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Posts Tagged ‘winterize’

Dormant Pruning

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday season. I know a lot of you have taken advantage of this very mild winter weather we’ve been experiencing here in the Chicago area and have taken down your holiday decorations. Now is also a good time to prune your trees and shrubs. Dormant pruning is an excellent way of ensuring healthy growth and a great time to re-shape the plant. Pruning done during this winter period allows the wound to harden over before insects are prevalent in spring and summer.

You may need a few items such as lopping shears, pruners, a pruning saw, a ladder, and a rake.

When you prune, take off the dead branches of the plant. Not sure which ones are dead? Snip off a little bit, if the branch is brown on the inside, it’s most likely dead. Snip a little at a time toward the middle of the plant until the middle of the cut is green.

Inspect your trees and shrubs for branches that are “criss-crossed” or that rub other branches. Take off one of “criss-crossed” branches. Be safe and do not try to cut branches that may be too large for you to handle or that are over head. Once cut, these branches may fall and strike you. Leave this type of pruning to a professional.

Snip off the suckers that are coming out of the ground or that are growing perpendicular or straight out of the plant. Crab trees often have both of these types of suckering growth, as do many maples.

Trim off any broken branches within the plant and discard. Again, cut those branches that you can safely cut.

After removing any diseased or dead branches, you should clean your tools with a bleach or an alcohol solution to disinfect them so that, if diseased, the disease is not spread to other branches or plants.

Now is a great time to re-shape the plants – just remember to trim a little at a time, step back and take a look at it – because once you cut it off, you can’t put it back on. Dogwoods and especially Spirea benefit from this.

Dormant pruning is one of the best things you can do for your plants. If it’s your first time, it may be a little intimidating, but know this: most plants are pretty hardy – you may over-trim, but sooner or later, it will grow back, just be patient and take your time.

Happy 2012!!!

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Wow can you believe that in less than a week it’s going to be 2012?

The cold, snowy winter a lot of forecasters were predicting still hasn’t hit us. Personally, I’m a little disappointed. A lot of snow means a lot of plowing for me; cold weather usually means a lot of firewood sales. However, I know I shouldn’t complain. We’re still making firewood sales, and sooner or later, it’s gotta snow – right?

This past year has taught me to appreciate everything (from the big things to the little things), to be thankful for what I have in my life, not to dwell on the things that are gone or the things I never possessed, and to know that with each new day comes new hope. It’s also taught me that having good health is truly a blessing and that loving family and friends and faith are really the most important things in life.

So, while no one’s life is perfect and some may feel that there’s not much good in it, take a couple of minutes before the new year starts and think of the blessings you do have in your life and then think of ways you can build on them in the coming year.

Here’s wishing you all a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!!!!

Fall Landscape Projects

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

In my last blog, I discussed that fall isn’t too late to get some landscaping projects completed. Today I’d like to discuss those projects that actually should be done this time of year.

Planting your bulbs should be done now. Bulbs are a great way to add early color to your landscape and, depending on type of bulb and depth of planting, will keep the color coming throughout the growing season. A little planning and research will ensure your success. Probably the first thing you should know is what zone you live in. Here in the Chicago area, we are in zone 5. Zones 4 & 3 are to our north and 6 – 10 are to our south. Knowing what zone you’re in will help determine the best bulbs for your area and the bloom time.

There are a wide variety of options when it comes to selecting which bulbs to plant. These are a few of the things you should consider before purchasing/planting your bulbs:
1. Color Scheme
2. Area (Is it sunny? Is it shady? Is it a combination?)
3. Bloom Time
4. Height of the Plant
Once your decisions are made, head to your local supply store and purchase your bulbs.

To plant your bulbs, prepare the area by tilling the soil so that it is easier to plant in. Mixing a little compost with the soil will help soften the soil and add additional nutrients (check out our blog dated 4/28/10 on different types of soils).

Many people choose to use a drill with a “tulip” bit to assist them in digging individual holes for the bulbs. Others choose to dig a “trench like” area to place the bulbs in at once; still others choose to dig individual holes with a tulip spade or even dig by hand. The depth of the hole or holes is usually listed on the bag or container that the bulbs came in. Also, usually listed, is the recommended distance between each bulb.

Place the bulb in the hole(s) root side down and cover with topsoil. Moisten the soil and tamp lightly.

That’s all there is to it. Now just wait for early spring for the first of the bulbs to emerge.

Fall Clean Ups should also be done between now and the end of November. A good fall clean-up should consist of at least removing and disposing of fallen leaves and other debris collected in planting beds and in your lawn area. Here at A.G. VanGundy Landscape, Inc. we would also recommend a core-aeration and installation of a layer of mulch. The core aeration will help loosen the soil and make it easier to accept the fall application of fertilizer. If you are going to put down any herbicide or weed killer, do not overseed at this time as the seed will not germinate properly. The installation of mulch is a good idea as it will help retain moisture and root zone temperature in your planting beds over the winter months.

Finally, with your outdoors ready for winter – make sure you’re stocked with ready to burn firewood from A.G. Landscape Materials. There are several different types of firewood; however we sell Oak and Mixed. We sell by the Face Cord, ½ Face Cord, 60 pieces & 30 pieces. We deliver to your home (in the Chicago Area) and stacking services are also available.

Check out our website @ for more information regarding firewood or any other products & services we offer.

Snow Plowing

Monday, December 28th, 2009

We just got finished with a big snow weekend. Questions always occur with a big snow event like this past one that happens over a few days with several inches of accumulation. The weather service originally predicted 1 – 3 inches; however the Carol Stream area got approximately 8 – 10 inches, plus some drifting.

Going into Christmas, the event looked like it was going to be more of a rain event, with some flooding, than a snow event. As we all know, it changed on Friday night to all snow and continued to snow all day on Saturday. So, the first question is when should your snow plow provider be at your facility to plow it? Conventional wisdom may suggest that the provider wait until after the event is finished and complete the plowing on Sunday. This is possible, especially for commercial accounts where business is not normally conducted on Saturday or Sunday; however it may not be the option for residences nor for businesses that are open on Saturdays and Sundays (i.e. restaurants, retail operations, banks…). Often when cars start driving on the unplowed surfaces the snow becomes compacted and unable to be scraped clean at a later time. Also the equipment has a harder time pushing and lifting the snow when the quantity of snow is higher. Depending on the site, and the restrictions of the property, plowing may have to be done several times just to be able to clear it later. Also, plowing of the “lanes” to open the site or like on our residential accounts, just quickly plowing the main drive may have to be done just to keep accessibility to your facility/residence.

On these several day events, after everything is plowed and the equipment is returned to the shop, a small dusting of snow may happen or some drifting may occur. On a zero tolerant account, this usually isn’t an issue, as a heavy salting would cure this. These types of accounts pay a premium for this level of service. Other clients may wonder or question why the service provider doesn’t just wait for 100% of the snow to fall and then start the plowing operations. The answer is simple, if the provider waited for all of the snow to fall, the time needed to complete a full plowing operation would interfere into the next day at your business or home. Another reason for not waiting is that it is common for temperatures to drop right after a snow fall and that could lead to freezing of the fallen snow and that would deter your provider from completely finishing the plowing. Finally, waiting in most cases, creates hardships for both clients and employees, as well as being hindering to your provider from giving the best service possible.

During these drawn out events, it is hard enough to predict what Mother Nature is about to do and often weather fronts can either stall or hasten or return with lake effect snow. The most important thing is to align yourself with a good, experienced snow plow contractor that has new modeled equipment and give or has thought out back up plans.

Always remember “Snow Happens” and often when no one wants it or at the most inconvenient times.

Late Fall Lawn Care

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

We are well into November and after this past October (which was a rain out for the most part) you may have fallen behind on your fall clean up and fall/winterizing fertilizer treatments for your planting beds and lawn.

It is a good practice to remove large accumulation of leaves from your lawn when the lawn is completely covered.  Sometimes, you can grind/mulch the leaves into the lawn with your lawn mower and mulching attachment.  However, often, there is just too much for the mower to handle and the collecting of leaves must be done manually and then the leaves must be hauled away.

Once the leaves and dead material are cleared away, it is a good idea to apply a “timed release” fertilizer to the planting beds and the lawn.  Now is also a great time to install a coating of mulch to your planting beds.  A coating of mulch will help protect your plantings from winter weather and give your plants a better chance of surviving the winter.  The best time to do fall mulching is late fall, once the ground has begun to freeze but before the first snow fall.

I know the fall can be a busy time of year for many of us and in addition to being busy; the weather seems to be pretty volatile.  One week-end the weather is cold and rainy, the next it’s sunny and 60 degrees.  It’s hard to plan a time to get the yard work completed.  That’s why so many people rely on landscape companies to perform their Fall Clean Up.  Companies like A.G. VanGundy Landscape, Inc. can arrange our crews around the weather during the week.  We take care of the disposal of the leaves (you don’t have to worry about leaf bags, stickers and getting the bags to the curb on a certain dates).

In addition to performing your fall clean up, we can also bring you a delivery of firewood.  That way you’ll be all set up for the winter months.  The outside will be cleaned up and ready for the spring weather and the inside can be kept warm and cozy during the cold & dreary months.