A Look Inside Terracare’s Sustainable Practices

We hear the term “sustainable” a lot nowadays. From the food we eat to the energy we use, it seems like the word sustainable is everywhere. As a landscaping company, Terracare has a passion to be stewards of our environment while protecting the health, safety and welfare of our communities, clients and staff. This dedication has allowed Terracare to lead the outdoor industry in developing sustainable environments for more than 30 years. Furthermore, we believe it is our responsibility to preserve our landscapes and take steps towards sustainability. In turn, ensuring that our future generations have an environment they can enjoy. Below are a few practices Terracare regularly takes to make your property more sustainable:

Providing you with a new approach to landscape

Terracare positions itself as a leader that embraces new technologies in our field and that understands new trends. By taking this approach, TCA can offer solutions that are innovative and cutting- edge. A few examples of this are using smart controllers, xeriscaping, installing edible gardens and drought tolerant landscapes.

Providing you with safer, more efficient plant-health care

Our team of professionals will bring out the best in your landscape implementing a strict Integrated Pest Management (IPM) schedule. This will focus on properly feeding your landscape while monitoring the plant material and using pesticides only as a last resort.

Use recycling practices

Whenever possible, TCA composts and recycles plant materials and other organic material. By taking this approach, we cut down on the amount of waste in landfills and reduce greenhouse gases. Additionally, compost acts as a natural soil conditioner, which improves the soil structure and reduces needs for pesticide and synthetic fertilizer. We strive for zero waste on our projects.

What’s next?

If you need direction for your regenerative landscape and sustainable steps, reach out. Let us see what Terracare Associates and your organization can build together.

3 Reasons to Add Mulch to your Property this Spring

We have almost made it through the frigid months of winter! Now is a great time to get out and assess your commercial property’s landscape. When you are doing this, you might have realized that after months of moisture and colder temperatures your landscape beds need help. This is a great time to refresh and add new mulch to your landscape beds. Below are a few benefits your property receives when mulch is added.

Traps moisture in the summer:

During the warmer months of summer, mulch is such a helpful tool. One of the major benefits is the increased amount of moisture your plants receive. This moisture is essential to offset the water restrictions that are sure to come in the summer months. When applied, mulch helps conserve moisture in your landscape beds, keeping your trees, shrubs and flowers healthy.

Prevents weeds:

Weeds are a common and often unruly problem to your landscape beds. They steal the necessary nutrients and block much needed moisture. Weeds also make your property look unkempt. Using mulch however, is a phenomenal way to naturally combat this invasive weed. Just like other plants, weeds require light and warm soil to survive. When mulch is used, it creates a barrier that prevents weeds from sprouting because they do not have the strength to push through the mulch.

Provides a professional look:

You may have noticed that mulch loses its vibrancy and fades with time. Generally, your mulch has a shelf life of less than a year and after surviving winter, it is time to replace it for best impact. Although this is not the main purpose of mulch, the faded, dull coloring gives off a less than professional appearance. A few mulch options we recommend trying are pinestraw or wood mulch for a natural colorful look.

What’s Next:

Do you need help adding mulch to your property or deciding which type of mulch to add? Have a Terracare expert come out and assess your property now!
Schedule an Appointment.

How to Respond to Four Common Spring Issues

The snow is melting and warmer weather is on the horizon! As a commercial landscape property owner, a few unexpected issues may arise as the nicer weather returns. Good news! Terracare Associates is here to help your commercial landscape property look phenomenal for the rest of the year. Below are four very common issues that you may run into and ways to address these issues.

Harm from Snow Removal and Winter Salt

Whether it be from improper shoveling or damaging salts, you may notice that brown spots have appeared throughout your commercial landscape property. This problem arises most frequently on turf areas that border sidewalks or parking lots. Salts that helped us in the winter have absorbed moisture and left brown or yellow sections in areas in your turf. To repair this issue, we recommend seeding now in early spring for early spot repair, keeping it green.

Invasive Crabgrass and weeds

When your property’s lawn is weak, it is the perfect opportunity for challenging weeds and crabgrass to move in. These weeds and crabgrass can be hard to get rid of especially the later it gets into the year. To regulate this issue and prevent these weeds, crabgrass control should be applied annually. By doing this a barrier will be created to protect your grass and combat the weeds from invading your property.

Drainage Issues

With spring comes precipitation throughout most of the United States. This precipitation is usually a blessing for your commercial landscape property and will lead to a green, vibrant property. However, when certain spots on your property have poor drainage and retain this precipitation you can have over watered turf that will destroy your lawn. Additionally, this extra water can lead to over watered turf and destroy your lawn. The solution to this problem is to walk the property early on with a Terracare professional and identify these problem areas. Our landscape professional will carefully access your property and prepare a clear solution to any drainage problem.

Sustainable landscapingErosion

Spring precipitation brings erosion to any sloped area you may have at your property. The moisture comes down and drives materials towards the bottom of the hill. To prevent this issue we recommend to either vary your root type, to mix up your leaf type or to fluctuate your plant height. By taking these actions, your soil will anchor in and prevent the erosion.

For help with any of your springtime needs or concerns reach out below:
Contact Us.

5 Perennials to Make Your Property Pop!

Spring is the perfect time to add colorful flower beds to your commercial landscape property. Studies show a beautiful commercial landscape can raise your property value and attractiveness by as much as 20%. The addition of perennials is a cost effective investment. Perennials will bloom and return year after year cutting down on replanting. Below are five examples of perennials that we would recommend.

May Night Sage

This impressive perennial presents in tall spikes of indigo flowers with lush green foliage. The flower also has an exceptional hardiness to the cold and is the wonderful fit for any commercial landscape property in cooler climates. The May Night Sage blooms from late spring to early summer and matures to a height of 15 to 18 inches tall.

 

Blanket Flower

These beautiful flowers project a daisy-like feel with strong shades of wine red, orange and yellow. For the most part these flowers’ petals have a unique tubular shape. On the other hand, some of petals have frilled edges that also looked very stunning. The sizes of this plant will range from 10-12 inch high dwarfs to selections as tall as 24-30 inches.

Echinacea

Echinacea, better known as cone flowers, are colorful daisy-like flowers that bloom from mid-summer to early fall and can grow up to five feet tall. They thrive in areas with full sun and poor soil. These plants are drought resistant and do not require fertilization. You will see beautiful flowers return year after year with very little work if you choose this plant for your property.

Yarrow

Yarrow consists of flower heads full of small, tightly packed blossoms and aromatic leaves. This plant blooms from mid-summer to fall and typically grows to be two to four feet tall. It grows best when planted in well-drained soil with full sun. Yarrow is known for being durable and tolerates dry weather, so it is a perfect low-maintenance yet beautiful addition to any walkway.

Lavender Hidcote

Lavender Hidcote is a tall, purple flower known for its wonderful fragrance and its tendency to attract butterflies. It prefers hot, sunny and dry air and well-drained soil, making it the perfect choice for western climates. Lavender Hidcote does not require regular watering and will thrive on just 9-12 inches of rain per year. You can expect to see this plant bloom in mid to late summer.

For recommendations or help planting flowers for your commercial landscape property click here: Contact Us

A Guide for a Successful Commercial Landscape Request for Proposal

Finding the quality commercial landscaping company for you property will have a direct effect on the overall look of your location. When your organization uses a request for proposal or a RFP you will be able to let a potential landscape company know what to expect; from whom you are to what your budget is. Below is your guide to making the most out of your RFP to obtain and sustain a beautiful property.

Why is a RFP important?

Compare the RFP process to hiring an employee at your company. With so many potential employees seeking a position, it can be extremely overwhelming. However, when you look at the resumes you can more clearly filter through to find the stand out applicant.

An RFP allows potential applicants to:

  • Have a better idea who you are and what you’re looking for
  • Understand what kind of budget you have and whether it is fixed or flexible
  • Know what kind of materials are needed to be an effective applicant

Your RFP will identify the commercial landscaping provider that will meet and surpass your needs and expectations.

La JollaDescribe Your Property

An essential step when filling out your RFP is to provide pertinent information regarding your property to the prospective landscaping company. Clearly explaining your goals and expectations is extremely helpful. Whether your property is modest or large in size the more information received will be a real benefit.

Be Clear About Your Selection Criteria

The next focus you will want to address is your standards or criteria for the landscape provider. It’s important to gather specific information about a perspective landscape provider. Of course, cost the cost is at the top of your inquiry, but look for other essentials such as years of service, range of service, number of employees and timeliness can be very important too.

Determine Submission Requirements

The main goal of your RFP will be to have the potential landscape companies respond with the essential information to determine who is best for your budget and commercial landscape property’s needs. A few things to include in your submission guidelines might be:

  • BCBSTXSpecific formatting details, making it easier to compare the applications
  • A deadline for the RFP to be submitted
  • A length of proposed contract
  • References from similar clients
  • Proof of applicant’s fiscal stability
  • Detailed description of services
  • A depiction of the current staff and their expertise

Read RFP Submissions Carefully!

Once you are ready to send the RFP, decide on an appropriate period to get quality responses. Allowing the landscape companies time to a put together a quality proposal is always a good idea.

This level of professionalism in your hiring process will provide you with extra information about a landscape company. If a prospective landscape company cannot stick to the submission guidelines, required RFP format, or make the submission deadline, then you cannot expect them to provide timely, quality services. Their response to the RFP says a lot about the quality of their landscaping installation and maintenance services.

Four Commercial Landscaping Trends for 2018

Every year we look forward to upcoming trends in the commercial landscaping world! This year, we wanted to show off some of the trends that you will be seeing in 2018. Below are four of our recommended trends you may want to try on your commercial landscape property.

Green Roofs

As more commercial properties search to find ways to reduce their carbon foot-print, the trend of green roofs has emerged. Green roofs allow projects in high-density areas to be built with a landscape, by partially or completely covering their rooftops in vegetation and plant life. By taking this green initiative, a property can expect to significantly reduce heat loss, filter out storm water, lower energy consumption, and have improved insulation. In addition to being eco-friendly, other benefits include, allowing residents or employees a chance to relax and escape the day-to-day grind, attract an assortment of wildlife and even serve as farm to table gardens for restaurants.

XeriscapeBark

Xeriscaping is another trend that will continue to take off as we go into the new year. The increased frequencies of droughts and scarcity of water has put a spotlight on the importance of xeriscape. Xeriscape landscaping can be the most efficient method for commercial properties to achieve water use reduction and reduce costs. In fact, xeriscape can reduce outdoor water use by as much as 70 percent. Because of this, your commercial landscape property will reduce your water costs. You will also have a well-maintained, beautiful and appealing landscape. For more information on xeriscaping, click here.

Brush Management

For most of the country, this fall has been very dry and the winter months will offer more of the same. This lack of precipitation is a major issue, especially when it comes to wildfires. In fact, according to WX Shift, “since 1970 the annual average number of wildfires larger than 1,000 acres has more than doubled in the western U.S. The typical wildfire season has also stretched by about two and a half months longer over that time”.  Because of this, maintaining the brush on commercial properties is vital to the prevention of wildfires.  On top of this, more and more cities, municipalities and counties have and will continue to establish guidelines and rules for managing brush and reducing fire risk. Click here for tips on how to manage your brush.

Native Plants

Reed GrassThere has been a great interest in finding methods to aid in sustainability and at the same time reduce the property owner’s costs. Due to these needs, the trend of planting native foliage has emerged in the commercial landscape world. One of the main factors leading to native plants becoming such popular alternatives is their ability to thrive without much human intervention. The word “native” means that the plant is indigenous to a certain area. Since native plants are already adapted to the local environment, less water is required as well as a reduction of fertilizers and other lawn care treatments. For a few suggestions of native plants in your area, contact Terracare Associates today. If you are interested in native plants, click here.

 

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:

  • snowplowGive 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.

SnowTexas:

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.

Benefits of Native Grass on Commercial Properties

As a property owner, the sustainability of the landscape is essential in not only saving money, but also providing a lasting impact on the environment. One factor that you might not have considered when thinking about sustainability is planting native grass. The word “native” means that the plant is indigenous to the area and can thrive without human contributions such as fertilizers and other lawn care treatments. Along with that native grass has many other benefits to a commercial landscape property, below are a few of those benefits.

  1. Reduces heat

    Lawns reduce environmental heating through cooling evaporation. On sunny days, air temperatures over lawns stay 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than air over asphalt or concrete. The resulting cooler air temperature means lower cooling costs for your building.

  2. Curb appeal

    Native grassGreen spaces make your property more attractive and increase its value. On average, buyers are willing to pay 11 percent more than asking price for a well-landscaped property. On top of that, customers spend more time and money when businesses have attractive landscaping. Adding grass to your property not only attracts customers, it also makes a commercial landscape property more attractive to potential employers and decreases turnover.

  3. Stress reduction

    Many studies prove that exposure to natural greenery reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, reduces muscle tension, improves attention and increases feelings of happiness. People who work in an environment with a view of nature have been found to recover from stress more quickly and experience less job pressure and greater job satisfaction. Exposure to nature has even been shown to increase work productivity. An investment in green space is a positive investment in your company.

  4. Reduces soil erosion

    To protect against wind and water, grass has an extensive root system that locks soil in place. A single grass plant can have up to 300 miles of erosion-controlling roots. Gardens and other types on landscapes can experience up to 600 times more erosion than natural lawns, meaning more money shelled out by property owner’s for maintenance.

  5. Purifies air and improves air quality

    Approximately 12 million tons of impurities are absorbed from the air by turf grass each year. One these impurities is the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. U.S. lawns alone capture an estimated 5% of the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide annually. Grass absorbs these impurities and moves them to the root zone where soil microbes help break down pollutants. Growing natural grass on your commercial property is a great way to decrease your business’s carbon footprint.

  6. Produces oxygen

    Grass is a living organism, meaning it takes in carbon dioxide and releases oxygen into the atmosphere. A lawn measuring 2,500 square feet generates enough oxygen to meet the daily needs of a family of four.

Contact the experts at Terracare Associates for your commercial landscaping needs today.

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.

CaterpillarCaterpillars: 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.

ladybugLadybugs: 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.

spiderSpiders: 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.