer ensures that the root growth is just as good as the green lawn that is visible. When properly watered and applying a fertilizer 3 times a year (Spring, Summer and Fall), your lawn should achieve and maintain a healthy great green color and be relatively weed free.

For those of you with heavily weeded lawns, you will require a little heavier duty weed killer, a “weed and feed” product will suit your needs. Here at A.G. VanGundy Landscape Materials, we sell a great product that contains the herbicide, Trimec. To apply this type of solid “weed and feed” make sure that your yard is wet (so apply early in the morning when the dew is present or quickly water the lawn with your garden hose). Doing this ensures that the herbicide will “stick” to the leaves of the weeds. It will also stay in the ground to help control weed growth during the season. I would suggest that you keep off of the lawn (including pets, kids…) for about 72 hours after application. Remember to wait 30 – 60 days after application to re-seed the bare areas or to over-seed.

Either fertilizer should help you maintain a strong, healthy lawn. One other piece of advice, try to mow your yard at 3” per cut, this will also help achieve a great looking lawn.