Terracare Associates voted a favorite by San Diego Union-Tribune

Terracare Associates has been voted one of the Best Commercial Landscape providers in San Diego County by the San Diego Union- Tribune readers!

Terracare Associates is honored to be represented on such a renowned list as San Diego’s Best Union-Tribune Readers Poll. We are very proud to serve San Diego region and we look forward to continuing to serve this community.

Each year San Diego’s Union- Tribune reaches out to their readers and asks them to vote in more than 175 categories for their selection of the “best of the best” in San Diego County. This year, the Tribune added a new component and recognized businesses with votes to include the top vote getters the “Best” and the “Favorites,” businesses receiving votes from readers.

For more information, see (link)

About Terracare Associates

Terracare Associates, LLC is a recognized leader in outdoor maintenance in the Western United States. For more than 30 years, our certified and experienced staff works during all seasons to improve landscapes, parks, roadways and infrastructure for beautiful, safe and sustainable outdoor environments. We are headquartered in Littleton, Colorado, and are proud to serve Colorado, Northern and Southern California and Texas.

 

Quick Landscape Enhancement Projects to do this Fall

Part 5

During the month of August, we will bring you a 5 part series on how to easily create your 2018 budget, with the help of your commercial landscape company.

Each week in August (ending with this article) we will send you information and tools to help make this budget season relaxed and easy. Simply watch for Tuesday’s Budget Tips in your inbox, and the 5 part blog will include:

Many enhancement projects to a commercial landscape property are not only a quick and easy way to add curb appeal, but are also a great way to add value to a commercial landscape property. Enhancements serve as a reinvestment in the property’s existing features, upgrading sections of your landscape to improve the overall appeal. This autumn is the perfect time to complete these enhancements and have the property in pristine condition. Here are four great recommendations of enhancements projects to start this Fall:

Mulch

Mulch is any type of material – usually natural – serving as a cover and is spread over the soil. It can take many forms including bark, compost, grass clippings, shredded leaves, and straw. Mulch creates insulation helping reduce water from evaporating off soil thus reducing the need to water plants frequently. In addition, when thoroughly applied to an area, mulch is very effective in minimizing the growth of weeds.  Mulch also adds a sensational pop to the property.

Sustainable landscaping

Xeriscape

Xeriscape is a set of water-wise landscaping and water conservation principles. It’s the idea of maintaining both an appealing landscape through introducing low-water-use plants. With the increase of droughts and water scarcity, xeriscaping has become a very popular enhancement. In fact, in a recent report some xeriscape conversations reduce outdoor water use by as much as 70%.  There’s no better time than the Fall to have a landscape provider identify small areas that can benefit by water-wise planting.

Xeriscape

Planting Perennials

A perennial is a plant that grows for many seasons, unlike an annual which only lasts one season. This enhancement is growing in popularity not only because it’s good for the environment, it also saves money on water costs and requires less time needed for replanting. A great place to incorporate perennials are paths and walkways to ensure that guests enjoy their beauty. Interested in finding out more about perennials options? Click below:

Planting Perennials

Shade Trees

Choosing trees that are known for providing shade and planting them strategically around a property near buildings can save you up to 30% on your heating and cooling costs. In addition, these shade trees can increase the overall attractiveness of the property and allow for an increase foot traffic. To learn more about your shade tree options, click below:

Shade Trees

Last Minute Checklist for your Landscape Maintenance Services

Part 4

During the month of August, we will bring you a 5 part series on how to easily create your 2018 budget, with the help of your commercial landscape company.
Each week in August (continuing with this article) we will send you information and tools to help make this budget season relaxed and easy. Simply watch for Tuesday’s Budget Tips in your inbox, and the 5 part blog will include:

It seems everyone makes a list of some sort.  Whether you keep it in your head or write it down, a checklist is a way to help prioritize the “do’s” and helps to keep track of your next action item.   While you are planning the budgets for the new year, this is a good time to determine what is important to your property landscape maintenance.  Having a simple checklist will keep everyone on the same page and give you a landscape that will attract tenants (and keep owners happy), worry free.

Establishing a comprehensive landscape program is one of the best ways to increase curb appeal and property value.  Take our 6-minute landscape qualifier assessment to determine the best landscape provider for your property.

This three-part qualifier checklist will assist you with finding the right landscape contractor to help design the best landscape maintenance plan for 2018.  Don’t cut corners, let us help you build a landscape program that best serves your needs and budget.  This last minute budget qualifier includes tips and checklist on:

  • Commercial landscape company qualification
  • Build your commercial Landscape program
  • How to build a Commercial Landscape Budget to get what you want (and need)

Qualifier Check List

Our three previous posts can help you with every step of the process, or simply contact a Terracare Associates account manager.

How can we help?

Simple Steps to Finalize a Budget for your Commercial Landscape Property

Part 3

During the month of August, we will bring you a 5 part series on how to easily create your 2018 budget, with the help of your commercial landscape company.
Each week in August (continuing with this article) we will send you information and tools to help make this budget season relaxed and easy. Simply watch for Tuesday’s Budget Tips in your inbox, and the 5 part blog will include:

4 Steps to building your budget

As a commercial property manager, you may cringe when you hear the word budget. The challenge lies in figuring out how to budget for your property’s landscape maintenance and receive the services you need to maintain a quality property. Understanding and clearly defining scope of work helps to build an accurate budget and communicate your needs to your commercial landscaper. To eliminate guessing games utilize your commercial landscape company to help determine the level of service you expect year round. We recommend four easy steps to help develop your budget and needs for the following year:

Step 1 – Educate and define services needed

Take the time to assess your property and determine what needs to be serviced over the next year. What services should be included in regular maintenance to keep your landscape in pristine condition? What additional work do you need to ensure a beautiful property in the future?  Education on plant and turf requirements and technical landscape best practices can help greatly on determining maintenance requirements.  Terracare Associates –TCA offers both one-on-one assistance and in-office workshops to educate your entire staff.

Step 2 – Contact your landscape professional

Building a complete and accurate budget is daunting, so make it easier by contacting your landscape representative. This is a perfect time to ask for assistance when budgeting and forecasting for next year’s services.  TCA assigns a representative to every customer for a consistent and reliable support.

Identify a commercial landscape company who has the right experience, the right focus on customer service, and the right resources to get the job done.

Step 3 – Site improvements

A helpful tool to better understanding the needs of your property is a Landscape Quality Audit performed by your TCA account manager. Does your lawn need extra mowing or fertilization to improve its overall appeal? Are there ways in which plant health can enhance and protect the property assets, such as trees? Would adding mulch to a shrub bed raise the attractiveness of a property?  Check out the entrances, is it stunning?  Have a TCA representative complete a walk through of your property to perform this audit to suggest improvements or identify potential issues that otherwise would have gone unnoticed.

Need Help?

 

Below are some examples to consider when looking to improve your commercial property’s landscape:

 

Step 4 – Complete your budget with end result in mind

How do you want your property to look? Include all landscape maintenance services that create the property you expect.  We have developed a simple budget worksheet exclusively for our customers to easily and quickly define services needed and associated costs. Contact your TCA account manager for help with the budget worksheet.  After clearly defining your property landscape maintenance needs, it’s a simple process to complete the development of a comprehensive budget.

Schedule an Appointment.

 

Interested in learning more about budgeting appropriately for next year? Let us talk today about how to budget for your commercial landscape maintenance needs, and why managing expectations is critical for a positive year long experience and partnership.

Evaluate and Prioritize your Landscape Projects

Part 2

During the month of August, we will bring you a 5 part series on how to easily create your 2018 budget, with the help of your commercial landscape company.

Each week in August (continuing with this article) we will send you information and tools to help make this budget season relaxed and easy. Simply watch for Tuesday’s Budget Tips in your inbox, and the 5 part blog will include:

Where to Start

Now that you have considered the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) of your property, this is a great time to decide where your projects fit into your budget. In addition, phasing and scheduling out when each project will occur will help ease and relax your budgeting season.  Most importantly, you have a plan for all of your property’s landscape needs.

Determining Your Costs

As a property manager or owner, you almost certainly are assessing costs, but how do you identify projects, prioritize and offer continual improvements to the surrounding landscape?  To simplify, let’s break it down into two distinct budgets.

Why is this important?  Because some property managers and owners may think adding one installation or simply performing monthly maintenance is enough.  In reality, it is a combination of regular maintenance and planned upgrades that keep your property in pristine condition.  It’s not in the best interest for your property to just submit the same budget as last year.  In the end, carefully reviewing the operating and capital budget with your landscape service company will minimize urgent repairs, protect precious resources and be cost effective.

3-Year Plan

Think long term. We recognize budgets are limited and most properties have multiple goals for improvements.  It can be over-whelming and sometimes seem impossible to get all of the projects complete in one year.  Here is where you can get the advice from your commercial landscape maintenance provider on phasing and scheduling out projects:

 

  • This year – what are some quick fixes you have money to support this year? Is it mulch to spruce up an entrance, fall flowers to plant in planters or additional lawn care for healthy turf.  Consider starting some improvement projects now.
  • The first year is geared toward general maintenance improvements. Improvements may include additional lawn care treatments, plant health care needs, comprehensive pruning and trimming beyond monthly maintenance requirements. This year may be a good time to begin large multi-year projects with phases.
  • The second year is focused on enhancements and major repairs or upgrades.  This may include, irrigation repairs, plant and tree replacement, and drainage upgrades.
  • The third year is focused on multi- year project completions and may include, water conservation strategies or drought tolerant plantings.

Whether you are clear about the commercial property landscape goals or you need help to define a plan, take a moment, and schedule a consultation with your Account Manager at Terracare.  It’s worth the time!

 

Need more budget help?.

Four Smart Tips to Start a Commercial Landscape Budget – It’s SWOT

Part 1

Studies show a beautiful commercial landscape can raise your property value and attractiveness by as much as 20%.  Simply, through careful planning, a well-maintained property can transform into a place people will enjoy year round. This all starts with a budget. During the month of August, we will bring you a 5 part series on how to easily create your 2018 budget, with the help of your commercial landscape company. Each week in August (starting with this article) we will send you information and tools to help make this budget season relaxed and easy. Simply watch for Tuesday’s Budget Tips in your inbox, and the 5 part blog will include:
Commercial Landscape Budget

It’s SWOT

Start with a walk through with your landscape provider. This opens the discussion on four key areas:

  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Opportunities
  • Threats or challenges

 

A SWOT analysis breaks down the property’s features into good or challenging areas and evaluates the property as a whole. Even better, it builds a dialog between you, the property manager, and your landscape account manager on expectations and priorities. Discuss with your Terracare representative the following as you walk the property.

 

 

Strengths

Weaknesses

• What do you like about the property?

• Are the property entrances a focal point and well kept?

• Are there shade trees throughout the property?

• Do you have enough color?

• Do you have irrigation issues?

• Are there quick fixes like mulch you can take care of today to improve quickly?

• Are there any menacing pests that will harm trees or plants?

• Does your turf need more luster?

Opportunities

Threats or challenges

• Think long term.


• What projects would you like to do, if costs were not part of the equations?

• Consider upgrading your irrigation system to be eco-friendly and conserve water usage significantly.

• Plant replacement or converting turf area to more sustainable plants.

• Ask your landscape provider how to help build a 3-year landscape plan and start in stages.

• What limitations do you have on the property?


• Will there be more growth?

• Will foot or car traffic increase in the future?

• Look at areas that are more vulnerable, and if left untreated this might have a costly outcome.

•Do you have defined outdoor areas for future visitors or workforce?

 

What’s next? –  start now, schedule your property walk through with a SWOT in your hand and simplify the decision with this assessment tool.  It’s a smart way to begin your budget process.  See part 2 next week on how to prioritize your landscape projects.

 

Schedule an Appointment.

Is Your Property’s Irrigation System Wasting Money?

It’s HOT!  Don’t send money down the drain! Your landscape provider can help you maintain and monitor your property’s automated irrigation system to ensure this is the most efficient way of watering your landscape. Having a properly maintained irrigation system is also one of the best ways to minimize water waste and lower overall watering costs.

Smart scheduling saves water

An irrigation controller can help monitor your system’s watering schedule to fit \ the watering needs of your property.  Here is what your landscape provider is looking to do:

  • Setting the timer for early in the morning or in the evening can minimize water evaporation by up to 30%.
  • A rain or soil moisture sensor controller to monitor and adjust your watering schedule regularly and based on seasonal weather conditions and other factors. Weather-based controllers automatically adjust the irrigation schedule as weather conditions change.
  • Consider the amount of sun, shade, and wind exposure on the plants and schedule individual zones to be most efficient. The type of soil will also affect how much water can be absorbed without runoff. The landscape provider will evaluate the setting to the irrigation system to run for three or four short intervals, allowing time between each for the water to soak more deeply into the soil.
  • Checking often on the sprinkler heads to ensure they are set properly to avoid watering driveways, sidewalks, or buildings.

 

Regular irrigation system maintenance saves water.

Like any other mechanical system, the irrigation system also needs regular maintenance to keep it working efficiently. Parts will break or wear out and must be replaced. An older system may not be able to handle the needs of a new landscape design or other changes to your property.

Retrofit the system with a rain or soil moisture sensor to prevent over watering. Rain sensors stop the system from operating when it rains; soil moisture sensors use long metal probes to measure moisture at the root zone and turn the system off when no additional water is needed, this is highly encouraged for water conservation practices.

At Terracare Associates, we recommend performing a regular irrigation system audit. Your irrigation systems should be regularly inspected for leaks, broken sprinkler heads, or other damaged components. During our regular inspections, we evaluate pressure and adjust it as needed so your sprinklers work optimally to distribute the water.

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Free Irrigation Audit

Five Perfect Shade Trees for Your Property

Planting trees on your commercial property is a great way to make your landscape more attractive, but did you know it can also save you money in the long run? Choosing trees that are known for providing shade and planting them strategically around a property near buildings can save you up to 30% on your heating and cooling costs. Here are five trees that are perfect for adding shade to your property this summer and for many years to come.

Hybrid Poplar

The hybrid poplar tree is a popular shade tree because of its fast growth rate of up to 8 feet per year. The triangular leaves on the hybrid poplar reach 3-6 inches long and 4-5 inches wide with rounded teeth. Because of this the hybrid poplar provides plenty of protection from the sun. This tree is a cottonless hybrid so it will not create a mess on your property come spring. When it reaches maturity, the Hybrid Poplar stands 40-50 feet tall with a 30-foot spread.

Sawtooth Oak

The sawtooth oak is a great shade tree for any property because it adapts to a wide range of soil and climate conditions. It has a spreading canopy of leaves that provide ample shade and beauty, opening a beautiful yellow color in the spring and turning green in the summer before transitioning to golden brown in the fall. The sawtooth oak reaches a height of 40 to 60 feet tall when mature with a spread of 40 to 60 feet. This tree has the added bonus of producing acorns which will attract a variety of wildlife to your property.

Hornbeam

This tree is a more compact shade tree that is perfect for smaller properties. When it reaches maturity it stands 20-40 feet tall with a 20-30-foot spread. The hornbeam will put on a show in the fall as its leaves turn yellow, orange and crimson.

Zelkova

The zelkova is a great shade tree for properties located in urban areas because it is tolerant to drought and air pollution. It is known for its beautiful shape, attractive bark and resistance to Dutch elm disease, making it the perfect low-maintenance eye-catching addition to any property. The zelkova grows to be 50-80 feet tall. It also has a similar spread if planted in full sun.

Tulip Tree

A beautiful shade tree is the tulip tree. It produces tulip-shaped flowers 1-2 inches in diameter that bloom in May and Junealong with a spreading canopy of leaves that block sunlight. This tree has a mature height of 60-90 feet and a spread of 30-50 feet. Contact the experts at Terracare Associates to learn more about which trees are best for your commercial property.

 

Planting the right tree in the right place is a decision you should discuss with your landscape provider.  Some of the above suggestions of trees grow better in certain geographic areas, while others need proper positioning on the property to ensure strong growth.  Contact Terracare Associates landscape management team for advice on best shade trees for your commercial property.

 

 

 

What is Integrated Pest Management?

What is Integrated Pest Management?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency “Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. IPM programs use current, comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment. This information, in combination with available pest control methods, is used to manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property and the environment.

Implementation of IPM

The goal of IPM is to eliminate pest problems by strengthening and stabilizing the landscape and creating the proper balance of conditions that are more favorable for plants than for pests. At Terracare Associates, we often recommend this program to our commercial properties, HOAs and public parks, especially those who are interested in a well-balanced approach to pest management.

Integrated Pest Management is a 4-step process.

  1. Set action thresholds

The sighting of a few insects does not necessarily pose a threat to the plants on your property. Keep in mind, not all insects require control. Many are not harmful, in fact, some are even beneficial. For instance, lady bugs eat aphids and certain wasp species that feed on web worms.

  1. Regular monitoring

A trained landscape professional should regularly monitor your property for signs of harmful pest infestation. While insects are a common problem, they are not the only problem that should be monitored. Your landscape expert can watch for early signs of disease and weeds in turf areas and floral beds.

  1. Prevention

Implementing proper maintenance and lawn care prevention techniques will go a long way in preventing many pests.

We recommend mowing turf areas at the highest setting for your grass type to promote deeper roots and prevent water loss. Taller grass also cools the soil and reduces heat stress.

It is recommended to water turf areas to deeply penetrate the soil twice a week. This will ensure that the grass receives enough water to stay healthy. Frequent watering encourages shallow and weak root systems.

Performing a soil test to determine its pH levels will help prevent you from overusing fertilizer. Improper use of fertilizer promotes weed growth and makes plants more susceptible to disease.

  1. Control

Various methods are used to control pest problems. Cultural control methods, such as mulching beds and other areas, help to control weeds. Mechanical control employs the use of devices, such as traps, for rodents and insects.

Integrated Pest Management emphasizes nonchemical and biological methods of pest control. However, chemical control is used to ensure healthy plant growth and stability.

How Does IPM Benefit Your Property

  • On large commercial properties, hand-pulling weeds is neither practical nor cost efficient.
  • By monitoring, preventing and controlling damaging pests you can reduce failing vegetation, help the environment and save money on replacement plants.
  • IPM gives you a plan to control pest activity on your property, keeping your property looking great for years to come.

Contact Terracare Associates for more information about IPM.

 

 

How to Improve Your Property’s Irrigation System on any Budget

Today, commercial property managers aim to have sustainable landscapes that enhance the look of their property without overusing precious resources, such as water.. Time and budget constraints can often limit plans to completely overhaul your landscape irrigation system. However, you might be able to make some of the needed improvements in incremental steps.

Implementing just a few of these suggestions each year can make a significant impact on your irrigation system, watering costs and your landscape’s appearance. Our staff at Terracare recommends the following solutions and best practices:

Step 1 – Simple and low cost solutions

  • Use mowers with mulching blades on turf areas– do not bag grass clippings or leaves.Coneflower
  • Implement an integrated pest management program
  • Mulch beds with 2-3 inches of organic material to prevent weeds and hold moisture near the root zone of the plants.
  • Use water-wise perennial and native plants
  • Perform turf aeration – pull plugs out of the soil throughout the turf to get more oxygen and water to the root system.
  • Install rain and freeze sensors on your irrigation system to avoid unwanted or unsafe watering.
  • Perform regular irrigation system check-ups, looking broken sprinkler heads, clogged lines and other problem areas.

Step 2 –Moderate cost solutions

  • Sub-metering your irrigation system will allow you to better track water usage and remove water waste costs from your irrigation bill.
  • Shred and reuse all organic materials and landscape trimmings as mulch or compost.
  • Conduct an irrigation audit to determine your water usage.
  • Replace rotor spray nozzles with stream spray nozzles to reduce water runoff.

 

Step 3 – High impact solutions

Some solutions cost more, however, the long-term gains in efficiencies, water conservation and significant reductions in water costs is well worth the investment.

  • Install a drip irrigation system throughout the property 
  • Consider an irrigation supply system that uses captured rainwater, gray water or onsite treated waste water.
  • Install an ET controller, equipped with weather station monitoring – this better controls when and how much the irrigation system operates.

These are just a few suggestions that you can implement to improve your irrigation system.

For more information about ways you can make improvements on your landscape irrigation system, contact Terracare Associates by visiting our website.

Terracare Associates’ irrigation experts are state-licensed technicians, trained to provide watering programs based on the varying needs of plants and planting environments. We design irrigation programs that are tailored to the client’s water use budget, while protecting their landscape investments.

Free Irrigation Audit