Thank you for your business!

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to reflect and appreciate those that are important to us. We would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to you, our clients. It is a pleasure to maintain your property and keep it in pristine condition. We are very thankful for you and your continued business with us. We look forward to many more years working alongside you and continuing to build our relationship with you.

Have a great break and enjoy the holiday!

Tips for Driving Safely with Snowplows

Winter is just around the corner. Municipalities, cities, DOTs, and others are gearing up for the winter by preparing their snowplow crews and equipment. We can all learn valuable lessons from these agencies by preparing our vehicles and ourselves for the upcoming season.

Snowplows serve to make the community and roads passable during the worst winter weather. Snowplows are fitted with heavy, wide plows on the front of the truck to clear as much snow and ice from the road as possible – this means sometimes they may cross the center line, shoulder of the road or make other moves in their effort to provide a driving surface the general public can navigate. If you encounter a plow, slow down and give them the space they need to perform their task. Your best chance to arrive at your destination safely is to stay behind the plow as the worst of the conditions are in front of the plow. It’s important that everyone, from individual drivers to plow operators, stay safe on the road to get home safely so here are some tips.

Prepare your vehicle

It is good practice to maintain your vehicle year round, however it is especially important to winterize your vehicle to avoid the dangers of frigid winter weather.

Check the following before snow begins to fall:

  • Wiper blades and windshield washer fluid
  • Battery
  • Ignition system
  • Antifreeze
  • Brakes
  • Electrical system
  • Tires
  • Heater and defrost system

Additionally, it’s recommended to carry blankets, booster cable, a flashlight and extra batteries, snow scraper and shovel.

When driving:

  • Give snowplows room to do their job. It’s best practice to not tailgate or try to pass a snowplow while it’s in working.
  • As a general rule, stay at least 200 feet behind a snowplow.
  • Plows pushing snow can create a cloud which can blind drivers who are following too closely.
  • These are large, heavy vehicles and the drivers are intent on their task at hand, don’t be another distraction to the plow driver. They cannot stop in a short distance.
  • There may be spreaders on trucks to distribute salt or sand on the road, these can cause damage to cars if driving too close, stay back to protect your car and you.
  • Always turn on your headlights, and have plenty of fuel and wiper fluid (carrying an extra gallon is a good idea) and have appropriate tires for winter driving conditions.
  • Don’t over estimate your braking capabilities, many 4 X 4 vehicles are heavier than normal, thus the braking distance is greater. Your traction is determined by weight and tire tread. Sand or cat litter in your trunk will add weight and can be used if you do need help with traction.
  • Leave extra space between you and the vehicles in front and behind you.
  • Bridge decks freeze first so take extra caution when driving on these.
  • Remember to always buckle up!
  • Ignore the phone and email until you get to your destination. There are other people on the road that deserve your attention.
  • Most importantly, SLOW DOWN!
It is not too late to get help with your snow removal needs. Send us a note or give us a call, we’ll get back to you with a proposal and estimate for how we can help you.

What the Farmer’s Almanac predicts for this Winter

It’s almost time to say goodbye to fall, are you ready? By doing the research for your region’s weather predictions now, you will be able to adjust and prepare for any potential surprises that could be heading towards your commercial landscape property. For these forecasts we chose to use The Farmer’s Almanac. The Farmer’s Almanac has been around for about 200 years. It also claims that the forecasts it provides are 80 to 85 percent accurate.

Colorado:

cc winter branches by Shandi-lee CoxColorado’s winter weather predictions state that it will be a cold winter with moderate amounts of snowfall. However, the winter will not be as harsh as usual. On top of that, The Farmer’s Almanac states that “our forecasts are pointing to a return to more normal winter conditions in regard to both temperatures and precipitation.” That’s not to say there won’t be the sporadic heavy winter storm coming in from the Pacific or pushing south from western Canada. These storms should be “balanced out by spells of dry and mild weather,” the forecast says.

Northern California:

The Farmer’s Almanac predicts that Northern California will be cooler than normal with rainfall above normal. The coldest periods for Northern California will take place in late November into early December and as well as early February.

Southern California:

For Southern California, The Farmer’s Almanac states that it will be a very average winter for the area. The Farmer’s Almanac states that it will be mild and that you shouldn’t expect anything out of the ordinary for the area. Additionally, Southern California should anticipate average precipitation throughout the winter months.

Texas:

According to The Farmer’s Almanac, Texas will have a winter that is colder than normal. The region should also expect above- normal precipitation.  The coldest parts of the winter season will be from late November into early December, from late December into early January, and in early February. Snowfall in Texas’ region will be near to above normal. Most snow will come in late December and early to mid-February.

 

It is not too late to get help with your snow removal needs. Send us a note or give us a call, we’ll get back to you with a proposal and estimate for how we can help you.

Scary bugs- or are they?

Most commercial landscape property owners are concerned about the effects that insects and other pests might have on the plants and trees on your property. Web worms in your trees, chinch bugs in your St. Augustine grass, and other insects can cause severe damage. But not all insects are detrimental to your landscaping. There are several “good bugs” that beneficial to the plants and trees on your property.

Scary Bugs

To understand why some bugs are beneficial to have on your commercial landscape property, you must first learn which bugs are harmful.

Aphids: This small insect, with its piercing and sucking mouth, is a common pest to many species of roses. Aphids suck the sap from plants, causing dried and damaged leaves. You will most often find aphids on roses, crepe myrtles, and pecan trees.

Chinch bugs: Another type of sucking insects that feed on turf grass, especially St. Augustine. They inject the grass with their toxic saliva, which causes the turf grass to wilt and die.

Caterpillars: Caterpillars also include hornworm and spring cankerworm. While they are not considered to be harmful to most plants, their feeding on the leaves and flowers of your plants will mar the look of your landscaping.

Grub worms: These fat white worms are most prevalent in hot summer months. They feed on the roots of turf grass. Dead patches in your St. Augustine, Bermuda, zoysia, or buffalo grass might be evidence of the presence of grub worms.

Good Bugs

There is an army of insects in the soil and flying around your property that can help with the control of harmful pests. By feeding on harmful pests like aphids, caterpillars, grubs, and soft-bodied insects, these bugs are nature’s own pest control system.

How are some insects beneficial? Honeybees and other insects are a vital part of the pollination of many species of flowers and plants. Predatory insects like lady bugs and soldier bugs feed on many species of harmful pests. Parasitic insects like spiders lay their eggs inside or on top of pests, including insects and grubs, using them as food for their larvae.

Ladybugs: Adults ladybug beetles and their larvae love aphids, especially the aphids that often infest roses. They also feed on the scale insects, mealy bugs, mites and powdery mildew that can damage your plants.

Lacewings: Also known as aphid lions, these tiny insects with delicate wings feed on aphids, mealy bugs, scale and mites. Just one lacewing larva can eat more than 100 insects in a single day.

Braconid wasps: These non-stinging wasps feed on web worms, horn worms, caterpillars and other grubs.

Spiders: It may be hard to believe, but most of the 3,000 species of North American spiders are actually helpful to your landscape. Spiders are predatory insects and feed on aphids, other spiders, beetles, mites and even fire ants.

Contact Terracare Associates to find out how to control harmful landscape pests on your property.

Mario Ramos- Thank you for your service

Mario Ramos is like no other, with his 21 years of service with TCA, he continues to show exemplary service every day on every job. He does this because he cares. Mario is an invaluable part of the Colorado landscape operations team here at Terracare Associates. He is a member of the field leadership team, taking care of the Fairmount Cemetery and is responsible for deploying field crews, prioritizing projects, making recommendations on maintenance improvements and handling all on-site emergencies. Each Memorial Day, Mario and his team take meticulous care of the hundreds of veteran grave sites. To make this magic happen all year, he and the account managers have an open book policy with field leadership teams to ensure excellent customer service. Mario is always loyal dedicated to everything he does. Nate Adams, Colorado landscape branch manager at TCA, says “I am extremely lucky to be able to work with Mario. He brings a new level of professionalism, and a get it done attitude unlike any I have ever seen.” We are so proud to have Mario as a member of the Terracare team!

The Quick, Easy Guide to Build a Bat House

When bats are brought up in conversation, most people’s immediate thought is Halloween. The spooky holiday may give these creatures a scary rap when actually they are very beneficial to your commercial landscape property. These furry, flying, nocturnal animals are not only known for being pollinators, they also are great for pest management.

The United States has over 40 species of bats and every one of those is helpful to your property. Bats are amazing for pollination; in fact, they pollinate over 500 species of flowers. In addition to that, they are some of nature’s best form of pest control. Bats are known to consume anywhere from 100 to 600 bugs per hour, which can lead to a decrease in pesticide use and save you money.

To attract these bats to your commercial landscape property one of the best ways is to build a bat house. A bat house simulates their natural habit and encourages a bat to roost on your property. Below are the materials and steps to take to construct a bat house as recommended by hobbyfarms.com:

Materials
  • 26½- by 24-inch piece 1/2-inch AC, BC or T1-11 outdoor-grade plywood (backboard)
  • 5- by 24-inch piece 1/2-inch AC, BC or T1-11 outdoor-grade plywood (landing area)
  • 16½- by 24-inch piece 1/2-inch AC, BC or T1-11 outdoor-grade plywood (front board)
  • 1-pint dark, water-based stain, exterior grade
  • 1 1×2 pine furring strip in 24-inch length
  • 2 1×2 pine furring strips in 20½-inch lengths
  • 1 tube of paintable latex caulk
  • 20 to 30 1-inch exterior-grade screws
  • 1-pint water-based primer, exterior grade
  • 1 quart flat, water-based paint or stain, exterior grade
  • 1×4 board in 28-inch length (optional, but highly recommended for roof)
  • black asphalt shingles or galvanized metal (optional)
  • 6 to 10 7/8-inch roofing nails (if using shingles or metal roofing)
Steps
  1. Roughen inside of backboard and landing area by cutting horizontal grooves with a sharp object or saw. Space grooves 1⁄4 inch to 1⁄2 inch apart, cutting 1⁄32 inch to 1⁄16 inch deep.
  2. Apply two coats of dark, water-based stain to interior surfaces. Do not use paint, as it will fill grooves.
  3. Attach furring strips to inside of backboard using 1-inch screws, caulking first. Start with 24-inch piece at top and space each additional strip at 3/4-inch intervals. This will be the roost chamber.
  4. Starting with the top furring strip, attach front board to furring strips using 1-inch screws (caulk first). Leave 1⁄2-inch vent space between top and bottom front pieces.
  5. Caulk all outside joints to further seal roost chamber.
  6. Attach roof (optional, but highly recommended) with 1-inch screws.
  7. Apply three coats of flat stain or paint to the exterior. Use primer for first coat.
  8. Cover roof with shingles or galvanized metal (optional) using roofing nails.
  9. Mount on building or other structure. South or east sides usually work best.

Employee Spotlight: Sergio Atayde

Sergio Atayde has been working his way up with the San Jose TCA branch for the past two years. He is currently a production supervisor/field supervisor maintaining many properties throughout San Jose. He started working in the landscape industry over 20 years ago and has held multiple positions including an account manager and an IRR tech. Eva Sarracco, account manager at the San Jose branch, said, “he takes pride in his work and is always willing to go the extra mile; (he) understands the importance of prompt follow-up, attention to detail is a very good communicator and is very reliable.” This desire to go the extra mile can be seen in the way he supervises. Sergio always tries to set a good example for his crew, through his hard work, he empowers them to do their best. Sergio takes the extra steps to help others to succeed, this, in turn, leads to top-notch quality work by his crew. In his free time, he loves being with his family including his son and daughter. Thank you, Sergio, we appreciate all that you’ve done!!

Employee Spotlight: Fausto Bahena

Fausto Bahena began his landscaping career more than fifteen years ago with VMC and now he is a field supervisor at the Dallas branch of TCA. Since Fausto has been with TCA, he has continued to advance through the ranks. He began as a field staff, learning everything he could about land care.  He most recently became the dedicated landscape supervisor at Blue Cross Blue Shield, which is approximately 16 acres of landscaped area.  Fausto strives for exemplary maintenance services and to guarantee this quality, he spends extra time with the crews and the foremen to carefully walk the property and being proactive property needs.  On top of that, Michael Hensley, Client Relationship Manager, says “he is always willing to help newer team members understand our quality expectations and how to effective communicate service needs of a property.” Fausto takes pride in not only keeping the property in quality condition and enjoys mentoring his crews to help the team perform their best. Outside of work Fausto enjoys spending time with his family and his two sons keep him quite busy. TCA is proud to have Fausto as part of our Dallas team!

Fall Tree Pruning and Planting

Fall is a great time to plant and prune your trees. The months of cool fall and winter temperatures give newly planted trees and shrubs time to establish their roots before the hot summer weather returns.

Fall Tree Pruning

The goal of fall tree pruning is to improve the growing conditions for the next year’s growing season. After the spring and summer growing seasons, overgrown branches and limbs can cause damage to your property. Removing damaged or diseased limbs will not only contribute to the overall health of the tree, it will also help prevent falling tree limbs. Trees should be pruned to allow “room” for sunlight and breezes to naturally flow through. When done properly, pruning allows more light to shine through the branches and reduces the need for pesticides.

Fall Tree Planting

Did you know that tree roots will grow when the temperature is above 40 degrees? That means tree roots can continue growing during the milder fall and winter weather. This gives them the time to gain the strength they need to deal with hot summers.

Choosing the Right Tree for Your Property

Consult with a professional landscaper before deciding which trees and shrubs to plant. A knowledgeable landscape professional can help you select the right plants for your property by helping you answer these questions:

  • What type of tree do you want or need?

  • Do you want an ornamental tree with colorful flowers and foliage or would a shade tree be a better fit for your property?

  • What size tree will fit in the desired area? Consider the mature height and width of the tree and if it will work in your landscape.

  • Pay specific attention to the soil conditions, light and water requirements of the tree or shrub.

Terracare Associates specializes in landscape maintenance for commercial properties throughout the western United States. We manage the landscapes of hundreds of retail sites, homeowner associations, multi-family complexes, industrial projects, hotels, municipalities and commercial office campuses.

Winterizing Your Property’s Irrigation

With colder temperatures fast approaching it’s time to think about winterizing your property’s irrigation system. This will prevent water loss and icy walkways. Prepare your irrigation system for winter by performing a system audit to check for potential problems.

Step 1: Check the sprinkler heads

  • Check for missing or broken sprinkler heads and replace any broken sprinkler heads.

  • Remove clogged heads and clean the filter or replace, if necessary.

  • Adjust tilted heads to ensure that they are not spraying in the wrong direction.

  • Replace all leaky valves in the valve box to prevent leaking water and high water costs.

  • Remove and trim back grass, shrubs or other plants that cause misdirected or blocked spray pattern and obstruction of raising the heads.

  • Adjust the sprinkler heads to avoid spraying sidewalks, driveways or other hardscapes. This will not only save money on watering costs, but it will also prevent icy, slippery pedestrian walkways.

Step 2: Consider the watering needs of cool season plants

During colder weather many cool season plants need less water. Turf grasses like St. Augustine and Bermuda grass go dormant during the winter months. You need to adjust the timing and zone settings on your irrigation system to prevent over watering.

Step 3: Use weather-based smart controllers

Weather-based controllers are designed to adjust your irrigation schedules based on weather conditions. These climate-based systems gather local weather information and factor in your exact landscape to make irrigation run-time adjustments so your landscape receives the appropriate amount of water.

Step 4 Install rain/freeze sensors

Contact the irrigation system specialists at Terracare Associates to ensure your property is ready for winter.